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Greenhouse Pond

Tyko_N

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25 Aug 2021
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118
Location
Sweden
Late last year we set up a new greenhouse, heated this time to accommodate some more interesting plants. Now, this is central Sweden so heated in our case means a nice and cozy 7 degrees Celsius in winter, more of a warm temperate rather than a tropical climate (the next greenhouse though...). Still, this is much better than the conditions outdoors, with snow well into April and late frosts possible in early June. Winter comes early too, which made putting it all together a bit of a hassle.
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We managed to get it up in the end, and with a 200L water trough as a small pond. Next to it there is also a tiny bog section, looking pretty sad at the moment, but it should green up once the Sphagnum moss starts to grow. Currently there is only a dormant Sarracenia ‘Judith Hindle’ and some Pinguicula ‘Tina’ in it, so there is still room for some more plants here (contrary to the rest of the greenhouse which is filling up rapidly).
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The pond itself hasn’t quite woken up yet either, one or two of the Cyperus alternifolius plants have put out new leaves but the rest are still dormant. Among the floaters only the Azolla is doing well, so I guess that’s the one I’ll stick with. The Limnophila cuttings I dumped in there a couple of weeks ago are still alive though, despite the water temperature being a meagre 9C today, so together with some Ceratophyllum we should be able to get some decent plant growth in there soon.
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The rest of the greenhouse on the other hand started waking up a few weeks ago when the sun returned, the plants putting out new leaves and in some cases flowering. With more daylight the temperature rises well into the 20’s now (Celsius not Fahrenheit, Sweden is cold but not that cold), so I’ll just sit tight for now and hopefully everything will be growing soon, although preferably not too much...
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Greengeek

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Joined
27 Mar 2020
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92
Location
Fareham, Hampshire
OMG I Love this! I have a garden pond and three ponds in my greenhouse which I set up in Autumn and can’t wait for the fish to start breeding and everything to wake up. I only heat one pond in the greenhouse as it’s got some young Top View Ranchu which I only got in September which I m growing on. I also keep carnivorous plants too, a very large collection of Sarracenia, Venus Fly Traps a few Utricularia and Pings and my favourite is Sundews I have too many to count now.

Here’s some photos from last year and before the winter really set in with the greenhouse, got so many plans for this for 2022. I keep Tamasaba, Bristol Shubunkin, Ranchu and Oranda.

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Tamasaba from Japan really hoping to get a good spawning from these this year.

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My homebred keepers.

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Indoor ponds for rearing fry and young fish.

Just a few of my carnivorous plants before hibernation.
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Tyko_N

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25 Aug 2021
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118
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Sweden
That's simply stunning @Greengeek, I would be very pleased if my collection of carnivores ever approached half of that. I haven't tried sundews yet, apart from our native Drosera rotundifolia, but they are on the list now. Interesting Sarracenia is unfortunately pretty hard to source around here, so I'll have to scour all the nearby plant shops later this spring to see if I can find anything. I do have some S. purpurea purpurea seeds I collected from a few "wild growing" (introduced) specimens which have started to sprout, so hopefully one or two of those make it.

I'm still undecided about introducing any fish in my pond, the small size and relatively cold winter limits the species choice quite a bit, but I'm heading to THE Swedish fish shop today, so we'll see if I can find anything suitable.
 

Greengeek

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27 Mar 2020
Messages
92
Location
Fareham, Hampshire
That's simply stunning @Greengeek, I would be very pleased if my collection of carnivores ever approached half of that. I haven't tried sundews yet, apart from our native Drosera rotundifolia, but they are on the list now. Interesting Sarracenia is unfortunately pretty hard to source around here, so I'll have to scour all the nearby plant shops later this spring to see if I can find anything. I do have some S. purpurea purpurea seeds I collected from a few "wild growing" (introduced) specimens which have started to sprout, so hopefully one or two of those make it.

