Container Pond Journal

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
A few months ago I set up two container ponds on my patio. I live in an apartment, so a regular pond was not an option. I set up both ponds in November of 2008. One pond is an old 55 gallon tank that I had laying around. The other is a 30 gallon rubbermade tub. I wanted my patio to look nice, so I stacked terra cotta cement bricks around the pond to hid the containers. I like the effect that it gives off. I think I may put a few potted plants on the wall.

I had to experiment a little bit with the fish that I was going to stock. I live in San Diego where the weather is very warm for the majority of the year. I wanted to find fish that I could keep outside year round instead of having to bring them inside in the winter. I put my 3 goldfish in the 55 gallon and they did fantastic. I have 2 Ryukins and 1 Oranda. They have thrived in the pond ever since I added them in. The cold winter months didn't seem to bother them at all. My 30 gallon pond was another story. It was too small for a goldfish, so I opted for livebearers. I learned that quickly that even in warm San Diego, livebearers cannot survive the cold outdoor months. I felt bad about the fish dying, but I had heard several sucess stories about keeping livebearers outdoors and didn't think it would be a problem. Now I have the 30 gallon pond stocked with white cloud minnows and a paradise fish. They have all done great for the month that I have had them in there and I hope that they continue to do so.

Both tubs have Java Fern and Anarchis that I planted when I first set up the tubs. I haven't had any problems with these plants. They are very easy to keep, even outdoors. I just stuck the roots into the pea gravel and didn't bother potting them. Two days ago, I added lillies to the pond. My dad has a 300 gallon pond in the front yard and has lots of lillies in that pond. He split the plants and repotted them so that I could add the plantlets that he took off to my pond. I have two in the 55 gallon and one in the 30 gallon. I have them potted with aquatic soil black plastic pots. Already you can see the tiny lily pads growing out of the plant. I can't wait until they mature. They will get gorgeous pink flowers on them.

Anyways, I have posted some pics of what the pond looks like now. Sorry for the bad quality. Its really hard not to get a glare off of the water. I expect since spring is almost hear, I will have a lot of growth and changes to document. I have never kept a pond before so this is an experiment for me
 

Lucy

Offical Spam Kicker
Very cool. Nice option when you don't have room for a regular pond.
Do you have any problems with rainwater or overheating from the sun? Are they filtered?
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
Here are some up close pics of my goldies. They were taken when I had them inside in an aquarium, but at least this way you can see them a little better. The big black calico ryukin is Sumo, the white calico ryukin is Sassy, and the smaller oranda is Munchkin.

Very cool. Nice option when you don't have room for a regular pond.
Do you have any problems with rainwater or overheating from the sun? Are they filtered?

Thanks Lucy

The rainwater just goes into the pond, when it fills the the top, it just spills over and drains off of my patio. I top off the pond as water evaporates, and I add prime every time I do that. So far it has not been hot enough for it to overheat, but on sunny days, the water hasn't gotten hotter than 65 degrees. The pond is in partial sun and partial shade, so I think that helps a bit.
 

Lucy

Offical Spam Kicker
How relazing.
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
Last night my darling husband set the trash out on the patio instead of taking it out to the dumpster because we got home late. Of course trash and food attract animals ops: Many of our neighbors keep outdoor cats even though it is against the rules in our apartment complex. Well, a cat came onto our patio last night, dug through the trash and then pulled up all of the plants in my ponds!!!! At least none of the fish were harmed. I am going to add another level of bricks to the wall to make it harder for cats to reach into the pond.
 

Lucy

Offical Spam Kicker
Oh my goodness, when I first saw your post I was scared to read to the bottom.
I'm glad your fishies are ok, they're just beautiful.
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
Thanks Lucy I saw my plants and was pretty mad, and after I had put them back in, I realized that I had completely forgotten to check and make sure the fishies were okay. They are fine though. I guess they are too fast for a cat, even though they are fat lil goldies
 

capekate

Fishlore VIP
HI Kate,
I love your idea of your patio pond... very nice! Id love to try that myself, but having cats.. the temptation may be too great for them to pass up trying to 'spear' a fish. Glad to hear that your goldies were ok through that ordeal.
Id love to try an outdoor pond as well, but with the winter months here, it would have to be very very deep for the goldies to survive the winter. Which leads me to my next response. As a child visiting my grandparents home, next door to them the family had a real nice outdoor pond with goldies. For the life of me I cannot figure out how those fish survived every winter when the pond froze up. That is when someone told me that it had to be very deep.. that the bottom did not freeze, either way it seems pretty strange that they were able to survive, but I have seen a few other ponds here in the northeast with goldies that survive the winter. They must be some pretty hardy fish!
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
Thanks Kate

Thanks goodness I haven't had any other cat problems since that one night. It stays warm here so the pond doesn't freeze (if anything froze in southern calI I would be shocked). Goldfish are extremely hardy. I have not had a single health problem with these guys since I got them months and months ago. The pond is very low maintinance which I like, and it gives me an excuse to sit on my patio I don't get to spend much time outdoors, but I really appreciate the time that I spend on my patio watching my fishies.
 

