Making a pond without a filter?

xsalomexx
Member
1.) best way to succeed in filterless pond?
2.) what are some of the best and easiest plants?
3.) what substrate?
Details:
I want to start up a little above ground pond. However I want to naturally filter it with plants. I'd have. little air pump for aeration. Any idea as to how this can work? And any pond tips and knowledge you have at all pleeeeease throw at me.

Its 15 gallons, i currently have 15 water lettuce in varying sizes, some tall plant im still finding out what it is, 4 moss balls, and i plan to have a bunch of pothos along the sides. I would like to keep about 12 guppies in it. Possible? if so please describe how and any steps you think id have to take.

I also want to add substrate and soil as i know this will help the plants, filtration, and beneficial bacteria. Any suggestions as to what i should use?

I live in Miami Florida it is always very hot.
 
Donovan Jones
Member
An above ground pond in the heat honestly sounds like a recipe for fish soup. I'd take the temp at several times during the day to see what range u have so we can better help recommend fish.
As far as making it work, your le gonna wanna make an ecosystem. Get some seed shrimp, snails, scuds, any pond critters u can. Heavy planting and many oxygenated like elodea and hornwort will help. Keep it in indirect sunlight so it doesnt get too hot. Water changes are gonna be a must. As far as stock ik ng level, I'd do half what u do in a fish tank with a filter that size just to be safe.
Others may have better ideas but this is my .02
 
  • Thread Starter
xsalomexx
Member
Donovan Jones said:
An above ground pond in the heat honestly sounds like a recipe for fish soup. I'd take the temp at several times during the day to see what range u have so we can better help recommend fish.
As far as making it work, your le gonna wanna make an ecosystem. Get some seed shrimp, snails, scuds, any pond critters u can. Heavy planting and many oxygenated like elodea and hornwort will help. Keep it in indirect sunlight so it doesnt get too hot. Water changes are gonna be a must. As far as stock ik ng level, I'd do half what u do in a fish tank with a filter that size just to be safe.
Others may have better ideas but this is my .02
That sounds amazing. I will get right to it. Thank you so much.
 
Donovan Jones
Member
If you're consistently above 75 you may be able to do a betta
 
  • Thread Starter
xsalomexx
Member
Donovan Jones said:
If you're consistently above 75 you may be able to do a betta
I checked it this afternoon once and it was 82. Think guppies are a possibility?
 
Donovan Jones
Member
That will shorten their lifespan a bit. What about some sort of anabantoid?
 
Wrench
Member
I did the same thing,outdoor 135 gallon...not a pond but acrylic tank...you need to monitor water temp throughout the day.
My water fluctuates 7° , it is around 75° through the night and has reached 82.5° when ambient air temp was 96°.
You need to watch it for a full day basically and see where your getting the most direct sunlight on the tank and try and find a way to shade that spot.
Mine is the left side of the tank so I planted rush a house plant in the tank on that side and I placed water lettuce above the rush and entangled the lettuce roots on the rush plant so they dont float away with my wave maker.
You need snails....that algae is wicked outside and without my snails you wouldnt be able to see in the tank.
You will more than likely have green water after you cycle...algae in the water, I purchased a u.v sterilizer and plan on putting it in my home made media box and running it 3 or 4 hours at night to get rid of the green water effect.
You can keep all types of tropical fish in these temps.
My tank just finished cycling and I out in my bala sharks and plan on putting in my catfish tonight.
 
