Our Multifunctional Pond’s Amazing Journey: From Fish Waste to Food


Join Lindsey on a tour of Lynette Zang’s stunning urban farm pond. Showcasing its role as a rain catchment system, attracting diverse wildlife, supporting pollinators, and providing delicious, edible plants.


0:00 Filtration System
1:57 Pennywort
3:21 Yerba Mansa
4:18 Pollinator Gold Mine
6:32 Rain Catchment


Hi everyone, it’s Lindsey. I’m here in front of the urban farm pond where we keep our koi fish and we just have a beautiful ecosystem that attracts nature, is healthy for our pollinators, and does provide us with some food as well. So I’m just gonna give you a quick tour around the entirety of the pond and we’re just gonna point out some plants and some systems that make it all work and be beautiful.

So one of our newest additions is these lily pads, and these are a hearty purple variety. I believe they’re called Detective Erika.

Our friend Victoria was kind enough to install these for us, and Lily pads are a great plant for more shallow areas. We like to utilize them in this part of our pond, which is kind of the catchment system before everything goes through the filter. So this is kind of where the water cycles through. It’s a little bit shallower, but the lily pads like that, they don’t really like fluctuations and water levels, so this is a great place for them. They act as a natural biofilter for our pond, as do the rest of the plants, but this is especially nice to have them here just because this section of the pond does collect most of the fish waste and all the gunk that needs to be cycled through. So it’s not typically the most beautiful part of the pond. So it’s nice to have some cover to kind of distract from the process of filtration that’s about to happen. We also have some canal lilies and some water hibiscus that I need to deadhead, but you can see that one over there. Just a really pretty white hibiscus variety.

Pennywort, of course, we have pennywort everywhere here on the farm. It is an edible plant. It’s amazing in salads. It’s a great antihistamine it and it is pretty delicious. I just like cutting it up and putting it in salads. You can also cook it like a spinach, but it grows plentifully. It’s an amazing filter. If you’ve ever seen the roots on pennywort, they are extensive. It does an amazing job soaking in everything around it. So a little bit treacherous if you’re working in an enclosed aquaponic system. Sometimes it’s not my favorite thing to put in our aquaponic like tote beds because it is very unruly, but it does amazing here and it works really hard at filtering out. Also, something that I just wanted to point out is we have this bed used to run water through, and when we redid the pond, it got annexed out just for piping reasons.

So we filled it with soil and some fresh compost and I planted ginger and turmeric and you can see the first one starting to pop up. So I’m hoping that’ll be a nice pretty tropical addition to kind of mirror the cana-lilies. We’ll have some ginger and turmeric along these two beds.

Then we have some elephant plant. There’s yerba mansa, which is also edible down in here. That is this plant. Also quite extensive. I like mixing it in with other things just because sometimes it’s a little bit spotty on how it grows. It doesn’t grow quite as dense and uniform as the pennywort does. More cana-lilies. We also have some cat tails. At one point they kind of took over part of the island and when we redid all the islands, we got rid of most of it. I still think it’s a little pretty to have it as an accent, but it will take over. It will get very unruly very quickly.

Then we have some purple varieties. This is a really pretty cana-lilly. I also need to deadhead these <laugh>. Everything grows so quickly. All the water plants in the summer, they grow like weeds. I haven’t had to get into the pond yet to clean up anything. They haven’t really outgrown their islands. We have a lot less islands than we used to have, but definitely everything is still growing. You can see we have butterfly plant. That’s the one with the white flowers.

This is a pollinator gold mine. So you can kind of tell if we walk over here. I see dragonflies, I see butterflies, there’s some Butterflies and bees. The bees love this. I’m almost sometimes scared to clean up this area because there’s just so much going on and I don’t wanna disturb everything. We have some water spinach, so water spinach is a great green to grow in any aquaponic systems. We have this in our totes as well, and you just harvest the leaves and you could cook it like spinach or eat it raw and it has just a very, I think, delicate, just lovely flavor. So this is a great option even if you have a smaller system, it does grow very quickly. I put just like a section like this big with no leaves on it into one of our aquaponic systems the other day, and it already has a ton of leaves and is going crazy. So definitely a fast growing great food to be growing in. Your aquaponic systems. We have some wateri ris and umbrella plants. We like to have a lot of variety just to keep everything visually appealing, but then it also helps with the pollinators and different plants do different things. So some plants are more fillers, some flow over the edge to create that aesthetic. And then some are really amazing to eat or to be used as pollinator attractors.

And then these two islands are kind of just a hodgepodge of things. We have some cattails from yerba mansa, some canna-lilies, and then more pennywort of course. So this is just kind of a quick overview of our plants. Like I said, our friend Victoria came by just a couple weeks ago and she put in a lot of the plants that we saw first thing in our filter area. But as the summer continues, we’ll definitely need to do some thinning out and some maintaining of all these plants. They grow so quickly. We’re starting to get mama ducks, so hopefully we have some babies soon.

But the pond is a great way to attract different animals, a lot of biodiversity to our property, but we also love the edible component of it. It’s a great way to grow food aquaponically using a system that we, that has so many purposes so we can swim in it, we can eat from it, we attract pollinators to it and it all filters itself in a really natural way. So I hope you enjoyed this overview and I hope they gave you some ideas of what you can grow in your own aquaponic systems.

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