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FAQs on Pond Plants in General

Related Articles: Pond Plants, Waterlilies

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You may be fortunate to find a species of Salvinia that will fit your pond's climate.

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Pond surround ladscp.       4/29/15
I just built a pond with bream, catfish, and bass, what ground cover can I use that is safe for fish and pets to cover the edge of the liner around the pond ?
<A lot will depend on where you are on this planet, what the soil type is, high/low temperatures in summer/winter... in short, while Marsh Marigold is popular here in the UK, elsewhere there will be different options. Hmm...
what else to say: Read? Start here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pondsubwebindex/landpltspd.htm
Marsh, bog plants of various types discussed, suitable. Cheers, Neale.>

Plastic Plants and Ponds     5/24/14
Hi.
I live in the Arizona desert. I have a 500 gallon outdoor pond. The pond contains 4 comet goldfish and 1 new Shubunkin. I got some plastic bamboo floating on the surface of my pond. I placed it there in a desperate and frustrated attempt to get my goldfish some shade. I have had no luck with live plants. Most live plants do not survive well in Arizona's extreme heat, or are eaten by my goldfish. I know full well goldfish tend to eat most live plants. I tried some silk lily pads, but they got ruined by algae buildup I could not clean off. That is why I am trying plastic. I am hoping the plastic will be easier to clean and provide the fish with shade. Is there anything wrong with my choice I should know about? The plastic was made for aquarium use, so it is likely nontoxic.
Thank you.
<Worth trying... see WWM re the use of shade materials. Bob Fenner>
re: Plastic Plants and Ponds

Thank you Bob!
<Welcome Cam>
re: Plastic Plants and Ponds

Thank you Bob!
<Welcome Cam>

I am thinking of adding live plants to my goldfish pond.    1/17/14
 I have 4 goldfish in the pond already. I live in Arizona. The water here has a ph of 8 to 9. My pond is small. About 500 gallons. What types of plants would be good for my pond, and when should I place them in the pond?
Would I need anything special for them such as fertilizer or planting substrate? Thank you.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm
Scroll down to the tray/section on plants. Bob Fenner>
Re: re:    1/17/14

Thank you!
<Welcome. B>
Java Moss, dwarf Sagittaria,  and other Pond Plants        1/18/14

I live in Arizona. I have very hard water. pH is 8 to 9. The pond gets quite a bit of sun in the afternoon. The deepest part of the pond is 3 ft.
The shallowest area is 9". The pond is 500 gallons with 4 goldfish in it.
Mit has a submersible filter and a fountain. It is a epdm liner pond. It is sunken in the ground.
Do you think java moss would be a good idea for my small goldfish pond?
<Worth a shot, but would imagine the Goldfish will eat it or at least smother in dirt. Goldfish (and Carp generally) are "rooters" that feed by snuffling about the bottom of lakes and slow-moving rivers, pushing silt and debris into the water. This is why those charged with maintaining healthy rivers and lakes dislike Carp so much: these fish make the water cloudy, blocking light, causing submerged plants to die from lack of light.
In artificial ponds we tend to get around this by largely using plants that either grow at/above the waterline (such as water lilies) or else put the plants at the margins of the pond, often in "planters", where the Goldfish or Carp are less likely to cause problems. On top of this, Goldfish and Carp eat soft plants anyway, and Java Moss being quite soft, if not especially tasty, may well be picked apart by your fish. But in short, provided you understand these limitations, you could certainly experiment, and since Java Moss is cheap and not toxic (so far as I know) you won't lose anything by trying. One idea might be to use the moss around a water feature like a waterfall that keeps the starting clump of moss wet but not actually in the pond proper. The moss could then grow into the pond, and will either succeed or fail depending on how things go.>
Could I place dwarf Sagittaria in my pond?
<Much like Java Moss, it could work, but would likely need protection from being smothered, uprooted, or outright eaten, so act accordingly. On the other hand, several big Sagittaria species have been planted in submerged tubs or used as marginals around ponds for use. Sagittaria are classic marsh plants that grow vigorously above the waterline, displaying in particular the arrow-shaped leaves that give the genus its name.>
Any other small pond plants, that do not require much space to plant, you can think of that are suitable for my pond?
<Very many, but you might want to start thinking about the smaller water lilies you can put in planting tubs; suitable Iris species that can be used as marginals or in planters under shallow water; clumps of Elodea, Ceratophyllum, and similar "oxygenators" that provide food for your fish as well as greenery; and perhaps best of all for your sort of pond, floating plants. Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce would be too obvious choice, both very attractive, and being tropical to subtropical plants, should do well for most of the year in your garden. They'd be easily removed if it gets cold, and then replaced in spring once it warms up again. With a bit of imagination, you could also overwinter some indoors without too much bother, much like a houseplant, albeit floating on water rather than planted in soil. Do note that both these species may be restricted/banned in some areas as potential pests, so do check before buying.>
Thank you.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
re: Java Moss, dwarf Sagittaria,  and other Pond Plants     1/19/14

