I want to circulate water which falls from a tank that 2.5 meters up to the reservoir tank at the ground level. I know there are numerous pumps but I want to use a washing machine drain motor if it is possible because it is cheaper than the other pumps. If I can please guide me - how I can soak water from the reservoir? - is it possible to pump the water to 2-2.5 meters high? - if I can't why?

Thanks in advance for your kind answers.

Edit: The title has aquarium to create right imagination for water pumps but I'll do fodder system like this: enter image description here

I need to raise water from the reservoir to the top of the shelves. I know aquarium motors will be usefull and cheap but I found washing machine motor 3 times cheaper.

  • It looks like a second reservoir at the top would permit using a larger pump with and a float/level switch to turn the pump on and off as the water level went down and up. Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 15:41

3 Answers 3


Pumps function by providing sufficient pressure to overcome what's called the "static head" at a desired rate of flow. Static head is the weight of the water in the height of the pipe as it rises above the source. The higher the elevation, the higher the output head pressure from the pump must be. You can increase the head pressure of a pump a little by restricting flow; think of what happens to a hose when you put your thumb over the end. So the trick is the balance between the two values, but we don't have any way of knowing what the capacity of your washing machine pump will be and it's not likely that is data that the washing machine OEM will publish. All you can do is try it and test it. If it can lift your desired flow of water 2.5m high, then it worked. If you think about it however, a washing machine pump typically would not need to provide more than about 1m of head, so it might be a problem. If it is, you can try using a smaller hose / pipe and see if you can get the head pressure, but the flow rate will go down.

Secondarily, aquarium pumps also are designed to not need lubrication that comes in contact with the water so as to avoid contaminating it for fish. If you don't have fish, you don't need to be concerned about that but if you do, it might be an issue in using a washing machine pump.

  • 5
    In addition, a washing machine pump is probably not rated for continual use, and has a lifetime based on a few hours of usage a week. A pump with an expected lifetime of 10 years in a washing machine might only last half a year in an aquarium. There's a reason aquarium pumps are more expensive than washing machine pumps. Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 22:59
  • Good point on the continuous use issue. I hadn't thought of that.
    – JRaef
    Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 22:24

Washing machine pump can pump this high But! has to have water enter it easily. It wont work with pump above lower bucket. Also, pump will get warm or hot even with 5 minutes use. test this. Where I live the pump often has a high temperature cutoff switch pressed on the side of it to turn pump off to prevent fires.


A washing machine pump is way too large for an aquarium unless you have a 100 + gal. salt tank ( salt needs high circulation).Plus , as noted , the washing machine motor is dry and and aquarium pumps are wet/submerged; unless it is a high circulation ,big ,salt tank, pump (dry). I am very frugal but would not consider using a free washing machine pump. Aquarium pumps are inexpensive on the internet ; I have bought some just because they were a bargain,( probably not a good idea).

  • Washing machine motor is $6.5 but the cheapest aquarium motor is $17.5 and it's head pressure for 1.2 meter. Thanks to you I learnt "frugal" word and I think so am I :)
    – uzay95
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 8:29

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