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Ponds, Ponders and Pondering About Water Gardens. Top Tips To Help

  1. Pond pumps are designed to operate in harsh outdoor environments and because they are electrically driven and submersed in water safety is critical. It is illegal to sell an outdoor pump unless there is at least 10 metres of 3 core cable attached to it and the cable must meet stringent safety requirements. The box and if not the box the label on the pump itself will indicate indoor or outdoor ( a small sign showing picture of house with arrow pointing into the house indicates for indoor use only). The pump should always have a least a 2 or 3 year guarantee period since this means it is suitable for such a harsh environment and has been suitably tested.

  2. A 2 or more years guarantee tells the customer especially when it comes to pond pumps that the design is good, the performance is good, and that the manufacturer stands behind his products. A pond pump has to run 24/7/365 which means 24 hours a day 365 days a year. When you see a 2 or more years guarantee on a pump you can buy with confidence. Beware of sump pumps ... These pumps are quite powerful (this means consume lots of power and therefore cost a lot to run) and large - they stand upright and are easily recognised. Sump pumps are designed to run intermittently for a certain amount of hours and since they are primarily designed for intermittent running their life span can be considerably shortened when run continuously in a pond. Bad idea in most ponds.

  3. Selecting the right pump is important because it keeps your filter alive, your fish alive and it is responsible for most of your pond running costs into the future. So your right pump choice is one that will last you a long time and running costs will be very low and yet still do a great job in your unique pond environment. If you want a waterfall and no fountain choose a pump which does not need a sponge on the suction side of the pump (eg Hozelock Titan series or Oase Aquamax). This type of pump saves a lot of maintenance hassle. Do ask us for advice if you are not sure. You can tell a pond pump very easily. It will have 10 metres of 3 core cable and the box will tend to be larger. There will be a guarantee of at least 2 years - DO NOT buy 1 yr. guarantee pumps for ponds. They do not last. You need to specify how much water in litres per hour you want to pump and to what height this quantity must be pumped.

  4. Head is a fancy word for what pressure can the pump develop. In other words how high can it pump. Head is the height difference between the water surface in the pond and the outlet point of the pipe attached to the pump (normally this is the inlet to the waterfall or pond filter). Do an experiment ... lift the outlet pipe from a pump about 50 cm above the pond surface. Note the water flow. Next lift the pipe 1 metre above the surface of the pond and you'll notice a lower flow rate from the same pump. You can understand now that the higher the head for the pump then the lower is the amount of water pumped. The reason for this is a fixed motor size ... energy has to be divided between volume of water (actually mass) and the height it can be lifted.

  5. Maximum flow is the absolute maximum water the pump can handle. This happens with no pipe attached to the pump at the pond surface. It is a means of comparing pumps in the same range by the same manufacturer. Don't use this information for anything else. Like maximum head this information on pump boxes has mislead many people into buying the incorrect pump. It is important to know how much water the pump can handle at different real situation pumping heights so you can select the right pump for a waterfall or if you prefer the right pump for a garden fountain. If you need to run a fountain in your pond it normally makes good sense to select a pump that comes with these fittings. If you buy the fountain attachment later they may be expensive.

  6. It is a good idea to have a waterfall pump . Waterfalls, streams and running water add character to any garden fish pond feature. The waterfall adds much needed oxygen to the water for the benefit of the fish and the purifying bacteria inside biofilter. Building a waterfall allows you to use the soil that came out of the ground when you dug the hole for the pond. A waterfall with a wide lip will need more water than one with a narrow lip to create a good effect. Very few garden ponds benefit from a waterfall as high as 1 metre and even this is probably on high side unless a cascade effect (ie multiple small drops rather than a single large drop ... more like a stream) is wanted. An ideal height for a waterfall is between 40 cm and 60 cm.

  7. Install an Ultra Violet Clarifier (UVC) of correct wattage for your size of pond. The size is critical and is a function of sunlight intensity and duration, fish stock density, amount of food fed and water temperature.  8 watts (so long as quartz tube included in UVC) is normally big enough for a pond up to 4,000 litres. Water goes green and/or murky because the algae (algae are tiny plants) remain suspended in the upper levels of the pond (closest to light). The algae benefit and grow based upon amount of nutrients (result of fish metabolism and feeding) in the pond water. Because suspended algae are very small (4 microns) it is almost impossible for a normal filter to remove them. If water containing algae is passed through an Ultra Violet clarifier the algae are killed and they clump together making it possible for them to be taken out in a good biofilter. Ultra violet clarifiers (UV for short) have been one of the best inventions ever for the pond keeper but surprisingly only a very small percentage of pond keepers know of their existence. One very important maintenance point has to be made. The UV lamp has to be replaced after about 8,000 operating hours This is a must because the lamp is useless after this period. If your pond starts to go green even if the 1 year (about 8000 hours) is not up it is probably time to replace the lamp in your UV unit

Previous 5 water gardening quick tips here



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