Thank you so much!
<Most welcome! Neale.>

paint and goldfish? and what about turtles?    2/25/13
Hi, thanks for your website - I learned a lot reading through the closest posts to my question.
<Welcome>
We have a small-ish pond, about 3 feet by 8 feet, in quite sunny Northern California.  We have a deep "refuge" right in the middle, surrounded by potted aquatic plants, that the 14 large goldfish can hide in when hawks, herons, and raccoons visit.
<Good>
  The raccoons disappeared as soon as we set up an electric wire - they recognized it before we turned on the current, so we never needed to turn it on!   We have transparent fishing line and thin black netting spread over most of the pond, and so far it has stopped the hawks and herons.   But it gets tangled and comes away from the sides and looks unsightly.  
<Ahh, very good>
We have just come back from Asia where we liked the use of bamboo as supports in the garden.  Now we would like to create 4 bamboo frames for the fine black netting to cover both ends and both sides of the pond.   Then we could lift them up easily to clean, and they would look more deliberate and less messy.  
<Sounds good, and this material is quite pond and weather resistant, and non-toxic>
My question is:  can we use some handsome black-painted bamboo from China, or will the paint poison the fish?
<Depends on the paint. Epoxies (water-based) that are fully cured should be fine/safe>
   We could use regular bamboo, but the pond is dark gray with a dark-gray slate surround, and the black would be more attractive.
<Mmm, well, there are also some naturally dark bamboo varieties to consider, search for>
Second question:  Are there any minuses to getting 2 turtles from a reputable Vivarium store nearby?   Our goldfish are too big now to be eaten by the turtles.    We would build the turtles a raised flat rock to sun on, with a ramp into the water.   (They wouldn't be able to escape via the flat sides of the pond.) 
<Mmm, well, principally that turtles are very "dirty"; will add a good deal of waste to the system, water... they may also scratch your goldfish occasionally. Up to you to decide whether the enjoyment you'll derive from their company, display is worth the bit of extra care>
Thanks very much for your answers.
Linda 
P.S. The photo is an old one, when the pond was new and not yet seasoned/dirty/algaed and the plants hadn't yet been moved all to the center
to protect the refuge.
<Ahh, a very nice formal basin. Your turtles may leave if there is no barrier to retain them here. Bob Fenner>

Re: paint and goldfish? and what about turtles? 2/25/13
Very nice answers - THANK YOU!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

paint and goldfish? and what about turtles?    2/25/13
Hi, thanks for your website - I learned a lot reading through the closest posts to my question.
<Welcome>
We have a small-ish pond, about 3 feet by 8 feet, in quite sunny Northern California.  We have a deep "refuge" right in the middle, surrounded by potted aquatic plants, that the 14 large goldfish can hide in when hawks, herons, and raccoons visit.
<Good>
  The raccoons disappeared as soon as we set up an electric wire - they recognized it before we turned on the current, so we never needed to turn it on!   We have transparent fishing line and thin black netting spread over most of the pond, and so far it has stopped the hawks and herons.   But it gets tangled and comes away from the sides and looks unsightly.  
<Ahh, very good>
We have just come back from Asia where we liked the use of bamboo as supports in the garden.  Now we would like to create 4 bamboo frames for the fine black netting to cover both ends and both sides of the pond.   Then we could lift them up easily to clean, and they would look more deliberate and less messy.  
<Sounds good, and this material is quite pond and weather resistant, and non-toxic>
My question is:  can we use some handsome black-painted bamboo from China, or will the paint poison the fish?
<Depends on the paint. Epoxies (water-based) that are fully cured should be fine/safe>
   We could use regular bamboo, but the pond is dark gray with a dark-gray slate surround, and the black would be more attractive.
<Mmm, well, there are also some naturally dark bamboo varieties to consider, search for>
Second question:  Are there any minuses to getting 2 turtles from a reputable Vivarium store nearby?   Our goldfish are too big now to be eaten by the turtles.    We would build the turtles a raised flat rock to sun on, with a ramp into the water.   (They wouldn't be able to escape via the flat sides of the pond.) 
<Mmm, well, principally that turtles are very "dirty"; will add a good deal of waste to the system, water... they may also scratch your goldfish occasionally. Up to you to decide whether the enjoyment you'll derive from their company, display is worth the bit of extra care>
Thanks very much for your answers.
Linda 
P.S. The photo is an old one, when the pond was new and not yet seasoned/dirty/algaed and the plants hadn't yet been moved all to the center
to protect the refuge.
<Ahh, a very nice formal basin. Your turtles may leave if there is no barrier to retain them here. Bob Fenner>

