A Lazy Island in a Sea of Web Insanity

Building A Fish Pond

A guide to building a fish pond. A step by step construction sheet. If you can't build a fish pond with these directions, it's time to give it up and buy a ready made fish pond. Just as nice, just not the satisfaction of building your own backyard fish pond.

How to build a fish pond

First, you have to decide the size and shape of the fish pond. As a rule, the larger the pond the more maintenance is required. This includes water testing, fish feeding, filter maintenance and so on. We are prepared to teach you how to build a large fish pond where you could keep a quite a few fish and plants. The pond should be in a place with both sun and shade. Sunlight encourages the plants to grow, but it also grows unwanted algae. So you want to try to balance that with the location in the yard that you put your fish pond.

When you decide where you want your fish pond and waterfall, use white paint to mark the area. I used the kind they mark foul lines on baseball fields. I bought it at a feed store believe it or not. You can also use your garden hose if you have the good rubber type that is flexible.

Digging the hole is the toughest part of installing the fish pond. At least that's what my teenage boys told me. They had to dig a hole that was approximately 10 feet long by 5 feet wide. The pond also needed to be between 2 and 3 feet deep in the middle, with a one foot ledge around it. They cried like babies when I told them they would be digging the pond.

The ledge serves two purposes. It provides a spot to put water plants around the inside of the fish pond, and it serves as a step. The step would be helpful if I or my dog wander into the pond one dark night.

Using the outline I painted, it took my sons about three days to dig the hole. I could have done it quicker but that would have required me to work. Besides they were paid handsomely by the meals they have eaten the last 15 and 18 years.

Once the hole was finished, I needed to make sure that I had electricity. I decided I would wire it myself, so that I could save money. My wife decided that 300 dollars for an electrician was cheaper than a hospital stay. She didn't say whose, but I think she was thinking of hers. I showed the electrician the plans for my pond, as well as the pump and filters I chose. He told me they looked good but I think he did it his way. He installed two Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets in my backyard, close to the proposed  fish pond. One for said pond, one for something I might want in the future. Don't tell my wife or she will think of something she wants. She will think lighting. I am thinking water proof big screen television.

I was now ready to begin putting the fish pond together. That took me like a week. A normal person, working steady without my kids involved, maybe a day and a half.

I first prepared the fish pond bed by double-checking the measurements. This was easy. Again I made my sons do it.

I then spent an hour making them clear the bottom of anything that might puncture the liner while I tried out my new Dale Earnhardt Jr lawn chair. Branches, roots and rocks were removed - chair very comfortable.

I used sand to line the bottom and sides of the hole. Under the sand I put a weed barrier but I don't know if that's necessary.

I then spread the fish pond liner over the hole with the help of kids and wife. Getting it stretched out was a pain but they did it. We then put firewood in it to hold it in place. Be careful again not to puncture your future fish pond.

Time to add the water! To ensure that we were adding the correct amount of water, you can use your water meter to measure water volume. I didn't think of that till I started so I had no beginning reading. But if you want to do this method, take a reading before you start, then after, and you will have amount used - provided your wife is not washing clothes at the time. If you are like me you will find that lying on your belly to read the meter is a pain and not worth having an exact number.

While the fish pond was filling with water, and meter now spinning uncontrollably. We laid out the border. The border is used to hold the pond liner in place plus it looks good. Keeping the measurements of the pond in mind, we figured about 50 feet of decorative stone to make the border. A couple hundred bucks worth.

After the stones were in place and the fish pond was full, we went back and cut away some excess liner. Leaving about six inches all the way around. We hid the remaining excess with the border rocks. Make sure the border never goes below water level or you have a problem. We then removed floating firewood and realized rocks would have been better to hold liner.

Once the fish pond liner was in place, we were ready to begin installing filter and pump. We first attached the filter to the water pump using 3/4-inch tubing. We then attached the pump to the ultraviolet light clarifier using 3/4-inch tubing. Then we ran 1-inch tubing from the ultraviolet light clarifier to the top of our waterfall. When I say we -  it was the fifteen year old.

I also chose to install a separate fountain as soon as my wife told me I did. It was for the fountain I was told I wanted it on the far end of the fish pond. The fountain could be turned off and on separately. The waterfall on the other hand needs to run continuously because it is the filtering system.

After all of the stuff was in place, we built a waterfall. The waterfall was built by constucting steps at the end of the pond. We draped a large piece of excess liner over the mound of dirt (steps) and ran tubing from the light clarifier through the liner at the top of the mound. Then we used the excess border rock and some smaller stones to line the steps and build up the waterfall.

Then we turned on the pumps and filters to make sure that all of the water was flowing down the waterfall, into the fish pond and not out into the yard.

Time for fish! First, I added chemicals, including the salt to make the water ready for my new pets. Next, I used a special kit to test the water. It was good after a few minor adjustments. Remember I was guessing at water volume.

I decided to put three fish into the pond, Dale Junior, Chipper Jones and Smoltz. My wife took care of the plant part. All I know is that it looks good. Her choice of green plants was very astute.

It is not an easy landscaping project to build a fish pond but we think it was worth it. You will need help. I thought ahead and had teenage sons. You might want to ask friends to assist you if you don't have 15 years to wait...