Pond Plumbing - PITA

kashka_kat(z4 WI)July 18, 2013

This has been by far the most difficult part of the whole process - fittings/tubes of variable sizes that are not compatible, incomplete info in instructions/books, some things various size connectors that either dont exist or can only be found by long laborious internet searches -or you thiink youve found it but they cant go out to measure it to confirm (Because of such variable sizes I really would like to confirm the dimensions - whats 1 inch in oneplace doesnt necessarily fit 1 inch somehwere else. pond, irrigation, and plumbing fittings are all different..)

Wish there was one complete comprehensive source for pond plumbing items - does such a thing exist?

I bought pond tubing before I discovered that I should have gotten pvc flex tube. Can this safely be run outside of the pond liner? It seems pretty sturdy but.still.... Also what do you call and where would you find something that switches off pumps if water level drops?


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This is a hard thing for lots of people to learn. Best thing is to decide what type of plumbing you will use and then always use the same type. For instance PVC and CPVC are not compatible. Also, schedule 40 and drainage type PVC are not compatible. However, strangely enough schedule 40 PVC and electrical PVC are. Flexible pipe is even worse since lots of places sell metric size pipe but call it by it's "inch" equivalent. However they are NOT equivalent. If you have a metric flex pipe and try to put it onto a inch nipple it won't fit. Even if both are inch measurements you will always have a hard time trying to get the hose onto the nipple. Most people will soak the end of the flex pipe in HOT water to make it slip on more easily. Another thing to keep in mind is some flexible pipe uses inside measurements and some outside.

If you got the corrugated plastic pond pipe (usually it's also smooth on the inside) then I'd be careful using it. My personal experience is that it will develop leaks after a while or even break at a bend. This is true especially if it's not kept out of sunlight.

As far as a comprehensive source for pond plumbing I'm sure you local pond store (not pet store) would be able to provide what you need but it will cost more than if you get it from a big box store which will have most, if not all of what you need unless you have some elaborate setup. My personal preference is to use all PVC (mix of flex and rigid). It requires gluing of the fittings but once done (correctly) you don't have to worry about leaks

Be glad to answer any specific questions you may have as I;m sure many others on the site will as well.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Float switches will cut off a draining pond. They will be found in a hardware or big box store with the sump pumps.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:03PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

You'll want a piggyback float switch. Make sure you get the correct switch for the voltage of your pump. I didn't the first time and it melted at the outlet. WHEEEE!!! lol

The critical thing w/ the float switch is that it's anchored in some way so when the water level drops, it shuts off.

Make sure you measure how long of a tether you need for it. Well, I'm thinking external pump here.... If you are talking about submersibles, ignore all of that. lol

My pond is a mix of flex and rigid. My flex has held up for 9 years now. Knock on wood...or my head...or something...

I feel you pain on the DIY drama. It's a PITA.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 10:58PM
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Hi kashka kat. I use flexible pond tubing in my puddles. I learned early on to snip off a piece & take it with me to the big box store for all the reasons mentioned above. Id/od measurements are not always accurate. I don't have a problem finding fittings provided the shelves are stocked - unfortunately, that's not always the case.

In a pinch, I'll buy a 6" or so section of clear plastic tubing with an id or od sized to *tightly* slip over/inside the pond tubing & add a hose clamp for safety Not ideal and won't work in every situation but my redneck couplings have bailed me out a few times. I now keep a few lengths in dif sizes for emergencies as they only cost a few cents. Came in handy when I needed one just as we were loading the car for vacation. Reminds me, I need to pick up a new fitting...a ponder's fun just never ends.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 11:30AM
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kashka_kat(z4 WI)

Hey thanks all -good info. Specifically - I need to find a way to attach a 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inch tube to a pondmaster pump with a threaded outlet that I currently have a 1" ID tube clamped directly onto. I could either step up from a 1" ID tube to the bigger size - however all the barbed fittings from hardware store are hopeless - way to big. If you try to force them the tube splits. I have to ask WHY pond tube and.or pump manufacturers can't also offer an array of different sized fittings?

Re: pvc pipe, I have one of these exiting a filter - just glued it together and created a mess. Theres purple primer that ran down the inside of the pipe - is this stuff going to leach off and be toxic to my fish?? Is there anything that will dissolve or remove it?

Great idea about the emergency coupling items - I was thinking too I might get some of that 3" drainage tube (cheap) to run tubing through, just where it goes outside of the pond liner. So if it sprang a leak it would run back into the pond.

About flex pvc - how does this attach to pump/filter? Would you use same type of hose clamp or glue?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 12:56PM
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Sahlom - when using barbed fittings, heat the tubing to help slide over the barb. Many barbed fittings are tapered so they can handle a couple of different sizes of tubing

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 7:48PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Hose clamp yes, glue no, not ever.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:07PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Hose clamp yes, glue no, not ever.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:09PM
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kashka_kat(z4 WI)

I think I need to use some right angles to get my tubing to work perhaps run rigid pvc pipe thru a low rock wall about 18 in high) to get to the filter stuff behind the wall, and then clamp the flex tubing onto each end of that. Will one (or two) right angles seriously impede the flow of water? I dont like doing it but I cant think of any other way.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Shalom - flexpvc.com is great - flex by the foot or roll, all kinds of fittings. Best place I've found.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 8:54PM
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Some of the better equiped aquarium stores,not the big box type but the saltwater reef type generally have a good selection of PVC and Flef of all shape and size. For adding corners or 90* to your system try using PVC sweeps for electrical work they create less friction loss and if you are using a smaller pump that can make a big diffence in flow rate.

Here is a link that might be useful: PVC plumbing

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:02AM
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The biggest error I see my customers make is the size of plumbing to their pumps. Putting a 4,000 GPH pump out there with 1" plumbing is wasting money.

A good rule of thumb is always use at least 1" for less than 1,500 GPH.

1.5" for up to 3,500

2" for up to 4,500 GPH

3" for up to 8,000 GPH

Most pond pumps are not designed for high head which is required for undersized plumbing.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 10:11PM
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