Re: paint and goldfish? and what about turtles? 2/25/13
Very nice answers - THANK YOU!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Plants: Real or Fake In a Small Pond   9/29/12
Hi.
I am planning a 6 gallon pond.
I live in Arizona.
I plan on keeping a Betta fish in the pond.
This pond will have no electricity available to it.
So I cannot put a filter in this pond.
I was planning to put live plants in the pond in the spring.
I was planning to keep the plants in an aquarium indoors over this winter.
But some unplanned delays have come up.
I fear I may not be able to get the plants I want before their season is over.
I may have to wait months before I can get a chance to get them again.
My question is would fake plants work in this pond I am planning?
<Yes>
Are Amazonian Frogbit (Limnobium spongia) and dwarf Sagittaria (Sagittaria subulata) seasonal?
<Yes. B>
Thank you.

Hair Grass!   7/8/11
Good morning,
<Johan>
I came across an excellent article by Bob Fenner regarding hair grass in an aquarium. I have a slightly different question, namely hairgrass (or similar alternatives) in an outside pond in a temperate climate (United Kingdom). Bottom line, I'd like a beautiful carpet of green in my pond which will survive the winter and doesn't get munched by goldfish or Orfe!
Can you help?
<With? It's culture? You may be fortunate to locate summat like this growing on a hard surface (rock) in the wild and transfer this to your system (after a few weeks of quarantine to examine the material for
unwanted hitchhikers)... and have this "hair grass" in turn grow on your basin surface, not be too terribly palatable...>
Many thanks
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: Hair Grass! For a UK pond     7/9/11

Thank you Bob, I'll have a look!
<Oh! And I'd like to add that you might check with water garden centers, Koi et al water gardening clubs... to see if they have something like this growing in their ponds that you might transfer to yours. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Hair Grass!
Thanks again! Exactly what I'm already doing. Something called java fern seems to be a leading contender but I don't think it'll survive a UK winter -
<Will not>
time for a little experimentation with bunch of different plants over the winter I think
<Mmm, there are "Aquarium Moss Balls", the Chlorophyte genus Cladophora, that one may purchase... hope to transfer... that do range in terms of thermal resistance... B>
Re: Hair Grass!
Interesting, thank you. Looks to me like it's the temperature that's the major limiting factor for any such ideas rather than anything else -- hmm!
<It is, along w/ insolation/lighting, water movement... presence of predators! B>
Re: Hair Grass!    7/9/11
Yes, with fish being the predators. Seems to me from scouring various UK forums that British fish owners like to have a super clean almost sterile fish pond - great for fish but too dull for my taste! This is quite an interesting idea - I'm sure I can do something along these lines too. An underwater garden awaits!
http://www.aquamoss.net/How%20to%20create%20a%20moss%20wall/How%20to%20create%20a%20moss%20wall.htm 
<Ah, good. Do stay in touch. Ta! BobF>

