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Robyn's 20 Gallon Tub Pond Page

Last Updated: 3/23/22

20 Gallon Tub Pond on 9/25/98.

See my Pond Showcase page on this pond.

Physical Attributes

Set up May, 1998
Above ground
20 gallon Lerio tub
Originally, it was half filled with dirt, topped with pea gravel, and then water and about 10 gallons
Redone on 5/11/03 with fresh dirt, pea gravel, etc.
Later, I took all the dirt out (in 2005 I think), and it has stayed out.


Mosquito fish - 6 adults and dozens of fry and their fry, surviving 91 moved to 50 gallon rubbermaid tub with de-icer for winter by 10/18/98.

In late May 1999, I added a dozen or so baby white clouds to the tub. There were also many green frog eggs and tadpoles. Beginning in October of 1999, I began moving dozens of tadpoles to the 50 gallon lotus tub for the winter (to be later moved to the newest pond) and moved white clouds into my basement pond (9 were moved by 10/24/99).

No animals.

Green frog eggs and tadpoles. I did not put them there! I moved all 200-300 of them to my 1800 and 153 gallon ponds on 10/16/01.

2002 and 2003:
No animals. I did add 3 female and one male guppy to the pond on 5/17/03 from the basement pond but the temperature dropped, killing them all within days. Tropical fish do not always do well outside especially when it is almost summer but the weather was like early spring! On 6/7/03, I put in 12 newborn zebra danios from my 40 gallon tank but I doubted they would make it. I never found any that made it.

I put wood frog eggs in the pond in March and they started to hatch in early April. By late May, they are getting big.

I did not add any animals. The frogs did not lay any eggs. That spring, a lot of daphnia appeared in that pond. On 9/29/07, I put some of the water under a microscope. The pond had a lot of seed shrimp which are larger than daphnia, move fast, and look like clams with hair around the edges. I also saw what I think was a copepod swim by super fast.

So far, there were no animals except a few leeches.

I put a few wood frog tadpoles in there at the end of March.

2010 to 2013:
No animals were added.

The lizard tail that I put in this pond on 5/4/14 contained goldfish eggs.

On 3/19/16, I moved two batches of wood frog eggs from the 153 gallon pond to this pond.

On 2/26/17, I found a mass of eggs (most likely wood frog eggs) which I moved from the 50 gallon tub pond to the 20 gallon tub pond since the 20 gallon tub pond was already cleaned.

I moved two wood frog eggs masses from the 50 gallon tub pond to the 20 gallon tub pond and another six masses from the 153 gallon pond to the 20 gallon tub pond. The 20 gallon tub pond is the only one that I have cleaned so far. As soon as I clean the others, I will move eggs/tadpoles back over the other ponds. It is nearly impossible to clean a pond when there are newly-hatched wood frog tadpoles (or any kind of tadpoles for that matter) in there. They are just too tiny to remove without killing many of them. They will take a few weeks to hatch and then be slow to grow at first so there should be time to get things back in order.

I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond on 2/25/18. There were no surviving animals. I moved 8 batches of wood frog eggs in to the pond until I can get the 50 and 153 gallon ponds cleaned.

On 3/4/18, I moved another three wood frog egg masses from the 153 gallon pond to the 20 gallon pond. It is getting crowded!

I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond on 2/24/19. There were two dead green frog tadpoles but no live animals.

On 3/24/19, I cleaned out the 50 gallon tub pond, and I put some green frog tadpoles and Melantho snails from there in the 20 gallon pond.

On 3/15/20, at 1:40 pm, I started cleaning out the 20 and 50 gallon tub ponds. They were cesspools as always this time of the year. Unlike most years, the snails and tadpoles were alive in there, making the cleaning more tedious as I wanted to save as many animals as possible. There were hundreds of pond snails so I didn't worry too much about some of them being lost or dying but I picked out those that I could. I foundone large one in the 20 gallon pond (they were all put in the 50 gallon pond when done). Both ponds had copious hornwort but no surviving anacharis.

