Building a Fish Pond in Your Backyard

Considering building a pond in your backyard will mean a lot for your garden, for your home. Garden ponds are a great addition to any home, and they can change the entire appearance of your yard. Fish, flowers, pond lights and other garden accessories are a great way to make an ordinary yard look truly unique.

To most people a water garden simply wouldn’t be complete without fish swimming through the water.

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1. Goldfish, Koi & Other Pond Fish:

First you have to choose between fish or plants. You should consider what type of aquatic life you want in the pond.

Is it going to be a home for goldfish or koi? The first mistake novice water gardeners typically make is filling their garden pond with Koi and aquatic plants. However, Koi ponds and water gardens don’t co-exist well. Koi fish eats the plants, but goldfish won’t eat aquatic plants and will only grow as large as the pond size permits.

Keeping fish in your water garden does mean a little extra work.

Considerations should be made when planning the pond as to what type of fish is desired. This plays a big role in determining the size of the pond and especially the filtration needs. Adequate filtration is very important when keeping fish.

The most common pond fish are: Goldfish and Koi. But there other fish species as well: Golden Orfe, Plecostomus, Mosquito Fish.

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2. Choosing a location

First of all you must first decide where you want to place your pond. A randomly chosen place in the backyard is not a good way to go about selecting a place for a fish pond. Generally, you want to place it far from trees, as many pond plants, especially lilies, require a good amount of sunlight. Also, falling leaves can quickly accumulate in a pond, causing a cleaning nightmare.

However, 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.

A garden pond should be located close to your home so you can see it year-round, when outside as well as inside.

NOTE: Do not place a pond near any pipes or cables and ensure the area is safe if you have small children.

Remember that this will be a part of the permanent landscape of your backyard. So be wise when it comes to picking a spot.

3. Digging a pond:

Once you have decided upon the location and type of pond, it will be time to dig. Digging the hole is the toughest part of installing the fish pond.

The best way to do this is to use a rope or water hose and lay out the shape on the ground. A pond for goldfish or water lilies need be only about 2 feet deep for zones 5 or greater. Ponds built in colder areas may need more depth to keep the pond from freezing solid.

If you are planning you water garden for Koi fish, the pond should be close to three feet or deeper to allow these larger fish enough space.

The biggest and common mistake is building the pond or water garden too small. You should know, usually a finished pond or water garden will be about 30% smaller than you visualize it.

You can dig the pond to the desired shape. However if a waterfall is included, dig a slight slope to the opposite end.

4. Pond Underlayment:

This can be cut with scissors or a utility knife.

You may need to tape any small pieces together to keep them from moving when the pond liner is placed.

 5. Rubber Pod Liner:

When you are positioning the liner in the pond you have to do it equally, to minimize folds and wrinkles.

After the water is added the folds should flatten out.

 6. Pond Pumps:

In order to maintain proper flow, circulation and aeration of your pond water, and to keep clean water moving into the pond, you will definitely require a good pump.

Essentially, there are two different pump options you can choose from: a waterfall (aquafall) or a submersible pump.

 7. Filtration:

Once your pond, either indoors or outdoors, is in place, it’s time to think about filtration. A pond filter is required to clean and filter the pond’s water. If the pond contains any fish, such as Koi or goldfish, more filtration will be required.

There are four ways to filter your pond: mechanically, biologically, chemically and using UV sterilization.

Pond skimmers should be buried to the proper level beside the pond. A ditch should be dug for the plumbing from the pond to the waterfall or external pond filter.

Many pond filters come with the recommended pump as a package, but filters can also be purchased singly. Your garden pond filter should filter half the pond volume every hour at a minimum.

 8. Pond Equipment:

There are many optional pieces of pond equipment for decorative purposes like: waterfalls, pond lighting and of course many different varieties of aquatic plants and pond fish.

Add aquatic plants as soon as possible after constructing the pond or water garden. Many aquatic plants are great at using up the nutrients that would otherwise feed the algae.