Diy pond!!!!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Diy pond!!!!!

So my moms always wanted a pond in her backyard, and I thought it would be fun to build it together. Ive done some research on everything, and Im excited to get started. She lives in Taiwan, and comes back to the US for 6months. She goes to Taiwan to take care of her mother, and when she comes to the US its kinda boring for her. Shes always talking about walks in the mountains, karoake, and food. Sounds like fun to me. So I thought building a pond would be a good way to spend time together. Ive talked to my older brother and dad. Everybodys on board, so this is gonna happen! Cant wait to get started. Right now Im in the planning stages, and wont start building till mid October. I've included some pictures of the backyard.

(Sorry for the messy backyard, its been raining like crazy.)

1st picture is off an area of about 10ftx10ft. Its close to the house, and easy access to outlets for filter system, lights, etc. Gets alot of sun which is probably a bad thing.

2nd picture has alot of space to work with, and natural shade from the sun. Lot of weeds, and random plants. So more digging, but not a problem.

3rd picture is of both areas. I was thinking of putting pond next to the house, and have a waterfall run down from area 2. Ground has a downward slope, and may look pretty neat. Maybe a bridge of some sort could be added.

I dont live with my parents, so progress maybe a little slow. Also suggestions would be appreciated, or anyone with experience would be a great help. Thankyou

Last edited by andrewq; 06-26-2014 at 01:54 PM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 04:13 PM
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Looks like some really good possibilities.
I like the pond and stream concept.

Here are a few things to consider.

1) Have a licensed electrician do the wiring and get conduit and a GFI circuit out there for the pond.

2) Sun is not a problem. Good light is important for pond plants. How many lakes do you see in the forest, under the shade of the trees? And if there are, the plant growth is not as lush as it is in the sun.

3) Use large enough plumbing so the water flows well, looks good. A mag drive pump is more efficient, but works better with somewhat larger pipe sizes. Flexible PVC is a good way to go. Minimize fittings.

4) Do not pile up soil against the house. Do not pile up soil near the house that would direct rain or irrigation water toward the house.

My set up is similar to yours. Here is how mine works:
Upper pond is a 45 gallon pre-formed pond, roughly rectangular.
Above this are several boulders. We used colored concrete that matches the boulders to hide the pipe. The water comes arching out of the pipe and falls in the pond. There is enough water hitting the boulders that moss grows on them. Make sure you have pond liner under and behind the boulders.
An alternate to this is a type of product that combines a water inlet and a water fall, and this container also holds some sponge filter material, and some bio media. One company that makes this is

Back to my set up...
The water falls out of the 45 gallon pond because I installed it with a bit of a bow in the front. It spills over onto a rock. There is a void behind the waterfall in front the face of the pond. This is an echo chamber. It enhances the sound of the water fall. Tuck the pond liner well up around the upper pond. You can lose a lot of water to splashing.
Near this is a bridge. It is not much. Just make sure it is well supported. Near the edge of where you dig out for a stream there is not a lot of soil to support a bridge. You might need to pour a concrete pier at each end of the bridge.

I dug a hole about 10' wide and almost 20' long.
I lined the whole thing with pond liner.
Then I filled it about 3/4 with peat moss, leaving a winding path through it for a stream. I used a special kind of weed mat to keep the peat moss confined, and lined the stream sides with cobbles and smaller river rock (cobbles up to 10" diameter, river rock down to 3/4").
The peat moss stays damp, and I have Canna, Calla, Japanese Iris, Sedge and other marginal plants.
At the end of the stream there is a rock that is VERY carefully installed so the water shoots out over the rock and falls into the main pond. There is expanding foam filler that is black, and designed for ponds to help direct the water OVER the rocks. Without the EFF the water would simple flow around and under the rock and there would be no waterfall. The construction type works just fine, too, but is glaring yellow, and shows up all too well. The black pond product is much better.
Again, an echo chamber under the rock, because this rock hangs out over the pond. It is supported by other rocks and a concrete block. Still plenty of space for the sound to echo.

The main pond is about 200+ gallons. It has a shelf around most of it (Well, about 2/3) and a deeper area. The soil does not freeze here. If it freezes in your area make sure you dig deep enough. Consult an expert.

The pump is in the main pond, in a box with some poret or matala mat style of coarse media. Easy to rinse out, but allows very good water movement. The plumbing escapes over the side of the pond. I did not want to attempt a bulkhead fitting in pond liner. The pipe is hidden under some rocks.

I was using a sump pump (to pump out flooded basements) but it burned out when some roots tangled in it. I will go back to a real pond pump and better protection.
I think I will dig the main pond a bit larger in one area and make a plant-less area for the pump. Easy access for cleaning. Aquascapes makes a box for this, too. See their web site for more ideas.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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So we've decided on a koi pond.

My equipment list:

Everything is rated for 1000gallons
Tetrapond skimmer
Tetra waterfall filter
Submersible water pump
3 underwater pond lights
Maybe an additional filter. The more filtration the better

Is there anything Im missing besides the actual materials to build the pond. I see alot of people using a uv sterilizer initially to clear up the water. Im assuming an additional filter would almost be the same thing. Im not in a rush to through fish in. I would rather cycle the water, and learn somethings in the process. Also is a heater needed to maintain water temp?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 04:11 AM
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No heater in San Antonio! Maybe a chiller...

Koi are just fine even if there is a little ice on the surface, as long as you can break it up so there is oxygen/CO2 exchange.
Keeping the water cool in the summer is important. Dig it deep so the soil can act as some insulation.

I never used UV on my pond. I just kept it planted, about a 50% minimum coverage will keep the algae away.

Additional filter concept:
Pump the water into a stream that is fairly shallow, and has aquatic marginal plants growing in containers in the stream. Have lava rock in the stream.
Lava rock has a lot of pores to grow beneficial bacteria. The plants will remove a lot of the nitrogen from the water.
I usually see such a stream build in on the side of a deck or patio. Then the plants are at the edge of the patio and you can use some really nice ones like Lotus, Papyrus, Japanese Iris, and many others. If the volume of this stream is a minimum of 10% of the size of the pond it can really help a LOT. Especially since Koi will nibble the plants you try to grow in the main pond.

1000 gallons is not a lot of water for Koi. How about goldfish. You can get a nice school of full sized golds (they can reach a foot long) in 1000 gallons.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your input Diana. Ive seen some 1000 gal ponds with koi, and I think your right about the goldfish. Im thinking extra filtration would be good since goldfish are messy. Also thought about planting some lilys, anacharis, watersprite, and maybe some lotus plants. Im guessing to do so, it would be just like a regular fish tank. Substrate on the bottom, and plant? Maybe some liquid ferts and root tabs.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2013, 02:33 AM
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You could plant directly in the substrate, or you could plant in pots, and be able to remove the plants, trim, fertilize with tablets...

Anacharis is like candy to a Gold, they will strip it down in no time. Add it, but buy it out of the food budget.

I had water lettuce, water hyacinth and some other plants do OK with Golds. They will eat the roots of floating plants, but the plants are OK.
Do not buy a lot of any one plant. Buy one of each and see how well they do. If the Golds do not eat it, then you might be able to divide the plant and make more that way, or else go buy more of those. If the Golds eat it, but you like it, then figure out a way to separate part of the water where the Golds cannot go, and plant their favorite foods there.
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