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Can I get some advice on this setup

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by shovelracer, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Looking for any advice I can get on this. I'll give you a little background on my experience. I am have been a freshwater fish guy my whole life. My current setup is a 50gal Jack Dempsey setup, but have had many over the years. I have built about 5 ponds, 3 with waterfalls all with other companies over the last 15 or so years. I upkeep, maintain, and repair setups for several clients, but leave the important stuff to the pros.

    I am looking for a pondless waterfall setup at my house. It would be my first. I have done a fair amount of research regarding different setup options. I am the type that would rather piece together using better products over buying a generic kit and not using it all. I am not opposed to a kit though if the right one pops up.

    My requirement is that it is more of a trickling flow for some background, rather than a raging river splashing all over. I also would like to build it so that short of a large problem like a liner rip the setup remains undisturbed. IE external pump, etc.

    My initial thoughts are:

    Full liner, no tubs and such
    external pump
    overflow setup
    calculator I found suggested 1500-2000GPM
    Flexible 2" line ???
    collection in basket box ?
    flow appears to come out of ground up top.


    waterfall 1.jpg
  2. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    On your bottom rough drawn schematic, is the middle measurement 25 inches or 25 feet?
    On your pump, I am assuming that you meant GPH instead of GPM.
    Any particular reason for using an external pump?
    You will definitely want to use bioblox in the reservoir. You can shop around for the size and cost that fit your budget.
    Don't know where your property line is, but a meandering stream coming down the hillside through the trees would really look great.
  3. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008


    The property is everything you see. There is a road in the back. We go to it. Its not as much of a hill as it looks. There is a berm surrounding the patio though and as the area is torn up I can shape whatever I need.

    I want to go external so if there are any issues with the pump I can access it easily. It is my finding that pumps do not last more than a few years around here. Perhaps my clients by cheap pumps. All the same I can also make sure it is disconnected before winter.

    Does anything look out of place or out of date. I don't want to install something that was obsolete 5 years ago. Otherwise I am open to any product suggestions or installation techniques.

  4. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,174

    Why use an external pump? A submersible can be easly accessed with just a pump vault and a good stone lid. PM me and I can give you some details on a cheap but nice setup with a couple tricks of the trade. Will you have to order the parts online or doyou have a good supplier close to you?
  5. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Just one other comment. An 1800 - 2000 gph pump will give you about a 1/4" flow depth on your top 32" spillway, but this will be drastically reduced on the 48" lower spillway. I am not sure how this will look. You might want to consider splitting the lower spillway into 2 separate 18" wide spillways.
    Everything else looks spot on based on the info you provided.
  6. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,174

    I would just go a little bigger to keep the flow in check and just add a ball valve so you can have a raging river if desired and than scale it backdown when desired as well.
  7. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Which is my next question. How much can you restrict a pump with a valve before it starts cavatating or burning up?
  8. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,174

    I try to only cut the flow down maybe 25% from the original flow if needed. I like a lot of flow so I rarely even need to cut the flow down. With you having a 3 and 4 ft wide waterfalls you'll want at least a 4000 gph pump. The rule of thumb is 1000 gph for every foot of WF width to give you approximately 1 inch of water flowing over your WF.
  9. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    From my understanding, Restricting the flow on a pump actually increases the life of the pump. There is a smaller volume, hence less weight, of water to push. Submersibles you can ratchet down fairly low; externals, on the other hand, may run into a problem with loss of prime depending on how much you throttle back and height distance from water.

    I know of a 7500 gph submersible that is cut back to about 25% flow and has been running like this for over 6 years, which is pretty good life for any pump.
  10. Pondmeister

    Pondmeister LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Why an external? May I ask what brand of Submersible you use. Let's face it a lot of submersibles are equivalent to boat anchors!

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