Unfiltered Tub pond - Page 4 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #31 of 88 Old 04-30-2010, 04:07 PM
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bump XD

29 gallon-
- 2.3.0 Kribensis
- 1.0.0 CAE
- 1.2.0 Swordtails
- 1.1.0 Dwarf Gourami
- 2.6.0 Black Phantom Tetra

10 gallon-
- 1.0.0 Beta
- 1.1.4 Peppered Cories
- 6.12.10 Guppies
- 1.3.0 Amano Shrimp
- 2.0.0 Zebra Snails
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post #32 of 88 Old 05-05-2010, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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My mollies did well in this outdoor pond and multiplied too much so I had to bring the 30+ of them indoors and squeeze them into my 10GAL - Not the most ideal of enclosures for this many fish.

I was thinking of testing this setup on my bettas to see if they will spawn or not. I have a big bucket of water with a live water plant. Just want to test it on more fish suited to warmer water.

I'm going to transfer my angelfish along with my tiger barbs into this setup and see if they live out in much cooler water. This will make room for my cichlids I plan to put in my 25L tank.

If they live it will be awesome and if they don't ...well...I hope they do make it. I plan to remove them if I notice them behaving oddly.

Keep this thread going!!


These are the UPS and DOWNS of an UNFILTERED TUB POND


- Encourages breeding/spawning
- Low maintenance
- Low cost
- Saves space
- Saturates color pigment in fish
- Grows plants faster (Balanced CO2 / O2 levels)
- Free food for fish if placed under a tree (Insects fall in)
- Ideal for Live bearers
- Green water - Fry food
- Automatic water changes (rainfall)


- Water temperature fluctuates
- Water goes green and gets hard to clean
- Higher level of surface debris
- Fish waste stays in the tub
- You can't see the fish once the water is green


4 X F1 Copadichromis Mloto
2 X Platinum Polypterus
2 X Apistogramma Cacatuoides (Orange Flash)
2 X Apistogramma Cacatuoides (Sunburst)
5 X Ghost X-Ray Tetras
1 X Custom Strain Guppy

Last edited by TankMAster; 05-05-2010 at 08:28 AM.
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post #33 of 88 Old 05-13-2010, 12:07 PM
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Just found this thread, thought it was the perfect occasion to make my first post.

I've been making container ponds for the past 6 years, sometimes with a cheap mechanical filter, most often not. The smallest I've run was a 6 gallon ceramic bowl that had nothing more than a few snails, parrot's feather, water lettuce and water hyacinth that completely covered the water's surface within about a month of setting it up. It ran great, but it was a wide shallow bowl with an insane surface area to volume ration so on hot days (I live in Calgary, Canada - hot days can be hot, cold days are even colder) I was topping up the water at least twice. Floating plants have evolved in the least water stressed environment on Earth so they respirate as well as a commercial humidifier, I find that a mature bed of floating plants can dramatically increase water loss from straight evaporation off an uncovered container of water.

Over the years I've used plastic pots large enough to pot a large indoor Ficus tree, moulded resin pots about half as big, up to my favourite container: a 120 gallon glazed irridescent green/blue ceramic pot that weighs nearly 300 pounds. That one sits on a concrete pad and was sealed with silicone on the inside after the first year because it was bleeding through tiny flaws in the glazing, leaving really nasty scale on the outside of the pot (R/O water would be great, but the volume you need to replace in mid July makes that completely impractical)...

There is an artificially constructed wetland in a natural area on the edge of the city near my old house that treats storm water runoff through a series of gravel beds, water falls, marsh beds and slow moving dirt bottomed streams. Every spring I go to one of the marsh beds near the outflow of the wetland and stir up a bunch of crud from the muck at the bottom and fill 2 or 3 two litre pop bottles with water. There is also a healthy population of some species of very large aquatic snail there so if I can snag 5 or 6 I do that too. After de-chlorinating the water from the hose in the containers, I add a healthy amount of wetland water to kick-off the microbial life. Then in goes the plants. In the deeper pots I use cinder blocks purchased from Home Depot to create shelfs of different heights so that I can place marginal plants like grasses, peace lillies, mini-bullrush, horsetail or whatever else the garden centre has that year that's cool - the top of the pot needs to be an inch to half inch below the water.

