Best Pond Pump Information 2021

Pumps keep the water in your pond healthy. They help evenly spread nutrients in the water to fish, plants and other aquatic life. Running water prevents stagnation and cuts down on algae and mosquitoes. Keeping the water moving ensures that oxygen levels are distributed throughout the pond. Pumps also provide power for a pond’s water features, like waterfalls and fountains.

This guide will help you learn about the best pond pumps for your garden.


The best water pumps for your pond and its fountain or waterfall come in variety of types and styles. They include submersible, external, magnetic drive and direct drive. Each of these water garden pumps offers its own advantages.

Submersible Pumps: These pumps are designed to work while wholly submerged in water. Typically, they are installed in the deepest part of the pond. Submersible pumps can be placed either directly into your pond or in a skimmer box or pond vault.

  • Easy to install.
  • Work well in environments that capitalize on a natural setting.
  • No need to camouflage the pump.
  • Run very quietly so there’s no distracting noise in your garden.
  • Submersible pumps can be used to drain your pond, if needed.
  • Range in pumping size from 50 to 5,000 gallons per hour.
  • Can generate higher energy costs than other pump types.
  • For smaller ponds, submersible pumps are generally more economical.

Tip: Some submersible pumps use oil to operate. If the pump seal breaks and leaks harmful oil coolant into the water, fish can be hurt or killed. If you have fish or other aquatic life in your pond, you’ll want to look for a submersible model that does not use oil.

External Pumps: External pumps can move a high volume of water, yet usually have lower energy costs than submersible pumps. They are not as quiet as submersible pumps. They should be placed in a dry location near your pond. External pumps are a lot more complicated to install. However, they are generally more reliable.

  • Available as self-priming pumps able to draw their own water.
  • Can be loud, disturbing the quiet of your garden.
  • Work well for larger ponds that are 1,000 gallons or more.
  • Offer long-lasting performance and easy repair.
  • Require less routine maintenance than submersible pumps.

Tip: Pumps that are not self-priming can burn out a motor if the power shuts off momentarily and then comes back on. Protect against this by installing a check valve.

Magnetic Drive: In a magnetic-drive pump, an electrical charge creates a magnetic field that causes the magnet on the impeller to rotate and pump water. Since they have no seals to wear out, they require little maintenance. Occasionally, you will need to clean the impeller and its chamber for the most efficient operation.

  • Completely sealed. Magnetic-drive pumps do not require lubrication.
  • Because they don’t contain oil, magnetic-drive pumps are safer for ponds with fish, since oil leaks don’t occur.
  • Don’t generate high head heights. Magnetic-drive pumps are unable to lift pond water vertically, which you might need to supply water to a fountain. They are not the best water pumps for fountains.
  • Work best in cleaner environments with little or no debris.
  • Highly efficient and cost-effective.

Direct Drive: Direct-drive pumps have an enclosed motor that is powered by electricity, which turns the impeller shaft.

  • Achieve significant head height, so they are able to move water vertically. They are among the best water pumps for fountains and waterfalls.
  • Typically more expensive to operate.
  • Push water rather than pulling it.
  • Not easily repaired.

Tip: Some models seal the motor in an oil-filled shell with seals around the cord and impeller shaft. These are risky to use if you have a pond stocked with fish. There is an ever-present danger of water contamination if a leak occurs. Many newer pumps, however, feature alternative lubrication that is safe for fish. Look for oil-free models if you have fish or other aquatic life in your pond.

AquascapePRO® Pond Pumps

Pond Pump Calculations

Figuring out the correct pump size depends upon the how big your pond is. Other factors include whether or not the pump is being used for filtration, re-circulation or water features. Another factor is the number of fish and plants your pond contains. Larger fish populations have greater air requirements.

A good rule of thumb is that pumps should be able to pump out about half the pond volume every hour. For example, a pump that moves 500 gallons per hour would be appropriate for a 1,000 gallon pond.

You don’t have to refer to a fountain pump size chart to figure out the best water pumps for your garden. With a few measurements and calculations, you can determine the size pump you’ll need.

