Greenhouse Pond Pros/Cons?

maryhmMarch 20, 2008

Today I ordered a 16' Rion Greenhouse 40Series. I'm in Durango, Colorado (zone 5b) and we get about 300 days of sun a year. But nights can get really chilly (-10 in winter, high 30's spring, mid 40's summer). I've been reading about how to heat this thing, and see that using bricks and water as heat sinks is a popular thing to do. I'm thinking of building my shelf bases out of cinder blocks and painting them black. And I love the idea of having a pond in the greenhouse- the whole concept of pond=heat sink, fish produce waste to water the plants with, etc... But is this a feasible idea? I know I'll still have to supplement with a heater (I've been told 30,000 btu), but are there any particular advantages/disadvantages of installing a pond? If it's a good idea to install one, any idea of how many gallons it should be to be the most efficient?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I got my 24' Rion yesterday and once I get everything set up I also plan on adding a "pond" although mine will be above ground (2' wide x 6' long x 3' deep) and made with landscape timbers. Mine is this size out of pure convenience.

I'd also like to hear any feedback on pond sizes, etc.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 10:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wetfeet101b(z9 Riverside - So Cal- USA)

If you have a dedicated space for it inside the greenhouse, a pond would be a nice addition. It should provide some supplemental humidity for those dry periods and depending on the volume, could assist in buffering the temperature swings.

The only apprehension I have about having a pond populated with live creatures inside my GH is that I spray fertilizer on my plants. Any run-off that ends up in the pond could be fatal to the pond creatures.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 2:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

I'm in the process of removing a pond inside the shadehouse which is 12x25. The "pond" ' around 2x6.
The first problem is placement obviously you have to put it along a wall otherwise you havre to walk around it . Along a wall and you can only access one side. Even this small size consumes a lot of floor space. Viewing is limited.. There is waaay to much shadowing to grow good water plants . Above ground is better but mostly the same problems lol At least you won't accidently step into
Two years ago I started a 150 gallon aquarium which I find far more useful. Obviously this has to be set along a wall due to the size but you have 3 viewing sides so you actually get to see the plants and Filters are easy to get to and a large range of accessories are available. I use the space above and behind the aquarium for a watrfall and marsh garden..
i find it sooo much more useful than a pond
Would never again setup a pond that can't be accessed from all sides.!! gary

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 6:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bihai(zone 9)

I have a 50+ gallon pond, a separate 20 ft stream that ends in about a 35-50 gal still pool, and and making a small drop fall that goes into a stone basin. For me, I definitely love my water features. They add a very natural look and feel to the greenhouse. I keep goldfish and minnows in them to eat mosquito larvae, and I have water plants I would not be able to have year round. They also add the sound of water flowing, which is nice (I have a small gurgling waterfall on the stream and a spitter on the pond) and they add humidity as the water evaporates. Both are lined in black liner, and the water absorbs heat in the day and sends it back out at night.

Even if you only have a container water garden, it can add to your ambiance, with a nice arrangement with maybe a water lily and some pretty aquatics, or a beautiful lotus.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 8:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Original poster here....

So I called the company I ordered the greenhouse from and upgraded to a 24'. Being a serious fish person who has been missing my aquariums for the past year+, I definitely want to put the pond in, and I think I'm going to need that extra 8 feet of length in the greenhouse so I'm not so cramped. The next question is this:

Does it make a difference heating wise if the pond is buried in the ground or above ground? I want to make this thing as heat efficient as possible.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 10:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use my GH pretty much exclusively as a fish room and had about 800 gallons running all through winter, but I honestly can't say the water made much of a difference in either warming the air or adding humidity to it.

The GH tanks didn't need topping off any more often than did those in our basement and the house furnace has a very large humidifier on it.

Aquarum water from water changes did make what plants I keep in the GH very happy though.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 11:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


What methods are you using to heat your greenhouse? Are your fish tanks above ground or below?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 11:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bihai(zone 9)

I think whether your water features contribute to the humidity in your air depend largely on the temperature of your greenhouse, the depth of your water, and your air circulation system. I keep my greenhouse at a minimum of 55-60 at night during the winter, and without heat, just from the sunlight, its 75+ in winter and the exhaust fans run most days almost daily in winter. I have a lot of evaporation during the winter and have to replace the water level frequently. In summer, the attic heat above the 10-12 ft level (I have a 20 ft ceiling) can be 110-120+ and the ambient temperature at eye level is about 85. Again, lots of evap.

My pond is only a foot deep, the still pool 3 ft, and the stream 8"-1" depending on where you are at in it.

I find my heating bill was lowered when I added the water features. But I guess that's just me. I also wet down the entire greenhouse daily winter or summer, to add humidity.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 5:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)


That is really great to hear. I planned my gh with extra footage and had my pond pre-dug prior to building the walls. I dug the pond 4' deep 5' wide and 7' or more in length. I do plan on keeping my outdoor koi in the pond over the winter months thus eliminating the need to heat my outdoor pond.

I hope it increases the humidity and throws out a bit of heat during the evenings for me. I did not fill the pond in this year but will have it completed for next winter.

I totally agree with adding to the ambiance of a gh. It's a bit I have a cobalt blue porcelain like globe that you place a small pump in and the water bubbles up through the hole. It's gorgeous...I have a Japanese Maple that will weep over my indoor pond thus creating a beautiful place to sit and read through my gardening books. ;)

Good luck with your pond Mary....AND good idea ordering a larger gh.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 9:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


My GH heating is simple to explain, but it takes a lot of words, which I have already posted and I don't wish to bore the others.

