Pool to Bird Sanctuary




Artcl.: Tx.WaterGardening
Bird Island
Bugs, Water
Conversion Ideas
Convert Sw. Pool
Float'g Island
InstaFix PG
Lily Pads floating

Mosquito Fish
Native Plants
Nurseries, Supplies
Matt Boring Art's
New Patio Ideas
Organic Pond
Planting Time Ref
Plants Margin/a>
Plants Aquatic

Pond Guy Notes
pgmuckdefensee Pg Clear Solution
Pg DefensePac
Pg Muck Defense
Pg Nature's Defense
Pg Simply Clear
Pg Stress Reducer
Pool Pump
Pond Conditioner
Skamper Ramp
Texas Pools
Waterfall build
Wildlife Hab.

Aquatic Plants
Aztec Arrowhead
Bird Island
Floating Plants
Ginger Lily
Green Taro
Lemon Bacopa
Mexican Papyrus
Society Garlic
Water Clover
Water Lilies
Water Lilies
Water Lilies
Water Lilies
Water Mint
Water Primrose

Azolla (mosquito fern, duckweed fern, fairy moss, water fern) is a genus of seven species of aquatic ferns in the family Salviniaceae. They are extremely reduced in form and specialized, looking nothing like other typical ferns but more resembling duckweed or some mosses ~ Azolla Caroliniana, Fairy Moss

Azolla is a highly productive plant. It doubles its biomass in 3–10 days, depending on conditions, and yield can reach 8–10 tonnes fresh matter/ha in Asian rice fields. 37.8 t fresh weight/ha (2.78 t DM/ha dry weight) has been reported for Azolla pinnata in India (Hasan et al., 2009).

Azolla filiculoidess (Red Azolla) is the only member of this genus and of the family Azollaceae in Tasmania. It is a very common native aquatic plant in Tasmania. It is particularly common on farm dams and other still water bodies. The plants are small (usually only a few cm across) and float, but can be very abundant and form large mats. The plants are typically red, and have very small water repellent leaves. Azolla floats on the surface of water by means of numerous, small, closely overlapping scale-like leaves, with their roots hanging in the water. They form a symbiotic relationship with the cyanobacterium Anabaena azollae, which fixes atmospheric nitrogen, giving the plant access to the essential nutrient. This has led to the plant being dubbed a "super-plant", as it can readily colonise areas of freshwater, and grow at great speed - doubling its biomass every two to three days.

What is Azolla?
Azolla is a small aquatic fern with a branched stem and bilobed leaves. The roots that emerge from the stem help the plants to float on water. It is generally found floating on stagnant water. There is a small cavity on the upper most part of the leaf which houses as many as 80,000 blue green algae having the capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen and make it available to Azolla. In return the blue green algae gets shelter and food from Azolla fern and blue green algae. When the plant dies and decays in the soil nitrogen becomes available to plants.

What All can AZOLLA do?

Azolla can double its body weights in 3-5 days. In 3-4 weeks, 5-10 tonnes of biomass can be obtained from one hectare providing at least 30 kg nitrogen. Plant body analysis of Azolla (dry weight basis) has shown that it contains 4.5% nitrogen (N), 2.6% phosphorus (P) and 0.9% potash (K).

Besides NPK, Azolla is a good source of secondary nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and sulphur.

Since it contains 16-24% protein, it is used in the production of cattle and poultry feed.

The use of Azolla in rice field at the rate of 200 gm square metre area can increase rice yield by 12-38%. Experiments have shown that application of 10 tonnes of fresh Azolla biomass in one hectare, adds as much as 100 kg nitrogen.

In rice fields a good growth of Azolla can check weed growth as well.

More than seven species of Azolla have been identified so far. It grows well in soils with less clay and more sand with an optimum pH ranging between 5-7 and temperature range of 20-30 degrees C. Azolla can be dried and preserved for later use as manure. It has been estimated that 300 kg dry Azolla is equivalent to 5 tonnes of green Azolla.

Azolla caroliniana Common Name(s):
Fairy moss
Category: Water Garden
Comment: Leaves normally not eaten by fish; overwinter indoors; naturalized in shallow ponds, ditches and sluggish streams
Height: Less than 1 in.
Foliage:vLacy, bright green fronds that turn reddish in full sun and during fall
Flower: Not showy


Azolla event The Azolla event ( Azolla is the botanical name of a genus of fresh water ferns, which includes the large duckweed , event is English for "event") was a massive influx of water ferns in the Arctic Ocean around 49 Ma (million years ago), during the Eocene era . The dead ferns sank to the anoxic seabed, where large quantities of vegetable carbon were stored in this way . Since the carbon is in organic matterof plants originating from carbon dioxide from the earth's atmosphere , the concentration of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere decreased considerably. Scholars think that the Azolla event is one of the reasons for the cooling of the climate from the warm tropical conditions during the Eocene to the Ice Age in which the Earth is present.

HOW TO GROW DUCKWEED AND AZOLLA If you know Garden Pool, then you know we love Duckweed! This amazing plant is important to our system and now we would like to teach you how to grow duckweed for yourself. We have also introduced another floating pond plant, Azolla. We want to teach you to grow it. In this class you will learn a few easy and affordable methods for beginners in duckweed and azolla growing.

The basics of duckweed and azolla. What is so special about these tiny plants and the difference between them.

How to take care of your duckweed and azolla in the off-season

Video from GardenPool.org.

Duckweed and azolla go well together. Both small floating pond plants. Almost indistinguishable to untrained eye.

Duckweed reproduces asexually; it just splits.

She grows it both on water and in ground under veg. Doubles in volume every 16 hours. Feed chickens.

Azolla can be a little red, or green like duckweed. Same size.

One grows better at different times and places than the other one.

Azolla is a fern and reproduces both asexually and like other ferns.

Color depends on nutrients in water.

Very nutritious, lots of protein, iron, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, copper. 30-40% protein.

Trying to get people in developing coutries to grow this.

The Chinese grow azolla with rice for over a thousand years.

Azolla, not duckweed, pulls nitrogen from the air. One of the most important nutrients plants need. Can use it as a fertilizer.

Add to plants and compost.

Duckweed is edible. Azolla is a question.

Both will suck heavy metals from environment; great for bioremediation.

To grow:

Prefers slow moving water.

Azolla is from NC, so native.

Split into 4 batches; don't put all eggs in one basket.

Will grow a little different in this spot and this spot.

Don't grow in the same place you are raising fish. The fish love to eat it. Ir grow it in a basket.

In a fish tank, purifies the water. Can feed it to fish. Unlike fish food which turns to poison after 10 minutes.

Both need a lot of surface area. Only need 6 inches deep. 3 inches too shallow.

Grows faster in warm weather. Azolla does better than duckweed in cold weather.

You know duckweed is dying when it turns from green to yellow then white. Azolla just shrivels up and disappears.

For nutrients, use worm castings or kelp. Azolla needs fewer nutrients than duckweed because it takes nitrogen out of the air.

When gets thick--1/2 inch--take half of it out and start somewhere else or compost.

If get in mail, don't put out in blazing sun. It needs to adjust. Grows well inside.

Algae is a predator. If real thick, no problem. Algae is a nutritional treat for fish.

Easily digested, no fibers. Clean with pyroxide, air will clean. High starch content.

Garden Pool Garden Pool is a federally recognized 501(c)3 international public charity dedicated to research and education of sustainable ways to grow food. Our mission is to develop better ways to grow food and help others do the same. Our operations are based in downtown Mesa, Arizona. We’re working on bringing the GP system to the rest of the world!

The GP (short for Garden Pool) was a one of a kind creation invented by Dennis McClung in October of 2009. It is truly a miniature self-sufficient food-system. Rather than keeping our creation to ourselves, we have decided to share it with others. GPs are being built all over the world offering an easy and sustainable solution to current food production challenges. The Garden Pool system uses more than 98% less water than conventional farming methods, has next-to zero external inputs, uses no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and raises very nutritious food!


Ordered 1/2 lb of azolla from PondMegastore 6/5/18.

Video: JUST BEGINNING. Swimming Pool to Fish Pond Conversion Video #1 note: vietnamese mint


Six months into our pool to pond conversion and the problem really has become the solution. For some time, we had been flirting with the idea of doing something productive with our unwanted 12,000 gallon in-ground swimming pool. It was during my Permaculture design course with Geoff Lawton last year that I decided to commit to a full conversion to an aquaculture wetland. What seemed like my most daunting project to date has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.

The design is basically a simple reticulated system. Water is collected from the surface of the pool by the skimmer and from the bottom by the pump. The water is then pumped up to a radial flow filter. The Flow filter forces the water to drop what its carrying, preventing the gravel reed bed from getting clogged with sediment.

From here, gravity takes over. Water meanders through three tiered 30”x60” (76 cm x 152 cm) bath tubs, falling from one to the other via a spreader pipe. The water then falls back to the pool through a pipe hidden in a piece of bamboo.

There is a small air pump hidden under the deck and two air stones inside the pool. Water falling from the reed beds, along with the aerator, supply all the oxygenation the system needs. I thought the corner deck would be a nice place to hang out and relax. It also serves as a place to hide some of the plumbing. The deck shades a portion of the pond as well helping to cool the water. Plus any fisherman can tell you fish love to hangout under docks.

The only thing left was to construct some rock piles in the bottom of the pool for habitat and position the grow bags with plants on the steps and ledges. I filled the pool a few weeks later. Once the system was stable, I added the Gambusia and grass shrimp. Tilapia and crayfish would come later. Lastly I added a bamboo raft of Vetiver grass and another raft with native ferns and kang kong ( ipomea aquatica).

Bamboo raft planted with Vetiver grass.

Keep in mind, when you first fill the pool you are going to get an initial algae bloom that will make the water resemble pea soap. Don’t freak out this is natural. After the plant roots start to spread and the gravel builds a thin layer of bioslime, the water should start to clear. Bioslime is the algae and microorganisms that actually clean the water. This should take a few weeks depending on your climate. Tadpoles are very effective at controlling surplus algae as are carp. Frogs and tadpoles are also a good bioindicator due to there sensitivity to toxins so I try to encourage them.

Floating island with Vetiver raft in background.

If you are designing a natural swimming pool, your work is finished. The water should be clear in no time. If you are designing an aquaculture system, you can start adding tilapia, crayfish, or whatever species you prefer once the system seems stabilized. The great thing about aquatic systems is if it looks good and there is life in it, its probably is quite safe.

Rainy day relaxing with the girls.

The most satisfying part of this project is seeing the ponds interactions with the other elements in my total design for the property. The pond has become the central element of the garden, interacting with the kitchen garden, duck area, hoop house, and compost area. It’s successful because each element has multiple functions and it’s functions are backed up by multiple elements. Plants come from the hoop house and go to the pond and kitchen garden. Fodder comes from the pond and kitchen garden and goes to the ducks who in turn supply fertilizer to the pond and kitchen garden. Mulch comes from the pond and goes to the compost area and kitchen garden, and so forth. There are all kinds of wildlife interactions happening between the pond and the surrounding food forest. I’m looking forward to seeing these connections become stronger and more dynamic. It can only get better and better with time!

Plant list:

Arrowhead ( Sagittaria Latifolia )
Pickerelweed (Pontedaria Cordata)
Spikerush (Eleocharis)
Fireflag (ThaliaGeniculata)
Spatterdock (Nuphar Advena)
American Lotus ( Nelumbo Lutea)
Muskgrass ( Chara )
Cattail ( Typha )
Giant Leather Fern ( Acrostichum Danaeifolium )
Boston Fern ( Nephrolepis Exaltata )
Canna Flaccida
Canna Edulis
Taro (Colocasia Esculenta)
Chinese Water Chestnut
Kang Kong (Ipomoea Aquatica)
Lemon Hyssop (Bacopa Caroliniana)
Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri)
Swamp Lily ( Crinum Americanum)
Vetiver Grass (Chrysopogon Zizanioide)

Geoff Lawton Permaculture fish cultivation

Pool to fish pond conversion Newport, Au

Info on reed bed construction

Video: Converting your swimming pool to a pond. Central Texas Gardening--Austin, TX.

The fish need sand to lay their eggs. At the deep end they built an island to replicate a pond bank, supported by cinder block and metal framework. Underneath, the pump sits at the very bottom of the pool. To have good clean water, it is better to situate your pump deep. Tubing runs up to the surface for a waterfall effect. The fish nesting area is beneath the island, where the pump is.

In the shallow end they placed rocks and gravel. The fish need gravel to lay their eggs.

They added lots of cinder blocks for fish to hide, etc. They created shallow places around the pond for more plants. Louisiana irises, cannas; water lilly roots can go 5 or 6 feet down.

Permaculture Garden - 6 Reasons To Have a Pond

1. It's one of the best pest management elements you can have. It attracts beneficial insects, frogs, dragonflies, snakes and lizards which manage your pests.

2. The waterfall is an antidote to noise pollution. It also oxygenates the water.

3. Ponds make a home for fish, plants, and microbiology: an aquaculture system.

4. The water in the pond is alive with nutrients which can be used to water other parts of your garden.

5. It creates a microclimate by absorbing heat during the day and giving off heat at night.

6. Ponds can be used to create biomass which can be used in the garden as mulch. Or as a food source for ducks.

Building a Backyard Pond by Converting Your Swimming Pool This sounds a crazy idea but many people in Sydney Australia have made these conversions which are being promoted as part of the WildThings urban wildlife program developed by Ku-ring-gai Shire Council. The justification is that many swimming pools are not used very much when the kids get older and the owners find pools a real chore to maintain. Pool maintenance is also very expensive.

There are basically three main options: either fill it, let it go green and yucky or transform it into something else. Pools are very expensive to remove. If you fill them in you may lose a lot of value if you decide to sell the property.

The good thing about converting the pool into a pond is that it keeps water in the pool and it is reversible. Sure it is a major cleaning job, but it can be 'e.

You can put the filtration system and pumps into mothballs, because if its 'e properly it will virtually look after itself. You can add native fish and frogs (some will find it themselves). The birds love it as well. Adding fish provides a natural way of controlling mosquitoes.

You can transform the surrounding decking and upgrade the landscape features to add shade and seating, so you can enjoy you new native pond. Adding a small water spout or a mini waterfall fills the backyard with the lovely sound of falling and splashing water. This helps to circulate water in the pond and keeps it aerated right to the bottom.

This article provides a step by step guide for transforming your backyard swimming pool into a delightful backyard pond.

Benefits of Converting a Swimming Pool to a Pond

  • Turning off the filter and pool pump, and cost of chemicals can easily save you up to $1,000 a season. You also avoid the cost of repairs and replacements ( plus water costs in some localities).

  • The conversion is reversible

  • Water quality is generally well within official recreational waters standards (for creeks and lakes) and you an swim in it if you want to.

  • Mosquitoes are not a problem provided you add some fish or a water fountain or waterfall to keep the water moving. Most mosquitoes only breed in shallow stagnant water and having a slight movement discourages them. Fish love to eat the larvae.

  • Maintaining a pond is not expensive or time-consuming - almost nothing compared with a pool. You avoid all the daily and weekly time spend fiddling with the chemicals, cleaning the filters and removing leaves from the pool.

  • You can promote biodiversity in your own backyard by adding water plants and fish. Local frogs will move in and birds will love it as well.

Questions and Answers about Converting Pools to Ponds

Will the pond water smell? Pond odor is not generally a problem once the pond ecology is established with the plants keeping the nutrient levels under control. The surface area of a pool is large and this makes sure that the water is kept well oxygenated. It is only stagnant water that smells. You can boost the aeration of deep ponds with an aquarium style aerator or a small pump for a fountain or waterfall. Just ensure that the inlet is drawn from the bottom of the pond. Huge reservoirs are kept circulating with simple aerators. Circulation stops the pool going stagnant which causes most smells.

Is the water safe? University tests have shown that the water in converted ponds meets Australian recreational water guidelines. The water is generally "clean" enough to swim in if that is what you want to do. But the water does not meet drinking water guidelines.

What about Safety Fences? Leave the fences in place and the gates secured, as the pond is just as much as a hazard as a pool.

Will a pond damage my pump and filter? Pumps and filters have limited life (10 years maximum) and will probably need to be replaced if and when you may want to convert the pond back into a swimming pool. You won't need them and so you should probably sell them. Keep the pump, or buy a fire-fighting style centrifugal pump for draining the pool for plant maintenance, and water rejuvenation. Filters and pool cleaners can be mothballed for later use.

Are Aquatic Plants necessary? Yes, plants are essential because plants act as natural filters and recycle nutrients that would otherwise feed algae (cause the water to go green and smell). Ideally aquatic plants will occupy about 50% of the pool's area. You may need to add structures on which the pots containing the plants can be placed. Leaving the plants on pots is a good idea because you can move them around an remove them when it comes time to restore the pond to a pool. Also the pots can contain the soil need for the plant roots. Many floating plants ''t have roots. You can source suitable plants from your local pond supplier.

Does the pond ecosystem really keep the pool clean? Rigorous testing in the EU has shown that most of the many thousands of ponds that have been tested EU standards for both health and water clarity. Contamination from birds can make the water unhealthy.

Do You Need to Retain the a filter? No. This is not required as particulates tend to settled out and the water can be a little cloudy but still healthy.

If the pool turns green, will it stay that way? The pool may go green initially but will clear when the pond ecosystem is fully functional. You can buy various non toxic remedies for green pond water. Keep the pool scoop for removing leaves and dead pieces of algae and any rubbish that blows into the pool.

When can I add fish? Let the pool settle down for a while before adding fish. The best type are the local native fish which are fun to catch at your local stream of lake. You can also buy goldfish and other exotic species. The native fish may breed in the pond and become self sustaining. You can periodically add more fish to maintain the numbers. If you are really adventurous you can add trout fingerlings!

Key Steps for Converting your Swimming Pool into a Healthy Pond

Step I: Stop Adding Chlorine and Reduce Salt Concentration

If you stop adding chlorine, after a week or so, the pool will be ready for plants and fish. The chlorine in the pool may be toxic before then. Switch off the pump and filter and put them aside. The pump may be useful for draining the pool... Lowering the water level makes it easier to set up plants in the pool.

Step 2:The preliminary construction phase and addition of plants

Lower the pool level a little and make adjustments to the landscape surrounding the pool by adding rocks and boulders, pot plants to add shade. You can also add the plumbing for a waterfall or fountain.

Adding a pond conditioner can also be a good idea. [Nature's Pond Conditioner...

9/3/16 ordered. Shippled 9/8: Fulfilled 08 Sep 08:36 UPS #1ZEW80290340097334.

You also need to add plants to the pond in their pots. You can buy these from local nurseries of pond suppliers. Most plants need shallow water, so apart from placing them on the steps and shallow parts of the pond you will need to add some underwater framework or shelving to support the pots. This can be made out of plastic water pipe and fittings - with end caps left off to allow the water in. Putting a few stones on the base will kept it stead and upright.

You can also add water-resistant timber or concrete black structure. Using plastic water pipe you can also make floating frames that can be pushed around into different parts of the pond. There are many floating species of plants that ''t require roots in pots. Once established the plants will soon spread. You want 25-50% of the surface of the pond with some plant growth (not complete coverage).

Step 3: Islands and Submerged and Protruding Logs and Branches

Mini islands can be added to the pond using raft like structures made from timber with plastic water pipe used as floats. Adding logs and branches that protrude through the surface is good for insects and wildlife. Islands and logs are not only attractive but provide refuges and structural diversity for wildlife.

Step 4:Tempering the Pool before Adding Animals

Once you are happy with the pool and you have added all the structures and plants, refill it with water and leave it for about one week to settle down. Run the aerator, fountain or waterfall pumps to help circulate the water.

It is also a good idea to treat the new water with a pond conditioner to adjust the pH. Then it is time to add native fish caught in the local stream of lakes or goldfish. Always remember to allow the water containing the fish to gently adjust to the temperature of the pond before gently pouring the fish in. Local children love to catch fish in local streams and rivers that can be added to the pond. They may also catch frogs and tadpoles to add to the pond. However frogs will generally find their own way to the pond during wet weather.

Step 5: Topping up the Water level

Rainwater is the best type of water to use, but standard reticulated water can also be used. If you need to add a large amount of tap water remember that the chlorine can kill plants and fish and so it is best to add a little at a time over several days.

this was an in ground pool--- .

A pond that is managed as a pond (water and plant centered) needs no filtration and no water changes except those to replace evaporation. A pond managed as a fish pond with a biological load many times above it's balance point would need filtration and water changes on a regular basis to remain healthy.

As long as the pool is managed as a water garden...plant centered with just a very small fish load to control insects it needs no filtration, no water changes. I have had liner ponds from 50 gallons through thousands of gallons and never once did I have a filter on them...they all stayed clear and clean.

Video: All in One! Natural pool, fish pond and veggies using skimmer instead of water lilies to control algae.

CONVERT YOUR ECO-UNFRIENDLY SWIMMING POOL INTO A BIOLOGICALLY ACTIVE AND ATTRACTIVE FISH FARM! Swimming pools get a bad rap in enviro-circles, and for good reason. They cost a great deal to construct – using a lot of CO2 intensive materials in the process – they waste huge amounts of water and energy for maintenance, use chemicals to keep them clear and ‘safe’, and they take up a lot of space that could be utilised for more productive purposes (like growing veggies!). Many people also just find them a lot of work to look after, which is especially annoying when their usage is often only seasonal at best.

Eating from the pool didn’t seem to be the primary goal for Vanessa and Justin, but rather to create a closed loop biological system that would add beauty and diversity to the rest of their Permaculture system.

How they did it

After draining the pool, they set to cleaning it of contaminants by scrubbing the inside with vinegar and rinsing it clean. This is important or the fish you introduce could die. Before introducing fish, however, plants need to be established, as well as the all-important oxygen-generating algae. Algae forms on its own when allowed, and the best plants to introduce are those you’ll find in natural freshwater environments in your area (lakes, ponds, rivers) as these are best suited for your climate.

Justin and Vanessa even introduced a couple of plants that are regarded as ‘pests’ by many government authorities – like salvinia, a fast spreading floating fern. Rather than a pest, the plant serves a purpose here as chicken feed, and its characteristic of spreading fast just means the chickens have a good supply of it!

Another plant introduced is azola – which is very high in nitrogen due to its special relationship with a nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium. This makes it an exceptionally good mulch (azolla is said to increase rice yields significantly – "as much as 158 percent per year"). Of course, they also introduced plants that are great for human consumption – like kangkong, water chestnut and watercress.

At the moment the pool is essentially a closed loop biological system. The plants feed off the nutrients supplied by fish and bird droppings, the fish feed off the plants and insect larvae (like dragonflies, etc.), and the algae regulates the CO2/oxygen levels. Zooplankton and mollusks (snails) feed on the algae, the crustaceans (shrimps) feed on the zooplankton, and the fish feed on the mollusks and the crustaceans.

Oh, speaking about snails, if anyone spotted the blue hoses at top and thought I really should have pulled them out before taking any pictures, let it be known that I was going to do just that, but got stopped in my tracks. These hoses also serve a purpose – snails cling to the outside, and also live inside the hose, and it’s from these hoses that the fish like to feed.

As mentioned, algae is very important for the health of the pool – but you can have too much of a good thing. Algae blooms are to be avoided as they can suffocate life in the pool. A balanced algae population can be regulated in three ways: 1) reducing nutrient input (i.e. harvest some fish), 2) reducing light (i.e. add a translucent shade, or a living vine, over part of the pool), or 3) simply scoop some algae out if you get desperate and use it for mulch or compost.

The biggest thing stopping a decent increase in the fish population is oxygen. To regularly eat from the pool, Vanessa and Justin would need to incorporate a water filter/oxygenation system – which is something they’re looking at doing next. As you can see from the pictures, the water in this particular pond is rather ‘natural’. A biological filter would make the water clearer – so, if you wanted, it could still retain the pool’s original purpose (swimming!). Increased oxygenation also tends to keep algae from getting out of hand.

A bio-filter doesn’t need to be too complicated or expensive. Water could be pumped out of the pool and through a gravel trench, and then back into the pool (a solar pump could be utilised). As the water passes through the gravel it gets filtered/cleansed (by the algae that will develop there) and oxygenated. Reeds growing on the gravel aid in making the biological filter itself a closed system.

As well as the general aesthetic and the potential for increased food security and health, pools like these also contribute to the health of the garden in general as they attract a greater diversity of wildlife. Vanessa and Justin now have regular visits from predatory creatures, including white-faced herons and even the australasian bittern, a threatened species.

Essentially, a pool like this is a great example of the very essence of Permaculture – working with natural synergies, and finding ways to make them work for ourselves and the environment. Where modern agribusiness concentrates on chemistry, Permaculturists deal in biology. Instead of reductionist science, which would take just one element and pull it apart to its base chemical ingredients before we look up thinking we understand something, this kind of management takes a broader view.

UTILIZATION OF MACROPHYTE BIOFILTER IN EFFLUENT FROM AQUACULTURE "water hyacinth is one of the many plant species we use as a low impact bio filter. When we harvest it, it makes a fine fungal based compost. We use azola as well."

How the Pump Works

How Your Pool Pump and Filter Work

Skamper Ramp

Skamper Ramp “Get the pet water safety device that keeps pets and animal passersby safe day or night, even if people aren't around.”

Instructions on website are sketchy, so I emailed them.

Email from Gamma2:

The ramps come complete with all the necessary assembly hardware for proper installation, except they do not have the screws/bolts for wood or masonry decking.

Super Skamper Ramp

If you do not plan to tie your Skamper-Ramp to existing fencing or cover anchors, we suggest a 1/4" pan-head stainless steel screw that is 1 3/8" long and a plastic or lead concrete anchor for sinking into your concrete pool deck.

For a wooden deck, or dock not utilizing existing cleats, we suggest a 1/4" pan-head stainless steel screw that is 1.5" long (or 2" carriage bolt).

Hardware for attaching the D-ring-clips to the pool deck HAS NOT been supplied due to the wide variety of deck types and materials as well as uses of Skamper-Ramps. Your local hardware/home improvement store or pool service company is a great resource to help make the appropriate selection.

Q. Are there alternative anchoring methods? A. For Skamper-Ramp owners who ''t want to drill into their decks, it is possible to use alternative tie down points such as pool cover attachment points, skimmers, railings and water levelers.

There are many creative ways to attach the ramp. You just want to ensure that the ropes are not spread too far away from being parallel, that the back and wings have a surface to rest snuggly against, and that the force is downward (diagonal vectors) so it does not pull purely horizontally (or it will pull out).

Skamper Ramp in Garden / Possum escaping

There is no one right way to install a Skamper-Ramp, but two criteria are critical: 1) a few inches of the round nose end need to be submerged so that the white breaks the water surface so the animal will see the white while swimming, even in stress; and

2) it needs to be snug to a rigid, flat, vertical wall so that a critter or pet on the end of the Skamper-Ramp has something to brace against. It is the open-box-end and stabilizing wing-strips that provide rigidity and robustness, especially when braced against a vertical element, that makes it work.

The most important point about the installation is to have the Skamper-Ramp as snug to the pool edge as possible, while still having a few inches of the nose end of the ramp underwater. To accomplish that, there are two sets of holes for threading the connection rope through, one above the Skamper-Ramp name and one below, in order to accommodate deep copings or flush edges.

Frog Log How to Keep Frogs, Chipmunks, Lizards and Other Animals Out of Your Swimming Pool

We developed and now distribute a single product, The FrogLog. The FrogLog is a simple, cost effective device, that allows most small animals to escape from any swimming pool. We have a 110% money back guarantee. By ordering here, you have access to the inventor by phone or email.

How the FrogLog Works: Simply place the floating platform in the water and place the weighted fabric pouch on the pool deck. The FrogLog is not permanently attached and can be placed and removed in seconds. Animals instinctively swim to the edge of the pool and circle the edge, seeking a way out. The animal will bump into the FrogLog and climb out of the pool.

Nurseries, Supplies

Florida Aquatic Nurseries

Anubias 'Nangi'

Family Araceae, Native To: Hybrid, Lighting: Low - Medium, Growth Demands: Easy

Growth Form: Spreading Rhizome, growth rate slow, true aqautic plant. Place in midground of tank.

Avail as bare root and potted,

Azolla Caroliniana

Azolla caroliniana, also known as mosquito fern, is a floating, aquatic fern native to the North, South, & Central America. It is a free-floating fern measuring less than ½ inch across. Newer leaves are gray green, but can turn rusty-red, especially in winter. It spreads vegetatively and can quickly form large, floating mats.

Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery 512-260-5050.. 1407 North Bell Blvd. [Hwy. 183], Cedar Park, TX 78613, [north of Austin 20 mi] open 9-6 M-S, Sunday 11-5. Do not ship

Lilies and Aquatic Plants

Monthly to do's

Pond Megastore

Sensitive Plant (Neptunia oleracea) $4.55 - $5.25 A lovely, tropical, floating plant that floats on the surface of the water producing small, yellow flowers on the leafy fronds of foliage. The plant grows from a stem, producing cover for fish and helps to eliminate algae as they compete for the same nutrients in the water. The root of the Sensitive Plant may be planted to anchor it to the side of the pond or in a streambed or simply placed on the surface of your pond and floated. Grows 3-5" tall and blooms from summer til frost. May be planted in full sun to part shade. The stems of this plant are used as an edible plant in Asian cuisine. This plant is often called Neptunia Aquatica but the proper name is Neptunia Oleracea. Belonging to the same family of plants as legumes, the plant is beneficial to other pond plants by adding nitrogen back to the pond.

Duckweed (Lemna Minor) Huge 1/2 lb portion!
$13.50 for one. Tiny, green leaves that float on the surface of the water or just below it, the plant is flowering but the blooms are inconsequential. Duckweed is one of the smallest flowering plants in the world!. Duckweed grows on still or slow moving bodies of water and only needs water, sunlight and nutrients to grow. We sell duckweed by the 1/2 lb. portion to pond owners, scientists, teachers and students. We sell larger portions to farmers who use Duckweed as a food supplement for livestock. One of the fastest growing plants on the planet!

Hornwort (Ceratophyllum Demersum), (Minimum 5) $2.25 ea. Hornwort (Ceratophyllum Demersum) Is an amazing plant as it helps to add oxygen to the water while emitting a hormone to help eliminate algae. Grows well in full sun to full shade and grows in long, branching stems. Hornwort grows quickly and helps to clarify the water as you see in the photos, it is very easy to grow and can be tucked into the substrate at the bottom of the pond, weighted with small anchors or allowed to float. Also great for spawning or cover for small fish.This underwater oxygenating grass is the best plant to compete with algae and keep a happy clean pond. Other benefits include being a sanctuary for fish from predators and fish fry when young. Minimum 5 bunches

Frogbit (Limnobium Spongia) (Minimum 3) $4 ea. Frogbit or Frog's bit (Limnobium Spongia) Has small, emerald green, round to oval leaves and look great when planted in small containers and placed on shelves in your pond. Leaves float beautiful across the surface of the water. An excellent source of nutrition for most turtle species and larger koi fish. Very easy to grow! To protect them from koi try our floating plant barriers.

Pond Plants R Us

Sensitive Plant $6.45. The fern-like leaves are produced along white spongy floating stems and close when slightly touched. Sensitive plant floats on the water's surface or will also grow planted in soil at the ponds' edge. Small tufted yellow flowers appear during the warm summer months. Sensitive Plant (Neptunia aquatica). Hardiness Zones: 9-11. Light Requirements: Full Sun to Part Shade. Height: 1"-4" tall running spread. Water Depth: Floating surface pond plant or can be planted

Giant Sensitive Plant (Aeschynomene fluitans) $6.45. This larger variety of sensitive plant can spread 6' to 8'. Can be trained up on to rocks and streams. The one inch yellow flowers resemble the common sweet-pea. Giant Sensitive grows quickly and is an attractive and unusual accent plant for the water garden. Hardiness Zones: 9-11. Light Requirements: Full Sun to Part Shade. Height: 3"-5" tall running spread. Water Depth: Floating surface pond plant or can be planted

Duckweed (Lemnaceae) $8.95. Duckweed is the smallest floating pond plant. The leaves are a bright lime green and only reach less than 1/8 inch in diameter. Fish love to eat Duckweed, so it is wise to grow some in a separate container to have a ready supply on hand to treat your koi and pond fish to a "salad" on occasion. Hardiness Zone: 3-11. Light Requirements: Sun to Part Shade. Water Depth: Floating pond plant

Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) $2.29. Hornwort submerged pond plant is an excellent oxygenating pond plant. Hornwort resembles an underwater juniper bush, with multiple branches of thick, dark green foliage. Hornwort forms a dense mat and does not develop roots. Like other submerged pond plants, it receives nutrients from the water and helps keep water clear. Baby fish love to hide in this submerged plant because of its dense growing habit. Use one bunch for every 2 square feet of surface area, simply attaching weights and sinking to the bottom of the pond. Minimum purchase of 5. Hardiness Zone: 5-11. Light Requirements: Full Sun to part shade. Height: 8-10 feet . Planting: We recommend a 4" planting basket or wrapping the base of the plants with Plant Weights. Water Depth: 1' - 10'

Plant Weights $0.19 ea. Attach these plant weights to submerged plants. No planting required, submerged plants will sink to the bottom of the pond. Minimum order of 5.

Frogbit (Limnobium spongia) $3.95 is restricted in CA, PR. Never release into public waterways - Know your state laws.The green heart shaped leaves resemble a miniature waterlily and float on the waters surface. Frogbit forms buds that sink to the bottom of the pond to winter over until spring. This floating plant is well suited for container water gardens and smaller water features. Hardiness Zones: 4-10. Light Requirements: Full Sun to Part Shade. Height: 1/2" - 1". Water Depth: Floating Surface Pond Plant

The Pond Guy free shipping over $99

Laguna Planting Baskets $3.99–$4.29. Protects Plant From Your Fish. With a wide variety of shapes, such as round, square, and kidney-shaped, and with several different sizes being available, Laguna Planting Baskets make it possible for the pond hobbyist to plant varying-sized plants in different areas with affordability, comfort, and ease. The Laguna Planting Baskets has mesh sides and bottom to allow plants roots to branch out and seek further nourishment in the outside water. This also keeps pond plants contained and prevents fish from grazing on the plants root system.

Planting Basket Floats $21.99–$24.99. Turn your regularly submersible pond planting basket into lovely floating aquatic plant-islands in just seconds. Simply placing your plant basket into the ready made Pond Planting Basket Float, then sit back and enjoy!

Floating Island Planters $8.99–$59.99. No Need To Water Planters. Protects Plant From Your Fish. Easily create beautiful floating aquatic planting island arrangements with these Floating Island Planters. No need to worry about watering plants with its self-watering designed construction. Manufactured from UV and water-resistant polyethylene foam, ensuring long life, the Floating Island Planters come in multiple sizes to fit your needs. Floating Island Planters also protects plants from grazing koi and goldfish, plus includes both the float and basket.

Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media $14.99–$24.99 10 lb and 20 lb. Encourage Plant Health. Does Not Cloud Pond Water. Safe For All Fish & Aquatic Life. Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media is made of 100% natural montmorillonite with an added beneficial bacteria to help with pond clarity. The neutral pH pebbles in Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media contain beneficial bacteria, retain oxygen and help absorb excess alkalinity for improved pond water quality. When used in a bog area, Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Pond Plant Media helps reduce transplant shock, allow for a more efficient utilization of light, water and nutrients and retain water keeping the bog moist but not waterlogged. Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media Will not break-down, float, or cloud pond water. Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media contains no algae-promoting nutrients, fertilizers, compost, peat or harmful pesticides and is safe for use in ponds with fish.

Microbe-Lift® Bloom & Grow™ Aquatic Plant Supplement $9.99–$49.99. Nitrate & Phosphate Free. Formulated For Aquatic Plants. Contains Micro & Macro Nutrients. Microbe-Lift® Bloom & Grow™ has been specially formulated for aquatic plants of all types. Use this low analysis supplement (0.10-0-0.10) once or twice a week for larger, brighter and faster blooms as well as healthier and stronger roots. Bloom & Grow™ contains micro & macro nutrients, vitamins, amino acids, Iron and Potassium in a chelated formula to provide quick plant absorption. Microbe-Lift® Bloom & Grow™ is safe to use when fish are present.

Water Lily & Water Lotus Planting Kits $29.99–$42.99. Everything You Need To Plant One Lily or Lotus. No Re-Potting Needed. Enjoy Beautiful Blooms. These Water Lily and Water Lotus Planting Kits give you everything you need to plant one hardy lily or lotus. The large, deep, no-hole tubs provide the perfect space to allow water lilies and lotuses to grow to their full potential. No re-potting needed. These packages include one planting tub, planting media and Thrive™ fertilizer tabs. Plants are sold separately.

The Pond Outlet Hornwort - Ceratophyllium Demersum Minimum Order 5. Now Only: $1.85. 5-6 plant strands are packaged together as a "bunch". Minimum order is 5 bunches. The tips will shorten and thicken in fall, before falling off and settling on the pond floor to spend the winter as buds. In spring, these buds grow to repopulate the pond.

Hornwort submerged pond plant is an excellent oxygenating pond plant. Hornwort resembles an underwater juniper bush, with multiple branches of thick, dark green foliage. Hornwort forms a dense mat and does not develop roots. Like other submerged pond plants, it receives nutrients from the water and helps keep water clear. Baby fish love to hide in this submerged plant because of its dense growing habit. Use one bunch for every 2 square feet of surface area, simply attaching weights and sinking to the bottom of the pond.

