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Ponds & Water Features

Nothing adds that extra dimension to your outdoor area like a sparkling, trickling and living water feature. Essential to a perfectly operating water feature is a correctly selected pump and filtration system. Sunshoweronline offer a wide range of pumps, UV filters, non UV filters, solar pumps, pond vacuum cleaners, water treatments, ornaments and more.We offer a wide range of brands including OaseReefePondmate, Pondmax, Pondone, Aquagarden, Clearpond, Aquapro and more

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Ponds & Water Features

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Ponds & Water Features FAQs

Is a pump and filter essential?

Before a hole is dug and you have an idea or the size & type of pond you need. It is feasible to ask your local dealer on the cost of items such as pumps, liners, ponds and filters etc. This will help to save on any cost blowouts once the pond is setup. Ponds without fish stock require the water volume to be turned over a minimum of once every 8 hours, low fish stock require a minimum of once every 4 hours and large fish stock such as Koi, a minimum of once every 2 hours. And to get the correct advice and equipment from the start. For successful fish keeping, a pump and biological filter are essential. A good filter system will give you clear water, aids in keeping fish healthy, aerates and oxygenates water, circulates would be stagnant water and most importantly saves you time. Although many people have said they have never had a pump or filter, they are often cleaning out their entire pond and replacing dead fish on a regular basis. As with most projects, you will forever enjoy something that is setup correctly the first time.

Why isn't the filter on my pump keeping the water clean?

The small sponge filters found on the front of some pumps are only designed to stop particles damaging the moving parts (impellor) of the pump. They are not designed, nor capable of cleaning water.

Are pond pumps noisy?

High quality pumps are silent. Mid range pumps are very quiet but as you go down in price the noisier a pump becomes. Some pumps can be easily heard in a shop display but sometimes the noise can be hidden by surrounding sounds.

Are pond pumps safe?

Yes, pond pumps have been around for many years without problems or safety concerns and we would not be allowed to sell them if they weren't safe. As a safety precaution we always recommend a safety switch be installed on the house.

We also recommend that all water based electrical equipment should be unplugged before water gardeners immerse any part of their body in the water or clean a filter or UV Light.

Are there different types of pond pumps?

Yes, depending on your needs there are several application specific pumps available such as fountain, water feature and filtration pumps.

Can I cut the cord on my pond pump?

For safety and warranty purposes we do not allow you to shorten/cut the cord even if done by an electrician.

Can I hard wire my pump into the power supply?

Yes you can but remember you will always need to remove the pump from the pond for cleaning, repair or replacement so always keep this in mind when installing pumps or any pond equipment. Always make your equipment easy to remove.

Can I repair my pond pump?

If it is a damaged impellor, yes you can purchase another one and replace this but otherwise you would not be able to fix any other problems that may occur and it is best to return it to your place of purchase to be assessed and repaired if possible by our qualified technicians. Attempting repairs yourself will void the warranty.

Can I run my pump outside of the pool?

Some pumps can but we recommend using them as they were designed – submersed in water. This will enable the pump to run at a cooler temperature. Pumps that can be run outside of the pond will need to be situated below the water level and be gravity fed as no pond pump can suck water upwards.

Can I use my pump in chlorinated water?

No, pond pumps cannot be used in chlorine as the chlorine calcifies on the impellor which can cause damage to both the pump and impellor and will void any warranty claim.

Can I use my pump in salt water?

No, as a general rule. The majority of pond pumps on the market cannot be used in salt water as the salt builds up on the impellor which can cause damage to both the pump and impellor and this would not be covered under warranty. You would have to specifically ask for a pump that is rated to be used in salt water.

Do I need an electrician to install my pump?

No, not at all, they are a standard electrical product that needs to be plugged into a weatherproof switch if being used outdoors.

Do I need to clean my pond pump?

Yes, all pond pumps require maintenance and cleaning from time to time depending on the water quality. Pumps with pre filters will require more maintenance as the filters do clog up easily and restrict the performance of the pump.

How do I clean my pump?

For pumps with pre filters you will need to remove the pre filter from the front of the pump, rinse out the filter and also check and clean the impellor inside the pump. For pumps with a cage design you will need to wipe any leaves or build up off the cage and open the cage and check the pump and impellor every now and then.

How do I select a pond pump?

The question is largely dependent on your needs, you must decide whether the pump will be used for filtration, a water feature or to decorate a pond with a fountain. Once you have established the application of the pump you will then need to determine the size of the pump you require.

How many hours a day should I run my pump?

You should always run your pump 24/7 to ensure good water quality and prevent stagnant water which will allow mosquito’s to breed. This is especially important if you have fish in your pond as stopping the circulation will reduce oxygen levels in the pond and may lead to fish kills.

How much do pond pumps cost to run?

