I'm planning on building a water garden on my south facing deck. I plan on having water cover plants and fish. I also plan on having the barrel elevated a few centimeters to allow air flow.

I'm located in the North West and I figure the spot I'm putting it gets about 7-8 hours of direct sunlight. Is this too much?


My plan is to get about 70% surface coverage with plants and have a couple of fish handle bugs. I've read that a 5 gallon a week water change will help keep the water fresh. If it doesn't work out, I'll probably add a small pump to keep the water surface moving.


1 Answer 1


Seven to eight hours of sun should be fine for a small collection of plants. Lotus or water lilies are not as likely to flower unless other conditions are optimum.

You have not mentioned how you intend to maintain water quality and that is the key factor that the amount of sunlight will play a part in.

If you just put some plants in things will work out fine for a while. Algae magically appears after a while and can convert your beautiful water feature into a green soup.

After a while it seems almost anything can encourage algae:

  • not enough sun
  • too much sun
  • soil in pots has more nitrogen than the plants can use
  • cool weather slows plant metabolism but not algae
  • shallow water features encourage algae due to higher water temperature

Plant them in coconut fibre or coir which does not break down readily. Keep the environment cool. Aeration from a pump and water stone might help or a pump with a filter. You will have to experiment to see what your microclimate does. Good luck!

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