Hardiness Zone: 5-11. Light Requirements: Full Sun to part shade. Height: 8-10 feet . Water Depth: 1' - 10'

The Pond Outlet

Sensitive Plant - Neptunia Aquatica $3.63. Sensitive pond plant has fern-like leaves that close when touched. Sensitive plant floats on the water's surface or can be planted in a container and it will then spread across the water. It has a small yellow flower. Sensitive Plant (Neptunia aquatica). Hardiness Zones: 9-11. Light Requirements: Full Sun to Part Shade. Height: 1"-4" tall running spread. Water Depth: Floating surface pond plant or can be planted

Giant Sensitive Plant - Aeschynomene fluitans $5.45. This larger variety of sensitive plant can spread 6' to 8'. Can be trained up on to rocks and streams. The one inch yellow flowers resemble the common sweet-pea. Giant Sensitive grows quickly and is an attractive and unusual accent plant for the water garden. Giant Sensitive Plant (Aeschynomene fluitans), Hardiness Zones: 9-11. Light Requirements: Full Sun to Part Shade. Height: 3"-5" tall running spread. Water Depth: Floating surface pond plant or can be planted. As the common name suggests, the leaves, like the land based "sensitive plant", close when they are touched. The floating (mature) stems of this tropical plant are covered in spongy tissue, full of air cells.. Set the plant out after the pond water has reached 70º F. Should be planted in soil, allowing the stems to lay on the surface of the water. However, the stems can also be floated on the water surface, with less dramatic results. Sold as rooted or unrooted cuttings - minimum of 8" to 10" long. Full sun to part shade. USDA Zones 9 and 10.

Frogbit - Limnobium Spongia $3.27. The green heart shaped leaves resemble a miniature waterlily and float on the waters surface. Frogbit forms buds that sink to the bottom of the pond to winter over until spring. This floating plant is well suited for container water gardens and smaller water features. Hardiness Zones: 4-10. Light Requirements: Full Sun to Part Shade. Height: 1/2" - 1". Water Depth: Floating Surface Pond Plant

Rainbow / Millberger / *Nature's Pond / BioFilters / Mailorder: Hemphill's Garden and Aquatic Center / Bioverse / *Crystal Creek Pond Supply /

Rainbow Gardens 8516 Bandera Rd @ Guilbeau Rd. San Antonio, TX 78250. 210.680.5734 Open M-Sat 9AM to 6PM, Sun 10AM to 6PM. Shorter hrs. in winter.

See file:///C:/Users/cglass/Downloads/Water-Gardening.pdf
Water Gardening in Texas, from TAMU
A water garden should be located:

n In full sun, or as much as is available.
n At the most level site available.
n Within easy access to water and electricity.
n Where it can be appropriately viewed from the house.
n Where the water can reflect the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

A water garden should not be located:

n Where it is in a position to catch leaves falling from trees.
n In a low spot in the yard where heavy rain could flood it.
n Where soils are prone to saturation which could cause the liner to float.

Floating leafed plants: Usually water lilies.

Plant enough to cover 50 to 75 percent of the surface area of the pond, or approximately one for every 10 square feet of surface area (there are dwarf varieties for barrel gardens).

Floating leafed plants will cover the surface of the water to a point that will, if 'e correctly, limit the amount of light reaching the depths of the pond holding algae growth in check.

Submerged plants: Submerged plants are the oxygenators of the pond—a must if your pond is to be healthy and support fish.

Submerged plants may become aggressive if plantedin earthen ponds... Roots of these plants are not used for nutrient or water uptake, but for anchorage, so oxygenators may be potted in gravel.

Submerged plants should be stocked at a rate of one bunch per 2 square feet of surface area, in groups of 6 to 12 per pot depending on the size of the pot. Caging these pots is often advisable if the pond is to contain fish, which tend to forage on submerged plant foliage.

Free floating plants such as duck weed, water lettuce, and water hyacinth, though not necessary, add the finishing touch to anatural appearing water garden. These plants move with the breeze and produce an ever changing appearance for the pond. Functionally, they add to the oxygenators and produce varying casts of shadow that the pond owner and the fish will appreciate.

Bog or marginal plants Though most are not grown for their flowers, some bog plants offer help for those unable to site their pond in sufficient sunlight for the majority of water lilies. Some plants can tolerate as little as three hours of direct sunlight. Some grow best in constantly moist to soggy soils, while others actually grow in standing water.

Plants for the bog garden or for margins of the pond add height and drama to the water feature; lotus, sagittaria, and dwarf bamboo add unique foliage, where iris, cattails, and sweet flag have unmatched upright linear texture.

Plants to surround the pond Many of the bog plants can be used in areas surrounding apond. Other plants for use around the pond should be of acharacter that their reflection lends drama to the pond.

Colorful flowers, attractive bark or fluted trunks, or other winter aspects can add to the seasonal interests of a pond. Avoid plants such as walnuts and willows that have leaves with allelopathic characteristics.

Planting the Pond: Planting the pond is the most exciting time and one of the most crucial.

Spring is the best time to complete this task. Plants bought for the pond should be in top condition and installed immediately upon receipt if possible. Therefore, do not purchase the plants until you are ready to plant, or if ordering through the mail, plan their arrival carefully. Many mail order dealers ship their plants at only certain times of the year.

Plants bought from a garden center are often potted and ready to be placed in the pond. If not, or if you purchase your plants from mail order houses, they will come to you bare root, wrapped in plastic containing moist organic media or paper. These plants should be removed from the media, washed, and potted immediately upon receipt. Plan ahead and have your soil, fertilizer tablets, pots, and burlap, if you are using baskets, ready ahead of time.

Fish: Fish are not necessary for the balance of the pond, but their presence will greatly increase the speed that it is established. Further, fish eat many of the undesirable visitors to your pond, keep submerged plants pruned, recycle nutrients in the system, and add immeasurably to the beauty of the pond.

Fish should be stocked at a rate no more than 1 inch of fish per 3 to 5 gallons of water in the pond. Fish attain a greater size, do less damage to submerged plants, and remain healthier if stocked at rates below the capacity of the pond.

When first introducing fish to the pond, put the fish still inside their sealed bag into the pond allowing 15 minutes for the temperature to equalize between the bag and the pond before releasing the fish. If it is a sunny day cover the bag to prevent overheating.

Goldfish: Are smaller and by far the most popular fish for pond use. They are less expensive, come in many colors, and range from 10 to 12 inches at maturity. Goldfish will breed in your pond thus increasing in numbers over a period of years. This may present a problem for small ponds.

Frogs: Frogs are good for the pond; they supply tadpoles which are efficient scavengers and food for fish and dragonfly larvae. Also, the adults in conjunction with the fish control the mosquitoes and other insect problems.

Snails: There is some controversy over including snails in the pond. The Japanese black snails may not help keep the water cleaner, though they do slowly eat away at the algae. They are, however, fun to watch for and they will not get out of the pool and damage any other plants in your garden.

Unwanted guests: In most instances, if you have stocked your pond properly and maintain the health of your pond inhabitants, there may be the occasional unwanted “Diving Water Beetle” or “Water Boatman,” but these and others pests can be kept in check by the predation from larger fish and frogs.

See file:///C:/Users/cglass/downloads/Gardening-for-Wildlife.pdf
See file:///C:/Users/cglass/Downloads/Gardening-for-Wildlife-2.pdf
See file:///C:/Users/cglass/Downloads/Aquaponic_Information.pdf

Includes HugelKulture

Because of its three-dimensionality, a HugelKulture raised bed garden combines the multiple functions of rainwater harvesting, catchment, and irrigat-ion using no cistern, pumps' or pvc pipesi 'e properly, there may be no need to water all summer!

Milberger Nursery: Water Gardens (210) 497-3760; 3920 N Loop 1604 E, San Antonio, TX 78247. nursery@milbergersa.com Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday 9:00am - 6:00pm Sunday 10:00am - 5:00pm [inside 1604 at Bulverde Rd., past 281. Map

Compared with other types of gardens, water gardens require a minimum of attention. There is very little weeding, certainly no watering, and there are fewer insects or diseases which attack the plants.

Day-to-day care of water garden plants during the summer is mostly a matter of grooming. If there is an over-production of foliage, trimming is necessary. All discolored or torn leaves or dead blossoms should be cut and removed, stem and all, close to the roots.

Clear water is usually the primary goal of any water gardener. In a new pond, however, the water is seldom clear for very long. This can be rectified easily if the pond is of the correct depth, has a good filtration system, and correctly chosen plants and wildlife are stocked in sufficient numbers. Given enough time the new pond water will clear.

If algae has become a nuisance, much of it can be washed down the drain or over the sides of the pool by using the garden hose and a rake. During the summer one should watch that other plants such as the submerged aquatics do not grow too rampant and take over the bottom of the water feature.

The worst thing to do is change the water. Replacing the water will only delay the developing balance of the new pond’s ecosystem. only nature can correct. When fertilizing the lawn, take care not to contaminate the pond.

Mailorder: Hemphill's Garden and Aquatic Center Ships anywhere in Texas. 1-888-766-3725. in Fallston, Maryland, Harford County

Nymphaea 'Trudy Slocum' [night bloomer] / Nymphaea 'Trailblazer'

Nymphaea 'Trudy Slocum' ZONE 8 - Free blooming white lily with waxy green leaves. This large night bloomer is a profuse bloomer

Nymphaea 'Trailblazer' Zone 8 - Very dependable, soft yellow blossoms surrounded by lush, green foliage.

Nymphaea 'Islamorada' / Nymphaea 'Midnight'

Nymphaea 'Islamorada' ZONE 8 - This hybrid developed by Brad and Bruce McLane has multicolored petals. The purple blooms have delicate white speckles on the petals. Very productive.

Nymphaea 'Midnight' ZONE 8 - Dark purple flowers have almost 100 petals. The stamen tops become small petals. One of the best

Nymphaea 'Islamorada' / Nymphaea 'St. Louis Gold'

Nymphaea 'Anne Emmett' Vigorous, compact growth with abundant green and yellow blossoms

Nymphaea 'St. Louis Gold' ZONE 8 - Olive green leaves with rich yellow blossoms. Outstanding bloomer. A very versatile cultivar

Nymphaea 'August Koch' / Nymphaea 'Blue Beauty'

Nymphaea 'August Koch' ZONE 8 - Soft lavender-blue blossoms rise above deep green foliage. Profuse bloomer. Viviparous. Long flowering season.

Nymphaea 'Blue Beauty' ZONE 8 - Large, rich blue flowers with dark speckled buds. One of our all around favorites. Profuse bloomer. Always in demand.

Nymphaea 'Ruby Red' / Nymphaea 'Pink Pearl'

Nymphaea 'Ruby Red' ZONE 8 - A viviparous, pink day bloomer that has a very long season and is very hardy. Compact growth.

Nymphaea 'Pink Pearl' ZONE 8 - Semi-double soft pink blossoms. Profuse bloomer with rich green leaves. This plant is easy to produce.

Ginger Lily / Mexican Papyrus
Ginger Lily ZONE 8 - height 4ft to 6ft - Flowers September White flowers have an incredible, delicately sweet fragrance. Tall graceful foliage and root are spicy, sweet when broken.

Mexican Papyrus Cyperus giganteus ZONE 8 - 8' to 10' - Showier and more upright than Egyptian papyrus. An awesome specimen plant. Excellent for natural filtration in large ponds.

Water Primrose / Aztec Arrowhead

Water Primrose Ludwigia peploides ZONE 8 - 2' - Flowers June, July, August, September - Creeping shiny ovate foliage. Bright yellow flowers persist most of the summer. Vigorous.

Aztec Arrowhead Sagittaria montevidensis ZONE 8 - 2' to 3' - Flowers July, August, September - Strong, showy rich-green foliage. White flowers with burgundy markings and bright yellow centers. Likes deeper water.

Lemon Bacopa / Green Taro

Lemon Bacopa Bacopa caroliniana ZONE 8 - 2" to 6" - Flowers June, July, August, September - Dense green foliage is covered with delicate blue blossoms that persist all summer. Intense lemon scented foliage

Green Taro Colocasia esculenta ZONE 8 - 3' TO 4' - Masses of large dark green leaves. Matures to 4' tall if wintered indoors each year.

Two Leaf Water Clover / Water Mint

Two Leaf Water Clover ZONE 7 - 6" - Shiny leaves dance delightfully on the surface if placed near a waterfall or fountain. Water beads sparkle on the foliage. An exceptional plant.

Water Mint Mentha aquatica ZONE 6 - 1' - Flowers August, September - Wonderfully aromatic foliage and lilac-pink blossoms make this variety a favorite. Quick surface cover. Great for natural filters and new ponds

Bioverse It's amazing to see the difference when comparing these ponds before using the products to after. Many of my clients want an "all-natural" alternative to treating water with chemicals, and this is a great option. This treatment method also nicely compliments wetland plant community restoration, since it doesn't harm desirable emergent and transitional native plants.

AquaSpherePRO Biodegradable - 50,000 gallons

Designed to prevent pond issues before they arise, promoting pond health. This newly released addition to our AquaSphere product line is all-natural and 100% biodergradable. It‘s the same great product just with less hassle, you just gently toss the sphere in your pond.

Sphere ships complete with our 24/7 30 day PROFormula. Will treat smaller fresh water ponds for up to 30 days on a 24/7 basis. Currently experiencing issues with algae and weeds? Please, view the “Pond Treatment Wizard” located on the lower left portion of the home page for step by step guidance.

Our Price: $35.79



Pond Supply Water Garden Supplies including Kits, Pondless Waterfalls, Pumps, Filters and Treatments

Love Your Pond natural ponds, fish guide, plant guide, etc.

Nature's Pond

*Nature's Pond Care see video. Totally natural and safe.

Ordered 1 qt. 9/3/16... was $54.44 with shipping [$14.49]

1/2/17 Order SRU3052 for same. $55.25

Nature's Pond Care Program

Nature's Pond: Overview and Results

Nine Months Later


Plants for Water Gardens

Plants for Water Gardens
Water Plants Garden Time TV

The Ultimate Backyard Water Garden
Ponds, Watergardens & Waterfalls: Chapter 7 Plants, Fish and Water Care
Water Garden Pond Design ThePondDigger




Frogbit Limnobium spongia. Frogbit is a native plant that can be floating or rooted. It occurs in many water types throughout Florida. It is only a few inches around, and the green heart shaped leaves resemble a miniature water lily that floats on the waters surface. The blossoms are 1/4inch, and are pale cream. Frogbit grows very easy and is great for surface coverage and algae elimination.

CRYSTAL CREEK POND SUPPLY LLC Pond Plants Floating plants.

9/6//16 Your receipt number for this payment is: 3694-2739-9323-6270. for Red Stemmed Parrot's Feather and Hardy Floating - Frogbit

CRYSTAL CREEK POND SUPPLY LLC Pond Plants Floating plants.

9/6//16 Your receipt number for this payment is: 3694-2739-9323-6270. for Red Stemmed Parrot's Feather and Hardy Floating - Frogbit

SHIPPING IS TRAUMATIC FOR PLANTS! - They need water as soon as possible to prevent transplant shock.

1. It is important upon arrival of your plants to put them in a plastic tub of some of your pond water (not tap water) and keep them in a shaded area outside with indirect sun exposure for a day before placing them in your pond. The roots of the plants start drying out during shipping. The roots need to get restarted pumping water to the leaves again before they are exposed to full sun. A leaf has no way to get moisture from a root system that is partially dry and not pumping fluids yet. Full sun exposure the first day may burn the leaf for lack of liquid cooling in the plant capillaries. You can accidentally kill a healthy plant by putting it in direct sunlight when it is just out of the shipping box. Be sure to follow these instructions!

2. Whatever you do, just ''t sit the box aside for any length of time after you get it. An extra day or two of sitting around without water and light may well kill the plants.

3. We guarantee the arrival of healthy, viable plants. If you should receive a plant that appears to be in unhealthy or damaged condition, we must be notified within 24 hours of your receipt of the plant.

4. Some plants varieties are light sensitive and may appear slightly brown, limp or lifeless from the stress of shipping. They will come back fine if you take care of them promptly.

PLANTING FLOATING OXYGENATOR PLANTS - These are the easiest to plant. Just lay them in the pond! Shade them in pond water for a day before exposing them to full sun. If you want to contain them so they ''t float into your skimmer you will need to make a floating fence for them. An old Hula Hoop spray painted flat black, with a large fishing weight anchoring it in place, works very well. Or you can get some clear plastic tubing and connect it in a circle making it air tight. Place your floaters in this area to keep them where you want them. IMPORTANT - Koi love to nibble on floating plant root tips! Always keep some floating plants in the top of your waterfall box to replace the ones the koi tear up.

In my opinion, the #1 plant for fast growth and powerful water filtration is the water hyacinth and the jumbo's are the best way to go. In fact many cities in the USA use them to prefilter the waste water in their water treatment plants. If you put them in direct sun the first day the leaves have no fluids and the sun will burn the leaves. But once they are acclimated you can put them anywhere you wish. We have many customers who order full boxes (1 full box is 25 jumbo plants) each year. In my opinion, they are the best floaters for any purpose and the rest of the floaters are good, but not the high powered cleansing factories like hyacinth. However, if you have Koi they love to nibble on hyacinth root tips. Always keep some in the top of your waterfall box to replace the ones the koi tear up! Periodically the hyacinth will get their root masses entangled and it is suggested that you pull the root masses apart to encourage new growth. UNABLE TO SHIP TO TEXAS.

Frogbit, Frog's Bit, Frogsbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) is a miniature floating plant with smooth shiny green heart-shaped leaves 1-2” across. Leaves are deeply notched at the base with thick spongy tissue in the center and on undersides. Frogbit looks similar to a small water lily, although, the name comes from how it resembles the chin of a frog in the water. Tiny cup shaped white flowers with a pale yellow center in July and August. Frogbit does best in still water with full sun to shade. Can be very aggressive with fast coverage and require periodic thinning. Frogbit will root where ever possible. Remove dead or dying foliage and flowers as they appear. Hardy to zone 7 or higher, winterizing is only possible indoors.

Water Hyacinth / Frogbit

Sensitive Plant (Neptunia aquatica) Desirable creeping plant with small delicate diamond-shaped leaves that float on ponds surface. This aquatic plant Mimosa pigra is also called the Catclaw mimosa. Sensitive Plant grows to height of 6" and spreads to 36". It belongs to the family Fabaceae and is a native plant of the US. The Sensitive Plant should be treated as an annual aquatic. At night as the name suggests the sensitive thin and narrow leaflets fold up. Foliage also closes slowly when touched or injured. This species has been widely introduced as an ornamental plant. This pond plant propagates by seed or by cutting. Sensitive Plant blooms in summer with yellow Sweet Pea like flowers. Set out after the pond water has reached 70º F. Needs full sun to partial shade. Colorful yellow flowers in summer. The plant should be planted in soil 3-8” in depth, but can be floated on the waters surface. Zones 9-11.

Large Leaf Sensitive Plant (Aeschynomene fluitans) A larger variety of the sensitive plant can spread 6’ to 8'. Large Leaf Sensitive Plant is a very desirable plant with diamond-shaped leaves for surface coverage and can be trained up onto rocks. This giant aquatic plant Mimosa Pigra is also called the Catclaw Mimosa. It belongs to the family Fabaceae and is a native plant of the US. The Large Leaf Sensitive Plant is a perennial aquatic but, over time it may need to be replaced in an artificial pond environment. At night as the name suggests the sensitive thin and narrow leaflets fold up. Foliage also closes slowly when touched or injured. This species has been widely introduced as an ornamental plant. This pond plant propagates by seed or by cutting. The plant should be planted in soil, but can be floated on waters surface. Large Leaf Sensitive Plant blooms August and September with yellow Sweet Pea like flowers. Like most aquatic plants, to grow at its best, the Large Leaf Sensitive Plant needs a lot of good light and it will grow quickly. Set out after the pond water has reached 70º F. Plant in soil, allowing the stems to float on the waters surface. Hardy to zone 8 or higher.

Sensitive Plant / Large Leaf Sensitive Plant

Parrot’s Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) a member of the water-milfoil family (Halo-ragaceae), an aquatic perennial has a silvery-gray color in shade, and lime green colored in full sun. Parrot’s Feather with it’s feathery texture is a must have for your pond or watergarden. It softens the edges of the pond and adds oxygen to the water. When fish are spawning the trailing stems and roots provide structure for the eggs to cling to and a wonderful place for baby fry to hide. The stem and leaves can grow up to a foot above the water surface, giving the appearance of small fir trees. Fish are not known to eat Parrot’s Feather. It can be grown in pots or floating on ponds surface. Pot Parrot’s Feather with 3-12" of water over the top of the pot. Can also tuck plants in rock crevices in steam beds, or water falls where it will take root and grow out across the pond. Older stems tend to become less attractive, snip off the tips, and throw back in the water or push back into planting material. In a few days it will quickly grow new roots. Quick and easy growing in full to partial sun. Plumes will grow to about 8 inches tall while the roots will filter the water. In the evening plants will close up and drops of water form on plant that sparkle in light. Hardy from zone 5-11, can winter over indoors put cuts from plant in a bowl of water with water-soluble fertilizer located in the sun.

Red Stemmed Parrot's Feather (Myriophyllum Brasiliensis) is a very adaptable plant. Similar in habits to the green stemmed Parrot’s Feather it is a newer dwarf form. Attractive red-stemmed foliage that grows up out of the water with brilliant color contrast. Stems are red-blue which can intensify with sun exposure. Red Stemmed Parrot's Feather is excellent for oxygenating and maintaining clean and healthy water. It also provides a protective environment for small fish and wildlife. Water depth 0-18” over the top of pot. Water depth can be from 0" to length of mature stems up to 3 feet. Hardy to Zone 5.

Parrot’s Feather / Red Stemmed Parrot's Feather

[Common] Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) T Floating water hyacinths have glossy bulbous leaves on top of spongy leaf stalks. Orchid-like flowers are on an occasional single spike, usually a striking blue to purple in color. Water Hyacinth is one of the most beautiful and popular water plants for ponds and water gardens. Fish find use of the long stringy roots for protecting eggs and spawn. These efficient roots help water quality by filtering out impurities naturally keeping water clear. Water Hyacinths are delightfully fragrant in bloom. Set in vases, Hyacinths are ideal for growing indoors. Float these water plants on the pond surface. Hardy zones 9-10.

Jumbo Water Hyacinth larger in size these water garden plants provide instant coverage and water filtration. Beautiful Orchid-like flowers are on an occasional single spike, usually a striking blue to purple in color. For maximum surface coverage the Jumbo Water Hyacinth is the way to go. One plant averages about 1 foot wide by about 16 inches high. Just take them out of the box and float on the top of your pond water in a shaded area at first. Then move them into sun. The water hyacinth feeds off of the nutrients in the water. It is hard to conceptualize how spectacular and big these plants are. These plants will provide a very dramatic change in the beauty and coverage of your pond.

Common Water Hyacinth / Jumbo Water Hyacinth

Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) a non-native Water Lettuce is a free-floating plant with lots of spongy, light green leaves. No planting is necessary. The leaves are covered with tiny hairs and arranged in a spiral pattern from the center of the plant. Water lettuce leaves are 1- 6” wide and are ribbed with veins through their length. Water Lettuce will grow in sun but prefers partial shade during heat of the day and will multiply quickly in warm water. Flowers are seldom seen and hidden between the leaves. Water lettuce can be very aggressive grower and will form thick floating mats. Water lettuce should be controlled so they do not cover the entire pond to prevent oxygen depletions. Submerged portions of these plants provide habitats for many invertebrates. These invertebrates are used as food by fish and other wildlife species. CANNOT SELL IN TEXAS

Water Lettuce

Floating Plants

What Are Floating Plants: Types Of Free Floating Water Plants Floating pond plants are unusual in the plant world because they '’t grow with their roots in the soil like other plants. Their roots hang down into the water and the rest of the plant floats on top like a raft.

If you’re looking to decorate your backyard water feature, floating plants for ponds can give the area a cool, natural look with very little effort. In fact, these plants are so carefree that many of them should be thinned each year to prevent them from overtaking the local water system.

This unusual group of plants takes all their nutrients from water, bypassing any need to have their roots in soil. They’re often food for local wildlife, like duckweed, or provide protected spaces for fish spawning, like parrot’s feather does.

Water lettuce and water hyacinth are two of the best-known varieties. If you have a larger pond or another enclosed body of water, learning how to use floating plants can go a long way toward your man-made feature look more natural.

Salvinia and water lettuce can create the same problems of growing into a large mat, keeping sunlight from the lake bottoms and using all the oxygen in the water, killing off fish and wildlife below.

NOTE: The use of native plants in a home water garden (referred to as wild harvesting) can be risky if you have fish in your pond, as most natural water features are host to a plethora of parasites. Any plants taken from a natural water source should be quarantined overnight in a strong solution of potassium permanganate to kill any parasites prior to introducing them into your pond. That being said, it is always best to obtain water garden plants from a reputable nursery.

Amz. comment
Question: Do the plants go directly into the pond?
Answer: Yes, but make sure you can add some rocks around the roots or they may get sucked in to the skimmer. Once they put down longer roots they should stay in place.

CRYSTAL CREEK POND SUPPLY LLC Pond Plants Floating plants.

9/6//16 Your receipt number for this payment is: 3694-2739-9323-6270. for Red Stemmed Parrot's Feather and Hardy Floating - Frogbit

SHIPPING IS TRAUMATIC FOR PLANTS! - They need water as soon as possible to prevent transplant shock.

1. It is important upon arrival of your plants to put them in a plastic tub of some of your pond water (not tap water) and keep them in a shaded area outside with indirect sun exposure for a day before placing them in your pond. The roots of the plants start drying out during shipping. The roots need to get restarted pumping water to the leaves again before they are exposed to full sun. A leaf has no way to get moisture from a root system that is partially dry and not pumping fluids yet. Full sun exposure the first day may burn the leaf for lack of liquid cooling in the plant capillaries. You can accidentally kill a healthy plant by putting it in direct sunlight when it is just out of the shipping box. Be sure to follow these instructions!

2. Whatever you do, just ''t sit the box aside for any length of time after you get it. An extra day or two of sitting around without water and light may well kill the plants.

3. We guarantee the arrival of healthy, viable plants. If you should receive a plant that appears to be in unhealthy or damaged condition, we must be notified within 24 hours of your receipt of the plant.

4. Some plants varieties are light sensitive and may appear slightly brown, limp or lifeless from the stress of shipping. They will come back fine if you take care of them promptly.

PLANTING FLOATING OXYGENATOR PLANTS - These are the easiest to plant. Just lay them in the pond! Shade them in pond water for a day before exposing them to full sun. If you want to contain them so they ''t float into your skimmer you will need to make a floating fence for them. An old Hula Hoop spray painted flat black, with a large fishing weight anchoring it in place, works very well. Or you can get some clear plastic tubing and connect it in a circle making it air tight. Place your floaters in this area to keep them where you want them. IMPORTANT - Koi love to nibble on floating plant root tips! Always keep some floating plants in the top of your waterfall box to replace the ones the koi tear up.

pond photos

pond photos

William Tricker, Inc. oldest water garden specialist, Ohio, 1-800-524-3492.

Azolla (Azolla caroliniana). Very small floating plant, often called fairy moss, with tiny scale-shaped leaves. It provides a thick lacy velvet carpet of floating bluish-green or, in the autumn a brilliant crimson congested foliage that is very beautiful. An interesting characteristic of Azolla is that it has a mutual living relationship with alga that "fixes" or prepares nitrogen from the atmosphere for the tiny plant as food. [Mosquito ferns. Azolla is a genus of seven species of aquatic ferns in the family Salviniaceae. They are extremely reduced in form and specialized, looking nothing like other typical ferns but more resembling duckweed or some mosses. Wikipedia]


The Pond Guy Floating Plants--Water Hyacinth, Frogbit, and other floating plants filter the nutrients that cause excessive algae growth. They also provide shade and cover for fish and other aquatic organisms.


The Pond Guy Snails 101--Japanese Trapdoor Snails , also known by the scientific name Viviparis malleatus. Snails are invertebrates called gastropods. They are scavenging herbivores that feed on algae and other organic debris. Japanese Trapdoor Snails get their name from the hinged fingernail-like plate that seals the shell's opening, offering protection from drought and predators.

Japanese Trapdoor Snails / adult and babies

These snails are dark in color and vary greatly in size, but usually arrive to your door dime-sized. They are cold-weather tolerant, making them a perfect addition to most water gardens.

In order for these snails to have a positive effect on your water garden, we recommend a group – or escargatoire – of at least 10 snails per 50 square feet of pond.

Japanese Trapdoor Snails can be male or female. How do you know if you can name them Jack or Jill? Just take a look at the antennae. Antennae on females are the same size, whereas male have one that is shorter. This shorter antenna also doubles as a reproductive organ.

After their travels, your snails will need a bit of time to get used to their new home. Just like fish, it is best to acclimate them slowly, especially in chilly early-season waters. Add some pond water to the bag and float or hold them in the water for a few minutes, out of direct sunlight. Once acclimated, leave them in a shallow area and let them work their way into the deeper sections of your pond. If they float, ''t worry; air occasionally gets trapped in the shell. As long as the trapdoor is still in place, your snails are alive and the air will work its way out.

When hungry, they will nibble on the algae, leaves, excess fish food, and other decaying matter. As with any aquatic critters, your snails need oxygen. Keep it flowing with an aeration kit, so your gastropods stay happy – you will also have a healthier pond!

HARDIER THAN THE AVERAGE SNAIL Though little, Japanese Trapdoor Snails can handle temperatures down to 0°F. Unlike other snails that use a snail's version of a snorkel to get air from outside the pond, Japanese Trapdoor Snails get oxygen from the water using their gills. Therefore, during winter they can stay in the warmer water at the bottom, rather than coming up to the frigid surface.

Fish Pond Info--Snails

Water Lilies

*Care of Lilies : Planting Instructions for Water Lily Pond Plants

Repotting a Hardy Waterlily With Ken Landon

*Wallah Planting a Hardy Waterlily properly. Planting Pond Plants, Water Gardening Help topsoil & one pkt Landon fertilizer. Use dish tub.

*Hardy Waterlilies more important information

*Choosing a Container for a Hardy Waterlily, Planting Pond Plants dish pan or large kitty litter pan. Depth has no effect. Longest horizontal surface possible

Choosing a Container for a Hardy Waterlily, Planting Pond Plants

Adding a water lily to your pond St Louis Gold is very fragrant and yellow.

Video: Care of Lilies : Planting Instructions for Water Lily Pond Plants
Care of Lilies : How to Take Care of Lily Pads
Be Green 2: Water lilies are easy to grow note Mosquito Fish
Planting a hardy Waterlily 2012 for maximum flower production
Waterlily Database
Grow Hardy Waterlily Without Pot
How to plant waterlilies - The English Garden magazine rinse your pea gravel or it will change the pH of your pond
Repotting an overgrown Hardy Waterlily

Amazon Greenpro products


Live Aquatic Plant Nymphaea Pink General Pershing Water Lilies Tuber for Aquarium Freshwater Fish Pond by Greenpro 5s $10.99 + $4.99 shipping

This is live water lilly tuber. Named as Nymphaea Pink Secret Martini (Tropical).
Pink Secret Martini provides the excellent charming pond.
Our plants passed the USDA requirement.
Every plant is carefully inspected before packing.
Our plants grow by using lastest technology and facility.

- You get a tuber of live water lily like the 2nd photo. It is a sample from our stocks. - Tuber size is 2"-8" length. - Most water lillies prefer a depth of 18-24 inches - The best way to plant is in a pot then place in a larger container or a pond - It's wonderful for aquarium community. - Plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and absorb nutrients from water that are derived from fish waste. - Your plants are 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

Important things to remember. Water lilies need more than 4 hours a day of sunshine to flower. Tropical lilies need full sun all day. Keep lilies away from moving or flowing water. Away from pump or filter. Frequently fertilize a water lily once a month depending on the fertilizer type and the size of your container.

Mosquito Fish - Gambezi

Mosquito Fish The western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) is a species of freshwater fish, also known commonly, if ambiguously, as simply mosquitofish or by its generic name, Gambusia, or by the common name gambezi. There is also an eastern mosquitofish (G. holbrooki).

Mosquitofish are small in comparison to many other freshwater fish, with females reaching an overall length of 7 cm (2.8 in) and males at a length of 4 cm (1.6 in). The female can be distinguished from the male by her larger size and a gravid spot at the posterior of her abdomen. The name "mosquitofish" was given because the diet of this fish sometimes consists of large numbers of mosquito larvae, relative to body size.[3] Gambusia typically eat zooplankton, beetles, mayflies, caddisflies, mites, and other invertebrates; mosquito larvae make up only a small portion of their diet.

Mosquitofish were introduced directly into ecosystems in many parts of the world as a biocontrol to lower mosquito populations which in turn negatively affected many other species in each distinct bioregion. Mosquitofish in Australia are classified as a noxious pest and may have exacerbated the mosquito problem in many areas by outcompeting native invertebrate predators of mosquito larvae.

Several counties in California distribute mosquitofish at no charge to residents with manmade fish ponds and pools as part of their mosquito abatement programs. The fish are made available to residents only and are intended to be used solely on their own property, not introduced into natural habitat. On 24 February 2014, Chennai Corporation in India introduced western mosquitofish in 660 ponds to control the mosquito population in freshwater bodies.

Mosquitofish can survive relatively inhospitable environments, and are resilient to low oxygen concentrations, high salt concentrations (up to twice that of sea water), and temperatures up to 42 °C (108 °F) for short periods.[11] Because of their notable adaptability to harsh conditions and their global introduction into many habitats for mosquito control, they have been described as the most widespread freshwater fish in the world.

Mosquitofish were intentionally introduced in many areas with large mosquito populations to decrease the population of mosquitoes by eating the mosquito larvae. However, most introductions were ill-advised; in most cases native fish had already proven to supply maximal control of mosquito population and introducing mosquitofish has been more harmful to indigenous aquatic life than to the mosquito population. Introductions outside the mosquitofish's natural range can be harmful to the nonnative ecosystems. Mosquitofish have been known to kill or injure other small fish by their aggressive behavior and otherwise harm them through competition. They are now considered just slightly better at eating mosquitoes than at destroying other aquatic species.


How a cute little frog can sound so big


Red Firespike (O'tonema strictum) in left foreground, Tree Crinums mid and Bougainvillea hedge in rear

Crinum Lily [Crinum spp.] South Florida: With its commanding presence, the exotic crinum lily enhances more formal to wildly tropical landscaping.

Crinum Lily or Spider Lily Zones: 8 - 11; Large perennial herb with tunicate bulbs, often with long necks, stalkless, often clump forming

Origin: Tropical and subtropical Asia and Africa, some species come from Florida and the dryer regions of South Africa and the arid Middle East
Zones: 8 - 11
Height: 5' or more
Rate of Growth: Fast

Crinum (Giant) Lily / Crinum (Giant) Lily Flowers

Soil Requirements: Average, well-drained soil
Water Requirements: Requires regular watering
Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly
Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Form: Clump forming herb
Leaves: 5' long, light green, fleshy, thick
Flowers: Bisexual, white, pink red, some striped or multicolored, summer-fall, some fragrant at night
Fruits: Capsule, green, spherical, seeds globose

Red Crinum (Giant) Lily / Red Crinum Flower stalk

Pests or diseases: Leaf spots, caterpillars, grasshoppers
Uses: Border, pot plant, bedding plant
Bad Habits: Foliage damaged by frost, but recovers rapidly
Cost: $$ -- Very reasonable
Propagation: Seeds are slow to germinate and reach flowering size, division recommended

Red Crinum flowers / Red Crinum flower close-up

Pond Conversion Ideas & Plant arrangements

[left] Natural Pond Balance Eco-System Formula - 5 elements: Oxygenating Grasses, Water Lilies, Pond Fish, Water Snails, Bog Plants of Small aquatic plants / from Fish Pond Construction

from Fish Pond Plan possibilities

from Fish Pond Construction

Pond Duckweed Control from Fish Pond Construction

Design from Pond Construction possibilities

Pond plan & plants ideas / Pond waterfall plan possibility

Water lily in pond / Pond plant Elephant Ears or Taro

Pond plant levels / Pond plan & plants ideas

Pond plan & plants ideas / Pond plan & plants ideas

Patio possibilities / Patio possibilities

Aquatic plant types & levels in water/ Aquatic plant arrangement in pond & pond possibility

Aquatic plant arrangement in pond / Pond ecosystem illustrated [hojas is leaves]

Illustration of aquatic plant placement / Pond plan possibility

Pond plan idea / Aquatic plant levels/supports w/inches deep shown Bigger

Pond plan possibility / Pond plan possibility

Pond plan possibility / Aquatic plant support idea & levels

Aquatic plant support idea / Water lily planter illustrated

Water lily planter illustrated / Pond ecosystem illustrated [hojas is leaves]

Pond plan & plants possibilities / Pond plan & plants possibilities [click here to enlarge

Waterfall design idea / Waterfall and patio design idea

Pond Waterfall plan possibility / Water lily planting details

Patio Change/Plan Ideas

Cheap Patio Ideas

Patio Ideas

Smart inexpensive Patio Ideas

Walkway or Patio & landscaping ideas

1 & 2 Inexpensive Patio Pavers / Textured concrete blocks

3 & 4 Samples

5 & 6 Samples [both involve placing soil & plants between house & patio

7 & 8 Samples

9 & 10 Samples

11 & 12 Samples

13 & 14 Samples

15 & 16 Samples

17 & 18 Samples


Photographer Captures The Multi-Colored Magic Of Hummingbirds

Native Plants

Native Shade Plants



Wintering Your Pond in Central Texas WGG is in Marion, TX.

Winterizing your pond can be critical to the health of your fish during the winter and during the warming transition into Spring as well as your Pond Ecosystem will be cleaner and benefit from properly being "put away" at the end of the growing season. How to winterize your pond depends on your climate. I am going to focus this educational blog on central Texas...

Your fish and plants will go dormant to an extent for 2-3 months, your water temperatures will get into the 50's, and your pond is very unlikely to ever ice over more than 24 hours. If you have never winterized before, you need to start!

