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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello folks!

Last year I built a small patio pond for ricefish. This was a proof of concept build for a bigger pond. I am happy to say it was a success and the ricefish bred quite well in that pond. I moved the ricefish back inside during the winter and just put them back outside for another season.

The dream pond build is an inground concrete koi pond. That day has not yet come. BUT this year The Wife somewhat enthusiastically agreed to a larger pond so long as it 'made noise'. She really wants to hear water dribbling in the yard. I decided I could totally make that happen. For this larger pond I do not want to bring the fish inside over the winter, and I do not want to go with ricefish. Instead I think its time to get some goldfish.

I am pretty excited for this as I have wanted a goldfish for a while, but indoors they can be difficult to keep in that they eat plants, like cool water, and grow BIG. But for a pond, they are awesome!

The design for the pond will be a scaled up version of my ricefish pond, but half of it will be buried in the ground (about 2.5 feet). It will have a trellis in the back that will extend up about 4 feet from the ground, and the fountain will be coming off of the trellis. It will also feature a big mirror on the trellis which will hopefully deter predatory birds. The design for the trellis was strongly influenced by this image I found online:



Working from my ricefish pond and that image, I made a design in Sketchup:



The proportions looks a bit odd in this image, but keep in mind half of the pond will be buried underground.

And then today I ordered the wood for home delivery. And in case anyone was wondering, wood prices definitely still suck :p

Dimensions for the pond will be approximately 6 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 3.5 feet deep (these are approximate because some are internal measurements while others are external). Anyway, it will hold around 450 gallons when all is said and done.

For plants I have some sagittaria subulata (big form not dwarf) that I will plant in the bottom because I have it going wild in my alpine newt tank and I need it gone :p I will also put in a lily of some kind and undoubtable something else that sticks up above the water :) For the trellis I am thinking wisteria because The Wife likes it, but I may move away from that if its wildly inappropriate to the location.

I also need to dig a giant hole in the ground so that will be fun.... :p

Plus the pond itself will need at least a couple of underwater hiding places for the fish. I am concerned about this and will talk more about it later.

If anyone has any experience with goldfish ponds or ponds like this I am all ears.

That's all for now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
somebody's going for the "most journals kept by a single member" award...

Watching this one with keen interest!
Lol, thanks it certainly seems that way :p
Another minorhero epic build on the way!

Just curious - what birds are you worried about?
Thanky!

Locally we have both Great Blue Herons and a variety of hawks. The herons are especially a concern as hunting fish like this is what they have evolved to do.

Here is a picture I took of one last year:

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I just wasn't picturing a heron in someone's backyard. Then again, I live on a creek, so I share the water with great blue herons and kingfisher when I go wet wading for smallmouth bass.
I live pretty near a marsh and a very small stream. In the past week alone I've seen 2 herons flying over my house. And that's just what I've seen :p
 

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My SIL sent me pictures of a GBH eating one of their 8” goldfish last year. That was incredible.

Also, we had a raccoon go on a rampage, catching the chubs in our pond and eating their heads.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My SIL sent me pictures of a GBH eating one of their 8” goldfish last year. That was incredible.

Also, we had a raccoon go on a rampage, catching the chubs in our pond and eating their heads.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I've seen pictures like that, it's pretty wild when you see some flashy orange fish dangling out of a giant bird's beak!

I live in the suburbs, I haven't seen any signs of racoons so far. Foxes we have, but hopefully not racoons. If I really need to I can put in some netting, but I am really hoping I won't have to, the stuff is butt ugly. Certainly no one has bothered my little ricefish so far.
 

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Watching with fascination as another masterpiece unravels. I will never understand how you have the time, money and skills to pull off what’s undoubtedly some of the absolute coolest builds on this forum!! 🤩🤩🤩
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Watching with fascination as another masterpiece unravels. I will never understand how you have the time, money and skills to pull off what’s undoubtedly some of the absolute coolest builds on this forum!! 🤩🤩🤩
Thank you!

Time and money are always about trade offs for me. Instead of doing one thing I do another etc. I am at home during the day so I have more time then most to devote to projects but it does mean I'm not doing something else. So I give up my 'free' time for doing things like this. Doing things DIY certainly saves a lot of money. If I were to buy a pond and have it professionally installed, I would expect the total cost to at a minimum quadruple and possible cost 10 times as much.

As for skills, its almost entirely self taught. I like watching youtube videos and learning about things that interest me. Once you accept that you can learn something its only a matter of time until you learn enough to begin trying it, and then only a matter of trial and error until you succeed in doing whatever it is that you want to accomplish.

All that said, it's time for an Update!

The wood has already been ordered and will be delivered next Tuesday. Once it's here I can start cutting it to size and staining it/assembling the pond. In the meantime I needed to dig a big hole in the ground.

Here is where the pond is going to go:



Those hostas simply had to go. I'm not sure if they were shaded better in the past, but these days they look good in the spring time but by mid summer look terrible because they get too much sun exposure. Replacing them with a pond will be a far better use of space. Meanwhile I will relocate them to what is otherwise an untended area of the yard and plant them in such a way that will make the new space more aesthetically pleasing.

