How to Choose the Right Pump for Your Pond, Waterfall or Fountain

Your pump is the heart of your water feature’s circulation system. That’s why we want to help you pick the best pump for your needs.

Our two-step interactive guide will help you find the perfect pump for your pond, waterfall or fountain. In Step 1, we’ll give you a broad look at the options for your water feature. In Step 2, we’ll do some more detailed calculations to figure out what size pump you need.

Have questions throughout the process? Don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll be happy to help with your project.

Step 1: Choose the Right Pump for You


Step 2: Calculate Pump Size

Now that you know what kind of pump you need, our next step is to figure out how big that pump should be.

We take two factors into consideration when figuring out the best pump for a pond: flow rate and head height. The size pump you choose will depend on these two measurements.

Calculating Minimum Flow Rate

Your pump’s flow rate is a rough measurement of how many gallons of water can flow through the pump in an hour.

In ponds, the pump should be big enough to turn over the entire volume of the pond at least twice per hour OR 150 gallons per hour for every inch of waterfall width – whichever is bigger. (Note: If you have a disappearing/pondless waterfall, you only need to use the waterfall width calculation.)

So first, let’s figure out the volume of your pond (Length x Width x Avg. Depth x 7.48 x 0.8) and multiply that by two:

Next, let’s figure out the minimum waterfall flow rate:

Look at the two totals above: volume-based flow rate and waterfall-based flow rate. Whichever number is bigger is the recommended minimum flow rate for your pump.

Look at the two totals above: volume-based flow rate and waterfall-based flow rate. Whichever number is bigger is the recommended minimum flow rate for your pump.

Calculating Head Height

Your pond’s head height is the height your water needs to travel (static head) plus the friction the water experiences as it runs through the pipes (dynamic head).

Lots of factors influence the dynamic head, including flow rate, pipe diameter, pipe length and pipe material. Fittings – like elbows and valves – will also affect this measurement.

For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to approximate your pond’s head height using a simple formula: Static Head + (Pipe Length x 0.1). You might need to make some estimates if your pipes and plumbing are already underground.

What about Pipe Diameter?

Pipe diameter limits the amount of water that can travel through your pipes, no matter how strong your pump is. Using inappropriately sized pipes will throw off your pump calculations and hurt your pond’s performance.

  • 1.5″ Flex PVC Pipe = Max 2,200 GPH
  • 2″ Flex PVC Pipe = Max 4,800 GPH
  • 3″ Flex PVC Pipe = Max 10,500 GPH

Putting it All Together

Now that you know your minimum flow rate and head height, you can figure out which size pump is best for your pond using the chart below.

First, find the Application Head Height in the top row. Then follow that marker down the chart to find pumps that match your needed flow rate.

For example: In Step 1, you determined that the AquaSurge line of pumps best matched your needs. In Step 2, you figured out that you need a minimum flow rate of 3,000 GPH and a head height of 10 feet. Following the 10′ marker down the chart below shows that the AquaSurge 4000 or 2000 – 4000 would be best for your pond.

Once you’ve found the perfect pump, all that’s left is to order it for home delivery or pickup at Splash (1298 Toronita St., York, PA).