Pond... mortalities, reading  06/26/10
Hi
I have had a pond now for about 10 years and this year is the first year I have ever had any problems (other than blue heron problems) with it. I can't keep any fish alive. We live next to a lake and each year I fill my pond with lake water and I seem to have really good luck with it.
<Luck...>
This year my fish just keep dying. I usually just get feeder goldfish because of the blue herons and I bring them inside for the winter, keeping them for years. The only thing different from previous years is I set a canna lily pot and an elephant ear pot in the water.
<What were these "potted" with?>
I have since removed them but the fish are still dropping off. Last year I made a bog with a pitcher plant and it did very well and didn't seem to affect the pond any. I'm now wondering if maybe this is a problem also.
<Not the plant/s, but the soil perhaps>
The fish seem to get a whitish coating near the back fin before they die.
I would like to know if I'm doing something wrong or have I just been getting bad fish.
<Highly likely something is amiss with the system, not the livestock>
I only get the cheap feeder fish
<These almost always have a plethora of health/parasite issues>
as it gets to expensive buying better fish to feed the herons.
<You should read on WWM re guarding against such predators:
http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdpestspreds.htm
and the linked FAQs file above>
The water in my pond also seems to be staying very clear which is unusual. Every year it gets some green algae but not this year. The weather is very unusual this year and I have been putting the clear water down to the weather. I really enjoy watching the fish in my pond and will be very disappointed if I can't keep any alive to watch.
Any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong?
Thanks
Lillie
<Yes... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdenvdisfaqs.htm
and all the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond... mortalities, reading 6/26/10

> Hi Bob,
<N>
> I did see the pond question earlier today, but left if you to answer since the problem wasn't obvious to me.
<Nor I>
> However, one thing that did catch my eye was the bit about pitcher plants. Growing carnivorous plants is a hobby of mine, and one thing true about them is they're bad choices for ponds. They invariably need acidic, mineral-free water to grow; lime causes damage to their roots, and eventually death. So if the pitcher plants are thriving in the same water basin as the pond, then alarm bells should be ringing -- anything soft and acidic enough for Sarracenia spp. North American pitchers would be lethal to Eurasian pond fish. Conversely, if the pond was alkaline enough for the fish, any pitcher plants used as marginals would be dead by now.
<Will accrue your input>
> So at the very least, employment of a pH test kit would be very useful.
> Cheers, Neale
<Thank you, B>

Re: follow-up question... planted tank planting    9/2/09
Greetings Neale - hope you are well this evening.
<Morning now, 10:20 British Summer Time!>
I really appreciate all your responses and insights.
<Happy to help.>
Thank you for answering my potpourri of questions. I have been researching how to bring my underwater plants in with the fish and snails and came across a very interesting article about aquarium plants planted
in pots (_www.aquabotanic.com_ (http://www.aquabotanic.com) ). The author uses unglazed red clay pots for his plants. They are quite easy to move around. Here are my questions:
Would red clay pots change the water chemistry of the tank?
<Assuming these are plain vanilla clay or terracotta plant pots, then they're safe to use in aquaria and ponds. Any affect they have on water chemistry will be minimal. Indeed, plant pots are routinely used in, for
example, breeding tanks.>
If so, I have many plastic 3" square green pots that would seem perfect to plant the non-floating plants. Any ideas or cautions with this method of planting?
<It's a fine method and works well. The main thing is that the pot is adequately large for whatever plant you're keeping in it.>
I assume I would put similar gravel in the pots and root the plants that way. The author lined his pots with smaller pots (disposable) made of peat. I'm not sure the peat liners would help the alchemy of the aquarium
with fish.
<To be honest, I wouldn't bother with the peat liner. For one thing, unless I was absolutely sure the peat wasn't treated with pesticides or fertilisers, I'd not want to risk adding such chemicals to the water. What I *would* do is to put a layer of coarse gravel at the bottom of the pot, to keep the soil leaking out through the drainage hole, and another layer on top to keep the Goldfish (or whatever) digging up the soil from the pot as they feed. Judicious use of pond-safe plastic mesh might also provide a way to produce a miniature gravel tidy you could put between the soil and the top layer of gravel, further keeping things tidy. For soil, I favour a 50/50 mix of pond soil and fine gravel (or sand) as this results in a nice mix plants like but isn't so mobile it gets everywhere.>
Thanks again, Neale. Regards, Deborah
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: follow-up question   9/2/09

