I am so glad my spouse talked me into using the above ground container approach as opposed to digging a hole in the ground in our backyard. The agreement was …we wound see how it went as a test case with the option to expand later if successful and easy to manage long term.
Using aboveground containers allows me to see up close and very personal all the plant and animal activity at eye level. A ground level pond seems like it would be less visual and interactive as a hobby. Being a scientist myself I enjoy learning how stuff works. I am constantly looking up and learning new stuff.
There are just a few challenges … managing water quality, mosquitos breeding in standing/stagnant water and rapid algae growth (up to 5 feet a day). Using the container approach water quantities are smaller and easier to manipulate and maintain utilizing small water plants known to filter the waste nutrients from the water rather than a physical mechanical filtration system.
I keep Mosquito Fish in my containers and they eat the mosquito larve before they grow into flying mosquitos that can transmit infected blood that can cause serious diseases/death to humans and animals. Another mosquito management approach I found at most nurseries is a product called Mosquito Dunks. Biological mosquito control ie not a man made chemical and won’t hurt fish or aquatic plants.
Algae grows rapidly in sunlight and standing water and appears in three basic forms in pond like environments (1)green water- single celled free floating makes pond look like “pea soup” (2) the long thin green string or hair like type and (3) slime – the kind that grows on the sides of container and rocks etc. I am mainly growing Lotus plants and Lilly plants which thrive in a still environment so a waterfall or moving stream design are a bit incompatible unless you have lots of property to provide both together.
All this information is available via the internet with simple searches.
A list of plants shown in the Large Water Pot – Lindsey Woods Purple Lilly, Parrots Feather, Dwarf Parrots Feather, Mosaic plant, Water Hyacinth, floating clover and Azzolla. A Bamboo fountain that utilizes a small “micro” water pump (25-30 gals/hr). The one shown is a solar fountain pump and only works in direct sunlight (tho it has a long cord and can be easily moved around) and we love it, tho at night no sound of water trickling.
Almost any container can be turned into a water garden by simply plugging the whole of any pot using GE Water Proof Silicone.
Bricks are used in large pots to raise/adjust the plant water level needed for each plant to thrive. Most aquatic plants are kept in containers and don’t typically get planted or grow from “the bottom of a pond” as one would suspect. Water plants don’t typically co-mingle in the same shared soil similar to the way land plants do. In nature there is a natural transition from pond bottom to shallower water then into Bog plants.