A day latter and here is how it looks now:



If you think that hole looks 1) not quite as deep as the 2.5 feet I was planning on and 2) suspiciously flat, then you would be right!

My house was built in 1961 and originally had a sceptic tank. It is now on city water and sewer. I never really thought about it before, but I suppose it should have been obvious that this meant somewhere on my property was likely an abandoned septic tank. Well... I guess I found it...

Sooo about abandoned septic tanks. If done right it should be filled with sand or gravel. I can tell already that this one was filled with sand. If I were building any kind of structure I was planning to stand on, this would be a deal breaker. I would need to relocate my building. But I am planning for a 500 gallon pond made with a liner. If the tank shifts underneath it won't really matter so I am going to proceed.

It does however mean that I can't go as deep as I want. In the front its only 13 inches deep. In the back its 18 inches deep. I was originally planning for around 3.5 Feet of depth. I could simply make a smaller pond but I decided to go a different route. Instead making a pond 3.5 feet deep and 3 feet wide. I will just make it 3 feet deep and 3.5 feet wide. Only 1 foot will end up below the ground in the front and 2 feet will rise above ground. I am hopeful that the pond resting on top of a concrete and sand filled block that is the septic tank will act as a giant thermal battery in the winter and transmit that heat into the water keeping it from freezing below the surface. BUT, that's just my speculation so we shall see.

That brings me up to current. Not much more can happen till the wood gets here next Tuesday.
 

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DiY-ing things is so darned satisfying. My dad was a big DIY guy in his youth but was hopeless at transferring any knowledge because he gets super nervous and you really don’t wanna be around him when he’s trying to get something to work and it’s not going the way he wants.... I find myself very drawn to it but as we have always lived in apartments there wasn’t lots of scope to experiment... I do what I can tho. But your builds are SO EPIC!

I also love learning stuff through YouTube, it’s such a crazy resource!

Can’t wait to see how the pond works out.
 

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Looks like this will be a fun ride. I'm just trying to catch up on all the threads I missed in the 2 or years since I stopped posting lol. For some reason I expected the pond to be up already until I noticed the date of the post. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out but in the meantime i'm gonna have to look for your rice fish pond journal.
 

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DiY-ing things is so darned satisfying. My dad was a big DIY guy in his youth but was hopeless at transferring any knowledge because he gets super nervous and you really don’t wanna be around him when he’s trying to get something to work and it’s not going the way he wants.... I find myself very drawn to it but as we have always lived in apartments there wasn’t lots of scope to experiment... I do what I can tho. But your builds are SO EPIC!

I also love learning stuff through YouTube, it’s such a crazy resource!

Can’t wait to see how the pond works out.
Sounds like my dad lol. I'd get yelled at for holding a hammer the wrong way, or using pliers the wrong way. Not sure how you can hold either tool the wrong way. I'm almost positive I was just a target for him to vent all of his frustrations with work for the week lol. Kids are cheaper than complaining to a shrink I guess 😂

@minorhero this looks like another fun build! There's nothing worse than running into something you didn't know was underground.

My buddy has a big pond in his yard. His area is inundated with predatory birds, raccoons, etc. I remember him using a couple different things to prevent predation. One was a motion activated light that actually turned to follow movement. It basically looked like a security camera, but actually wasn't. It was kind of unsettling if you didn't know what it was because it looked like someone was moving a light and security camera, following your movement. In addition he installed low voltage, very thin wires to shock anything that came too close. I haven't been by his house in a few years but they were so well placed that I couldn't even see them. Maybe these ideas will spark some ideas for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sounds like my dad lol. I'd get yelled at for holding a hammer the wrong way, or using pliers the wrong way. Not sure how you can hold either tool the wrong way. I'm almost positive I was just a target for him to vent all of his frustrations with work for the week lol. Kids are cheaper than complaining to a shrink I guess 😂

@minorhero this looks like another fun build! There's nothing worse than running into something you didn't know was underground.

My buddy has a big pond in his yard. His area is inundated with predatory birds, raccoons, etc. I remember him using a couple different things to prevent predation. One was a motion activated light that actually turned to follow movement. It basically looked like a security camera, but actually wasn't. It was kind of unsettling if you didn't know what it was because it looked like someone was moving a light and security camera, following your movement. In addition he installed low voltage, very thin wires to shock anything that came too close. I haven't been by his house in a few years but they were so well placed that I couldn't even see them. Maybe these ideas will spark some ideas for you.
I joined a group on facebook for ponds. That by itself was interesting because the knowledge base for ponds seems absurdly low. I mean, I've talked to many people just getting started with aquariums who are in the very beginning stages of learning before but for whatever reason its like that times 10 for ponds.

Anyway there are a lot of options apparently for solving the predatory bird problem. A few people have told me that raised ponds don't have the issue as much because herons want to land on the side of the pond and wade in but they can't do that with a raised pond. So I am hopeful now that I won't even need a mirror. If that fails though I will likely pursue a floating net, which is an invention I didn't even know about till recently.
 

