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Chef's mini deck pond

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Haven't had much time for projects the last couple weeks because we welcomed my second daughter into the world on the 19th, but I found time yesterday when everyone else was napping to set up my mini pond! It's just a small one to get my feet wet, and if all goes well I'll start a large one next year. 


It's roughly 25 gallons. The shelf I made from a milk crate if supporting a fabric planter with sweet flag in it. The fiber pot to the right is a pond lily. I also added a few stems each of cabomba and rotala to see how they do and crypt undulata red both in the open area in front and the shaded area under the shelf to see how that does. After I took the pictures I added some dwarf water lettuce and Frogbit. 1

I want to add more aquarium plants to see what does well(preferably heavy root feeders), but that's what I had on hand. If the crypts do well I'll add some pink flamingo I'm growing and I have another fabric planter if I decide I want another bog plant. 

I have a medium sponge filter and nano air pump coming from the coop for filtration and it should fit under the shelf. 

For stocking it will be mutt guppies and ramshorn snails. I added 5 snails from my shrimp tank when I set it up, and the guppies are in my QT tank until the temps outside are warm enough (I'm thinking once the lows are in the high 50s for at least a week). I'm starting with 6 females and 4 males. 

The substrate is a new mixture I'm testing out. It's 2 parts organic soil to one part safetsorb with a little crushed coral added in. It's capped with 2 parts safetsorb to 1 part crushed coral. I feel like safetsorb mixed into the soil gives a better mix for planting in and I hope the safetsorb can absorb the excess nutrients that's common in the begining of dirted tank setup and store it for plants to use later. The crushed coral is added to help buffer the water. 

My hopes for this pond is just to make some guppies and hopefully fund a larger pond next year. If I'm able to propagate plants in it as well that's just a bonus. 

Any thoughts on the setup or plants that would do well in it? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So the fish have been in almost a week and everything is going great! It looks like most or all of the females are pregnant, which I'm guessing actually happened while they were in quarantine since I noticed like 3 days after they went in the pond.

I added 2 small heaters I had around because I jumped the gun on adding the fish and temps aren't high enough over night. I also tucked a softball sized portion of moss from my shrimp tank under the milk crate shelf so that there will be more cover for fry. 

The crypts have pretty much melted back to nothing, we'll see if they recover. The rest of the plants seem to have adapted and new growth is starting. I'm still looking for more ideas for plants that will do well in the pond. 

I've had one run in with wildlife. I came out to feed them the other morning and my sweet flag was knocked over and the dirt spilled out so you couldn't see anything and everything was moved around. I replanted the sweet flag and waited for the dirt to settle so I could see if any fish were missing and luckily none were. I'm guessing the cat that's always walking through our yard jumped in. 


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  • 4 weeks later...

My guppys dropped fry! I noticed them yesterday and they couldn't have been older than a day or 2. I'm not sure how the crypts and other plants are doing because I have green water and can only see a few inches down. I'm removing a softball sized portion of frogbit and dwarf water lettuce about twice a week and my lily is about to flower. I think I'll buy a small uv sterilizer to get rid of the green water. It's great for the fish, but it doesn't look nice and this pond looking good is one of my wife's requirements for me keeping it. 

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