Even if you only have a small yard, you can put a pond on your property. No, you won’t need to hire a bulldozer! Your pond can be as small and simple as a wooden tub sunk into the ground. Or make a slightly larger pond by hand-digging a shallow hole and lining it with thick black plastic. Ask your parents first, of course. Make sure the pond is located where it won’t be in the way, but preferably not under a tree where it can quickly get clogged with leaves.
A pond about 6 feet in diameter will hold a variety of plants and animals. Dig a gently sloping hole that is at least 16 inches deep in the middle. Make a narrow ledge for shallow-water plants to root on. Before laying down the plastic, make sure that no sharp rocks are sticking up. Pad those rough places with some folded newspaper. Lay the plastic in the hole extending it well beyond the hole. Anchor the edge with stones or bricks and fill the pond with water from the hose. Cover the exposed plastic with turf or flat stones, or both.
First you need to add plants to your pond. Different species root in different depths. You can collect these plants from other ponds. Next you’ll want to add insects. Dredge for insect larvae at the bottom of ponds, or purchase some at a pet shop. Once your plants are established, and insects are making their homes in and around the pond, you can add other animals. They will feed, of course, on the plants and insects. Once the right balance is reached, your little pond will almost take care of itself.
Your pond and aquarium will need the right kinds of plants to be healthy. Make sure you have plenty of plants that give off oxygen. Such as Canadian pondweed (waterweed) and arrowheads. Arrowheads and rushes and cattails do best in shallow water, so plant them on your pond’s edge. Plants that need deeper water include the pondweeds, and water lilies and hornworts. Let the plants grow for several weeks before adding any insects.
Add insect larvae dredged from ponds as well as water fleas, leeches, snails, hydras, and diving beetles collected from the water and from plants growing in the water. Once the insects are established, you can add other creatures, such as fish and frogs. Many animals will be attracted to your pond and make themselves at home.
[Image: Courtesy of Flickr user cleanskies]