ButterflyLady29
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Location: central Ohio

Survivors and failures

Now that the weather has broken and spring is here (last usual frost date is only a couple weeks away) I am setting up my little water garden tub. Last year I had water hyacinth, water lettuce, water lilies, duckweed, and 3 little Comet fish. I tried overwintering stuff in a 10 gallon tank in the basement. The duckweed which started as only a couple little strays eventually covered the surface of the tank. The water hyacinth died off pretty quick. The water lettuce was really close to dying, the 3 left have only a few leaves. The water lilies have beautiful small green leaves. And when we took a trip to Hueston Woods I found some sort of stem floating in the lake which I picked up because it looked like one of those wooden snakes. That is now growing roots and leaves.

So I washed out the container and lost part of the sand I had from last year. Put in some new small gravel and set the waterlilies in the "pond". A couple water lettuce and a handful of duckweek came along with the lettuce. And I put the stem in the "pond". It will be a few days before I can add the fish. I would like to get some more of the hyacinth, those are pretty plants.

I still have plans to put the larger pond forms in the ground, it's just a matter of finding the time and energy to do the digging.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Survivors and failures

I'd like to do something like this. I was thinking about a small rain garden pond. A little bigger than yours, though. I asked my neighbor if her raingarden sustained itself during the drought, and she said no, that she had to water it. My more elaborate design idea is a raingarden driveway. It would be fun. But too much work if it doesn't suatain itself. So I'm doing some more research. I think a small sized pond for my tiny shade garden would be nice, similar to yours. Small and easy to maintain works best for me.
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ButterflyLady29
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Location: central Ohio

Re: Survivors and failures

Hubby bought me a solar powered fountain for it a couple days ago. I had one in the pond last year but it wore out, I had it in another set-up for a couple years before that. I want to wrap the pump in some sort of fine netting to keep the fine algae out of the motor but I'm not real sure what to use. Then I'm not sure how I'll fasten the material around the pump so it can be removed and cleaned. Going to have to do some thinking and look through the aquarium section of the store next time I'm out.

In a few more days I should be able to add the fish and the rest of the plants from the aquarium. And I'll need to buy more hyacinths.

Last year when I first set it up I made several mistakes. I should have used the gravel from the start instead of sand and peat moss (ugh, that was a mess!) and trying coir fiber for a plant substrate. This year it's just washed gravel and a little sand. And the fountain should have been going from the first instead of as an afterthought. Also I didn't get the fish until the pond was full of mosquito larvae. I need to have some snails to eat the algae or get an algae eater fish. The problem with the fish is they get so big so fast. And snails are stupidly expensive, around $4 each!

Like everything else around here, it's a work in progress.

ButterflyLady29
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Location: central Ohio

Re: Survivors and failures

I was late in getting the fish back out. We had a few weeks of really low temps for May and several nights where it got close to freezing. When I tried to get the fish out of the tank I found only 1 swimming around. Upon emptying the tank I found the other dead on the bottom. Poor little fishie. So now I have only 1 lonely fish out in the "pond".

I used a largeish rock to hold the grassy stem thing down on a hump of sand and gravel. Found out that most likely it is some sort of vigorous reed. Oh well, it's not going to spread very far in a 15 gallon tub. It's really growing since the days have got warm and sticks up above the water level.

I then bought a Gamecock iris from Lowes. I don't understand why they think that since the package says "full sun" the enclosed clear plastic containers can be set outside in full sun! Most of those poor plants get cooked pretty quick. The ones I looked at all felt very warm inside. Yes, I opened them even though they are glued shut. But I wanted a live plant not some cooked bit of ooze. There was one iris on a lower shelf that had signs of life, good roots and a bit of green in the leaves. Only time will tell but so far it looks like it's alive.

I still want to put in the larger garden ponds. I already have the forms it's just a matter of finding the time to do the digging. A little solar fountain just won't have the desired effect in a 120+ gallon pond. I may have to upgrade to electric. But first I'm going to rest up after digging and pulling weeds from the big garden.

ButterflyLady29
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Location: central Ohio

Re: Survivors and failures

Here it is a year later and although the plants have survived and thrived the poor fish did not. 2 died just after being moved back inside, the third died in December. I had a couple snails that did well in the short time they spent in the pond but I killed them by not letting them acclimate to the indoor water temp. My son bought me 4 more for Christmas and while they did a great job cleaning the algae off the glass they just couldn't survive winter in the basement. I moved the plants out today and found one empty shell so I figure they all died. I don't know what it is about me and aquariums but the only critters I've ever had do well in a tank were the algae eaters which grew to enormous size and the tiny catfish which were released into an area where that breed is commonly found.

Maybe the bait shop will have more tiny catfish or tadpoles this spring. Or some native minnows might be better suited to life in my little pond.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Survivors and failures

Don't you have to get rid of the duckweed? My experience with duckweed (actually what we had turned out to be watermeal, but its similar, just even tinier plants) is that it will rapidly cover the whole surface to the point where it stops oxygen from getting through to all the things beneath.
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ButterflyLady29
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Location: central Ohio

Re: Survivors and failures

It does spread and stop light from getting to the lower growing plants. It doesn't stop oxygen from getting into the water. What happens is that the plants die and drop to the bottom. The decomposing plant matter does consume oxygen. The duckweed wasn't the problem. I had 3 fish and 2 snails in the pond all summer last year. I forgot to acclimate the snails to the aquarium in the fall which killed them. The comets just didn't have room to grow. Their internal organs keep growing but the body doesn't unless they have a large pond. I had hoped to get the big pond set up last summer but that didn't happen. So I'll have to settle for minnows and cold tolerant snails.

Another set-back happened yesterday. My little solar fountain stopped working. The wires broke off the connector. I hope hubby can fix it for me. I hate to buy another when the connectors aren't put together very well.

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