A pump's job is to recirculate water in your water garden or to power a filter, fountain, stream, or waterfall. Make sure the equipment is a match for the job, or you'll burn out the motor or not have enough power to do the job — again, seek expert advice here. Estimate the pump's capabilities conservatively. That way, your pump can manage the job without being maxed out. Pumps are essential to produce waterfalls, are useful to circulate water and thus oxygenate the water for the fish. If there are no fish or water features, pumps are not needed.

Packages, catalogs, and Web site descriptions can give you performance charts if you want to study them. The basic gist is how many gallons per hour they can handle. Head or lift refers to the various heights above the pump that it can raise water. Just remember that one cubic foot in your pond holds 7.48 gallons of water! Here are two types of pumps for water gardens:

1 Submersible: These sorts of pumps are sunken out of sight in the bottom of a water garden (or raised up a bit on a cinder block or other support while still underwater), quietly keeping the water moving. These pumps are fine for small to medium ponds. Some water gardeners stash them in a mesh laundry basket, which makes hauling them out, when necessary, a bit easier.

1 External: Site this larger, noisier pump close to your pond (hide it from view behind a plant or other barrier). It can power big jobs — large water gardens, a series of ponds, or displays that include a stream or waterfall.

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