I recently wrote about the pond in my garden, and we are still not quite decided on what we should do with it. We thought that the ducks had finished off the remaining two fish we had seen, but over the weekend I spotted the sarrassa comet, so hopefully the ghost koi is still there as well.
But we don't just have fish in the pond. When I was visiting my family in Australia several years ago I was very impressed with a wooden half barrel planted up with water lilies and water iris, plus two or three goldfish. When my sister and her husband came to visit me a year or two later they bought one for me as a gift before they left for home. I planted it up with a miniature water lily and variegated iris and three goldfish. The barrel never seemed able to support three goldfish, always called Freeman, Hardy and Willis, so we usually just had Hardy and Willis. We bought a liner for the original barrel because for some reason it always leaked, but sadly last year the barrel rotted away.
I rather like my barrel of fish and we intended to get another wooden barrel. However, they were either very pricey, or did not have a good appearance, being intended for planting up. But, last summer we spotted a black plastic half-barrel, deeper than the original wooden one, which we thought would do. I planted it up again and we bought another Freeman, Hardy and Willis. Knowing the plastic barrel would not be as insulated as the wooden one I wrapped bubble wrap around the outside of the the black plastic and during the really cold spells I also covered it over with bubble wrap.
My efforts seem to have paid off - Freeman, Hardy and Willis are all doing well. The variegated iris is beginning to shoot and the water lily is reaching for the top of the water. Here you see Freeman and Hardy - Willis is rather shy. So far the barrel, which is deeper than the original, is supporting the fish. Of course, we will have to remove one if they get too big.
This is really a lovely feature for a patio - the grandchildren love it as they can see the fish close up and after a while they tend to become quite tame and will come to the top to be fed.