New container water garden/fish pond

Houndmom(Phoenix Az)July 6, 2014

Hi everyone! We have wanted to create a water garden/fish pond for our patio for the last few years. Today we finally found a thick xl pot 34" tall x 24" wide(if I remember correctly), it should hold maybe 35-40 gal. Now we are reading up on the best way to start to put it all together. I would love any suggestions you all have for the set up and pump size. We live in Arizona so summers are hot and the pot will be 50/50 sun/shade, winters it's almost all shade. I want water plants and hubby wants 2 gold fish. We want to put in a pump with a bell shape sprayer in the center. Here is a photo of the pot to give a visual. Thank you in advance!!

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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

I wouldn't add goldfish, or any fish. I tried a small pond that was in the ground and the water got too hot for mosquitofish which can take warmer water than goldfish. Being completely above ground even in the shade I'd expect the water temp to be way too high. With the dark color and 50% in the sun the water might be too hot even for plants, or maybe some plants.

I've been growing Canna and some kind of Umbrella Plant like Cyperus alternifolius and a nutsedge (purple I think) in soil in containers with no drainage, so standing water but normally below the soil level. That mimics how I keep marginal plants in a pond which grow best not submerged.

The sun, heat and humidity are hard on these. These are all pretty much in the ground, but the further up out of the ground the least well they do. I've repotted plants that have been in the sun and the soil is much too hot for me to touch.

I've been experimenting with different sun exposure. Canna barely survive full sun. Morning sun seems to be best, til 10 am. Enough sun to bloom, not too much to stunt them.

So I don't really have any tips for what you're wanting. If you want a water feature I suggest you just do that. Then add plants for the cooler months, or if some make it thru the summer then great (let me know what). Maybe something like a pondless feature. 5 gal bucket with holes goes contains a small pump, kept up off the bottom by a brick. Then fill with rocks/stone around the bucket. At the very top you can add a more expensive rock for looks. Add water so it stays below the rocks. The fountain hits the rocks and sinks back down to the pump.

Plants can be placed in the gravel/rocks either bare root or the whole pot with soil. But you have to make sure the water level stays up to at least say 6" from the top.

A fountain might be hard on most plants which don't like to be covered in water. And you could get lime deposits on leaves.

Because there's no standing water you don't have to deal with string algae or mosquito larva.

I've had container ponds other places, NY, FL, CA, and none of that applies in Phoenix. I used to read gardening books and web sites and watch gardening TV shows, but don't any more...just doesn't apply to us.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:11AM
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I agree that it will be too hot for fish and possibly plants. The disappearing water feature might be your best bet. The only plant that has survived my pot water garden in part sun in Georgia is water hyacinth and it has been so happy I have had to put many on the compost pile.

The 50 gallon pot in the ground in shade does fine with a small fountain, a small water lily, mini papyrus, a few water hyacinth and 2 little gold fish that will move to the big pond as they grow.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Houndmom(Phoenix Az)

Well, I wanted to follow up on our new water garden / pond that has been assembled now for about a month. I went ahead and added anacharis, water lettuce, fairy moss, parrots feather, a water lily and a dwarf umbrella for plants. We also added 2 comet gold fish which seem to love the fairy moss as a snack. Water is never over 82 and everything seems to be thriving.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 1:22PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

Very nice. How much sun is it getting?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:22PM
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Houndmom(Phoenix Az)

waterbug - It is getting morning sun for about 2 hours and maybe 1 hr in the afternoon, that is pretty much it.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 4:05PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 6:43PM
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Great looking container.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2015 at 5:10PM
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Evelyn256(Zone 9a SoCal)

Beautiful. I have a whisky barrel with liner and my three goldfish have lived there happily for three years.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2015 at 9:08PM
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Evelyn256(Zone 9a SoCal)

I should add that I do regular water changes. Just move fish to a bucket, dump all the water out (plants appreciate it), clean out fountain (turtle spitter), then add fresh water with appropriate amount of conditioner to make it safe for fish.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2015 at 9:16PM
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