Pond pumps have a very low power consumption and therefore cost very little to run. As a general guide for every watt of power they will cost roughly $1 a watt per year to run 24 hours, 7 days a week. Eg. 80 watts = $80 per year in running costs. This is an approximation only and will vary between areas. Please check with your local power authority for confirmation.

I don't want to see the chord coming out of my pond, how can I hide it?

If the cord cannot be concealed using the natural materials around the pond such as rocks and garden beds, you can use products that allow you to pass the cable through the wall of the pond with a water proof seal rather than over the edge.

What does head hight mean?

Head height is the maximum height to which a pump can push water, at this height the pump will only produce a trickle.

What happens if I forget to top up my water feature and my pump runs dry?

This will depend on whether your pump has a thermal safety switch or not. Quality pumps will have a thermal safety switch built in, this is a safety mechanism that will turn the pump off and protect it if it overheats. Pumps without a thermal safety switch will traditionally burn themselves out when they are run dry and overheat, once this occurs you will notice a warping of the pump at which point the pumps will no longer work, are irrepairable and would not be covered under warranty. 

What should I consider when buying a pond pump?

- The application.

- Running costs.

- Submersible or External running.

- Safety of a thermal safety switch.

- Maintenance.

- Quiet/Silent.

- Reliability.

- Extended Warranty.

What is so special about pond pumps?

Pond pumps are designed to run continuously, have lower power consumption than pool or sump pumps, are compact and submersible.

Why can't I use my old swimming pool pump?

We do not recommend it, as most pool pumps are not rated to run continuously, have more moving parts and have very high power consumption therefore very high running costs.

Why do I need a pond pump?

Ponds require water movement to maintain a healthy, well-balanced pond or to create an impressive water feature. Moving water can offer benefits to any type of water feature in the form of recirculation, aeration, and ornamentation. The best way to move water in a pond is by installing a pump. Even if your pond is solely ornamental, a pump will be required to prevent stagnation, inhibit algae growth, inhibit insect pests, and to power a decorative water display. Stagnant water tends to have a distinctive, unpleasant scent, which is generally undesirable for an ornamental pond. Streams, waterfalls, fountains, and spitters all require a pump.

Why do pond pumps vary so much in size?

With price comes quality, the more expensive pumps will have more features and benefits such as thermal safety switches, lower power consumption, silence, reliability and reduced maintenance through the use of cages rather than foam pre filters all backed by a longer warranty period. The cheaper pond pumps are traditionally very basic, have higher power consumption, are less reliable and have a shorter warranty.

Will my pump keep the water clean?

Not on it's own, it will definitely help by turning over and oxygenating the water but at some point you will need the help of filtration or treatments to keep your water clean. The sponge filters that are found on some pumps are not capable of keeping water clean, they are only there to protect the moving impellor from particle damage.

Will the pump harm my fish?

Definitely not, a pump will actually help improve the health of your fish by turning over the water and improving the water quality in your pond. 

Can I make a filter myself?

It is possible to make your own biological filter and we have high quality filter media such as Biomatt for this very purpose. When making your own filter consider the overall cost and extra time it will take to clean. If your time is valuable you’ll be better off buying a filter that’s had all the design work and low maintenance features built in.

Can I use my old swimming pool filter?

No. Swimming pool filters are not suitable for ponds. Pool filters are mechanical filters that are designed to catch small particles in the water. They do not perform biological filtration and are therefore not suitable in ponds. A pond filter will mechanically remove particles in the same way but also remove toxic waste through biological filtration.

Do I leave my filter on if I go away on holiday?
Yes but check to see if it needs a clean before you go. Although if going away for an extended period please ask a friend, relative or pond maintenance specialist to check on the whole pond as well as the filter.
Do I need a filter?

If you want clean healthy water yes! You may know someone that tells you their pond is crystal clear and they don't have a filter but what they're not telling you is that they're regularly emptying and scrubbing their pond. A good working filter means you save water by not having to empty your pond and lets you have a good healthy environment for your fish. You wouldn't let your dog or cat live in their own waste so why do it to your fish?

Do I need power for my filter?

Only if you’re using a filter with a UV light.

Does the amount of fish make a difference to the type of filter I need?

Yes, the amount of fish in your pond will make a big difference to the size and type of filter you require. The more fish you keep the larger the filter you require. Always let your retailer know how many fish you have in your pond when selecting a filter.

How do I clean my filter?

High quality filters let you clean the filter without getting your hands wet but from time to time you'll need to give them a more thorough clean. You'll need to turn off your pump then open your filter and take out the media. The filter media should be cleaned with pond water or rain water only as the chlorine in tap water will kill much of the beneficial bacteria. Never use cleaning agents or bleach because this will kill your bacteria and then your fish when you turn your system back on.

