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commonfish 04-15-2012 02:12 PM

Planting our pond...and goldfish
So, every year we battle with green water in our pond. Currently the only life in it is 3 average sized water lillies (they may spread 3ft in the summer) and random tadpoles. The water is filtered with a filter that uses bioballs (and thats about all that I know about it...) and a UV light. The pond gets full sun all year long, and winters are not cold enough to freeze it. We live in zone 8. The pond is 6X6ft square shaped, with a depth of 3 feet. Using that, I figure its about 800 gallons?

Am I correct to assume that part of our problem is that there is nothing in the pond to take up all the nutrients that the sunlight provides? We have a "food" factory, and nothing to eat to the food... If this is so, my plan is to plant the bejesus out of that pond, but I'm not entirely certain how to go about it. I've looked at several places on line, and I think that we need extra coverage of the water, so I plan to add floating plants. Water hyacinth and frog bit are on my list, do you all think that these plants would be a good addition? I'd especially love to add the hyacinth- which is legal in our state, thankfully. For submerged plants, I wanted to pick easy plants, since I'm just getting started with aquatic plants. Anacharis, hornwort and possibly java fern are on my list for submerged plants, as they seem to top every list of easy care plants I've seen, but I've never really seen the java fern used in ponds, will it be all right in one?

Can anybody give me some advise on how the plants sound, and about how many of each might be good? I'm figuring 9 of each of the Anacharis and hornwart, and maybe 5 of the java fern, as I've seen in my own tanks just how fast it can grow and make new plants.

And lastly, I really want to add in fish, preferably just comet or common goldfish, and koi are quite expensive here, and my father has a bad habit of killing our fish (which is why he is not longer allowed to add anything to the water without asking me about it first:-(). I need something to help eat all the algae, right? Snails aren't really on my list, mainly because every algaecide I've seen warns that it will kill invertebrates, which would be counter productive.

thekoimaiden 04-15-2012 04:50 PM

Hey and welcome! If you guys are struggling with algae, I wouldn't add any more fish right now. You're just throwing fuel on the fire so to speak.

For plants I would go with more floating than submerged. Because floating plants block out the sun to the submerged, you aren't going to get as much growth out of the submerged plants. Water hyacinth and water lettuce are the two I use in my pond. With the amount of sun your ponds gets you'll probably be removing some water lettuce and water hyacinth almost weekly. This is a good thing because it takes nutrients out of your pond. Duckweed might be another option as it is more hardy than frogbit.

If you do go with submerged I would remove the java fern. It's as fast growing as the floating plants or hornwort and anarcharis. You want fast-growing stuff to compete with the algae. It is also a tropical plant, and will die back in the winter, producing more fuel for the algae. Submerged plants are usually in about a foot or less of water, so if the vast majority of your pond is deep, you are probably going to want to only use the floating plants.

Have you also considered marginal plants (ones that go on the edges)? Cattails and rushes are great for full sun ponds and are another good nutrient sink. I have iris in my pond that are blooming now, and they are gorgeous.

This website has some good lists of pond plants: Pond Plants - Crystal Creek Pond Supply

commonfish 04-15-2012 04:59 PM

Thanks for the advice! I was kind of wondering about how much sun the submerged plants would get, so that cleared it right up. Do you know what a good starting amount of floating plants would be?

For the marginal plants, our pond is straight sided, it isn't graded like a natural pond would be. Would I have to build shelves around the edge if I were to go with them?

thekoimaiden 04-15-2012 05:48 PM

If it is straight-sided then I wouldn't do submerged plants at all. A lot of people have trouble getting plants to grow in normal aquariums that are around 1 foot deep. I don't think you would be able to grow them at all. Floating plants are your way to go. To start out I would get maybe 3-4 bunches of each plant. That isn't enough to cover your pond, but don't worry. They will do that on their own in a little while.

Your edges also present a problem for bog/marginal plants. Is there any area of the pond that commonly overflows? And also could you post a picture? Sometimes it is a lot easier to know what we are working with if we can see it. Also I like seeing pictures of what other people have done. Each pond is different!

commonfish 04-15-2012 06:27 PM
I suppose I might have labeled our "pond" a water garden, I guess thats the more proper term, since it's more for ornament than for nature. Pardon the dog checking out what's going on, she likes to look at the water.

For reference, each of the pavers is one foot. You can see how bad the water gets, though all the floating stuff on top is just grass trimmings. Just because of how it's set up, and the planting around it, I'm kind of dubious about marginals, but you guys know more than I do.

thekoimaiden 04-15-2012 07:01 PM

Cute fluff ball!!!

With that setup marginals probably aren't a good idea, but have you considered planting some small trees like a dogwood around it? The added shade in the summer would really help, and you would only need to have a small net over it for a month or so in the fall. You could also add shrubs like azaleas on the side opposite where you view it. This would certainly help shade it. For now I think your best bet will be to cover the top in floating plants because shade and competition for nutrients are going to be your best algae killers.

How many fish do you have in there right now? Do you have any kind of bubbler or small fountain for the middle? I bet a little more water circulation would be appreciated by any and all inhabitants. Also make sure it is all the way filled up. It looks down about an inch.

commonfish 04-15-2012 07:12 PM

Right now there are no fish in the pond, our last group was killed off... two years ago? by adding in the wrong algae killer.

Unfortunately, planting trees wont work either, as my mother wants to rip out the whole thing and fill it in, the algae has gotten so bothersome. I've been given one last chance to fix it. I think I'm going to try getting a hold of floating plants, and see if that won't cure our problems.

There normally is a fountain running, it's just gotten knocked off it's pedestal, so it's running under water at the moment. There is also another pump down in the pond that flows just to circulate water, though I can't quite recall at the moment how its all hooked up. Our water is a bit toxic with chlorine at the moment (our well had to be treated), so I've put off filling the pond for a bit.

Thanks so much for your help!

commonfish 04-15-2012 09:13 PM

oh, I just realized that I have one more question. The water lettuce and hyacinth aren't going to choke up my lilies or something are they? Are there any harmful reactions that occur when there plants are all put in the same pond?

thekoimaiden 04-15-2012 11:18 PM

I'm glad to be of help! Floating plants should do a lot to help your algae problem. Try for plants online. I've ordered a lot of pond stuff from them.

The two plants shouldn't bother each other. If you notice the water lettuce or water hyacinth choking anyone out just remove a few bunches and compost them in the garden.

SEAWEED54 04-20-2012 10:52 AM

I am no pond expert in no means but looking at your pond picture that water is stagnant. I would add some type of fountain to keep the water flowing ,
this alone would help with your algae , algae is more likely to set in standing water also attract mosquitoes , flowing water will not only help with these 2 things but also work as a natural filtration system .
like I said I'm no expert on ponds but it makes sense.

If my ground wasn't so full of rocks and if temps didn't drop below -0 I would build a pond also the wild life here would eat all my fish for dinner lol

good luck with your pond I do see lots of potential

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