If you have always 'e a "spring cleaning" of your pond where you empty it and clean out the muck and sludge and start the filter fresh every March, you need to stop! Hopefully I can help you create and maintain a healthier pond year 'round...and it can start today with a good and proper "WINTERIZING".

Winter pond / Hornwort & Parrots Feather for winter hardiness

First, let's list some MYTHS about the winter...some false myths:

-Your fish hibernate during the winter
-Your pond does not need maintenance during the winter
-Your pond has a healthy ecosystem naturally during the winter
-Spring is the best time to clean out your pond
-Spring is the best time to add Koi to your pond
-You should not add fish during the winter
-You need to heat your pond during the winter
-Your fish can die from cold water
-You should turn your pump off before each freeze

These are not true...so if you have been living by these in the past, now you can quit.

Pre-Winter Cleaning:

You want to complete a pre-winter cleaning of your pond for numerous reasons...by the end of the growing season, you have a good amount of sludge on the bottom of your pond, algae on the sides that is about the die from the cold termperatures coming, fish waste and biowaste filling up your filter and pump lines, etc.

All of this will sit and toxify the water through the winter if it is left in the pond. That does not mean the first winter you leave it all in there your fish are going to die...but we want our fish to be living in high quality, clean water...and that requires a little work on our parts to give them that and keep their health and immune systems high.

The fish's immune system will be lowest during and coming out of winter so we want to avoid parasite, protozoans, fungus and bacterias as much as possible...best way to do this is a clean pond and good Oxygen levels. So here is the simple Pre-winter cleaning regimen for our climate:

Ideally, 30 days or so before your water temperature drops to 60 degrees…

-Remove all sludge, fish waste, and leaves from the bottom of the pond. You do want these going through biological breakdown over winter in your pond

-Do a 20-30% water change to remove excess Nitrates and add a good dechlorinator that deals with ammonia as well.

-Deep Clean your filter…pads, bio balls, etc. Replace with new media pads, etc to remove extra Nitrates

-Start slowing down the feeding routine to reduce fish waste going into winter and to prep your fish for further food reductions when temperatures drop

-Optional treating for Flukes and Parasites going into winter can protect your fish when their immune systems are low


Organic sediments (leaves, fish waste) on the bottom of your pond creates anaerobic zones that can have odors and worse create breeding grounds for parasites, fungus, and toxic gases.

Poor water clarity and water quality will result from sludge build up and severe cases can lead to disease and fish loss due to the amount of toxins in the pond.

Sludge digesters are packed with living enzymes and beneficial bacterias that breakdown and convert the sludge and nitrates to safe proteins, water and oxygen creating a win win for everything in the pond.

Keep your fish and your aqua ecosystem healthy by maintaining the water quality on a routine bases. Your fish will be less likely to get sick in a healthy, stress-free pond that has the right mix of bacteria, algae, oxygen, and nitrates so make sure you test and adjust accordingly. There are many products that will help you gain clarity in your water so you have a more beautiful and enjoyable pond that are safe for your fish and plants as well.

Algae Fix

Crystal Clear

Fritz Aquatics

Laguna Warm temperatures, intense sunlight, and the accumulation of organic waste are factors that can contribute to an unattractive pond. Laguna offers a number of products that can help offset the results of these environmental conditions.

Strata There are many myths regarding the benefits of bacterial treatments. Organic Digester natural pond treatment is extremely powerful, that is all that needs to be said! Organic Digester is composed of both multiple bacteria as well as enzymes!! It is so strong, that it can save you up to 10 times the cost.

Tetra Water Treatment


Leaves can be your worst ENEMY in the fall and winter. As they fall to the bottom of your pond and decay into sludge, they take oxygen and add toxins into the water. Coupled with the decrease in beneficial bacteria during the winter, decaying leaves can create nightmare water quality issues for your Koi. Nets for Sale


Your aquatic plants need a little care in the fall as they go dormant, and then nothing until they return back in the Spring. The care they need is dependent on what kind of plants they are.

-Tropical plants…like tropical lilies, Papyrus, mint, and many taros, etc need to be protected in the winter so moving indoors or into the garage in a bucket is wise.

-Perennials are hardy and will most always be fine in our winters…Hardy Water Lilies, Iris, Palms, Rushes, etc. These need care by the plant type, but in general trimming the browning folage so it does not decay into the pond and making sure the pot is cleaned of String Algae, etc as needed so as not to seed winter algae varieties

Keep in mind while the plant top may go dormant, many plants grow roots in the winter so Spring repotting is always recommended.

It is not recommended to repot aquatic plants until Spring at which point new soil, fertilizer, and a root hair cut is recommended.

There are good plants to add to your pond for the winter...plants that grow in the cold water rather than go dormant.

Hornwort and Parrots Feather are our choice. Call us for ordering details. 210-659-5841


There is a correct way to feeding your Koi this winter. Feeding is based on water temperature so a simple water thermometer is a great addition to have going into the colder months.

-You want to stop feeding when the water temperature drops to 55 degrees

-You want to feed in warm water…above 60 degrees and when you know the water will stay above 60 for 3-4 days.

-You want to feed a Wheat-Germ based food as it is easier and quicker to digest.

-Once your water temperature drops to 65, start slowing down how much you feed to work your fish onto a smaller diet over time


The BLUE HERON is your primary predator during the winter. This migratory bird makes it’s home in Texas during the cold winter months so you need to protect your pond! They are more patient than your fish are smart so it is up to you to keep them from getting to your Koi and Goldfish.

Netting your pond with a fish-safe pond net is always the best option for winter protection. These nets come in several sizes and can be staked into the ground and hang over the pond in a non-invasive manner so you can still enjoy your fish, but the predators cannot.

Decoys are also great options...From Blue Heron to Crocodiles...decoys can add protection and character to your pond.


Feeding, Fish Metabolism, Beneficial Bacteria, Ammonia control, Oxygen levels all work together

@65 degrees - slow down feeding, plants start going dormant, algae growth stops

@60 degrees - Feed occassionally when you see fish are active, beneficial bacteria will become ineffective, metabolism slows way down, Ammonia levels become a concern if fish get stressed, Tropical plants very likely to die off.

@55 degrees – Stop feeding your fish as their metabolism declines to nothing, most Tropicals will not tolerate, Any ammonia and Nitrites in water will not be consumed by bacterias.

Laguna Floating Thermometer / 4' Floating Crocodile decoy

Water Temperature is everything...you need to watch as winter is coming on and then again as Spring is nearing. ''t jump from full feeding to no feeding, and back again...ease into changes and adjustments...but make sure you do.

Plant Life for Water Gardens Plants available for use in water gardens are many. Choosing these is a pleasure, but there are certain considerations to be taken into account.

Most considerations, such as water depth, amount of sunlight, and how each species relates to its surroundings should have been considered during the design phase.

Floating leafed and submerged plants are necessary for a healthy pond and must be included in your selection. The following is a partial list of cultivars of readily available plants by use group.

Much more info... cover later.

Aquascapes Unlimited Bucks Cty., Penn. "The most complete source for native herbaceous wetland and ornamental aquatic perennials." [wholesale]

Pond Plants R Us water hyacinth, For Tx we suggest Giant Sensitive Plant as an alternative to Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce.

Texas Water Lilies Waller, Tx. Wholesale and retail. Near Houston; halfway between Houston and Brenham

Organic Pond

Texas Ponds and Water Features in Austin & Houston.

Organic Pond Ecosystem

The ecosystem-based pond we install for our customers was developed almost twenty years ago by a team of pond builders and has been studied, honed, and perfected over the years to be the most easily maintained, natural looking, and readily customizable pond system you can own.

The ecosystem pond that Texas Ponds and Water Features installs in our water features was developed by a team of professional pond builders and has been used in hundreds of thousands of water features all over the country since then. The system was originated and has been perfected over the years, not by writers of water gardening books, but by people who actually design and build ponds for a living. When a system doesn't work right, we are the guys that have to come out and fix it and learn from the mistake.

To set the historical stage, equipment manufacturers (and thereby their customers) in the Water Gardening industry have evolved from two primary sources....1)The water filtration industry (waste water treatment)....and 2)The swimming pool design/chemical sterilization orientation. The water filtration people (comprised mostly of engineers) figured that whoever made the best filter would win the race for clean water. That was and still is the predominant orientation to the water gardening business. The pool design/sterilization crowd tried a different route. Their strategy was to add chemicals to pond water to sterilize or alter it. This is where all the UV light sterilizers and pond chemicals come from. These people promote a sterile and chemically-dependent pond. These systems are definitely not natural. Either of these approaches will require far more mainenance time from the pond owner as well as costing far more in the long run.

The ecosystem pond brings a third orientation to the Water Gardening industry. This one aims to work in harmony with Mother Nature (not against her) by creating a balanced ecosystem in the first place! This low-maintenance organic, holistic, and naturalistic approach to keeping our customers' pond water clear separates us from other water garden installation companies in the state. And the fact that the proper installation of this system can actually reduce mosquito populations makes it the perfect system for Texas.

The greatest benefit of creating a balanced ecosystem in your pond is that the system actually does most of the routine maintenance for you! The skimmer holding the pump continuously sweeps the surface clean, depositing most windblown debris in a catch bag for easy removal. Additionally, as the water is pumped through the Biofalls filter, millions of microscopic beneficial bacteria go to work scrubbing the pond clean of the suspended algae that causes green water. In the pond itself, the plants growing with their roots planted directly in the gravel substrate of the pond take nutrients directly from the water, helping to prevent string algae blooms. And pond fish naturally graze the rocks and gravel for organic material that they can eat, keeping the bottom clean in the process. By combining both mechanical and biological filtration, the pond's own ecosystem does the maintenance for you, reducing your work and increasing your enjoyment.

Texas Ponds and Water Features exclusively installs Aquascape's Ecosystem Pond System for our clients, designed and installed by our own team of well-trained, experienced pond professionals or working in conjunction with your own trusted landscaper. We are Certified Aquascape Contractors, having installed more than 100 ponds using this system, and completing numerous hours of classroom and field training and having our work and our customer service evaluated by other water gardening professionals..

Aquascape Components


The BIOFALLS(R) is an up-flow biological filter and waterfall all in one!

A biological filter is basically a large container used to house as many beneficial bacteria as possible. Some people do not mind a box or barrel sitting alongside their pond dumping water out through a pipe. But for our natural-looking water features, this simply won't do. By combining the filter with the falls, we get the functionality of a biological filter and the beauty of a waterfall.

The water is fed from the pump through a flexible PVC pipe to the bottom of the BIOFALLS. It first enters the 'swirl chamber' where any solids are allowed to settle out. It then rises up through the filtrataion media where it comes in contact with millions of beneficial bacteria which 'scrub' the pond clean of green water.

The cleaned water then re-enters the pond by spilling naturally over the waterfall stones. This action also helps aerate the pond water, which is important for the health of the fish and bacteria.


An awesome invention that substantially reduces pond maintenance, the CleanSweep Skimmer allows the pump to sit inside and skim surface debris from the pond as it operates. All you need to do is empty the catch bag and periodically rinse the filter pad. Depending on the amount of surface debris your pond has, you can spend as little as 5 minutes per month emptying your skimmer.

An automatic overflow valve is positioned in the back to route excess rainwater away from the pond.

The CleanSweep Skimmer is an invention that performs several functions in a low-maintenance pond. It will be buried in the ground at pond's edge and only the faux-stone lid will be visible.

In addition to skimming surface debris from the pond, the skimmer also protects the pump from clogging by channelling the pond water through two pre-filters before it ever reaches the pump. There is no chance of a malfuntioning bottom drain emptying your entire pond and leaving your fish stranded with this system.

Pumps from 1500gph to 10,000gph are available and have been designed exclusively for use in a pond skimmer.


AquaClearer brand beneficial bacteria naturally balances the pond and keeps it clear and healthy. This is a natural bacteria found in all natural bodies of water. We just want a concentrated amount of bacteria in the filters faster than nature would build them up on her own, so we add AquaClearer.

The bacteria serves several functions in the balanced pond ecosystem. First off, it competes directly with algae for the free-floating nutrients in the pond water. The stronger and healthier your bacteria colonies are, the cleaner and healthier your pond's water will be because there are not enough nutrients in the water to support the suspended algae that turns pond water green.

Bacteria also works in the ecosystem to convert the harmful ammonia into ammonium nitrate, which is plant fertilizer. The plants, their roots unconstrained by pots, take all the nutrients they need to thrive directly from the pond's water, literally starving algae out of the entire system.

Green water occurs when nutrients are available for suspended algae to form. Literally millions of single-celled algae are suspended in the pond's water, tinting it a deep emerald green.

Adding a pinch of AquaClearer once a week in the winter and once a month in the summer will keep your pond crystal clear all year round.

Plant Pockets

Plant pockets in the pond's initial excavation provide places for lilies to grow and eliminate the need for unsightly pots. Plant pockets, around six inches deep and filled with soil promote health in plant development by allowing the roots to spread through the surrounding gravel unlike containerized plants, which can quickly become root-bound. Marginal plants do not need pockets and are rooted directly into the gravel substrate of the pond. Eliminating plastic pots helps complete the natural look of our water features.

Rocks and Gravel

Rocks and gravel are an integral part of a balanced pond ecosystem. Rocks and gravel reduce pond maintenance by greatly reducing muck build-up. Bacteria on the rocks and gravel break down organic debris on the bottom of the pond, eliminating most of it from the system. Rocks and gravel are also beautiful to look at, making the pond appear much more natural than a water feature with black liner showing everywhere. They protect the liner from UV rays, doubling its life-expectancy. In addition, rocks and gravel protect the liner from damage from above and serve as ballast during high ground water condidtions.

Small boulders are placed along the vertical walls of the pond, helping to stabilize these areas against hydraulic pressure when the ground gets wet and heavy.

Gravel has been added to cover the horizontal surfaces of the pond, hiding all the light cables and liner and making the inside of the pond look as natural as the surrounding open spaces. We'll rinse all the rocks and gravel before filling the pond.


Fish, such as Koi, Comets, and Goldfish can be successfully kept, and even bred, in water that is only two feet deep as far north as Zone 4 (MN).

The fish keep the pond clean by eating excess algae that may try to form on the rocks of the pond as well as organic material that finds its way to the bottom. You never need to feed the fish in a system like this, although you probably won't be able to resist tossing them a handful of pellets every now and then.

The ammonia in the fishes' waste is converted by the bacteria into ammonium nitrate, which is fertilizer for the plants! They look beautiful and I wouldn't have a pond without them, but the fish also play an equally important role in the balanced pond ecosystem.

Keeping fish in your pond will provide endless hours of entertainment for you and your family. Fish also reduce pond maintenance rather than increase it.


Wildlife Habitat

How ‘Bout A Backyard Wildlife Habitat? by Matt Boring In this time of undeniable climate change, many of us are thinking more about how to reduce the size of our ‘footprints’ on the natural world. Since most of us live in suburbia now, it’s not like the average person can go out and put up a giant windmill to generate clean electricity, but there things you can do on a smaller scale to make a difference. If enough people start thinking, and more importantly, acting along these lines, it can spread out like ripples in a pond, and change the next generation’s attitude about the fragility of the natural world.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service also promotes the Backyard Wildlife Habitat program to encourage people to plan their properties in such a way that the natural species that were most likely living in that area before it was cleared to make a subdivision are given back a piece of the habitat that was taken from them.

The idea behind this plan is to encourage not only using plants native to the area you’re in, but also plants that provide shelter and food, such as Pyrocantha or other berrying plants.

An organically-functioning water garden will not only create an ecosystem within and around itself, it will also invite many different bird species to drink and splash around in the waterfalls and shallow areas. Even a small yard can have big possibilities as long as you '’t think of your space as flat.

It’s a three-dimensional space that includes everything from the bottom of the pond to the tops of the trees. Visit their website to learn more about planning and implementing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat. They also have tips for encouraging nature without inviting mice, etc.

Although most of my pond customers go organic and many have had some great yards for bird watching, none has gone to the point of getting their backyard actually certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat until I met Martha last year. I knew which house it was as soon as I turned onto her street in Pearland TX.

There was not a bit of turf in her front yard. The whole yard was trees, plants, and flowers, everything nicely spaced, weeded, and neatly arranged with the plants’ mature size taken into consideration. This way the plants are allowed to take on more of what their natural shape is so they look better with minimal pruning. I’ve always thought it stupid to plant a shrub that wants to be ten feet tall into a space where you want a three foot tall shrub, then have to go in and butcher the plant 4-6 times a year to keep it that size. It deprives the plant of whatever natural beauty it had and by doing so, it says that shrub selection is not important— you’re just gonna hack it into the shape you want anyway. It’s got a kind weird man vs. nature vibe to it.

Martha had her backyard certified as a wildlife habitat before I met her, but she wanted a bigger source of water for the birds that visited her hard. We put in a nice little pond with a waterfall to provide a nice soothing sound when she sits out on the patio and positioned it so that she could watch it out the window when she was in the house.

Recently I went back to check on things and was so impressed by the way everything had come together that I asked her if she wouldn’t mind writing a couple of sentences about her experiences with the Backyard Wildlife Habitat. I figured I could take those sentences and try to fashion an entertaining article around them, but when I read her words I knew I wanted to leave them just the way she wrote them. She has quite a nice writing style. She’s also included her e-mail address so that you can ask questions about her experiences.

Backyard Habitat

It is a modest 30'x60' backyard in suburbia but rick with living creatures from denizens of the soil, pond dwellers, jumping, creeping, crawling and flying inhabitants. For five years it has been guided by an organic philosophy and a desire to be part of the natural process for this postage stamp plot of earth.

The goal is vital soil population and a robust ecosystem within the confines of a neighborhood and homeowners association. The process is rewarding, and the results give varied pleasure season by season. Nature’s rhythms can be experienced and relied upon to give constancy and structure to the circle of life. My role is facilitator not dominator.

Some backyard residents like the frogs, toads, anoles, skinks, garden snakes, spiders and wasps stay year-round although resting or renewing during the winter months. Others are visitors for a season.

In the spring and fall the hummingbirds patrol their favorite native honeysuckle and salvia on their migration north or south. Butterflies begin and end their life cycle with the appropriate flowers and plants. The process of a caterpillar “changing clothes” in its tiny dressing room is still a miracle.

This past summer a 6'x15' natural pond was added with a shallow “beach” area for birds to enter and exit easily. So far the birds have preferred the flat rock under the waterfall where they shower and preen on a hot summer afternoon. The toads and frogs wasted no time finding the new water supply and have staked a claim. With underwater lights, the night activity can be observed from a window. Red, black, green and red-jeweled dragonflies are drawn to the water source and continue their life cycle in and out of the pond.

An active ecosystem is a feast for the senses. There is anticipation of the natural pattern, surprise with the unexpected and always an ongoing education for all that take time to look and listen.

Matt Boring

A Question of Balance, by Matt Boring: The Natural Water Gardener What can we do to bring some of that balance back into our daily existence? Water gardening is one good way, and by really getting intimately in touch with the nature in our own backyard, we can spread some of that understanding and appreciation for the local and global ecosystem into the rest of lives and into the lives of our friends and neighbors. Please allow me to explain.

Those of us who practice organic water gardening with a balanced ecosystem approach know how relaxing it can be to have Mother Nature help keep our pond water clean, clear, and healthy. Our ponds are there for us, not the other way around.

They stay clean on their own by virtue of the theory behind their design, a design based on nature’s own freshwater ecosystems. A balance is attained between the plants, fish, and beneficial bacteria living in the biological filter and on the rocks and gravel– just like in natural waterways.

As long as the pond’s ecosystem stays balanced, our pond water will be clear. And it’s precisely because they stay clear on their own that it’s easy to tell if something goes out of balance. It’s just like a natural creek. It should be clean and clear, but if an overabundance of fertilizer run-off from neighborhoods and golf courses gets into it, it can quickly clog with algae, sometimes choking out the aquatic inhabitants within.

If something goes out of balance in an ecosystem pond, the first symptom will usually be an excess of string algae. It’s no big deal. It shouldn’t be something that’ll kill your fish. It’s just a natural indicator that something isn’t quite right within the system. Maybe you’ve been feeding the fish too much or you’ve made the mistake of fertilizing the aquatic plants. Perhaps there’s a small leak that’s developed due to settling, causing the automatic fill valve to continuously add fresh water, and therefore fresh nutrients, to the system. It could just be one of those times of year, usually a couple of weeks in the spring and fall, when the climate changes and the plants and bacteria aren’t competing as actively for the available nutrients in the water.

After a while we know our system well enough to know if it’s a symptom showing that something’s wrong or if it’s something that will go away after the system re-balances itself after a climatic change.

If you choose to attack the symptom, let’s say suspended or string algae, and ignore the root problem (an unbalanced pond), you’re most likely setting out on a long, expensive, and frustrating journey.

Rather than merely treating the symptoms, we should go to the root of the problem. Any time you have excess string algae or green water there is only one root problem– too many available nutrients in the pond water! If nutrients weren’t available to the algae, it couldn’t grow– it’s that simple.

We can then check for leaks, adjust how much fish food (if any) we’re adding, reduce the fish load, add aquatic plants, or whatever we know our individual system needs. No one knows their pond’s system better than its owner and no two are exactly alike.

Only the owner knows if he or she is feeding the fish more than before, or if their aquatic plants are starting to go dormant for the winter. They should also be aware of whether they’re having to add water to make up for leak-associated water loss. The effort required to fix the problem is minute, once you’re aware of the problem, and you are soon able to return to relaxing beside your pond– not working on it!

Choosing Plants for Your Pond, by Matt Boring If you’re a novice water gardener, '’t let the plants scare you at all. They’re easy to plant, easy to take care of, and best of all, never need watering or fertilizer! Aquatic plants come in an endless variety of heights, colors, and textures. Different plants grow from different depths in your pond, so it truly becomes a three-dimensional garden. That’s another good reason I construct my ponds with several levels.

The plants also serve an important part of the balanced ecosystem of your pond. You see, the ammonia in fish waste is converted by the bacteria and enzymes in the biological filter to ammonium nitrate, which is natural plant fertilizer. It’s not as toxic to the fish, but it still needs to be gotten out of there or it will cause an algae bloom. You see this happening in natural and farm ponds a couple of times a year.

That’s where the plants come in. Most of the plants in the water garden are planted directly into the gravel substrate of the ecosystem pond. Their roots are allowed to grow unconstrained by pots. The plants will perform better for you this way, but more importantly, their roots will spread out into a giant natural filtet, becoming a magnet for the free floating nutrients in your pond water. The less nutrients available in the water, the less chance you have for out-of-control algae that makes your water the color of pea-soup or forms large strings across the pond. The key is to achieve a natural balance between the plants, fish, and beneficial bacteria in the ecosystem.

A word of warning, though. There are some plants that are extremely aggressive in some parts of the state because it doesn’t get cold enough to freeze them back sufficiently in the winter time. They will soon take over an average sized back yard water garden and you’ll soon have more garden than water. Avoid letting giant pennywort, water celery, and water lotus out of their pots or you’ll be sorry. I’d recommend avoiding the giant pennywort altogether.

By all means, '’t avoid the water lotus, though. Place it in the pond and disguise the pot with rocks or stick a decorative pot down into the pond and place the plastic pot with the water lotus into that pot. Unless you have an extremely large pond, I wouldn’t advise letting the full size cattail out of its pot either. Not only will it spread too quickly, it has extremely powerful roots and is about the only plant I know of that may be able to force itself through the liner.

There are many stores that will tell you not to let any plant out of its pot, but those people are not giving you advice on an organic water feature, so you may have to shop around for your plant guidance or shoot me an e-mail and if I '’t know the answer to your particular question, perhaps I can at least point you in the right direction.

We typically plant oxygenating plants like hornwort and water thyme in the lowest level of the pond, usually at about a 2' depth. Simply use the gravel in the pond to weight them down. They’ll soon root in on their own. They give the fish a place to hide and they soak up excess nutrients in the water like a sponge. In the daytime, they may not draw the viewers’ attention much, but at night, with the underwater lights on, they take center stage along with the fish.

On the second shelf of the pond, which is around a 16-18" depth, we excavate planting pockets when we’re digging the pond. Once the liner’s in place, these pockets become the home for water lilies. I let my lilies out of their pots, leaving them in their soil, and covering that with gravel. Some people leave them in the pots, set the pots in the pockets, and cover with gravel to match the surrounding shelf of the pond. They find it easier to remove the lilies for dividing later. I find that if a lily’s grown too big, it’s easy enough to reach down into the gravel and break a piece of the rhizome off. You can toss it in the compost pile or give it to a fellow ponderer. The second shelf is also a great place for the water lotus.

The lotus is truly the crown jewel of the pond. Its blossoms are one of the most beautiful found in nature. They are usually found in gentle pastels. Some even change color as the days pass. The seed pod is very ornamental, resembling a giant shaker and is often found in flower arrangements, both dry and fresh. Get them into the pond early in the year so you can enjoy their blooming season. Lotus will also hold its round, lily-like pads out of the water. They have a waxy texture and water beads and rolls around on the leaves like drops of mercury. They are a fun plant to watch in a gentle rain, as raindrops splash from one leaf to another and eventually disappear into the pond.

Marginal plants are found in the most different varieties. Many of the terrestrial plants we’re already familiar with will grow in this level of the pond. Ruellia, Mondo Grass, Iris, Canna lily, and even Texas Star Hibiscus are included in this group. Marginal plants do best with their feet in only a few inches of water, so we plant these in the top level of the pond. Simply push the gravel aside, remove the plant from its pot, rise off the excess soil, and plant it in your pond, covering the roots with gravel. Taller plants may need some additional support until their roots take hold, but will soon stand on their own.

Tall plants such as Iris, sweet flag, dwarf cattail, taro (looks like elephant ears), umbrella plant, and even some rushes and reeds provide vertical interest to the waterscape. I generally plant tall plants on the back shelf of the pond so they '’t block too much of the view.

The next level of plants include pickeral rush, lizard’s tail, duck potato, red or purple creeper and the like. Think of them as the shrubs in your landscape. They are medium height, not as tall as the tall plants (trees), but taller than the groundcover (grass).

The lower growing plants are great for the front edge of the water garden and for around the sides of the waterfall. They will typically spread out, never getting too tall, and help naturalize the sides of the pond by covering some of the rocks along the edge. Some of these plants include creeping Jenny(moneywort), Bacopa, pennywort, and parrot’s feather.

Parrot’s feather will also float on the surface, helping to shade the water. Since floating plants such as water hyacinth and water lettuce are illegal in Texas, parrot’s feather makes a nice substitute. Planted in the Biofalls, it will soon grow to fill the top, helping to completely disguise the source of your waterfall.

Dragonflies, Turtles and Frogs, Oh My! By Matt Boring “If you build it, they will come.” This famous line from a movie about baseball applies surprisingly well to what happens when you install a naturally balanced pond system in your yard.

Frogs, toads, dragonflies, butterflies, birds, even the occasional turtles and salamanders will soon move into the area to take advantage of the new aquatic real estate. In other words, you never know who’s gonna show up. I’m consistently amazed that the variety of life that will take up residence in and around a backyard pond.

It goes to show that the ecosystem doesn’t stop at the water’s edge. It continues outward and upward from the microscopic plankton that spend their whole lives in the pond’s water all the way up to migratory birds who may only stop once to get a drink and bathe in the stream on their way to unknown places far away.

As undisturbed natural habitat disappears at seemingly ever-expanding rates, it becomes increasingly important for us as humans to give a little something back to nature or else risk losing some of our local wildlife species forever. Gardening organically and landscaping with native plants is a good start. The organic gardener and native landscaper believes in being a good steward to his or her part of the earth, helping to maintain some balance of nature while eliminating harmful runoff of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides from their speck of land. To further encourage native wildlife in the area, water should be provided in some way whether it be in the form of a birdbath, fountain, or pond.

Ponds naturally draw frogs and toads to the area. Sometimes a family of frogs will take up permanent residence in your pond. I’ve seen up to three different varieties of frogs living in a single backyard water feature. They’re great swimmers, gliding underwater as easily and swiftly as the fish. And yes, it’s true that they’ll sit on your lily pads, floating on top of the water to get some sun and warm their bodies or to catch an insect that ventures too close. When you surprise them, you’ll see them jumping back into the water from all over the pond. Their gentle ‘ribbit, ribbit ribbit’ in the evening will take you back to those long-ago summer nights in the country.

Toads live on land but are drawn to the water to mate and lay eggs. Generally after dark you’ll hear them coming from all over the yard to converge at the pond’s edge. Their call is a bit more harsh than the frogs’ and they home in on each other with the sound. They are not good swimmers, seeming to doggy paddle across the surface of the pond, but must enter the water to lay their eggs.

Their eggs look like long strings of clear goo with black dots in the strings. Frog eggs look more like a clump of clear goo with black dots in it. Within a few days, those black dots will be swimming around your pond. Watching them day by day, you’ll see their little legs emerge and their tail slowly disappear. Once they grow big enough, they’ll move out into the grass eating insects to sustain themselves and grow to full size. They’re quite effective at keeping unwanted bugs out of your yard and garden.

Dragonflies naturally flock to a body of water as well. If you’ve never had a pond, you’ll be absolutely amazed at how many colors in which they are found. I’ve seen them in black, black and white, black and yellow, orange, blue, green, blue with green heads, purple, maroon, and even bright red. I’d never seen a bright red dragonfly in my life until I started building ponds and now I’ve seen them at several of my water features.

Dragonflies are voracious mosquito eaters and it’s good to have them around. You’ll see them in the evenings, skimming over the grass eating mosquitoes as the start to emerge. They also swoop down to the pond and flick the water with their thorax, although I '’t know why. It’s very entertaining though.

They like to perch on vertical plants such as cattail, Iris, and some rushes. Like frogs and toads, dragonflies also reproduce using the pond. They mate in the air, the female lays her eggs in the water and the offspring hatch there, spending part of their lives in the pond as nymphs.

When the time is right, they’ll crawl up one of those cattails, shed their skin, and like a butterfly, open their delicate wings for the first time. They have to sit still until their wings dry, but will soon venture off on their first test flight.

This year I finally saw some turtles in the pond. They were both red eared sliders. Turtles are naturally migratory so if they do show up in the pond, they probably won’t stay. Unless your pond is specially designed to keep the turtles in, they’ll likely leave you at some point, looking for that elusive greener grass on the other side of the fence. It’s very neat, however, to see an animal of this size in your water feature that you didn’t put in there.

In the mornings and late afternoons, the birds show up. Some of them bathe in the waterfall and stream area, opening their wings and splashing around insanely like energetic little kids at a hotel swimming pool. Others, such as mourning doves approach with more caution, feeding on the ground for a while, inching ever close to the water’s edge. They seem to be trying to sneak up on the pond, but are really just checking the area carefully before lowering their heads to take little drinks of water, then raising their beaks up to let it slide down their throats. Of course you’ll see different birds depending on where you live and depending on how much natural water they have access to in your area. This June was especially dry where I live and I saw many more birds than normal at my pond. It feels good to give nature a helping hand when you can.

To Gravel or Not To Gravel, by Matt Boring One of the biggest controversies in organic vs. traditional water garden philosophies is the use of rocks and gravel in the pond itself.

People who use other systems insist that rock and gravel in the pond makes the pond impossible to clean, it’s dangerous to the fish, it harbors anaerobic bacteria, interferes with the bottom drain, and other things that may not be suitable to print here. They usually insist that ponds should be built out of concrete or with the black liner exposed and possibly a ring of boulders or flagstones around the top edge.

However, as someone who builds ponds for a living, I can tell you that a properly-designed and constructed organic water feature must have rocks and gravel in it. And I can tell you that all the things the nay-sayers are saying are based on the fact that the methods employed by organic water gardeners may not work in a traditionally built system, so they can’t perceive that they’ll work for us either.

However, I contend that when you design a system that encourages Mother Nature to just do her thing, you can have a much more beautiful and lower maintenance water feature that does contain natural rocks and gravel. I’ve built close to a hundred ponds and every one of them is lined with the stuff.

There are several reasons to rock an organic pond. First off, the rocks and gravel offer suitable surface area for millions of beneficial bacteria to colonize in the pond itself, in addition to those in the biological filter. These bacteria help break down the fish’s waste and convert it to usable plant fertilizer. In effect, when you construct your water garden with rocks and gravel, you turn your entire pond into a giant biological filter, constantly working to keep your pond clean and your water clear.

A plain black liner will not be suitable surface area for this kind of colonization. That’s why you tend to see a lot of sludge build-up in black liner ponds that '’t have a bottom drain. This sludge must be removed each year during the clean out. Organic ponds seldom have even 1/8" of sediment built up in the course of a year.

Let’s address the issue of bottom drains since it came up. Certainly a graveled pond bottom would interfere with the proper functioning of a bottom drain. However we '’t use bottom drains for a couple of reasons. First off, we '’t need them. Bottom drains help get rid of the sludge that forms on the pond’s bottom. We '’t get that sludge, so there’s no need to drain it out.

Secondly, why cut a hole in the bottom of your liner if you '’t need to? It’s just a ticking time bomb waiting to spring a leak. And if it does it when you’re not around, it can drain your pond and leave all your fish high and dry.

A properly built pond with a skimmer can only lose 3-4" of water before it shuts off the pump, leaving your fish in plenty of water. When we need to drain the pond, which is no more than once a year, we can stick a pump in the bottom of the pond and pump it out, giving you the effect of a bottom drain without the risk.

It’s true that if you have too much gravel on the bottom of the pond, it can harbor unwanted bacteria. But by using no more than 2" of gravel, there is a healthy balance of all the natural bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria are found in Mother Nature’s water systems too. They’re just in a healthy balance with aerobic bacteria.

Rocks and gravel also serve other important and useful purposes in a water garden. By building the pond in several levels and lining the walls of each level with small boulders, you get much more structural integrity than in a pond with the sides dug straight down. When the ground around the pond gets wet, it tends to swell up and press in on the sides of the pond. A rubber-lined pond has nothing to help support its structure. But a shelved pond supported by rock has plenty of strength to handle this pressure.

Putting a row of boulders around only the top edge of the pond is even worse because these tend to sink over time and, rather than support anything, they actually help collapse the walls of the pond.

Lining the entire pond with natural rocks and gravel also protects the liner from harmful UV rays and can double the life of the liner because of it. UV rays are killers not only to our skin, but also to the EPDM liners. In fact UV rays are the number one factor in liner deterioration. And since you can’t ArmorAll the bottom of the pond, you better try to shade the liner as best you can. The liner I use has a twenty-year warranty and a forty-year life expectancy. But by hiding it from the UV rays, I can just about count on eighty to a hundred years. That becomes a very important difference when you’re the customer.

In an organic pond, plants are a very important part of the natural filtration of the pond. Rather than keeping their root systems in pots and having to add plant fertilizer to the system, we let most plants out of their pots, where they are forced to take nutrients directly from the pond’s water. They literally starve the algae out of the system!

In order to let the plants out of their pots, you have to have something for them to root out into. That’s another important reason to have gravel lining your pond.

In traditional water gardening, you have to add plant fertilizer to the potted aquatic plants. This usually causes an algae bloom from the excess nutrients suddenly introduced into the water. Then you add chemicals to kill the algae. There’s no such thing as balance. It’s definitely not what nature does. In nature who feeds the fish, fertilizes the plants, and adds the algae killer?

What are the Koi and other fish supposed to do in a garden pond? These guys are natural bottom feeders and their instinct is to root around on the bottom of a body of water looking for organic material to consume. That’s why Koi have those little whiskers on the sides of their mouths, so they can feel around in murky water.

In a traditional pond, these little guys have nothing to do all day but swim around and around. I’m sure they '’t like rooting around in inches of their own waste, so they just swim around bored. They may even knock over your aquatic plants trying to root around in the dirt or gravel that they’re potted in.

However, in an organic pond, their job is to keep the pond clean. You can watch them all day mouthing the rocks and gravel of the pond, spitting the gravel back out, and picking up more. They’re not bored at all. It’s a lot more natural and I feel it’s less stressful to the fish. And since they’re also an important part of the ecosystem, we want to keep them as healthy and happy as we can.

Finally, using rocks and gravel in a water garden simply looks better and a lot more natural than not using them. All the customers I’ve ever had wanted to put a natural looking water feature in their yards. I’ve never had anyone ask for a swimming pool for their fish. By using tons of natural rock and gravel in their ponds, I’ve given them what they wanted– a low-maintenance, natural-looking, naturally-functioning ecosystem that almost takes care of itself and looks great doing it.

Water Gardening the Organic Way, By Matt Boring Many people would love to have a beautiful water feature in their yards but are afraid to, having heard horror stories traditional ponding has inspired– stagnant green water, endless and expensive maintenance, daily testing of the pond’s pH, measuring and adding chemicals that are both costly and confusing, mosquitoes, not to mention the smell!

Organic water gardening frees you from the chains of traditional ponding by creating a balanced, living aquatic ecosystem that is nearly self-maintaining.

Did I mention checking your water chemistry, dissolved solids, and pH, measuring and adding chemicals, or cleaning out or backflushing your filter? No, because with the advent of natural organic water gardening, those chores have been eliminated, leaving you the time to enjoy your backyard– not work in it.

Since its commercial inception in the early nineties, installation of the all-natural ‘ecosystem pond’ has been gaining steady acceptance in the water gardening world. These ponds work with Mother Nature’s own natural processes, not against them. The result is a natural looking water feature that needs very little regular maintenance, won’t breed mosquitoes, requires no chemicals or test kits, and provides a clear healthy environment for the plants and fish within.

Basically, it works like this: The fish in the pond graze on the thin layer of string algae that forms on the rocks of the pond. They are naturally bottom feeders and are doing what nature designed them to do. Their waste is broken down by the millions of beneficial bacteria living in the pond’s biological filter as well as on the rocks and gravel of the pond. The bacteria compete directly with the algae for available nutrients in the water and, in addition, convert the harmful ammonia in the fish waste into ammonium nitrate, which is plant fertilizer.

