Rice and Freshwater Clam Pond

  • #1
Hello! I am planning on buying a large pot (probably about 3 feet high and 18 inches in diameter) and seal the bottom to make a minI rice paddie. I plan to fill the pot halfway with dirt and after topping it with sand, grow rice in the pot. It will be placed somewhere with more than enough sunlight so light isn't an issue. It will be stocked with trapdoor snails and malaysian trumpet snails since they burrow and can turn the dirt. I also want to keep some freshwater clam to keep the water less green and mosquito fish to stop the mosquitoes from breeding there. The idea is that the fish/clam will provide the rice nutrient and rice will clean the water so I won't have to do water changes. I am aiming for a no tech pond. The problem is, I am keeping it in my sun room and I live in Chicago. The winter here is very bitter and I am afraid that the clams and fish will not survive winter. It is in my sun room so it probably will not freeze solid, but will be very cold. The rice will not be growing during winter since it is seasonal, so the water won't be filtered. Is there anyway to keep the inhabitants alive during the winter? Will mosquito fish/clam die in such a cold weather? What is a better alternative?
  • #2
I can't speak on behalf of the mosquito fish and clams as I have never kept them and don't want to provide inaccurate advise but I will say that changing the water would still be a good idea. Fresh water is a good thing for fish and inverts! Also don't clams filter feed? I would think they would need a current for their food source.
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  • #3
That's what I thought too, will placing a water pump or powerhead underwater help? Since the clam will be in a large pot where there'll be lots of sunlight, I expect there to be green water to feed the clam. My question is whether or not the clams and fish will survive through winter. I wanted to get some native species of clam and once they breed, I plan on eating them. Since I wouldn't be able to do water changes when it gets cold and the plants won't be there to clean the water, wouldn't the inhabitants die of nitrate poisoning? How do you pond people do it?
  • #4
Some people setup a tank for them to stay in the house for the winter. It would be like a quarantine tank, but you can use a storage bin instead of a tank. You still need to change the water for the fish and clams. Also I thought clams have a larval stage and could clog up a filter, pump or power head? If you need water circulation you can use a strong air pump. If you plan on getting pond inhabitants you will need to research and find out if they're okay for your pond and what food and care requirements they have. Once you get past your last frost date for the plant zone your in you can take the temperature of the water to see how hot or cold it gets at night and day. I have not had mosquito fish or clams before, so I too cannot give you any advise, but I'm sure someone else who's had experience with those species can! Good luck!
  • #5
Interesting idea - growing your own rice. I just googled it and read several different sites. I'm not sure that it would work with fish though. All of them have pretty much the same basic instructions.

1. A container that will hold water.

2. Approximately 4-6 inches of dirt.

3. Anywhere from 2 - 8 inches of water. Some sites even say that as long as you keep the soil wet, you don't have to have any standing water. They suggest a soaker hose or a misting system going all the time to keep the soil wet.

4. Temperature of 75 degrees or warmer for 3-6 months (depending on the type of rice).

5. Water level slowly drying up as the plants mature. Once the plants are about 5-6 inches tall, add a final level of about 4-6 inches of water. Let this dry up as the plants continue to grow and mature with the intent of having the soil just damp when it is time to harvest.

Those conditions aren't really suitable for fish. I do have mosquito fish, and they need several hours of direct sunlight (for basking purposes). When my pond was under the edge of the porch, out of direct sunlight, they all died off. When my sister tried to keep some in an inside tank, they also all died. I know there are some people who have successfully kept them in inside tanks, but I'm not sure about keeping them in such shallow water.

As for the clams, they would have to be freshwater clams to be in with your rice. What little bit I could find on freshwater clams states that they are not as tasty as their saltwater counterparts.

All that said, growing rice sounds like a fun project. Maybe see if you can set up some type of a hydrponics or aquaponics system with a pump/filter that moves the water through a larger pond area where you can try the clams and fish with the rice planted in a "bog filter" type area where you can control the depth of the water. I would love to see pictures of whatever you decide to do. If I had the room (a swimming pool for instance) I would probably try to set up something like this with a waterfall filter sitting on the edge of the pool to grow the rice (and watercress) in. With tilapia as the fish in the main pond.

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