Fountain Supplies Tips

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How do I select the right size for my pump?

How To Select The Right Sized Pump

Selecting the most appropriate size pump is essential to having your water feature running properly. You want one that's powerful enough to supply the right amount of water flow to your water feature. However, you don't want to end up with a workhorse pump in a small pond either. To help you figure out what size pump you actually need, we've put together a few guidelines.

  • A pump may have an electrical power rating in amps or watts. However, you need to look at the gallons of water per hour a pump will put out in relation to the height, called the head.
  • You'll need to find out the volume of your water feature to figure out which pump you need. You can do this mathematically or by taking a meter read after you've dug and lined your pit. Take a water meter reading right before you fill your pond or pool. Then fill up your water feature, and take another reading. You should have a figure in cubic feet. Take the amount of water used and multiply it by 7.48 for the volume.
  • Determine the pump size you need by using this rule of thumb: select a pump that can move out half the volume of the water feature in a half an hour's time. For a 200 gallon pond, you'll need a pump that can deliver 100 gallons per hour.
  • Remember that water features with moving streams and waterfalls require more power because the water needs to head uphill and adjust your needs accordingly.

Which types of pipes are appropriate for a water feature?

Providing Pipes For Your Water Feature

To direct water in and out of your water feature, you'll need appropriate pipes to do the job. Pipes are the utilitarian providers of the essential ingredient in any fountain – water. There are several materials that are appropriate for transporting water to and from your water feature. Read on to find out what works.

Clear Vinyl – Clear vinyl is the least obtrusive and also the least expensive option. However, because of its thin, weak exterior, they work best for short runs.

Rigid PVC – These are lightweight and inexpensive pipes. On the plus side, they are corrosion resistant and have strong walls that will not collapse easily. If you choose these, you should stick with schedule 40 PVC fittings.

Black Vinyl – Black vinyl is tougher than its clear counterpart. It also has greater flexibility and can withstand compression well.

Corrugated Black Vinyl – These are the most flexible type of pipes used for garden pools. You can bury them without worrying about the pipe collapsing and they can bend without the problem of kinking.

What kinds of filters are there for fountains?

Filters For Water Features

Not all water features need filters. Some ponds and fountains can function without one if there's a balanced ecosystem that allows the environment to clean mostly on its own. However, some water features do need filters to rid the water of fish waste, decaying organic matter and floating algae. If that's the case, here are some types you can choose from.

Mechanical filter – The mechanical filter uses some type of screen, foam, or mesh to trap debris. They are affordable, but they do clog easily and require weekly cleaning.

Biological filter – The biological filter is similar to a mechanical filter, but it also uses live bacteria to break down substances that pass through the substrate. They don't typically require more than a monthly cleaning for maintenance.

Chemical filter – This type of filter uses a chemical to remove water impurities. A chemical filter is typically used in conjunction with a biological filter.

Veggie Filter – Using a separate pond or tub connected to the main one, a veggie filter uses plants to consume nutrients and reduce algae growth. The veggie filter isn't necessary for water features that already have a lot of existing plant life.

UV Clarifier or Sterilizer – This type of filter is often used in conjunction with a biological filter or mechanical filter. It consists of an enclosed ultraviolet bulb which kills off algae, bacteria, viruses and certain parasites.

When should you use a preformed liner for a water feature?

The Preformed Liner

A preformed liner, also known as a rigid liner, is a molded container, often made of fiberglass or plastic. They create a waterproof environment for your pool, pond, or other water feature. You can expect to pay more for a fiberglass version of the preformed liner than a plastic one. However, fiberglass versions can last much longer – up to 50 years. They come in a variety of depths. Some have shallow areas for plants and deeper zones for fish. A practical application for the preformed liner is in a paved area where you can support the edge. One important rule to keep in mind when installing a preformed liner is that you need to keep it completely level and make sure all areas are supported so that there isn't any problem of collapsing due to water weight.

What types of pumps can I use for a water feature?

The Fountain Pump

Although a still body of water has its own intrinsic beauty, nothing is quite comparable to the sounds and sights of moving water. For any moving body of water in a water feature, you'll need to install a pump. You have two main options for choosing a fountain pump. You can either get a submersible pump or an external pump. A submersible pump will be easier to use, resides directly in the water and tends to be affordable. Submersible pumps are appropriate for most water features, except the largest ones. When selecting a fountain pump, look for magnetic driven pumps rather than direct-driven pumps. Magnetic driven pumps can cost more, but will save you in the long run through energy costs. Installation often takes just a few minutes for anyone wanting to install a fountain pump himself.

How does the flexible liner work?

The Flexible Liner

At one time, creating water features required hiring landscaping professionals and pouring concrete. With the advent of the flexible liner, creating your own water feature has become easier for every homeowner. The flexible liner is a large sheet which can conform to any shape or can be sized accordingly. The flexible liner creates a waterproof barrier over anything from a dug pit in the garden to an area above brick. They may be polyethylene, which is less expensive but difficult to repair. They can be PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is more affordable, but toxic to fish and plants. They can be EPDM (ethylene-propylene-diene-monomer), which is more expensive, but durable and often comes under warranty. They can also be butyl rubber, which is the most expensive and difficult to find, but very durable.

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