On 3/15/20, I repotted one iris in the 20 gallon pond in a 2 gallon pot.

I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond on 3/14/21. I found one Melantho snail and a few sprigs each of anacharis and hornwort but nothing else.

I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond on 3/6/22. I found two Melantho snails which I tossed in the 153 gallon pond, and one small sprig of hornwort but nothing else (unless you count three bricks). When I was done, I moved some anacharis from the 153 gallon pond to the 20 gallon pond. I plan to use the pond to hold some wood frog eggs when they are laid before I can get the other ponds cleaned. I did just that. Some hatched in that pond, and I moved the bag to the 50 gallon pond on 3/21/22.


Colorato blue tropical lily that the mosquito fish ate so much that it died and never set out a floating leaf even. I do not put lilies in tub ponds anymore.

Neptunia (they said it was but it looked like water celery to me!!), water poppies, green taro, anacharis, hair algae, and duckweed. I tried to overwinter some taro and poppy inside. The taro made it but when I moved it back outside to the tub, it died!!!

Water celery, cuttings from my repotting of Albata, Comanche, and Chromella lilies (put out small leaves but no flowers), hair algae, and a few miscellaneous plants from my other ponds.

Water celery. Also, water lily leaves were still there amazingly.

In 2001, I redid this pond from scratch with fresh dirt and gravel to again be at least a partially tropical pond. To it were added a white snowflake, a dwarf cattail, an unknown lily (mentioned above), a green taro, and a dwarf papyrus. So, it was a partial tropical tub with some hardy plants as well. I got rid of the invasive water celery in the pond itself. The water celery covered the ground all around the pond! In July, I added an orange canna as well which did not amount to anything. I would try to overwinter it so it might do something next year. I brought in the green taro, dwarf papyrus, and orange canna on 10/7/01. The papyrus and canna were potted into one gallon pots and set into the 20 gallon basement pond. The taro was too big with four huge leaves. It was potted into a two gallon pot and topped with gravel. I would add a little water daily to keep it waterlogged but it was not in a pond.

On 4/30/02, I put the taro back outside into this pond. It was in bad shape with aphids all over it and three wilted leaves. The pond also had water lily leaves and lots of dwarf cattail. On 10/13/02, I used a lot of force to get the now huge taro out of the tub pond. I potted it into a two gallon pot and put it in my basement pond for the winter.

I bought a new lily (Indiana, orange changeable, small kind) for this tub pond which I redid with fresh dirt, pea gravel, etc. on 5/11/03. I added the green taro kept in the basement pond to this pond on 5/17/03. On 5/29/03, I added a dwarf papyrus and variegated tropical water canna that arrived. With the cold, rainy weather, the lily was barely alive and the other three tropical plants I thought were dead. By 7/31/03, I could say for sure that the only thing alive in the plant kingdom in this pond was the new lily (not doing great, no flowers) and duckweed.

On 5/5/04, I added the last of my regular tropical taro and two tropical water cannas from the basement that I overwintered. As of 5/14/04, they were not doing so well!! As of 7/7/04, the deer kept uprooting and eating the canna. The taro was barely alive as well. I should give up! On 10/10/04, I pulled out the tiniest pieces of taro and canna left. The canna was stored in damp sphagnum moss and the taro potted into a one gallon pot and put into my indoor tub pond for winter.

On 3/20/05, I emptied this tub pond out. It was a real cesspool. On 3/25/05, I put in a one gallon pot of one of my water lilies repotted from my 153 gallon pond (I do not know which variety) and a one gallon pot of either blue or purple flag iris also repotted from my 153 gallon pond which I elevated up on a brick. I was tired of having the tub pond half full of dirt topped with pea gravel. With the deer and shade, nothing has grown well in there for so long that I gave up on that. I figured putting in plants I would have tossed anyway would not make too much difference. Since they were potted, the pond would stay cleaner. On 3/26/05, I put in a half a bunch each of hornwort and anacharis. It turned out that this all was not a great idea as every other night, the raccoon knocked over these pots and filled this pond full of dirt. Somehow, the wood frog tadpoles survived all that and were growing. Update on 6/2/05: The iris was doing okay. After repeating un-pottings by the raccoons, the waterlily was barely alive. The wood frogs (who are growing legs) and daphnia continued to do well.

