Let me preface this with I know nothing about plumbing so what I'm trying to do may not be practical or even possible. So here's to hoping.

I am trying to design an indoor water feature that will function similar to a trickling waterfall and I'm hoping we can figure out what type and size pump I should use and the size of the reservoir required to prevent stressing the pump. Right now everything is just modeled in sketchup so its very easy to change the dimensions if necessary.

I'm looking to pump the water up approximately 3ft and the width of the top of the fall is ~1.5ft. I only want it to trickle so the depth of the water coming out at the top will be negligible (I assume) if a number is required lets just say 1/8th in.

Another concern I have is the noise. Since it will be indoors and the point of the feature is to provide ambient water noise, having a loud pump isn't ideal. Another assumption I'm making is that a submersible pump would be quieter than an inline pump but I freely admin I have no basis for that opinion.

Lastly, regarding the reservoir. I don't have a ton of room to hide a huge tank so I'm hoping I can get away with something like a gallon. The current model has about 5in of height clearance but that can be increased by another 2-3 inches if necessary.

Hopefully all of this information is clear. Please let me know if you have any questions and thanks in advance for any advice.


I have a few indoor water features and not only does this pump work well, but I like the fact it has a flow valve.

Another concern I have is the noise. Since it will be indoors and the point of the feature is to provide ambient water noise, having a loud pump isn't ideal

Believe it or not but the water rate in which it flows is as important if not more so, because in silence, the wrong flow can make way too much noise.

It measures 2"x1.5"x1.5" with a 6' cord and is $13, with free 2 day shipping if you have Amazon Prime.

It can be seen and bought here. https://www.amazon.com/Aquascape-91023-Fountains-Waterfalls-Filters/dp/B002H5EU0W

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  • Thanks for the recommendation and providing the insight about the flow. Though this pump in particular doesn't look like it will work. From the amazon website The Aqua cape Water Pump 70 measures 2 x 1-1/2 x 1-3/4 inches, has a 2-inch maximum head height. I need 2+ feet! However it's good to know that I should look for that information. What it doesn't really show me is how I figure out how big the reservoir needs to be to.
    – am17torres
    Sep 19 '16 at 20:27

Sounds like a fish tank pump will work. I have built a few fountains (8' wide) and the parameters you have do not give you a lot of room to work in that I can tell. Also there are fountain making supply houses out there. If you send them an exported .skp drawing converted to .jpg or .pdf and send it to them, they can or should be able to give you what you need to plumb the fountain along with a schematic of how it will fit into your design. Fountaincraft on the east coast is the company I worked with. Art the owner, may be retired by now, but his sons still have the business.

  • thanks for the info. That's a great idea to reach out to a business and see what options they have for me. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to calculate how many gph I need and if I can find a pump thats quite enough and achieve 2+ feet of head height.
    – am17torres
    Sep 19 '16 at 20:34

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