Recommendations on pond pumps?


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Hello everyone,

I have been trying to get my water garden going for about 3 years. Maybe it's time for help. I have a problem with submersible pumps going out, all the time. I have two out this time (of course, at the same time!). I've checked the electrical and know that it's good. One pump is a CalPump Mag-Drive and the other is a Fishmate 2000; both are submersible pumps. The CalPump has lasted about 2 years, while the Fishmate only lasted about a year and a half. Is this normal? Has anyone experienced these types of problems? I've read online that a good pump should last about 5 years. Does anyone have any recommendations on which pumps will actually last as advertised and where I can get them? I'm not opposed to getting an external pump, but I haven't dealt with these yet.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 
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Ive heard great things about harbor freights. Dirt cheap and people have had them last years. Im picking one up tomorrow so Ill let you know if it works as advertised. There typically on sale for 30 bucks but at this time of year you can pick up the 1268 gph model for 15 bucks.
 

mrsclem

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WElcome Abollmeyer-
Are you pulling your pumps out in the winter? We pull ours every year to keep them from freezing and every spring we would lose as least one. Then started reading here and saw that pumps should be kept in water at all times. The pumps we had never had that info in the books. Pumps now in buckets in the basement.
 
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Thanks for the quick replies! Clemsonguy, I will check out Harbor Freight. We have one a few miles down the road. Mrsclem, I've always kept the pumps in the water running. This is the first year I planned on pulling them out, mostly because last year the (above-ground) filters froze and busted the plastic. I work offshore on an oil rig, so my wife has to take care of that stuff while I'm gone. She saw a leak and turned off the pumps, allowing the filters to freeze.
 

DrCase

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Welcome to the forum
My best pump lives have been laguna & cyprio
 

koiguy1969

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Ive got a tetrapond pump ...1200.gph with 7 or 8 years trouble free !!! 2 other tetraponds with 3 years trouble free
 
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if you consider an external pump, you need to balance your pond design with the pump in question. these start out at around 2800 gallons per hour in volume, so unless you have around a 2000 gallon pond, they tend to be too powerful. that said, you can place a ball valve downstream of the pump to control volume based on your pond size, and this technique will not harm the pump. the pump will also use less electricity if it is valved down. externals cost around $400 now equipped with a strainer pot, one way check valve, and low water shut off switch, so you are probably talking significantly more money than harbor freight. i can't believe the price increase over two years ago when we spent about $280 for our first external sequence pump. but then again, there is no inflation. just listen to the national news. with that in mind, you can plan on an external lasting 10 t0 20 years.
 

addy1

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I like the external pumps, only thing I have used in the my ponds, but a lot of people do well with the submersibles.
 
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clemsonguy1125 said:
A little off topic but since it was mentioned, when there are temperatures below freezing should the pump be removed. I was planning on keeping mine in to stop my shallow pond from freezing.
Heres the pump I mentioned.
http://www.harborfreight.com/1268-gph-submersible-fountain-pump-47137.html
good plan. we are in charlotte and our pump runs year around. if your pond is more than 18 inches deep, depending on where you are in NC, you should have no problem with a continously running pump. it will actually prevent the surface from freezing over and prevent exposed pipes from bursting.
 
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jethro13

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I have to agree with j.w.. I have ran a Pondmaster 5000 submersible for 5 years now. I take it in for the winter which means it runs 24/7 about 7-8 mos a year. It comes with a 3 year warranty and runs on 475 watts, I would buy one again in a heartbeat.
 

j.w

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Jethro, I just take mine out of my filter container and then lower the pump down to the bottom of the pond where it will never freeze and it's been good that way for years during the winters
 
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Thanks, Actually my pond exactly 18 inches deep. Wold you reccomend placing it at the bottom or top. Im working in a system to circulate only the top water.
 

DrDave

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I always circulate the bottom to keep the solids in solution so the filter will pick them up.
 
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clemsonguy1125 said:
Thanks, Actually my pond exactly 18 inches deep. Wold you reccomend placing it at the bottom or top. Im working in a system to circulate only the top water.
since we don't feed and add nutrients to the pond below 50 degrees, the issue of dissolved organics should not be a problem. because a nitrogen cycle process is inactive in the winter, sleeping bacteria, no waste material, and no ammonia build up, the water column should be homogeneous top to bottom chemically with only a temperature variance. if you had a 3 to 6 foot deep pond, the temperature gradient could be as much as 3 degrees with warmer water at the bottom. the bottom water gets heated by the surrounding earth and rock which is a giant heat sink, and of course 38 degree water is the most dense and sinks to the bottom. koi do better with water at 35 degrees or higher, so we circulate top water only, shutting down the bottom drains almost entirely,with the skimmer as the primary intake. with an 18 inch deep pond, i'd still circulate top water only to keep the bottom fairly undisturbed and retaining as much heat as possible. now we have an airstone in ours to create a small vertical stir and ensure plenty of dissolved oxygen down low. that air column is turned down to its minimum, and we look for koi behavior like surfacing and piping as our measure of good oxygenation down low. we never see them at the top in the winter, and our pond is 39 inches deep at the lowest point.
 
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Are you saying that you have stratification in 39" of water with an airstone running? You would be surprised at just how much current an airstone creates.You will probably find no measurable difference in the temperature from top to bottom. If you have a lot of decaying material on the bottom of the pond, you could make the bottom temps a little higher,but that's not good. It takes fairly deep water for any stratification to occur.

Then why does the surface freeze first? It is exposed to the cold air and ice floats.
 

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My pump is not on during the winter when it sits on the bottom of the pond. I just keep it in there cuz it needs to be in water to stay conditioned so it doesn't dry up inside. I have a small air stone that bubbles up and I have two fountains in there that just have a solid flow of water coming up which also helps to keep holes in the ice if we get a cold spell. Where I live we don't have long periods of freezing weather so I never have any problems so far. I have cleaned out the muck on the bottom of the pond and clipped all the old lily pads off and done a partial water change and all is looking good for the long winter. The fish hang out down below where the temps are a bit warmer and don't receive anymore food til Spring and the temps go above 50 or so. This is my plan and it's working for me. Now if I can just keep the Heron away life will be good for the fishes
 
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You can still get the Sequence 4200SEQ12 and the 3600SEQ12 for less than $280.
 
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Pondmaster said:
Are you saying that you have stratification in 39" of water with an airstone running? You would be surprised at just how much current an airstone creates.You will probably find no measurable difference in the temperature from top to bottom. If you have a lot of decaying material on the bottom of the pond, you could make the bottom temps a little higher,but that's not good. It takes fairly deep water for any stratification to occur.

Then why does the surface freeze first? It is exposed to the cold air and ice floats.
i'm getting about one degree fahrenheit top to bottom. one of our ponds in the club is 6 to 8 feet deep and gets more of a differential. remember that the ground around the pond is a giant heating element made of rock and soil with a higher temperature than the surface. that's why local building codes can stop at three feet recommended depths in climates that get to 20 degrees fahrenheit at the surface for weeks, and yet the water under the foundation doesn't freeze and cause frost heaves that damage the construction. the temperature differential can be attributed to radiant heat coming in from the sidewalls.

as for the cost of sequence pumps, we use webbs online and they even have an mdm line being manufactured for them exclusively. the prices don't appear to be that good anymore, and my number includes the pot and switch.

we keep the bubble stream very light so the stir is just enough to oxygenate but not to disturb the bottom.
 

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