Most of the plants in the ecosystem pond are planted directly into the gravel substrate of the pond, which not only looks more natural, but allows their roots to stretch out to become a huge network filter, soaking in nutrients like a sponge. Together with the bacteria, they literally starve the algae out of the system, leaving the water clear and healthy, not sterile and chemically-dependant.

The biological filter is completely hidden inside the waterfall and the pump is housed in an in-ground skimmer which keeps it from clogging and also removes leaves and debris (including mosquito larvae) from the surface of your pond, depositing the debris in a basket for easy removal and drowning the larvae.

You '’t have to feed the fish or fertilize the plants, nature takes care of it for you. All the surfaces of the pond are covered with rocks and gravel so you '’t see anything artificial, just rocks, fish and plants. Your all-natural, organic, holistic water garden requires an average of only 5-10 minutes every other week from you and cleaning only once every year or two to stay healthy and clear all year round and in return will provide you with endless opportunities for enjoyment, relaxation, education and entertainment each and every day of the year.

For the organic gardener, ponds hold some additional benefits. Believe it or not, water gardens typically require less water than the patch of turf they replace, saving an important resource. The addition of a water garden with it’s surrounding landscape reduces the need for mowing, saving your back as well as creating less air pollution. Natural water features attract insect eaters, including frogs, toads, dragonflies and birds, helping keep your garden free of pests without the use of pesticides. The leaves and organic debris from your skimmer basket are perfect for the compost pile. And the nitrate-rich water from the spring clean-out is the perfect all-natural way to give your grass and garden a little jump-start each spring.

Winter Pondering, by Matt Boring The good news is that an aquatic ecosystem will continue to operate naturally through the winter.

you can leave the pump on the entire year. Remember, if your pond has a skimmer, the water level can only drop a few inches before starving the pump, so the pond will never completely drain down to the point where your fish are in trouble.

Waterfalls and streams surrounded by snow and ice look quite striking, so unless you have a problem with ice, I’d recommend leaving them on through the winter.

The fish more or less ‘hibernate’ in the lower part of the pond. They are endothermic, or cold-blooded, so their bodily functions slow way down when it’s cold outside. You shouldn’t feed your pond fish when the water temperature drops below about 50 degrees anyway. They may eat the food, but can have trouble digesting it and feeding them during this time can lead to intestinal blockage and even the death of the fish. Koi and other pond fish can easily survive the winter in a two-foot deep, in-ground pond in most of the United States and Canada.

Your plants may go dormant, but in most climates in North America, the majority of them will return next spring to once again beautify your pond area... Down here in southeast Texas, we '’t have that kind of problem. In fact, in a mild winter, many of our aquatic plants will stay green all year. During our spring cleaning of the ponds we usually have to divide aquatic plants that have gotten too big rather than replace plants that have died from the cold. Still, enough pants go dormant to effect the balanced state of the pond ecosystem. Even if a plant stays green, it may not be in a growing or blooming phase of its growth–the time when it’s taking in the most nutrients from your pond’s water, and so may be doing little to help balance your system.

During this time of the year as the aquatic plants slow down their intake of free-floating nutrients, the bacteria in the biological filters also slow down. This means that the system that was removing the excess nutrients from the pond water and keeping the string algae in check is not operating at the level that it once was. During this period of the year, string algae may make its triumphant return to your pond water. Even though the pond will soon re-balance itself to the cooler conditions, you may experience a bit of an algae bloom during this transitional part of the year.

You can go to your local water garden retailer to look for ‘cures’ to this problem. They’re likely to have shelves full of products to reduce, eliminate, or kill algae. Some may say that they’re eco-friendly, while others may scream at you to “Call a doctor immediately if ingested.” How can you fight the battle without doing harm to your aquatic plants and fish? Is there a better way— a natural way, even?

The good news is that organic barley straw has been shown time after time to be effective in controlling algae, especially string algae. It’s not a revolutionary idea, having been used in Europe for centuries to control algae in lakes and large ponds. In the last decade, it’s made its way to the lake management arena, where they were looking for an eco-friendly way to reduce algae.

Recently, the success of barley to reduce algae has made it a staple of the water gardening industry, especially to those of us who practice and promote organic water gardening. The beauty of the barley straw is that it is completely friendly to the environment and to the ecosystem in which it is used. Studies have shown no negative effects on higher plants. There is also no evidence that barley straw poses any harm to the fish or invertebrates in the ecosystem. In fact, fish farms and hatcheries that have tried barley for algae reduction report a possible connection between the use of barley and improved gill function and fish health.

Inquiring minds may wonder how it works. Very simply, when the straw is placed in the water, it soon begins to decompose. One of the byproducts released into the pond during decomposition is a chemical that effectively breaks down the cell walls of the algae. Some of the humic substances released from the barley, when combined with oxygen and exposed to sunlight, form a certain peroxide. Studies have shown that it’s this peroxide that breaks down the algae’s cell walls. Studies have also shown that a constant low level of this peroxide will reduce the capability of the algae to form new growth. So there’s actually no harm in leaving barley in your pond all year round.

Even though it sounds like a miracle cure, barley straw isn’t a quick-fix. It takes four to six weeks for the barley to begin breaking down enough to produce the chemicals needed for algae reduction. However, after that, the barley can remain effective for up to 8 months, depending on the size of the barley bale you use.

For my customers, I recommend placing an 8-ounce barley bale in the Biofalls and adding a new one about four times a year. That way the old one is still working when we put the new one in since the new one will take a few weeks to get going. Placing it in the Biofalls also means that the barley is exposed to the highly oxygenated water it needs to be effective. It’s also easy to conceal in the Biofalls. You can just let the plants grow to cover it. I’ve even seen the barley sprout right out of the bag and grow in the top of the Biofalls, adding to the natural look of the area.

Naturalizing Your Water Feature, by Matt Boring For those of us who strive toward making our backyard water gardens look like a piece of nature’s work rather than our own, there are several tricks of the trade that come into play. Besides using natural stone and gravel in the pond to hide the liner and give beneficial bacteria a place to colonize, there are things that you can do outside of the water feature to achieve a natural look. Incorporating one or more of these tricks into your water garden’s area will help you make your pond look as if it was there before the house was built and you simply landscaped the rest of the yard to feature the existing natural water feature.

The waterfall(s) should be angled so that they can be viewed from as many of these view areas as possible. Streams or waterfalls with multiple drops can use twists and turns so that the shimmering glint of moving water catches your eye from just about any angle from which the water feature can be seen. Usually I try to bring the pond part of the water feature as close to the house or patio as possible so that you can watch your outdoor aquarium in action.

Your fishy and froggy new friends will entrance you, educate you, and make you laugh. It’s best to watch this underwater entertainment from up close. Plus, the relaxing sound of moving and falling water will relax you. You should have it within earshot of open windows and screen doors on comfortable evenings when the fireflies are just starting to show up and flash the cool green glows of summertime.

Here are some other tips to help your naturalize your little slice of paradise..........

Consider the mature size of the plants you install. '’t plant something that’s gonna grow large between your view areas and the water feature just because it’s proportional when you bring it home from the nursery. Instead.......

Create a natural looking screen with taller plants behind the pond. You can really help complete the illusion of being out in nature if you can’t see that privacy fence when you look at your pond.

Use a mixture of evergreen and perennial plants so that the area will change seasonally, but some plants will hold their foliage all year long.

Contrast foliage and flower colors and textures.

Use flowering perennials that have different bloom cycles to create an area with constantly changing colors.

Variegated foliage can really brighten up a shady area and really looks cool when reflecting the golden glow of the pond lights at night.

Install some plants close to the pond and stream, but no closer than is practical. You’ll be sorry if you plant a Magnolia tree with an eventual spread of 30 feet or more on the edge of your 11-foot wide backyard pond. That’s an extreme example, but you get the idea.

Use some plants that slightly overhang the pond’s edge to help lose the hard edge of the pond.

Install some plants that grow in or out of the water inside your pond’s edge and plant the bank with the same plant to eventually eliminate the edge of the pond in that area and blend it seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. * Stay away from extremely aggressive plants when doing this or you risk these plants trying to take over!

Flowering plants tend to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Plants that produce berries tend to attract birds and are more attractive after leaf drop.

If there’s room, use low-growing ground covers between the pond and the main outdoor viewing area. (Turf is a ground cover.) As well as looking attractive, they will help hold the soil and prevent weed growth.

Most color plants are more effective in masses. Of course, size everything appropriate to your yard and water feature. Remember......

Stay in proportion to the size you have to work with.

Ornamental grasses have interest 10-11 months per year and can really help create the mood you’re looking for. Clumps of grass, even after they’ve turned brown for the winter lend a natural look to the area and look great with their seed pods covered with snow. Hey, it snowed in Galveston a couple of years ago so anything’s possible.

Use low-maintenance plants around a low-maintenance organic water garden to reduce the time you have to spend maintaining your back yard.

Use plants to hide the water source. My ponds are built using a BIOFALLS biological filter rather than sticking a hose or pipe between two stones. Like in natural waterfalls and streams, where water fills a low area and then spills over at the first available opportunity, this filter fills from the bottom. The water rises up through the filtration media, which houses millions of beneficial bacteria, and spills over the lip of the waterfall to begin its journey back to the pond. Filling the open top of the BIOFALLS with Parrot’s Feather or Hyacinth (where legal) hides the water source and looks more natural.

Collect moss from the woods or behind your air conditioner or wherever you find it and put it in areas where the waterfall keeps it constantly moist. (Not WET— from my own experience)

Add an old weathered log to the area, even placed to look as if it had fallen there, hanging over or into the water. Dig the other end into the ground if you have to.

My own preference is to use native plants whenever possible. This helps insure a low-maintenance pondscape as well as reducing or eliminating the need for additional watering, once they’re established. A typical water garden will use far less water than the same area planted in turf, especially the popular and thirsty St. Augustine.

It also reduces the chore of mowing, is much more entertaining and educational and, properly 'e, adds more value to your property. Of course, if you’re going for a tropical or some other theme, this may not fit your goals.

'’t worry about it too much. Plants can always be moved or replaced if they’re not working out the way you want. Not every plant will thrive in the location we want it to, no matter what the book or the plant’s label or the guy at the nursery says or even what our past experience with the plant tells us.

Above all, have fun. Water gardening should be a fun relaxing experience. If it’s not, you may be working too hard at it. My own water garden could be ignored for weeks at a time (to be perfectly honest, not in leaf-drop season) and still looked great.

Rainwater Capture and Waterfalls, by Matt Boring Wow, I'm so excited about the role of water features in future green technology that I almost can't sit still to type this article for you. I just got back from an advanced water feature training class in Ft. Worth. I attend several of these per year to learn new things from other pond builders and share things that I've learned with them.

This time we were installing a revolutionary new prototype for rainwater capture combined with a waterfall.

Everyone knows that rainwater is the best water to use on your plants. Besides its lack of chlorine, it contains more nutrients and micro-nutrients essential for healthy plant life. Eighty percent of rainfall in urban areas runs off into storm sewers rather than soaking into the ground.

By capturing rainwater before it enters the sewer system it can be filtered, stored, and used later on residential or commercial properties. Currently, most rainwater capture systems direct rainwater from the downspouts right into above-ground cisterns. Some utilize traps so that heavy items such as small stones can settle out before entering the main storage chamber.

When you want to use the rainwater, it is discharged via a gravity-fed faucet near the base of the cistern. The more water in the unit, the higher the pressure would be at the faucet. This is usually fine for watering small gardens but for other uses was impractical. Besides, when the water was in the cistern, it sat stagnant—a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

But just as the Model T eventually led to the Lexus, a new generation of rainwater harvesting systems is about to hit the market. The new (in fact, not even out yet) RainXChange System from Aquascape is about to change the way the world thinks about rainwater capture and storage.

First, a large excavation is dug over five feet deep. The excavation is lined with a fabric protective underlayment and then with the same liner we use in our ponds. Then the intake manifolds and snorkel units that will house and allow easy access to the pumps are installed so that water can be pulled in from the very bottom of the excavation. This project will use two large pumps so it has two snorkels.

Next, the excavation is filled with a matrix of modular plastic tanks. The more water you want to hold, the bigger the excavation and the more tanks you use. This one will hold around 2500 gallons.

Catch basins are then dug into the ground under each downspout from which you want to catch the rainwater. These catch basins contain both a first-flush rain filter that should be cleaned annually and a settling chamber that allows solids to settle out. The filtered water is then routed to the underground storage area already constructed.

On top of the water storage matrix, large boulders can now be set or a patio constructed or planting areas can be restored. The point is that this matrix is strong enough to drive a semi truck over, so you can do pretty much whatever you want as long as a small area is left open at the base of the waterfall to allow the water back underground.

From the other side of the water storage area a smaller overflow matrix will be constructed. When it rains and the underground chamber is full, excess rainwater will drain into the smaller underground chamber, this one without liner, that will allow the water to soak out into the ground on all sides rather than simply adding to the water that's running off the surface.

A hill is being built from fresh soil as pond-less waterfall is constructed behind the underground water storage area. The rainwater stored in that area will now be pumped from the bottom of the matrix to Biofalls units at the top of the hill and will return via the waterfalls. This keeps the water nicely oxygenated and since the water underground doesn't sit stagnant, mosquitoes won't want to breed in there.

It's a great way to put something beautiful in your landscape and do something that's good for the environment at the same time. It's also good because it reduces demand on municipal water systems. And if you ''t have room or want a waterfall in your yard, the RainXChange System can also be used with spilling urns, stones, or other statuary.

'But,' as Ron Popeil said once, 'Wait! There's more!' You may be asking yourself, 'How do we get that water up out of the ground when we want to use it, pump it out by hand like the pioneers?' Not hardly. An electronically-controlled pump is attached that sucks water from the waterfall pipes and out through a regular hose bib, better known as an outdoor faucet.

When you turn it on, the pump senses the drop in pressure and kicks on, supplying you water under a constant steady pressure. This allows you to use a variety of spray nozzles, water hoses, or other attachments more reliably. A low water cut-off switch keeps this pump from turning on when the water level in the basin is too low so the pump won't be damaged by running dry.


Texas Tropical and Marine 4034 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78213. (210) 341-3474. Closed?

On Vance Jackson just south of 410. On left before Spicewood st. Look for U-Hauls. Open 10am to 7pm weekdays. Sun noon to 5pm. Saturdays 10am to 6pm.

Open Sunday 12 to 5
Monday to Friday 10 to 7
Saturday 10 to 6

Facebook page for Texas Tropical & Marine

what fish eat algae When it comes to the question of “what fish eat algae?” the response is vast because there are so many different types of fish and aquatic animals that will consume various types of algae, the kind you get really depends on your tank and your needs.

The Siamese Algae Eater. These fish are great for eating algae and cleaning out your fish tank because they tend to eat types of algae that other fish ''t like, mainly brush algae and thread algae. ... Siamese Algae Eaters are great for community tanks because they tend to be very friendly.

Twig Catfish / Siamese Algae Eater

Green Water – This is the first kind of algae you may find and it is actually the rarest of them all, not to mention that it’s the worst too, which is why we’re getting it out of the way. Algae eating fish won’t eat this stuff and it’s very hard to get rid of, often warranting a complete overhaul of your fish tank and the changing of water.

Green Slime – This is perhaps the most common type of aquarium algae, but it’s also the kind that is seen the least by enthusiasts because it is eaten by almost all fish.

Thread Algae – There are various types of hair or thread algae and they all take on the appearance of thin strands that wave about in the current.

Green Dot Algae – This is a very common type of algae that forms in green dots along the glass of your aquarium as well as the fixtures. It isn’t too bad when there is only a little of it, but it can quickly multiply to create a thick layer on the glass. Unfortunately most fish will not eat this algae, and the ones that do won’t have a big effect on it.

Blue/Green Algae – This is also a common type of algae found in fish tanks and is of course blue or green in color. It doesn’t attach well to the surfaces in the aquarium and tends to float around. The real problem with this type of algae is that it is not edible for most kinds of fish due to its toxicity.

As well there are different snails(like the Zebra Nerite Snail) and other creatures that will eat algae all day long too. In our opinion the very best algae eating fish out there is the Twig Catfish.

Zebra Nerite Snails

The Twig Catfish is most likely the best algae eating fish out there, mainly because it has a ravenous appetite and ill consume virtually any type of algae that may appear in your fish tank. This fish is so hungry that if you '’t have enough algae in your fish tank you will have to supplement its diet with algae tablets; that’s how good this fish is!

Twig Catfish / Siamese Algae Eater

Something that needs to be noted is that the Twig Catfish does quite well with other peaceful fish such as Rashoras, Pencil Fish, Hatchets, and Tetra Fish. On the other hand they '’t do so well with more aggressive fish such as Barbs and Cichlids.

These fish also '’t do well when there are big changes in the consistency of the water so be careful to keep the water at the same parameters when housing the Twig Catfish. As a base line, the Twig Catfish should be in a tank that is at least 70 liters in size. The question of “what fish eat algae?”, especially the number one choice, is best answered by saying that the Twig Catfish is your number one option.

The Bristlenose Peco is a type of catfish and they are voracious eaters. These things will eat pretty much any type of algae that they can get their sucker mouths on. That being said, of course this fish is a sucker mouth, something which makes them ideal algae eaters. If these fish '’t have enough algae to eat you will need to supplement their diet with algae tablets or other green foods because if they '’t have enough algae to feast on they will begin to eat the plant life in your aquarium.

These fish require water at about 25 degrees Celsius with a pH level of 7, as well the water needs to have a moderate current and be well oxygenated too. The Bristlenose Pleco is nocturnal and therefore likes dark spaces and areas where they can hide under during the daytime.

These fish are also very peaceful and usually '’t cause problems in community tanks unless they are threatened by larger predatory fish. As well, seeing as the Bristlenose can grow to up to 15 cm in length you will need to house this fish in quite a large tank for it to be comfortable.

Common Plecos are sucker mouth fish that will feast on pretty much all types of algae that grows on plants, the substrate, and other aquarium fixtures. One of the most important things to note is that these guys can grow up to 60 cm in length, meaning that they are only ideal for extremely large tanks which are over 300 liters in size.

Common Plecos

These fish can be somewhat problematic because they do tend to eat many other smaller fish. Also if they '’t have enough algae to eat they will also begin to eat the plant life in the tank, not to mention that you will most likely need to feed them greens. A good thing about the Common Pleco is that they do very well in a variety of water parameters which makes them easy to house.

On the other hand they can be quite destructive due to their big heads and the ensuing head butts as well as their large tails, often ripping up plant life and substrate. The Common Pleco only does well in tanks with fish of the same size because if a fish fits in its mouth it will most likely eat it.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail: These things are great for eating pretty much all types of algae as well as dead plant, animal, and food debris too. The main thing they are used for is actually to aerate the substrate which is yet another bonus. Malaysian Trumpet snails are good indicators of bad water quality because when the water is bad they will try to head to the top of the aquarium out of the water.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail

On a side note, these things need to be kept in waters that are fairly high in alkaline levels because they require it to rebuild their shells.

WHAT SUCKER FISH TO CLEAN KOI PONDS? Most sucker fish, or algae eaters, are tropical or semitropical fish from South America. They are not well-adapted to extremely cold water, which is the perfect environment for koi. A few varieties of sucker fish can survive mild winter weather changes, but none will withstand below-freezing temperatures. This means that typical sucker fish are ideal for outdoor ponds only during warm months.

Bristlenose Plecostomus With more than 700 plecos known and more being found regularly, it's tough to say which species would serve a koi pond best. The most commonly known are the bristlenose plecos, of the Ancistrus genus in the Loricariidae family. Ancistrus temminckii is the smallest of the plecostomus family, measuring a maximum of 5 inches. The albino bristlenose pleco is smaller, at a maximum of 4 inches. These fish eat algae and are comfortable in a range of 68 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They get along with other fish.

Black Japanese Trapdoor Pond Snails
An alternative to sucker fish for outdoor ponds are trapdoor snails. These large, live-bearing snails eat algae and withstand freezing temperatures with ease. These snails also devour decaying fish food, fallen leaves and various other muck from the bottom and sides of the pond. These snails grow to around 3 inches long. Measure the area of the pond and figure one snail for 3 square feet of pond.

Black Japanese Trapdoor Pond Snails

DIFFERENCE IN KOI VS. GOLDFISH Koi and goldfish have plenty in common. Their feeding needs are about the same, as are their breeding habits. Both are popular fish for stocking outdoor ponds, and both can be kept indoors. Koi will end up costing you more money, though. Not only do they require filtration systems for the water, they can be priced in the thousands of dollars, whereas goldfish may cost $5 to $50 or even just a little change. They may seem identical, but they have plenty of differences.

Physical Features
Many of the physical characteristics of a fish will help you determine whether you're looking at koi or goldfish. Their dorsal fins differ. Starting at the top, the dorsal fin of the koi is curved out; it's curved in on the goldfish. If that isn't obvious enough, consider the whiskers. Koi have barbels around their mouths and chins, feelers that resemble whiskers, while goldfish have no barbels. The body shapes and sizes of the two fish differ, too. Fully matured goldfish are typically 8 to 12 inches, growing to 16 inches at their largest. Koi that size would be considered very small, as they grow to full sizes of 18 inches to 4 feet. As for body shape, koi are shaped essentially the same; goldfish, on the other hand, can have different tail and body shapes and may have one of three different eye types.

Different Purposes
Goldfish have been kept as pets much longer than koi have. Around 11 A.D., people in southern and central China began breeding them for their beauty and the tranquility and harmony they engender. Koi were initially kept as a source of food because they were easy to raise and care for. Koi farming started in the 1820s in northeastern Japan.

Goldfish in Ponds and Tanks
Goldfish do not have the aeration and filtration requirements that koi do, and the calculation for figuring their water volume needs, whether in a pond or a tank, is based on weight rather than length.

INFORMATION ABOUT KOI & GOLDFISH PONDS Koi and goldfish are closely related. They are both members of the carp family with origins in China more than 2,000 years ago. They have the same dietary and environmental needs and are both easy to care for as long as the water in which they live is maintained within a healthy balance of pH and chemicals, kept clean and clear and the algae strictly controlled.

When stocking your pond for the first time, choose small, juvenile fish since they are far less expensive than full-grown koi. Feed them a high-quality pond fish diet and equip the pond with an efficient filter. Since ponds vary vastly in size, shape, type and depth, it's impossible to come up with a "one size fits all" rule for them, but basically, as long as you keep the natural balances of elements in check by testing the water regularly with test strips and adding chemicals as necessary, you will be able to keep your pond and fish in good health. If you live in an area with wide temperature extremes, such as cold, harsh winters and warm, humid summers, the pond should be very deep so the fish can dive deep to escape colder water and shaded to afford respite from the hot sun. Shading will also keep direct sun off the pond, which is an important strategy in avoiding algae, which can ruin your pond and kill your fish.

Your supplies should include a net for pulling debris or dead fish from the pond and pond decor that affords the fish places to hide. Real plants provide oxygen and keep the pond free of bacteria while helping to fight algae blooms. Provide a stone or gradient for a hapless frog or mouse to use to find its way out if it falls in the water. Use goldfish flakes for smaller fish, and pellets as they grow larger. Invest in a good pond filter, and change the filter and charcoal every three to four months. Add algaecides as necessary to avoid algae or to kill existing algae blooms. If the pond is in proximity of sprinklers that use city water, check the levels of chlorine, nitrites and nitrates in the water on a weekly basis. The presence of a functioning fountain and natural evaporation, however, usually keep chlorine levels in check. Adding a few algae-eaters, two or three for every 10 gallons, will also help keep algae under control.

Do fish eat algae in ponds?
Goldfish and koi eat string algae as well, but they prefer other foods. These fish eat algae during the winter months when the pond is frozen. During that time, goldfish and koi won't eat flake or pellet foods but will nibble gradually at the algae.

Common Goldfish

Anacharis floating water plant. Anacharis Plant Care, Leaves, Roots, Stems & Propagation Anacharis has a reputation of being adaptable to a wide range of water conditions. An Anacharis plant may be called Brazilian Water Weed, Waterweed or Elodea.


Floating Anacharis: For as easy as planting Anacharis is, floating Anacharis is even easier. After the rubber band is removed and the stems are trimmed as necessary, just float the stems in the water. All things being equal, floating Anacharis grows faster than planted Anacharis because more of a floating Anacharis is closer to the light source. Anacharis plants have a reputation for being good at drawing their nutrients from aquarium water. Its also suggested that this efficiency allows Anacharis plants to out compete some forms of algae for the nutrients needed for their growth.

An Anacharis plant can be a live vegetation dietary source. Some Cichlids, Goldfish and Apple Snails may be very interested in eating it.

Anacharis [Egeria densa] Many fish keepers just call it "sea weeds" or "bunch plants." They use it in their aquaria and ponds. School teachers (especially third-grade teachers) always ask for "elodea." They feed it to their crayfish. College and university biology instructors ask for that "thin leaved plant that shows how photosynthesis works."

Anacharis moves up and down in the water depending upon water temperature and light. In your tank you may see tiny bubbles of oxygen escaping from your anacharis leaves. In the wild, this product of photosynthesis causes anacharis to float (unless well rooted) on warm, sunny days and sink on cool, cloudy days.

Water Cleaner. Anacharis eats fish wastes -- carbon dioxide, nitrogenous, and phosphate wastes. You can do fewer water changes, however, fewer water changes also slow the growth of anacharis. How do you "cycle" a goldfish bowl? Throw in a bunch of anacharis.

Green Side Up. Although anacharis eventually grows roots, it takes in most of its food directly thru its leaves. This makes anacharis an excellent algae competitor. It will do its best to starve out algae (and other higher plants) which makes it a noxious weed in the eyes of many states and some countries. Remember Babbington's curse? So, you're not supposed to toss your excess anacharis in your local waterways.

Worth Pondering. Pond keepers use anacharis as an aerating plant as well as an algae competitor. Remember the photosynthesis kicking out the oxygen bubbles? In a shallow pond in the sun, anacharis will usually double in size in two to three weeks -- right up to the day you add your koi.

Home, Sweet Home. Angels and other fishes quickly learn to work their way thru the strands of anacharis. Most fish feel more secure in planted aquaria. A nice stand of anacharis strands makes your fish feel more at home. Anacharis is a definite piscatorial de-stressor.

Anacharis Threats. We just mentioned African cichlids and apple snails. Other anacharis eaters include koi (big time), uarus (also big time), sometimes plecos, and crayfish/yabbies. Medications -- copper and anti-biotics -- plus any dyes or floating plants that cut off the light will also adversely affect anacharis. Oddly enough anacharis can crowd itself out. You may need to add some fertilizer over and above your fish wastes.

Petsmart 5219 De Zavala Rd Ste 102 San Antonio TX 78249. (210) 561-0644. To right of I10 go to Vance Jackson, turn left, on your left immediately.

Pet Solutions online orders, fish, supplies, aquatic plants

Blueridge Koi & Goldfish Farm Wholesale?

Video: Goldfish Tragedy goldfish are very adaptable and hardy. Buy the common ones. Live up to 20 years.

Petco 12651 Vance Jackson, Ste 119, San Antonio, TX 78230. 877-1426. South of DeZevala on left of VJ. Behind Kogi Korean Grill.

Common Pleco

Hypostomus plecostomus, the suckermouth catfish or common pleco, is a tropical fish belonging to the armored catfish family, named for the armor-like longitudinal rows of scutes that cover the upper parts of the head and body. [Wikipedia]

Common Pleco

Common Pleco – The Care, Feeding and Breeding of Common Plecos easy care, pH 6.5-7.5, temp 72-86 f, max size =24"

The common pleco (>Hypostomus plecostomus), also known as the sucker fish, is a staple of the aquarium hobby, and is easily one of the most popular fish available. They are found throughout South America, and have in recent years been reported as an invasive species in several countries, most notably in the several southern United States.

Their natural habitat consists of streams and rivers and they are also found in shallow, low oxygen ponds during the dry season. They tend to prefer slow moving water with sunken driftwood and plants that provide shelter during day. The reason that they shelter for much of the day is that they are nocturnal and are rarely active during daylight hours – they should always be provided with adequate hiding places such as caves, rock over-hangs or large pieces of driftwood.

Something else to keep in mind when choosing an aquarium for a common pleco, is that they are known to become extremely aggressive when they reach adulthood. While juveniles are generally an excellent community fish, any adult plecos should be kept in a semi-aggressive tank, and should never be kept with any other common plecos. They can occasionally be kept with other species of plecos, but this can be hit and miss at the best of times and should be avoided if you '’t want to risk a fish fatality.

Their large size, and equally large appetites should be considered when choosing a filter, and any fish tank containing a common pleco should be heavily over-filtered. It seems their one goal in life is to eat and poop, and they will put a strain on even the best filter. The best way to keep up with their enormous bio load is to use an HOB (hang on back) filter in conjunction with a large sponge filter.

Water Bugs

3/30/17 Thu Bri sited tadpoles in the pool this morning; also water skimmers. Peaceful morning; no sign of the anacharis or the fish. Also, water striders, water backswimmers, water skaters, water boatman, water skippers. Researcher what Bri calls skimmers.

Gerridae a family of insects in the order Hemiptera, commonly known as water striders, water bugs, pond skaters, water skippers, or jesus bugs. Sometimes called water skimmers in Texas. Having the unique ability to walk on water. Gerridae, or water striders, are anatomically built to transfer their weight to be able to run on top of the water's surface. As a result, one could likely find water striders present in any pond, river, or lake.

Water Striders, Pond Skaters, Water Skimmers

Water Boatman Water Boatman, aquatic bugs that paddle along the water surface with oarlike hind legs. Water boatmen occur in fresh or brackish water throughout the world. In certain ponds or lakes they may be extremely abundant. About 525 species are known worldwide, 132 in North America.

Like all aquatic bugs, water boatmen lack gills; they breathe air when at the surface of the water. They frequently carry an air bubble on their body surface or under their wings, and draw oxygen from this bubble while they are underwater. Water boatmen can swim rapidly, but they spend long periods clinging to vegetation. Males stridulate, or chirp, to attract mates by rubbing their forelegs against their head.

Water Boatman, Backswimmer

Most water boatmen eat algae and minute aquatic organisms. Some are predaceous and feed on mosquito larvae and other small aquatic animals; in this way, they help to control aquatic pests. In turn, they are important prey for many larger aquatic animals. Their broad beak or mouth allows them to ingest solid food particles as well as liquids; other true bugs are able to ingest only liquids. Unlike many other aquatic bugs, water boatman will not bite people.

Water boatmen are sometimes confused with backswimmers, which are generally larger bugs that swim upside down and deliver a painful bite. Water-boatmen eggs are used as food in Mexico and some other parts of the world. Eggs are collected from aquatic plants, dried, and ground into flour.

Planting Time References

White Flower Farm See plant descr. then click on Growing guide

West Coast Seeds see plant descr. then go to Growing Guides

Johnny's Select Seeds


Plant Hardiness:

By Zip 1st freeze 11/12... last freeze 3/20

USDA 8b 1st freeze 12/1... last freeze 3/1

Rainbow Gardening by the Month

Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery in Cedar Park, Tx.

How To Turn A Rusty Pool Spa Into A Beautiful Pond

ENVIROTUBE Series on Pool to Pond:

Your Usless Pool into a Beautiful Pond - Part 1 - Envirotube Video: needs review

Building a Natural Pond from a Swimming Pool Ep 1 Video: needs review. looking at established ponds from pools

Building a Natural Pond from a Swimming Pool Ep 2 Video: needs review

Building a Natural Pond to Save Native Aussie Fish for Extinction - Ep 3 Video: needs review

Building a Natural Pond from a Swimming Pool - Ep 4 Video: needs review

Pool to Pond - Part 2 - Envirotube Video: needs review. the steps to turn a pool into a pond

Swimming Pool Full of Fish - Envirotube Video: needs review. tadpoles eat the plants. Adding fish and plants

Turn Your City Swimming Pool into an Organic Fish Farm - Pool to Plate - Ep 1 Video: needs review. closed permaculture system

WWOOF - City Swimming Pool to Organic Fish Farm - Pool to Plate - Ep 2 Video: needs review

Chinampas Gardening

How Built
Floating Basket


Chinampa Gardening

List of Synonyms and Antonyms of the Word: Modern Chinampas

A Permaculture Design Course Handbook: Aquaculture

Chinampas Gardens Chinampas Gardens are artificial islands or peninsulas created by scooping nutrient-rich lake, swamp or pond muck into a woven cage so that crops can be grown above the waterline in a wet environment. Within this simple design, several unique functions are accomplished at once: a micro-climate that prevents early frost damage; an extremely productive soil that is mostly self-sustaining; a self-watering system created by water wicking in from the sides as moisture evaporates from the surface of the beds; and the growing of plants and fish within the same area.

In Particular we want to:

Test the efficacy of Chinampas in our northerly-temperate climate

Assess their productivity and labor requirements compared to regular garden beds

Try something very different and creative.

There is plenty of room across the south shore of our pond and we plan to build three to five Chinampas extending out into the water like peninsulas for about 25 feet. They are located close to Earthcamp Village so that students, interns and/or guests camping in the cabins can quickly and easily access the chinampas gardens for food, fishing and enjoyment.

When our community of Stelle was built, a small pond just outside of town was dug so that residents might have some sort of wetland close by. Over the years we have watched it mature and recent testing has revealed that the water is amazingly clean and free of agricultural chemicals. The watershed that feeds this pond is all on the Stelle community property. But as with most ponds, with time there has been some silt buildup close to shore which creates an ideal environment for cattail and other shore loving plants.

History of Chinampas

A thousand years before the term “Permaculture” was coined the Mayans began developing a unique form of ‘permanent-agriculture’ to feed their growing populations which was further perfected over the following centuries by the Aztecs.

Karl Weule, †1926 - Karl Weule, Leitfaden der Voelkerkunde, Leipzig 1912 Boot in den Chinampas

The lake system within the Valley of Mexico at the time of the Spanish Conquest, showing distribution of the chinampas. circa 1519

With little tillable land remaining, the peoples of what is now central Mexico started to farm in their swamps, ponds, lakes and lowlands by creating raised beds called chinampas (from the Nahuatt word for “square made of cane”).

As in good permaculture design, Chinampas work by turning wastes into resources while stacking functions to maximize yields and minimizing work. After a plot is staked out into low ground or shallow ponds and lakes, a fence was woven between the stakes to create a cage or large basket that the farmers could then fill with the surrounding sediment and various forms of vegetation. The beds would be built high enough to become permanently above the high water mark and willows would be planted on the edges to protect the banks from erosion over the long term for when the posts rotted. Channels were maintained between the Chinampas for canoe access and for the growing of fish and water fowl.

One of the remaining chinampas in Xochimilco

The genius of this system?

Since water is always available to the bed, as water evaporates from the surface it is replaced by capillary action from below. A chinampas never has to be watered once a plants root systems are down. The grower never has to worry about drought or watering again. And because the ground is permanently moist by the capillary action of water being pulled upwards by ground evaporation, soluble nutrients stay suspended and available to the plant roots. What is created is a perfect root zone environment…all the time!

Historians tell us that it is likely that the chinampas may have been the most productive agricultural design ever developed by humans.

Growers were able to get up to 7 harvests per year from a single bed. And that is just the plants. What about the fish and water foul also harvested?

The Edge Effect

In a good permaculture design we take advantage of the areas where one system comes into contact with another (the edge zone) as this tends to be an area of greater activity and productivity. For example, where the water meets the banks there will be plenty of plants that could grow right along the bank or just into the water that would provide a unique species for food (humans, fish, ducks) or simply biomass for increased garden fertility.

Insects attracted to the edge plants become food for fish. Ducks eat the plants at the shore. Their droppings becomes food for the fish. All remaining residue and the fish poo sinks to the bottom to become fertile detritus that can be scooped up annual and added to the garden beds.

And because the fish are raised in channels they are easy to harvest with nets. Because ducks and geese are part of the system they are trained to help with keeping the banks weeded as well as working in the garden beds. They are great slug and weed eaters.

Trellis over the Channels

In some areas, arching trellises were extended over the narrow channels and vining plants such as squash, cucumber and beans were planted so that their yielding crop could be harvested directly into a canoe, paddled to shore for unloading, and then return for more.

An Amazing Microclimate

Combining the beneficial effects of surrounding water and trees to a growing environment is also a brilliant strategy. The water in the channels maintains a more constant temperature than soil, so the entire chinampas area establishes a micro-climate that greatly ameliorates the effects of frost damage — a simple method of season extension that does not require expensive row covers or greenhouses.

Trees not only held the banks in place and provided shade and some fruit for growers, they also protected the chinampas gardens from high winds on gusty days while holding in warmer air underneath the canopy on cold days. Together, these created a higher temperature and humidity level than the surrounding farmland which greatly mitigated frost damage.

“Creating channels of warmer air, the morphology of raised fields and associated canals can raise air temperatures as much as 6.3° C (11° F) above that of dry fields.” (Crossley 1999: 280)

Maintaining the Soil

Caring for the fertility of the soil in this design is almost self-sustaining. Simply scraping up the detritus on the bottom of the waterway and adding it to the soil is all that needs to be done. Detritus is the organic matter (leaves from garden plants, weeds, duck and fish poo) that falls to the bottom of a pond and breaks down. One could make the analogy that it is simply another way of composting waste materials into soil.

Benefits of Chinampas Gardening

Increased nutrient uptake

Less susceptibility to drought, frosts, and other weather calamities

Ability to grow more food (vegetables, fish and water foul).

