Concho's Container Pond: How to assemble your own!
We have just installed a container pond at the garden! We will be finishing up the final touches at today's workday (5-7PM), so come out if you would like to help.
So, what is a container pond and why are they useful?
Container ponds are small ponds usually installed in gardens, parks, or backyards for both aesthetic and practical reasons. If fish are added to the pond, it can be a great way to keep mosquito populations at bay! Otherwise, it is just a fun project with a beautiful outcome.
How do you go about assembling one?
Well, with the help a Pam Penick's similar blog, I am going to go through the steps we took to make one, so you can construct your own!
Step 1: Getting and installing a stock tank
The first thing to do is find a container for your pond. The easiest choice is to get a stock tank, which can be found at almost any feedstore. We got ours from Callahan's General Store in Austin, which has been so helpful in providing materials and information for many of our projects at the garden. There are a few different sizes of these tanks, however, any size will do. Just choose the one that fits best in the area you want to put it; we chose one with a 4 foot diameter. The only specific advice about size is to get one that's at leat 2 feet deep to support the plant and animal life that will be sustaining its equilibrium for you.:)
To install it, it is best to have a really level area of ground to place it on. It is a good idea to strip the ground down to the dirt (uproot grass, remove rocks, etc. . .) and spread out a layer of small pebbles (pea gravel works well) for it to sit on top of. This will allow you to make the land as level as possible so your pond won't sink down on one side in the future.
Step 2: Buying and planting the correct aquatic plants
Now it's time to fill the tank up with water and add the plants! If you fill it up with a hose, it is very important to let the water dechlorinate for a few days before moving on. The best option, if available, is to use rainwater. This does not have the chlorine that tap water has and makes the plants and fishies very happy.
Three different types of plants are important to incorporate into your pond in order for it to be almost completely self-sustaining:
2.marginals-go around the edges of ponds (Marsh Marigold, Arrow Head)
3. deep-water aquatics-sit on the bottom with leaves that emerge out of the water
Having at least one type of each of these will ensure there is plenty of oxygen in the water for the fish as well as preventing excessive algea growth by absorbing nutrients. Fish also use some submerged plants as a food source, so you might have to replace them every once in a while. Deep-water aquatics like lily pads provide partial shade, which keeps the water temperature cooler and blocks sunlight (which algae use for energy).
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center donated all of our plants and the fish to make our container pond possible. They have also been very important to the success and growth of the garden committee!
Plant oxygenators by filling any pot with soil and your plant and setting it at the bottom of your tank. Adding a layer of pea gravel on the top of the soil will keep it from being disrupted by the water and fish. Do the same for all three types of plants, placing marginals on platforms (bricks, cinderblocls, etc.) around the edges of the tank and deep-water aquatics on the bottom. If the leaves do not yet reach the surface of the water, elevate them on smaller platforms until they grow big enough to rest on the bottom of your tank.
Step 3: Don's forget the fish!
Last but not least, the fish! The two best options for container ponds in this neck of the woods are the goldfish and mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis). The Wildflower Ceneter again provided us with gambusia fish, which we just put in this week!
The amount you should put in depends on the size of your pond. The golden rule is that you should have 24 sq. inches of surface water for ever 1 in. of fish!