Need help establishing a small wildlife pond


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I just finished installing a small pond, and now want to start the process of establishing and stabilizing a self regulating ecosystem. It's a 35 gallon plastic liner that at the moment has a small solar fountain. I'm in Maryland.

I need advice!,;
  • Should I add gravel to the bottom?
  • What kind of plants should I add? The primary focus is function and utility, but visual appeal would be a nice secondary attribute. I want to avoid overly aggressive plants, unless they are edible.
  • Are there any plants that could be planted beside the pond and trail into it?
  • I plan to add a few fish for mosquito control. Should I wait until some time after plants are established, or can I add everything at once?
  • Would a small solar powered airstone be beneficial? (Electricity not available.)
Thanks in advance!

Dave
 
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Since your pond is so small, only 35 gallons, you will be limited to what plants or animals you will be able to keep.

Gravel bottoms are one of those opinion things. Some like it, some don't for various reasons. Gravel can look nice and provide a great amount of surface area to colonize beneficial bacteria, but it also can be difficult to net out solids that may collect down there.

There are so many plants that are beneficial in helping to filter your water. Maybe a few floating plants would look nice and also be functional. Water Lettuce, Water Hyacinths come to mind, but there many others.

I have a lot of Creeping Jenny planted in the ground that trails into the water. If it's planted in the ground it will survive my cold Pennsylvania winters.
Parrots Feather can do the same, but I find it doesn't survive my winters, so I replace it every year.

You might want to wait a couple weeks for things to settle a bit before adding fish. Only add a couple to start with. I used cheap feeder goldfish years ago to start mine up. Most of them are still in my pond over 12 years later.

I don't have any experience with solar powered aerators or pumps. I would guess they would need some type of (rechargeable) battery backup. Hopefully someone with that experience will chime in.

A lot of people start out small, catch the pond bug and eventually build something bigger. This happens a lot.
 
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addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
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Welcome to the forum!

Stick with rosy reds, fan tails gold fish they will do best in a pond that size.
Post some pictures when you can.
 

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