Water features are always an interesting and attractive addition to your garden. They are easy to set up once you have chosen the pot that suits you and your garden. Don’t worry if the pot has holes in it as they can easily be filled with waterproof filler. Obviously you must have a large enough clay pot that will keep the water cool enough during the hot summer so the fish do not boil. My smallest pot contains about 150 litres of water.
1. First job is to prepare the base for the pot to sit on; it must be firm as you do not want your pot to lean to one side. I usually use a crusher dust base with dry cement mixed through it.
2. Then you must hose out the inside of the pot to get rid of any loose particles.
3. Now it’s very important that the pot be sealed; my preference is for water based bitumen paint. Make sure the pot is dry inside then give the interior two coats within two days, then leave to dry for a minimum of 10 to 14 days. There are a number of sealers you can use, just visit your local hardware store for a selection.
5. Fill with water – I use tap water not rain water as tap water contains more mineral content, then use a chlorine neutralizer and a pond conditioner. I use a product from a pet store called ‘blackwater’- basically it ages water.
6. I then place a concrete besser block on the bottom of the pot with the holes free for fish to shelter and place the water plant pot on top of this.
7. Do not use organic soil, use soil with NO organic material added.
9. Cover the dirt in the pot plant with loose gravel as this will stop the dirt from making the water cloudy.
10. Put your fish in and a bit of waterweed and you have a beautiful feature in your garden. I find that platys, black mollies and swordtails do very well. Fish do not need feeding as they have waterweed and insects. I collect some of my fish from a local creek and they are very hardy and learn to live on mosquito larvae and any other insects that fall into the pot.
You will probably need to clean out the pot every couple of years so there’s not a lot of maintenance. If you are in Queensland depending on height of pot you may need to make it cane toad proof.