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The little water garden

 
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In this video I learned that goldfish adore mosquito larvae and it makes them healthy



Yesterday I found half an inch of sludge in the bottom of my rain barrel and in the mud were hundreds of mosquito babies.  I poured it in some water to wash off the larvae then fed a scoop to the fish.  

At first, the fish didn't understand.

Then they ate one

Then it was chaos.

Then they asked for more.

I think it's their new favourite food.  

 
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I'm getting some ideas for the future of the water garden.  

This is going to be a great opportunity to create this curated wildlife habitat within the bounds of my vegetable garden.  
 
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r ranson wrote:Also, choosing a black gold fish for a black lining was either a really silly idea because I can't see it or a really great idea to improve his/her/it's chances of survival.  

 

I vote for it being a good idea, though I never would have thought of it (and didn't even know there were black goldfish).  But I could definitely see how it would be protective against bird predators.  Interesting.  
 
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Spent a good part of today going around new and exciting shops - some of which turned out to be wholesale only, others sold factory seconds at less than wholesale prices.

We didn't find anything that spoke to us.  But a lot to consider.

I have to keep reminding myself that the primary goal is to take photographs of water lilies in bloom later this summer.  Everything else is just fun.  
 
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by the way, does anyone know how long whisky barrels have to soak before they will hold water?  
 
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Whisky barrels need to be lined before they can be trusted to hold water safely.
At least, the ones I've seen have needed that.

You can plant in them, terrestrially, from day one, but I don't think they should be used without a pond liner of some sort.
 
Kristine Keeney
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r ranson wrote:I have to keep reminding myself that the primary goal is to take photographs of water lilies in bloom later this summer.  Everything else is just fun.  


Your plants, from the picture of them in your "emergency backup pond containers", are gorgeous!
I know they'll look even better once you get them established and growing where they'd prefer to be.

You are absolutely winning at your goal setting! And learning all sots of interesting things on your way to taking pretty pictures of water lilies.
There are times when the ancillary results are more important, or more fun, than the well-trod path. I hope you continue to have fun while your water garden project slowly assumes it's rightful (whatever that means for you) place on your List of Things To Do and your priorities.
 
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My most extreme 'bad'.

I was incorrect. I have done some really fast research, and I will share my results.
Here: How to Make a whiskey barrel pond
 describes how this person, in the UK, made a whisky barrel pond and their steps for doing so.

This one :7 Fun Ways to start a water garden
 mentions a whiskey barrel liner and other potential additions as something that exists but might not be needed.

Spray or paint-on sealer is also mentioned as an option. If you have been soaking your barrel and it's still not holding water, you may need a sealant or liner. Apparently they sell them on Amazon.
It sounds like this is the type of project that can, very quickly, get very complicated.
Good luck with everything!
 
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Kristine Keeney wrote:Whisky barrels need to be lined before they can be trusted to hold water safely.
At least, the ones I've seen have needed that.

You can plant in them, terrestrially, from day one, but I don't think they should be used without a pond liner of some sort.



I wonder.

They hold whisky okay without a lining.

My oak bucket needs soaking for about a week before it holds water,  but it's a lot smaller.

If it's kept wet, it should hold water....in theory.
 
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I think it depends on the whisky barrel.
There are actual whisky barrels that were used for actual whiskey. Those are made out of specific wood and charred on the inside. They also smell like they have held whisky.

There are barrels that are made to look like whisky barrels - they are made out of certain woods and may or may not be charred on the inside.

There are barrels that only vaguely resemble some sort of barrel that might have held something. They may or may not be wood. I have seen these barrels be made out of plastic, concrete, and weird plasticized wood.  

If they were actually whiskey barrels, they might have been watertight before they were cut in half. If you have the good luck to find intact, pre-surgical barrels, then there is no question they should be watertight. Otherwise, it's a question as to what they might have been intended for, or if they are just made to *look* like a barrel half.

I noticed that I alternated between the different spellings of whiskey/whisky. I blame my husband for doing too much research into Irish whisky, and my father for his long fascination of Americanized whiskey.
 
