Question: What is the minimum size recommended for an aquaponic waterfall?
Answer: A waterfall can be any shape and size you want. Some people have tried ponds that are only a few gallons in volume. This will not work well because small volumes of water tend to stratify into layers with different temperatures and oxygen levels which is bad for fish. It also creates anaerobic zones on the bottom where solids accumulate, leading to more smell and less oxygen. In addition there tends to be less biofiltration overall because there isn’t enough water volume or surface area of gravel/media through which to filter the water.
Question: How much space is recommended between a waterfall and a pond?
Answer: It depends on how tall the fall is, the width of the spread of water over the falls, and how much “green space” or dry area you want between your waterfall and pond. In general, it’s good to leave at least two feet on either end for safety purposes in case one of your plumbing lines fails. Also, remember that if you have more than one wave unit they all need some dry land in-between them to walk or work on. This is especially important if you are working with koi where it takes extra effort to keep them out of ponds! Typically there should be no less than three feet between any side of your waterfall and pond.
Question: What size pump should I use for my waterfall?
Answer: That depends on how much flow you need, what kind of fall you are designing (the shape controls the flow), and how deep your pond is (how many gallons in volume). If you don’t know how much water to expect during rainstorms or power outages then err on the side of more water available when needed! However, always use the largest pump possible without exceeding the maximum GPH rating of your filter/pond system. Pumps are sized by their electric draw so multiplying the number of watts used times 115 volts will give you an idea of what size pump is needed. You can also compare it to other pumps in your koi pond system to get a better idea.
Question: What size PVC pipes should I use for my waterfall?
Answer: It depends on the total flow from your pump and how much water you want to shoot over the falls. In general, if you have less than 400 gallons per hour flow rate then scheduling 40 1-1/2 inch inner diameter PVC pipe will work well. For up to 800 gallons per hour of flow rate, you can use schedule 80 2 inch ID PVC piping if it’s needed. If more than 1000 gallons per hour is used for your waterfall design, schedule 120 2-1/2 inch ID PVC piping may be required depending upon what kind of shape is used in your fall (curved versus straight versus wave). Schedule 40 PVC piping is 3/4 inch thick, while schedule 80 is 1-1/2 inches.
Question: How much gravel should I use in my waterfall?
Answer: A good rule of thumb is to use a minimum of one pound per gallon of water volume. This works out to about 100 pounds for every 400 gallons if you fill your pond with 400 gallons. Remember that the actual volume will be less after compaction! If you are using koi then it’s recommended to have at least two-and-a-half times the normal amount used when designing your dry layout (100 grains per pound would equal 250 pounds or more). You can also add river rocks or other decorative items in between so it looks aesthetically pleasing.
Question: How should I size my pump for my pond? Why does it have to be so big?
Answer: The first thing you need to determine is how many gallons capacity your pond needs to accommodate during power outages or rainstorms (the highest water level it might ever reach, plus an additional amount for settling). The next step is to make sure the GPH (gallons per hour) rating of your filter/pond system can handle that amount of water without getting clogged up too much by using oversized lines and fittings. You will also need enough flow rate through each waterfall unit (if you are using more than one) without any one of them working harder than the others. If there is not enough flow in your lines when you turn on the system, then it can get backed up and/or clogged with debris.
Question: I need a waterfall for a hot tub or pool – do these kinds of falls work?
Answer: Yes, they do! If you already have one of these water features nearby then this is a great way to save some money. However, you will need to make some modifications because koi ponds are designed for use at ground level while pools or spas would be elevated higher into the air. You will also need to buy more PVC pipes and fittings based upon how large your fall needs to be. The GPH rating will also depend upon how large your top tier is so you might want to start out with a lower rate (10 to 20 GPH) and work your way up if needed. For example, you could use four units of 5-GPH pumps that are turned on/off together instead of the usual one larger pump which is left running all day long.
Question: Can I just get some waterfall boxes at the store?
Answer: Yes, but it’s not necessary to spend money on these prefabricated kits when you can save some money by making your own using PVC pipe and fittings. You will need more accessories than what might be available in their kits so you will have to shop around or wait until they go on sale. Be sure to calculate how many gallons per hour will flow through your particular waterfall design so you know how much pump power you will need to buy.
