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Why should I use the Sutherland Scapable SandFall instead of a DIY version?


Short Answer


  • Reduces Installation Time by 50%


Long Answer

    1.  First and foremost, IT WORKs. Our system has been heavily tested and works under a wide range of conditions. We offer detailed instructions and an extensive troubleshooting guide on our website.

    There are lots of videos and internet instructions on how to make DIY kits. What they don’t show you is how many times you will need to test and adjust your plumbing and your hardscape to get it to work. When you do get it to work, they frequently have a relatively poor rate of sand flow that is less than completely impressive. Once you finally have it working and then fill your tank for the final time and add fish, the DIY sandfalls will frequently either stop working or work even more poorly over time. And then what, rip your completed tank apart to start over.  I know this from experience, because that is how I got started.

    2.  Reduce Installation Time by 50% - The effort to create a DIY waterfall can be split into two roughly equal parts; getting the plumbing to work and incorporating it into your hardscape properly.  The total time to do it correctly, is not 4 or 6 hours, my experience is that it will take more like 20,40, or even 80 hours or more of effort.  Just listen to the frustration of many of the you tubers who have done it. 

  Getting the plumbing to work can be hit or miss.  You might get lucky and get it to work on the first try or two or you might try and try and try and never get it to work to your satisfaction.  (I have still never been able to get a waterfall driven by an air pump to work, although the you tube video looked really easy.  After successive tries with more and more powerful pumps, I concluded that my sand was probably is too heavy and gave up in favor of the water pump.) 

  Once your plumbing is working and you hardscape your waterfall, you have to test it to see if the sand all flows back into the system.  This is difficult because until you see how fast the sand is propelled from your output nozzle and where it goes you just do not know.  In order to fix it, you frequently have to drain your system to re-attach some rocks and then fill it up again to test it.    You will rarely get this to work with less than a couple or cycles of this process and if you really want it to work just right you could easily do this five times or more.  Even a small loss of sand means your waterfall could stop running or slow significantly in just 24 hours or less.

  In addition, remember most DIY versions are made with PVC pipe.  Every time you need to adjust the height of the sandfall to accommodate a change in the hardscape you made to help the sand return to the system, you have to cut another pipe and refit it to the output and your nozzle.  This is why we are using a strong flexible tubing that does not kink.  It gives you the flexibility for small changes without have to re plumb everything.  All this will easily save you 50% of your total time.     

   3.  IT CONTINUES TO WORK - I have spoken to a lot of people who made their first DIY waterfall and spent an enormous amount of effort to get it to work and then after even just a few days, but maybe a month or two it slowed significantly or stopped altogether.  Imagine the frustration.  Your tank is completed, the plants and fish are in it and you have to contemplate ripping it apart in order to redo the waterfall.  I know because this is what happened to my first effort as well. 

    Our system includes a number of features not normally found in the DIY versions such as an inlet grate to prevent objects from clogging the system and a removable screen that allows you to siphon out the system if it is ever needed.  In addition, we have tested our system for weeks and months to insure that it will continue to work.

  While we cannot guarantee that you will never have a problem, we also have an extensive trouble shooting guide that we update as we learn more to help you recover quickly and easily. 


    Our goal is for you to be able to set up and aquascape a beautiful underwater SandFall and enjoy it for months and years to come.

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