Greetings Neale - thank you so much for taking the time to explain how to plant my pond plants in the aquarium - it was extremely helpful. I have one more question on substrate...
<Fire away.>
I've read three books on godfish
<Godfish? As in Dagon...?>
care and about 4 on fresh water aquariums. Two books say that it is perfectly fine to have an aquarium without gravel. In fact it is easier to clean an aquarium without gravel.
<Yes and no. No fish likes a bare-bottom tank. Even those species that swim close to the surface are likely to find the upwelling light bouncing off the bottom pane of glass distracting. Typically, they show fainter colours as they try to make themselves less conspicuous to predators. Fish associated with the substrate, like Goldfish, find comfort in being able to feed normally, shoveling about in the substrate as they root about for food. Except in very specific situations, the benefits of have no glass (easy cleaning) are offset but its negatives (such as stress on the fish).>
One book that deals with the care of goldfish says that gravel is essential because it acts as a beneficial bacteria generator.
<This is true, gravel does house bacteria, but this is only significant if you have an undergravel filter. In tanks with other types of filter, the flow of water through the gravel is so minimal that very little filtration takes places there.>
It also gives advice as to how to treat a fish that gets gravel caught in its mouth and cannot dislodge it (hold open its mouth, put your finger on its throat and push -- something I would really like to avoid).
<Fish don't normally choke on gravel. It's like saying people choke on peanuts, so they shouldn't eat them. Yes, it occasionally happens, but not enough to make peanuts a significant source of human mortality. Likewise with fish, virtually all fish, virtually all of the time, get along fine living in tanks with a gravel substrate. By all means choose a fine gravel if you think it looks better, and your Goldfish will happily root about in it safely. Sand isn't really viable in Goldfish tanks because they tend to shovel too much of it about.>
Currently the pond has a rubber liner with no rocks or pebbles on the bottom. Rocks are around the sides near the top and the fish seen to enjoy poking their mouths in between the rocks looking for algae, etc.
<What they do.>
Do you have a thought about whether it is beneficial/essential to have gravel at the bottom of the tank. I think I would prefer to set up the tank without gravel and substitute the pond rocks and many plants to mimic the environment they are in now.
<I'd use gravel; the risks are trivial, and the benefits numerous.>
Many thanks Neale -- I really appreciate all your help on this issue.
Deborah
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: follow-up question, GF  09/03/09

Neale - once again many thanks. Sorry for my spelling error (I meant goldfish - but godfish sound nice too :).
<I thought so, too.>
Gravel it is. I'll put about 1" down (unless you have another thought). I think black gravel will be appropriate for this tank.
<If the plants are going into pots, then you only need just enough gravel to cover the glass and stop reflections.>
Take care Neale - if you ever find yourself in the Washington DC area, please let me know. My family and I would be very happy to take you to see the Baltimore Aquarium - it is fantastic. Regards, Deborah
<That's very kind of you. Enjoy your fish! Cheers, Neale.>

litter for pond substrate   8/29/2009
Hi Crew just wondering if I could use plain litter for my substrate. pond soil is hard to get where we live. Or do you have any other ideas of what I can use.
Darby
<Some litters can indeed be used... I'd "test" whatever you intend by soaking some in water, placing some simple floating "bunch" plant in the container, perhaps a platy or two... as a bio-assay. Bob Fenner>