I always do at least some floating plants as well, though I've learned that if you're going to buy water hyacinth, water lettuce or any other kind of leafy floating plant, save your money and buy one or two max. They spread like weeds via floating rhizomes, so even with one initial parent plant you'll likely be culling out a thick mat of them before mid summer (excellent nutrient export). I've heard of people trying to put them in a brightly lit refugium over the winter here in Calgary, though I'm not sure if it's that they need wind or a lot of UV light to maintain a healthy waxy cuticle, but water lettuce and water hyacinth almost never lasts through the 9 months of winter indoors in Calgary no matter what people try and do for them.

*I would advise for people to do their research on water lilies very thoroughly before the buy any for a container pond. Most hardy water lilies that you will find in garden centres in the spring have evolved/been bred for true ponds or lakes, with mature leaf spreads of 12-14 feet and single adult leaves which can be half as big as most people's entire container pond. There are some miniature varieties that bloom and grow more reliably in the confined space of a container, a few of the 'changeable' types (they start out one colour and over the course of a few days fade to another) that do really well in larger containers. Also keep in mind that by mid season water lilies are aphid magnets and in the confined space of a container pond they can do far more damage than they would in an actual pond, though knocking them off in to the water is an excellent food source for your fish ;). Hardy water lilies can be overwintered in a fridge if you're interested, you can google information on how to do it. If you have a plant that performs particularly well for you it might be worth it. Also keep in mind that hardy water lilies are a truly invasive pest that are decimating aquatic ecosystems that have no evolutionary history with them all across western and northern North America, so if you're going buy something that can survive a winter in your area please take care to not give it the chance to contribute to the probelm.

You can try and control temperature swings by starting your pond in the right materials - thick walled glazed ceramic containers and larger volumes help mitigate temperature swings (usually by keeping the water generally warmer night and day), down all the way to thin plastic/clear glass walled containers which will give you the wildest swings in temperature. The same things hold true for outdoor container ponds as indoor tanks - volume and stability are directly correlated, especially temperature. The colour of your container also matters. Darker containers will have hotter water in the day, lighter/reflectively glazed containers will have lower day time temperatures. Depending on what you're putting in will change which you should choose.

As for fish - I've only ever kept feeder comet goldfish in my container ponds, and they were only purchased because there was a West Nile virus outbreak here in Calgary the first year I made one of these ponds (I wanted them to eat mosquito larvae). The logic was that a) they were 39 cents and bred to be fed to larger fish anyway so if they conked it I wouldn't feel *too* bad, and b) they are cold water fish so I didn't have to worry about heating the water at night (though I have put in heaters for some of the more exotic/tropical aquatic plants you can buy). I can say that even with no filtration, water movement or artificial heat I have had fewer mortalities - and by fewer I mean none - in my pond containers than in any of my indoor tanks. In fact it was those goldfish surviving until winter the first year that necessitated me getting back in to the aquarium hobby after a decade long hiatus. Fast forward 6 years and I now have a 90 gallon reef, a 20 gallon nano reef and a 180 gallon planted community tank. Go figure.

The goldfish started spawning in my big container pond the second year I had it.

If you have fish and plants, I've found I've had the best results both in terms of plant growth, fish growth and health if there is at least some water artificial water movement. A small submersible pump to either move the water around the pond or push water up from the bottom towards the surface is all that's required. If you have fish and you don't want to do massive water changes, be prepared for the bottom of the container to get covered in a thick layer of sludge by the end of the year (especially if you have dirty, dirty goldfish), but I've found that if you have plants that come potted and anything else in the pond to provide surface area for colonizing bacteria, small water movement and a healthy population of big rooted floaters like water lettuce or water hyacinth that your nitrate levels will stay shockingly low - you won't be able to see your fish much once they cover the majority of the water's surface but at least you know they will still be there in the fall when you have to take it apart. I also barely ever fed my ponds, maybe tossing in some pellets once a week if I remembered and each summer my goldfish would still double in size (when I gave the last of them away they were all over 9 inches long and spawning almost weekly). For that reason I would recommend adding omnivores to container ponds like that so they have both any rotting vegetation and all the bugs that will be landing on the surface to try and lay eggs to eat. Parrot's feather is great because fish can nibble on the feathery leaves under the water while still giving you a show when they breach the water's surface and spill gracefully over the side of your container.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Greetings :)
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post #34 of 88 Old 05-13-2010, 09:45 PM
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Thanks for the added information. It's very informative to others. I heard that you can put White Cloud minnows in a tub pond as they are from colder streams. I recently added some Black Bar endlers that a friend of mine had. She gave me 5 females. Lets see if they have fry or not.

