Pond Fountains: How to Choose a Pond Fountain
Pond fountains can be beautiful additions to ponds, as well as a way to keep the water healthy.
Fountains for Small Ponds
If you have a small, backyard pond for koi fish, most people prefer waterfalls, but pond fountains can add beauty, too, and aerate the water as well, providing much needed oxygen for the fish and for plant and water health.
If your pond is small, remember that you need to make sure the water doesn’t spray outside of the pond, even while windy. You waste water that way but also your pond could face runoff water going back into the pond and contaminating the water with nutrients.
You can buy stationary nozzles that will be attached to you underwater pump, typically via PVC pipe and adapters, or you can buy a small, floating fountain that will float on the water and rise and lower with the water level. If you buy a floating pond fountain, make sure that the float can easily be tethered so it stays in place and does not drift around to the edges. Many floats have screws to attach ropes or holes molded into the floats to tie rope to. If not, then you will need to find another way to attach a rope to the float, perhaps by tying off via the nozzle or finding a way to “Velcro” the line.
Fountain Tech no longer sells floating fountains for koi ponds, but we do sell hundreds of pond fountains each year for large ponds.
What is the Purpose of Your Fountain?
Is Your Focus on Dramatic Displays?
Is your fountain purely for the beauty of a fountain display in your pond? If so, then you don’t need to worry about its aerating capabilities and can concentrate on the display design you like most. Remember always to keep in mind the size of your pond. If your pond is large, then a small fountain will be dwarfed by the pond’s overall size. On the other hand, very large displays can spray outside of the pond in windy conditions, thus wasting water and providing opportunities for nasty runoff back into the pond area, bringing in mud and nutrients you don’t want to contaminate your water and create algae blooms.
If you want really tall displays, we recommend choosing a Scott pond fountain, as these fountains can shoot very high into the air.
Balancing Fountain Displays and Aeration
Most people choose a fountain to achieve two goals: beauty of the display and pond aeration. Ponds require aeration to stay healthy. Sometimes enough of this occurs naturally, but typically ponds need extra oxygen to stay healthy and clear. Without enough oxygen your fish will suffer, and with the turnover of seasons you could experience a nasty “fish kill.” Without enough oxygen spread throughout the pond, layers are created in the pond and not enough oxygen mixing occurs for ecological pond balance.
Display (or Decorative) Fountains
Decorative Pond Fountains provide the most intricate and beautiful displays for ponds. Typically, a display fountain kit will include multiple nozzles, so that you can change them easily at will. Some fountain kits only provide one display, though you can usually buy additional nozzles if desired. As stated above, Scott pond fountains provide the tallest displays, achieving up to 80’ in height. Kasco pond fountains don’t provide as much height, but they provide more aeration than a Scott decorative fountain. We also sell our own discount-line brand of Fountain Tech pond fountains, which provide nice displays for entry level fountains and also provide a great deal of aeration, though not as much as Kasco pond fountains.
The pumps for decorative pond fountains have one thing in common; they use impellers instead of propellers. The impellers provide more height, and a nozzle is connected to the plumbing of the pump.
Aerating Pond Fountains
Aerating pond fountains place an equal balance on fountain display and aeration. They use propellers instead of impellers and do not use nozzles. Rather, the propeller creates a “V” pattern. This is a popular, classic fountain pattern and provides more aeration than a decorative fountain nozzle, which by its very nature will restrict water flow, thus decreasing aeration. If you want your fountain to do a great deal of aeration as well as display, an aerating fountain is usually your best choice.
What is your Pond Size?
To determine how large of a pond fountain you will need to properly aerate your pond, you will first need to calculate pond size. For all types of floating fountains you only need two measurements, length x width. If your pond is 150’ x 100’ (all measurements need only be approximate), then your pond is 15,000 square feet.
An acre = 43,560 feet.
So if you divide 15,000 by 43,560 you will find your pond is .34 acres large, approximately one-third of an acre. You also can calculate pond size by using our calculator.
Pump Horsepower Recommendations
Once you calculate pond size, Kasco Marine recommends using a 2/1 ratio for decorative fountains and a 1.5/1 ratio for aerating fountains.
Decorative Pond Fountains= 2HP motor for each surface acre of pond
Aerating Pond Fountains= 1 ½ HP motor for each surface acre of pond
However, these recommendations are only for Kasco pond fountains. They are often not appropriate for other brands. For one thing, horsepower ratings vary considerably from brand to brand and are often inaccurate. For another, Kasco designs its nozzles with maximum aeration in mind, and other brands use nozzles with smaller holes to achieve tall fountain displays. The smaller the holes, the less volume of water will flow out of the nozzle, thus decreasing aeration.
Kasco Marine and Fountain Tech both recommend floating pond fountains be removed during cold winter months to protect the pump, nozzle, and float. In contrast, Scott Aerator company allows fountains to be used during freezing conditions.
We at Fountain Tech are happy to help our customers make the best decisions. Feel free to give us a call or send us an email for advice.