On 3/30/06, I repotted the 1 gallon pot of iris and put in a new 1 gallon pot of a hardy waterlily. On 4/23/06, I added in a bunch of anacharis and half a bunch of hornwort for the wood frog tadpoles to munch on. By 6/1/06, the iris was getting ready to bloom. The raccoons knocked it and the lily over so many times that I actually could not find the lily tuber at all so it was basically dead.

On 10/29/06, I bailed this pond out. I put the 200 some green frog tadpoles, wads of anacharis, wads of hornwort, and a few snails into my 153 gallon pond for the winter. I put the pot of iris back into the pond and filled it back up. The lily was no where to be found, the pot empty with potting media all over the bottom.

On 3/29/07, I repotted the one gallon pot of iris in this pond. It was set up on a few bricks. I changed the water. On 9/3/07, I pulled some yellow flag iris out of my 1800 gallon pond since I had too much of it and needed room. One bare root (jumped the pot) chunk, I stuck bareroot in the 20 gallon tub pond. It was just sitting there. I dare the raccoons to un-pot this one! It was huge and, of course, has no pot!

On 3/23/08, I cleaned out the 20 gallon tub pond. I used my OASE pond vacuum to suck out most of the gunk and dumped the rest. I found one empty pot (rocks all over the bottom), one tiny piece of sweetflag, and the huge mass of yellow flag iris. It was free (not potted), and I left it that way. It was so big that it actually filled up half the 20 gallon tub! I cut off some of its roots and dead leaves. I figured since the deer and raccoons would not let any other plants live, I might as well enjoy the yellow flag iris. It should flower for me. The animal inventory of this pond consisted of a single leech I found (not saved).

On 4/12/08, I put some java moss from my 50 gallon tank (too much of it) and the floating fern and duckweed from my 5 gallon tank (which I tore down) in to the 20 gallon tub pond.

On 3/22/09, I cleaned out the 20 gallon tub pond. All that was in there was the huge mass of yellow flag iris which I returned after changing out the water. On 4/1/09, I added some extra purple or blue iris from the 153 gallon pond bareroot to the 20 gallon tub pond.

On 3/28/10, I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond. That involved lifting out the 30 pound mass of yellow flag iris and then shop vacuuming out the water. I did not think there was anything living in there and saw nothing special. That was until I used the shovel to cut the iris up and almost cut a green frog in half! I put the guy in the 153 gallon pond. I removed some extra roots and otherwise cut the yellow flag iris mass in to about two equal parts and tossed one of those. I put the few bricks back with the bareroot yellow flag iris back in and filled the pond back up.

On 3/13/11, I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond. I removed the yellow flag iris but did not divide it this year. The bricks had grown in to the root system! I did a 100% water change. There was no sign of other animals or plants.

On 3/8/12, I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond. I pulled the yellow flag iris and did not divide it. It now fills almost the entire pond. I removed the one brick in there and put the iris back after changing the water. There were a few pond snails but no other animals.

On 3/14/13, I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond. I pulled out the huge mass of yellow flag iris which filled the entire circumference of the pond and half the depth. It was too massive for me to try to reduce its size with a utility knife or shovel. I vacuumed out the rest of the water, put the iris back, and refilled it. It only took 15 minutes. There were no animals.