Question: What do I need for a pondless waterfall?
Answer: For this kind of pond you will need a buried barrel or tank to hold the water from your pump, some kind of filter system, and tubing to carry the water back outside. There are other alternatives as well such as a walled-in fall with a drain line where the ground slopes down along one side before going underground around it (the excess water is then carried away). If there isn’t any natural way for the excess to run off then an alternative would be adding small dams along your edges after using PVC piping which can also help direct more water downwards towards your underground container.
Question: How do I protect my waterfall from animals?
Answer: You can install a solid fence or wall around your pond but some animals are smart enough to climb over it. A better solution is to use netting which you can find at any garden store along with some other places online. Cut the netting large enough to fit the entire height of your fall, making sure that there are no gaps where critters can get through. The very bottom edge should be secured into the ground so they cannot dig under it and come up in between either. Another idea is using “Critter Ridder” repellent powder sprinkled all around the area where they can crawl underneath it (after installing an edging inside).
Question: Is there any way to use the existing waterfall in my garden?
Answer: Yes, you can cover up your pre-existing waterfall with a wooden box or piece of hardware cloth which is then filled with PVC piping. The water will be collected inside the box where it will drip over some kind of wall before going back out into the pond (this could include another type of animal barrier if needed). This method makes it easier to change things around later while also reducing some of the force behind the water while it’s falling.
Question: How do I build a waterfall for my koi pond?
Answer: Keep in mind that each one of these falls should have its own pump, making sure that there are not too many running at once so they do not conflict with each other. You will need at least three pumps for a small pond measuring 30′ x 15′. A larger fall will have the water draining through the bottom and going back into your pond using a sloped gravel area. The lack of any visible edges along the side is needed to prevent debris from stopping up the drain line or clogging up where it falls into your koi pond.
Question: How can I make my waterfall more eco-friendly?
Answer: Installing an ultraviolet filtration system within your pump unit takes away most of the problems which come from chemical use, keeping them out of our groundwater supplies. You could also consider placing some plants on top of your waterfall boxes instead of rocks or concrete because they will help filter out any excess nutrients (especially if you are using them in your koi pond).
Question: Why do I need lights near my waterfall?
Answer: Adding small accent lighting around the top of your falls can make it look much better at night when people are walking up to see them. It also allows for everyone to see all of the details that were put into making each one unique, like little stones or pieces of driftwood that might be hidden by darkness. Keep in mind that this is an optional part which not many people choose to add unless they really want to spend some extra money on lights.
Question: How high should a waterfall be?
Answer: The height which you build should depend on what kind of look you are going for when adding a new one. Waterfalls of around 3′ tall give off the impression that it’s more than just a wall while anything taller than this will likely start to look like some kind of natural feature instead. Having plants on top of your falls is another good way to reduce their height, making them slightly smaller in appearance while also fitting into any surrounding area where they are built.
Question: How do I clean my waterfall?
Answer: The best way to get rid of algae is by using an algae scrubber which is pulled up against the surface of the pond while vacuuming out all of the dirt or debris that has made its way inside. You can also purchase special enzymes which can be added directly into the water as another way of keeping it clear without having to scrub anything. The filter will need to be cleaned every few days and the pump inside of your waterfall unit should also be taken apart and rinsed off.
Question: What’s the best type of pump to use in my pond?
Answer: Try and find a good quiet and reliable submersible model which has some built-in filtration features along with an adjustable flow rate so you can control how much water comes out at once. A good idea is something that has a “hi/low” option so you can adjust it depending on how much debris is around your garden or koi pond. Also, keep in mind that each one of these units should have its own filter to make sure that they do not get clogged up and stop working.
Question: What’s the best way to keep my waterfall from overflowing?
Answer: A good idea is to run a bead of non-expanding pond foam around the lip where your falls drain out into, adding extra support and protection against any excess pressure which could come from having too much water inside of it. You can also add in some sand or gravel below this area if you want to, using colorized materials like black sand instead of something more like white sand which will stand out more at night (it does look better though).
Thanks for reading at Meyer Aquascapes! We hope you’ve enjoyed our post on garden pond design. Please leave a comment below if you liked it or have any questions. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!