I'm still undecided about introducing any fish in my pond, the small size and relatively cold winter limits the species choice quite a bit, but I'm heading to THE Swedish fish shop today, so we'll see if I can find anything suitable.
Thank you, I was only able to find carnivorous plants online and I work in the horticultural industry, there are not easy to track down especially if you wanted named varieties. I’m lucky to have a award winning nursery not far from me called Hampshire Carnivorous Plants (Carnivorous Plants | Venus Fly Traps - Hantsflytrap) I’ve got few from them and I think they send abroad, but private sellers on eBay has been a great place to buy from too the bulk of my collection is from there.

Love to see more photos of your setup, once the weather starts to warm.
 

zozo

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Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
8,314
Location
Netherlands

Also ships international over Europe.. :) And always has a large variety of different plants of all sorts... He's a nice guy by the way... Always open for requests to resource rareties if you have suggestions. Usually, he always sends a surprise plant extra in the package. That's how I got Utricularia pubescens without ordering it or asking for it, got it simply as a gift. Where do you still find sellers like this these days... A dying breed.

Are you're really into rareties and have the wallet for it...
 

Tyko_N

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25 Aug 2021
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Location
Sweden
Long day yesterday, left home at around 6:30 in the morning and didn't get back until well after 10 PM. No fish this time, although plenty of other bits and pieces like fertilizers, salt, replacement hardware, and more, when visits to a decent fish shop are rare you have to make the most of it. I have to say that I was very tempted by a group of rainbow shiners (Notropis chrosomus) in breeding colours though, but decided against them in the end since I'm not sure yet how hot the greenhouse will get during the height of summer. For now the fish plan is to search for red shiners (Cyprinella lutrensis) instead, which are supposed to handle warm temperatures better. If I don't find any of those nearby I might just move some of the indoor fish outside for the summer this year, to have some movement in the water at least. I have plenty of Fundulopanchax gardneri that has proven bulletproof more than once before, so they would probably do well in the pond (catching in the autumn will be "interesting" though). Plant wise I only got a pot of Eleocharis parvula, which from what I have read seems to tolerate quite low temperautres, so worth a try at least. What do I know, ten years from now maybe I have something like this (photo from the local creek):
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Thanks for the plant-finding tips @Greengeek and @zozo ! I have been looking at Araflora before and their great selection of plants, so I'm very glad that you've had a good experience with them Zozo. The main problem so far has been the Swedish postal system which leaves a lot to wish for, such as expedient and careful, so any plant orders will have to wait for slightly warmer weather before I dare to risk it. I have to say that you are spot on about plant sellers though Zozo:
He's a nice guy by the way... Always open for requests to resource rareties if you have suggestions. Usually, he always sends a surprise plant extra in the package. That's how I got Utricularia pubescens without ordering it or asking for it, got it simply as a gift. Where do you still find sellers like this these days... A dying breed.
Seems like all the plants here are either completely unsuitable for the average home (how many can house a growing Ficus lyrata?), or huge rows of regulars (where do all the artificially coloured Phalaenopsis or badly cut "Ginseng" ficuses end up?). I will happily support a good dealer any day, even if it means I'll have to pay a bit more.
Love to see more photos of your setup, once the weather starts to warm
Will post some more when there is some progress, for now the pond is still mostly dormant, but pretty much everything else has woken up so can't be long now. Once the other waters around here are ice free I'll try to introduce some more invertebrates and hopefully one or two interesting native plants as well, I have been looking at Ricciocarpos natans but we'll see where it ends up.
 

Greengeek

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27 Mar 2020
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92
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Fareham, Hampshire
Awesome, I’ve never grown Eleocharis parvula, out doors before but I’ve seen it for sale grown in pots for pond margins, I’ve seen the Red Shiners in full breeding colours and they are spectacular, I’ve not purchased them for same reasons I know they could take the winters in a greenhouse but the summers are probably too hot.