MaddieLynn

Well Known
Do you have a filter? I'm really interested in doing this, but a filter for a big rubbermade tub would be expensive! I'm wondering if I could get away with it without a filter.
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
I do not have a filter. Most container ponds do not. Here is the kicker...you have to stock it very densly with plants, stock extremely lightly (1 inch of fish per 5 gallons is usually recommended) and top off the evaporated water daily (make sure you add prime or any other water conditioner). About once a year, a container pond should be cleaned out and restarted to get all of the gunk and dirt out of the bottom.
 

MaddieLynn

Well Known
I'm hoping I'll be able to do this sometime!
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
If you get a chance you should try it. Its a really fun project
 

Butterfly

Fishlore Legend
I love your little container pond ) they are really pretty.
Just about anything can be used, depending on how much space you have and what you have around to use. I've had great ones from big plastic tubs that cattle feed came in. My daughter used a rigid inground pond form on her porch and surrounded it by potted herbs. So just let your imagination go and enjoy
Your so lucky to be able to leave yours out all year long.
Carol
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
Thanks Carol

I remember the pictures of your container ponds from the Plant Geek forum and I hope that mine can look that nice when the plants start to bloom. The rubermaid tub is already starting to bend and warp a little so I may try the stiff pond form or something with a little more sturdiness. This is really an experiment for me and a work in progress. I am glad I can leave it out all year long, but honestly, its not much to look at in the winter. The fish are still fun to watch though. I may add some livebearers this summer. When I tried to add them in the winter they didn't do well, but maybe they will adapt better to the winter if they are introduced to the pond during the warm summer months.
 

Butterfly

Fishlore Legend
Maybe adding the livebearers in the spring and letting them acclimate to the weather as it happens will make them more hardy next winter.
Here is something to make you drool and to encourage you to keep on using your imagination and enjoy your out side pond
carol
 

capekate

Fishlore VIP
Maybe adding the livebearers in the spring and letting them acclimate to the weather as it happens will make them more hardy next winter.
Here is something to make you drool and to encourage you to keep on using your imagination and enjoy your out side pond
carol

oooo that is so very nice Carol! Id love to have something like that myself.. but then would have to worry about where to put the fish during the winter months.. sigh....
Congrats to your daughter, the pond is gorgeous with all those potted plants around it. ;D
 

Butterfly

Fishlore Legend
oooo that is so very nice Carol! Id love to have something like that myself.. but then would have to worry about where to put the fish during the winter months.. sigh....
Congrats to your daughter, the pond is gorgeous with all those potted plants around it. ;D
I think mostly all she put in her pond was mosquito fish(nothing fancy). Just something to eat flying insects and fertilize the water for the plants. She had several lotus bloom in it which was her main focus.
Carol
 

MeGustaUnaPez926

Well Known
That's really a nice pond. I might be worried about the rainwater thing, though. A lot of rain picks up polutants in the air as it falls, which is one of the reasons acid rain is such a problem. If you lived out in the country it wouldn't be a huge deal, but San Diego is pretty busy, if you know what I mean. Maybe I'm overreacting... But we just learned about this in science class
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
Maybe adding the livebearers in the spring and letting them acclimate to the weather as it happens will make them more hardy next winter.
Here is something to make you drool and to encourage you to keep on using your imagination and enjoy your out side pond
carol

That's a good idea Maybe I will add some livebearers next month and see how it goes. Your daughter's pond is to die for!!! I absolutely love it I am gonna need to look into some potted plants for my patio (I have a tendency to kill them though). Do you think the goldies would do okay if a few livebearers shared their pond with them? I know that in regular aquariums they are not compatible due to temperatures, but since they are both going in outdoor ponds would it work? Obviously if they were to breed (which I am pretty sure they would) I would either set up another pond or give the offspring to the LFS.

That's really a nice pond. I might be worried about the rainwater thing, though. A lot of rain picks up polutants in the air as it falls, which is one of the reasons acid rain is such a problem. If you lived out in the country it wouldn't be a huge deal, but San Diego is pretty busy, if you know what I mean. Maybe I'm overreacting... But we just learned about this in science class

Thanks so much You about the acid rain, but I am not overly worried at the moment. I know lots of people, my parents included, that have fish ponds in San Diego. So far we haven't encountered any problems.
 

MeGustaUnaPez926

Well Known
That's cool. If you do start to have issues though that could be something to rule out. Just a thought...
 