I posted pictures of my unfiltered tub pond with a small water fountain. I added some water lettuce as my Hornswort started to melt because of the heat. Mine is on a roller so I can move it if it gets to hot. I also have a large umbrella in front of it to add more shade on really hot days. One of my pond platy jumped out and I could not find the other one so I got the endlers

. Goldfish are big waste producers and I would not use them in a tub pond. I plan on taking the fountain out in the winter time and puting a spare water clarifer with a charcoal bag inside. It has a sponge filter on the inside. This moves water around and it comes out in a nozzle from the top. In the Spring & Summer I will use the fountain.
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post #35 of 88 Old 05-14-2010, 02:14 PM
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I definitely agree on the not using goldfish point now. When I set up my first container ponds it was the first time I had done any form of aqua-culturing since I was 12 years old and didn't know much better. It does go to show though that setting them up successfully for fish is very possible, considering how well the 'dirtiest' of fish did in my unfiltered containers over the years, even with very few or no water changes. I think it's about setting up a balance between the plants (the floaters are the most critical) and the fish.
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post #36 of 88 Old 05-15-2010, 05:43 AM
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Thumbs up genius!

this concept of an unfiltered pond really motivated me to start my first pond. and it will be unfiltered :) I will definitely post updates on this! thank you all for your input!!! 8)
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post #37 of 88 Old 05-15-2010, 02:42 PM
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Does anyone have any experience with lilies not growing well? I bought one from home depot over a month ago, took it out of the net that it came in and potted it, used plain garden soil(mine's pretty sandy since I live near the shore) didn't put a fertilizer in it since the site I looked at said to not put any in until about a month after planting. So it's been sitting in my pond, about half a foot down so the leaves could reach the surface of the water since I heard being submerged is bad for them, figured as more grew I'd put it to the bottom. Anyway, first few leaves came out quick, in a few days, but they turned yellow shrivelled and died quickly. 3 more have grown since then but they're growing a dark red instead of green, they're small, and seem to be getting eaten away at the ends. A few more are sprouting up but I still figured after a month it'd have grown some big leaves and I was wondering if I fertilized it maybe that would help?
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post #38 of 88 Old 05-15-2010, 03:39 PM
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Water Lilies Good web-site

I took my water lilies back to home depot that I bought before I had a chance to open it. I was able to find someone on Craigslist that had Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce for $1.50 each or doz. for $15.

I did plant my water iris in some aquatic soil that I got at a garden shop. It's like bog mud and very heavy. A fertilizer tab would help. Watch for pond snails as they might be eating the new shoots. I did happen to find you a nice web-site on Water Lily care
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post #39 of 88 Old 05-15-2010, 06:51 PM
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WoW... this is an interesting thread given that i have a very similar setup in my basement flat...

however, my present problem is filtration. in this bowl i've got a variety of plants and several algae shrimp... today i received a eheim ecco canister filter 2232... but the dang thing is taller than the level of my water...

so it looks like my only recourse it to elevate the 12 gallon bowl (this bowl is from vietnam mekong delta) in order to get the siphon canister to work... i tried it at this level but no luck as the pump will not pull water lower than itself it seems... bummer.

this is going to be a magor job to elevate the bowl...

i've got a subgravel filter with a aquaclear 20 power head... and decided to add the ecco filter to acheive cleaner water...

i'm brand new at aquariums so any ideas about this type of setup would be welcome...

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post #40 of 88 Old 05-16-2010, 10:04 AM
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problem solved...

operator error.

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