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If that fails though I will likely pursue a floating net, which is an invention I didn't even know about till recently.
Haha reminds me of when I first got a pigeon problem on my balcony and started wading into the world of pigeon deterrent products. Like holy wow people have thought of a specialized product for everything.

Sounds like my dad lol. I'd get yelled at for holding a hammer the wrong way, or using pliers the wrong way. Not sure how you can hold either tool the wrong way. I'm almost positive I was just a target for him to vent all of his frustrations with work for the week lol. Kids are cheaper than complaining to a shrink I guess 😂
Totally. I think it’s a far more common occurrence than it should be. I’d literally make sure to not be in the same room when he was working on something, it was just flat out dangerous. Outside of that weirdly he was a pretty chill guy.

The following searchlight sounds epic, I kinda wanna make that now. I think I have all the sensors I’d need.
 

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Haha reminds me of when I first got a pigeon problem on my balcony and started wading into the world of pigeon deterrent products. Like holy wow people have thought of a specialized product for everything.


Totally. I think it’s a far more common occurrence than it should be. I’d literally make sure to not be in the same room when he was working on something, it was just flat out dangerous. Outside of that weirdly he was a pretty chill guy.

The following searchlight sounds epic, I kinda wanna make that now. I think I have all the sensors I’d need.
I've had tools thrown at me hahahaha.

The searchlight was an actual product that you buy. I actually have one somewhere in the box. He gave me an extra one he had laying around when I bought my house last year. I'm just not sure where it's at. I remember the box being green and black.
 

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I've had tools thrown at me hahahaha.

The searchlight was an actual product that you buy. I actually have one somewhere in the box. He gave me an extra one he had laying around when I bought my house last year. I'm just not sure where it's at. I remember the box being green and black.
There are a few products out like this. One example.

This is decent if you have something scared away by light (like a racoon, that hasn't grown used to it). But it won't do much during the day. People on the pond groups liked an option that attaches to your garden hose and squirts birds and things that it senses. Like this thing.

Frankly I couldn't rely on either because it would constantly be going off from my cats, kids, or just me. If I end up needing pond protection then it has to be something that works with my regular lifestyle or its no good.
 

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There are a few products out like this. One example.

This is decent if you have something scared away by light (like a racoon, that hasn't grown used to it). But it won't do much during the day. People on the pond groups liked an option that attaches to your garden hose and squirts birds and things that it senses. Like this thing.

Frankly I couldn't rely on either because it would constantly be going off from my cats, kids, or just me. If I end up needing pond protection then it has to be something that works with my regular lifestyle or its no good.
The one I have is very similar. The only difference is that it also has what looks like an obvious camera lens. It doesn't, but I guess it's designed to fool people into thinking they're on camera. Security cameras are one thing I haven't invested in yet. I'm planning on adding a couple 360 cams outside once we get into fall and I have insulation sprayed in my attic. That'll give me an opportunity to get up there for the first time lol.

I love that motion activated water squirter. It's like an automated turret! lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update!

The wood came yesterday evening, way too late to do anything with it. But today was a brand new day!

First order of business was cutting up the 6"x6" beam that will make up the corners. Its a single 16 foot long piece of wood that needs to be cut into four 3 foot pieces. Originally it was going to be four 3.5 foot pieces which is why I ordered a 16 footer instead of a 12.

Anyway, a 6x6 is not actually 6 inches by 6 inches. It's 5.5 inches by 5.5 inches. Either way the wood is WAY too big to take to any floor machine I have so that means I need to cut it while it's on the ground. A regular circular saw has a 7.25 inch blade and can cut a depth of 2.25 inches. Which is too darn shallow to cut through a 6x6 even if you roll it over to cut the other side.

BUT

I just so happen to have my father's old beam saw. This critter looks like a circular saw, but HUGE. Instead of a 7.25 inch blade it takes a 16 inch blade and it can cut all the way through a 6x6 in a single pass. I was only slowed down by the fact that it still has the original (and extremely rusty!) blade from when my dad bought it in the 1970s.

Here is the wood and the saw in question before I got to work:



The beam saw made the whole thing much easier. After that I used a regular circular saw to cut the rest of the pieces. Three 2x10s and one 2x8 per side. That gives me a depth of 35.5 inches. Not exactly 3 feet but close enough gosh darn it.



And here is all the wood cut to length. Well, I say 'all' the wood', but really I just mean all the wood needed to make the water holding part of the build. There is still the cap and the trellis left.



After that it was off to the table saw to make a giant rabbit in the corner pieces so the sides have support there. If there is a structural failure in the pond it would almost certainly be in the corners. By making the corner reinforcement out of one giant piece of wood I pretty much put a stop to that. Or such is my theory.

Here is how the corner posts looked when I was done:



I also picked up the stain/sealer I will be using and some pads to apply it. Sadly I ran out of time today before I could get to coating the wood. So that will be tomorrows task. If I am very very very lucky with my time, I might get the water holding portion done tomorrow...... but I'm realistically not counting on that.
 
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