Converting “unusable” low-ground into a productive food system

Dramatically reducing the need to water a garden. (Still need to water seedlings)

A more perfect example of stacking functions in a permaculture system can rarely be found. Fish, fowl, and water plants could be harvested from the water channel and vegetables, fruit, and lattice-grown vines from the bed itself.

An example of a modern-day chinampa

V Keeping an Un-Filtered Pond! Elodea--oxygen for the pond and a great filter. Fish are happy and water looks clear. Cabbage floats on surface; also filters water. At least 60% plants to stop algae and filter the water. Be careful not to overstock with fish. Don't overfeed the fish.

How to Build

Made of wood

BUILD AN AZTEC WATER GARDEN Grow vegetables in your pond with an Aztec Water Garden. It's a great shelter for your fish and adds a new dimension to your pond!

Step 1: About the Aztec Water Garden

Water Garden ~ Aztec Chinampa

The Aztec floating garden looks like a floating garden.

In reality, it is a garden that is supported by pylons. This is a drawing I made of an Aztec water garden. It is actually called a Chinampas.

The benefits of growing a Chinampas garden are: they provide shelter for the pond fish against predators, and vegetables grow healthier, and the vegetables yield 7 times more crops.

Step 2: What You'll Need

Grape Vines
Palm Frawns

2 Cinder Blocks
Soil and Compost
A fish pond
Plants or Seeds

Step 3: Step 1 - Vines and Saplings

Start with grape vines and saplings and build a square frame.

Fasten the cross pieces of the frame with twine twine (I used zip ties).

Layout rows of saplings vertically and tie down.

Weave the vines horizontally across.

Tuck in extra pieces of vine and wrap vines around the edges of the frame.

The picture might appear to look like a tangled mess, but it actually looks much better in person. All this is is a simple crisscross pattern - horizontal / vertical pattern - over under. I used the left over short pieces to fill in a few holes.

Step 4: Step 2 - Palm Fronds

Palm Fronds ~ From Palm

Palm Tree Frawns were used to cover the woven grape vines and tied down with twine. If you do not have access to a palm tree, then banana tree leaves or bird of paradise will work well too. If you do not have access to these, straw is your next option.

Step 5: Step 3 - Cinder Blocks

I used 2 cinder blocks to hold the mat above the water. Cinder blocks will also provide a place for the smaller fish to hide. A traditional Aztec garden, however, uses steaks or pylons driven down into the muddy water below.

Step 6: Step 4 - Adding Compost and Plants

Add a layer of cured compost on top of the chinampas and plant your seeds or plants. It's okay if a little compost falls into the water. I planted mint and parsley in this garden. When it takes off, the entire platform will be covered. See my little fishy statue? I put it there for decoration.

This garden is 3 foot square. I want to make an Aztec garden with straw instead of palm fronds. If I built another garden, I would make an edge around the sides to keep the soil boxed in. The traditional Aztec garden, however, is flat and much larger than this one. Instead of using the hemp twine, I would use a hemp net that I saw in the garden center.

See the plastic and PVC pipe in the picture? This is the cold frame that I made to keep the pond safe from frost... which is another one of my instructables.

How to build Floating Islands naturally – bringing back the lost art of Chinampas Recently we ran a Permaculture Design Certificate – Water Module workshop in partnership with Growing Roots Permaculture at the amazing Starseed Gardens where participants learnt how to build a natural floating island.

The floating islands were planted with a variety of species that play different roles. Floating gardens are super productive and support nutrient dense plants such as water cress which is a superfood, water spinach and kang kong an asian green.

We also planted vetiver grass and carex grass which provide a floating wetlands effect via biofiltration with their larger roots, taking up excess nutrients present in the water.

The word Chinampas comes from the Nahuatt word for “square made of cane”, so if we take this as our guide, harvesting bamboo, cane or similar material is a way to get started.

Materials harvested onsite at Starseed Gardens included bamboo and camphor laurel which is a weedy tree and these two core materials provided floatation, lashed together with hemp rope. The camphor laurel had dried out to provide better buoyancy. Reeds and sugar cane were harvested and dried out on site, and coconut husk was sourced from locally sold coconut water. The coconut husks were laid out on the ground and a tractor slasher run over it to break up the husks into usable coconut fibre, perfect as a planting media. The reeds provide significant carbon source, and the sugar cane provides trace amounts of sugar which accelerates plant growth. Dan Schreiber has been experimenting with aquatic plants and substrates for many years at Starseed Gardens.

Through collaborative design process and foraging for suitable bio-materials, several designs presented themselves quite organically. All the bio-materials are representative of what is typically available in many sub-tropical and tropical climages. Together the bio-materials provided the appropriate plant growing medium and biofilm host, to support the transport of nutrients from the water into the plant roots, as well as natural floatation. These materials were assembled in a design led by Dan Schreiber collaboratively to build a natural floating island capable of growing food, and biofiltering excess nutrients out of the water.

As part of a cumulative Chinampa system evolution, over time the floating islands will sink, potentially after 2 years, and over that time will have provided an abundant harvest of food crops (up to 2 – 10x the productivity of conventional land based growing systems), whilst also biofiltering the water and providing sub-surface aquatic habitat.

Permaculture design seeks to build elements that are multi-functional and serve multiple needs simultaneously. Floating gardens, wetlands and islands that can transition to Chinampa systems in ponds, dams, lakes and canals is a good example of the type of innovation that is needed in the face of climate change and building resilient communities whom are disadvantaged and exposed to water level rises.

Many disadvantaged communities around the world inhabit low lying areas and drainage ares or steep hilly terrain because many planners know of the risks of living in these types of locations. For communities in low lying and flood exposed areas, floating islands combined with adapable human habitat systems may offer a way for exposed communities to bringing food production, waste management and living systems together into a symbiotic system.

Bringing back an almost lost art – Chinampas from the Americas

Central and South American cultures perfected the chinampa system which started off as an aquatic growing system, often with floating islands, and over time more complex systems evolved including earthworks in marshland and adjoining lakes to accelerate chinampa ‘fingers’ or ‘aquatic grow alleys’. The origination of the systems is thought to be from communities that have been inhabiting lakes to take refuge from marauding neighbour cultures. Lake Titicaca Uros people had large communities living on floating islands build from reeds in which they would grow corn, beans and many food crops on the islands with an abundance of fish and game to provide a rich mixed diet.

Aztec ~

As middle America evolved empire building cultures such as the Aztec, the systemisation of chinampa building became a science and engineering effort to maintain the empire to feed itself. The Aztec empire could put it’s large workforce into action to build the chinampas. Often specific willow like trees were planted on these floating islands to help anchor the floating islands.

As the natural floating island lost its buoyancy over time, it sunk down into the lake or canal floor. When the natural islands sink in to the lake or canal floor, a new natural floating island will be built and placed above the sunken island.

New floating islands would be installed around and on top of them or simply added on top of the sagging island (as seen in middle section of above image) and this cycle would continue until enough height was built up to make it a free standing island, with a large aquatic eco-tone edge that is capable of producing large quantities of food. Trees at the edge of the island-chinampa would anchor the system in place and be able to resist floods and storms.

Photos taken during the Permaculture Water Workshop demonstrate how we are attempting to recreate the Chinampas with completely natural materials. Building floating islands is labour intensive work and when done collaboratively, it creates highly effective food production systems that self-water and self-fertilize from the water below. Chinampas are symbiotic design elements between people, water, plants, fish and animals.

The labour intensive nature of floating islands and evolution to chinampa systems to create long term food production systems require a diversity of materials and skill-sets that take time to acquire and be trained up in. But the long term benefits are realised through self-watering plants and self-fertilising plants, taking out a significant labour and resource component once established.

Complementary benefits include fish that will spawn in the root systems of chinampa islands because the floating root zone provides a protective habitat from predator birds and other fish. Frogs also spawn in plant roots and the complex ecosystem that chinampas and floating islands support during their various life cycles are of tremendous importance to ecological stability and long term sustainability of aquatic ecosystems. This adds to the overall biomass and food production of the system, providing greater yields than standalone elements.


Mexico Chinampas

Chinampa: Raised-bed hydrological agriculture

“And when we saw all those cities and villages built in the water and other great towns on dry land, and that straight and level causeway leading to Tenochtitlan, we were amazed…Indeed, some of our soldiers asked if it was not all a dream” (Spanish chronicler, Bernal Diaz del Castillo)

“There is little doubt that the chinampas just south of Mexico City represent the most sophisticated version of Mesoamerican swamp agriculture. The complexes are extensive and most are strictly rectilinear, oriented roughly in accord with the sacred direction of Teotihuacan. The hydrology of the system has always had to be closely managed in order to prevent flooding, as well as to introduce sufficient fresh water to maintain levels and a slight flow in the canals. Production is year round and finely tuned. All in all, this is an engaging garden landscape or, rather, it was until mechanized commercial cultivation and suburbanization led to the obliteration of many chinampas” (Siemens 1980).

Chinampa describes a system, or network, of raised fields on low man-made islands in the middle of lakes, marshes and floodplains. Currently, the most intact, refined examples of chinampa agriculture can be found in the Xochimilco/Chaleco lake basins in the central valley of Mexico. Looking further, we find that similar land management techniques have been employed throughout the Americas. Another one of the more impressive and extensive examples can be found in Los Llanos de Moxos, in the Beni region of Bolivia. In the following pages, I will explore the importance of these sites as working examples of sustainable human living systems.

The examples of traditional raised-bed agricultural fields, such as those in Mexico and Bolivia, are widely regarded as the most productive and ecologically sustainable forms of agriculture in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica (Chapin 1988).

“In a very real sense, chinampa agriculture has represented a self-contained and self-sustaining system that has operated for centuries as one of the most intensive and productive ever devised by man” (Chapin: 9). It has been generally concluded that the level of technology reached in agriculture during this time was rarely equaled anywhere else in the world at the time. The use of human labor, hydraulic technological sophistication and administrative complexity were correspondingly high (Parsons, 1991; Torres-Lima et al. 1994).

In light of the current human-induced pandemic of global destruction, the theory and practice behind chinampa hydrological agricultural systems may become increasingly important for the conservation of agro-biodiversity and as a means for humans to adapt agricultural production to cope with volatile changes in global climates and weather patterns. The dwindling chinampero culture represents one of the few remaining groups of humans on earth who hold the knowledge and technique to build, cultivate, and maintain this highly restorative, productive and sustainable agriculture technology.

There exists a common misconception, that the Aztecs invented chinampa technology, in fact they did not. Although it has been widely recognized that societies of the late Aztec period developed the most sophisticated models, it is now clear that Chinampas were employed long before by lowland Maya. The chinampas of Chaleco and Xochimilco were inherited by the Aztecs through the expansion of the empire and domination of the regional indigenous population, the Xochimilicans. Indeed, archeological evidence suggests that throughout Mesoamerican prehistory raised-bed agricultural system use has been extensive and widespread, adapted to a diverse variety of climates and landscapes. (Leon-Portilla, 1992; Torres-Lima et al. 1994).

The first hand account of Francisco Lopez de Gomara (1553) describes the Aztec capital as a city…

…built on water, exactly like Venice. The whole body of the city is in water. The wide and pleasant streets are of three kinds. Some consist entirely of water with a great many bridges, others are completely solid, and a third type combines solid and water, with people walking on the dry half and using boats on the other half… Almost all houses have two doors: One leading to the pavement and the other to the water on which they travel by boat.

It has been estimated that 10,000 hectares of chinampa fields, under intensive cultivation, would have been sufficient to supply at least half a million people with basic food staples (Torres-Lima et al. 1994: 39). The Chalco/Xochimilco site is situated in an endorphaic lake basin at an altitude of over 2,240 meters and surrounded by a high mountain range whose highest peak reaches 5,452 meters. Within this region there is evidence that over twelve thousand hectares, or 120 km sq. of land, was reclaimed in the shallow areas of the lakebed and transformed into a chinampa network yielding around 9000 agriculturally viable hectares, all within an ingeniously irrigated and navigable hydrological aqua/agricultural system (Armillas 1971; Arco & Abrams; Torres-Lima et al. 1994).

The incessant expansion of contemporary Mexico City has not acted kindly upon the chinamperia. At the beginning of the nineteen hundreds the Porfista government decided upon what they thought would be a viable solution to the ever-present problem of insufficient supply of potable water supply. The city would pump water from Xochimilco’s large springs, which for centuries had generated water supply for the chinamperia. Nativas spring, the largest at Xochimilco, would be pumped at two cubic meters a second and the city’s ravenous thirst would be quenched. The project was executed within eight years in which time Mexico City had grown thus demanding more...

The word “chinampa” is thought to have been derived from the Nauhatl words chinamitl, meaning “reed basket,” and pan, meaning “upon.” The etymology aptly describes the basic idea of chinampa construction, which was traditionally executed by way of piling bed-clay and mud from the lakes, aquatic plants, dry-crop silage, manure and silted muck upon one another in precise layers between paralleled reed fences anchored in the lake bottom. The material used in constructing the raised platforms is excavated so as to create narrow canals which divide elevated areas. The result was a highly ornate, intricate and accessible system.

The historically sustainable components of the chinampa agriculture, as summarized from conclusions drawn by Torres-Lima et al. (1994), are as follows:

1) by conserving renewable resources and reducing environmental impacts, the farmers efficiently managed the lake habitat for agricultural purposes;

2) through recycling practices, they maintained nutrient flow and wastes cycles;

3) by conserving a high degree of biodiversity in time and space, they efficiently used the resource base, increased biological interdependence between crops and pests, and reduced crop failure;

4) to intensify the production and increase sustainable levels of productivity, the farmers relied on regional resources, efficient use of labor, and high technological complexity;

5) by using social and economic factors in decision-making, diversification of crops and maximization of returns were part of the development of self-sufficiency and economic viability of the chinampa system (Torres-Lima et al. 1994: 39).

The southern lake chinampa system of Mexico used an enormous numbers of intricate drainage canals, or zanjas, as well as the chinampa fields and canals. The fields and drainage canals, when aligned and cross-sectioned, form small islands, typically long and narrow ranging in lengths between six and nine meters (Wilken et al. 1969: 223; Armillas 1971: 653; Arco & Abrams 2006). The general layout of fields and canals consisted of long fingers of solid ground, which alternated with navigable waterways, resulting in a tight, intricate configuration. The raised platforms were typically narrow and rectangular in shape. It has been reported that beds traditionally measured 2 to 4 m wide and 20 to 40 m long, surrounded on three or four sides by canals (Torres-Lima et al. 1994: 38-49). Armillas (1971) reports dimensions of 2.5-10 meters wide and up to 100 meters long. The raised portions were usually built by alternating layers of mud scraped from the lake or surrounding swamps and thick mats of decaying vegetation over shallow lake bottoms or in marshy zones. Platforms rose up to a height of 0.5-0.7 meters above the water level, the sides reinforced with posts interwoven with branches. Willow trees were traditionally planted along the edges providing anchor and structural support. The depth of the canals varied, ranging from one to one-and-a-third meters (Armillas 1971; Torres-Lima et al. 1994).

Prutzman (1988) delineates the essential steps in chinampa construction.

First, chinamperos use a long pole to find an adequate base for a chinampa and when possible uses a cimiento, the remains of an old chinampa, as the foundation for a new one.

Next, strong reeds are “stuck” in the bottom to mark the base dimensions. Then mud is excavated from around the base and piled atop the reeds and cimiento.

Mats of water vegetation are then cut and transported to the new chinampa. These dense vegetative mats, or cesped, were primarily made from water lily and tule reeds.

A nutrient-rich compost heap is created by layering mats of vegetation to form a thick cap. Mud from the bottom of the lake is mixed with soil from an old chinampa and placed on top reaching a height of about one foot above the water level. A porous base, rich in organic matter, is created through which water easily flows and irrigates through capillary action

Lastly, the sides secured with woven reeds, and then willow trees, Salix bomplandiana, are (traditionally) planted around the edges.

An alternative view of chinampa construction is presented by Wilken (1985) who suggests that aquatic plants have no structural role in chinampas; rather, he believes that plots are constructed by “simply extending drainage canals out into swamps or shallow lakes or back into low-lying shores” and then

piling the excavated material onto spaces between the canals. While the dredged mud inevitably contains aquatic plants, Wilken maintains that these plants are not important structural component (Wilken 1985).

It would seem to me that aquatic plants would be a very important in defining structure on multiple levels. As aquatic plants decompose and turn into earth they serve to maintain overall mass of the raised bed in addition to augmenting the nutritional structure, or content, of the soil.

The soil fertility of the raised bed is continuously renewed by scooping up and applying sediments and mud from the bottom of the waterway onto the raised fields, water plants cultivated on the surface of the waterways are intermittently layered with dredged material.

Benefits of the chinampa system are significantly amplified when the fields are TREE-LINED. Once mature and fully leaved, the trees create a canopy which serves a variety of crucial functions.

Trees anchor the beds, creating a boundary and infrastructure. As trees grow larger their fruit and foliage drop off onto the beds and in the water where they function as mulch, or into the water where they decompose and turn into nutrients, or they are eaten by aquaculture species such as prawns, fish, turtles, caiman, and so forth.

Planting trees helps enable microclimates; trees both block the wind and hold air in and underneath the canopy which achieves a higher temperatures and humidity levels thus greatly reducing, if not eliminating, frost damage and crop failure that would other wise occur in exposed areas (Arco & Abrams 2006).

“Creating channels of warmer air, the morphology of raised fields and associated canals can raise air temperatures as much as 6.3 degrees Celsius above that of dry fields.” (Crossley 1999: 280)

Chinampas also regulate micro-climates by moving and retaining moisture through capillary action (between layers of soil and organic matter), the system promotes the cycle of nutrients between compartments. The result is living soil, with its own respiratory and circulatory functioning. Chinampas are also high in microbial organisms, both in the earth and water, which promote high yields of terrestrial and aquatic plants by continuous cropping and utilization of the diversity of niches.

Ingenious seed germination beds and seedling nurseries were employed in the chinampa system by the Aztecs, the Maya, and, most likely, Mayan predecessors. At the edge of the chinampa bed, at the water’s edge, low terraces are formed. These perpetually moist and humid environments, called “almacigas”, are filled and maintained with ultra-nutritious sludge scooped from the bottom of the chinampa canal with a customized long-handled pole basket called the “zoquimaitl”, seeds are germinated and cared for in these customized environments. “These seedbeds with their concomitant protective and growth promoting mechanisms are the real core of chinampa agriculture. Without them this type of cultivation could function no more effectively than any other kind” (Outerbridge 1987: 80).

Coe (1964) provides details of this practice: At one end of the chinampa near a canal the almaciga is made by spreading a thick layer of mud over a bed of waterweeds. After several days, when the mud is hard enough, it is cut into little rectangular blocks called chapines. The chinampero makes a hole in each chapine with a finger or a stick, drops in the seed or cutting and covers it with either human or livestock manure. For protection against the occasional winter frosts the seedbed is covered with reeds or old newspapers, however the introduction of trees along the perimeters or within the beds is an effective method to create microclimate underneath the canopy, raising the temperature and humidity, thus avoiding frosts. During dry weather the sprouting plants are watered by hand. Once the plant is ready to be transplanted a cube is cut around each small seedling which is then directly placed in its designated place, which has been preconditioned with canal mud and a thick mulch of water plants (Coe 1964).

The highly logical and strategic placement of the almaciga is superior to the conventional centralized nursery system for a few reasons: For one, as mentioned, it maintains its own moisture and humidity, even during drought it is in close proximity to a water source, reducing labor input in the wasteful, time-consuming task of irrigating a large nursery area; plants are propagated exactly where they will be transplanted, maintained and eventually harvested, this greatly cuts back on unnecessary and inefficient transportation and transplants required by a centralized nursery;

in addition you are able to mass propagate without using pots, bags and plastic containers; an additional benefit is that plants are germinated in the same soil that they will be transplanted to, this results in heightened rates of growth and productivity, the plant will be better adapted to the soil type. Another point is that the nutrient content of the canal water used for irrigation is far more complete and consistent in composition than any human-fabricated organic or chemical fertilizer.

Mexico’s Chinampas – Wetlands Turned into Gardens – Fight Extinction IPS XOCHIMILCO, Mexico , Feb 27 2016 (IPS) - David Jiménez grows two kinds of lettuce and other fresh produce on his “chinampa” or artificial island just under one hectare in size in San Gregorio Atlapulco, on the south side of Mexico City.

“We can get five or six harvests a year. Lettuce can grow in 30 days,” Jiménez, the president of the six-member La Casa de la Chinampa cooperative, told IPS with evident enthusiasm. The cooperative operates in Xochimilco, one of Mexico City’s 16 boroughs.

The ejido – land held in common by the inhabitants of a village and farmed cooperatively or individually – where Jiménez has his farm covers 800 hectares, and is home to 800 farmers who mainly grow vegetables. Half of the ejido is made up of chinampas.

The system of chinampas dates back to the Aztecs, long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 15th century. The technique creates small, rectangular gardens reclaimed from Mexico City’s marshy lakebed by piling up soil on a mat of sticks, using wattle as fencing and willow trees at the corners to secure the bed.

The chinampas are rich in muck and decaying vegetation, which provide nutrients for the crops, while the ditches between them give the plants continuous access to water. As a result, the vegetables grown there are especially rich in nutrients.

The chinampas, which help feed the 21 million people who live in Greater Mexico City, are in the boroughs of Milpa Alta, Tláhuac and Xochimilco.

Worked by some 5,000 farmers, the chinampas cover a total of 750 hectares. The system is profitable, because they produce a combined total of around 80 tons a day of vegetables.

Each head of lettuce fetches 10 cents of a dollar, Jiménez said, as he tended to a row of lettuce.

The chinampas or “floating gardens” produce spinach, chard, radishes, parsley, coriander, cauliflower, celery, mint, chives, rosemary, lettuce and purslane or pigweed. Visitors to the area walk along paths that take them across a green carpet segmented into rectangles of crops and divided by the ditches of water they depend on to grow.

The drought-resistant system uses less water than traditional irrigation and produces fish, vegetables, flowers and medicinal herbs.

Studies also show that the chinampas repel pests, are more productive than conventional agricultural systems, and produce biomass. The technique is completely sustainable, retaining moisture and regulating the microclimate in the area.

History of Chinampas Chinampas are an historical example of a sustainable social-ecological system, that utilize raised fields built on water canals. They were used extensively in South America before the Spanish Conquest.

The Aztec empire was situated in the wetlands of Basin of Mexico. They were able to cultivate the wetlands extremely effectively through chinampa agriculture. First, canals were made dug throughout the wetland areas. Raised-fields were then constructed between them.


Arquitectura Chinampera

Current Developments

V How to Make a Floating Island in Mass. recycled plastic floating islands. Great for ducks.

Are Floating Gardens the Ancient Gardening Technique of the Future?

Imagine the Valley of Mexico, home of the Aztec people and present day Mexico City, in 1519, when the Spanish first arrived. What comes to mind first? Human Sacrifice? Well, there was some of that going on… but let’s not go there. The Aztec empire at that time was supporting a population of 5-6 million people. That’s a lot of people to feed. Now, can you imagine the agriculture systems that were commonly used to feed all of these people?

Mexico City Chinampas, 1912. Photo source: Wikipedia. Photo by Karl Weule

I first learned of chinampas in an Ethnobotany class, when I was studying Botany at the University of Texas at Austin, and was very intrigued at the concept of floating gardens. I later encountered an example of this technique while traveling in Bolivia in 2008, where the native “Uru” people of Lake Titicaca build entire floating islands from the reed plants that grow at the edges of the lake. They keep stacking these floating reeds until it becomes a large interwoven floating mass.

Each year they continue stacking more reeds on top, as the bottom of the island slowly decomposes into the lake. They were growing crops on these floating islands, building houses, boats, and many other necessities out of the reeds, and even eating the reeds. I then forgot about the idea of chinampas until the technique came up in my first Permaculture Design Course in 2011. I was so pleasantly surprised to reencounter the technique, as if an old friend came to visit after a long separation. I told myself, “Someday I’m going to design and build a chinampa system”.

Now, my opportunity has finally come. I’m here in East Bali, managing Tirta Gangga Organic Farm, which is an entirely spring-water irrigated system of terraces supporting various crops of organic vegetables, grains, fruits and herbs. The farm is directly located beside the abundantly spring fed, Tirta Gangga Water Palace, built for the King of Karangasem, Bali in 1948.

As the farm is also abundantly fed with fresh flowing spring water, and any of the terraces can be selected to receive water at any time, I thought “This site is just begging for chinampas”. Now we are in the process of installing some small chinampas to start with.

It turns out, floating garden systems are not novel to South East Asia and may even have roots here dating back to far before the Aztec Empire in Mexico.

Floating gardens of Lake Inle, Myanmar. Photo Credit: www.synergy-tours.com

Chinampas are also found to this day in Asia (though they are not called chinampas of course), such as in Vietnam, and the famous floating gardens of lake Inle in Myanmar. As we know, the indigenous people of the Americas originally came from Asia. The most commonly accepted theory is that most of these peoples came by foot over the Barring Strait, but there is immense evidence that this migration was also by Sea navigation.

The Maori people of New Zealand for example, have extensive records of Navigational routes to various other islands in the pacific, and as far reaching as Peru. The Polynesians had, and still have, sophisticated knowledge of navigation, which brought them to inhabit the Islands of Hawaii, and perhaps even parts of Central America. It is possible that this combined agriculture aquaculture system was one of the techniques brought over in that migration. But given the immense productivity of chinampa systms, it would be no surprise if it was discovered independently across cultures.

So what makes this system so productive?

Well one way of looking at this is that the combination of Agriculture and Aquaculture, as in an aquaponics system, can create a more or less “closed loop system” where nutrients are cycling within all life in the system. The plants create food for the fish, the fish create fertilizer for the plants, and the abundant sunlight and carbon dioxide create more plants to feed the fish.

There’s another way to look at it though. Permaculture design principle number ten tells us to “Use edge and value the marginal” in the design process. The edges are always where you find the most biodiversity and productivity in Nature, such as in an estuary, where the river meets the ocean, or at the edge of a forest and prairie.

Where edge is maximized, there is more functional bio-diversity, and therefore more stability, resilience, and productivity. Chinampa systems, if designed well, can have an immense amount of horizontal and vertical edge.

“You may have canopy trees, understory trees and shrubs, land crops, edge crops, emergent crops, trellis crops, fish, crayfish, water fowl, chickens on the land base, and floating water plants for fertility and mulch production… It’s due to all of this vertical and horizontal edge [in a chinampa system] that made it the most productive system ever documented per square meter.” –Geoff Lawton (from a PDC course he co-taught with Bill Mollison).

There is an immense amount of possibilities for cultivating these systems. Like Geoff mentions, you may have trellises hooping over the waterways with fruits hanging down which can be harvested by boat. You may even design in a way of easily draining the waterways to harvest fish/crayfish, and flooding the land base to bring nutrient rich water to the plants. The possibilities are nearly endless.

How to create a chinampa system?

There are many appropriate ways to go about it, depending on your starting conditions, but I’ll share the process by which we’ve been creating them here in Bali. Our first installation was on a former rice terrace, which had water flowing through it and raised keyhole beds coming out of the water filled with water loving plants such as mint and Ipomoea aquatica (water spinach).

The soil in these beds was very dense, anaerobic, and very rich in nutrients from all the algae content. My basic strategy was to dig out half of these bed areas into ponds, and build up the beds left behind with the soil removed for the ponds, while layering in straw and sand to lessen the density and create more aerobic soil conditions.

The entire edge of the terrace has a strip of free flowing water going around the beds and the water finally spills out down into the next chinampa system below. The ponds I chose to dig at least one meter deep so that the temperature of the pond would be moderated by it’s thermal mass. In other words, if the pond is deeper, the water is not so easily warmed by the sun or chilled in cool climates, which makes for a more stable aquatic ecology.

Raised emergent garden beds layered with straw, volcanic sand, and soil, and dug out pond, water source pipe on left. Tirta Gangga Organic Farm, Bali. Photo by Brandon Bodhi Denton

Finished Chinampas, ready to mulched and planted. Raised-beds layered with straw, sand, and soil. Photo by Brandon Bodhi Denton

For those with large ponds, or lake-shore property, you could try the age old method of piling floating reeds from the edge to create a truly “floating” garden, with soil on top. This of course requires the presence of reeds such as water hyacinth. I have not tried this kind of installation before, but my guess is that you would have to have a predominance of reeds as a base, and just enough soil on top, but not too much, so the reeds can support the weight of the soil. You could try weaving in plastic bottles filled with air (a great re-use of a common waste product), tying them to bundles of reeds. I bet bundles of straw could even be used if you had a way of tying them all together with plenty of plastic air bottles attached (If anyone has success with this, please contact me: wovenearthdesign@gmail.com) Organic Matter such as reeds or straw will act like a wick to bring water up to the soil.

Images of Chinampas: share for teaching & education

chinampas, from Razon.com.mx

chinampa canal from flickr.com

chinampa seedlings from flickr.com

chinampa sketch by ackmvmt.org

chinampa tool PensamientoAutodidacta.blogspot.com

chinampas boat munchies.vice.com

Chinampas capillary diagram from MidwestPermaculture.com; chinampas diagram by amazonaws.com translation: Descripción de la chiampa - Description of a chinampa, cultivos- crops, ahuejotes - perennial Bonpland willows (Salix bonplandiana), chinamitl - the fencing of canes or cornstalks along the edge of the chinampa, estacas - stakes, lago - lake, material orgánico - organic matter, agua lodo - nutrient dense "muddy water" which is scraped from the bottom of the canal & used as fertilizer for the crops.

chinampas diagram by amazonaws.com

chinampas from SimpleCapacity.com

"Mexico-Tenochtitlan (today -with its endangered chinampa system- it's known as Mexico City): Founded on June 20, 1325, it became the capital of the expanding Aztec Empire in the 15th century, until it was captured by the Spanish in 1521. At its peak it was the largest city in the Pre-Columbian Americas.

The city was connected to the mainland by causeways leading to the north, south, and west. The causeways were interrupted by bridges that allowed canoes and other water traffic to pass freely. The bridges could be pulled away, if necessary, to defend the city. The city was interlaced with a series of canals, so that all sections of the city could be visited either on foot or via canoe.

Lancha atada en la entrada de una chinampa by Emmanuel Eslava from WikiMedia.org

Tenochtitlan illustration from ThingLink.com

Video: Hombres de maiz Tenochtitlan--mucho en Espanol. From 14.0 on about creating and managing chinampas

Tenochtitlan from video

CHINAMPAS 2.0 – AN ELEGANT TECHNOLOGY FROM THE PAST TO SAVE THE FUTURE As far as I have researched, it is a technique developed in ancients times of Teotihuacan, originally created for semi dry climates as a water harvesting and food production system. It appears that they were not originally from Xochimilco, where this system emigrated and reached their splendor in the fourteenth century, somewhere around 1519. With the use of this technique the Aztecs took up most of the Lake of Xochimilco, and its combination with other techniques such as irrigation channels and terracing, allowed them to support a dense population of more than 230,000 people — that’s a lot more than any other city in the world at that time.

In Hombres de Maíz (“Men of Maize”) we think it’s a real and affordable solution, especially for ARID CLIMATES but also very effective in most climates. They capture and store water, produce fish, shrimp, vegetables, flowers, medicinal plants and all sorts of plants and grains.

They are not affected by drought as other systems are, and they save more than 80% on water compared to conventional irrigation systems.

The system protects crops from frost and ‘pests’ like moles, ants, blind worms and many others, not to mention they are up to 7 times more productive per m2 than any other agriculture system.

The system is totally sustainable, maintaining constant moisture in the area, which is perfect for the microbiology of the soil. It’s perfect for creating a self reliance habitat and is a great way to respond to floods, and is incredibly fertile (probably the most fertile agricultural system ever devised).

Chinampas at Xochimilco

It is also a food production system that FUNCTIONS AS A WATER PURIFICATION SYSTEM as well as a very effective climate modifier (imagine transforming several acres of desert into a chinampa system). It’s an elegant, diverse and healthy system of natural aquaponics, so to speak.

That’s why Hombres de Maíz, the organization I feel honored to represent, took on the task to investigate and learn from the best “Chinamperos” (local families that have built chinampas since the times of the Aztecs in the lake of Xochimilco) to adapt and reproduce this system for dry climates, especially for the semi arid part of the state of Guanajuato, México, where I live. I want the people of my region to stop struggling with loss of crops due to water scarcity, and do it without government aid and their very ineffective water management systems — not to mention the urgent problem of malnutrition my neighbors have (I live in a low income rural zone).

Mr. Pedro Mendez, my friend and teacher

Finally after two years of research we built the first experimental prototype chinampa near Guanajuato City. Currently this chinampa is home to more than 20 aquatic plants species, many of them native to Lake Xochimilco and other from lakes of Guanajuato (Xacaltule, tule, water cress, duckweed, lilies, papyrus, etc.) and also houses animals such as axolotls (native from Xochimilco), an almost extinct type of salamander that’s capable of regenerating even its own brain, several carp and shrimp, not to mention the flora and fauna that have made all these at home, like snails, frogs, birds, aquatic beetles, etc.

We managed to adapt the same concepts we experimented with one year before in a “perma aquaponic” system that requires no cleaning of the fish containers, and we let the ecosystem develop as a natural pond would, but in a 100 gal electric pump version.

And we saw that if you just develop a well balanced pond ecosystem with plants, bugs, animals and other organisms, even if you do it in a small aquaponic container, you can achieve no pH changes and low ammonia levels. So we took on the task of repeating the same effect in a small artificial pond of 5000 lts [1320.86 gallons] that would not use any electric equipment at all,

Aztec Chinampas of Central America

and we planted it with black and white corn native from Xochimilco, sweet corn from Guanajuato (yellow-orange), blood of Christ Corn (very beautiful, white with red stripes), Milpa black beans, pumpkins and Chilacayotas (a type of squash that loves to grow on soil and expands over the water too), [figleaf gourd] white clover (as nitrogen fixer), flowers, lettuce and other crops such as strawberries (all non hybrid or transgenic seeds).

The list of species that can be grown in this system is endless — almost anything is possible on a chinampa and you get animal and vegetable protein of awesome quality and quantity with little labor involved and almost no maintenance required.

Forget about the task of watering plants, ever. Yes, that’s correct. In this kind of modernized chinampa, it is never necessary to water the plants, because they simply absorb the water they need by themselves, because the water rises from the bottom by capillarity to the plant root system.

Forget the task of composting work and fertilizers. Chinampas remain fertile through the water being full of fish, bird and other animal manure that is converted by the nitrogen cycle bacteria that transform (as you well know) ammonia into nitrites and nitrates that the plants use to grow.

You also have the aid of worm castings from the worms that naturally love to live in chinampas, not to mention that the lilies used for making composting layers exist in large quantities over the water. They make a wonderful compost (worms love it) keeping the soil moist. The moisture in this system allows various microorganisms and fungi that live on land to survive without the stress of water scarcity.

Experimental chinampa of “Hombres de Maiz” at 4 weeks. Lettuces and a small Milpa (corn, beans, squash and other plants associated) in full sun without stress.

Video: Chinampas in Jiwa Damai

Video: Floating Vegetable Garden in Bangladesh

Tenochtitlan (The Impossible City)


Eco Garden Design: Chinampas. Chinampa is a method of ancient Mesoamerican agriculture which used small, rectangle-shaped areas of fertile land to grow crops on the shallow lake beds in the Valley of Mexico. The word chinampa comes from the Nahuatl word chinamitl, meaning “square made of canes.”


Sometimes referred to as “floating gardens,” chinampas were artificial islands that usually measured roughly 98 ft × 8.2 ft. Chinampas were used by the ancient Aztec Indians in Tenochtitlan, and ranged from 300 ft × 15 ft to 300 ft × 30 ft.

They were created by staking out the shallow lake bed and then fencing in the rectangle with wattle: Wattle and daub is a composite building material used for making walls in which a woven lattice of wooden strips called wattle is daubed with a sticky material usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw.

The fenced-off area was then layered with mud, lake sediment, and decaying vegetation, eventually bringing it above the level of the lake. Often trees similar to a willow or a cypress were planted at the corners to secure the chinampas which were separated by channels wide enough for a canoe to pass. These “islands” had very high crop yields with up to four crops a year.

The earliest chinampas have been dated back to the Middle Postclassic period, (1150 – 1350 CE) and showing use primarily in Lakes Xochimilco and Chalco near the springs that lined the south shore of those lakes. The Aztecs not only conducted military campaigns to obtain control over these regions but, according to some researchers, undertook significant state-led efforts to increase their extent.

With the destruction of the dams and sluice gates during the Spanish conquest of Mexico, many chinampas fields were abandoned, although remnants are still in use today in what remains of Lake Xochimilco. Among the crops grown on chinampas were: maize, beans, squash, amaranth, tomatoes, chili peppers, and flowers. It’s estimated that food provided by chinampas made up one-half to two-thirds of the food consumed by the city of Tenochtitlán.

Today many horticulturists have adopted a modern version of the chinampas and call it hydroponics. While occupying a great deal less space, no soil whatsoever, and often being used indoor such as in a greenhouse setting, the principle is basically the same as the ancient chinampas except it has been made more efficient and convenient.

Using the chinampa method can have many benefits: such as practically no weeding and watering as well as protection from animals and certain pests. Building a chinampas in your backyard pond can certainly be an entertaining and efficient way to utilize a decorative space for edibles.

While nutrients must be continually replenished in conventional hydroponic gardening, chinampas are more self-sufficient in that the soil materials they are built on supply the nutrients for plants, and the water that permeates that soil offers nutrients as well in a more natural way. So supplementing the water periodically is not necessary as with hydroponics. As mentioned above, the Aztecs often constructed their chinampas with dung, which would offer a constant supply of natural fertilizer to their floating gardens.

Plants that we believe would do well with this type of planting are lettuces and Asian greens because you can plant a large number of them in a small area, they would do well with the added humidity of the surrounding water, and slugs can’t swim!


