Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A little water garden update! I thought I'd fill in some details and answer questions that came up after the last post. Generally the fish and plants are thriving. Whenever I part the fairy moss that's floating on top of the water, the fish scurry to the surface, like this little guy::

Since there's no filter or aerator in these gardens, you have to maintain a high water to fish ratio {about 10 gallons of water for every fish}. That's enough fresh water to keep their waste diluted and allow it to recharge at a fast enough rate for everything to stay healthy. The ammonia is broken down by bacteria and the nutrients in their waste act as a fertilizer for the plants. As I mentioned before, the fish will eat insect larva and I see them nibbling on some of the plant roots. Since they were so efficient at clearing out the insects that were in the water, I thought they might get a bit hungry, and so I bought some goldfish flakes and have decided to feed them once a week or so.

As for the plants, they are growing like gang-busters. I don't know if you can tell from the photo above, but this garden started with the three large water lettuce plants, and now we have five additional baby water lettuces! I didn't expect them to expand that quickly, but my plan is to harvest some and send them to my sister's in Philly ~ it's a water garden revolution!

As for algae in the pots, we've been slime-free so far. One of the sources I was reading said that you should expect to get some algae a couple of weeks after you set up your garden, but that would die down as the system itself settle {for example, if your water has a lot of nutrients, you may get an algal bloom, but as the nutrients are taken out of the water, it will die down}. We haven't seen anything yet, but I know that having all of the floating duckweed and fairy moss help to reduce algae because they shade the water, blocking sunlight necessary for the algae growth.

So there you have it! Now we're just waiting for the water lilly to bloom...

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