Water Gardening in Natural Ponds

I would like to welcome Patty Little back the That Fish Blog, with some more information on planting your plants in your water garden. This article focuses on things that you can do in a natural pond to include water plants that are appropriate for long term success

Welcome Patty

It is probably easy to say that the majority of ornamental backyard water features are manufactured, or lined with manufactured material that forms a contained barrier between introduced plants and the soil beneath and surrounding the pond. Planting a small pre-formed or lined pond is an easier task than deciding on and implementing plants appropriate for a mud bottomed water feature. The possibilities are huge with lined ponds, as any plant can be somewhat easily maintained and controlled by simply lifting out the containers or pots. Though the possibilites are abounding, let’s consider the difficulties presented to those who are trying to waterscape or maintain a large or natural mud bottom pond.

Plants lend aesthetic beauty to any landscape, and when it comes to planting aquatic areas, they are also invaluable for the work they perform in cleaning and processing pollutants from the area. Plants produce oxygen, and remove nitrates and other accumulated compounds in the water to maintain a healthy source for fish and other wildlife. With large areas to populate, many people may not hesitate to introduce certain we’ll known plants to their natural water area without considering the consequences, which may be detrimental to the area.

When considering plant additions to mud bottom ponds two types of plants I would discourage are cattails and hardy water lilies. These plants, even if planted in containers, are highly invasive, and once introduced establish quickly. Once they have a grip on the soil, they will become extremely difficult to remove completely. Lilies can cover the surface of a large pong within a few years, and cattails will spread to cover vast areas of the water’s edge. Though both of these plants are very ornamental and do provide benefits to the pond ecosystem, they are not condusive to a well-manicured waterscape in the long run. Even planted in containers, they seem to find a way to intrude in outside soil.

If you are trying to accomplish a neat waterscape in a mud bottom pond, pay close attention to the hardiness and average max size of the plants you are considering. Some rushes, grasses, creepers, and irises have a very compact and non-invasive growth habit that can be maintained and controlled even if planted in the soil of the water’s edge. Tropical plants planted on the edge may be collected in the fall, and re-planted in the spring if they are out of their hardiness zone, leftover streamers will perish, thus being environmentally controlled. If lilies are definately part of your scheme, consider placing potted lilies on platforms above the mud bottom, and be sure to monitor the tubers each year, pruning or dividing them so they are not allowed to break out of the container. These steps may minimize the possibility of invasion. Tropical lilies are the other safe bet.

Water gardening can be absolutely infatuating, particularly if presented with a large natural canvas. With proper care and consideration, a mud bottom pond can be kept as tidy and beautiful as smaller lined ponds, to please wildlife and people alike for generations.

I hope that you enjoyed Patty’s Article

Untill next blog


World’s Oldest Aquarium Fish Celebrates 75 Years

I just read this article and thought I’d pass it along to you. It’s about an Australian Lungfish named Grandad that’s lived in the John G. Shedd Aquarium for 75 years, making it the oldest aquarium fish in captivity. As That Pet Place is the World’s Largest Pet Store, we’ve gotta’ support these Guinness-worthy fish achievements. Now I have heard many a “fish tale” about certain species living for years in various conditions, obviously pond koi come to mind, but I’d love to hear any fish records. Take a look for yourself. This article and picture were originally posted by the Daily Herald in Chicago. The image is taken from there. “The Oldest Aquarium Fish in the World Celebrates 75 Years”

Until Next Time,


Free Shipping This Weekend At That Fish Place!

Just wanted to let everyone know, That Fish Place is slipping in a Free Shipping for Orders Over $100 promotion just for this weekend; offer ends on March 17th, 2008. Don’t miss this chance to stock up or start a new tank.

Until Next Time,


Preparing Your Pond Plants After Winter

As spring appoaches here in the Northeast, many aquarists turn their focus to outdoor ponds and water gardens. Please welcome Patty Little, our resident pond plant pro, to ThatFishBlog and read on as she gives you a few pointers on how to ready your pond plants for the coming warmer months.

Spring. The very thought of it sweeps away the winter doldrums and evokes a plethora of new ideas for outside projects and activites. For many of us, one of the biggest projects is our backyard fish pond or water feature. Whether your pond is already established, or is in the planning stages, now is the ideal time to start thinking about how you want to plant your pond and how to maintain pond plants you may already have.

