I have a backyard duck flock and installed a bathtub water feature for them (see picture). I put some large goldfish in there to eat any mosquito larvae. I want to have some plants growing to oxygenate the water for the fish, but first I want to make sure the ducks won't eat whatever I put in there. Anyone know of good water plants that ducks won't eat?
I asked at the local nursery and drew a blank stare from the workers. I even called around to three different places that specialize in water plants, and nobody can tell me.
I just love that little bridge/ramp that you've put in for the ducks
Sadly IME our ducks have eaten every water plant that's ever been in the water. The water lillies survived one season but there's no sign of them this year. Perhaps someone else will come up with a suggestion.
However, I'm wondering about a few other things -
If the ducks are flicking about in the water, won't that be enough to oxygenate the water?
The water will be moving quite a bit with the ducks in it - mosquitoes like still water so they may not lay their eggs in the bath anyway.
Won't the ducks eat any larvae - I reckon ours do as we don't have a mosquito issue here atall.
Will the ducks eat the fish?
We have found that we just have to bail out the tub and refill it ourselves - every few weeks in normal weather, more when it's hotter. a tub, imo, just isn't big enough to support plants when it's a duck playground. we dont have any mosquitoes in ours - though we do in other standing water - it does breed midges though but we're generally plagued by them in summer anyway.
I lived at a place with a large swimming pool. The pump broke so it was just a giant nasty container of nasty. I added thirty some odd gold fish, and like three plants. The gold fish lived for the entire summer and into the fall. I don't if they made it through the winter or not because I ended up moving out.
Last fall, we threw some "feeder" goldfish from Walmart (the only store in town with feeders) into our rain barrels to keep down the mosquito populations. We have 4 barrels that just happen to be in 4 seperate environments as far as conditions: 1 Open top on the south sunny side, 1 open top on the north shadey side, 1 closed top on the south sunny side, 1 closed top on the north shadey side.
The fish in both of the south facing barrels all died the first "hot" day we had of summer. The north facing closed top ones we think died over the winter, presumibly because the limited surface area of the 2*2" bungs icing over, but they still might be hiding in there. It's hard to tell since the barrel in mostly surrounded by brush.
The fish in the north facing open barrel are still all perfectly fine with just rain run off from the roof, even through they didn't get any for our 50+ days of summer draught.
My point is, I'm not sure how much I'd worry about the water oxygenation for goldfish to eat mosquitoes.
Long-belated update on this. It turns out the biggest danger to the fish was not lack of oxygen, but hungry raccoons. In less than a month after installing the fish, they had all been eaten by nighttime marauders. I caught one raccoon in the act, so stuffed on giant goldfish it could barely jump the fence!
Thanks for the responses. I really like the idea of a second tub for foliage that's separated by a fence but connected via a tube, with some kind of solar aeration. Brilliant.
I've kept fish since I was a teen along with ponds, have 2 now for about 30 yrs now. The aeration will keep the surface ice from forming in the winter along with a small pond heater and in the summer increase the gas exchange at the surface by rolling the water. Plus that will keep the larva from breathing at the surface since they need still water. Look into aquarium sumps for ideas about having your plants separate. I've had several large tanks set up for years with homemade on-the-back filters with plants doing all the filtering for the tanks. With the ducks, with the amounts of biological debris produced a large hydroponics setup might be needed to clean the water but it could be done.
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