Small container garden

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Hi all! My son put together a small water garden on our porch -- a project for boy scouts. It is in an oblong galvanized tub -- probably holds about 20 gallons of water. In it, we have gravel, a royal fern, two bamboos, bloody dock, one water lettuce, and two other floating plants -- not sure of the name. (They have big round air bladders and rubbery leaves.) The fern and the bloody dock are still in their pots. We cut several vertical slots along the sides of the pots, to allow the roots to grow outward and into the gravel. My son made a VERY cool "fountain" - a floating faucet -- with the optical illusion of the faucet hanging in midair, pouring out of thin air. We put the pump under a pot with vents and mesh screening. Lined the pot with aquarium filter material -- to allow the water being sucked in to filter a bit. So far so good and all looks great. He set this up about 3 weeks ago. I treated the water to remove chlorine, etc.
Well -- over the weekend, we added two small comets. (Very small now. When they get too big, we can move them to my neighbor's large pond.) As far as I know, all should be well. Yesterday, one fish died. The water is starting to look a little "murky." The stems of the fern are looking a tad yellow.
Is this just the beginning of the biological cycle with things trying to get in balance? Or is any of this ringing warning bells? (Other than the fish death? :p) I am not a total novice -- I've had many aquariums through the years with success. I know how to add fish properly, etc. The light conditions are right for the plants. I thought 3 weeks would be long enough to wait to add fish. But maybe not. I'm going to take a water sample to our local pet store and get the ph tested.
I'm in the northwest quadrant of Georgia, if that helps.
I'd appreciate any thoughts from some experts! Thanks!
 
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The floating plant *may* be water hyacinth.


p-11803-Water-Hyacinth-F.jpg


Is the container pond getting any light?

opps! sorry, I just re-read your post and saw that you feel there is enough light for the plants.....
 
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Meyer Jordan

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The Nitrogen cycle really doesn't start until you add fish. The is not sufficient Ammonia in the water to encourage colonization of nitrifying bacteria. If pH is between 6.5 - 8.5 and Stable it is fine. Need to test for ammonia and nitrite.
 
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Thanks guys! The murky looking water didn't start until after I added the fish -- the water test (which checked all sorts of things) showed great results. They said the water was ever-so-slightly "hard" but just barely. The fish department folks seem to think I should give it a week and then bring another sample to check again. I'm hoping all will be well in about a week or so. When I download pictures from the camera, I will post a picture of our mini-pond in a "bucket." Thanks again!
 
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Well - the second of the two fish died yesterday also. What do you all suggest? Waiting a week and then maybe adding a couple of feeder minnows, rather than goldfish? Should I change the water at all? I found the dead fish this morning but think he died hiding under a rock. Will the bacteria from half a day of decomposition make the water funky and toxic? Or will it "feed" the plants?
 
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Sorry to hear about the other fish.....I would change out all the water and then add a few rosy reds (feeder minnows) as they will stay smaller than the goldfish. You could probably even get away with more than two of the rosy reds.

Would love to see a picture of your container pond.
 
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I was wondering if changing the water would just postpone the nitrogen cycle getting going. Wouldn't the waste from the first two small fish be good for the plants?
I will put a picture on sometime soon!
Thanks for all the help, everyone!
 
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I was thinking of changing water incase of parasites or bacteria from the fish that died. Feeder fish are not always cared for very well and are sick or have parasites many times when purchased. Just don't want to possibly infect the new fish.

Do you have a fish tank running in the house? If so you could always steal some matured media from your tank. Or even start a sponge filter in the tank and after its matured move it to the pond.
 
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OH! Yes! I see -- it's been a while since I've had fish... totally wasn't thinking. You are absolutely right. If I do a water change, I would normally do a little therapeutic aquarium salt. But that would probably hurt the plants, wouldn't it? My fish tanks never had live plants - only artificial.
My neighbor has a very healthy pond that is practically self-sustaining. I could get some water from her pond!
Thanks again!
 
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You're Welcome :)

Some plants are more salt tolerant than others. You would have to do a little research on each type of plant you have in the pond. I have used salt at 1 TBS per 5 gallons of water with live plants and have not had trouble.

I wouldn't bother with the neighbors pond water. It's not really helpful as far as maturing your pond. You would need some filter media or other items from inside the pond (rocks or decor)
 
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Well guess what? I did a little research and it seems that the chemicals used in galvanized metal are toxic to goldfish. Darn it. :( I guess it will just be a plant garden.
 
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Galvanized stock tanks can be and are used for keeping fish. I wonder what the difference is between your container and those?

Either way with fish or without we would still like to see your container pond.
 
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Here it is! Maria -- that's an interesting point! I need to do more research! Thank you!
 

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