March Meeting

Saturday, March 26th, 2022 at 2:54 pm

In GWAPA’s (first?) hybrid meeting, people either traveled to Josh Wiegert’s house or tuned in via Zoom to hear him talk about Stock Tubs for Tropical Fish and Plants. Those who attended in person also got to participate in an auction. Hopefully going forward, GWAPA can go back to fully in person meetings!

Why stock tubs? They are small, affordable, and effective. They are also temporary and can be moved. Stock tubs can even be made out of a kiddie pool. They do have a few issues that you need to watch out for. First, since they are shallow, they can get very hot and need shade. Second, you have to watch out for kiddies who want to play in the kiddie pools!

You can also purchase PVC pools to use as a stock tub. They are relatively inexpensive. PVC pools usually have a pump and a filter included, but Josh recommends throwing those away and purchasing a better system. They can get punctured if you are not careful, but they can be patched fairly easily

When purchasing a stock tub, some come with a drainage hole in the bottom, but often the hole is not the right size for PVC plumbing. However, the hole is very useful for emptying the tub. Stock tubs are lightweight and can be purchased online, however shipping can be expensive. Farm supply stores are your best bet.

You also need circulation for your pond, and also a filter to keep it clean. The circulation may also help prevent mosquito larvae from living in your pond. If you want to be fancy, you can get sand filters. They break down all of the waste and are easy to maintain. Unfortunately, they can be pretty expensive.

Most plants will grow up and out of the tub. These plants are where you will get flowers. Putting your tubs on cinder blocks will help them come out of the tub. Just make sure that most of the pot is underwater. Lily pads are great for stock tubs. They come in a variety of sizes and colors. However, they won’t overwinter in the tub. You’d have to try and leave them in wet newspaper in the garage during the winter.

So you have the tub, you have the plants…now what? Add some fish! According to Josh, Koi are considered the quintessential pond fish, but they are terrible pond fish! They are too large, they root up the bottom, and they eat plants. A better option is a round-body domesticated goldfish… if you want to feed the local wildlife. The even better option is comet goldfish. They are more streamlined, but they can still get large and eat your plants. 

Moving away from the goldfish-type fish, there are so many different fish that will do well in a tub or pond. The best option is White Clouds or other small minnows like Rosy Reds. They can overwinter, stay small, and won’t disturb your plants. There are also some “surprising” cold weather fish such as Australian rainbow fish, ornate rainbow fish, and weather loaches. You can also do tropical fish like Cichlids or Apistogramma, tetras, barbs, or danios. Another option are livebearers such as Swordtails.