[Wet Thumb Forum]-Chris's Half-Barrel Container Garden - Nano Aquariums - Aquatic Plant Central

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Nano Aquariums Nanos aquariums may be small but they can make a striking canvas for your aquascapes.

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Old 07-29-2005, 09:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Here's a shot of my lowly half barrel pond I set up around May to placate myself while I save for a serious in-the-ground pond. It contains two amazon swords pulled from my 38 gal & poyted in fluorite (I'm hoping to get them to grow emerse--they've started), amazon frogbit (l. laevigatum), azolla moss, duckweed, water hycinth, water lettuce, one gi-normous jungle val about 7' long (also pulled from the 3, a growing number of mosquito fish given out free by LA county, and pond snails. The potted marginal is marsilea crenata, which I'm hoping to get to grow submerse in my 38.

I got the barrel from Lowe's Home Improvment store for $17, but didn't spring for the liner for another $20- just filled & emptied it repeatedly once a week for a month, added water hyacinth and ran a power head rigged to a bag full of charcoal for a month, until the musty whiskey smell was no longer detectable. After about 5 weeks I added two guinea pig mosquito fish, and when they made it, I threw in the rest. The repeated soaking of the wood caused it to expand to the point where it's water tight.
The barrel holds about 25-30 gallons. I top off 2-3 times a week with straight water from the hose and have never done a water change. The floating plants are so packed in now I'm giving them away to co-workers. I've found l. laevigatium so crammed that it actually sent up aerial leaves similar to the way hycinth does, rather than them just floating waterlily-style. The laevigatum also has roots about 14" long.

The other little pot is a ceramic one with a wine bottle cork in the drainage hole. It contains l. lavigatum, an unknown floater, parrot's feather, duckweed, variegated society garlic, red-stem taro, and an unidentified lily--and snails.

Anyway, I'm glad AB has a pond forum, and thanks for including container gardens!
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Old 07-29-2005, 09:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Lovely little ponds! Be careful about setting up "nano-ponds" while waiting to get a bigger one - these tiny container gardens are highly addictive! I set up a pond in a bath 11 years ago, while planning various bigger ones, and I just can't stop putting plants and water into every available container. I now have 14 "nano-ponds", and still haven't got my dreamed of big pond!

How does a seven foot Jungle Val fit in a barrel? It must be wrapped round and round the sides! The Marsilea crenata looks very nice. I thought I was growing this plant, but then I discovered I have M. drummondii. Stupid nursery mislabelling their plants.

From Alex.
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Thank you, Alex!

I was pulling water lettuce & hyacinth out this afternoon to put in a bucket while it awaits being given away, saw my fish for the first time in two weeks (because the surface was finally visible), and thought, "I could easily fill another two or three barrels." You are exactly right--it is completely addictive! I started looking around for a good site...

On a whim I tested the water for the first time since I set it up a few months ago, and come to find out, its one of two of my tanks that has zero nitrates. The other winner is my filterless El Natural gourami tank. The rest hover between 10-40 ppm. Those floating plants must be hungry!

By the way, I really love your bathtub water garden. I am thinking of ordering or otherwiase locating some daphnia or other tiny creatures to put in my "ponds" since I too am kind of enamored of every little moving thing that happens to appear.

The jungle val (if indeed that is what it is) was wrapped spool-like around at the surface of my 38. Now I've no idea how the mosquito fish find room to swim, te barrel is so full of roots. I found a section of the val this afternoon, and it had beefed up to over an inch wide. I'm a bit frightened to think what must be lurking under the surface since I put it in--like some kind of ocotpus.
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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By the way, since I don't trust common names: the unidentified floater in the pot was salvinia sp., while the lily is Zephyranthes candida "fairy lily", the variegated society garlic is Tulbaghia violacea "tricolor," and the "red stem taro" is Colocasia esculenta.
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Old 07-31-2005, 07:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Dear Chris,

So there is someone else out there who likes little water creatures, instead of wanting to kill them at every possible opportunity! I have ended up with quite a menagerie after I collected some plants from a local creek a few years ago. There must have been lots of little hitchhikers on them, because I now have Daphnia, Cyclops, two types of flatworms, two types of tiny round beetles, minute spotted things with antennae that like perching on plants and some kidney-shaped creatures that swim in circles! They live in all my tanks and ponds, along with blackworms and four types of snails. They are useful, fascinating to watch and the fish enjoy snacking on them.

Thanks for the compliment on my bath pond. Sadly it no longer looks anything like that; the iris and milfoils have taken over and the poor water lilies are being choked. I rarely see the fish in all the plants.

From Alex.
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