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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to set up a tub pond in my backyard for breeding livebearers, but I'm not sure if it would work. Here's my plan:
20g plastic tub (the round kind with handles)
Hardy, fast-growing plants for waste control
Pool filter sand (do I need this if the plants aren't rooted?)

Fish would probably be swordtails (koi or showa) or maybe wild-type livebearers. I'll probably add some ramshorn or mystery snails, too.

Is there any reason this set-up wouldn't work? And since I live in south Alabama, when would it be safe to put the fish in, temperature-wise?
 

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If I remember from some random survivor show, I thought it gets cooler as you dig farther down? And by a few degrees too. e.g. even in like a desert climate (which is where the show was at that episode).
Definitely would want something for circulation though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What kind of insulation could I use? Since our house is rented, I don't think I could put the tub in the ground. Maybe I could put some kind of cover over it to reduce sun exposure. Not sure how that would work, though.

And I forgot to ask, is the tub likely to bow enough to cause a problem? Also, do I need to be worried about dragonfly nymphs or any other fish-eaters getting in the tub? As for circulation, I have an air pump I could use, but I'm not sure how it would stand up to outdoor use.
 

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If you have a small garden or landscaped area, you could easily dig a small hole (you could always fill it back in with topsoil after your done).

I reference the garden or landscape area since you could purchase some terrestrial plants to surround the tub to give it some shade/cover.
 

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Children Boogie
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Flower pots with plants around the tub should work, styrofoam too, bricks too.

I'd give it all shade. Shaded area will still get 200 or so PAR of light, good enough for aquatic plants without extra CO2. Full sun is 2000 PAR.

The fish will eat any mosquito larvae and most of the dragonfly larvae. I have a little goldfish pond and I still find some larvae in the plants and filter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Digging a hole is not an option at the moment; this will have to be an above-ground pond. Believe me, if I could dig a hole, I would go all-out with a real pond, not just this giant bucket.

How exactly do you cut styrofoam to fit a round tub?
 

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Well, lets get something out of the way then, how tall is the tub? You could surround the bucket with mulch bags also. Two bags would probably be enough if you could ramp it up about 6-8" high. This should give quite a bit of insulation to the bottom of the barrel and the ground and should retain some heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The tub looks like this:
http://iandopartyrentals.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/plastic_tub_2.194132323.jpg

It's about 18" tall and it holds about 20 gallons if filled to the brim.

You can build a wooden box frame around the tub. Fill the in between space with mulch or soil. With soil, you can plant plants. It'll look better too.
That is a good idea, but I don't want to have to build anything with wood if I can avoid it. We don't have any tools, so I'd have to borrow from my dad, and, well, I'll spare you the details, but the end result would be that he would take on the project as his own and it would turn into the sturdiest, tightest, most level, most perfectly square, and most expensive dirt-holding box EVER.

Would the styrofoam be enough? What are castle wall bricks?

As an alternative, we have an old porch cover thingy way out in the back corner of our yard, away from any electrical outlets. If the tub could work without water movement or regular feeding, I could probably put it out there and it would have constant shade. Worth a try or bad idea?
 

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Children Boogie
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Actually, some used the exact tub here

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ponds/63991-wingsdlc-container-pond-update-6-4-a.html

the OP doesn't have any insulation but they're not from Alabama either. You guys get up to the 100's in the summer for a long period of time so an insulation of some sort is needed.

Eh, let your dad build the frame. It's only a frame. Or you can do it like lincoln logs. No building involved, just assembly. You can get wood posts chopped up at Home Depot to whatever dimension.
 

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I've been toying with doing the same thing. I live in Missouri. If your site has no electricity, you could use a solar pump. I was just wondering, if there is a problem with ick, since the temps are likely to go up and down. I really like the ideas that everyone has had for insulating.
 

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Gonna give my two cents. Let me give you a disclaimer first though. I don't have an outdoor pond. Never have. I had a trout creek in my front yard when I lived in california, but now I'm in MD. Nonetheless, I have experience in landscaping, AND Alabama heat/cold (good lord it gets cold in huntsville!) Some people mentioned bricks. Stop by Home depot/lowes/whatever. There are some landscaping bricks for building retaining walls, and flower gardens, without the use of mortar. There is a little lip on the bottom, back, of the brick, and they are designed to be able to curve around. I believe each brick is about 12 inches long by 6 inches tall.
Play with the bricks in the store to make sure you can build them exactly as you want (it won't take too many, since it's just a 20 gal. tub) In fact, last time I was at HD, they had the exact same tub. So you could even grab the tub, take it to the garden section, (near the pavers, usually in the back) and build the bricks around the tub to see exactly how many bricks you need, wether you like the look or not, and how much it will cost.

If you do use the brick idea, the sides will slope up at about a 60/70 degree angle. So if you make a circle with the bricks about 18 inches wider then the bottom of your tub, fill with mulch/dirt, put on the second layer of bricks, fill, etc. Your pond will be well insulated, plenty sturdy, cheap, and your dad will probably be proud of the work you did, as well as the money you saved (added bonus ;).

Also, there are enough bloody bugs down there to feed shamoo! I don't think you'll need to feed your fish too often at all!

Edit: Forgot to add, you can always throw in a tray or two of ice cubes in the tub before you leave for work/school in the morning. Once it warms up, that is. I'm not sure what the wether is doing in your neck of the woods currently, but up here in the north it looks like we might get a little snow tomorrow... I have no idea how many cheap-o walmart aquarium heaters it would take to keep the tub at a warm temp overnight in these conditions, but I'm sure one of the gurus around here could tell you.
 
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