October 24, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:




Hi Carolyn,

My question is concerning wintering water plants. Taro, dwarf
palms, hyacinths, water lettuce and sensitive plants.
I bring alot of my tropical plants in for the winter. We have a
250 gallon corner pond we have created in our basement family
room. Last winter I had trouble with an odor, I think the
aquatic soil was getting sour.

We had a fountain with filter and I occasionally put a bacteria
in for the few fish we had in it.

Could you give me some advice this winter as to what I can do to
eliminate the odor and keep the pond fresh. The odor was like a
stale smell.

We plan on putting some of our very small koi in it
again this winter, and I'm sure it can't be good for the fish.
Also do you recommend heating the pond water, or what degrees
should the water be to keep the plants and fish healthy.

Thank you

- Linda

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Hi, Linda,

The Taro and other plants you mentioned require high light
conditions. Hopefully you can provide enough sun or
sun-equivalent to sustain them. I don't use soil in my potted
pond plants. I use Microbe-Lift Aquatic Media-- a soil-less media
which is pre-colonized with nitrifying bacteria. All soil
contains about 97% organic matter, and living organisms which
will decay and/or proliferate in the pot under water. Ergo the
malodorous conditions you mentioned.

The only thing a water plant needs from soil is as an anchor. It
derives all its nutrients from the water, so it doesn't need
anything from the soil. Although the plants do not suffer from
the offensive decomposition in the soil mix, it is unpleasant
when you think about the poor fish that are subjected to this.

As the organic matter is decomposing, gases (nitrogen and sulfur
dioxide) are produced. Perhaps try the soilless mixture this
year. Use Microbe-LIft/PL and Ensure for the plants and the rest
of the indoor pond environment. The cellar is probably warm
enough without heating, with the lights overhead. Good luck.





Love your question & answer e-mails my question is ,you said to
use clay to repot your water plants but how do you get the clay
clean so it don't muck up your water I have my plants all ready
to repot but the clay kept clouding the water, Thanks

Thank you

- Virginia



Hi, Virginia,

I see no way to wash clay that you will not have it cloud the
water. Clay has been used for eons as a potting medium. Even
kitty litter, the one with no additives and no clumping
ingredients, but all of these will "melt" and send an initial
cloud into the pond.

I have a better idea-- use Microbe-Lift Aquatic Planting Media.
It is not clay or soil. It is completely inorganic and will not
cloud the water. I noticed some slight dust but that settles
quickly. It is also pre-colonized with nitrifying bacteria, so it
will be very helpful to the pond or whatever water you are
putting it into.

- Carolyn

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens

MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628

Posted by bfogle at October 24, 2005 12:54 AM