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Water Gardening, Koi Ponds and a Veggie Filter (Vegetable or Aquatic Plant Filter)

Water plants in a pond are almost a necessity although of course koi keepers might just disagree because koi and nothing else are the focal point in many koi ponds. Koi keepers will never disagree on the importance of pond plants in any pond situation ... it's just that they insist upon sparkling, clean and clear fish ponds disturbed by nothing except those living jewels called koi, resplendent in their colours shape and movement.

Koi pond enthusiasts often install what they call a veggie filter outside the main pond. This is often just a small holding pond through which water flows before reaching the waterfall. The holding pond or veggie filter (short for vegetable filter) is packed with aquatic plants. Water percolating through the veggie filter becomes lower in nitrate content since the plants take up the nitrate as nutrients.

The top five (5) plants for vegetable pond filter are suggested to be as follows ..

  1. The Norfolk Reed also called by its Latin name, Phragmites australis. It grows fast which means it uses up nitrate and phosphate nutrients quickly and during daylight also produces lots of oxygen so can be genuinely called an oxygenator aquatic plant.

  2. Sweet Galingale or Cyperus longus ... plants like this spread rapidly and can be controlled by easily cutting right down to the roots.

  3. Soft Rush or Juncus effusus

  4. The Bulrush (Scirpus lacustris)

  5. The Flowering Rush ... Butomus umbellatus. As the name suggests this does produce a flower.

Veggie filter plants described above would normally be classed as marginal aquatics. These grow in bog type areas naturally or on the edges of ponds and lakes and slow moving rivers. Most marginal plants are available from tall reeds to low growing ground cover and are planted using simple pots or specially designed planting crates (plastic pots but full of rectangular slotted holes). Just place the planted aquatics into the pond on ledges or in a specially prepared holding pond as described for a koi pond above.

Some people even use box filters and turn these into veggie or vegetable planting areas. This enable water to be continuously pumped through the box and back into the pond.

Water cress has often been used as a suitable plant for removing nitrates employing the simple principles of a vegetable filter. Water cress can become a problem since it is capable of growing rapidly and "taking over" and once installed can be difficult to eradicate. Excess nitrates will make it flourish wonderfully well.


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