Flow rate for filtration

  • Filtration flow rate in gallons per hour (gph) = 0.5 x pond volume (gallons)

Flow rate for fountains

  • For every inch of stream width at the top of the fountain, you need 100 gph at the height you’re pumping

Flow rate for waterfalls

  • Light flow = 50 gph x waterfall width (in.)
  • Average flow = 100 gph x waterfall width (in.)
  • Strong flow = 200 gph x waterfalls width (in.)

Pond volume

  • Pond volume (gallons) = 7.5 x average width (ft.) x average length (ft.) x average depth (ft.)

Pond Pump Features

In-line, utility, solids and axial pumps are just a few of the many varieties of water garden pumps that are available.

  • In-line Pumps: These pumps draw water through an inlet that connects to a hose so you can pull water from a remote location. All external pumps are in-line pumps.
  • Utility Pumps: Utility pumps draw water through openings that screen out debris. When placing one into a pond, use a pump sock or other enclosure to reduce the amount of cleaning needed. If you use a pump sock, be aware that sock-like screening can cause a dry pump situation.
  • Solids Pumps: These pumps draw water through a large opening and pump small debris through without clogging. For this reason, they can be placed into a pond without prefilters. This pump type is not safe for ponds with fish, frogs or other aquatic animals, however.
  • Axial Pumps: These special utility pumps are designed for high-flow, low-pressure pond environments. Because they are big, they require piping that is large in diameter.
  • Solar Pumps: Solar-powered pumps perform well in climates with lots of sunshine. They can cost less to operate since they don’t require an outdoor electrical outlet. Solar pumps also work well if your fountain is located far from the power supply. However, flow rate is minimal compared to typical voltage.
  • Heavy-Duty Pumps: Heavy-duty pumps are typically made of stainless steel and are more costly. However, they offer greater energy efficiency and last longer.

You’ll need to consider several factors when deciding between the best water pumps for your garden pond. A pump should be able to handle the size of your pond and support your water features. It also needs to be compatible with any fish or plants you may have.

The Pond’s Ecosystem

What is an ecosystem?

An ecosystem encompasses all the parts of a living environment, including the plants and animals, AND the non-living components, such as water, air and the sun’s energy.  A pond’s ecosystem begins with the water as the base.  Everything found above the base is completely dependent, either directly or indirectly, on water.

Biological filters work to create an ecosystem by using bacteria to break down pond wastes, converting them into harmless particles that will be used as aquatic plant fertilizers.   Housed inside the biological filter are from one to three filter mats.  The filter mats will aid in the building of a bacteria colony.   To add additional media, we recommend that you install several sets the BioBalls inside this unit.  Again depending on the size of the biological filter you will need from one to four sets.  Both of these types of media will allow the bacteria colony to grow and mature.

In the past, people have used the Lava Rocks in mesh bags on top of these mats. We have found, in our research that the lava rocks will eventually clog and recommend they be replaced every two years.   These rocks are also heavy and cumbersome to remove and clean.  BioBalls are easier to handle and will hold more good bacteria.  To guarantee that you have seeded the bacteria into the filter media in the Biofalls, it is important to use the beneficial bacteria on the start up of your system in the spring and continue to use on a regular basis throughout the growing season.

The primary goal of a biological filter is to reduce the level of nitrogen compounds in the water in order to maintain the balance of the pond and limit algae and pathogenic growth.  Water quality can be threatened by natural ground water run off, decaying plant particles and too many fish.   Uncontrolled algae growth can have serious consequences for the entire pond apart from the unpleasant appearance.

The IonGen™ is an electronic clarifier for ponds and Pondless features.  By clicking on the product you will be brought to the product and you can read the description.   This product saves the cost of using algaecides.  This product is now registered with EPA as a product that will eliminate string algae. However, you still have to use some type of bacteria during the growing season to keep a pond water clear. The IonGen™ saves you time and money!

The biological filter is also the source of your waterfall and/or stream.  Besides being the source of the good bacteria colony, it also works for you by making it easier to build a great waterfall. Remember to order your bacteria in the spring so you are ready for the growth season. Go here to look at the various types of bacteria:

Water Treatments

How does the biological filtration work?