How does a pond filter work?

Biological filtration performs a process known as the nitrogen cycle. In this cycle organic pollutants that enter the pond via fish waste, decomposed plant matter or excess fish food are converted from toxic to non-toxic substances using oxygen and bacteria. If the harmful substances are not broken down by oxygen and bacteria then algae is encourage to grow and fish kills can occur. The process is the same that occurs in aquariums, just on a larger scale.

How does my filter move the water?

It doesn't, you need a pump to do this. A pump moves water and filter cleans it, you need both to get clean water.

How long will my filter pads last?

Every pond is different and this will depend on your individual circumstance, although generally, you should get at least two years out of your filter sponges and replacements are available.

How many hours a day does my filter have to run?

A biological filter must run 24/7 to sustain the bacteria and oxygenate the water. This is why pond pumps with low power consumption are recommended for filtration systems.

How often do I have to clean my filter?

Every pond is different so there is no easy answer to this question. As a general rule you should clean your pump and check your filter when you notice a reduction in water flow on the outlet side of the filter. High quality filtration systems will have inbuilt mechanisms that will tell you when it’s time to clean them.

I want Koi in my pond, does this make a difference to the kind of filter I need?

Yes, Koi are a beautiful fish that can grow to a large size but also produce a lot more waste than other fish species. Koi ponds require high amounts of oxygen and larger filtration systems.

If I have a UV light do I need a filter?

Yes, a UV light does not perform any biological filtration and will not stop the build up of toxic substances in the way a biological filter will. The filter will also catch the dead algae that would otherwise turn into sludge at the bottom of the pond.

Is the bacteria in my filter harmful?

Not at all, it is a natural bacteria that occurs in all natural water systems.

The box in the shops says the filter will do a large pond but the filter itself is small, is that right?

Most filtration systems that are available in Australia & New Zealand are manufactured in Europe and the recommendations on the packaging are for European conditions. We have different environmental conditions and therefore most ratings found on filtration packaging will not hold true in our climate.

What is a skimmer filter?

A skimmer is designed to catch leaves before they fall to the pond floor where they break down and form an organic sludge that feeds algae. Skimmers can be attached to the suction side of a solids handling pump or be built in to the side wall of the pond during construction.

What is an internal filter?

An internal filter sits inside the pond underwater. They are usually attached to the suction side of the pump and are not as efficient as other styles of filtration as they are relatively small and have low oxygen availability for bacteria. Internal filters are used in small ponds up to around 1000 litres.

What should I consider when buying a filter?

Where you can locate it; How often do you want to clean it; How easy it is to clean; The amount and type of fish you have; The size of your pond; Will it do what it claims on the box.

What type of filter do I need for my pond?

Pond filters are known as biological filters as they purify water through a biological process driven by bacteria. Biological filters convert toxic substances that pollute the water, feed algae and can harm your fish, into non-toxic substances through a natural process known as the nitrogen cycle. There are many types of biological filters but all need to be sized according to the size of your pond and the type and amount of fish you wish to keep.

What type of filtration is best?

It depends on your individual situation and the size of the pond.

When should I think about a pond filter?

When you're planning your pond. If you think filtration when you're planning and constructing your pond you’ll have more choices available to you. We see many cases where customers need a certain type of filter but can't use it because they’ve already built their pond and there's nowhere for it to go. Even if you don't buy your filter right away at least plan for it in your construction so you can install one when required.

I've got long stringy algae in my pond, what can I do?

You must expect a small amount of algae in a pond because it’s a natural system but if you experience problems caused by excessive string algae or blanket weed then you should consider reducing the amount of feed and ensuring you have a good biological filter that operates 24hrs a day to help remove excess nutrients from the pond. String algae prefers water with high pH so testing your water and reducing your pH will also help.

I've got a UV but my pond is turning green, why?

Your bulb could have blown, it could be dirty or it could need replacing. Check to see that it’s clean and working, make sure it’s not more than 12 months old and keep it on 24/7. If you’re still having problems see your retailer for further advice.

Does the hose affect the pump?

Yes, the larger the hose you use the more flow you will allow the pump to produce, the smaller the hose the more friction loss or restriction you place on the pump and the less water you will produce.

What is a pressurised filter?

A pressurised filter sits outside of the pond and is fed water by a pump where it enters the filter and flows through the filter media under pressure so can therefore be positioned above or below the pond. Pressure filters must never be run with swimming pool or irrigation 'sump pumps' as these pump pressures are too high and will cause the filters to burst. Pressurised filters are suitable for ponds with fish up to around 7000 litres or 15000 without

Why does my filter smell when I open the lid?

It smells because the bacteria is doing its job. A good working filter will produce nitrogen gas as one of its by-products which means it’s working well. 

