Outdoor Patio Pond – Part 2

Some major developments here with the outdoor minipond / tote experiment. The neighborhood where my wife and I have just moved to has some strict rules about what kind of “decorations” are allowed outside the units. Anything that can be considered disruptive or unsightly. We agreed that a plastic storage bin filled with muddy water and probably mosquito larvae falls under the category of “unsightly”. However the new Amazon Frogbit seemed to be doing so well! It would be a shame to simply tear it all down…

Kaboom! Upgrade!

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Here is the upgraded “patio pond”. It is a 20-ish gallon half whiskey barrel from our local big box hardware store. Too cold for plants yet.

Yesterday we drove to the local big box hardware store, and I picked up a 24″ diameter plastic half-barrel and some pea gravel. I transferred the mud from the original tote and spread it out. I then covered it with a little less than an inch of the gravel. I let it sit overnight, and Mother Nature helped fill the barrel with some rain water.

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Here is the barrel this morning, before filling. The rain did a decent job.

Next was to figure out a good way to keep the water from becoming stagnant. I have a small collection of air pumps that I find at secondhand stores, so I figured that would be good. Since they are indoor use pumps, I thought it best to protect it from the weather. So I cut a couple slits in a plastic food container, put the pump inside, and fed the air hose and power cable through the slits. I then did my best to tape off the slits. Then I punctured the container high up on the sides with a metal punch. This was to allow air into the vessel. To try and keep the moisture level down, I threw a desiccant packet in the tub with the pump. I also have a used sponge filter to attach to the business end of the air hose.

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My DIY outdoor air pump. You can see the secondhand store price sticker on the pump. Gotta practice the Three Rs!

The weather report says it is going to be too cold this week to start putting any plants, fish, or invertebrates in this thing. I’m hoping by the weekend it will begin to warm up again. I am looking forward to a shipment of Water Lettuce and Japanese Trapdoor Snails from Eric at http://aquarium-plants-shrimp-snails.blogspot.com/ . He’s a great guy for sending them to me, and you should check out the awesome plants, shrimp, and snails he has for sale. You can see some video and images at his Facebook Page and Instagram feed.

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The Amazon Frogbit from the old bin is alive and well! It’s hard to appreciate from this view, but the roots grew very long and sank into the mud.

I also plan to throw include the Amazon Frogbit from the first tote/bin as well as some Salvinia minima and Dwarf Water Lily that I ordered earlier this week. Of course I’ll have to include a few Ramshorn Snails, and maybe some fish if all goes well. We’ll see!

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