The cooling sound of running water on a warm summer’s day can be particularly attractive in the subtropical garden.
Ponds and ornamental pools need to be large and deep (at least 500mm) or the fish “fry” and aquatic plants will boil during the heat of summer. Depth also protects the fish from birds and avoids the use of unsightly netting or wire. However the pond can’t be too deep (more than 3 metres) or you can get layering occurring during warm weather which can lead to serious water chemistry problems.
Mosquitoes can complete their lifecycle within 4 days and Ross River Fever is cause for concern. Placing fish in a pond can eliminate this problem, but it is best to avoid bird baths, tires and trays under plants in the garden unless you can spend a lot of time in the garden.
As well as goldfish, many subtropical and tropical fish do well in ponds. These include platies, swordtails, sailfins, guppies (not mosquito fish), white cloud mountain minnows, paradise fish, rainbow fish, rosy and golden barbs, Texan cichlids, oscars, black sharks, Buenos Aires teras, paleatis catfish and algae eaters. Some of these fishes are smarter and more interesting to watch than the popular goldfish. Counter to popular opinion Bromeliads and Musoids (heliconias, bananas etc) seldom harbour mosquitoes as they are home to microscopic carnivorous crustaceans.
[Extract from article presented at the ABC Gardening Australia Live QLD, April 2003]
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