V How to build a floating island using bamboo and cocoya

V Keeping an Un-Filtered Pond! Elodea--oxygen for the pond and a great filter. Fish are happy and water looks clear. Cabbage floats on surface; also filters water. At least 60% plants to stop algae and filter the water. Be careful not to overstock with fish. Don't overfeed the fish.

Chinampas Gardens Chinampas Gardens are artificial islands or peninsulas created by scooping nutrient-rich lake, swamp or pond muck into a woven cage so that crops can be grown above the waterline in a wet environment. Within this simple design, several unique functions are accomplished at once: a micro-climate that prevents early frost damage; an extremely productive soil that is mostly self-sustaining; a self-watering system created by water wicking in from the sides as moisture evaporates from the surface of the beds; and the growing of plants and fish within the same area.

In Particular we want to:

Test the efficacy of Chinampas in our northerly-temperate climate

Assess their productivity and labor requirements compared to regular garden beds

Try something very different and creative.

There is plenty of room across the south shore of our pond and we plan to build three to five Chinampas extending out into the water like peninsulas for about 25 feet. They are located close to Earthcamp Village so that students, interns and/or guests camping in the cabins can quickly and easily access the chinampas gardens for food, fishing and enjoyment.

When our community of Stelle was built, a small pond just outside of town was dug so that residents might have some sort of wetland close by. Over the years we have watched it mature and recent testing has revealed that the water is amazingly clean and free of agricultural chemicals. The watershed that feeds this pond is all on the Stelle community property. But as with most ponds, with time there has been some silt buildup close to shore which creates an ideal environment for cattail and other shore loving plants.

History of Chinampas

A thousand years before the term “Permaculture” was coined the Mayans began developing a unique form of ‘permanent-agriculture’ to feed their growing populations which was further perfected over the following centuries by the Aztecs. With little tillable land remaining, the peoples of what is now central Mexico started to farm in their swamps, ponds, lakes and lowlands by creating raised beds called chinampas (from the Nahuatt word for “square made of cane”).

As in good permaculture design, Chinampas work by turning wastes into resources while stacking functions to maximize yields and minimizing work. After a plot is staked out into low ground or shallow ponds and lakes, a fence was woven between the stakes to create a cage or large basket that the farmers could then fill with the surrounding sediment and various forms of vegetation. The beds would be built high enough to become permanently above the high water mark and willows would be planted on the edges to protect the banks from erosion over the long term for when the posts rotted. Channels were maintained between the Chinampas for canoe access and for the growing of fish and water fowl.

The genius of this system?

Since water is always available to the bed, as water evaporates from the surface it is replaced by capillary action from below. A chinampas never has to be watered once a plants root systems are down. The grower never has to worry about drought or watering again. And because the ground is permanently moist by the capillary action of water being pulled upwards by ground evaporation, soluble nutrients stay suspended and available to the plant roots. What is created is a perfect root zone environment…all the time!

A more perfect example of stacking functions in a permaculture system can rarely be found. Fish, fowl, and water plants could be harvested from the water channel and vegetables, fruit, and lattice-grown vines from the bed itself


Video: Building a Floating Island for the Pool/pond Project!

*Video: How to Build a Floating Plant Island 4" drain pipe [20 ft of tubing], half inch black hardware cloth [roll of 15 ft. by 3 ft. wide], empty water bottles and a little rope & zip ties.

Stuff the empty water bottles into the drain pipe to float. Tie the drain pipe together using zip ties. Cut hardware cloth in two, makes island 7.5' long and 3' wide. Used 20' of tubing.

Or, use pvc pipe, plastic lattice and glue.

Video: How to Build a Floating Plant Island

Video: How to plant and launch a BioHaven floating island

Video: Modern-day Chinampas "Floating Gardens" - Ancient Mesoamerican Agriculture Re-conceived


Video: ABC acres: Making and Filling Chinampa Bed Baskets - episode #030 built from edge into pond. Drive in upright posts, then weave baskets to hold organic matter. Used tree limbs to weave. Filled with leaves and biomass. Topped with topsoil.

V Using Chinampas to bolster Biodiversity: ABC acres- episode #113

V Chinampa Checkup/ Follow-up Friday: ABC acres- episode #086

V Floating Vegetable Garden in bangladesh, India

Video: Chinampas - Punta Mona Costa Rica Wing beans: leaves and roots are edible; fruit is delicious

Video: Modern-day Chinampas "Floating Gardens" - Ancient Mesoamerican Agriculture Re-conceived bamboo used for soil stabilization and windbreak. Katuk is perennial salad greens. Quelite is same. Lemon grass and basil are also perennials.

*Video: How to Make a Floating Island David Epstein in Mass. Built with recycled plastic. Cleans up algae and nitrogen overage. Great habitat for ducks. Increases riparian edges.

Requires plants which can live in a moist environment. Marshalia grandiflora, Barbara's Buttons. Hibiscus moscheutos, rose mallow. sarracenia, pitcher plant eats insects. Juncus uffusus, corkscrew rush. All are hardy perennials.

New England Wild Flower Society

V Greenfingers - Floating baskets: Using plants to filter your pond plants and how to put plants in floating baskets.

V Keeping an Un-Filtered Pond! Elodea--oxygen for the pond and a great filter. Fish are happy and water looks clear. Cabbage floats on surface; also filters water. At least 60% plants to stop algae and filter the water. Be careful not to overstock with fish. Don't overfeed the fish.


Barley $16.99 1 lb bale; $11.99 1/2 lb bale; 4's

After 6-8 weeks, The Pond Guy® Barley Straw bale will begin releasing safe oxygenators to clear pond water for up to 6 months! Barley Straw bales for ponds are most effective in shallow water with sunlight and good water circulation. A ½ pound bale treats up to 500 gallons.

Actively Clears Water
Continues Working Up To 6 Months
All-Natural Pond Treatment
Packaged In Mesh Netting

R I add barley straw bale to my pond on a regular basis, it keeps the water beautifully clear!

Summit® Barley Straw Planters $24.99 Large 7" x 11" x 11"; $16.99 Medium 7" x 9" x 9"; $14.99 Small 3.25" x 6" x 6". 3s

Tetra Whisper Air Pump with Minimal Noise and Maximum Air Flow $10.62 p 4s

For Use in Aquariums Up to 40-Gallon
Minmal noise with maximum air flow
Has sound damping chambers with a dome shape to flatten sound wave frequencies

40-60 gal. is $15.89--I bought this one

R Question: I have a pump that is 'buzzing' all the time and it is kind of annoying when you are sleep. Is this pump quiet to have it in your bedroom? thx
Answer: This pump is very quiet. It is not silent but it is 80% quieter than any other pump I have purchased.

Question: Does the 60 gallon pump have 2 air hose outlets?
Answer: Yes.

R 4s The Quietest, Best Disposable Cheap Pump Out There.

I have been using these pumps for ten years. They are cheap and they last about two years. The diaphragms dry out and split, like all rubber products they break down. They age on the shelf so try to get yours from a major dealer. The problem is that the replacement rubber parts cost as much as the unit. I have kept mine going longer by greasing the diaphragms with plumbers grease once a year. They are very quiet, the bubbling water is louder than the pump. The output isn't as advertised so I would go up one size. Replace your air stones regularly. A noisy pump is a sign of back pressure. Keep your old pumps for parts, I went to grease the diaphragms and one of the outlets cracked. If I kept some old ones I would have had a replacement body. It's a quiet, cheap, and dependable pump that lasts two years, it seems that all the other brands are worse.

R Wow! Awesome pump that is super quiet. One of the best pump design I've own. Super quiet and strong air output! I bought this pump for a 45 gallon corner bow tank, It sits 8 feet away from my head while sleeping and I cant even hear it ( I have extremely excellent hearing). This pump is running my under-gravel filter system and my bio filter, It provides excellent air flow and good water circulation. A few of the reviews said poor air flow or excess noise and vibration which can be easily caused by clogged air stones or restricted air lines. I highly recommend this product.

Zacro 6.5 feet Standard Airline Tubing Air Pump Accessories With 2 pcs Bubble Release Air Stones and 2 pcs Air Valves for Aquariums Air Pump $6.99 p 4s

Air pumps accessories, perfect match to your fish
2m/78.7inch length, 0.2 inch tube diameter, easy to clean the airline tubing
2 pcs bubble release air stones and 2 pcs air valves, diffuses oxygen efficiently and smoothly in you
Perfect match air pump accessories, safe for fish and good for fresh or salt water environments
Tips: To prevent the water backflow and pump damage, the out port must connect to the air stones

Pondtabbs 60ct for water lilies 4.5s $16.43 4.25 gram tablets Analysis: 10-14-8

API POND AQUATIC PLANT MEDIA Potting Soil For Pond Plants 25-Pound Bag 4s $28.49 Does not cloud water. Unique blend of Arcillite & Zeolite. Use as soil for pond plants. Order# 114-6441789-1293024 delivered to wrong address. Ordered two more on 5/1/18

C: I've used it in the bottom of my pond. Just soak it in a bucket first to wash the dust out of it .

C: Much better than what I used to do before (medium for vegetable garden soil mixed with sand). Makes for less mess and lighter to put your plants in the pond.

Aquascape Fabric Plant Pot for Pond and Aquatic Plants, Versatile, Durable, 12-Inch x 8-Inch, 2-Pack | 98500 4.5s $7.98 allows water in but keeps soil from entering the pond; Makes planting aquatic plants simple and easy; Easily molded fit in tight spaces and blends in with the rest of the pond; Will not break or crack

Laguna Once-A-Year Mini Fertilizer Spike, Aquatic Plant - 6-Pack 4s $11.49 Maximizes the size and color of aquatic plants; Well-balanced feeding formula; Chelated; Provides maximum nutrients to plants, will not be absorbed by string algae; Suitable for aquatic plants with root systems contained in planting baskets; No impact on water quality; 6-pack

Aquascape Aquatic Lily Plant Pots for Pond and Water Garden, 14-inch x 7-inch, Black, 2-Pack | 98929 4.5s $8.98 Fine, porous fabric material allows water in but keeps soil from entering your pond or water feature; Easily molded fit in tight spaces; included drawstring makes planting easy; Ideal for use with water lilies and similar aquatic plants; Won't crack or break like standard planters; blends in with the rest of your pond; Measures 14 inches round by 7 inches deep; package includes 2 aquatic plant pots

Aquascape Fabric Plant Pot for Pond and Aquatic Plants, Versatile, Durable, 6-inches x 6 Inches, 2-Pack | 98501 4.5s $5.88

Aquascape 89002 Pond Plant Potting Media for Aquatic Plants, 10 Pounds 5s $15.47

C: The soil worked really well. Make sure to wet the product before submerging and to place pebbles around the top to keep the soil in place.

Chalily Live Aquatic Hardy Water Lily | Pre-grown, Pre-rooted, Hardy Water Lily for your Pond or Patio Water Garden | Drop-N-Grow Convenience -Red (Nymphaea 'Attraction') 5s $25.99 Bought 1 5/1/18

DROP-N-GROW - Pre-Grown and Pre-Rooted, the only work left for you to do is to Drop it in your Pond or Patio Container and Watch it Grow!

PROMOTES THE PERFECT POND ENVIRONMENT - Aquatic plants will produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide to enhance water quality in your pond or patio garden. Adding live plants is not only beneficial for the natural ecosystem but also provides shelter and security for your fish.

QUALITY GUARANTEED - Guaranteed to arrive alive and healthy. For exceptional growth and blooming, Chalily recommends fertilizing your lily with aquatic fertilizer tablets on a monthly basis during the growing season.

HARDY - Your perennial water lily is meant to last for years to come. After growing has stopped in the fall, simply cut back foliage and keep your water lily at the bottom of your water garden during the winter months.

Chalily Live Aquatic Hardy Water Lily | Pre-grown, Pre-rooted, Hardy Water Lily for your Pond or Patio Water Garden | Drop-N-Grow Convenience -Yellow (Nymphaea 'Yellow Sensation') 5s $25.99

lorida Aquatic Nursery POND PLANT, WATER POPPY. (3 live plants) 4s $17.99 & FREE Shipping. Hydrocleys nymphoides Water Poppy; Floating Pond Plant; Height: , Width: , Depth: Bare Root, 3 STEM BUNCH CUTTINGS

Hardy Water Lilies at Amz

BioMatrix made in Britain

Floating Islands

Floating Riverbanks

Overview of Products

BioHaven® Floating Islands – Sustainable Green Infrastructure Man Made Floating Island Technology

* Solar Powered Bird Bath Fountain Pump 1.4W Floating Solar Panel Fountain Water Pumps Kit Outdoor Birdbath Water Fountain Pump for Pond, Pool, Patio and Garden Decoration 4.5s $16.99 & FREE Shipping

Laguna Woven Fabric Floating Plant Basket, 10-Inch, Small 4s $13.99 & FREE Shipping

Laguna Woven Fabric Floating Plant Basket, 13-3/4-Inch, Medium 4s $23.13 & FREE Shipping

I purchased and used this for a couple of month now. At the beginning, I was pretty happy about my purchase, it looks good floating in my pond. But after a month, the mesh net is now breaking down exposing the white foam underneath. My fish started to chew off pieces of the foam. I felt that I need to take it out soon. So much for my purchase. Very disappointed. *Aquascape Floating Island Planter for Ponds, Gardens, and Water Features | 89006 5s $22.38 & FREE Shipping Display aquatic plants in deep areas of your pond. Allows water in while keeping soil contained, protects plants from hungry fish. Constructed to stay afloat at the surface of the pond. Measures 15 x 11 x 4 inches (Length x width x Height)

Nycon Floating Plant Protector NYCRFID2 -round; 18"" deep 4.5s $33.99 & FREE Shipping Measuring 2 feet in diameter at its top, this round, floating protector offers plenty of room for one or more plants. The protector is 18 inches long or deep, accommodating the lengthy stems of water lilies, lotus and other plant varieties. Using its drawstring makes the plant protector funnel shaped, with its top wider than its bottom.

Floating Flora Fish Barrier - 18 Inch Diameter 5s $24.99 & FREE Shipping

By Nycon in Address: 2375 Sunrise Bay Ct, Granbury, TX 76048
Phone: (817) 573-9399

located 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Fort Worth, Texas. Hood County

MAN 16" Floating Island Planter 4.5s $39.77 & FREE Shipping. 16" foam collar with a 12" x 5" plastic liner. Protects plants from grazing koi. Self-watering design. Constructed of heavy duty foam for long life.

How to plant and launch a BioHaven floating island

Floating Islands West - Circular Floating Island 3' diameter $387.26 & FREE Shipping

Floating Islands West - Floating Island 2.5 x 2 feet Kidney Shape $247.69 & FREE Shipping. WaterSoil suggested planting mix. Jute cover for UV protection. Product Dimensions: 30 x 24 x 8 inches

BioHaven floating islands are designed to: Improve water quality Enhance habitat Beautify your pond or tank Grow plants in deep areas of pond where there are no plant shelves Add a safe non-toxic planter to your koi pond or aquatic garden Help remove phosphates, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite Increase beneficial bacteria and consume excess nutrients BioHaven floating treatment wetlands have been used worldwide for wetland restoration, safe waterfowl nesting sites, shoreline restoration, stormwater management, and much more.

Our environmentally friendly pond products act as a living biofilter island for your pond. Your purchase of a BioHaven Floating Island (also known as floating treatment wetlands FTW) will contribute to greener living practices by reducing landfill waste. Each island is made using recycled PET plastic and is put back to use to actually have a positive impact on the environment and habitat. These are the highest quality floating islands on the market, a simple “floating planter” just cannot compete. BioHaven floating islands have been used by government and non-profit agencies alike. Rest assured you are getting a trusted brand recognized as a Top Innovative Water Technology.

Video: Floating Islands West - Floating Island 2.5 x 2 feet Rectangular Shape $247.69 & FREE Shipping

Yardgard 889231a Plastic Hardware Cloth Roll, Black, 1/2" Mesh, 24" X 25' $26.39 & FREE Shipping

Midwest Air Tech 889230A 36" x 15' ft 1/2" Mesh Black PVC Hardware Cloth - Quantity 3 $56.64 & FREE Shipping

NewMainone Cable Zip Ties,500 Packs Self-Locking 4+6+8+10+12-Inch Width 0.16inch Nylon Cable Ties 5s $12.88

SE CT1676B Heavy-Duty 16" Black Cable Ties with 110-lb. Tensile Strength, 100-Pack $15.00 ($0.15 / Cable Tie)

Fabric & Garden Staples Commercial Grade Attaches Landscape Fabric, Netting, and Outdoor Lighting to Soil (4.5 inches x 1 inch) 14 Gauge Garden Staple, 10 Staples 4s $1.79 Free shipping

V planting a floating basket crushed zeolite, has a magnetic charge which will attract nutrients.. Mix with utilite. Planted society garlic. and funky monkey. Crystal cathedral pennywort will cover sides. Used fertilizer tablets.

Zeolite Granue natural zeolite for agriculture US $89-108 / Ton

Triple Z Zeolite used for artificial grass filler

Premium Laboratory Grade Zeolite Ammonia Reducer 70 oz $18.99 amz

Marineland Ammonia neutralizing zeolite blend aquarium carbon media 50oz [over 3 lb.] US $6.62 ebay free standard shipping

Exotic Pebbles PMS0510 Polished Gravel, Mixed, 5 Pounds, 3/8-Inch $12.55

1 X Miniature Fairy Garden Mini River Rock 1 lb $6.50

API POND AQUATIC PLANT MEDIA Potting Soil For Pond Plants 25-Pound Bag 4s $28.49 Potting soil for pond plants. Does not cloud water. Unique blend of Arcillite & Zeolite. Use as soil for pond plants


4/1/19 Called Pond Guy 1-866-766-3435, talked to Gary.

20' x 10' pool, 6600 gallons, 200 sq. ft.

Ordered Insta-Fix [beneficial bacteria] and Defense Pac. First will hurt snails, but not fish.

Treat first with InstaFix, wait 4 weeks. Then use DefensePac.

Barley $16.99 1 lb bale; bought 7/28/18

Summit® Barley Straw Planters $16.99 Medium 7" x 9" x 9" bought one 7/28/18

7/23/18 order from Pond Megastore Azolla 1/2 lb, Salvinia minima 1/2 lb, Sensitive plant 3. $41.65 + 16.75 shipping = $5840

Order #044466

A very nice but slow growing low plant for aquarium.
Anubias will melt if the quality of the aquariums becomes
extremely poor, these plants need a clean home. These plants
aren't rooted in the gravel. The rhizome should stay above
the gravel. The plants can be tied to driftwood or rocks

Pondtabbs 60ct for water lilies 4.5s $16.43 4.25 gram tablets Analysis: 10-14-8. Buy 5/5/18

Chalily Live Aquatic Hardy Water Lily | Pre-grown, Pre-rooted, Hardy Water Lily for your Pond or Patio Water Garden | Drop-N-Grow Convenience -Red (Nymphaea 'Attraction') 5s $25.99 Bought 1 5/1/18


3 frogbit and 5 hornwort from Pond Megastore

Frogbit Limnobium spongia. Frogbit is a native plant that can be floating or rooted. It occurs in many water types throughout Florida. It is only a few inches around, and the green heart shaped leaves resemble a miniature water lily that floats on the waters surface. The blossoms are 1/4inch, and are pale cream. Frogbit grows very easy and is great for surface coverage and algae elimination.

Hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum. Ceratophyllum demersum is one of the most popular aquarium plants in the trade. Hornwort, or Coontail as it is more commonly reffered to is able to tolerate a wide range of aquatic conditions which is the reason for its popularity. Ceratophyllum demersum is also very common is the water garden industry where is is used as an oxgenating plant for small water features and ponds. Hornwort is fine with just being floated in a body of open water and can be broken into pieces to establish new plants. Ceratophyllum demersum is native to the United states and makes an excellent habitat for fish to lay eggs on or hide in.

Plant List

Q. I have a retail water garden store. Can I purchase plants from you?
A. Yes you can! Please call us at 954-472-5120 to set up an account or e-mail us at sales@floridaaquatic.com

Floating Flora Fish Barrier - 18 Inch Diameter 5s $24.99 & FREE Shipping

*Aquascape Floating Island Planter for Ponds, Gardens, and Water Features | 89006 5s $22.38 & FREE Shipping Display aquatic plants in deep areas of your pond. Allows water in while keeping soil contained, protects plants from hungry fish. Constructed to stay afloat at the surface of the pond. Measures 15 x 11 x 4 inches (Length x width x Height)


Floating Flora Fish Barrier - 18 Inch Diameter 5s $24.99 & FREE Shipping

*Aquascape Floating Island Planter for Ponds, Gardens, and Water Features | 89006 5s $22.38 & FREE Shipping Display aquatic plants in deep areas of your pond. Allows water in while keeping soil contained, protects plants from hungry fish. Constructed to stay afloat at the surface of the pond. Measures 15 x 11 x 4 inches (Length x width x Height)

Solar Powered Bird Bath Fountain Pump 1.4W Floating Solar Panel Fountain Water Pumps Kit Outdoor Birdbath Water Fountain Pump for Pond, Pool, Patio and Garden Decoration 4.5s $16.99 & FREE Shipping


Fabric & Garden Staples Commercial Grade Attaches Landscape Fabric, Netting, and Outdoor Lighting to Soil (4.5 inches x 1 inch) 14 Gauge Garden Staple, 10 Staples 4s $1.79 Free shipping

Yardgard 889231a Plastic Hardware Cloth Roll, Black, 1/2" Mesh, 24" X 25' $26.39 & FREE Shipping

SE CT1676B Heavy-Duty 16" Black Cable Ties with 110-lb. Tensile Strength, 100-Pack $15.00 ($0.15 / Cable Tie)

API POND AQUATIC PLANT MEDIA Potting Soil For Pond Plants 25-Pound Bag 4s $28.49 Does not cloud water. Unique blend of Arcillite & Zeolite. Use as soil for pond plants. Order# 114-6441789-1293024 delivered to wrong address. Ordered two more on 5/1/18


Floating wetland islands installed at Lake Hopatcong to prevent algae growth

The 250-square-foot islands, made up of a woven recycled plastic material that floats, mimic naturally occurring wetland islands and hold plants that remove the chemical element phosphorous from the lake.

That makes less phosphorous available to spur “nuisance aquatic plant growth and algae,” explained Fred Lubnow, a limnologist, or fresh water scientist, with the consulting firm Princeton Hydro, which has frequently worked on water quality projects at Hopatcong.

The islands were planted with native vegetation, including sweet-scented joe-pye weed.

These Incredible Tiny Islands Suck Pollution Out of Water A Scottish company is building floating ecosystems to clean up rivers and lakes.

Floating Island International


Islands of good health Floating platforms support plant species that improve water quality, benefit wildlife and look good

Plants for Islands


Elephant Ears.

V Keeping an Un-Filtered Pond! Elodea--oxygen for the pond and a great filter. Fish are happy and water looks clear. Cabbage floats on surface; also filters water. At least 60% plants to stop algae and filter the water. Be careful not to overstock with fish. Don't overfeed the fish.

V Plants for Ponds from Nebraska.

V Plants for Water Gardens

Floating Baskets

V planting a floating basket crushed zeolite, has a magnetic charge which will attract nutrients.. Mix with utilite. Planted society garlic. and funky monkey. Crystal cathedral pennywort will cover sides. Used fertilizer tablets.

Zeolite Granue natural zeolite for agriculture US $89-108 / Ton

Triple Z Zeolite used for artificial grass filler

Premium Laboratory Grade Zeolite Ammonia Reducer 70 oz $18.99 amz

Marineland Ammonia neutralizing zeolite blend aquarium carbon media 50oz [over 3 lb.] US $6.62 ebay free standard shipping

Exotic Pebbles PMS0510 Polished Gravel, Mixed, 5 Pounds, 3/8-Inch $12.55

1 X Miniature Fairy Garden Mini River Rock 1 lb $6.50

API POND AQUATIC PLANT MEDIA Potting Soil For Pond Plants 25-Pound Bag 4s $28.49 Potting soil for pond plants. Does not cloud water. Unique blend of Arcillite & Zeolite. Use as soil for pond plants

V Greenfingers - Floating baskets: Using plants to filter your pond plants and how to put plants in floating baskets.

Good for filtering the pond water. Low growing plants are best.

Wash off all the soil on the roots. A few rocks to hold the plant in the basket.

When they get huge, cut off the longer roots and foliage so they don't tip over.

Mint is a good water plant. Gives fish a place to hide.

V How do you make a floating planter pot? start with holy basket. Cut out styrofoam. Fill basket with hydroponics misture. Perlite and vermiculite mixed, or pea gravel. Planted spinach

Plants Marginal

Elephant Ears.



Floating Bird Habitat

*V How to Create a Backyard Bird Habitat

Floating Habitat Islands The islands 30? by 90? surface had ten trees, several large rocks, shrubs and turf over bales of hay and soil.

Floating islands have now even been used by scientists such as was the case with an island installed in Oregon as a joint project between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon State University, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Real Time Research and Floating Island International. They created an island for nesting Caspian Terns at Summer Lake Wildlife Refuge as an attempt to redistribute the population of the tern colony nesting at the mouth of the Columbia River because of the impact they were having on Salmon populations. At Summer Lake they built two half acre floating islands constructed of recycled materials, "each of the 328 modules that comprise the island consisted of 200 lbs of polypropylene from recycled carpet and 125 lbs of polyester from recycled drinking bottles."

Because the Terns prefer to nest on the ground, the islands were covered with a gravel substrate with large rocks for swimming birds to get onto the island. The project proved successful with terns nesting on the island in the first year and successfully rearing chicks.

Anaheim had similar success with their own floating island for Least Terns in a water storage basin next to the Santa Ana River. Not only the Least Terns are nesting, the island also has nesting Forster's Terns, American Avocets, Black Skimmers and Geese.

Floating Island International is the company that built the islands for the Summer Lake project above and they have provided islands for a multitude of other applications including use in zoos and water treatment plants. While the company was started as a way to improve water quality, they do address habitat on their website and list some of the possibilities of it's use such as for loon nesting.

Floating Island International BioHaven® floating islands (also known as floating treatment wetlands or FTWs) are a new and powerful tool in water stewardship. They biomimic natural floating islands to create a “concentrated” wetland effect. Independent laboratory tests showed removal rates far in excess of previously published data: 20 times more nitrate, 10 times more phosphate and 11 times more ammonia, using unplanted islands. They are also extremely effective at reducing total suspended solids and dissolved organic carbon in waterways.

The unique design of BioHaven floating islands means that 250 square feet of island translates to an acre’s worth of wetland surface area. These versatile floating islands can be launched in either shallow or deep water, and can be securely anchored or tethered to ensure that they remain in a specific location. They are almost infinitely customizable, and can be configured in a variety of ways.

V How to Make a Bird Sanctuary in the Backyard Atlanta: 'city of trees'

Add deciduous and evergreen trees and many levels.

Chicago floating islands for wildlife

TerrAqua makes floating islands, coir. Located UK

Bogside and Waterside Plants individual pictures

Marginal Plants

Oxygenating Plants

Floating Plants

Water Lilies

Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Patio Cover

Tips for Designing a Garden for Birds [Australia] The key to designing a bird-friendly garden is to create a multi-layered habitat of ground covers, small and medium shrubs (i.e. create density) and, where possible, trees that will provide year-round food and shelter locations for many different species. Use these simple principles to help you plan your garden. You will find them equally useful for designing a brand new garden or modifying an existing design.

Plant for vertical and horizontal structure: Avoid stark simplicity. Simplified garden structure and design may seem convenient but reduces the volume and variety of food and shelter for small birds.

Plant for shelter: Several shrubs close together (five or more) can form dense, protective thickets, great habitat for small birds. Grow rambling, light climbers in amongst medium to tall shrubs and trees, to give extra shelter and possible nesting sites

Plant for food: Small birds eat nectar from native flowers and seed from native grasses, as well as associated insects. Mulch your garden to encourage insect life.

Plant locals: Plants that grow naturally in your area are suited to local conditions. They will provide the right food and shelter for local native birds, unlike some hybrids or plants from other parts of Australia, and are less likely to become weeds in adjacent bushland areas. If you can't get locally native plants, general natives are the next best thing.

Create diversity: Small birds use ground covers, grasses, small, medium and large shrubs.

Plant below trees: A dense understorey is less attractive to Noisy Miners but enjoyed by smaller birds.

Plant for seasonality: Different plants will flower and fruit at different times of the year. Ensure there is always food sources available in your garden by looking at the flowering and fruiting times of potential plants.

Remove exotic species that produce berries: Over time, replace fruiting plants like Cotoneaster that attract Currawongs.

Reduce lawn area: Replace unused lawn areas with garden beds or native grasses which produce attractive seed heads that provide food for finches and other seedeaters such as Crimson Rosellas.

Use small gardens effectively: With limited space, it is better to plant several plants of the same type, than only one of several types of different plants.

Design for formality or informality: A variety of Australian native plants can be planted to create a formal garden or a bush-like garden, whatever you prefer. Most native plants respond very well to pruning.

Provide water: Birds need fresh water. This can be provided in a bird bath or garden pond but remember, birds are vulnerable when they are drinking or bathing and need to feel safe.

World Bird Sanctuary

Roseate Spoonbill

Biohaven Floating Wetland

i know what birds like: 11 backyard-habitat tips Spring, and also fall, are perfect times to add some bird-friendly plantings, since many are woody plants, and also to provide for the most important thing off all: water. Big surprise–it’s all about keeping them fed, watered and sheltered in every season. Here are the essentials:

1. water needed 12 months a year

Water is required 12 months a year, preferably moving water; curious birds cannot resist a drip or spillway, such as the little waterfalls in each of my two small garden pools. Even when those are shut down due to deep-freeze of December through March, I keep part of each pond unfrozen with a floating heater originally designed for keeping stock tanks open for farm animals, like a hotplate that floats. Smaller models are available for birdbaths.

2. reduce mown lawn

Less mown lawn means more botanical complexity, which fosters more birdfood in the form of insects and seeds. I leave a section above my house unmown each year, but here’s something even better to create where you eliminate a swath of grass:

3. edge habitat is where the action is

Edge habitat, the place where field meets woods, for instance, is where the action is for many birds: a place to hide, and for some species even to nest, an often food-rich jumble of shrubbery and vines. Think hedgerow; I use a lot of winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) as a backbone of all such islands here; the island on the far right in the above photo, and in the right foreground in the one below) is mostly winterberry and viburnum. Add this transitional zone somewhere in your garden, perhaps along the road or another boundary, or create an island shrub border of bird-friendly plants (ideas below). Mix it up (thorns, evergreen, vines, fruit, seedheads, nectar-rich flowers) to make a multi-season destination.

4. make room for a brushpile

A brushpile in some out-of-the-way corner is another great hiding place, especially in harshest weather, though perhaps impractical for the small garden (making the brushy “edge habitat,” above, even more important).

5. include evergreen cover

Evergreen cover is an aesthetic and wildlife-friendly element of any garden, providing shelter from weather, nesting sites, plus seed-rich cones or other fruits, such as those of the Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), for which the beautiful Cedar waxwing that feasts on it is named. Spruce (Picea species) and firs (Abies, such as the blue A. concolor, above) also seem to get a lot of bird action here in particular; desirable species of all foods will vary by region and bird populations.

6. install and maintain nest boxes

Nest boxes are a great addition to the garden, especially where there are no big old trees, since cavity-nesting species like Eastern bluebirds or tree swallows won’t build a next on a shelf (like flycatchers will) or in a brushy thicket (like some sparrows). Think about whether you have all three kinds of nesting places to attract a diversity of birds looking for a place to raise a family.

nest boxes 101, or which birdhouse?

7. no chemicals, please

A chemical-free environment is essential; birds (like frogs and snakes, among others) are canaries in a coal mine (sorry) for toxic elements, and their favorite foods are even more vulnerable. Don’t taint the habitat you create; get off the lawncare regimen (advice how to do that) and see a vast increase in worms and other soil life, the favorite food of robins and flickers, among others.

Bugs are birdfood; most birds are at least partly insectivorous, so obsessive anti-bug campaigns impact the quality of your habitat. Use least-toxic methods like your hose-end sprayer, hand-picking, row covers, or soaps and oils to thwart the ones you must, but not chemical insecticides. Ditto with lethal herbicides and fungicides, of course.

8. keep feeders clean

Clean feeders, if you offer seed: Thoroughly clean and sterilize your feeders regularly with a dilute bleach solution (1:10 bleach to water) or just hot, soapy water to prevent disease. Even a 12-month birdfeeder (many people feed only in winter) is no substitute for food-rich habitat; in a successful wildlife garden, birds will come year-round even when there are no feeders, though feeders will bring them closer to the house, where you can see them (as will that Number 1 item up top, water).

9. a diversity of flowers, fruits, seeds

The right diversity of living foods: Plan the landscape for a combination of seeds (such as from grasses, Composite or daisy-like flowers, fruiting plants, and conifers); fruits for each season, including not just the sugary, watery ones of summer, but some high-lipid ones that hang on as hollies do into into winter.

Large numbers of native plants, even in a garden like mine that includes many non-natives like the Kousa dogwood and its fruit (above), prove highly appealing; go heavy on them. Nectar-loving hummingbirds will appreciate trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), honeysuckles (Lonicera species), and flowering sages (Salvia species), among others, and many annual vines, too. And remember: Most everyone wants insects for supper, so discriminate in your bug-killing, please.

My garden’s top bird-attracting woody plants from a food standpoint (by no means a complete list, and varies widely by region):

trees and shrubs

Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis, also great for jelly and jam; I grow these);

Blueberry and raspberry (Vaccinium and Rubus species; plant extra for birds);

Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia and A. melanocarpa);

Dogwoods (especially Cornus florida; C. mas, also some twig species, C. alternifolia and C. kousa);

Oaks (for their acorns, attractive to some woodpeckers, jays and grouse);

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin, for fruit);

Viburnum species (couldn’t garden without these);

Crabapple (Malus varieties, such as ‘Ralph Shay,’ top photo);

Apple and Pear (orioles like the blossoms; many birds peck at the fruit and its seeds, even when mummified in winter);

Sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Laciniata,’ the cutleaf staghorn, and others for their fruit);

Hollies (Ilex verticillata, or winterberry, and others);

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana, for fruits and shelter);

Spruces (Picea species, for seed-rich cones, shelter, nesting);

Firs (Abies concolor and A. koreana; cones, shelter, nesting);

Shadbush (Amelanchier, summer fruit);

Spikenard (Aralia spinosa, and A. cordata and racemosa, for fall fruit).


Honeysuckles (Lonicera sempervirens and others);

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia; long-lasting fruit; not showy, but eaten by vast number of birds);

Grape (I let wild vines remain at the woodland edge here, or cultivate an arbor).

10. watch the wildlife!

11. keep cats indoors

No marauding cats is what birds like most of all. In the residential environment, cats are a top cause of death for songbirds (with fatal crashes into windows the top killer; more on preventing window strikes by birds).

Estimates for the number of songbirds killed annually by feral and domestic cats range from a few hundred million to one billion. Keep your cat in during the daytime in particular, and especially during nesting season. Let them watch the Bird TV Network through a window or a glass door instead. It was Jack the Demon Cat’s favorite channel (when he was not asleep, which was most of the time). The birds much preferred winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata, below) to Jack.

Winterberry Holly

Floating Gardens in the Chicago River Designed to Create Urban Wildlife Sanctuary Rivers are sources of life. Not only do they provide habitats for a myriad of flora and fauna, but they are spaces for outdoor leisure and adventure. Unfortunately, many of our global waterways are engineered to be functional at the expense of native plants and wildlife. Urban Rivers, a 501c3 organization based in Chicago, is looking to reverse these effects—starting in their own backyard. Inspired by similar projects in Berlin and Los Angeles, their goal is to install 600 feet of floating gardens in the Chicago River in May 2017, thus providing a home for fish and other animals, while creating a nature destination for people to enjoy.

The floating gardens were first piloted in the Chicago River by Urban Rivers co-founder Josh Yellin, an environmental scientist who installed 50 square feet of habitat in the river as part of his Master's research in 2013. He was inspired during a kayaking trip on the river, when he noticed a dozen geese huddled onto a piling, seeking respite from the waterway's boat traffic. “These geese symbolized the general lack of ecological consideration in Chicago today and throughout its history,” Yellin explains. “The Chicago River that once had a natural riverbank and plentiful vegetation, is now outlined by steel seawalls and a few wooden pilings. Can't Chicago, with its incredible history of design and innovation, do better than this?”

With this in mind, Yellin and a group of like-minded individuals created Urban Rivers, with the aim to reclaim the riverbanks and create an urban wildlife habitat. BioMatrix will provide floating ecosystems to be filled with the native Illinois wetland and prairie plant species that will provide the habitat for mammals, birds, and amphibians. The underside of the floating gardens will provide a feeding habitat for local fish. With results from Yellin's 2013 experiment indicating a nearly 100% increase in the fish abundance in the river immediately surrounding the floating gardens, the impact is promising.

10 ways to rewild your garden Green up the boundaries. Says Chris: "Even the smallest garden usually has room for climbing plants over walls and fences. If you have enough room, plant a hedge or a shrub border. Many wild creatures tend to creep around the edges of the landscape, green boundaries help to link the wider neighbourhood together and the vegetation will provide safe nesting sites for birds such as wrens, blackbirds and robins."

the benefits of biodiversity and using native species. At Airfield's food garden, she has planted a field hedge. "It is a haven for a host of bird and insect life and, all things going well, our chefs will also enjoy some fruits from this boundary." She suggests: "If planting a boundary hedge, plant native species such as sloes (Prunus spinosa), spindle (Euonymus europaeus) and dog rose (Rosa canina). Some other native edible tree and shrub species that could be included in a native hedge are crab apple, wild plums/damson, blackberry, elder and hazel."

