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Stock Tank Fishpond - Part 3 - Fish and Plants

Posted 6/11/2021

The stock tank fishpond is done and we are enjoying our little spot of tranquility in the city! All the planning,  labor, and expense have been worth it. Everyone in the family gravitates to this little water feature every time they go into the backyard. Hanging out on the deck has become a little more interesting and fun, and yet also more relaxing. I want to share with you the living part of the pond build; the plants and the fish.

If you missed the first or second parts of the Stock Tank Fishpond build, find them here:

Stock Tank Fishpond - Part 1 - The Build

Stock Tank Fishpond - Part 2 - DIY Biological Filter


For me, the whole purpose of having a pond is to have plants and fish. Watching my goldfish happily swim about brings me peace and I am always excited to watch plants grow and bloom. I think part of the allure is that we are only able to enjoy a pond for about half of the year due to our frigid winters. Being able to sit outside and observe nature in spring and summer is special. The following video was taken shortly after completing the pond. It captures the soothing sounds of the waterfall and shows my goldfish adjusting to their summer home.

The Plants

I have added plants and I anticipate them growing and spreading to cover more of the open water. Most of the plants flower and I am looking forward to some color later in the summer. I am not super familiar with pond plants and this year will be a trial on what grows well in this environment. Keep your eyes out for an update later in the year on how the plants have done. Here is a little information on the plants I have added. 



1.  Black Louisiana Iris (Iris louisiana 'Black Gamecock') - produces black/violet 4-6" velvety flowers during midsummer.

2.  Water Calla (Zantedeschia aethiopica or Arum Lily) -  when in bloom in the summer, the flower is actually the yellow upright spike in the middle. The white or colored portion of the flower is a modified leaf (spathe).



3.  Scarlet River Lily (Schizostylis coccinea or Hesperantha coccinea) - boasts bright red, star-shaped flowers in late summer and early autumn.

4.  Common Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) - produces lavender flowers on 6" high stalks during the summer.

5.  Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus Fluitans) - most information about these floating plants is about growing them in an indoor aquarium. Time will tell how they do in a pond. Under direct light the leaves should turn a deep red.


Bonus Plants:

Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) -  a small floating plant that can be hard to distinguish from a Red Root Floater. These were donated from one of the Girl's aquariums. I am not sure how they will do outside. They can produce tiny, spiky white flowers, but I have never seen them.

Duckweed (Lemnaceae family) - hundreds of these tiny floating plants came volunteer with the Red Root Floater but most have already been eaten by the goldfish! I am hoping a few will survive and propagate.


The Red Root Floater and the Frogbit are undergoing a hard 'melting' phase as they adjust to being outside and in direct sunlight. Many of the leaves are yellowing and dissolving. There are some plants that are hiding under the edges of the deck frame and I hope that they will adapt and start to reproduce. Under the right conditions, any of the three floating plants could flourish and need thinning out to prevent them completely covering the tank surface. Fingers crossed that I will have that 'problem'.

The three potted plants should be repotted into larger aquatic baskets to allow them to thrive. It is on my list of things to do; I am watching to see how well they grow in their little pots right now. 

All of the plants are frost tender, plus I am planning on emptying the pond come winter. I am toying with the idea of overwintering the plants inside. I would need a grow light and I would need to find adequate space. It is currently only a passing thought but it is growing a bit more every time I contemplate it.

If the fish were larger - or there were more of them - and more waste was being produced, I might be able to get away without fertilizing the pond. However, I will need to feed the plants in this tank. I will be using a liquid form of nutrients that will also encourage the algae growth on the tank sides which will help hide the blue color. 


The Fish


The fish are very happy to be out in the pond and are doing great. I am currently teaching them to come out of hiding when I tap the deck boards by tapping the boards whenever I feed them. The pond is a very rich and interesting environment for them. They can munch on plants and plant roots, pick through the gravel bottom, hunt for insects, and play hide-and-go-seek in the driftwood.

The fish are all new to our home having been gifted to me from the Boy and the Girl in April. They had been living in an aquarium in the house until recently so I was able to observe them and get to know them before they were put outside. I have pictured them all on both sides so I can see the differences in them when I bring them back inside this fall. (Except Zoot. I somehow missed getting a picture of Zoot's right side.) Goldfish are known for changing color as they mature and I am interested in seeing this. Dr Teeth and Zoot are Sarasa Comet Goldfish; Sgt Floyd Pepper and Janice are Shubunkin Goldfish. They are named for the four members of Animal's band, the Electric Mayhem, from the Muppets. The Shubunkins looked underfed when I got them and seemed a bit misshapen because of this, but they quickly gained weight in the aquarium and were in great shape when released into the pond. Over the next few years, each of the goldfish could reach about a foot or more in length and I expect a large amount of growth out of them this summer. 


Dr TeethDr Teeth






Sgt Floyd PepperSgt Floyd Pepper





Now that the fish are in the stock tank, I have to look a little harder to tell them apart. They are growing more already and seem to be flourishing. With proper care, I hope to see them live at least ten years. 


All four fish in the pondAll four fish in the pond


To complete the pond, I have added pieces of driftwood, large rocks, and gravel to the bottom. I have a wood trellis in one corner that rises out of the water to allow any bees, mice, or other creatures a way out if they fall in. I have seen a few water beetles swimming about and the sound of the waterfall has caught the attention of some birds and brought them into our yard. I am happy to see a little more nature moving in.


So there you have it. My request for my family to build me a little water fountain to sit on my deck has become the fishpond you see here. I could not be more thrilled with the development of the project. I am sure that the pond will continue to change and grow as I alter the aquascape (gravel, rock, and driftwood) in the tank and purchase different plants each year. I may stain the wood frame in the future but for now I am happy to see the wood change color with weathering. I know that this little pond will bring enjoyment to our yard for years to come. If you are in the neighbourhood, stop by for a visit and I will introduce you to the Electric Mayhem.



Check back for updates later on how this stock tank fishpond matures.

Happy Summer to you!!

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