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Pico Pond (and everything else!)

The flowering has begun in the ponds!




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Hi all,

I love the Anagallis tenella and I didn't know that Luronium natans had such a good flower.

cheers Darrel
The Anagallis looks really impressive in full bloom, I have to say! Also the way it gently creeps into every nook and cranny.

The Luronium has great flowers! Unfortunately they rarely last longer than a day since they get eaten by snails. 🙃
Beat the heat
I type this semi-breathless as I inhale fumes from hell...

I was a little concerned about the effect of the hot weather on the ponds but I have to say, I needn't be. The terracotta pond does get warm but because of the massive surface area, it doesn't stay hot. Fish and plants are doing great. I removed 99% of the Callitriche stagnalis because it was losing its way and attracting a lot of algae. I've since replaced it with Duckweed which I very much like the look of - it hugs the margins in a very natural way.

The ground pond actually stays very cool, I think thanks to the ground itself and the depth of it, considering it doesn't have a large surface area ratio at all. I've not recorded temperatures above 22c. The fish are breeding and the plants have really gone to town!

I added an airstone to my widowsill pond which I have been running without any equipment for months until the hot weather came along. I've heard it helps with keeping temperatures down due to surface agitation. I think it has helped. This tank is in a South facing window so is most vulnerable!

It's also been subject to an aphid attack. My solution has been to just leave it be. I can win a war against aphids and so far there hasn't actually been too much damage. I've left some plants as sacrificial ones and that seems to have helped reduce the overall impact. The most noticeable effects are the curling of the leaves on the Lysimachia nummularia, the stagnation of the Houttuynia cordata and the occasional premature yellowing of a few leaves on the Oenanthe javanica.

Oh contraire...
Before keeping crystal shrimp in this pond, I researched the tried and true methods and came away thinking it might not actually happen for me. My setup went against all the advice, including from a very comprehensive guide here on UKAPS.

However, despite not following a fair few of the guides, the crystals and cherry shrimp have had shrimplets in there. Same water, no tech, just plant power. One of the reasons I love this hobby is that we can push boundaries and find new ranges for both plant and livestock care.

The temperature ranges from 18-30 depending on weather (although it hasn't been through winter yet), the TDS is currently 88 (with evaporation) and both shrimps seem fine. Nitrate is almost always close to 0 unless I dose (which I do from time to time with TNC Complete). I feed them a few times a week with Fluval Bug Bites and top of with RO when the water evaporates.

I've also accepted that I now have a root carpet! I think it looks quite similar to dwarf hairgrass so mission accomplished! 😅

Apologies if this is incoherent 😅
If I were you, I would drain the tank so it can be carried and put it in the coolest part of the house on the floor and leave it until this first smile of the apocalypse passes.

If that’s still too hot, freeze some 500ml pucks of ice and periodically add them after a small cold water, water change.
If I were you, I would drain the tank so it can be carried and put it in the coolest part of the house on the floor and leave it until this first smile of the apocalypse passes.

If that’s still too hot, freeze some 500ml pucks of ice and periodically add them after a small cold water, water change.
Tbh I think they'll be fine, they're much hardier than we give them credit. I think moving them and changing all that water will be more stress than the heat can deliver.
Not for long.
You're so right 🤣
Not a bad thing at all.
Honestly I think it looks really nice, and requires zero effort on my part!
I’m so jealous of your beautiful lily (among other aspects!): mine is really struggling in my half barrel pond - the leaves get to the surface then decay, or I think are being eaten? Any tips?
I’m so jealous of your beautiful lily (among other aspects!): mine is really struggling in my half barrel pond - the leaves get to the surface then decay, or I think are being eaten? Any tips?
I'm not sure what actually causes that. I have another lily (Princess Elizabeth) in different container pond and it was doing the same but then stopped. Not sure what changed!
Utric Me Once
I just realised, all of these emersed projects have featured Utricularia in some way. Why am I so obsessed with this thing? 😂 I guess for me it's the borderline perfect texture it creates when it's fully grown in and dense.

I had some wood pieces I got from Aquarium Gardens last year that I knew I would use for a little shallow display at some point but hadn't made the attempt until now.

After doing it several times now, separating Utricularia graminifolia into tiny portions and spreading it thinly is the superior method. You get good even coverage and quick results!


I actually quite like look of the DOOA Tropical River Soil. I don't think I would want to use it for a big tank but for emersed projects like this it's fine and I think contrasts the green quite nicely. I don't think the UG will have a problem adhering to it either, despite the grain sizes. I also ended up using most of the Littorella uniflora I had saved for the iwagumi and bits of Utricularia sandersonii from a previous thing. I like the wild grassiness it adds. I'll add some more plants and maybe some moss once the UG is a bit more settled.
Little update on the Utricularia garden. I think it's been about 6 weeks since the setup and it's completely uncovered now. I top it up with RO water every other day and mist occasionally. The plants seemed to take to ambient humidity really quickly and without skipping a beat.


I had some issues with melting in random spots, it almost looked like glue... Maybe some fungal or bacterial thing since it would develop really rapidly. I removed as much as I could and topped to the container with RO that had some ADA Phyton Git Sol which I think helped? Should also keep cyanobacteria at bay. I think the ambient humidity helped more though.


I also added some springtails for mould control and they are still in there even fully uncovered.

I added some spare Eleocharis acicularis 'mini' for a contrasting finer texture, as well as some Ranalisma rostrata (which looks like it's about to flower) and Susswassertang.


Although the Utricularia has spread I noticed it hasn't grown as vigorously into the soil as the last time I tried. Possibly because the lighting isn't as strong, or maybe it's something to do with this soil. I'm not sure! But it still looks nice. I keep wanting to add more plants but I think this is a lesson in discipline and refinement. Less is more sometimes.
I've grown Utricularia graminifolia emersed a few times now and never had this issue with this snotty growth that is melting patches of the Utricularia. At first I thought it was happening to the shaded parts, the hypothesis checked out until patches directly under the lights came under attack.

Does anyone think it could be bacterial or something else?

I have that (or something similar) with my U. graminifolia as well, and always like yours; right at the waters edge. I haven't seen it do any harm to the Utricularia though, other than blocking some of the light. My fertilizing regime tends to be a bit slapdash, so maybe it's a nutrient imbalance? Bladder snails helps a bit against it I think, at least they dislodge pieces when they root about in it, but the best method to reduce it seems to be to vary the water depth a bit so that it alternates between completely submerged and exposed to drying air.
Hi all,

I think it might be a cyanobacteria, something like a <"Nostoc spp">, these often produce a lot of "gel" ("secrete polysaccharide-rich mucilage").

cheers Darrel
I thought about this too. When I give the last soak I added a few drops of Phyton Git Sol which worked when I had the classic looking Cyanobacteria. Hopefully it works on this snotty stuff!