How to Build a Fish Pond
By Matt Smolsky
, last updated July 28, 2011
A fish pond can bring an endless amount of enjoyment to your backyard. The site of beautiful fish swimming, the peaceful sound of the water and the relaxing foliage in and surrounding your pond will become a mecca for quiet evenings and stress free days. Here are tips to help you build a fish pond. Building a fish pond should only take you a weekend or two of work. If you're an intermediate do-it-yourselfer, you shouldn't have any problems at all. You should, however, get some help from a friend or relative.
The first step is selecting a suitable location. This is very important. First of all, think about safety. If you have young children in the house, or if there are neighborhood kids who can access your yard, make sure the pond is visible from the house. This also helps protects your fish, since you'll be able to see predators. Pick a sunny spot that's far away from trees. Leaves and pine needles, not to mention intrusive roots, will wreak havoc on your fish pond's water and filtration system. You should also have easy access to electricity, either via a plug or hardwiring it to your home's electrical system.
Excavating makes up most of the work and it is for this task that you could use a helping hand. Before digging, determine where you'll put all the dirt, and how you'll dispose of it. Some people choose to use the dirt as part of the landscaping around the pond. They'll build small hills for visual interest. As you dig, remember to take into consideration any shelves you plan in your pond. These are great for placing water plants. They also encourage fish to come closer to the surface closer to the edge for easier viewing. To dig the ledges, dig your hole deep first, then start work out to make it wider. Set a 2 x 4 across the width and the length of your pond and use a carpenter's level to make sure the edges of the pond are level. At the top of your pond, build a slight ledge to accomodate the top edge of the liner in order to make it easier to hide.
If you're planning on just keeping goldfish, your pond only needs to be a few feet deep. If you're planning on having koi fish, you'll need to dig at least three or four feet deep, especially if you live in a cold climate. Koi can grow to over 30 inches and need a lot of room.
Once you have your hole dug, ledges built and dirt placed or removed, it's time to insert the liner. These are made of flexible sheets of heavy duty plastic. First, place sand on the bottom of the hold you dug. Then spread out the liner starting at the bottom and making sure it fits snugly. Tuck the liner into all the corners and cracks. Use landscaping rocks to secure the liner to the outside edges of the pond. They will also be needed to hide the liner once your pond is finished. Use large rocks as you are building your pond, and then use smaller landscaping river rocks when your pond is finished.
Filling the Pond
Once your liner is in place, it's time to put in your filtration system. This is a fairly simple step, but be sure to follow all of the manufacturer's instructions. Fill the pond with regular tap water, but be sure to treat it before you put your fish in. Check with the aquarium where you bought your fish on the best method for treating the water for your particular fish.