Red1313

Fishlore VIP
Hmmm
would that no filter rule work with a regular aquarium?
Would gravel vacing still be allowed?
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
Yes it would. You would just have to be very lightly stocked. Here's a good article:

Natural Aquarium FAQs

I got a couple of potted plants to put around my pond......Columbines and Renunculas (spelling?) Here's a pic:
 

MaddieLynn

Well Known
MissMTS, I have a question about container ponds:

Could I start out with a very small fantail and keep it in a natural container pond around 27 gallons for 6 months without stunting it? I'd want to get a bigger container pond at that point, around 50 gallons or more.
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
Maddi, sorry I didn't see this question earlier. I think a goldfish would be fine alone in a 27 gallon for 6 months, but I would deffinetly upgrade after that.



Here are some new pics of the pond. My dad gave me a preformed pond as a housewarming gift for our new apartment. I haven't added many plants yet, but I am getting some more this weekend. Here is what it looks like so far. Please let me know if you guys have any suggestions!
 

CHoffman

Well Known
WOW..Looks great KATE!!!..How many gallons is it?? I bet your Goldies are loving it!!..They are swimming in style now
 

Lucy

Offical Spam Kicker
It gonna look great! Is the bottom supported?
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
WOW..Looks great KATE!!!..How many gallons is it?? I bet your Goldies are loving it!!..They are swimming in style now

Thanks Cesch It is 50 gallons. My goldies really are loving it. I love that the pond has a shallower ledge so that I can feed them up there where I can see them well.

It gonna look great! Is the bottom supported?

Thanks Lucy The bottom is supported. The shallower end has some bricks stacked underneath it to hold it up. I can't wait to add the rest of the plants and get it finished!

I got some new plants for my pond on Saturday! I got 5 water hyacinths and 3 water lettuce. I also got a marginal plant from my dad's pond that will get pretty white flowers on it, but I am not sure what kind it is. My lillies are also starting to shoot up. I have three pads that have reached the surface, and lots more below the surface. I can't wait until they flower! Once everything fills in, I want to add some of the plants to my rubbermaid tub and try breeding some livebearers in there this summer. Here are some pics
 

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Butterfly

Fishlore Legend
Very pretty! We need pics when it's all blooming too
carol
 

CHoffman

Well Known
It's looking great Kate!!. It's going to be so pretty when all your plants start blooming.
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
Thanks guys I will be sure to get pics when everything starts blooming. I am so impatient, but I know it will be worth the wait.
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
Thanks Alex Its funny, now that I have it set up, I go out on my patio a lot more, lol

Lol, I got some more fishies on my break at work today I am gonna add them to the pond when I get home. I got a red and black oranda goldfish who is such a cutie. I named him Bugs. He is going in the pond with my other goldies. I also got 5 red wag platies. I am going to try them out in the 50 gallon rubbermaid tub in hopes that they will breed in there this summer. I am going to move 2 water hyacinths and one lilly over to the 50 gallon tub. The plants in the pond are looking like they need more light, so taking out a few of the floating plants that block out the light will help them grow faster. I'll post pics later, but I'm excited, so I just thought I would share
 

SWilkins

Well Known
Very pretty ponds...all of them. I really like that idea of a preformed pond on your deck with plants all around with fish. Right now my "ponds" are rubbermaid ponds with plants and mollies. Well I know what I wanna do this weekend....pretty new pond on the back deck.
 

MissMTS

Fishlore VIP
I figured that I should update this thread since its been a while

Not to much has changed. The pond does not get as much sun as I would like on my patio, so the plants are growing slowly but surely. The anacharis is getting little white flowers on it though which is really pretty. I didn't even know that it was a flowering plant until I saw the little blooms on it.

I was sad that I lost my white calico ryukin goldfish Sassy a few days ago. I don't know what went wrong. She looked like she had some irritation on her side. The only thing that I thought it could be was if my paradise fish was nipping at her. I removed him from the pond just in case. All water levels are great though: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5.

I got two baby fantail goldies at petsmart yesterday, and they are doing very well. One is gold with white fins and black freckles, the other is white with orange and black calico markings kind of like Sassy had. I'll try to get some pics later, but they are so darn tiny (only and inch long) they are hard to see underneath all the plants.

My tub pond that I need to get a picture of currently has platy fry in it. They are tiny little things When they get bigger I will leave some in there to breed and move some into my 75 gallon with my other platies.

Very pretty ponds...all of them. I really like that idea of a preformed pond on your deck with plants all around with fish. Right now my "ponds" are rubbermaid ponds with plants and mollies. Well I know what I wanna do this weekend....pretty new pond on the back deck.

Thanks Rubbermaid tubs make great ponds! Mine just has cinderblocks around it to keep the sides from bowing out. They are a great place to keep livebearers too
 

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