If planning and executing the building of a backyard pond sounds too daunting or you’re just looking for something a step up from a bird bath, container water gardening could be for you. Practically any container can be used for your intentions. All you’ll need is some sealant and plenty of imagination. Urethane is a great sealer for wood, concrete and pottery containers. Neoprene paint is more expensive but gets the job done for bonding plastics and woods in doubly layers. Silicone can also be used as a glue for watertight results. Fortunately, all these products can be found at your local hardware or building supply store.
If you are looking to fashion a spouting ornament or a waterfall in your container, a pump will be necessary. Because the water flow through a small water feature may be only 50 gallons per hour, the pump itself and the cost will be small. Container pumps are submersible and usually don’t require filtration but usually come with an attachable filter screen. Be sure to support the pump either at the bottom of the container or suction cup it to the side of the container so it’s not just dangling by its cord. The pump should never be allowed to run dry as this will ruin it. Also, these pumps usually can’t withstand freezing due to cracking that will occur.
The rules and guidelines for keeping fish in a pond and a water container differ greatly. Because air temperatures and sunlight affect the water containers much more than a vast pond, choosing fish takes some consideration. Goldfish, for example, are cold water fish and would get stressed out and may even die due to higher water temperatures and the constant rise and fall of water temperature from day to night. Thus, tropical fish are a popular alternative. In most cases, water containers are dismantled during the winter at which time the tropical fish can be moved to an inside aquarium.
Popular fish choices for water containers include smaller species of the semi-tropical and tropical variety such as mosquito fish, white clouds, guppies, swordtails and Chinese algae eaters. Beta and Siamese Fighting Fish are also popular choices, although they live in solitary by nature. A general rule of thumb for stocking fish in water containers is on fish per gallon to avoid over-stocking. Containers are usually too small to provide enough food for the fish so be sure to feed them lightly with floating food that can be netted out if not eaten so as to avoid mucking up the water.