Think seasonally. Says Chris: "Choose plants to provide a continuous supply of flowers and fruits from January to December. A garden can be a really important service station for wildlife if there is nectar for the insects the whole year round, and fruit and berries through the winter."

Amp up the choice of safe hiding places for wildlife. "Nesting boxes for the birds will really make a difference," says Chris, "but try to provide bat boxes and bee hotels too. The more the merrier."

Hedgehogs are every gardeners 'bestie' as they love to feast on slugs, snails and other insects. To encourage them into your plot you will yet again have to create a wild area. Leaving a pile of old bits of wood, sticks and leaf litter will create an attractive nest for hedgehogs to hibernate and hide in. This will also provide a home for the invertebrates (slugs, beetles) that hedgehogs like to eat. Hibernating hedgehogs do not like to be disturbed so select a spot that won't be upset from November to March.

For some gardeners, a messy garden is an unloved garden, spreading weeds and pests. But for wildlife, it's a sanctuary. "Relax!" is Chris Baines advice, "Don't be too neat and tidy. Piles of fallen leaves and rotting logs in quiet corners will provide hiding places and hibernation habitat for more timid creatures." Kitty Scully sympathises with gardeners who like things shipshape. "It is always a bit of a balancing act between keeping gardens sharp and clean for aesthetic and hygiene purposes and allowing a bit of wildness. In Airfield we like to keep our gardens sharp but opt for leaving wilder areas around the estate because of the wild life benefits."

Revise your opinion of what exactly makes a weed. "Plants such as stinging nettle get such bad press as a pernicious weed," says Kitty, "but, in reality, the common nettle (Urtica dioecia) is one of the most important wildlife plants to have in the garden. Not only do nettles provide a home for the larvae of many species of moth and butterfly such as Red Admiral, but they also host a plethora of overwintering aphids. These aphids which are host-specific and appear in early spring are a great early food source for ladybirds thus encouraging them into your plot. "All going good, they will stick around and keep those little sap-sucking nuisances in check for the duration of the growing season. Later in the summer, nettles go to seed providing plenty of seeds for small agile birds to snack on. If you have a small garden, you could go completely wild and plant nettles in pots to harness some of these wildlife benefits."

Mix and match as much as possible. The food garden at Airfield grows flowers and vegetables side by side. Not only is it a growing trend that looks good but it also makes the garden super friendly to a range of beneficial pollinators and creatures. "We grow a range of plants that flower successionally," says Kitty, "thus providing pollen and nectar and attracting beneficial insects throughout the whole growing season. Bees tend to see the purple and blue more clearly than any other colour, so you will see lots lavender borders, flowering chives, borage and some catmint (Nepeta) throughout the garden. We break the rules for some plants such as artichoke and let them flower as the bees just go wild for them. We grow other small, simple flowers for attracting hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds, eg, poached egg plant (Limnanthes douglasii), cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) and fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)."

Avoid harmful sprays (herbicides and pesticides), says Kitty, and go organic. "Our food garden is now in its second year of organic conversion and by avoiding harmful sprays and providing suitable habitats, your garden will automatically become wildlife friendly."

Finally, Chris Baines says: "Make sure you have a seat somewhere in the garden, so you can make the most of the wildlife on your doorstep."

Encouraging birds into our gardens – Roosting All birds, like us, rest and sleep. This period of inactivity is called roosting.

Some birds roost alone, while others roost in groups varying in size from small to very large. To be honest, you probably won’t want to encourage birds to communally roost extensively in your garden. Just think back to the times when you parked your car under the shade of a large tree, only to return to find it blanketed in guano. Accommodating large communal roosts with the provision of large trees and other likely roosts (preferably away from buildings and streets) may be more of an urban planning issue than one you need consider in your own garden.

However, you can accommodate roosting by individuals and small flocks within your garden. Birds roost in a variety of places. They do not build nests to sleep in. Nests are built solely to contain eggs and chicks. Many birds sleep perched on branches or in tree cavities. Shorebirds may sleep out in the open on beaches. Waterfowl such as ducks and geese can sleep while floating on the water, but also sleep on shorelines. Waders, such as heron, may sleep in shallow water. Kiwi sleep in burrows during the day. The jury is still out on whether migratory birds sleep while in flight. Birds may face a number of challenges while roosting such as how to avoid being eaten, falling out of a tree and dying from cold.

Unlike mammals, birds are able to rest one brain hemisphere at a time, keeping the other alert for predators.

Passerines have evolved a handy trick to keep from falling from their perch. They have flexor tendons which extend down the back of the tarsus bone to their toes. When a passerine alights on a perch and bends its legs, the flexor tendons automatically lock their toes around the perch. This grip can only be released when the bird straightens its legs.

Birds utilize a variety of strategies to stay warm: fluffing their feathers, tucking their heads under a wing, huddling together, seeking shelter in the cavities of trees, cliff faces, manmade structures, etc. Some species even lower their metabolism in order to conserve energy.

Some birds communally roost and evidently the reasons for this are still not fully understood. Possible advantages of communal roosting are increased warmth, protection from predators through increased vigilance and enhanced foraging efficiency come sunrise (if the early bird gets the worm, it may help to sleep next to said early bird and accompany him in the morning). Disadvantages include getting pooped on by neighbours, increased conspicuousness to predators and competition for food. It may be that communal roosting confers no advantages and only occurs because of limited acceptable roosting sites or proximity to a favoured foraging ground. In other words, a large group of birds may be in the same place at the same time because it is where they want to be, not because they want to be with each other, much the same way people congregate in shopping malls. So what can you do to help facilitate a good night sleep for the birds in your garden? Provide them with trees and bushes among which they can nestle above the ground, safe from predators and sheltered from the elements.

Plants Aquatic


Elodea, submerged. Good for filtering water. Elodea is a genus of 6 species of aquatic plants often called the waterweeds described as a genus in 1803. Elodea is native to North and South America and is also widely used as aquarium vegetation. It lives in fresh water.


Pistia is a genus of aquatic plant in the arum family, Araceae. The single species it comprises, Pistia stratiotes, is often called water cabbage, water lettuce, Nile cabbage, or shellflower.

Floats on the surface. Filters water.

WATER LETTUCE IS A REAL PISTIA Walk into any water garden supplier and ask for an easy to keep, good for beginners aquatic plant. You will likely have water lettuce suggested to you.

V Plants for Ponds Nebraska. Irises for edge. Shading the water surface is important to keep down algae growth and to provide cover for your fish. Hardy lilies bloom from late spring into fall. Water hycinths and water lettuce float on top and spread quickly; long roots provide lots of filtering, like your kidneys. Parrots Feather can be inserted in the rocks at the edge and will spread. Edge has lizards tail and button bush. Huska red penstemon, hardy hibiscus, Siberian iris for edge.

V Our Favorite Pond Plants Pecktech in Knoxville. Hardy water lilies. Can overwinter in zone 6. Tropical water lilies are very fragrant, but have to take in until 60 degrees or warmer in pond. Absolutely beautiful, many blooms per plant. The hotter it is the more blooms you get.

Bog plants. Slightly deeper water than marginals. Umbrella palms, Thalia grow to 5-6 feet. Tolerates up to 18 inches of water.

Marginal plants do not want to be submerged above the top of the pot. Dorph umbrella palm. Only gets 2 feet tall. Bog lilies and irises. Four leaf clovers and corkscrew rushes. Do not let the water go over the top of the pot. The soil will float away. Hyacinths very fragrant, provide shade for algae and fish. Don't last through winter: tropical. Easy bog filter; make great compost.

Bog filter. Run water through bog; plants remove nitrates from fish waste.

V Floating Plants for Beginners Duckweed is like herpes in an aquarium. Reach into water and it is all over your arm.

Frogbit is hollow; has air. Limnobium spongia. Reduces nitrogen in water. Grows great roots for baby fish.

Hornwort [Ceratophyllum demursum] Will float in the water and soak up nitrogen. Has allelopathic properties which inhibit the growth of phytoplankton and cyanobacteria.

Mosquito fern [Azolla caroliniana] Grows rapidly. Tiny. Pulls heavy metals out of water.

Salvinia fern [Salvinia minima] Grows fast.

V Floating Planter, proving the boss wrong again! we were sunk Pack down the soil so beasties don't get to the roots. Put gravel on top.

Giant Marsh Marigold, polipetulla. Asian import.

V Amazon Frogbit Care very easy to care for.

Trees for Chinampas

Willow Tree Willows, also called sallows, and osiers, form the genus Salix, around 400 species[2] of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Most species are known as willow, but some narrow-leaved shrub species are called osier, and some broader-leaved species are referred to as sallow (from Old English sealh, related to the Latin word salix, willow). Some willows (particularly arctic and alpine species) are low-growing or creeping shrubs; for example, the dwarf willow (Salix herbacea) rarely exceeds 6 cm (2.4 in) in height, though it spreads widely across the ground.

Almost all willows take root very readily from cuttings or where broken branches lie on the ground. The few exceptions include the goat willow (Salix caprea) and peachleaf willow (Salix amygdaloides). One famous example of such growth from cuttings involves the poet Alexander Pope, who begged a twig from a parcel tied with twigs sent from Spain to Lady Suffolk. This twig was planted and throve, and legend has it that all of England's weeping willows are descended from this first one.

Willows are often planted on the borders of streams so their interlacing roots may protect the bank against the action of the water. Frequently, the roots are much larger than the stem which grows from them.

By Avraham - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 us, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2989170

Fasts-Growing-Trees: Willow Trees Willow Hybrid big bush for birds. $39.95 3-4 ft.

Tri-Color Dappled Willow $17.96 gal. dense hedge

Weeping Willow $67.96 5-6 ft.

Nursery at TyTy: Willow Trees 3-4ft tall [$24.75]

Trees, Shrubs, and Groundcovers Tolerant of Wet Sites Pennsylvania

Trees and their USDA Hardiness Zone

Red maple, Acer rubrum 3-9
Silver maple, Acer saccharinum 3-9
European black alder, Alnus glutinosa 4-7
Downy serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea 4-9
River birch, Betula nigra 3-9
American hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana 3-9
Northern catalpa, Catalpa speciosa 4-8
Common hackberry, Celtis occidentalis 3-9
*Atlantic white cedar, Chamaecyparis thyoides 4-8
Common persimmon, Diospyros virginiana 4-9
Green ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica 3-9
Thornless honeylocust, Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis cultivars 4-9
*American holly, Ilex opaca 5-9
Sweet gum, Liquidambar styraciflua 5-9
Sweet bay magnolia, Magnolia virginiana 5-9
Dawn redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides 5-8
Black gum, Nyssa sylvatica 4-9
*Austrian pine, Pinus nigra 3-7
London plane tree, Platanus x acerifolia 5-8
Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis 4-9
Swamp white oak, Quercus bicolor 4-8
Pin oak, Quercus palustris 4-8
Willow oak, Quercus phellos 5-9
White willow, Salix alba 2-8
Hankow willow, Salix matsudana 5-7
Laurel willow, Salix pentandra 2-5
Bald cypress, Taxodium distichum 5-9
*American arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis 3-7
*Oriental arborvitae, Thuja orientalis 6-11
Lacebark elm, Ulmus parvifolia 5-9
Japanese zelkova, Zelkova serrata 5-8


Red chokeberry, Aronia arbutifolia 4-9
Black chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa 3-8
Sweetshrub, Calycanthus floridus 4-9
Button Bush, Cephalanthus occidentalis 6-9
Summersweet, Clethra alnifolia 4-9
Siberian dogwood, Cornus alba 'Sibirica' 3-7
Silky dogwood, Cornus amomum 4-8
Gray dogwood, Cornus racemosa 3-8
Redosier dogwood, Cornus sericea 2-7
Possumhaw, Ilex decidua 5-9
*Inkberry, Ilex glabra 5-9
Winterberry, Ilex verticillata cultivars and hybrids 3-9
Virginia sweetspire, Itea virginica 5-9
*Laurel, Kalmia species 4-9
*Drooping Leucothoe, Leucothoe fontanesiana 5-8
Spice bush, Lindera benzoin 4-9
Northern bayberry, Myrica pensylvanica 3-6
Pinksterbloom azalea, Rhododendron periclymenoides 4-8
Swamp azalea, Rhododendron viscosum 4-9
American elder, Sambucus canadensis 4-9
Highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum 3-7
Arrowwood viburnum, Viburnum dentatum 3-8
European Cranberrybush, Viburnum opulus 3-8
American Cranberrybush, Viburnum trilobum 2-7

Ground covers

Japanese sweet flag, Acorus gramineus 4-11
Lady's mantle, Alchemilla mollis 4-7
Siberian bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla 3-7
Plumbago, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides 6-9
Turtlehead, Chelone oblique 5-9
Bleeding heart, Dicentra spectablis 3-9
*Wintercreeper, Euonymus fortunei 5-9
Daylily, Hemerocallis species and cultivars 3-11
Plantain-lily, Hosta species 4-9
Spotted deadnettle, Lamium maculatum 'Variegatum' 4-8
Liriope, Liriope species 4-8
Blue Phlox, Phlox divaricata 4-8
Primrose, Primula species 3-8
Lungwort, Pulmonaria species 4-8
Memorial Rose, Rosa wichuraiana 5-8
Foam flower, Tiarella cordifolia 3-7
Globeflower, Trollius x cultorum 5-8
Violet, Viola species 7-9
Yellowroot, Xanthorhiza simplicissima 3-9

Grow the fastest Willow Hybrids

Willow Hybrids ~ thuja Green Giants

Willow Hybrid trees are tough fast growing trees that can handle almost any climate. They have a ton of success in their recommended growing zones, 4 – 9. They’re popular deciduous trees chosen for their fast growing and disease resistant qualities for living privacy walls all over the nation. Willow Hybrid trees have upright branches covered in lush green leaves that fill in empty space for a thick privacy wall. They have a quick growth rate of up to six feet a year and grow to about 35 to 45 feet if planted in rows and 75 feet if planted alone, while growing to about 30 feet wide.

These deciduous trees thrive in areas that receive full to partial sunlight, and should be placed about five feet apart in order to quickly thicken up and fill in for an attractive privacy wall. Willow Hybrid trees are tough, and not picky. They don’t need any fertilizer to quickly spring up on their own and will adapt to your natural soil, even if it’s sandy or heavy in clay. Give your Willow Hybrid trees a slow deep watering twice a week by holding a hose to their bases and counting to 20. They won’t need any extra water except for during times of drought in the summer when it doesn’t rain for three to four weeks. Willow Hybrids have a lot of success growing in swampy and extremely wet areas. If your yard is prone to flooding then you should definitely consider this tree.

Thuja Green Giants

Thuja Green Giants take off with a growth rate of 3 to 5 feet per year and quickly reach heights of 20 to 40 feet, living up to their giant name. They also get about 12 to 20 feet wide. They serve as an excellent back drop for other flowering plants to pop against. Their dark green hue and soft feathery foliage gives them an attractive textured look that beats the way any fence would look. As an added bonus, deer don’t enjoy soft feathery Thuja foliage and prefer to nibble on other plants instead! Thujas are not only pest resistant, but disease resistant too.

The recommended growing zones for Thuja Green Giants are zones 5 through 9. Plant them in an area that receives full to partial sunlight, and make sure they’re about five feet apart for a privacy screen. They will adapt to your natural soil, as long as it’s well draining. Sandy soils, or soil that’s heavy in clay will be fine. Thujas don’t need any fertilizer, and grow just fine on their own. During the warmer months check on your Thuja’s soil every few days, once the soil is dry to the touch down about one inch then it’s time to give them a slow deep watering. Once planted you’ll enjoy watching your Thujas grow thicker every day, hiding your neighbor’s yard.

The Best Plants for Wet Soil

Monkshood--Aconitum, monkshood, has hood-shaped flowers that are held on sturdy spikes making it ideal for the mid to back of the garden. It likes cool, moist soil and partial shade.

Marsh Marigold--Marsh marigold, also known as cowslip, is often the first plant to show signs of life in spring. It has bright yellow flowers that usually appear in April. The rounded, green leaves slowly spread to form a mound. It is easy to grow and excellent along water.

Astilbe--Astilbe is found in shade and woodland gardens. They are clump-forming perennials that feature graceful, fernlike mounds with erect to arching, plumelike flower panicles rising above foliage on slender, upright stems.

Loosestrife--Loosestrife is a perennial yellow blooming plant whose natural habitat is damp grassland or woodland, often near water.

Snowdrops--With nodding white flowers with a sweet, soft fragrance, snowdrops are some of the earliest flowers to appear after a long winter. They love rich, moist soil.

Joe-Pye Weed--Eutrochium purpureum, Joe-Pye weed, is a tall perennial that grows naturally in low, moist ground, wooded slopes, wet meadows and stream margins. Tiny, vanilla-scented, pinkish-purple flowers bloom in midsummer and are attractive to butterflies.

Sedge--Sedge is a clump-forming, evergreen perennial commonly grown in wet soil. Gracefully arching stems grow to 6 feet that feature delicate, dangling flower spikes.

Fishbone Cotoneaster--Fishbone cotoneaster produces deep green leaves and pink to white flowers, followed by red berries in the fall. Its blooms attract pollinators and birds eat the fruits. Plant the small shrubs in mass for an year-round groundcover.

Foxglove--Columnar perennials with large, bell shaped flowers opening from bottom to top, foxgloves are garden classics. They make good mass plantings and look best when set against a background such as a fence, wall, or wooded area.

Bee Balm--Bee balm, also known as bergamot, is an aromatic herb bearing scarlet flower heads arrayed in loose clusters that look like fireworks. It is an easy-care, fast-spreading perennial that is tolerant of many soil types, but grows best in rich, moist but well-drained soil and full sun. As the name suggests, bermagot's sweet flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators — they also make a great cup of tea!

White Quamash--Quamash is loved for its tall spires of cream-colored flowers, nearly a pale yellow color. It grows naturally in moist, open habitats, often wet meadows.

Rodgersia--Rodgersias are extremely handsome plants primarily grown for their foliage. They need moist soil with plenty of organic matter mixed in and afternoon shade. Pink flowers appear from mid- to late summer and can be left to dry on the plant for autumn interest.

Goatsbeard--Aruncus dioicus. commonly known as goatsbeard or salsify, has large, fine-textured, feathery blooms that appear in late spring. Goatsbeard can be a formidable garden plant, reaching a spread of 6 feet or more. It is lovely when used at woods edge and it can provide a dense screen.

Bugleweed--Bugleweed is an excellent spreading groundcover featuring colorful foliage that ranges from shades of deep purple to dark green to red, depending on the cultivar. 'Burgundy Glow' features maroon-tinged, pale green and cream variegated foliage and deep blue flower spikes

Canna--These gorgeous tropicals are known for their oversized, colorful leaves — their bright summer flowers are an added bonus. Cannas are tolerant of even problem soils as long as they are well-watered. Most varieties are hardy from zones 8 to 10, so grow them in pots if you're in a lower zone and bring them in for the winter.

11 Striking Bog Plants For moist to wet areas of your landscape, choose from among these beautiful plants: they love having wet feet.

Arum Lily-- Ideal growing conditions: full sun Mature size: 4 feet tall and 12 inches wide

Indian Rhubarb--Also known as umbrella plant (Darmera peltata), this bog-loving plant tolerates full sun to dappled shade. Mature height: 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Siberian Iris--Ideal growing conditions full sun to dappled shade Mature size: 32 inches tall and 18 inches wide Pictured: 'Shirley Pope'

Rodgersia--Ideal growing conditions: full sun to dappled shade Mature height: 3 feet

Candelabra Primrose--Ideal growing conditions: full sun to dappled shade Mature height: 18 inches Pictured: 'Miller's Crimson'

Globeflower--Ideal growing conditions: full sun to dappled shade Mature size: 3 feet tall and 18 inches wide

Japanese Meadowsweet--ideal growing conditions: full sun to dappled shade Mature size: 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide

Giant Gunnera--Ideal growing conditions: full sun to dappled shade Mature size: 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide

Sweetscented Joe Pye Weed--Ideal growing conditions: full sun to dappled shade Mature size: 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Leopard Plant (Narrow-Leaf Ligularia)--Ideal growing conditions: full sun to dappled shade Mature size: 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide Pictured: 'The Rocket'

Tufted Sedge--Ideal growing conditions: full sun to dappled shade Mature size: 28 inches tall and 18 inches wide Pictured: 'Aurea'

Fruit Trees That Tolerate Moist Soil One of the major causes of fruit tree death is wet soil, according to extension specialists with the University of Illinois. This is because most fruit trees have shallow roots that rot easily if left continuously wet. When choosing a fruit tree for your moist garden, pay close attention to the rootstock, as some are more resistant to crown and collar rot than others.


When choosing pear trees, look for those labeled as grown from Pyrus betulaefolia. In fact, P. betulaefolia is ideal for moist soil. If you want to grow Asian pears in your moist garden, seek out those grown on this rootstock as well. Not only does the Asian pear on this rootstock thrive in moist soil, it produces larger, rounder fruit than Asian pears grown on other rootstock, according to Larry Strand, author of “Integrated Pest Management for Stone Fruits.”


To break dormancy, apple trees require a certain number of chill hours -- winter temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit -- depending on variety. While these hours do not need to be consecutive, a warm spell will set back the chill hour “clock.” The chilling requirement, combined with a need to tolerate moist soil, greatly reduces the number of apples trees from which to choose. Look for “Anna,” “Beverly Hills,” “Fuji” or “Gala” and, since it’s the rootstock that determines how tolerant the tree is to moist soil, ensure that the variety you choose is grown on M9 rootstock. This is a dwarf rootstock (grows from 6 to 9 feet in height) that's resistant to collar rot. The drawback is that the roots are brittle, so stake the apple tree to protect it from toppling over in high winds.


The persimmon tree is one of the few fruit trees that tolerates heavy soil. It requires consistent moisture throughout the growing season and, according to the experts at the University of California, persimmon trees do best in areas with moderate winters and mild summers. They recommend cultivars such as “Chocolate,” “Fuyu” and “Hachiya.” Persimmon trees are easy to grow and relatively disease- and pest-free. The biggest problem you'll have growing persimmons isn't your moist soil but picking up all the fruit that falls to the ground and splatters.


Floating on surface ~ Planted at bottom

Details ~ Blossoms

Hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum. Ceratophyllum demersum is one of the most popular aquarium plants in the trade. Hornwort, or Coontail as it is more commonly reffered to is able to tolerate a wide range of aquatic conditions which is the reason for its popularity. Ceratophyllum demersum is also very common is the water garden industry where is is used as an oxgenating plant for small water features and ponds. Hornwort is fine with just being floated in a body of open water and can be broken into pieces to establish new plants. Ceratophyllum demersum is native to the United states and makes an excellent habitat for fish to lay eggs on or hide in.

Water Lilies


Important things to remember:

-Most water lillies prefer a depth of 18-24 inches

-Our lilies include a small pot which can be used to plant your lily. The root ball can instead be planted into a larger pot or placed directly into the bottom of your pond.

-Water lilies need more than 4 hours a day of sunshine to flower.

-Keep lilies away from any splashing water and away from your pump or filter.

-It is highly recommend to fertilize your water lily twice per month during the growing season with aquatic fertilizer tablets.

-If you have Koi in your pond, it is recommend to cover the root mass with rocks or pea gravel. If uncovered, there is the possibility of your fish eating your lily.

-Includes string and a fake lily pad/flower which can be used to find where the lily is located in your pond (optional).

Hardy Water Lily Hardy waterlilies have been cultivated in water gardens for over a hundred years and have been featured by famous artists such as Monet in their paintings.

Hardy waterlilies get their name because they are able to overwinter and come back the next year.

For best results plants should be repotted on a yearly basis with rhizomes being trimmed as necessary.

Almost every color imaginable is available with new varieties being hybridized all the time.

Hardy waterlilies are heavy feeders and flower colors are at their best with proper nutrition. Make sure to fertilize your waterlilies on a regular basis for optimum performance. Keep your eyes out for the new purple hardy waterlilies that will become available in the next few years. Are the purple true hardy waterlilies?

Walla' Annual [tropical] Water Lily Potting and containers (waterlily) tropicals = more blooms, lots of fragrance. The more soild the more and bigger flowers. Landon aquatic ferilizer, hot. Tropicals grow vertically like a terrestrial plant. If pads get smaller and few flowers either it has run out of nutrition or it is rootbound.

Common Problems with w.lilies 1. Use of algicides. Avoid chemicals in water. Instead use zeolites or bacteria. 2. lACK OF SUN AND NUTRIENT. Need 2 pellets every 2-3 mos. 3. Not placing them on the bottom. Pads will grow to surface in 2-3 days. 4. Working out when to divide the lily. Usually every 2-3 years. When leaves get small and no flowers: time to divide. Best done at the beginning of the growing season. 5. People throw them away when they are just in their winter dormancy. No leaves, no flowers.

Society Garlic


Society Garlic Society Garlic is a beautiful & showy ornamental plant for the water garden. Clusters of lilac-pink flowers bloom all season above tall foliage. These clumps of grey-green long, thin leaves emit a garlic smell when cut or bruised. The leaves can be used in cooking like garlic chives & the bulbs can be used like garlic. Society Garlic is known to help ward off snakes, & is also said to deter moles from vegetables & other flowers when planted in a surrounding row or border.

Deter Snakes & Moles
Showy Lilac-Pink Flowers
Great For Cooking

PLANT TYPE Tropical Bog Plant
GROWING LIGHT Full Sun To Partial Shade
FLOWER COLOR Lavender-Pink
BLOOM TIME Spring To Fall
PLANT SIZE Vertical Up To 24""
PLANT SPREAD Horizontal Up To 24""
ALSO KNOWN AS Tulbaghia Violacea


Plant directly into pond and water garden planting shelves or you can fill individual large planting containers loosely with aquatic planting media, placing the appropriate fertilizer tablets into the bottom half of the planting media and covering them over, then filling planting media 2/3 to the top. Place the plant in the center of the pot with the roots spread out over the planting media, and then continuing to cover the roots with planting media. The crown of the plant, which is the connection between the roots and stems, can usually be about 1" below the surface of the planting media for best results. Avoid using bagged potting mix and other lightweight soils because they will float and continually cloud pond water.

Regular fertilization of your Society Garlic will keep it growing well all season long. CrystalClear® Thrive™ Fertilizer Tablets can be pushed into the soil at planting time and from April through August, see label for fertilizer application rates.

For best results, trim or prune as stems begin to turn yellow or brown, remove them completely, discarding them to keep as much excess organic material out of water-body as possible.

Tropical bog plants will need to be removed from the pond and replaced next season, or removed and relocated to a warm indoor space for winter.


V Plants for Water Gardens

FLoating Lily Pads [search "floating pool lily pads"]

Artificial Realistic Lily Pads Floating Scenery Lotus Pods for Pool Decoration Aquarium Fish Pond Water Decorative (Pack of 6, 40 [15.7 inches] 30 20 18 15 10cm)

$17.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $25 4's

With the foam material lotus plants which can float on the surface of the Pond; Fish love to hide among the plants for safety

Question: It's never clear.... Are these just the flower or does it include the green leaf in the picture?
Answer: The green leaves are included. They're attached to the flowers.

Question: Can I make them stationary.
Answer: Yes, we used fish line and weights. There’s a little loop on the underside to attach the line to.

Artificial Floating Foam Lotus Leaves Artificial Foliage Pond Decor Pack of 6 (30cm+18cm+15cm, Pack of 6), by Lightingsky

$8.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $25 4s

Question: Can these be anchored in place?
Answer: No anchor is provided, the float on top, easily ripped

Question: Are these strong enough for a turtle to climb on and lay in the sun on?
Answer: No they are not. Think of thick paper. That is how durable they are. You could however put something under neath or string it up.

4.0 out of 5 starsThey do the trick.
I purchased these to provide hiding places for my fish during the times of year when there is no natural plant cover. They work wonderfully, and they look surprisingly natural. I did not realize when I ordered them that these pads have no loop to anchor them in place, like my faux lily flowers have. I don't know if these could potentially blow off the pond in strong winds, but it seems that they may end up drifting together in bunches due to current or wind. To remedy this, and arrange them in a manner that I find attractive on the pond, I pierced the centers of each pad with two tiny holes with which to thread fishing line through. I tied a loose loop so that the line would not cut through the foam, and attached fishing line weights to keep the pads exactly where I want them. With that modification, I am pleased with the product.

1.0 out of 5 starsBe aware!! Hazardous to fish!!
All Amazon shoppers be aware of this product that is hazardous to fish. I had put 14 pieces of this product in my backyard fish pond. Then, after some time, my pond water changed to light green-yellowish color. I was puzzled to find the reason. At first, we thought it was algae issue, then we suspected tanning effect. We tried many chemicals, changing water, adding activated carbon, etc. - no improvement. Then, after many discussions, we removed theses artificial leaves. Voila!!! The pond water came back clear after a few days. We realized these artificial leaves literally dyed my pond water. In the meantime, 1/4 of my fish died. Maybe toxic chemicals were released from the artificial leaves. I felt so guilty. Should I file a claim for this incident? No matter what, you absolutely not to put this product in your pond with fish.

5.0 out of 5 starsGreat product for the price
About the size of a Frisbee. Good items and great for providing shade for our Koi. Float on top of the water, and deter insects that like to lay their hatch lings onto real live plants. Also does not create the decay in the pond like real plants. Have not noticed any algea buildup on top or bottom and fish seem to leave them along. Smaller fish love them to hide out under. okay priced, but cannot find anything better.

5.0 out of 5 starsAwesome product. Great price.
I bought these to use in my two patio ponds. To keep the sunlight out, and to protect the fish from birds who are drawn to the water. I love them! They look real, are light weight and serve their purpose well. I had read reviews that mentioned them blowing away because they are so light, and have no anchor. This has not been an issue for me and it gets very windy where I live. I would definitely buy these again!

Waterfall Building

The Pond Guy, 866.766.3435

CrystalClear AlgaeOff String Algae Remover

$18.99–$99.99 4s

CrystalClear AlgaeOff utilizes the latest in oxygen technology to remove and kill string algae on rocks, streams and waterfalls. AlgaeOff is an EPA registered granular algae remover that works in seconds at any water temperature! In addition to string algae control, AlgaeOff adds oxygen to your pond and removes odors.

Application of AlgaeOff is easy. Identify where the string algae infestation is within the pond, then apply the prescribed amount directly on the algae in dry form. A slight fizzing will occur as the product starts to work. Seconds later you should see algae completely removed form the area treated. Heavy accumulations of algae may take two or more applications for complete removal.

Algae Eating Black Japanese Trapdoor Pond Snails

$2.99 4s There is a 10 snail minimum. $2.39 EACH WHEN YOU BUY 10+ OR $1.99 EACH FOR 20+

Plants ship in accordance with your climate zone & are excluded from our free shipping promotion. Plants & Snails are a flat rate charge of $9.95.

Keeps Algae Under Control
Non-Invasive Compared To Other Snails
Promotes Balanced Ecosystem

Algae Eating Black Japanese Trapdoor Pond Snails are the preferred species of snail for recreational and professional pond and water gardeners world-wide. Japanese Trapdoor Snails are one of the few snail varieties that can over-winter well and survive in harsher northern climates. Japanese Trapdoor Snails are a great asset in helping keep algae under control in your pond and water garden as they groom plants, planting-pots and water garden rocks and walls. Japanese Trapdoor Snails will tend to the ponds bottom, consuming any decaying matter such as leaves, excess fish food, and even fish waste.

Black Japanese Trapdoor algae eating snails are live-bearing; they only breed a couple of times a year and will not take over your pond like other nuisance egg bearing snails can and will. In order for your algae eating snails to have a positive effect on algae growth, a minimum of 10 snails per 50 sq feet will be needed, and farm ponds will need to have at least 200 pond snails to have any positive effect at all.

ALSO KNOWN AS Viviparis Malleatus

Most Algaecides are toxic to snails and will kill them. Please be sure to read any precautions and instructions on any algaecide before you use it in your pond or water garden.

5s review: Once you place them in the pond and they all take off to do their job you don't really see much of them but the difference in the sediment on the rocks was incredible! There's no doubting they are doing a very good job cleaning your pond. My husband kept saying there was no way those little snails were doing that, until one day he saw a very clean rock and he saw a snail in action. This is also by far the best control of the string algae I've found! Get most of it out of the pond and let the snails take care of the rest.

Pond & Lake 101, The Pond Guy

A pond is a great resource to have – and it's even better when it's filled with clean water and supporting a thriving ecosystem.

Effective pond care requires a balance between REACTIVE and PROACTIVE pond care methods. Understanding the differences between them and knowing which method to use and when, will ultimately create a healthy pond you can enjoy year after year.


A short-term solution to control unsightly aquatic growth
Perform treatments only when weeds and algae are actively growing
A quick fix before a PROACTIVE care plan has been established

For years, the accepted method of pond care was to wait for a problem, like an algae bloom or weed growth, and then "REACT to it" with a chemical application. Although algaecides and herbicides work great to control weed and algae growth, REACTIVE pond care provides only an effective short-term solution and does not address the cause of the problem, excessive nutrients and sunlight. When weeds and algae die they immediately start to decay, breaking down into a nutrient rich sludge or muck layer, which will encourage future growth. While REACTIVE pond care is extremely helpful and in many cases a necessity, it cannot prevent future growth and should not be the only tool in your pond care toolbox.


Increases dissolved oxygen and circulation
Efficient at nutrient reduction and safe for the environment, people and wildlife
Limits excessive sun exposure

PROACTIVE pond care utilizes tools such as aeration, natural bacteria and pond dye to reduce your pond's nutrient load and limit sun exposure.

A fountain or aeration system, that is properly sized and placed will provide dissolved oxygen and increased circulation in a pond's natural ecosystem. The increased oxygen and water movement will provide the best possible environment for beneficial bacteria, improving overall water quality and habitat for fish and wildlife.

While beneficial bacteria exist naturally in just about every aquatic environment, in many cases they cannot keep up with the demand of most ponds and lakes. To compensate for this, bacteria treatments are required. The bacteria that make up MuckAway™ and PondClear™, are cultured from common natural aquatic ecosystems found throughout the world. Using naturally occurring bacteria not only makes them extremely effective at nutrient reduction but safe for the environment, people and wildlife.

Pond Logic® MuckAway Pond Muck Reducer


Removes Up To 2" of Muck Per Month
Spot Treat Your Shoreline
Digest Accumulated Organic Debris

MuckAway is a natural pond cleaner that digests large amounts of organic debris (muck) that accumulates along shorelines, beaches and shallow areas. MuckAway pellets sink into the muck and immediately release billions of beneficial bacteria to instantly begin removing muck, odor and improving water clarity.

The precision release pellets are 100% safe and easy to use. Simply apply pellets across the affected area with the included scoop and watch the muck disappear. Applied correctly MuckAway can remove as much as 2 inches of muck per month.

Pond Logic PondClear Beneficial Bacteria, Enhance Water Clarity


Billions of Beneficial Bacteria Improves Water Quality
Removes Excess Nutrients & Noxious Odors
Attacks Suspended Debris

Pond Logic PondClear is an all-natural, beneficial bacteria blend designed to remove excess nutrients and eliminate noxious odors. PondClear naturally improves water clarity by consuming suspended organic wastes in the water column and at the pond bottom. The billions of specifically selected bacteria strains found in PondClear go to work immediately to digest organic debris that causes cloudy water, leaving you with a clean, clear ecosystem.

Pond owners love the convenience of water-soluble bags. Just count out the number of bags you need to treat your pond and toss them evenly around the pond and you're done, no measuring, no mess. If you are cost conscious or just have a smaller pond, PondClear is also available in liquid. So whether you use the liquid or the dry version one thing is for certain, you will have a cleaner, healthier pond for you to enjoy.

PondClear Packets - DO NOT OPEN PACKETS! Packets are to be applied directly to the water. Distribute packets from shore or boat. PondClear works best when evenly disbursed across the body of water.

Apply every two weeks when water temperatures are above 50º F. Wait three days after an algaecide and/or herbicide treatment to apply PondClear.

PondClear may be applied to lakes and ponds used for irrigation and aquaculture. Water treated with PondClear can be used for recreation, fishing and other activities immediately after treatment. Safe for recreational ponds, horses, livestock, birds, pets, fish, wildlife and the environment. Do not apply to water that will be used for human consumption.

Pond dye not only provides beauty to your pond, it is designed to provide a natural shade to limit the excessive amounts of sunlight your pond receives.

5 Reasons to Aerate, The Pond Guy

Aeration infuses oxygen into the pond. Adding pond water aeration is not only beneficial for your fish, who need oxygen to survive, but will also improve the overall health of your pond's ecosystem. Below are the top five reasons you should consider adding aeration into your pond, and the importance of aeration:

1. Aeration reduces pond muck.

As a pond ages, nutrients accumulate at the bottom of the pond and become muck. Not only is muck unpleasant to see or feel between your toes, but it can also give ponds a bad odor and provide habitat for leeches. Aeration is important because it combats muck and other decomposing debris by increasing the dissolved oxygen and circulating the water. This pond water aeration encourages the colonization of beneficial aerobic bacteria that consume the nutrients to reduce existing muck build-up and prevent it from accumulating in the future.

2. Aeration improves water quality.

Nutrients not only accumulate at the bottom of the pond to become muck, but they can also be suspended in the water column causing your pond to look murky. By reducing the muck and excess nutrients, increasing oxygen, and circulating the water, you will improve your water quality and clarity. Additionally, from pond water aeration, you'll see a reduction in algae and weeds since there will not be as many nutrients to fuel their growth.