Can you help me identify these there plants... Transplanting live plant mat. across State lines...  8/21/07 Dear Wet Web Media, <George> Attached are three plants - are they oxygenators? <Mmm, yes...> They are from Mosquito Lake in Ohio - Would they be ok to put in a backyard pond in Los Angeles? <... I STRONGLY recommend that you NOT use these plants in this setting... IF you have moved them from Ohio, please place in plastic bags, place in a freezer and toss out on trash day... pour the water they are in onto your lawn... REAL troubles in such transplantations... bits getting loose, moved about by waterfowl et al...> The feathery looking one was growing to about 3 feet tall in the lake. The other two appear more like grasses. Regards, George <There are more suitable species available locally... that live in hard, alkaline, warmer water... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/oxgrasses.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Dying plants... pond... no info.  08/01/07 Hello, <Hi there> I recently installed a 100 gallon pre-formed pond. Along with 4 relatively healthy fish - no koi, 2 comets, a Shubunkin, and a fantail - I planted a water lily and a pickerel weed, and also installed some oxygenating plants - Anacharis and something else. Before I put in the fish, however, I discovered tadpoles in the pond. Hooray! However, the plants are no longer producing leaves, in spite of one fertilizer tablet each. It seems, in fact, that they are dying. I did notice that the tadpoles seemed to be literally eating the leaves of the water lily. <Mmmm> Can anyone help me? I live in Central Texas. Thanks so much, Stephanie <Much to ask... re how these were planted, your water quality, maintenance... Please read here first: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdpltsovr.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Water Lilies, reading WWM    5/11/07 Good Morning: I have an outdoor pond in Orlando, Florida. For several years I have purchased a water lily and watched it flourish during the spring and   summer but die in the fall when the water gets colder. <Likely tropical ones... cool color, emersed petioles/stems... odoriferous... as opposed to more temperate species...> What species can I buy that will survive the fall/winter  temperatures? Thanks in advance for your help. Bill Bales <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/h2oliliesart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Koi Attacking New Plants - 06/06/2006 We have a 3000 gal pond in the panhandle of Texas.  The fish are very healthy and seem to be doing well for over a year in this pond. We have moved some of the lilies from a previous and these plants and the fish seem to coexist without challenge.  However every time we introduce new plants from a local nursery, the fish attack the plants and the containers.  Usually in the first 24 hours, the plants are moved about the pond even when we put rocks in the container and many times the plants are pulled out of the containers.   The plants we are putting in are more lilies, cat tails, and iris.  Any suggestions on how to introduce plants without having a battle with the fish?   Do we need to change plants? Any suggestions would be appreciated. <This is a little bit odd.  I would think that the fish are actually interested in tasty tidbits that are on the plants and in the soil of the pots....  maybe bug larvae, snail eggs, bugs, microorganisms....  I think I would try feeding the koi heavily for a few days before introducing the plants and see if that gets them less interested in the new plants.  I would probably also like to suggest that you have a large tub of pond water set aside just in case the fish do attack again, so you can at least remove the plants to keep them from being destroyed.> Thanks  -Dennis Moses,  Amarillo, Texas <I do hope this works for you!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina Fullhart,  Santa Cruz, California> <<Actually, not atypical behavior... more so in the warming/reproductive months, but Koi/Nishikigoi/Carp often do this period... may need to be "fenced off", separated from the plants, planting containers. RMF>>
Re: Koi and Plants in the pond
 - 06/07/2006 <<Actually, not atypical behavior... more so in the warming/reproductive months, but Koi/Nishikigoi/Carp often do this period... may need to be "fenced off", separated from the plants, planting containers. RMF>> <<<Thanks for this, Bob - I've never had more than four koi in a very, very sizeable pond, and that was several years ago, in Kansas....  They never disturbed the plants in the pond, but it was as close to "natural" as could be while still having been man-made, just dug into our clay soil and loaded with flora.  Or, perhaps they *did* disturb the plants, but the plants were so plentiful that it never showed.  Anyhoo, thanks!  -SCF>>> <Some, sometimes do... others... leave the plants alone... tis a mystery for shore. BobF>

Pond Plants.. 8/7/05 My floating pond plants are dying and I've noticed that my one Lily is starting to turn red, I have a small pond 1000 Gal and a UV system, I have two Painted Turtles and 10 fish.( They were feeder fish but the Turts leave   them alone and they've grown over the summer) I live in Maryland and I just can't figure out why they are turning colors and looking so bad. Thanks in Advance for any advice. Dawna Hubble <Mmm, the major sorts of factors that result in pond plant loss as you describe come down to mainly a lack of nutrient, incompatible water quality, and/or failure to compete with other life... Do you have test kits for nitrate, phosphate? Perhaps a pond-store nearby that can test these for you? Have you re-potted and re-fertilized the lily this year? Do you have a slimy bluish-black algae growing on the pond basin surface? Have you read our Pond subweb? Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm Scroll down to the "Plants" section and read. Bob Fenner>

Free Pond Plants in S. California 6/05 A neighbor, Rick has just come on by with an offer of free Hyacinths, Papyrus, Water Pickerel, Cat tails, Egeria/Anacharis, Duckweed... and mosquito fish... You can contact him... in San Diego, CA. Piecon@mindspring.com>