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r ranson wrote:I'm getting some ideas for the future of the water garden.  
This is going to be a great opportunity to create this curated wildlife habitat within the bounds of my vegetable garden.  


Good to hear that you are having fun and getting experience in the setup of your little pond! But remember it will not be a wildlife habitat as long as there are goldfish. It is totally fine to have a goldfish pond but it will not attract the same amount of wildlife as one without fish.
 
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Anita Martin wrote:

r ranson wrote:I'm getting some ideas for the future of the water garden.  
This is going to be a great opportunity to create this curated wildlife habitat within the bounds of my vegetable garden.  


Good to hear that you are having fun and getting experience in the setup of your little pond! But remember it will not be a wildlife habitat as long as there are goldfish. It is totally fine to have a goldfish pond but it will not attract the same amount of wildlife as one without fish.



That's a big reason why this is a water garden and not a wildlife pond.  We have a natural pond that is only mildly managed that wildlife enjoys.  We cut the succession trees like Douglass Fir and any cottonwood that get too big to keep that area at that new-forest stage that attracts the most wildlife in our region.

Like the rest of my vegi garden, the water garden has a lot more human interaction and I'm managing it to be more selective of which wildlife comes to live there - like weeding the veg patch.  It's curated.    

The goals of a wildlife pond and a water garden are very different.  
 
Anita Martin
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r ranson wrote:

That's a big reason why this is a water garden and not a wildlife pond.  We have a natural pond that is only mildly managed that wildlife enjoys.  We cut the succession trees like Douglass Fir and any cottonwood that get too big to keep that area at that new-forest stage that attracts the most wildlife in our region.  


Yes, I am aware that this thread is called water garden ;-)
I was just puzzled when you wrote wildlife habitat but I see your reasoning with the managed access.

It must be wonderful to have enough space to also have a natural pond!
I have to be content with my tiny man-made ponds and enjoy the wildlife that arrives or uses it to drink water.
 
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Anita Martin wrote:
Yes, I am aware that this thread is called water garden ;-)
I was just puzzled when you wrote wildlife habitat but I see your reasoning with the managed access.
.



I wrote "curated wildlife habitat"

Like how a museum provides curated history.
Content minimized. Click to view
 
r ranson
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Today I watched a honey bee gathering water.  I think it was the same one over and over again.  They usually go to the regular pond, so it was nice to see one in my water garden - and thus near my vegies that are just starting to come into flower now.


you can watch the bee in my secret video update.
 
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r ranson wrote:Today I watched a honey bee gathering water.  I think it was the same one over and over again.  They usually go to the regular pond, so it was nice to see one in my water garden - and thus near my vegies that are just starting to come into flower now.
you can watch the bee in my secret video update.


I guess you will soon see more if the water garden is in a convenient location. One of my little ponds that is nearest to our hives is always buzzing with honey bees, plus paper wasps and European hornet. When they are drinking they are peaceful and only mind their business.
 
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I've almost got a plan.  I've got two stock tanks.  These hold up for about 10 years above ground, longer without abuse like livestock and a mattock to try to get the ice layer off so the sheep can drink in the winter.  Treated kindly underground they should last a lot longer.

The original plan was to connect a 4" pipe between the two underground so the fish could swim back and forth at a whim, but I'm not confident I can do that on a curved surface like these have.  So I think I'll make it into two ponds and just put some goldfish into both.  The wide one will be the still pond with waterlily and the like.  The deep would make a good fountain pond and the deepness would keep it from freezing all the way in winter.  




stock-tanks-or-future-pond-.jpg
stock tanks or future pond?
stock tanks or future pond?
 
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Here we have my interim water garden.  The floating plants are getting a bit enthusiastic but the fish seem to enjoy the different environment.  They also have a lot of room underwater to swim and play with.

I just fed them their main meal of the day, although they've been working hard on the algae, I imagine they want some variety so I gave them a few hundred mosquito babbies and their small pinch of fish flakes.  The fish are shy and quick, but hopefully, you can see them hunting their favourite food.  They'll eat the flakes when they sink to the bottom, so I'm not too bothered when they ignore it like this.  

