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Two shrimp tanks and a patio pond.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m starting to have more fun with my ”patio pond” as I grow out my shrimp tanks with the “dry start method”. I thought I would share.
Last year I put together an experimental pot with some water-loving plants. I took some information from Diane Walstad‘s book and applied it as much as I could to this little experiment. In the plastic “barrel bucket” I put down an inch or so of bagged potting soil. I then planted a “Rose of Sharon” type hybrid of hibiscus (a water-loving hibiscus) and some variegated “swamp lilies“ and covered the soil with quartz gravel. The results were great at first. The plants grew, I slowly added more water as the weeks past to let the plants adjust to the water. I was trying to simulate the “wet season” we have here in Florida where we have seasonal wetlands that later dry out in winter. There were no fish so I added mosquito dunks to control any unwanted pests.

Plant Flowerpot Houseplant Leaf Flower


The hibiscus bloomed and everything was great until winter (the plants died back).

Flower Plant Petal Hawaiian hibiscus Botany


Well, I dumped the water out and left the bucket on the side of the house forgetting about it until a couple of weeks ago. The hibiscus completely died off but the swamp lilies came back. I am in the process of starting some “dirted” shrimp tanks and I am growing some of those plants in the “dry start method”. I ordered frogbit for the shrimp tanks but I needed a place for my frogbit to grow while my dry-start plants matured. So I dragged the patio pond to my back patio filled it with water and placed the frogbit into it. This time is a little different!

Plant Flowerpot Houseplant Wheel Terrestrial plant


The lilies melted a little but have new growth. The frogbit is putting out fresh new leaves and the oldest leaves are now dying off. I did put a chunk of “mosquito dunk“ in this time but I added about five mosquito fish from a local pond too.

Terrestrial plant Grass Terrestrial animal Metal Natural material


I did two water changes since I added the water. First one was 75% change and the most recent one was 50%. I used a water conditioner to remove dangerous impurities. The water is clear, has a pleasant (not offensive) ”pond” smell and is now teaming with life! I’m seeing all new critters pop up. I think they were hitchhikers from the frogbit I ordered.

First I have these tiny arthropods swimming around. They are brown or green. Very small. They are eating algae like crazy. Do you know what they are?

Event Soil Stain


The second hitchhiker are these FAST little snails. They zip around the bowl pretty fast. Any clue on what species? My frogbit must have had eggs on it! There is a chance these snails are local and found my patio pond.

Arthropod Insect Natural material Pest Parasite


Everything seems happy! The arthopods are eating the algae and the mosquito fish are eating the arthopods. My frogbit is growing and the overall pond appears “stable”. It’s just sunshine, dirt, plants and a bucket!
 

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Two shrimp tanks and a patio pond.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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Two shrimp tanks and a patio pond.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Update! NINJA FISH: The mosquito fish have definitely settled into the pond. They have found ALL of the good hiding spots! 😂 If you keep mosquito fish in a pond, don’t worry if they “disappear”. It could take me 5 minutes with a flashlight to find even one fish in my little 5 gallon patio pond. I was looking around the pond on the ground if they jumped out, also searching the bottom and surface of the pond for dead fish. Nothing! Only when I sat there completely still for many minutes would I see them moving together from shadowy spot to the other. These are not show fish! I can see why people don’t keep them as pets 😅
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Since I can’t post video here I created a .gif of a video of the arthropods in my patio pond. The color was reduced in converting the video. They are BRIGHT GREEN in real life, stuffed with algae. They are taking advantage of the sunshine on the side of the tub to really go after the algae. They are real go-getters! I look forward to adding these guys to my shrimp tanks! Let me know what you think of the .gif I’ll post a link to the conversion website below. It was free and easy.
Water Hood Amber Liquid Automotive lighting


 

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Two shrimp tanks and a patio pond.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I gave the frogbit a haircut. I’m assuming this is how it works. The frogbit put out a long 12 inch “rhizome” where pups were sprouting leaves and roots. I want to get some “small” cute frogbit for my shrimp tank as the very mature frogbit I have is way too big for my needs. I cut the pups off. I’m hoping they grow into the cute little clumps of leaves I see in people’s tanks.
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Water Vertebrate Leaf Plant Organism
 

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Two shrimp tanks and a patio pond.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Based on the advice of another forum user, I have moved my anubias nana to the patio pond. It was recommended because apparently anubias prefers to be attached to something in the open water and not with its roots buried. It didn’t look happy and one out of three of my clumps turned to mush. I put the mush in the pond as it did have some living tissue on the rhizome. If it recovers, great.
The rest of the anubias I attached to some cholla wood. I have been “seasoning” my cholla wood in my patio pond before I add it to my shrimp tanks. I boiled the cholla wood for half an hour and let it sink into the bottom of my patio pond. I stuffed the anubias into the holes. I’m hoping the ostrocods (I found out the little arthropods are most likely ostrocods) will do their job and eat away at any dead tissue.
Organism Wood Terrestrial plant Reptile Scaled reptile

The ostrocods have been great! I count my success in my patio pond on the ostrocods. They have been quickly eating any and all dead plant tissue and algae. Without them I’m pretty sure my patio pond would be a green, soupy mess. I am not feeding the mosquito fish. They are eating the ostrocods. I saw a small mosquito fish swim along and eat five ostrocods in a row! They’ll keep the population in check!
 

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And here I am, rolling along, thinking that frogbit is just a bigger version of duckweed when your gif clearly shows it can reach the size of anubias when they really have room to grow! There seems to be two schools of thought about how you cut them back: 1) by snipping at their roots or, 2) by removing the whole plant. Which do you recommend?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
And here I am, rolling along, thinking that frogbit is just a bigger version of duckweed when your gif clearly shows it can reach the size of anubias when they really have room to grow! There seems to be two schools of thought about how you cut them back: 1) by snipping at their roots or, 2) by removing the whole plant. Which do you recommend?
North American frogbit grown in the hot, bright Florida sun can get HUGE apparently. I’m trying my best to create some small babies that will fit in my shrimp jars. I have some stems that are 7-8 inches long before the leaf! I had one put out a sprout to create a new cluster that was over 12 inches long. Frogbit can get big!

I am not going to keep the giant mutant ones in my shrimp jars. I’m going to try a new approach. I’m going to see if I can keep them small by trimming the oldest leaves. Frogbit likes to grow in a whorl shape with the youngest leaves at the top. Maybe my plan will work, maybe it won’t. I also don’t mind throwing some away too. I have noticed that people who trim the roots get the frogbit to make “bushier” root systems rather than one long root. Since my jars are small I can’t afford 12 inch long roots! But I read what Diana said about the frogbit roots, that they are providing a valuable service removing ammonia and diffusing oxygen into the water. If I trim the roots, I will take that into account and not be overzealous!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Anubias don't do well in the cold. If your nights are below 65F, I'd take them inside.
Thanks for the heads up. Thankfully that’s not a problem this time of year in South Florida. The heat index at this time of year is above 100. I plan on bringing the anubias back inside in two weeks when I flood my shrimp jars. I’m just letting it recover and grow in my pond for a while.
 
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