new stock tank pond- water lily dying

nccmama(z8 TX)June 17, 2011

I'm attempting to create a stock tank pond, and I could use some advice. I bought a sheep trough 2X6X2 from a farm store, and since it was kept outside at the store, I didn't scrub it down or disinfect it, thinking that anything on it that might harm plants or fish would have already worn off. I filled it with rain water from a rain barrel and let is sit for several weeks until I made it out to the pond store. Now I have two plants in it, one is considered a marginal (can't remember the name), and it seems to be doing very well. But, the water lily is really struggling. The bigger leaves started getting yellow and splotchy, so I have been removing them, and since it was putting out new leaves, I was not worried. But, now the new leaves are looking bad, too, and there are what looks like bites taken out of some of them on the edges, though I have not seen anything eating the leaves.

The water is fairly clear; I can see to the bottom, and the bottom and sides of the tank are slightly "dirty" looking, which seems to be normal. Curiously, I never really see bugs or butterflies or birds around the water, so I wonder if the water is somehow toxic? But, I have found mosquito larvae swimming around before I put in a mosquito dunk, so I'm thinking that it can't be all that bad.

Did I do something wrong? Do I need to empty it and scrub it out? Do I need to put in another plant to help with the oxygen? Thanks!

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Need more information:

Did you fertilize the lily when you planted it?

Did you plant it in a pot, or is it in a mesh bag?

Overfertilizing a lily can cause the leaves to die back and injure the plant. I would do a partial water change, replacing with fresh water. I don't use rain water in any of my lily containers, just fresh tap water.

Likewise, not fertilizing at all might make the plant's growth slow down, the old pads might not be replaced with healthy new ones. Some people use Miracle Grow spiles or Jobs spikes, others use Osmocote pellets, others use plant tabs made for aquatics.

Those mesh bags are, in my opinion, completely worthless. I have never managed to grow a healthy water lily in one. Water lilies generally do better when planted in a large container of clay-based soil. Garden soil will also work, but you'll need to hold it down with sand and gravel.

Otherwise, there could be aphids on the pads or maybe a caterpillar that you haven't spotted yet. Moths will also lay their eggs on plants, and the larvae are tiny green caterpillars that easily escape notice.

I don't think you need to scrub out the tank. If it was used for animals, it shouldn't have anything in it that would harm your plants.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 1:40PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Agree with the above post.

Will add that splashing water on waterlily pads can cause fungus and/or brown spots and yellow pads. Just keep removing them. Not sure if you have a spitter or other fountain or not.

Do you know the name of the waterlily? Tropicals have serrated edges normally....might look like bites if you did'nt realize that.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 1:23PM
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nccmama(z8 TX)

I looked at the lily this morning and found caterpillars, I guess of the China mark moth. I looked underneath some of the leaves and found an inch-sized piece of leaf attached to the bigger leaf with a white caterpillar hiding inside. Mystery solved, I think. I'm glad that it's not a problem with the water or tank.

Since it's such a small pond and above ground with only one small lily, it seems like I should be able to hand pick them to control. But, since mosquito dunks have Bt, I wonder if it will work on these caterpillars, too, since they are also larvae.

Thanks for the helpful replies.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 3:57PM
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I've been raising lilies in galvanized and poly stock tanks for years. None of them are buried.

Watch the temps during the heat of the day. If the water gets too warm, the pads seem to yellow out faster.

I have always washed my new ones with dish soap and rinsed well. I have read where there is an oily substance to prevent rust on the galvanized ones.

Some of my older tanks have been lined with kiddie pools because they leak.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 5:46PM
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