I’m eager to try and I’m still researching is the Japanese medaka Ricefish. I’ve heard they can take the cold winters and hot summers of Japan. I’d like to set them up in a fully planted pond and see how they do.
I’ve got a group of 8 Axolotl now in their 4th winter living outside in unheated ponds, 3 in the outside pond and the rest in the greenhouse and they are absolutely thriving and grown HUGE they even been under ice and snow and still active.
 

Tyko_N

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Sweden
I’ve seen it for sale grown in pots for pond margins
That sounds promising. Mine was in a small tropica in-vitro pot, so I'm giving it a dry start in a mini greenhouse indoors until it has developed a decent root system. Hopefully, I can then then drop the whole chunk into the pond once it's properly established, might be easier than planting it directly into the pond at least. The red shiners should be able to tolerate pretty high temperatures, at least according to this paper: "Red Shiners can tolerate temperatures ranging from −21˚C to 10˚C, as well dissolved oxygen as low as 1.6 ppm, and it has been observed in hot springs with temperatures as high as 39.5˚C." With the pond partly set into the ground, some shading plants, and us generally having quite cool nights even at the height of summer I think they would do alright.

A group of medakas would have been nice, although I think they would have the opposite problem from the shiners. A few days with temperatures below 10C should be fine, but I don't think that they could take 3+ months of it. They are also (for some reason) possible even harder to find around here than the red shiners. But I'll keep my eyes open and they would look great in a smaller summer tub, something that is easily emptied so that I can bring them inside for winter. With the Axolotls we are back with the summer heat problem, I did look into them though and if the pond stays within a reasonable temperature range this year I might consider them again. By now it feels like I have been through every list of possibly suitable species, including making a few of mental ones of my own, and mostly it makes you realize how much poor information is out there; especially regarding minimum winter temps. A fish living somewhere that occasionally get snow and ice shouldn't go belly-up when the temperatures get below 15C. So I'm very happy to hear personal experiences and your own thoughts on additional ones to consider.
 

Tyko_N

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Short plant update: The Eleocharis has began putting out new leaves, so the transition from sterile agar to dirt appears to have gone well. Hopefully I can have a decent lawn established in a couple of months that I can move out into the pond when temperatures are higher, and with a long growing season ahead. Within the pond things have (finally) started to happen, the Limnophila is putting out new shoots! With the old stems looking rather unhappy and the temperature still far from warm (just below 11C this morning) I thought it was on it's deathbed, but apparently not, tough little plant.
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Less surprising news is that I have managed to kill another batch of Salvinia, it would have ended in the bin anyway if it wasn't for the pond, so no real loss, I'm mostly just interested to see just how much cold it can take. The Azolla is looking better and better though, so I'm definitely keeping that one, even if it has some way to go before looking like the windowsill culture (right photo).
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killi69

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8 May 2009
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Milton Keynes
I have to say that I was very tempted by a group of rainbow shiners (Notropis chrosomus) in breeding colours though, but decided against them in the end since I'm not sure yet how hot the greenhouse will get during the height of summer. For now the fish plan is to search for red shiners (Cyprinella lutrensis) instead, which are supposed to handle warm temperatures better.
Fantastic project Tyko, I look forward to following this. If you can get hold of them, Aphanius mentho or Macropodus ocellatus can both handle freezing temperatures and hot summers. I have kept both in tubs outside all year round for many years. These tubs heat up quickly in the summer sun and they both thrive in such conditions.
Good luck with the project.
Andre
 

Tyko_N

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Thanks @killi69 , that means a lot coming from you with your amazing water meadow! The Macropodus ocellatus would be great if I could source it, I had been looking at M. opercularis earlier but thought that it would be tricky to house indoors through winter considering its aggression, so a coldwater paradisefish is perfect. The Aphanius is a bit trickier since we have quite soft water around here, I always love a killifish though so if I managed to track down a breeder I would just add some coral sand go down that route in an instant. Speaking of temperate killis, does anyone have experience with Fundulus julisia (barrens topminnow)? I noticed one Swedish breeder had managed to find a group and are presumably waiting for them to start spawning. From the little I have read they sound suitable, although I would probably be chewing my nails down to the bone worrying about them the first few weeks, considering how threatened they are in the wild.
 

killi69

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8 May 2009
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Milton Keynes
I also have Fundulus julisia in one of my ponds. They are kept outside all year round and breed well. I used to keep them in tubs for many years - see link in my journal for a bit more info on how I kept them and the Aphanius and Macropodus.

