Some of you have attended my “Take the Park Home with You! Creating Backyard Wildlife Habitats” program in which I discuss how to create your own low maintenance container pond out of a flower pot in order to attract wildlife to your backyard. These ponds can either be dug into the ground to be flush with the ground or can be standalone ponds. Including aquatic plants in your small pond ensures that your water will be oxygenated and clean without the need for expensive and finicky filters.
For several years, I have had a container pond of my own. Recently I moved from a first to a second floor apartment, so my pond had to be dug up from the shade and become a standalone pond on a sunny cement porch.
I made sure that there was adequate shade for my pond both above and below water (thanks to a firebush and some dwarf lilypads), “inoculated” the pond with micro organism life courtesy of a Nalgene full of Hillsborough River water, and then decided to add some native mosquito control…mosquitofish! These wonderful little fish are great at eating every mosquito larvae that is unfortunate enough to hatch in their ponds and the great part is that as long as you have a freshwater fishing permit, you are allowed to collect them according to the University of Florida. Given that my pond is small (10 gallons) I collected 2 mosquito fish for my pond (and a killifish, another great mosquito control fish decided to come along for the ride, I discovered later).
Container pond v.1.0 Can you find the river frog?
Flash forward to today when I peer into my pond to check on my favorite mosquito munchers only to discover tiny mosquito fish swimming around. I was trilled! Not only has my pond served as a drinking source to birds and the occasional bath to frogs (both terrestrial and tree) but now I had proof that my tiny habitat was a successful fish nursery! And if you’re wondering what will come of the young mosquito fish, yes, my pond is too small to support them all, so once they’re a bit bigger, they will be released to the Hillsborough River where their parents came from.
…Or, if anyone needs mosquito fish for their own pond, just let me know!