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Wildlife Barrel Pond advice?


We recently set up a half barrel pond with a water lily, fibre optic plant, some butomus umbellatus and iris and 3 bunches of hornwort for oxygenation (hopefully that is enough)? We have been having some issues with the water going murky and smelly!! We also had lots of mosquito larvae in there, so decided to empty it out and refill the water today. Added some pond equaliser and a bit of dish washing liquid (read this would help with the mosquito issue). And have ordered a little solar pond fountain and pond klear treatment hopefully this will help but any tips or advice would be much appreciated as we have never had a pond before!

Thanks! ☺


  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 334
    Don't empty and refill it!

    It will go murky in the first few weeks. You've got the oxygenators in there. Let them do their business and allow the pond time to equalise. My neighbour has a tiny little pond which had an awful colour and stench to it. I donated some forget me not and hornwort and it cleared up in a few weeks.
  • Oh dear, we did empty and refill it today 😔

    I see, i didn't know that. thank you for telling me! Wow that is great. Thanks again for the advice!
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 334
    You're welcome.

    Our own pond had an algal bloom shortly after being built but, similarly, with a bit of planting to give competition for nutrients (which in turn deprive the algae) and, in our case, a filter, we got it to be crystal clear. There are 'quick fixes' like barley straw and pond clear tablets and droplets but give it time first and then use those only if required.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    The mozzie larva will come back soon as mozzies lay in ponds. If it's a problem, you can buy mosquito 'bits' or dunks which targets only the larva and no other wildlife. You only need a teaspoon of it for a small pond
  • I've just put a barrel pond together this past week! My first wildlife pond attempt using a water feature reservoir didn't go as planned so I took the easy option and went for a half barrel. I ditched the water from reservoir and put new water in from the hose, adding some tap water conditioner to get remove unwanted chemicals. Don't ask me how, but when I had a look a couple of hours later, there was a diving beetle in there. No clue how it got there so quickly. I also have a lot of mosquito larvae despite the pond only being filled for a few days 🤷‍♀️ There is a little algae and groups of bubbles on the surface which look as though they're going to turn into something manky but I'm just going to leave it to its own devices. I've got a couple more oxygenators arriving tomorrow so hopefully that'll help!
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    "tap water conditioner"?
  • @Astraeus i will definitely give it some time, this time to sort itself out. I am excited to see the solar fountain in action, whether that helps or not it will be a nice addition 😀
  • @Fire I have heard of those for indoor plants! Thanks for letting me know i didn't know they could be used in ponds, hopefully the solar fountain will stop them though 🤞
  • @februarysgirl it was our first attempt at a wildlife pond too! Oh I didn't put any tap water conditioner? I watched a few youtube tutorials and some people didn't use any... so hopefully I didn't make a mistake there! Wow they found it fast!! Good luck 😊
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    There's a bit of a myth that mozzies don't like running water. I have found this not to be true at all. I got a fountain pump for that reason for my mini pond and it didn't make the slightest difference. I am allergic to the bites, so have had to find ways to mamange them or I would have to take the pond out. Dunks have worked well for me.
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