Like Aphanius, Fundulus also prefer harder water. My ponds were originally filled with tap water (hard where I live) but that was two and a half years ago and I suspect the rainwater will have diluted it somewhat (whenever the pond overflows) but to what extent I do not know. So far both species reproduce well. I have seen younger ones of both species emerge again following winter. Not seen any adults but hopefully they also pulled through. I plan to test the water and add some mearl to harden it a little, if neccesary. I can recommend the julisia. I have experienced all three species to be quite shy but out of them, I see julisia the most as they hang out just below the surface. I got mine from a breeder in Germany. I hope you can find some!
 

Tyko_N

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That sounds very promising @killi69 , sorry I missed it I really must read through your journal again one of these days. The water here is soft (something around 5dGH if I remember right) but evaporation and no input from rainwater should increase this slightly, and with some coral sand or similar this will probably be easy to raise to a suitable level. I have some experience with shyer fish, a freshwater butterfly fish and a peters elephantnose, and I got both of those to feed out of my hand, so hopefully I can coax the killies out at least at feeding time to do a head count. With the protection of the greenhouse they should also have nothing to fear (no birds flying directly above for example), maybe this can make them a bit less shy? If the only thing appearing from above is a friendly giant with a jar of tasty morsels :)
 

Tyko_N

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Short update: I "had" to go away for a month (some interesting work trying to steer adult trout using water currents, as part of a project designing solutions for downstream migrating fish), so the pond got a bit neglected. No fish in there yet but before I left I dumped in a fresh batch of Salvinia, which is still looking good and spreading, as well as some Calla palustris from the garden pond. I have tried the C. palustris indoors before, unsuccessfully, so we'll see how it does here, it got some aphid damage on some of the growing tips but is otherwise looking well so far. Of the early additions the Ceratophyllum is filling in despite being smothered in an increasing amount of algae, while the Cyperus is now putting out new stems all over the place. Around the back edge I have planted some Lysimachia nummularia to help cover up the plastic, and I'm working on getting the bog section to the left into shape, so it's all starting to come together.

Other good news is that despite the top part of the greenhouse reaching temperatures well above 30 'C on an almost daily basis (at least if we get some sun), the water temperature is still fairly cool at around 15 'C. Hopefully this will not rise to much over summer, with the pond being set in the ground and with more and more shading from the plants, which should help keeping my fish choices fairly open.
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Tyko_N

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One of the first residents have left the pond, probably a good thing that I don't have any fish in there yet.
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It most likely hitched a ride when I added some mud from the garden pond, to seed this one with some copepods, daphnia, etc. Along with the dragonfly I also had some Callitriche sp. turn up, which were doing well the last time I checked (despite all the algae). It certainly helps to have an established pond where you can get your freshwater equivalent to live rock from.
Dammen.jpg
 

Tyko_N

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Current looks:
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No big differences compared to earlier, apart from a small fern (maybe Thelypteris palustris) rescued from a nearby clearcut. The plants are filling in nicely, especially the Azolla, so I removed the Salvinia since there should be enough surface cover by now without it (and the Azolla is winter hardy unlike the Salvinia). The water is still relatively cool, about 24C today, pretty good considering the top part of the greenhouse has peaked at above 45C on a daily basis this last week, we have had unusually warm weather here though. The fish plans are still on hold, because a new visitor has turned up:
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Not sure how she made it inside the greenhouse, but she has been hanging around a few days now (needing rescuing out of water cans twice so far) and I got her to take a few mealworms, so she won't go hungry. Any small surface dwelling fish would probably also go down a treat though, so those will have to wait a bit.
 
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