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Trop Pond, Any Suggestions Appreciated
September 27, 2008
1:14 am
Forum Posts: 25
Member Since:
April 24, 2008
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I set up a tropical balcony pond earlier this year. The pond dimensions are 160 cm x 100cm x 44cm in a 'bean shape' (apologies, my vocab levels drop relative to alcohol intake). I set the pond up in may and initially hoped to filter purely by plants. Unfortunately the water turned a rather fetching shade of green and you could slice through the algae film floating on the surface as though it was a birthday cake. This meant I had to break open the wallet (the spiders wern't happy after all that web building /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> ) and buy a filter which I begrudgingly did (3000 L per hour, the fact the pump broke last week is another story) and the water was clear within 24 hours (that teaches me for being a tight arse). I seeded the filter with mature media and fed with pure ammonia and as such cycled in under 2 weeks. I added a trio of swordtails (full credit to the store assistant, I wanted to buy 2 m and 2f as that was all they had left, the assistant would only sell me the trio of 1m 2 f as she rightly said the females would otherwise be too stressed, but again I digress) as I was naturally excited and wanted colourful fish. I hardly ever saw them again for the rest of the summer /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" />

Common sense reigned and the thought of a breeding group of livebearers with plentiful food and without a natural predator became a pressing concern. I was at a french fish store (again I digress, Basel is on the border of France and Germany and as such on my usual 2 hour saturday shop I buy French wine and croissants in France and German beer and sausage from a German supermarket in the same bike trip). Anyway I usually pass a large French pet chain, I guess it's not dissimilar to 'pets at home' in the UK. This time I felt compelled to enter and even though they had some great rare species (mandarin and Caridina gracilirostris shrimp for example) I ended up leaving with 10 zebra danio (god knows how) and 8 M. praecox. I guess I chose the danio as fry control (at least thats what I tell myself so I can sleep at night, what with all the possible choices and potential). The praecox were juveniles, only 0.5" in length and unfortunately all turned out to be male. The reasoning behind the praecox was as a trial for next years possible rainbowfish breeding project (more later). Anyway, here are some pics:

1) initial setup phase. After constructing the outer barrier and lining the ground with polystyrene sheets and pond insulator lining (looked like bloody expensive old carpet fragments to me) I placed the pvc lining and attached it to the fencing (with the measely 8 screws that were included in the set, I'm still waiting on my order of an additional 20). I then added water and plants. (variety of irises, cabomba, and other oxygentors). I also purchased a 300w heater programmed to kick in if the temp dropped below 22 degrees C.

2sbwgok.jpgImage Enlarger

Temps were okay and things generally seemed good. I added a small amount of silvinia natans. I then was away for 5 weeks but I had a friend drop a cube of bloodworm into the pond every 3 days. I returned to see a generally happy pond and thick layer of natans, although with very black water, as seen in the pic below (after removing a full bucket of natans):

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I didn't see much in the way of fry untill I tried to empty the pond this week, when I came across loads in the form of fleeting glances. Now the pond fish are incredibly tame and would feed from my fingers. Hence, the first batch on monday were easy to catch (4 praecox, 3 danio and 1 juvie swordtail). However I failed to realise that they were very fast learners. I tried again on wednesday and suddenly the fish were like the SAS. It took me two hours to catch an additional 2 rainbows, a pair of adult and one more juvie swordtails and 3 more danios. I also had to bring all the tropical land plants inside as temps have plummeted as low as 7 degrees overnight. This brings me to the current pond status:


Praecox and danios ready for transfer. Note praecox on the top right of image, the stomach appears swollen and scales seem to be protruding. Since transfer to the Juwel tank he seems lethagic and pale, I'm concerned.

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So tomorrow I still have to capture 4 danio, 2 preacox and 1 female swordtail. Plus countless fry of differing ages and possibly differeing species (and it seemed such a good idea at the time). I expect lots of swearing to be involved /ohmy.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":o" border="0" alt="ohmy.gif" /> Otherwise I have to keep heating the damn thing and that aint cheap.

Anyway, hopefully this weekend will bring 'balcony pond 08' to a close. Now I hope to have fun planning for next year. My plan (and dream) is to attend the rainbowfish meeting in Bavaria and source some G. wanamensis. I will then breed them over the summer, maybe adding a few harmless male guppies for colourful visual interest. I'm not overly confident that this will be possible but it is my number 1 choice. However (if anyone is still reading this far) does anyone else have any additional breeding suggestions? Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Additional for Jared (hope you're reading this). You may notice in the above pics that the Acer has turned from a short but compact bush into a tall (but incredibly straggly) long stemmed thing. The leaves are now starting to curl and I'm a little worried. Is there any way of promoting bush growth as opposed to unsustainable height and will it be okay outdoors for the winter?

September 27, 2008
11:44 am
geordie John
Forum Posts: 69
Member Since:
February 20, 2008
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Hi Owls,
Your pond looks great ,theres nothing better than having a drink and looking down on fish LoL
I've just removed a huge clump of java moss from my pond I thought it would need binning but its very healthy . I've also manage to catch a couple of guppies but the rest disapear into deap water or the cobbles as soon as they see a net !
Your Acer's growth with depend on which Species and variety it is , aspect and nutrients . But if its getting a bit leggy cut it back a bit when the leaves have fallen .Best time is just before it comes into bud. A larger pot may be beneficial , a terracota one will prevent it being blown over over winter .
All the best,

September 27, 2008
12:04 pm
Forum Posts: 315
Member Since:
September 7, 2008
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I can't help with any of your questions, but I would like to say that reading all of this was like an old dream come true, because I too, always dreamed of having a small pond on my balcony. /wub.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":wub:" border="0" alt="wub.gif" /> I was so glad to read this, it returns the hope I had already burried. Thx so much for sharing this. Is it okay if I take your pictures and save them on my hard disc to show them to my sister who doesn't speak english, but who recently lost her (garden) pond?

September 27, 2008
12:56 pm
Community Helper
Forum Posts: 1099
Member Since:
May 13, 2008
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lovely setup u got there mate /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> can't you close the balcony with plastic-like curtains to keep the temp up?

September 27, 2008
8:14 pm
Málaga, Spain
Forum Posts: 8239
Member Since:
June 13, 2011
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Really cool. /cool.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="B)" border="0" alt="cool.gif" /> I definitely plan to do something similar in the future. I think G. wanamensis sounds a great plan but as for other suggestions....some anabantoid? There are a few like Ctenopoma that are hardly ever spawned in captivity that might do really well in there. It also looks perfect for Aphanius or similar species and these could be kept outdoors all year round I dare say.

That M. praecox might have dropsy but it's difficult to tell from the pic. Are the scales noticeably raised when you look at it from the side Brendan?

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