3. Aeration boosts dissolved oxygen levels.

Oxygen is needed from pond water aeration to sustain your fish, but it is also needed by your beneficial bacteria. Aeration is important because without oxygen, your pond will go into an anaerobic state. Anaerobic bacteria are not as efficient at breaking down organic material as their aerobic counterparts. Additionally, anaerobic bacteria produce carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide when digesting organic material, giving the pond a rotten egg smell. In contrast, beneficial bacteria produce a harmless gas when breaking down muck and debris. Incorporating aeration into the pond increases the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water keeping your pond functioning as a healthy aerobic system.

4. Aeration eliminates the thermocline.

The thermocline is the border between the warmer, surface water and the colder, deeper water. Aeration is important because it circulates and mixes the water to eliminate these stratified layers by moving the cooler oxygen-starved water to the pond's surface so it can become infused with oxygen. The warmer, oxygen-rich water than drops to the bottom of the pond to fuel your beneficial bacteria. With all this churning, the water temperature of a properly aerated pond will be no more than a few degrees difference throughout.

5. Aeration reduces the risk of a fish kill.

Fish perish from time to time, but when many die at one time, it is often linked to low oxygen conditions. In the winter, the gases released when organic debris is decomposing can become trapped when the pond freezes over and reduce the oxygen available for your fish; if enough oxygen is displaced your fish will suffocate. Aeration is important because it will pump fresh oxygen into the pond and help to keep a hole in the ice to allow for gas exchange. In the spring and fall, turnover events due to stratified water can cause a fish kill. During a turnover event, a stratified pond rapidly mixes, depleting the oxygen from the surface water as it combines with the bottom oxygen-starved water. Pond water aeration will eliminate the thermocline and prevent spring and fall turnover.

Airmax Aeration, The Pond Guy

$1,149.99 - $5,099.99

Water Garden 101, The Pond Guy

Imagine seeing your fish thrive, your plant flourish, and your pond water turned crystal clear!

You can achieve that kind of pond by understanding the five elements of a healthy pond and how they work together with the Nitrogen cycle to create a healthy and balanced ecosystem.


There are two types of filtration: mechanical and biological. Mechanical filtration involves removal of visible solids like leaves, floating debris and fish waste. Mechanical filtration is often done by skimmers, filter brushes, foam pads and other tools. Biological filtration eliminates invisible waste (excess nutrients) by introducing a living tool – aerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria attaches itself to surfaces (rocks, plants, filter media, etc.) and eats away excess nutrients.


Waterfalls and fountain sprays alone cannot produce enough oxygen, but aeration kits like the The Pond Guy® Water Garden Aeration Kit or PondAir™ will do the trick. Subsurface aeration works from the bottom up, circulating water and increasing dissolved oxygen levels. When the sun goes down, fish and plants both use dissolved oxygen in your pond water. By providing subsurface aeration, oxygen levels stay high all day and night. Aeration is also great for freezing climates. Running an aerator and a deicer together cuts your electricity costs and keeps a hole open in your pond.

The Pond Guy Water Garden Aeration Kit, For Ponds 1,000 - 4,000 Gallons



Aquatic plants are a key part of a balanced pond. They feed on "processed" fish waste and help reduce algae blooms. Fish waste (before it goes through filtration) can be toxic to aquatic life. However, once filtered, fish waste becomes fertilizer, which can be consumed by plants and produce exceptional plant growth. Approximately 40-60% of your pond's surface area should be covered in plants. This is extra important if your pond is in direct sunlight most of the day.


It is critical that your filtration system is the proper size to handle your fish population. Fish naturally multiply and grow. The more fish, the more waste, so fish loads must be controlled. General rule? With standard filtration and 60% plant coverage, allow 1-2 koi or 2-3 goldfish per 200 gallons of water. If you need help figuring out how much filtration your fish need, give us a call!


Using natural treatments, such as those found in the The Pond Guy® DefensePAC®, aid in keeping your pond balanced and happy. The DefensePAC® is designed to keep a pond's ecosystem perfectly balanced by breaking down waste, removing excess nutrients and maintain clear water.

The Pond Guy DefensePAC Pond Care Packages


Proactive Approach For Pond Management
Eliminate Guesswork
Achieve Crystal Clear Water
Includes FREE Bottle of InstaFix™

Achieve guaranteed crystal clear water in 5 simple steps with this easy-to-use all-natural pond maintenance system. The Pond Guy® DefensePAC® combines 5 of the most effective fish pond management products into a comprehensive maintenance package saving you time, money and unnecessary guesswork. The Pond Guy® DefensePAC® combats common pond problems such as substandard water quality, unwanted muck, built up debris and poor fish health. The DefensePAC® is available in two sizes both of which are packaged in a re-sealable bucket with complete easy-to-follow instructions.


Step 1: Use Oxy-Lift™ Defense® to simply "lift" debris from waterfalls, streams, rocks and anywhere debris occurs.

Step 2: Use Nature's Defense® to promote a healthy ecosystem providing sparkling clean water safe for fish and plants.

Step 3: Use Clarity Defense® to clear cloudy water, promote beneficial bacteria growth, buffer pH & lock up excess nutrients.

Step 4: Use Muck Defense® to rapidly remove build-up on liners, rocks & gravel.

Step 5: Use Seasonal Defense® in early spring & late fall for a clean & clear pond all year long.

How to Choose a Pump, The Pond Guy

A pump is like the heart of your pond, it circulates the water and moves it through your filtration unit, spitter or waterfall. Selecting the right pump for the job will ensure that your water is filtered properly and your water feature is looking its best. When doing your shopping, here are some things to consider:


Are looking to send water cascading over a waterfall or run a small fountain or send water through a UV clarifier?

Fountains or Spitters

Fountains or Spitters typicaly require a smaller pump. Look for pumps in our Fountain & Spitter Pump category.


Waterfalls require a few more calcualtions to determine the size needed. See below for more information on sizing a waterfall pump. We have a wide variety of Waterfall Pumps available to get the flow you want.


Pumps circulate the water throughout your pond or water feature. Choosing the right waterfall pump or pond water pump to get the job done is key to ensuring your water is filtered.

Head pressure and desired flow rate will influence the pump needed to power your water feature. Selecting the right pump for the job will ensure that your water is filtered properly and your water feature is looking its best.

The articles below will help you choose the right pump for your pond!

See this article.

UV Clarifiers or Pressure Filters

UV Clarifiers or Pressure Filters typically have a recommended pump size for optimal use. Check your manual or the product page to determine what pump size is recommended but note that head pressure will come into play (see below)


Water needs to circulate through the filter at least once every 2 hours. This means that if you have a 1,000 gallon pond, you need a pump that can produce at least 500 gallons per hour or GPH. If you have fish, then it is best to double the pump's capacity to ensure that your water stays clean. A common misconception is that pump size is only related to pond size; however, the size of a waterfall, stream, or fountain is typically the deciding factor for which pump will be best in your feature.

66000 gallons = 33000 gallons per hour.


Head pressure and desired flow rate will influence the pump needed to power your water feature. Head pressure refers to the friction created when water is pumped uphill or over long distances. Flow rate will determine how much water moves through the feature. Below are some tips for calculating these measurements:

Head Pressure:

A combination of the vertical distance from the water surface to the top of the waterfall and length of tubing. A foot of vertical height or 10' of tubing is equivalent to 1' of head pressure. Therefore, a feature that is 3' tall with 16' of tubing would have 5' of head pressure.

Flow Rate:

The average amount of water moving over a waterfall is 1,500 GPH for every 1' of width. Therefore, a waterfall that is 2' wide would need a 3,000 GPH pump. If you are looking for a heavier flow, calculate your flow using 2,000 GPH per foot.

Putting it Together:

You may have noticed that our pumps have the flow rates listed different head pressures, so you just have to match up the numbers. In our example, if you wanted your feature to have a heavy flow then you would need a pump that can produce about 4,000 GPH at 5' of head pressure. The Pond Guy® RapidFlo™ – 4,000 GPH would be the perfect fit because at 5' of head pressure, this pump produces 3,900 GPH.


There are two classes of pumps, submersible and external. For ponds, submersible pumps are preferred because they can be hidden easily and used in skimmer boxes. There several varieties of pumps available, so below is guide to help you determine which one is right for you.


Ideal for small to medium applications, such as spitters and small in-pond filtration units. The Pond Guy® MagFlo™ and other pumps of this style operate by a magnetic impeller. These are usually long-lived and generally only a new impeller is needed to refresh the pump.

Asynchronous and Hybrid:

These have a higher flow rate at lower head pressures and are perfect for medium to larger applications. Asynchronous and hybrid pumps, like the Atlantic™ Tidal Wave3 TT-Series and PondBuilder™ IllumiFlow, have a long life span, performing like direct drives, but energy efficient like mag-drives.

Direct Drive:

The ShinMaywa® Norus® Submersible and other direct drive pumps are designed for features with a high head pressure and flow rate. Most models require oil or lubrication changes to keep the impeller shaft moving properly. These pumps have fewer moving parts, making them more economical to purchase; however, they have a shorter lifespan than the other style of pumps.

Still not sure what pump is right for your pond or water feature? Give us a call at 866-766-3435. We're happy to help!

Natural Water Treatments, The Pond Guy

Natural water treatments will help you achieve a balanced pond. Natural & earth friendly products are designed to break down excess nutrients and fish waste, eliminate muck and remove debris from rocks and gravel. With regular use, natural water treatments will maintain a healthy and clear pond all season. Read on to learn more about different ways you can treat your pond, water garden or water feature.


Using Beneficial Bacteria for Clear Water

Beneficial bacteria are instrumental in keeping a water garden clean and balanced. Beneficial bacteria, like those found in The Pond Guy Nature's Defense, Muck Defense, and Seasonal Defense, live their life noshing on the excess nutrients in your pond, converting it into a harmless gas. They then divide via a cellular division, called binary fission, to keep the population going. Since they are so handy, you might be tempted to add a few extra to really make your pond shine. While too much beneficial bacteria is not necessarily bad, it will likely make your pocketbook a little lighter.


Invite too many to your dinner party and there might not be enough food to go around. Same thing goes for your microorganisms. Overcrowding beneficial bacteria causes them to compete for resources rather than growing big so they can reproduce. Weaker organisms follow Charles Darwin's theory and ultimately starve and die. This causes the overall bacteria population to drop, meaning you need to add more bacteria to replace what gets lost. After a while, costs for repopulating could really add up.


Plants and fish will generally be safe if too much beneficial bacteria is added. Trouble occurs when there is a lot of organic buildup, numerous beneficial bacteria, and inadequate aeration. Like fish and other aquatic organisms, good bacteria need oxygen. In ponds with high nutrient loads, bacteria are able to rapidly reproduce since food is not a limiting resource. This population explosion depletes the dissolved oxygen levels in the pond. Introducing an aeration kit, the Airmax® PondAir™ or KoiAir ™ Aeration Kits, will infuse oxygen into the pond and circulate the water column. Adding aeration will not only make a great addition for the summer when your bacteria are active, but it will also help keep a hole open in the ice during winter.


The best bet for your pond and pocketbook is to stick to using the doses listed on the product labels for regular maintenance. After clean-outs or chemical treatments, we also recommend adding some Mircrobe-Lift® PL Gel to jump start the repopulation process. Beneficial bacteria is a useful tool for creating a balanced ecosystem, but it is only one piece of the pond. If you continually struggle with muck, poor water quality, or algae blooms, try to think about what the root of the problem might be; often times, it is linked to one of these scenarios.


Benefits of the DefensePAC


Muck Control

Muck or sludge is a horrifying word for many pondkeepers, so what is it exactly? Muck is the accumulation of decomposing fish waste, leaves, aquatic vegetation, and other organic material that is seen at the bottom of a water garden. When muck is disturbed (e.g., fish swimming nearby), it can enter the water column causing the pond to become cloudy or discolored. All the organic material adds to your nutrient load, which in time can create algae blooms. If you are struggling with muck, here are a few ways to get your pond back on track.

Muck Defense

Muck Defense Video

Beneficial beneficial bacteria and enzymes.

1 tablet for 1000 gallons - 7 tabs

Nature's Defense

V The Pond Guy® Product Video - Nature's Defense®

Prob of organic material in the lake. Contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes.

Digest fish waste, uneaten food, decomposing foliage.

Stimulates the nitrogen cycle by seeding biological filters.

Helps eliminates phosphates and nitrogen = clear water and healthy ecosystem.

1 pkt per 1000 gallons. 7 pkts. Initial dose, add one extra pkt. Apply every 2 weeks during water temps above 50 degrees.

The Pond Guy® Stress Reducer Plus

Slime coat replaced and chlorine and ammonia. Heals damaged tissue.

Use 1 oz for every 120 gallons. So 55 oz when fish are stressed.

Wait 20 minutes before adding fish.

The Pond Guy® Product Video - ClearSolution™ G1

Without filtration, water quality issues quickly develop.

Ammonia levels can reach toxic levels, hurting fish.

Clear solution uses biological and mechanical filtration, a powerful UV clarifier, a mag-drive pump, a fountain in one unit for ponds up to 1200 gallons.

V The Pond Guy® SimplyClear™ Pressurized Filtration System for Small Ponds

SimplyClear filter is good for ponds up to 1250 gallons.

V The Secret(s) to Keep Your Pond Crystal Clear | The Barefooted Gardener


MuckOff™, Muck Defense®, and other beneficial bacteria additives digest muck, turning it into a harmless gas. These bacteria sink to the bottom of the pond and quickly get to work cleaning up all the nooks and crannies between your rocks or other hard to reach places. To keep your pond's ecosystem balanced, consider using the The Pond Guy® DefensePAC®. This pond care package will help you proactively manage your pond for up to 6 months. Just remember when using your bacteria products that it took time for the muck to accumulate, so the bacteria need some time to work through what's sitting at the bottom of your pond.


Get rid of sludge, debris, and algae fast using The Pond Guy® ClearVac™. This pond vacuum will help make your regular maintenance faster and more convenient. The dual chamber design that allows you to clean your pond without waiting for the water to discharge though time consuming discharge cycles. Since muck is full of nutrients, the discharge water will also make an excellent fertilizer for your garden. When refilling your pond, don't forget to add water conditioner to remove any heavy metals.

The Pond Guy ClearVac Continuous-Duty Dual Chamber Vacuum



As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Inadequate filtration, a high fish population, and overfeeding cause excess nutrients to collect in your pond. Debris can also enter your pond when the seasons change, so skimming leaves or keeping them out with pond cover nets and using your Pond Scissors and Pliers to remove dead plants is also important.


Just like your fish, beneficial bacteria need oxygen too. Water Garden Aeration Kits, like The Pond Guy® Water Garden Aeration Kit, gives you everything you need to increase dissolved oxygen levels and circulate the water. These systems cost only a few bucks to run each month, but they will make a huge impact on the health of your pond and help keep the muck away.

The Pond Guy® Water Garden Aeration Kit, For Ponds 1,000 - 4,000 Gallons


Enhance Oxygen Levels All Year
Ideal For Ponds Up To 4,000 Gallons
Energy Efficient Design For 24−7 Use

The Pond Guy® Water Garden Aeration Kit is the ideal choice for aerating water gardens and koi ponds up to 4,000 gallons. With the energy efficient diaphragm compressor paired with a low-maintenance, non-stick PTFE Membrane diffuser stick, your pond will receive the benefits of aeration. Protect your investment with a TrueRock™ Small Boulder to cover your aeration unit. Choose the aeration kit option for additional savings! Start aerating the water in your pond today.

Airmax TrueRock Small Boulder Covers 18"L x 16"W x 11"H, $71.99

The Pond Guy® DefensePAC® Pond Care Packages Reviews:

On the pond guy site:

4s - I ordered the Defense Pac 2000 and initially it did not appear to be working the way I would have liked in clearing my pond water. After calling the Pond Guy a couple of times, I learned I was cleaning my waterfall filter pad too much creating more problems for myself. The great thing about the Pond Guy is that you can call them and talk to a real person. They were very helpful and patient in trying to resolve my pond issues with an offer to refund the purchase price of the Defense PAC if I wasn't satisfied. Based upon their input, I have modified my pond cleaning methods and now have clear pond water.

2s - I bought the DefensePac 1000 and wanted to start getting my water fall and pond ready for spring. I have covered my rocks twice with Oxy-Lift and poured twice the Insta-Fix in the pond. Nothing has changed, rocks still have the white/green algae on them and my ponds still looks murky. As of present I have not used any of the other products in the container.

5s - THIS PRODUCT IS WORKING VERY WELL FOR OUR SMALL POND. I have set it up so I do something to the pond every Saturday, very easy to remember. Our neighborhood hawks love to sit on top of the fountain.

5s - LOVE THE ALL INCLUSIVE PACKAGE, HAS EVERYTHING YOU NEED.. This is the second year I purchased this product. Last year my pond looked great and so far moving into the spring it is still looking good. I could have done a better job of keeping the leaves out but this product is helping my out even with my lack of maintenance.

5s - JUST WHAT I NEEDED. Just followed the directions and poof my pond looks great!

5s - VERY CONVENIENT TO USE AND HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS.. This is my second year using the defense pac with my 2000 gallon pond. As seasons go in Ohio, more of the seasonal defense in the pac would be nice as the cold temps trends have been longer. My pond is in full sun with heavy fish load and I believe the pac is sufficient coupled with using algaecide when needed but that has been reduced. I'm currently upgrading my filtration system to turn over the pond about a little over 2 times an hour with a 3X capacity filter.

5s - A VALUABLE INVESTMENT IN POND MAINTAINANCE. After a few years of 'fighting' to maintain a healthy back yard pond, switching to The Defense Pac system has been rewarding-clear water, minimal bottom debris, and a controlled filamentous agal population! A word of caution-follow the prescribed treatment schedule, I initially did not adhere to the schedule and my pond reflected the personally inflicted poor pond conditions.

5s - I HAVE BOUGHT THIS PRODUCT AGAIN AND AGAIN.. This is the only product I use to keep my 4500 gallon fish pond clear year around.

5s - This is the best combination that I can find that really keeps my pond and fish healthy.

Pond Guy Notes 1-866-766-3435

4-22-19 - talked to Tam

questions for pond guy:

1. Water aeration kit 1-4000 gallons $149.99–$179.98 will destroy?

Can use smaller pump but will not get results you want.

2. Affordable Alternative?

Recommends Koi Air 1 at $219.99... Bought

3. wind. fake rock

Sm rock is only 7 pounds. Go with bucket and rocks or paver.

4. InstaFix 3 16 oz bottles

Ordered 3 16 oz bottles.

5. How much water?

Just dilute, no exact amt is required.

6. How long after 3? 10-15 days. Should use Beneficial Bacteria to fight algae. Ordered $39.99 for Muck Defense.

Use 7 tabs every month.

7. Can use any of Defense Pac contents during InstaFix?

Wait 3 days, then use Nature's Defense, Clarity Defense, and Muck Defense together.

8. When to use Defense Pac and in what order

See #7

9. How to hand/place other plants in pool

Check out Flexible Pond Planters.

Floating planters only come up to 20" across.

10. Defense Pac $89.99 - 139.99

Decided to wait.

11. total purch. $292.96

Floating Plant Oasis $29.99

Holds Up To 6 Small Potted Plants
Strong Yet Rigid Resin Foam Polymer
Ideal For Water Gardens Without Planting Shelves

The Floating Plant Oasis is a strong yet rigid resin foam polymer frame that allows limitless options for planting up to 6 square aquatic plants in their pots (approx. 3.5" baskets). The Floating Plant Oasis is a great solution to add beautiful vegetation and pops of color in ponds without planting shelves or ponds that are too deep for marsh plants. The 16"L x 12"W x 2"H grid floats freely on the water or it can be anchored in one location.

Please Note: plant baskets are not included.

How To Use
Simply set up to (6) 3.5" square plant baskets in the Floating Plant Oasis grid and placed on the surface of the water to float freely. You can also anchor the float to a single location.

Plant Socks $12.99–$15.99

4" x 31.5".. $12.99

6" x 31.5".. $15.99

Contour Your Pond's Edge
Flexible Material Keeps Roots Contained
Available in Two Sizes For Your Planting Needs

Create a more natural look by contouring your pond's edges and curves with these strong, flexible plant socks. Now you can protect your plants from fish while keeping the roots from taking over your pond. The finely woven material is incredibly durable and works well for most aquatic plants. Available in two sizes to meet all your planting needs: 4" x 31.5"L and 6" x 31.5"L.

How To Use
The flexible plant socks allows plants to be grown where planting baskets are not suitable and can be manipulated to hide unsightly edging. To use, just fill plant bag with Aquatic Planting Media. Plant your bog plant or water lily at it's recommended depth. Add rocks to the top to ensure your fish will not get to the plant.

Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media $13.56–$26.36

Encourage Plant Health
Does Not Cloud Pond Water
Safe For All Fish & Aquatic Life

Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media is made of 100% natural montmorillonite with an added beneficial bacteria to help with pond clarity. The neutral pH pebbles in Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media contain beneficial bacteria, retain oxygen and help absorb excess alkalinity for improved pond water quality. When used in a bog area, Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Pond Plant Media helps reduce transplant shock, allow for a more efficient utilization of light, water and nutrients and retain water keeping the bog moist but not waterlogged. Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media Will not break-down, float, or cloud pond water. Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media contains no algae-promoting nutrients, fertilizers, compost, peat or harmful pesticides and is safe for use in ponds with fish.

How to Use
Remove Plants in solid pots with care.

Mix as little as 25% of Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media with the planting medium of your choice. Be sure to pick something heavier that will not muddy the water. You can use all Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media.

Half fill a lined aquatic planting basket with Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media mixture from Step 2. Place plant carefully into the basket. Fill with more Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media mixture from Step 2 around roots, gently adding more if necessary to bring the level to just below the rim of the basket.

Plants in small mesh pots can be kept in the pot to protect the roots.

Plant up in the same way as plants that have been taken out of their pots.

Top off the basket with a layer of only Microbe-Lift® Aquatic Planting Media. This will keep whatever potting ratio you used in place and will prevent fish from disturbing the roots and muddying the pond water.

Floating Island Planters $8.99–$59.99

20" planter is $59.99

Protects Plant From Your Fish

Total Island Diameter 20"
Inner Planter Diameter 15 1/2"
Depth 7"

Plant Bags $8.99–$11.99

3.5s 75% at 5

Two Sizes To Fit Your Planting Needs
Flexible Material To Fit Your Pond Shape
Protects Plant From Your Fish

The Pond Guy® Plant Bags area great space saver! These mesh pond planting bags can contour to fit even the narrow and oddly shaped areas of your pond. The durable 1/16" mesh keeps planting media secure while still allowing proper water circulation and root development. The bags will not crack, even in freezing climates!

4/1/19 Called Pond Guy 1-866-766-3435, talked to Gary.

20' x 10' pool, 6600 gallons, 200 sq. ft.

Ordered Insta-Fix [beneficial bacteria] and Defense Pac. First will hurt snails, but not fish.

Treat first with InstaFix, wait 4 weeks. Then use DefensePac. Use barley extract to maintain clarity

InstaFix, beneficial bacteria

4's 89% at 5. Jump start your pond fix. Remove debris and cloudy water. Treatments may be repeated every 3 days until results are achieved... up to three doses.

Pour Yourself A Clear Pond

Clear Discolored Water

Remove Excess Organic Debris

Your pond can become discolored over time from the accumulation of organic sediment and this debris can form on pond rocks or liners. Ponds will then reach a point where water becomes murky from excess organic waste. The Pond Guy® InstaFix™ will clean your pond in as little as 48 hours, removing this excessive organic debris and providing you with crystal clear water. InstaFix™ should be used as a pond-start up cleaner or to help you get a jump start on pond maintenance. InstaFix™ works great in conjunction with the The Pond Guy® DefensePAC®!

Use 1 oz per 375 gallons [17.5 oz f or 6600 gallons]. Dilute the proper dosage in a bucket of water and pour the mixture into the pond evenly around the edges. DO NOT use more than the recommended dose. You may apply proper dosed treatments, if needed, every three days until desired results (up to 3 doses). For best results, remove excess debris prior to treatment. Before using InstaFix™, make sure your pond has vigorous aeration such as a fountain, waterfall or aeration device. Without aeration, your fish may be at risk due to decreased oxygen levels, especially during the warmer months.

Do not use InstaFix™ with ponds containing invertebrates or crustaceans such as crabs, shrimps or crayfish. When used in accordance with label directions InstaFix™ is completely safe for fish, plants, pets and pond wildlife.

5s Review: I used three applications 3 days apart & was amazed at how fast the green cleared from my water! I used it in combination with one Muck Away tablet which I will use monthly to maintain. I highly recommend this product & so glad I found The Pond Guy after 9 years of struggling to find good pond maintenance products!

2s Review: Worked great all the way up to the end of May. Thought I finally found something to keep my pond "clear" I have a gravel bottom pond. It's about 15x20 feet and averages about 2-21/2 feet deep. Pond is 12 years old. Through end of May could see easily to the bottom in the shallow ends, where it is about 1 1/2 feet deep. I could clearly see the fish swiming around in the deeper ends. But once the weather started to warm up, higher 70's and up, water is back to murky, can barley see the bottom in the shallow end. The liquid barely I added removed all the string algae. I've been using liquid barley for years, and it works magic as far as string algae. Also after waiting a few days after an application of insta fix I started with some doses of muck away. I've never really noticed it do anything, but use it anyways

5s Review: Pond was pea green soup. Tried them all and nothing worked. Call the Pond Guy the day Instafix arrived. Was told it was unreasonable to think a single product could clear pea green soup. Recommended 2 25% water exchanges followed to 3 treatments with Instafix 3 day apart. Following his instructions I couldn't even get to the third treatment before the pond was clearer than the tap water in our house. Still that was 2 months later. I love being able to see my koi!!!


Instafix Pond Guy

Repeat every 3 days up to 3 doses.

Doesn't say how much water to mix with it.

Barley Extract

4's 82% at 5. Good for maintenance once jump started with InstaFix. Natural fermented product.

Apply to area with most water flow. Use 1 oz for every 500 gallons [13 oz.] every 3 weeks. If murky, double the dose and use weekly until the water is clear.

Naturally Clear Pond Water

Benefits Of Barley Without the Mess

Powerful & Fast Acting Formula

All the benefits of barley straw without the mess! The Pond Guy® Barley straw extract for ponds is the natural solution to maintaining clean, healthy, and clear pond water all year long. Barley Extract works faster than barley pellets and is cleaner than barley straw bales. The powerful liquid concentrate instantly goes to work so you can enjoy the benefits of natural barley straw treatments without the wait. Barley Extract liquid naturally balances pond water and improve clarity year round. Safe for fish, plants, pets and pond wildlife.

Use 1 ounce per 500 gallons. Pour directly into pond water. If pond water is turbid, double the dose and use weekly until the water is clear. Thereafter, use once every 3 weeks for maintenance. Barley Extract is a powerful liquid concentrate that instantly goes to work on contact. It can be used year round to keep your pond clean and healthy.

When used in accordance with label directions The Pond Guy® Barley Extract is completely safe for fish, plants, pets and pond wildlife. Note: It is not recommended to apply in ponds used for household drinking.

How does Barley Straw work?
As the barley straw decays in the presence of oxygen (and possibly sunlight); natural chemicals are released or produced that help clean and clear water. With Barley Extract, there is no waiting for the barley bale to decompose. When treating your pond according to label instructions, Barley Extract can lead to much cleaner and clearer pond water.

Is Barley Straw a form of algaecide?
No, Barley Straw is not registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency as a pesticide, and therefore no claims are made regarding its use in preventing, removing, controlling or eliminating algae. This is an all-natural product, and does not contain any known pesticides, chemical additives, or even "ingredients"- it is just barley straw.

Pond Aeration


Waterfalls and fountain sprays alone cannot produce enough oxygen, but aeration kits like the The Pond Guy® Water Garden Aeration Kit or PondAir™ will do the trick. Subsurface aeration works from the bottom up, circulating water and increasing dissolved oxygen levels. When the sun goes down, fish and plants both use dissolved oxygen in your pond water. By providing subsurface aeration, oxygen levels stay high all day and night. Aeration is also great for freezing climates. Running an aerator and a deicer together cuts your electricity costs and keeps a hole open in your pond.

The Pond Guy Water Garden Aeration Kit, For Ponds 1,000 - 4,000 Gallons



Just like your fish, beneficial bacteria need oxygen too. Water Garden Aeration Kits, like The Pond Guy® Water Garden Aeration Kit, gives you everything you need to increase dissolved oxygen levels and circulate the water. These systems cost only a few bucks to run each month, but they will make a huge impact on the health of your pond and help keep the muck away.

The Pond Guy® Water Garden Aeration Kit, For Ponds 1,000 - 4,000 Gallons


Enhance Oxygen Levels All Year
Ideal For Ponds Up To 4,000 Gallons
Energy Efficient Design For 24−7 Use

The Pond Guy® Water Garden Aeration Kit is the ideal choice for aerating water gardens and koi ponds up to 4,000 gallons. With the energy efficient diaphragm compressor paired with a low-maintenance, non-stick PTFE Membrane diffuser stick, your pond will receive the benefits of aeration. Protect your investment with a TrueRock™ Small Boulder to cover your aeration unit. Choose the aeration kit option for additional savings! Start aerating the water in your pond today.

Airmax TrueRock Small Boulder Covers 18"L x 16"W x 11"H, $71.99

Pond Aerators, Living Water

Pond Aeration Systems are essential in maintaining healthy water levels in your lake or pond. However, you need to select the correct aeration system in order to ensure proper water health. Use our filters on the left side of the page to find the right aeration system for your pond size and start maintaining your healthy pond!

Dual Diffuser Ornamental Pond Aerator/Deicer Kit $72.24

KLC Koi Pond Aerators - 1000 to 7500 gallon ponds $229.00

Bantam-Aire 1 Diffused Pond Aerator - Up to 8,000 gallons $267.00

All the rest are in thousands

EasyPro LA10N Economy Linear Aeration Kit, for 3000 to 8000-Gallon Ponds, Amazon

$235.26 & FREE Shipping. 4s

PERFECT FOR A SMALL, SHALLOW POND: The EasyPro LA10N Economy Linear Aeration Kit is ideal for aerating a pond up to 6 feet deep and containing 3,000 to 8,000 gallons of water. Installing the kit takes only minutes. It includes a quiet, linear diaphragm EPW4 air compressor, which is weather resistant and has a 2 year warranty.

CONTINUOUS DUTY PUMP RATED TO RUN 24/7: The kit's energy efficient pump motor can be on all the time and uses only 34 watts of electricity. It operates on 115 volts of electricity and plugs into a 120 volt AC GFCI protected outlet. This small aerator's maximum air flow is 1.8 cfm.

INCLUDES A DIFFUSER, WEIGHTED TUBING AND MORE: This kit provides an 8 inch long rubber air diffuser, which has a 5 year warranty. It also comes with 15 feet of Quick Sink weighted tubing that has a 5 year warranty and promotes easy installation. Clamps are included, too.

Airmax KoiAir1 Water Garden Aeration Kit, Single Plate , Amz

$219.99 & FREE Shipping 4's

Aeration for 2,000 - 8,000 gallon ponds and water gardens
Max operating depth 4 feet deep
Provides 0.80 CFM airflow with 1 Dual Stick Plate
Dual diaphragm provides maximum circulation and oxygen
Extremely energy efficient and whisper-quiet operation

Pond USA, Air Pumps

You folks have the fastest shipping and best customer service we have ever seen. Thanks, William, Mt. Pleasant, TN

Danner Pondmaster AP 60 Pond Air Pump – 7,000 Gallon Ponds $173.99

The Danner Pondmaster AP 60 Pond Air Pump is easy to use
Powerful hybrid magnetic/direct-drive motor
Whisper-quiet operation
High volume with steady air flow
No lubrication necessary
The Danner Pondmaster AP 60 Pond Air Pump has a single outlet discharge
Includes air diffuser

1-year manufacturer’s limited warranty


- Watch for possible condensation buildup in the air tubing

- Must be installed a minimum of 12 inches above pond water level to prevent water from flowing back


- The Danner Pondmaster AP 60 Pond Air Pump must be plugged in to a properly grounded and GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) protected 120 Volt outlet !

- The Danner Pondmaster AP 60 Pond Air Pump is not approved for use in swimming pools or salt water

Pond Depth up to 10 ft.

123Ponds - Air Pumps

Pondmaster - Oxy-Flow Aeration Kit - 04511 Suggested Retail $159.00 Our Price103.35You save 35%

Pondmaster - AP-20 Deep Water Air Pump - 1700 cu. in/min. - 04520 Suggested Retail $171.94 Our Price $126.99 You save 26% MODEL AP-20 FOR PONDS UP TO 2,500 GALLONS.

eBay aeration pumps

Lowes on Calaghan, aeration pumps

smartpond Black Pond Aerator 5s $154.00

Garden Myths - Learn the truth about gardening - Pond Pumps and Pond Filters

In a natural pond the water, soil, plants, and animals all live in harmony. No one comes along to clean the pond or to aerate it. There is no big man-made filtration system that keeps the water clean. The common advice is that a pond liner is artificial and a pond built with it will never reach a natural state where the water, plants, and animals live in harmony the way they do in a natural pond. If you don’t filter such an unnatural pond it will become full of algae and the water will be dirty and smelly. The only way to have a pond with a liner is to add aeration and filtration.

In a natural pond animals (insects, fish, etc) eat, poop, sleep and die. Both the poop and dead animals add nutrients to the water. Some is added immediately, and some is added over time as the material is degraded by various micro-organisms.

Plants also add nutrients when they die. In fall all kinds of leaves and other dead plant material is blown into the pond, and as this material is decomposed by micro-organisms it also increases the nutrient level.

Algae is a plant that grows best with high light and high nutrient levels. When the nutrients get high enough, the algae takes over the pond and chokes everything else out.

Why does the algae not take over natural ponds? The answer is higher order pond plants (not including algae). Plants also use nutrients and as long as the plants in the pond use up the nutrients as fast as they are produced, algae has trouble getting a foot hold.

The secret to an algae fee pond is to control nutrient levels!

The other important part of a natural pond is the presence of micro-organisms. They are everywhere; in the soil, on rocks, and attached to plants. Think of these micro-organisms as the ‘cleaning machine’ of the pond. They take rotting, smelly animal and plant material and turn it into nutrients that plants and algae can use. The micro-organisms keep the water clean, and keep it from smelling.

A man-made pond made with a pond liner has no soil – so one source of micro-organisms is missing, especially if you keep cleaning the pond liner. Most ponds have few stones and few plants reducing the number of micro-organisms even further. Without microbes or filtration, the dead animals and plants just sit in the bottom, making the water cloudy and smelly. But it does not have to be this way – read on.

Controlling Nutrient Levels

There are a number of ways to control nutrient levels:

1) Don’t add too many fish. Too many fish results in too much fish poop. Koi poop more than gold fish.

2) Don’t feed fish. There are lots of natural things for the fish to eat. Adding extra food just adds more nutrients to the pond.

3) Have lots of living plants in the pond. With enough pond plants growing, they will remove the nutrients before the algae can grow.

Most man-made ponds are not designed to hold a lot of pond plants. Without the plants you need to add some type of mechanical filtration system.

Why Aerate a Water Feature?

A natural pond has no obvious aeration. There is no hidden pump creating air bubbles. So why is it needed in a man-made pond?

A poorly designed man-made pond does not have enough plants, and it does not have enough places for micro-organisms to live. As a result, dead stuff accumulates on the bottom. As this dead stuff starts to rot it uses up oxygen, and the water at the bottom becomes depleted in oxygen, which in turn causes anaerobic bacterial to grow. This type of bacterial loves the smelly mess and they thrive with low levels of oxygen. This seems like a good thing, and environmentally it is a good thing. The problem for us is that as they digest the rotting stuff, they make the water smell. We don’t like smelly ponds even if they are natural.

How do you get rid of the anaerobic bacteria? Simple, increase the level of oxygen by pumping air into the water.

Aeration is recommended for ponds so that they don’t smell and that works quite well. The problem is that without anaerobic bacteria, the sludge on the bottom degrades very slowly and so you also need to clean the bottom of the pond on a regular basis.

Think about this. Because you bought a pump and you aerate the water, you now need to do more work and clean the bottom.

Do Natural Ponds have Smelly Sludge at the Bottom?

Sure they do. It is quite normal to find this in a pond where a lot of animal or plant material falls into the water. You don’t normally smell it because the water is not stirred up enough to move the smells to the surface. Dig around with a shovel or step into it from a canoe and you’ll find the smell. The smelly sludge on the bottom is natural.

My man-made water features have sludge and anaerobic bacteria in the bottom. If I don’t disturb them, they degrade dead plant material, and produce nutrients for growing plants. In my ponds I don’t stir up the water so I don’t smell them.

Pond Filters

Virtually every reference on building water features recommends some type of filtration system for a man-made pond. Why is this necessary?

As mentioned above, the lack of soil in the bottom of the pond and the lack of rocks and plants results in an environment that houses few micro-organisms when compared to a natural pond. The solution is to provide a man-made place for the microbes to live. Most filtration systems contain some type of surface for the micro-organisms to live on. This can be sand, wool, small pieces of plastic – it doesn’t really mater. What is important is that there is a lot of surface area. Microbes like to attach themselves to a surface and then ‘eat’ plant and animal bits as they float by in the water. So the filter replaces the natural places were microbes live–on soil, rocks and plants.

In nature the microbes live in the slime you find on rocks. It is healthy for a pond.

What size pond pump do I need for my pond?

It is recommended that you circulate your pond's water once at least every 2 hours. Hence, your pump should have a GPH (gallons per hour) rating of at least half of your pond size. For example, if you had a 1000 gallon pond, then you will require a 500 GPH pond pump.

Last updated on: 05/01/2018 20:13:24

Send comments to co@dadbyrn.com, Colby Glass, MLIS, PhDc, Professor Emeritus