 
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The original water garden is dismantled.   The neighbour offered to dig the new hole with a digger,  but we already have vines growing on the fence.  And besides,  I find I like digging these small holes by hand.  It gives me a lot more control of the placement.
how permies works
 
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When it is really hot, water evaporates...and critters drink it if there isn't a better water source.  With those nice plants, the aeration and the fish your pond is closer to a clean water source for critters.  With the leaf matter you mentioned earlier, sounds like you have thirsty visitors.

They are probably in the water, too.  Splashing it out to your edge plants that you mentioned are thriving.  I would be if it was super hot.

Seeing the size of your liner, I would dig the pond a little bigger, create a "deep end" and a "beach".  The deep end could help shelter the fish, regulate the temp, keep the critters out of that end and allow for more water in the pond.  I would control where the critters entered (if they have 4 legs and not wings) by the placement of the beach.  

I would setup a trailcam to see who's visiting my pond.  
 
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We put the goldfish in a deep water garden with the water lily.  It got quite cold, but they are still swimming away.  

Some of the plants are showing signs of spring, especially the water irises.  

Still a lot of work to make it a calm space and we want to improve the solar system we set up for the air pump and water fountains.  

But also, I want to make a sign to warn people the water is deeper than it looks.  It's in a fenced area, but not all humans who come to the farm respect that.  Any ideas for a humorous sign?  Cation, sharks?  
 
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This is an old thread but thought it might encourage others who are considering a “pond”. I got a small (9 gal) 27” black plastic, fish safe pond from a big box store (currently $17.50) and am going on four years with it now. I hid the top edge with flat stones and added stones in it to provide ledges for the frogs to sun and to aid any small mammals or insects that might fall in to get out. I put it smack dab in the middle of my vegetable garden. Since installing it it has had resident frogs and sometimes toads which not only eat any mosquitoes but also can be found hunting in the raised beds.
I use a small floating solar floating fountain, but the saving grace for me has been water hyacinths. I buy a few in early spring and in a few weeks have some to share with neighbors. They are very prolific and I dispose of what I don’t need the rest of the summer. They are only 3/$8 as opposed to water Lillie’s at $28 each. They have an amazing root system that filters the water and the water is always crystal clear and has never smelled with them in there.
I provide shade for the frogs with water iris, snow in summer and cosmos. I tried water iris in the water, but found they were happier on the outside of the pond. I also use a small floating solar floating fountain that adds a soothing water sound.
Because it is in the center of the garden it is no trouble to “top it off” as needed as I’m watering my plants.
 
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Great timing for this to reappear. My son built me a small garden pond from a stock tank this winter and we were just talking about what plants and where to get them.

Where do you get the hyacinth?
 
Kristine Keeney
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Joe Hallmark wrote:Great timing for this to reappear. My son built me a small garden pond from a stock tank this winter and we were just talking about what plants and where to get them.

Where do you get the hyacinth?


Water hyacinth is considered an invasive water plant in Texas. Great moves are being made to "repurpose" water hyacinth in Texas waters to ANYTHING that isn't a living plant. It's endemic here, around the Houston area, where you can find it growing in quite a few waterways. It loves our warm seasons, and long growing times, and is great at what it does - floating and making more of itself.

You could probably find it around any large-ish water body. I'm a bit out of the common gossip, but water hyacinth in Texas waterways was considered worse than the Lake Conroe elodea kerfuffle back in the 80s.
Be very careful about asking anyone associated with the state WFSC services. They were doing mass sprayings and water poisonings a couple of decades back to try to control the problem. I think there are a few cottage industries that got started using the water hyacinth as rope or to make attractive furnishings and stuff. You might try asking around at art festivals to see if someone near you has more recent news.

Here's a link: TAMU identification of water hyacinth
Here's an interesting and more recent story : Creative use of natural fibers as feminine hygiene
The implication I got was that it's everywhere along the coast, so you could probably easily collect a bucketful if you took a weekend trip to San Marcos. They have a great downtown "historic" area, too. It's a fun place and a college town so there's always something that might be interesting going on.