On 3/23/14, I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond. I pulled out the yellow flag iris and hacked at it for 20 minutes. I could not make any progress. Since there was also terrestrial weeds including multiflora rosebush growing in it, I just tossed the entire thing away. When I repot the yellow flag iris in the main pond in the fall, I will put some in this pond. In the mean time, there is nothing in the pond but the brick that I found embedded in the middle of the tangle of iris roots. The iris mass filled the entire pond, and it was time to start over.

On 3/27/14, I cleaned out the 153 gallon pond and repotted the iris. I put all the bareroot extra pieces of iris in to the 20 gallon pond. The pond was half full but we got a ton of rain so it was full by 3/30/14.

On 4/10/14, I repotted the Chromatella waterlily in the big pond and put two extra pieces loose in this pond as I do not know what to do with them.

On 5/4/14, I repotted some lizard tail and put a massive bunch in the 20 gallon tub pond. It stays upright whereas the water iris tilt to their side and probably won't do well. I expect the lizard tail to flourish though in this setup.

On 3/29/15, I cleaned out the 20 gallon tub pond. The lizard tail was still dormant. I cut it back a lot and anchored the roots to the bottom with bricks.

On 3/13/16, I cleaned out the 20 gallon tub pond. I bailed down the 20 gallon pond. I found 16 green frog tadpoles and one adult predaceous diving beetle (Acilius mediatus). There were no plants left. All those animals would be put in the 50 gallon pond after I cleaned it out. On 3/20/16, I moved some wads of java moss to this pond from my 50 gallon indoor aquarium. I was just going to toss it otherwise as the tank is choking with it.

On 4/17/16, I potted up some purple water iris in a two gallon pot and added it to the 20 gallon pond on bricks. The wood frog tadpoles seem to like it.

It was 68 degrees F on 2/19/17 so I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond early! I found 14 green frog tadpoles, about 6 pond snails, healthy java moss, and a two gallon pot of water iris which I did not repot.

I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond on 2/25/18. I did not repot the two gallon pot of iris due to lack of time but did put new gravel in the top of it. I put in some anacharis and hornwort from the 153 gallon pond since that which was in the 20 gallon pond had all died when the pond froze solid for weeks.

I cleaned out the 20 gallon pond on 2/24/19. There was the one two gallon pot but the iris in there appeared to be deceased. I just put it back. It looks like it was last repotted in 2016! When I clean the 50 gallon tub pond, I will try to replace the dead pot with a pot of live iris. There were some barely alive sprigs of anacharis and hornwort that I put back in.

On 3/24/19, I stuck a piece of loose iris from the 50 gallon tub pond in that empty two gallon pot in the 20 gallon pond.

On 4/1/19, I put a bunch of bareroot purple iris in the pond from repotting in my 153 gallon pond. I did not want to just throw out the excess.

On 3/15/20, I repotted one iris in the 20 gallon pond in a two gallon pot. It would not survive the year.


Photos are listed from newest to oldest.

20 gallon pond after cleaning on 3/27/14.

Yellow flag iris blooming in my 20 gallon tub pond on 5/24/13:
Yellow flag iris - close-up
Yellow flag iris - from a distance

Yellow flag iris flower in my 20 gallon tub pond on 5/17/13

From 3/8/12:
20 gallon tub pond after cleaning.
Three ponds - left to right the 50 gallon tub pond, 20 gallon tub pond, and 153 gallon liner pond, facing north
Three ponds facing northwest, 153 gallon pond in the front, 20 and 50 gallon tub ponds in the back

Photos from 3/13/11:
50 gallon tub pond before being cleaned.
20 gallon tub pond before cleaning.
Yellow flag iris pulled out of the 20 gallon tub pond.

20 gallon tub pond - on 3/31/10, cleaned three days earlier.

Photo of the tub pond following its cleaning on 3/29/07.

Photo of the tub pond following its cleaning on 3/30/06.

Photo of the tub pond with water celery and extra lilies, 8/11/99.

Photo of tropical tub with taro, duckweed, and water poppy, 9/25/98.

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