As with terrestrial gardens, as soon as the threat of frost is passed, new marginal plants may be introduced, and dormant hardy plants like lilies, cattails, and irises will begin to reach for the sun. As the weather warms, and plants really start to take off, you may want to consider dividing established plants like these, as they can become rootbound and stunted in small containers. This is accomplished by removing tubers and roots from old containers, rinsing and cutting the tubers into smaller portions, repotting them in new soil, and resubmerging them in your pond, or sharing them with a friend.

Marginals introduced in spring will become lush and beautiful within weeks with the right care and conditions. Many marginals will bloom throughout the season providing color and attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Some favorites include cannas, cardinal flowers, blue bells, and irises. Others are prized for their unique and interesting foliage, like creepers, cattails, rushes, and papyrus. Whatever your fancy, there are hundreds of marginal plants available for you to create your own backyard pond paradise. Be sure to consider sun exposure, pond size, depth and your hardiness zone when adding marginal plants, but above all have fun and enjoy your work of art!

Species Profile: Pelvicachromis taeniatus “Moliwe”

Today we have a new guest blogger on That Fish Blog, Brandon Moyer. Brandon has worked in the fish room here at That Fish Place for the last couple of years, he is a Marine Biology student at Millersville University, and an aquarium hobbyist. Brandon wrote this blog to share his experiences with a recent aquarium that he started.
Welcome Brandon.

Species Profile: Pelvicachromis taeniatus “Moliwe”

General Information

Pelvicachromis taeniatus is a smaller, more colorful cousin of the popular P. pulcher, or Kribensis as they are commonly named. They are found in rivers throughout West Africa where the water is soft and slightly acidic. There are several variants of the species which differ in coloration. Each variant is named for the area they are found in the wild.
The “Moliwe” is named for the village in Cameroon, Africa, where the variant is most commonly collected. The Moliwe females are very striking. They have an orange-gold dorsal fin, bright purple stomach, and a yellow face with a blue edge to the gills and around the eyes. Males, which grow larger than females, have a dark cross-hatch pattern on their sides, blue eyes, and a mix of reds and yellows in their dorsal, anal, and caudal fin. This is a general description of their color, which may change as a result of Age, mood or environmental conditions. As a pair they draw a lot of attention within the tank.
I began setting up the tank with Eco Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate and a few plants including Sagittaria platyphyllia and Cryptocoryne petchii for cover. I also added a small hiding cave usually used for reptiles, but figured that it would be a good breeding area as Pelvicachromis species are cave-brooders. After the tank cycled with the help of some ghost shrimp, I added my pair of Moliwes. They acclimated well but were very shy. After adding a few zebra danios as dither fish, my Moliwes became more active and began to explore their new home. They spend most of their day close to the bottom of the aquarium digging in the substrate looking for food. Regular water changes and filter maintenance will ensure good water quality.
Taeniatus will take a variety of food, but to help ensure vivid colors and good health try to feed them with a mix of frozen and dry foods. I feed my Moliwes Boyd’s Vita Diet, Prime Reef flakes, and several types of frozen foods including spirulina enriched brine shrimp. A variety of food will ensure that they receive a complete, nutritious diet which will reward you with healthy, happy fish. Carotenoid pigments in their food will help bring out the fishes red colors and spirulina and other algae will bring out blue.
One day I noticed that the entrance to my Moliwe’s cave was barricaded with substrate. The female managed to squeeze out the only hole remaining in the entrance, and the male was preoccupied with keeping the danios in the top half of the tank. After a few days I spotted fish fry within the cave. Much like their cousins the kribensis, taeniatus will breed fairly readily. The usually calm parents will become territorial as they guard over their offspring, making close attention to the well-being of the other fish within the aquarium necessary. Days later the fry began to leave the shelter of their cave behind. Led by their mother and father they began to explore the tank looking for food. The fry will eat prepared foods given it is the appropriate size. I crushed flake and pellet food into a fine powder that the fry readily ate once it reached the bottom of the tank. My first spawn did not last: I assume the danios picked them off one by one, so if you are trying to raise the fry, choose dither fish carefully.
Thanks Brandon, those are really great little fish, I hope you have inspired someone to give them a try!
Untill next blog,