Best of luck looking for plants for your water garden!
 
Joe Hallmark
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Thank you for the heads up. After just a tiny bit of research it is apparently massively invasive all over the place. Not worth the risk for me. The last thing I need is a bird carrying it down to my real pond. I will look for something else.
 
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wow, is it spring already?

Year Two

I think the goldfish survived.  We just tossed them in the deepest watergarden (about 5 foot deep) and they were okay after the cold snap around New Years.  It's also the only watergarden where the mosquito larvae aren't.  So I stick more larvae in there and it disappears in a few hours.

Right now everything is growing algae which I plan to scoop out and put in the compost bin.  But also, I'm wondering if the water hyacinth are coming back, so I don't want to take the algae out too soon as they seem embedded in it.

The water iris and water lilly are also coming back.

There's a lot more warming up to happen before I can do work on the water gardens.  But it looks like the patches held and there's no water loss anymore.



The biggest thing I can do now is to make some signs.  If the light hits the water just right, it looks like it's a few inches deep - not 3-5 feet deep.  If someone falls head first into these, it will be an issue getting them out again.  It is fenced, but strangers don't always respect our fences, so I would like to design some signs that make it extremely clear (and hopefully funny) that the water is deep.


Any ideas?  

I was thinking "caution alligators" but then would I have to get an alligator (or two)?

 
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Those are gorgeous water gardens.

"Danger: Nessie Habitat" Or your local equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster. With a diagram of a plesiosaur mostly underground but sticking it's head up out of the pond.
 
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Caution: Water Gardens are 1/1000 of a mile wide, and 5 feet deep.

Tardis Pond: It's Deeper on the Inside

Or, if most of your guests are gamers you could use one of the warning signs from Portal. I think Valve Software licenses the rights to them


Coyright Valve Software
 
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I'm a fan of Tardis Pond: It's deeper on the inside and the Portal sign.

I'm sorry you have to warn strangers that they shouldn't be getting too close to your pond. That's sad to me, but I'm glad your goldfish (or maybe dragonfly larvae?) are doing such a wonderful job on the mosquitos!

Maybe paint your fence some really bright color? Post a sign about Beware of the Attack Ducks? I know Envenomed Attack Ducks would have me being extra careful!

I'd offer to loan a goose, but I'd like to be friends and that doesn't seem exactly friendly.

I know they make concrete alligator bits that make it look like you have an alligator in your yard/pool. I have found concrete Nessie bits to put in a pond for fun, but haven't looked for them for a while.
Maybe make some artificial critters of your own?
I'll keep thinking. I hope you find a solution that works for you.
 
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totally crazy question - but do goldfish spawn like salmon?

One big one is in the roots of the iris. A smaller one or two comes beside her and shimmy.  Then the big one flops sideways and shimmy.  

I thought they are sick, but maybe it's spring fever?  
 
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Yes, actually. They do. They are open-water egg layers - the male will shimmy and squirt, then the female shimmies and squirts.
It's all very scientific and all - but basically, shimmy and squirt in an area that seems like a good place for fry.
 
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Exciting.

Now to look up how long until more gold fish.

And since they love eating mosquito larvae,  will they gobble up baby goldfish?
 
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Yes. Goldfish will happily eat whatever they can swallow.

The fry will try to hide in vegetation and algae, and will do pretty well at staying hidden until they have a chance to not be eaten.

The eggs will hatch in 48 hours. The fry will spend a week or so hiding before starting to eat the zooplankton and other stuff they can fit in their mouths.

If you miss these fry, there will be more chances. Goldfish will spawn several times over the year, as long as the water temp is around 20C/78F. I don't know how warm your water temp will get.

Where I am, it's advised to separate male and female fish because they can breed themselves out of a home and the frequent floods can wash fry into the bayous.
 
There were millions of the little blood suckers. But thanks to this tiny ad, I wasn't bitten once.
We need your help - Permies server fundraiser
https://permies.com/wiki/260600/Permies-server-fundraiser
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