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Frequently Used Pond Vocabulary

Frequently Used Pond Vocabulary

We want all of our customers to fully understand what they're buying when it comes time to make a pond purchase. Below is a list of frequently used pond vocabulary so you too can talk like the techs!


GPH: Gallons Per Hour refers to the flow rate based on how many US gallons can flow within one hours time. Most pumps will list a GPH based on no restrictions to the pump. Meaning once the pump is connected to hose or tubing the flow will be restricted, the smaller the hose the less flow it can push through. Other factors will include how long the hose will run and also the head height or the vertical distance the pump is needing to climb straight up. This is very important to choosing the correct pond equipment as most pumps slow way down when asked to push water vertically.


Head Height: The vertical distance the pump is needing to climb straight up. Generally if a pump is sitting on the bottom of a 4’ deep pond and needs to go up to the top of a waterfall that is 16’ above the top of the pond the head height would be 20’. This number does not take into consideration that the stream  at the top of the hill may be 50’ away from the pond. This is very important to choosing the correct pond equipment as most pumps slow way down when asked to push water a long distance horizontally and vertically.


Magnetically Driven Pumps: Are often a good choice because they are energy efficient, compact and durable – but they are not very good at lifting water higher than 5 or 6 feet. The concept is that a charge created by an electric motor makes an actual magnet spin, allowing the impeller to turn in a different direction each time the pump is started.  


Hybrid Pumps AKA Asynchronous : By utilizing magnetic technology with a cupped impeller these pumps deliver large volumes of water efficiently at low, medium, and semi-high head heights. They are a cost effective solution to direct drive pumps.


Direct Drive or Motor Driven Pumps: A drive shaft attached to an electric motor turns the impeller in one direction only. They are able to lift water to higher elevations and pump very large volumes, but their energy efficiency tends to be lower.


Recommended Flow Rate: This term is used in a lot of different pond products and is usually displayed in GPH. In order for a product to work correctly and without damaging and voiding the warranty of an item you want to make sure you are not pumping too much water flow through it.  Filters weather pressurized or gravity can only handle so much water volume before they overflow or burst. Skimmer filters may not work at all if they do not have enough water flow but may run a pump dry if they are sending more water out of the skimmer box that can naturally flow back in. When using a UV light the water flow should be as slow as possible to allow for the water to sit in front of the light as long as possible.


Backwashable: A backwashable filter allows you to easily clean out the filter without needing to open or take the filter appart. Usually when you turn a dial on the filter it uses the pumps water flow to push water through the filter and discharges it away from the pond. Some of the backwashable filters have ways to better circulate the dirty water in the filter while rinsing which helps remove all dirty water from the filter.


UV Sterilizer / Clarifier: Ultra Violet lighting is used in a lot of industries to sterilize or kill bacteria or germs including the air in hospitals. When used on a pond they also have a unique ability to help remove single cell algae, also known as “green pea soup”. Algae is actually attracted to the uv light and then it clumps together making the once microscopic particles now large enough to be trapped in your filter system. On large enough systems it also has the ability to kill dangerous parasites that could harm your fish. It is very important that the water flow rate is slowed way down inside a UV unit to allow for the water to stay in front of the light as long as possible.


Gravity Filters: A gravity filter needs to be above the water level of a pond unlike a pressurized filter which can be below pond level. If a gravity filter is below pond level it would instantly overflow. Gravity filters often require less work in cleaning and maintenance and usually would include filter pads and a biological media like lava rock.


Pressurized Filters: Filters that are in a round canister that can be used anywhere outside of the pond weather above or below water level. These make for great filters if you want to easily conceal their appearance. They come in lots of sizes but may require more maintenance than a gravity style filter. Some of them come with a backwash feature that will help tremendously with the cleaning process.