If that old post is still around, I'll see if I can find it and give you a link to it.

My GH fish tanks are all all standard glass, on racks. The largest currently in use are 125 L's and 55's, until I get my center rack/work table installed, where I'll line up a bunch of 10's & 15 L's.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bihai(zone 9)

I think it would be really cool to have aquariums in the greenhouse, kind of like making it a cool pet thing. But I don't have the knack for keeping them nice. I have a friend who has the most gorgeous aquariums. She has all sizes, huge HUGE ones and small ones, 5-10 gallons. They are always pristine, crystal clear water, no algae, all live plants, and the decorations she uses are so pretty, things like interesting pieces of submerged wood, cool rock specimens, and neato shells. I can only imagine the amount of work it takes to keep them in that condition, because I always thought I was working hard on mine, and they NEVER looked like hers. But it would be cool to have some kind of set up in odd places, peeking out from the vegetation, with cool things in them like freshwater eels and very unusual fish.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 5:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

A neighbor recently had a 225 gallon acrylic tank for hauling away. Maybe you could use it for your waterfall reservoir??. Only problem with it is some small scratches
The dim are something like 96x28x28 lol

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 5:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bihai(zone 9)

Wow that's big! I don't need a reservoir that big but thanks for thinking of me!
We have a friend who was very into coral and reef stuff for a long time. He got a specially made 500+ gallon tank from Canada and had a huge set up with special lighting, a state of the art filtration system that looked like something you'd see at SeaWorld, an air conditioner just for that room with a generator JUST for everything in that room in case of a power outtage (They live in Titusville)...I can't imagine the dollar value of it all.

In order to clean and place new corals and stuff he actually had to put on a wetsuit, snorkel and mask, get into a special "over the tank" harness, lower himself in and "hang" there suspended over the tank. (Can you say "Obsessed"??)

But it was extremely cool. It would take way too much space for something like that in my GH, but a couple small tanks would be neato.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 8:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


No reason why you couldn't keep a tank, or tanks in your GH, but a caution.... Keeping tropical fish tanks in a heated GH in winter is pretty simple and with less than 6 - 8 deg. of needed heat rise, any good quality tank heater will keep the fish happy.

However.... come SUMMER.... Let's just say that a slow decrease in water temp, even into the 60's, and most tropicals will survive. Let it climb above 90 however, and unless they are Discus, they will keel over on you.

So in your tropical climate, look to GH cooling before you commit fish to it, but one very large tank would be a lot easier to temp. control than a number of small ones.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 10:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

At 90 degrees most fish would be in trouble.
The O2 demand from the fish and biofilters will increase exponentially in warm conditions.. the fish will be more actively feeding etc.
As the water temp rises, dissolved oxygen levels fall.
The ability of the water to hold O2 is also reduced, so pumping extra amounts won`t be completely effective, unless its pure oxygen from a cylinder :)

Seperate self contained tanks are a somewhat different proposition to an open pond in terms of the exposed surface area causing heating/cooling of the water.
Tanks would be worse due to having more exposed area. Evaporation would be higher with the pond as the exposed water surface is likely larger than the seperate tanks combined.

A large volume of water is ultimately more stable than lots of small volumes.. especially in the ground :)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 12:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

I've kept a 150 outside now for two years.gets dappled sun ontil around 2 then complete shade. I use it for a reservoir for a waterfall as well as a watering system for orchids. i keep assorted plants in it as well as tetras barbs ,swordtails algae eaters. have been rather surpised at how successful it is just as an In spite of all the light, and runoff from the ferts. it stays almost algae free. The biggest best looking plants I've ever grown lol. have read so many dire warnings of keeping aquariums in sunnlight.
i connected it to the 5x10 lily pool last year to see if i could maintain temps through winter. Used 1500 watts of standard aquarium heaters. As long as temps stay above 40 it works fine but a low of 35 caused the whole system to fall into the 60's This is easily taken care of by putting bubble wrap on the pool and styrofoam on the tank.
But i wanted to use the system to warm the air for the orchids
35 was the low and I feel winter is over so didn't get much of a test. Was hoping to do away with the space heater and warm everything with the water.
Maybe more WATTS lol

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 6:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bihai(zone 9)

Currently I do have fish in the ponds and streams in the greenhouse, but they are native minnow "mosquito eaters" that I captures from the creek on our property, and "feeder" goldfish I got at Petsmart, LOL. Nothing too tropical

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 7:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

bihai: The difference for me, is that excepting only some young Wakin I wintered in a 125 and will put out in a few weeks, all of the fish in my GH are very much tropical and frankly, rather pricey, so I honestly can't afford to risk wild temp. swings.

Ergo, the elaborate (and effective) set-up, to insure a steady temp. all winter. My next large challenge will be summer and as well as the insulation and existing cooling system worked last year, I may still use a portable AC on some execptionally hot days.

However, with just one tankfull of fish worth the cost of the electricity to run an AC unit for a week, it's not really that extravagant a move. Of course, there are always ice cubes. LOL!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 9:12AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Suggestions for shade cloth for HF 10x12 GH
What do you recommend for use with GH having veg and/flowers?...
Subterranean Heating/Cooling System - Continued
This is to continue the discussion from the previous...
GH Tomatoes - 2015
Yeah!! We opened our GH this week for the 2015 season....
Convertible/Multipurpose Green House. Is this a good or bad idea?
I want to have a multipurpose enclosure around my backyard...
I want a greenhouse but I'm not sure where to start?
I want a greenhouse to keep bigger animals like rabbits...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™