Solar Pond Pump

khrios(z8 CA)May 16, 2009

I'm building a smallish pond (about 4' x 7') with about a 2 ft waterfall. I'm interested in getting a solar powered pump. Has anyone had success with this? If so, could you share what kind of pump you used? I'm also new to ponds. I dug it out to be about 3 ft at the deapest - will that be enough to keep raccoons from eating the fish? Do I need the pump to run continuously, or will just during the day work? How many gph should I use? How many watts should the pump be, etc. Thanks.

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Tried one from ebay,TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY!Never worked got no help from supplier.Save time money get an ac model.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 7:52AM
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When I was looking for a pond pump last spring, the solar pumps existing then were either too weak or over $300 for even a small pump. Electric pumps made more sense at that time. If you go electric, do get a mag drive-fewer moving parts and less problematic. Do compare power consumption (wattage)-some pumps are much more efficient than others, hence cheaper to use. Pondmaster is one reliable brand; there are others. There are also some that aren't so reliable so search models under consideration for reviews.

My pond is roughly the same size and does well with a 800gph pump. But your waterfall is a little higher so, without doing math, I think a pump around 1000gph would ensure enough flow through your filter and over a narrow (less than 6 in wide) waterfall. There is a formula for minimal pump size based on width and height of waterfall-I don't know it but I'm sure it would pop up in a search.

I'm lucky not to have much of problem, but it seems that depth (3 ft should be sufficient) combined with essentially straight sides reduces predation by herons and raccoons. Shallow "beach" areas and shelves are where predators tend to gain access. But, despite planning, some folks have had to resort to fencing and netting with particularly determined pests.

As for running the pump-you could probably turn off the pump at night if you have a few low fish load-only a few goldfish for your size pond- and most of the pond surface covered by plants (minimizes algal growth.) But if you get an efficient pump, your savings may only be $5 a month. The link below will let you determine costs and possible savings for your area. If electric is high in your area, consider getting a separate pump for the waterfall since you would be able to use a much smaller (cheaper to run) pump for just filtering the pond. Then run the waterfall only when you're there to enjoy it.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to choose pump/operating cost calculator

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 10:26AM
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I love the idea of solar pumps, but on a pond with an ecosystem, they just don't work. If anyone has a consistent and reliable solar I haven't heard of it yet. Wish there was!

Any out of work engineers that want to be millionaires? Design a solar pump that can work around the clock, you'll sell thousands in the first week.

Good Luck.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 1:34PM
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There are solar pump setups that run 24/7, but it is very expensive becuase in a addition to the solar panel and pump you have to have a charge controller, deep cycle battery, temperature sensor, enclosure for everything...etc. I have a large farm pond and I designed a solar aeration system that runs perfectly during the day, but I have not tackled water pumping (it's acutally easier, because pumping water takes less energy than producing and pumping air to the bottom of a pond). I duplicated it and I am selling one on Ebay. The problem with most direct connect solar pond pumps sold on Ebay is that they are cheap pieces of junk, i.e., very low wattage solar panels and cheap pumps that hardly work even under the brightest daylight hours. Solar is an awesom idea, but the up front costs are at least triple if you want any kind of system that will work good and be reliable.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 4:31PM
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There are a number of factors to consider which have not been addressed by the responses here. Comparing a large pond with one the size you are talking about is not a good comparison. The size of your pond/waterfall is not all that large. There are good reliable solar pumps in the $100-$200 range. Going cheap with most things is rarely the way to go and often ends up costing the consumer more in the end. Not addressed in the posts is the extended cost of ac pumps. Most ac plug-into-an-outlet pumps have critical limitations on the length of the wired-in power cord and the distance between the outlet and the electrical device. Exceeding this distance can affect the performance and safety of the device. Having an outlet hardwired close to the site of your pump can be expensive and easily exceed the cost of a decent solar pump. I don't know what part of the country you live in and what the electric rates are but in most parts rates are on the rise. I am aware of someone who installed a pond approximately 10' x 10' and based on the specs of their pump was quoted by their utility a cost of $20 - $30 monthly to run their pump around the clock. In one year that would pay for a $300 solar pump system.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 11:06AM
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Not ready for prime time. There are no solar pumps available that are going to give you real power for moving real water in order for your ecosystem to operate properly. If you want to spend thousands and/or waste a lot of time, you will find someone to sell you a "solution". However, in the end, you will end up switching to an electric pump, simply because it works...

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 2:07PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

My wife took a mini-course, one of those half day things, at the community college. The instructor said the best sources for pumps and batteries might be marine supply houses. People with yachts are supposed to have needs for them.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:09AM
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There is some really useful information here.
Thank you.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:25PM
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steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)

A couple members of our water garden club have been researching this, and presented the first of their findings the other night. They built and tested this system, I have not. Yet.

For a basic daylight-only solar water pump with a maximum 24" rise, head over to Amazon and order
Bilge pump 360-1100 gph, about $20-$40 and
Solar panel, 100 w, 12v, about $240 or bigger if you can afford it.
You'll also need whatever pipes you need to make it fit your pond.

You can add a battery so it will run at night, but you'll also need a switch and some other stuff I didn't write down.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 3:43PM
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Dear Sir/Madam:
We are a manufacturer in China specializing in solar pond/fountain pump kits for water feature, waterfall, fountain and drip irrigation, solar pond air pump kits for pond oxygenation, filters for pond water filtration and associated battery backups.
Compared with mains power, solar power is environmentally friendly, easier to install and has no operating cost, but perhaps even more importantly, it is much safer for kids.
We have exported our products world wide for more than nine years, mostly to Europe, USA and Australia etc. and established a good reputation. Moreover, all of our products are CE and RoHS certified.
If you are interested in our products, we could be your trustworthy supplier.
To know more about our company and our products, please come to our web site at
If you need any help, Please contact Mr. Larry Li at
Thank you very much for your time.

Best Regards,
Larry Li,
Hangzhou Gene Solar Industries Co., Ltd.
T: +86 0571 85020097-801 : F: +86 0571 85020097-806

Here is a link that might be useful: Hangzhou Gene Solar

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:29PM
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Watershaper: You be in luck. I R an ingeneer.

Cereally, I got this. Have designed similar systems in the past, and live in a fully off-grid home with components to my specification.

Anyway, am putting in a pond this very summer. Like you all indicate, nothing but crap is out there in the low-cost range.

I can cobble a COTS system together that has everything 'steiconi' lists, plus the items not listed (voltage regulator, backup storage, filtration system, and custom temperature compensation plus low-voltage cutoff embedded controller). In fact, evidently I will have to do it for our little pond to get something that is not crap and not overkill.

If there is interest in it, I would be happy to sell the 'kits' with a flat $100 markup over my costs (for my design efforts). The components have to be properly sized and matched for power usage...likely steiconi's list is not. My guesstimate is that for a high-quality system, I can put one together in low lot quantities (1-10) of $350 plus my markup for a cost of $450.

As others indicate, the result is not cheap. Note that if it did take off, and the lot quantity size increased to 100-500, one could surely substantially reduce the cost (and profit margin) so that you would be looking at perhaps $300-$350. Not bad, for a serious solar pond pump with filtration.

Want to make it happen? Help motivate me! It is hard to invest a bunch of work in something and then not recoup anything on that effort. True, I will be making a pump system anyway, but there is an extra layer of work to make something to a commercial standard. If I don't see the ROI, I won't do it.

For example, if I see a bunch of responses to this post, then it will suggest a real need to fulfill.


Here is a link that might be useful: Check out my book! (Has contact info too.)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 5:36PM
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reasonable2012 did you put together a solar pump scenario?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 12:57PM
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