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Questions on container pond, water lilies, etc.


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  • Regular Member

Hi all!


I bought a 110 gallon stock tank to throw my 4 Ranchu outside for the summer because 1) I've wanted to do it every since I kept my other goldfish very successfully outside during the entire 2013 summer and 2) I need the tank the adults are in now to split my Ranchu fry and have more space to grow them out. 


I have a few things I've come across that I did not have when I had my last summer stock tank set up. My current house has a tree in the backyard that loves to let go of sticky, messy seeds/leaves. I was looking at metal mesh screening on Lowes/Home Depot website and I feel like I could make something very cheaply. I do have a Beautiful Dancer Lotus tuber coming in the mail and I need to think ahead when the lotus starts to grow above the water. So, laying something flat across the top may work for now, but not forever. I was wondering if anyone had something like this, and pictures for me to look at? I'm thinking I may need to build a raised greenhouse type roof for the stock tank. 


I also have hardy lilies that I will be putting in the stock tank. Does anyone have any experience in potting water lilies? I had a water lily when I had my stock tank set up before and it grew perfectly, flowering and everything. I had it in a ceramic white pot that I bought at a flea market for 25cents. If only it was flea market season in PA! In the next few weeks flea markets should be popping up, however. I've been doing a lot of research but not all videos/articles are accommodating to goldfish. Or at least I wonder if they are. Some people suggest using kitty liter pans since they are shallow but give a great width for the roots to grow. I just really worry about putting things in tanks/ponds that aren't deemed with a 'fish safe' sticker. If I could find large glass mixing bowls or something I think I would prefer to use glass than plastic. Also, what about fertilizing tabs for the lilies? Any experience with that and goldfish? 


My last stock tank was a 70 gallon rubbermaid tank, and this one is 110 gallons. I was looking at UV filters but they seem like that would be overkill for a 110 gallon, as the smallest I've seen says good up to 660 gallon ponds. I know, I know, green water is good for them... But in the long summer days the water gets so green my submerged plants can't get light and grow. It's more of a concern this year since I'm doing a water garden goldfish pond. 


One last question, (for now), what is the best way to keep water temperatures from going too high? I live by Pittsburgh so I'm not having to worry about high heat in the south but water can get pretty hot in the mid-summer. I had an ugly looking red/white umbrella clamped onto the rim of my other stock tank and it seemed to help since the tank is black, it didn't have direct heat. Ideas? 


I was hoping to have the tank set up with water/filter by May 1st so I could start monitoring the temperature levels to see how much it fluctuates at night to determine how soon the Ranchu can go outside. 


Thanks in advanced  :P



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  • Regular Member

Plain terracotta pots should do fine. No glaze. :)


It's easy to cover a pond while still keeping floating plants. Just use netting. It'll let the light in, and a PVC support over the top can keep it off the water. 


I use root tabs for the pots with the goldfish and they don't cause any problem. You just have to push them into the substrate.


As far as green water goes, providing partial shade for the pond may help reduce the issue. 


Don't worry too much about heat. The fish will let you know if it gets too warm by gulping at the surface.



I'm sure Sharon will be in here to go more in-depth soon. :)

Edited by ChelseaM
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I have never had green water in a filtered pond.  If you don't already have one, build a good DIY filter, and you will be fine.  Do note that I have replaced most of the gravel in that filter with hydroponic growth medium and that about quadrupled the plant growth.   A 10 gallon filter is ideal for your pond.  


I don't recommend putting lotus in the pond.  They need quite a bit of soil, and the fish will be happy to dig that up and scatter it around the pond.  Lotuses do great on overflow from the pond.  All of my ponds have an overflow and also a continuous drip of clean water.  Some drip into a container that has plants.  I have dripped overflow into a container of lotus, and they did great.  So I recommend a separate container for the lotuses, and giving them all your waste water, particularly that delicious stuff you get when you clean your filter.


Right now, I have my lotuses in one of those small blue rigid kiddie pools from Walmart.  I put in composty soil, planted the lotuses with some fertilizer tabs to get them started and covered with a few inches of sand.  I filled it with waste water from water changes.  The lotuses thrive in there, and as a bonus, so does duckweed.  So I get some fish food out of the lotus pond.


I heard the same thing about planting lilies in oil drain pans or similar closed containers.  I followed that suggestion and all may lilies grew for a while and then faded away.  I think those containers work for large ponds.  When you pull them out for repotting, the soil is so anaerobic the stink is revolting.  


What i use now are large mesh pots. Like this.  I'm not sure why you are concerned about plastic plant containers when you have a plastic pond, but you can get a wide selection of mesh pots, intended for growing food plants, in a hydroponics store.  I put some gravel in the bottom, then put in some kind of a cylindrical barrier -- like a nursery pot with the bottom cut out.  Inside the barrier, I plant the lily in some compost/soil.  Outside, I put coarse gravel,  lava rock, or hydroponic growth medium.  Then pull out the barrier.  Cover the top of of the soil with large, flat stones.  Most will tell you to cover the soil with sand.  Goldfish approve of this suggestion because they love to redecorate with sand.  They will dig at that sand until every grain is on the bottom of the pond, and then they will start on the compost/soil.  But the little brats can't move large stones. :lol2


I have not had success with submerged plants, and I don't know anyone who has.  You can grow both marginals and terrestrial plants in a filter. You can also return the water from the filter to the pond through a planted trickle box containing lava rock or hydroponic medium.  I have some picture of that somewhere, and will find them for you.


I can also give you some ideas for the cover you need, but I can't do it right now.

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When I had my pond it did turn green, main reason for mine is I get all day sun over the top of my porch... The problem was I have a plastic top to my porch, turning the porch in to a green house. My pond was green all spring and all Summer. Then it went to clear in the winter. :)

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