Somewhere a few eons back I discovered this…
Some amphibian or other had deposited eggs in a puddle (aka “vernal pool”) in my horse pasture/dogyard.
This made the local birds very happy, it looked just like a day at Red Lobster… or maybe more like Old Country Buffet.
Also the puddle was shrinking.
The puddle, unlike proper vernal pools that appear in spring (the vernal part) and stay long enough for tadpoles to develop legs and leave, shrank and filled, shrank and filled, dried up and filled and collected more clueless amphibians and shrank. Also dogs waded through it and horses drank from it (not like they don’t have a perfectly good water tank or two).
I collected the tadpoles, put them in my lotus pot.
That began to be inadequate, so I found a rubber horse tub, scrubbed and filled it, went to the plant store, talked to the pond guy, got fertilizer for my sad little lotuses and some plants for Tadpool Two.
I ended up with a floating plant (water hyacinth), submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) which is an oxygenator, also potentially food for tadpoles, and some arrowroot which looks like the wild arrow arum I see kayaking. That is an emergent aquatic plant, roots in the water, leaves above (like lotus).
I eventually put some river rocks on the bottom, planted the arrowroot in a thing I got from the plant store one year: it looks like a square sieve of black plastic, you plant your water plants in it and lower them into the pond. You can thus remove them easily for the winter. I didn’t have fancy soil but I did have beach rocks from the great horseshoe crab migration (rinse off the salt) and planted the arrowroot among the beach rocks. this also created a nice haulout for the froglets.
I seem to have acquired underwater snails, I have no idea where they came from.
The swarm of small bugs in the pond must have come from the puddle water, I saw them in the scoop when I was collecting tadpoles. They are either food for froglets or harmless. A mosquito dunk limits those annoying critters without harming fish or amphibians.