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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks!

I have been wanting to make a ricefish (aka Medaka, aka Oryzias) patio pond for a couple of years now. I held off doing it before because either my kids were too small to be trusted around them, or we were in a rental unit and I didn't want to deal with the consequences of breaking one down. BUT Now the time has come!

If you are not familiar with ricefish, they are basically some of the first pet fish. They have been bred in japan for hundreds of years and are typically kept in little "pond" pots. In Japan they are incredibly common but they are much harder to find in the States. Here is a video from the guy who first introduced them to me:



Anyway, the plan is to make the pond itself, and to make the filtration as well. Filtering a pond is pretty easy, but this is a small pond and I want to add UV so there is that added bit of complication.

Building material for the pond is 2x8 lumber. I decided on a pond that is 36 inches long and two boards wide (roughly 17.5) inches and 2 boards high. This gave me internal dimensions of 36x14.5x13 or 29 gallons of actual water space.

Here is a picture before I added any trim:



Next I added some trim pieces to the corners made from 3/4x3" pine. At this point I use a deck stain/sealer and painted the entire structure, inside and out. Then I added the pond liner. There is a bit of a trick to folding the pond liner corners which my brain couldn't figure out till I watched this video (not the best produced, but very helpful):


Once the liner was in I stapled it on the top rim and then added the final wood trim pieces to the top edge to cover up where the line attached.

With that done I put the pond in place, and added some pond root tabs to the bottom. The brand I used is called Thrive but its hilariously a different brand of "thrive" then what nicolg makes.



Then I added substrate in the form of some safe-t-sorb mixed with aquasoil. I've had this stuff lying around in buckets since my failed 150 gallon dart frog build and was very happy to put it to some use.



For the mechanical/biological filtration I am using a flower pot filled with lavarock. In order for this to work I need a pump in the base of the pond that will push water into the flowerpot underneath. The water will rise through the lavarock and spill out as a water fall back into the pond. To get started though I needed to widen the hole on my chosen flower pot to accept a 1/2" bulkhead.



I started with a dremel and a sanding drum but the drums wore out too quickly. I switched to a grinder drum and that did the trick.



Next I installed the bulkhead, filled the pot with lavarock from the hardware store, washed it a few times, and then put it in place on a little stack of bricks to hold it up.

A trip to my local fish store (which is currently also selling pond plants thanks to the season) got me 2 water hyacinth, a small palm, and 2 pots of dwarf sag for the bottom. I also plan to buy a lotus at some point. Here is how it looks now:



I've ordered but not yet received a 400 gallon per hour pump, and a submersible uv light. Once received I can complete my filtration.

I'll update again once I get in more stuff!
 

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Very cool!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Followed for progress. I love ponds and I'm currently breeding the 'Miyuki' strain. Do you know which ricefish you're going to use?
I will be using oryzias latipes. I bought some 'king red' a couple of years ago. Currently only have 2 females remaining. But recently got in 9 juvenile 'orange' ricefish. About 4 or 5 of those actually look really nice. I haven't decided if the others in that batch will be used in this tank as they look pretty pale for 'orange' ricefish. Waiting to see if they color up over the next few weeks.
 

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Yeah they probably will. Usually fish lose their colors in transport due to stress, and they do develop color as they grow as well. But I'm sure you knew this already.

Have you seen 'Daisy's Ricefish' aka 'Oryzias woworae'? They're pretty colorful and easily available.
 

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Interesting. I have always kept them at around 72-74F but that's indoors. I'm also in a temperate zone so the temperature doesn't have the same variance as maryland. I'm wasn't aware of where you lived, but I just took a look. I should have considered the cold weather.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah they probably will. Usually fish lose their colors in transport due to stress, and they do develop color as they grow as well. But I'm sure you knew this already.

Have you seen 'Daisy's Ricefish' aka 'Oryzias woworae'? They're pretty colorful and easily available.
I've seen them online a fair amount but in person only once. My fish local fish store had some a couple of weeks back and honestly I seriously considered them. I didn't know they were tropical either. Now I'm glad I didn't get them. Here is a picture of the ricefish I just got in. They are in a 5 gallon while I wait for the pond to cycle.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That's how nice your holding tank is.
Thank you! I've been keeping this tank up and running for around 9 or 10 months now. Its been a breeding space, and tadpole raising mostly. Before the ricefish it just had shrimp and snails in it waiting for the next thing.

That looks very nice! I love the idea. How do rice fish behave? I’m thinking of some for a tank.
Ricefish are extremely peaceful, so you can keep them with other community fish. Despite being killifish they are not jumpers. The ones I have are temperate fish so they do not need/want a heater and in fact the only time I've had real health issues with them was when I used a heater. They are also top water fish. They are pretty uninterested in eating anything that isn't floating on the surface and while they explore a whole tank they will spend more then half the time in the upper 1/3rd of a tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update!

It's been about a month since I last updated. I also realized that I never posted the 'complete' picture for the pond. Shortly after I last posted the pond finished it's cycle and I also added some 'golden moneywort' I bought at Lowes to the filter area. Here is how it looked:



With the cycle finished I added the fish and they have been doing just swimmingly.........

Anyway I have seen at least one of the fish carrying eggs in the morning which is very exciting. I haven't seen any fry yet, but hopefully they are not far off. Unfortunately it appears as if I have been scammed slightly by the seller of these fish from aquabid. I was supposed to get 5+2 orange medaka. What I actually got was 4 orange medaka and 5 white medaka. The white being a much more common breed. Oh well. Nothing I can really do about it. I originally thought I would keep the white ones apart but I realized I didn't have an orange male sooo... yeah, I just got to roll with it.

Anyway here is how the pond looks now after a month of growth:





The moneywort really took off growing hydroponically which is fun! It's also starting to do exactly what I wanted, in that it is creating longer parts that I can trail over the edges of the pond. Eventually it will just be a giant mound of plant mass that covers that whole side.

My water hyacinth has also exploded and will need to be 'trimmed' shortly. When I do that I will need to put the bits I'm removing into a bucket or something to catch any hatching fry since this is what the roots look like:



A careful eye will see a few different eggs in there (though I think they are all bad). I don't know if there are good ones around or not but I will need to be careful all the same.

Overall I am very happy with how the pond is going and looking forward to hopefully and finally breeding these darn fish ;P
 
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