Landscaping Garden Design Guide: How To Choose The Right Pump For Your 500 Gallon Pond With A Fountain And Waterfall

Garden ponds can beautify and accentuate other landscaping work you plan on doing in your backyard this coming spring. You can fill the garden with fish and turtles, put in rocky slopes with a small babbling brook and waterfalls, and provide a haven for birds to fly and stop for a drink. One of the secrets to making sure the pond water stays healthy is by having the right sized pump to aerate the water, power the fountains, and provide water to your waterfall. Here is how to choose the right sized of pump for your pond.

Water Volume

At a minimum, a pond pump should be able to filter at least half the amount of water in the pond every hour to keep it clean to help keep your fish, turtles, and water plants healthy, and to stop algae from growing and choking the life out of the pond. So, if your pond has 500 gallons in it, then you want a pump that can handle 250 gallons of water per hour.


Fountains not only look beautiful, but they also help to keep your pond healthy, too. When the water shoots up in the air it mixes with oxygen molecules. As the water falls back into the pond, the oxygen molecules fall back into the pond with it to help the fish and other aquatic life breath. The effort of pushing the water into the air means you'll need a stronger pump than one that just circulates the water.

To determine how much more gallons per hour (GPH) you'll have to pump to shoot water into the air, you'll need to decide on how high you want the spray to go. If you want to have a spray that shoots about 6 feet into the air, you'll need a pump that can circulate about an extra 500 gallons per hour to handle the load.


A waterfall will require a stronger pump to push the water up a vertical pipe to the top of the waterfalls before the water can cascade down the rocks you've put into the side of the pond. The amount of water you'll need is determined by the width of the waterfalls and how far up the water has to be pumped to get to the top of the waterfalls. For a waterfall that is 5 feet wide and has a thickness of 2 inches, you'll need a pump that has an additional flow rate of 505 GPH. The thickness of the water is the depth of the volume of water going over the waterfalls.

Altogether, a 500 gallon pond with fountains and a strong waterfall would need at least a 1205 GPH pump to operate the system effectively. Contact a landscape design specialist for more information.