Re-NANFA-- newbie question

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Mon, 17 Jun 2002 08:23:39 -0400

> Date: Sat, 15 Jun 2002 14:42:21 -0400
> From: Dennis Kramb
> Subject: NANFA-- newbie question
> I live near Cincinnati, Ohio on an acre lot out in the country. Last
> year I built a pond which is 40 ft. x 12 ft. and varies in depth from
> about 15" to 30". In the garden I grow native plants (trees, shrubs,
> wildflowers, etc.). I also grow native lotus in my pond.
> I would love to add some native fish. Do you think the pond is deep
> enough? I am worried #1 about protection from predators (herons,
> raccoons, grizzly bears, etc.) and #2 about protection from winter
> freeze.
> If it is big enough, what fish would you recommend? I'm mostly
> interested in mosquito control, but it would be nice to have
> something showy too. I don't want koi! The pond is made with a
> flexible liner. There is no sand, nor rocks, nor anything on the
> bottom... just flexible black liner. Don't know if substrate will be
> an issue?


Sounds like you have a perfectly sized pond. As far as substrate goes
you are best staying with bare liner and growing plants in containers.
It makes for easier cleaning and keeps the plants contained so the more
aggressive species don't take over the whole pond. Your lotus plants
will surely do that if given half a chance. But as a containerized plant
they will need regular feedings with pond tabs and repotting every other

For years I've used heavy duty rubber feed tubs for pond plants but
recently I started switching to plastic nursery containers by Lerio-
specially made for water gardens without holes in the bottom. Pond
baskets I consider worthless for growing plants that require dirt
because the nutrients leach out into the pond and contribute to algae
problems. But last spring I started putting milfoils and other bunch
plants in baskets with nothing but pea gravel and they have done alot
better than in soil. The roots grow out thru the sides and bottoms of
the baskets and feed directly from the water and that probably cuts down
on nutrient problems. Also the plants are more sturdy and less prone to

One plant. Cabomba didn't do as well that way but I'm going to try again
with this "Aquatic Plant Soil" that looks like kitty litter but dosn't
turn mushy in water. It seems to be working well for the more delicate
Low Milfoil - Myriophyllum humile that will not anchor well in pea

Course sand with a landscaping fabric basket liner would probably work
well too for some plants.

You can also put some gravel or sand on a shelf or in a container for
sunfishes and other gravel spawners but I find they spawn even more
readily in the gravel I use to top the soil in my lily containers!

Killifishes like Fundulus diaphanus and F. dispar or escambiae work even
better than Gambusia at conbtrolling mosquitos. Golden Shiners make
excellent duckweed eating machines but will also mow down some delicate
underwater plants and eat alot of fry of other species. Every situation
is unique. You will have to experiment and find out what works best for
your ponds.

Good luck

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