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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone this is my first post. I've got an idea for a project, and I'm not sure how crazy it is. I'd like to use this copper planter and glass canister to create a patio pond. The 1 cup measuring cup is just there to help with size referencing. The planter is 15" high and holds approximately 10 gallons. The glass holds about 3 gallons.

This is a rough plan of what I'd like to pull off, the plants picture are just for effect and not representative of any exact species.

I plan to purchase a very large terra cotta pot to make up the bulk of the aquatic habitat (hereafter referred to as pond pot). The pond pot will be as large as I can find that will fit in the planter while leaving a little room for soil between it and the planter. I'll drill large holes into the base and sides of a smaller terra cotta pot, and put it upside down in the pond pot, to create a stand for the glass. I'll then put the glass upside down on the stand, fill the pond pot with water, then suction 3/4 of the air out of the glass. Inside the glass I hope to put a floating lily or lily-like plant. Outside the stand I'll plant immersed aquatic plants and outside the pond pot, in the planter I'll plant bog plants. I hop to get a Paradise fish, which will be able to swim from the main pond, through the holes in the stand, up into the glass. I'll put in a small pump, that'll draw water from inside the stand and put it out at the surface to create circulation (not sure yet of what type of feature I'll use here).
So that's the gist of what I'm planning. My main concern, about the logistics of if this is even possible, is will the stand, made of a terracotta pot with holes drilled in it, hold the weight of the glass filled with 2.5 gallons of water? Plan B is to use thin cinder blocks to make the stand.
Other things I'm wondering about while I'm still in the pre-construction phase are
1. will using a spray sealant on the metal planter harm the fish, keeping in mind that the water will only have contact with it after seeping through the soil and terra cotta pot?
2. I hope to get a pond pot that's taller than my planter. If I can find one then I'd like to paint/seal the portion that's above the planter. What is the best way to do this while keeping it safe for the fish?
3. Anything other possible problems that I haven't even considered that anyone can think of?
I'd love to hear any feed back and/or suggestions. Once I figure out exactly how I'm going to put this together I'll probably post about types of plants and the paradise fish.
 

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Children Boogie
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Sounds awfully complicated. Think of how you would maintain this. Keep it simple (kiss).

As you know,Chicago weather isn't conducive for such a plan without a heater. Ice will blow up anything glass.

Look at your sealer closely. You can paint on epoxy pool sealer but a glazed terra-cotta pot will work without any seals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your suggestions. If I go through with this, it won't be going outside until May, then I'll probably bring it inside at the end of September. From what I've read Paradise fish are tough little buggers that love mosquito larva and tolerate temps from 61-80, I'll also probably put a small heater in for if it dips too cold at night.
I'm counting on the terracotta wicking water to keep a bog in the planter. If part of it is exposed above the soil line I'd like to seal the exposed portion, so I don't loose as much water to evaporation, as well as for aesthetics.
:icon_ques Is epoxy pool sealer safe for fish and does it come in colors?
I'd also like to use a product like Rust-Oleum spray on the metal planter to protect it from weathering. This would only have contact with the pond from water that traveled through the soil and the terra cotta pot. It seems that it would be safe but I'm just not sure.
 

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Clever idea, but I worry about temperature. Chicago may not be as hot as SoCal, but it can get hot, and you're essentially putting a fish in a solar oven. How will you maintain a reasonable temperature? in that glass? Or am I missing something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The summer heat is a concern of mine too. Most summer days don't get above 90, but it does happen. The location I'm considering is facing east and covered so it'll be in the shade except for the morning hours. I'm also hoping the dirt around the main pot will help a little with temperature control. If we did get a huge heat wave I might just have to bring the fish inside for a few days.
 

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Paradise fish are definitely extremely hardy (50's is probably closer to their lower tolerance temperature), but besides the issues mentioned above, I would not want a PF to be in a container that small...paradise fish are active and get to at least 3 inches before the tail, so even indoors I would not keep them in anything less than a 20 long. You are going to want a larger container pond if you intend to keep a paradise fish...
 

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Copper is deadly to fish.
No, copper is deadly to shrimp and invertebrates. Copper is a major component in Ich medications, and is NOT deadly to most fish.

Bump:
The other thing is there is little gas exchange. The fish won't be able to breath.
Unless I'm missing something, isn't the system open on the sides, all around the jar?

If it's sealed, yes, that will be an issue.

And frankly, now that I think about it, I'd be a little worried about the flower/plant in that jar, too. Either getting cooked or starved for gas. Not a big deal compared to the fish, but still.
 

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Children Boogie
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It does look like the sides are open to the air but the majority of if is taken up by the glass jar. I'm not sure if there's space for a pump or air line. Either way, this seems like a complex way to be unsuccessful. Get rid of the stuff in the middle.
 

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Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
Copper is deadly to fish.
No, copper is deadly to shrimp and invertebrates. Copper is a major component in Ich medications, and is NOT deadly to most fish
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Copper is deadly to fish. It might not be an issue using the copper container, but I would check into a little first.
The copper in ich medications is a set amount, used in a controlled environment, for a short period of time.
 

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Children Boogie
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Copper is toxic to most life forms in certain concentrations depending on the species. However, we use copper pipes to transport water into our houses. You don't see us or our fish & shrimp dying because the pipes have formed an oxidized protective layer where copper ions aren't in the water. That's what I understand.
 

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My LFS recommends putting a few pennies (older ones that are still pure copper) into every tank as an ich preventative. Not an issue for most shrimp, even, in these low concentrations. (I wouldn't risk expensive sensitive shrimp, but hardier cherries, amanos and ghosts have been fine in larger tanks with pennies in them.)
 

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Children Boogie
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My LFS recommends putting a few pennies (older ones that are still pure copper) into every tank as an ich preventative. Not an issue for most shrimp, even, in these low concentrations. (I wouldn't risk expensive sensitive shrimp, but hardier cherries, amanos and ghosts have been fine in larger tanks with pennies in them.)
Yeah, you're not suppose to throw pennies into koi ponds either. While cooper metals will form an oxidized layer, acids or salts will corrode the layer releasing copper ions into the water.
 

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The raised water bubble thing looks like it might be problematic. I imagine you could adjust as needed by threading a bit of tubing/air hose up there, and sucking out/blowing in air to adjust the water level as desired, so that part might not be too difficult. However, I would expect it to get full of condensation, so it might look a little funny. Or it might not, worth a try...

A possible concern would be the size of that upturned glass jar, it looks like it would hold a fair amount of water relative to the total system, so if it got upset or something, that water could possibly overflow the outer bucket. Instead of stacking everything on a terracotta pot, it might be more stable (and easier to clean/maintain) if you made 3 notched legs out of something like pvc, attached to a block on the bottom.

I think sealing the bucket is probably the way to go, and filling with mostly inert material - the water will leach through normal terracotta. If you get a bigger pot, try getting moss to grow on the terra cotta, that would be a neat look. For sealing, I'd just use epoxy - they sell some intended for making counter/table tops by the sealant/varnish section in hardware stores, it's a pretty easy to use 1:1 mix, clean the bucket well, mix up a small batch, coat the inside of the bucket, let cure, repeat if necessary.
 
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