By following the principles of the Walstad Method for dirted aquarium fish tanks, you can create a lovely, easy to maintain tiny pond for your pet fish perfect for keeping on your porch, balcony, or backyard patio.

Some of the pros of keeping your pet fish outdoors include:

  • Full access to sunlight for maximum growth of aquatic plants
  • Availability of bugs and flying insect pests who may drown or otherwise get caught in your fish pond to provide additional nutrition for your pet fish
  • Ability to have the fish pond refill itself on rain days or access to a water hose for pond refilling
  • Potentially more space for a larger pond/outdoor aquarium setup than is available to you indoors

Choosing A Container to Create Your Outdoor Fish Pond

Fish are very easy to keep, low maintenance pets when they are provided with a proper environment with a balanced ecosystem. In fact, goldfish that I hardly ever feed are growing very quickly in their little kiddie pool fish pond without any additional help from me.

Although adding plants to your outdoor fish pond is an important part of creating a healthy ecosystem for happy, thriving fish, creating this environment in a water-holding container that is capable of giving a home to the wonderful bacteria that are the heart of an aquatic ecosystem will give you the most balanced, easy-to-care for patio fish pond.

I recommend using some sort of stone, leak-proof container if that is available as this natural material makes an excellent home for nitrifying bacteria. High quality plastic can also get the job done if compensated for with robust submersed plants and a small riparium to provide additional plant roots that will also become homes for nitrifying bacteria.

Dirting the Floor of Your Mini Patio Fish Pond

The goal of adding soil to the bottom of your patio fish pond is to have a substrate that is heavy enough to keep the roots of your submersed and immersed pond plants firmly anchored into the floor of your outdoor fish bowl, while also creating providing a substrate that can absorb nutrients (like fish waste) directly from the water, cleaning the water for your fish so that it does not become toxic and poisonous to them.

Adding Floating Plants In Your Patio Fish Pond

Depending on what sorts of fish you plan on keeping in your outdoor aquarium, there are a lot of options on floating plants that will not only give your fish shade from the sun and protection from birds and other would-be predators, but that can also provide another source of food for your fish.

Goldfish are very fond of both, duckweed and water hyacinth. Both are very fast-growing in warm weather with good sunlight, although many do not like the look of duckweed, which is very difficult to eradicate once it is added to your fish pond. Due to its quickly reproducing nature, I’ve found that when keeping goldfish in an outdoor pond, duckweed is a really great option if you don’t mind a green surface on your water, or plan to clear out duckweed regularly to compost or, in my face, feed to my bottomless runner ducks.

Creating Your Riparian Or Wetland Area For Your Patio Fish Pond

Though it is perfectly possible to create a patio fish pine that does not have a riparian or wetland area for plants, that is equally as much water as land, I have found that being able to add very large, semi-land dwelling plants helps to better anchor the soil the floor of your fish pond while providing additional shade and protection to your fish.

This wetland area for your pond also helps to prevent your face from being washed away and heavy rains by slowing the water as it leaves your fish pond. There are also some types of fish that enjoy hiding out in this area for breeding purposes or to hide from larger predators, and it also will attract its all insects and wetland wildlife that will further balance the ecosystem of your patio fish pond.

For patio ponds that are seasonal that you’d prefer to be easy to break down for the winter so that you can move your fish indoors once the weather gets cold, you can also use water-loving, bog plants in planters, top them off with thick layer of small river rocks or gravel, and sink them into your patio pond at the proper depth. Follow the recommendations specific to your plant as plants have different tolerances for water submersion.

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