Pond plants, turtle fodder Hello, <Hi there> Could you please offer some advice about how to get plant life to grow in a pond and get ahead of the turtle population? In an effort to commune with nature, it appears we need an all out battle. <Mmm, I do have a plan... to discourage those rambunctious turtles rather than deter them from eating, breaking your plants, I encourage you to consider putting up a short (temporary) fence around the water feature... after a few weeks (to months...) they will "learn" there is no pond there... go elsewhere> We apparently need fast growing plants, but want to be careful of noxious weed which will take over our pond and the surrounding creeks. <Yes!> (Our pond connects with a large creek; care to not create an environmental nightmare is a concern also). <A HUGE one> We have a man made pond of almost an acre. The outside edge is walled (cement) and in the center is an island of trees (junk trees mostly, the beavers have taken the good ones). The water ranges from 3 feet at the wall to 9 feet then up to the island. We know there are turtles - red bellies, occasional snapper and whatever - along with various fish. Oh, there are muskrats too. We use a fountain for aeration. There is little if any vegetation currently except for some grass and weeds on the island. The island is primarily tree roots at this point. (We can't figure out what the turtles live on now). <... such a large, natural system... is a "horse of a different hue"...> I tried to put lilies into the pond (tropical). Started with 5. We caged them best we could (irregular bottom) hoping to deter turtles and fish until they could get growing. First day - one entire lily was gone. By the third day, doubling up on the wire leaves two lilies left. They too are doomed as we can't keep them caged forever. <Yes... Mmm, the cooler water varieties are tougher here... but still almost irresistible to the animals you list...> Is there a way to get ahead of the turtles? It would be nice to build a habitat that is conducive for them and frogs. But, it appears they don't want to give us a chance. Can you help with ideas and/or advice? <Am fresh out on this matter... but do know where I would look for info. next... your State "Fish and Game", then next, the local colleges if they have Ag. and Zoology departments> Desperate in NJ, Thyra <Ah, my in-laws live in Belmar, Garfield, Kennelon... Bob Fenner>

Over-wintering water hyacinth I live in New England (cold winters!).   I have two ponds that I filter with bogs, in which I use a lot of water hyacinth every year.  Every fall I discard the water hyacinth and buy a fresh batch the following spring.  Is it possible to  keep the water hyacinth alive over the winter in an indoor tank?  What kind of artificial lighting would I need to do that, and what would I feed them during this time? <Can be (must be if they're to survive) kept indoors... something "bright" (intense), either fluorescent or even incandescent, suspended over the top (on a support that can be raised/lowered best) on a timer (maybe ten hours a day of light). I would not chemically feed the Hyacinth, but have some fishes in the tank that you feed instead. Bob Fenner> Thanks Jeffrey M. Zegas
Re: wintering water hyacinth
do you think it would work with natural light?...placing the tank right next to two windows in a "sun room" with all windows on three walls? <Possibly. The hyacinths will likely "die back" quite a bit (shrink in size, turn less green, lose all inflorescence, but survive to the next "outdoor" season. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pond Fish and plants Hey guys ... nice web site. <Thanks> Question: I put in a pond a couple of years ago and while building the pond I bought a bunch of feeder gold fish and put in the pond to keep the mosquitoes down fully expecting them to die from all the mortar I dropped in the pond. Well they did not and are now large and a very pretty assortment of fish. I also have plants and wanted to put a couple of koi in but I've been told that koi will eat all the plants. Should I just stay with gold fish or can koi be added? <There are ways (potting, separated areas) to have both koi and aquatic plants... and even plants that Nishikigoi don't particularly care for. I would not be deterred in trying some of both in the same system. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Bob R.

Re: Leeches I found the phrase that I was looking for....it helps to actually read the whole article. In this case it was referring to cleaning/sterilization of new plants to be introduced to a pond, by use of an alum dip. But do you know of any techniques for leech control/eradication in an existing pond ? Natural predators ? Thanks for your help. <the use of salt is inhibiting but also harms plants. You may need to run the pond fallow for more than a month without fishes> Mark <kindly, Anthony>

Re: More commerce input from Perry in SG Bob Talking about plants. I recently went thru some figures published by the Financial Times on the 10 most popular potted plants sold thru the Flower market in Amsterdam. The Hyacinth was one of them. Are these similar to the ones that choke up much of South East Asia's waterways and reservoirs? <Eichornia crassipes... the same pest and ornamental species the world over... originally moved from its native Brazil near the turn of the century last for part of a World's Fair in the U.S.A. reportedly> Man, there is big money to be made from a pest!! Perry <Have made my living by being one for decades! Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon 

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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