The water is pumped through the biological filter unit, through the filter media and microscopic bacteria located in this media go to work scrubbing the pond clean of green water.  Lava Rock or BioBalls are located in this unit.  By combining both mechanical and biological filtration, the Ecosystem does the maintenance for you, reducing your work and increasing your enjoyment.

Mechanical Filter called the Skimmer

The purpose of this filter is to skim the water and deposit the surface debris into a basket or net for easy maintenance.   It also protects the pump with a filter mat located either in front of or on top of the pump thus cleaning the water before it is drawn into the pump.  The debris net or basket needs to be emptied regularly.  Note:  The weir door on the Signature Series is a separate part and does not come with the basket.

Weir Doors can be ordered but you need to know which skimmer and the size of the weir opening.  Call 877 780-1174 if you have questions.

 Other Necessary Parts to the EcoSystem

Pump and Plumbing – Recirculation of a closed water feature is essential to add oxygen to the water for fish and bacteria.  It keeps it fresh and allows gasses to escape.  You want to circulate the volume of water in your feature approximately every hour.  The pump supplies the water to the biological filter which in turn spills over into the waterfall.

Rocks and Gravel – The most under used element in a pond ecosystem is rock and gravel.  Rocks are instrumental in protecting your liner from harmful ultraviolet rays as well as helping to prevent hydrostatic bubbling.   Rocks and gravel throughout the bottom also provide the perfect areas for bacteria to colonize thereby keeping water clearer.   Do you ever see an aquarium without gravel on the bottom? Cover the liner completely with rocks and gravel.   Never use more than 2 to 3 inches of gravel on flat areas.

Plants, Fish and Bacteria– Plants absorb the nutrients from the water as fertilizer.  The bacteria in your colony will eat the excess nutrients that the plants haven’t absorbed and if these excess nutrients are not absorbed, they might feed green water. That’s why plants are very important to the ecosystem.  Plants provide beauty and a nature look to your pond while the bacteria will help remove ammonia, nitrates and other minerals from the water and converting them to useful nutrients.  Fish provide some balance the equation but you must not overstock your pond. Overstocking is the number one cause of excess algae.  Adding bacteria on a regular basis, is one of the best things you can do for your pond to enhance the quality of your pond water.

The calculation for amount fish in a pond is:  length x width of pond = square feet and that number is the inches of mature fish your pond can support.  A 10 x 10 pond supports 100 inches of fish. Don’t forget that if you are a new pond owner, the fish will multiply and you may end up with more fish that you should have in order to have a balanced ecosystem.

Filter efficiency Facts

1. Circulation requirements:
Ponds with KOI – re-circulate total pond volume at least once per hour.  Also, consider adding an additional aerator at the bottom of the pond.

2. Volume of pond
Average width x average length x average dept x 7.5 = volume of water in gallons.

3. Fish stocking guidelines (bio-load capacity)
For every square foot of pond surface you can support one inch of mature fish.

4. When you use a biological filter and a skimmer filter and have adequate aeration, we don’t normally recommend testing the water unless you have an excess of fish and have not used the four basic ecosystem requirements which is rocks, fish, plants, and aeration.  If your pond has a heavy fish load, you may want to test your water for ammonia.

Clarity of water does not always mean quality. To monitor your fish environment especially if you have more fish than the ratio, you may want to test periodically:

Ammonia – a reading of more than 0.25 ppm will put your fish into stress; make immediate water change of 33% and than re-test ammonia level. If too high, make another 33% water change. Adding bacteria twice weekly or at least once a week will help reduce ammonia load. When doing water exchanges don’t forget to add the pond Detoxifier to the water.

pH – should range between 7.2 and 7.6. When you test the pH, run the test at the same time of day in the a.m. as pH fluctuates during the day. High pH is not necessarily dangerous unless the ammonia count is also high.

Temperature – ideal range is between 72 and 78 degrees. Less or greater can reduce biological activity.  Over 80 to 85 degree water could be harmful on your fish.

5. Aquatic plants should be used and added in your pond for nitrate absorption; examples include water lilies, bog plants and water hyacinth placed in the BIOFALLS® filter and streams. See the charts on Planting Your Pond.


Happy pondering,

877 780-1174

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