  • Thread Starter
xsalomexx
Member
Donovan Jones said:
That will shorten their lifespan a bit. What about some sort of anabantoid?
Wrench said:
I did the same thing,outdoor 135 gallon...not a pond but acrylic tank...you need to monitor water temp throughout the day.
My water fluctuates 7° , it is around 75° through the night and has reached 82.5° when ambient air temp was 96°.
You need to watch it for a full day basically and see where your getting the most direct sunlight on the tank and try and find a way to shade that spot.
Mine is the left side of the tank so I planted rush a house plant in the tank on that side and I placed water lettuce above the rush and entangled the lettuce roots on the rush plant so they dont float away with my wave maker.
You need snails....that algae is wicked outside and without my snails you wouldnt be able to see in the tank.
You will more than likely have green water after you cycle...algae in the water, I purchased a u.v sterilizer and plan on putting it in my home made media box and running it 3 or 4 hours at night to get rid of the green water effect.
You can keep all types of tropical fish in these temps.
My tank just finished cycling and I out in my bala sharks and plan on putting in my catfish tonight.
These replies are so helpful thank you guys. I just checked the temp its at 79 right now after doing a water change. i definitely want to get shrimp and snails and maybe even a cory. What are some good things i can put in there to allow as a surface for beneficial bacteria to grow on?
 
Wrench
Member
Hydra crunch.
It's an inert clay media and BB will grow on it.
 
Oriongal
Member
I have outdoor filterless containers, no aeration either. I've had guppies in them, but mostly keep flagfish now because they can overwinter (I'm in NW Florida, panhandle).

The flagfish aren't really ornamental, but at this point those containers aren't either; they're water sources for the community cats, and the flagfish keep the mosquito larva in check.

I don't do any water changes, don't take the leaf-litter out either (at least not until it starts taking up too much space in the container; I have several live oaks nearby that shed leaves twice a year so I do have to pull some out or they'd take over the container completely. )

I'd think that a dozen guppies would probably be too much for a completely natural container of 15 gallons, unless they're Endlers or something. The reason we have external filtration is that it allows more stocking density than nature would support; and the rough 'inch-per-gallon' is based on external filtration levels.

I'd recommend half or less of that to start with. Start with 3-6 and just see how it goes - if after a month your parameters are stable, then you can add a couple more and monitor, and so on. There's no easy 'rule' for natural because you can't really pre-calculate how much ammonia the plants will take up directly, nor do plants all take up the same amounts (needle-leaved plants can take up more than a similarly sized broad-leaved plant, for example.) Parameters will be the guide as to how many fish you can have.

Having the container out of direct sunlight is probably the number one piece of advice I can give, both from a heat and light standpoint. Starting off with barley straw bundles will also help keep green water at bay while your plants get established.

For soil, you can use an aquatic soil like Eco-Complete, or you can use potting soil capped with sand or gravel, or mixed with clay cat litter; but if you want to be able to add fish quickly, I'd recommend the Eco-Complete.

For floating plants I have hornwort and salvinia minima (often called water spangles). Since I'm not really looking into mine to see the fish, I let the plants cover it completely.

For rooted plants I have various things; Amazon swords, bacopa, cabomba mostly. Rooted plants in the substrate is important to keeping it from going stagnant.

A couple of pics of one of mine, it's been going for 2 years continous:


20200616_075513.jpg

20200616_074312.jpg


Difficult to get a shot looking down into it without too much surface reflection, but my hand is in the water, nearer the bottom than the top. You can see a sword plant, leaf litter on the bottom, clear water with some tannins from the leaves. There are 3 half-grown flagfish in this one right now, but it's had guppies in the past.

I'd probably look for emergent/marginal substrate-rooted plants rather than pothos; there are some attractive emergent plants like lobelia (have always wanted to try it myself, but the reason I haven't is below.) Or, if you want the pothos, I'd probably recommend a lower-growing plant like dwarf sag to keep the substrate from going toxic.

The biggest problem I have isn't water clarity, or parameters - it's the #@%$ raccoons. The flagfish don't get caught, they're pretty canny; but the little destruct-O masked vandals seem to take sheer delight in uprooting and wrecking the plants, too.

I've had to replace more rooted plants in these than I have fish, but as said - flagfish are pretty canny and not easily caught, and raccoons are part of their natural environment (a predator they're presumably already hardwired to avoid.) I'm not sure a betta would fare as well.

I'm in a suburban area. Not sure how prevalent they are in south Florida, but if they're anywhere around they'll definitely help themselves to any kind of outdoor water feature.
 

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