Do I need an electrician to install my UV light?

No, they plug into a normal weatherproof power point.

Do I need to change the UV bulb?

Yes, most UV bulbs have an operating life of around 12 months so you should change them each year. The bulbs will still be shining after this time but they will have no UV effectively and will therefore not be controlling algae.

How do I know the UV light is working?

Depending on the model, there will be an indicator window or clear hose tail through which you can see the light.

How many hours a day should I run my UV light?

24/7. It should not be turned off as it will give the algae a chance to multiply.

I've got a UV but my pond is turning green, why?

Your bulb could have blown, it could be dirty or it could need replacing. Check to see that it’s clean and working, make sure it’s not more than 12 months old and keep it on 24/7. If you’re still having problems see your retailer for further advice.

My bulb has blown, can I get a replacement under warranty?

No, light bulbs are not covered under warranty due to factors outside of the manufacturers control such as power surges and lightening strikes. 

What is a UV light?

An Ultra Violet light (UV) is a light that emits ultra violet rays. They are used in ponds to control algae that turn water green. The algae that turns water green is microscopic and as it passes over the UV light it is killed and trapped in the filter.

Why should I be wary of cheap UV lights?

Cheap UV lights can have inferior bulbs with life cycles of 6 months or less. Some have even been made using non-UV stable plastics!

Will a UV light kill all the bacteria in my pond?

A UV light will kill all of the free floating algae in your pond that turns the water green but will not control algae on rocks or the sides of ponds as these are more highly evolved plant life and cannot be passed over the UV because they are not free floating.

What is a gravity filter?

A gravity filter sits outside of the pond and is fed water by a pump where it enters the filter and flows through the filter media under gravity and returns to the pond. These filters must be positioned slightly higher than water level to enable its return under gravity. Gravity filters are the most efficient and effective because they have a larger amount of filter media and higher oxygen availability for bacteria than other styles. Gravity filters are suitable for all size ponds

Why does my filter smell when I open the lid?

It smells because the bacteria is doing its job. A good working filter will produce nitrogen gas as one of its by-products which means it’s working well. 

Are there any non-chemical water treatments available?

Yes, some treatments use chemicals but some use natural products such as bacteria and enzymes.

Are water treatments safe for fish and plants?

All of our water treatments are safe for fish and plants when used as per the instructions. The only exceptions are products designed specifically for water features and therefore use a formulation that is not suitable for fish or plants.

Do I need treatments if I have a filter system?

Filtration systems are designed to reduce the amount of pollutants from a pond and starve algae of its food source. The first step is to make sure you’ve got a filtration system that is capable of filtering the size of your pond and the amount of fish you have in it (further information on filtration can be found in the filtration section of the FAQ’s). If you have a well balanced pond with a good working filter then it’s unlikely that you’ll be a regular user of water treatments but you may need some from time to time. 

How do I know if I need water treatments?

If you’re experiencing problems with excess algae, poor plant growth or fish health problems then you should start looking at the reasons why. Testing the water is a good start as this can determine if the pond is out of balance. Testing the water before you use a water treatment is also a good idea because many of them won’t work as well if the pond has unfavorable water conditions. Testing the water will help identify problems that water treatments can fix or if you need to consider other alternatives such as filtration. 

How do I know which treatment to use?

You can start by looking through the product descriptions on our website or by reading the packaging in the shops. Some water treatments are easy to work out because they target a specific problem.

how do I use pond treatments?

In most cases the best method is to take a bucket of your pond water, mix in the correct amount of liquid or powder and distribute throughout the pond. Some treatments differ from this procedure so please follow the instructions.

What types of water treatments are there?

There are treatments for a range of problems including; -killing floating algae that turns water green -preventing algae -balancing and stabilizing the pond’s water chemistry -reducing sludge -increasing oxygen levels -altering important water chemistry conditions like pH and hardness -improving biological filters with beneficial bacteria -removing algae from water features -removing chlorine from tap water -improving the hardness of rain (tank) water -clearing cloudy water -removing ammonia from the water There are water treatments available to help with most pond problems.

When should I use a water treatment?

When you need to. Although water treatments are safe to use it’s not a good idea to use them when you don’t have to. For example, it’s unlikely that you’d need to use an algaecide over the winter months because algae naturally die off over this time of year so why load you system with unnecessary products? Depending on your pond, you may need to use balancing products all year round as these products provide stability and maintain the general health of your pond.

Will water treatments fix my problems?

While water treatments are effective, the need to use them usually identifies underlying problems with your pond such as excess nutrients from runoff, organic pollution, too many fish or over feeding. If you’re using water treatments all the time you should look at the reasons why to work out better long term options. In many cases the cost of purchasing a filtration system is soon recovered by the savings on water treatments.

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