T Nation

Backyard Ponds


Anyone have them? I built one in my backyard after my sophmore year of high school (the video below) and another at my friends house. They're relatively cheap and easy to build and even though I'm not a huge nature freak or anything it's pretty cool to see how many different animals you get in your yard because of the pond. We get some pretty cool birds now, notably american gold finches and orioles, chipmunks, huge frogs etc. We also had a blue heron come in our yard the other day and fly off with one of our fish in its mouth unfortanately. This thread will probably be a flop but I figured I'd see if anyone else out there had a pond too


I built a pond in my parents' backyard when I was in high school. You're right, it's not hard at all. The hardest part is all the digging. I built one with a small stream that trickled down a pile of dirt that I built the stream into with liner, concrete and some big rocks and it fed into the pond. We used to get a lot of those big blue herons in our yard, too.

Do you keep it stocked with koi or just really big goldfish? I used to keep koi in mine but it got too expensive because the herons would keep taking them.


Kind of want to make one now. What is the maintenance on this kind of thing vs a bunch of plants or something that takes up about the same space?


Yeah the digging was pretty rough since my backyard is mostly clay. Looking back I wish I had done some sort of stream along with the waterfall as well. I started out with 10 goldfish and 1 channel catfish. Each year we end up with about 10 new baby goldfish and we've got about 60 in there right now. As they get bigger we'll have to find someone to give them too so the pond doesn't get overstocked. Because we've been getting more and more goldfish I've never bothered with getting koi.


More maintenance than plants, but much more fun too. Actually, depending on what type of plants you're talking about it could be more to maintain them than the pond.

All you really have to do is make sure the water stays clean and the pump keeps working, skim the top every day for a few minutes and keep the fish fed. You can get conditioner for the water that is safe for the fish. It's basically like having a huge fish tank, except that koi will survive in a wide range of environments so the care you put into the fish may not even be very much at all.

You can also landscape around the pond using a simple drip system. This is probably what you'll want to do anyways since the pond will look pretty bland without some color around it. It's really not that hard to maintain any of this though, really. I say go for it. Look up some basic designs on the Internet and go from there.


It's actually pretty simple. I put a net over the pond in the fall so that when the leaves fall they don't end up in the pond which keeps it pretty clean. I take the net off in the spring and test the water. It's usually fine but every once in a while theres some ammonia in the water so I'll do a water change. The pond kits usually have an overflow pipe by the filter so once the water reaches a certain level, it flows out the pipe to wherever you want it to go this way your pond doesn't over flow when it rains etc. This allows you to just stick your hose in the pond and let it run for a couple of hours and the water flows out the overflow pipe, changing the water and reducing the ammonia.

Beyond putting the net on and taking it off and sticking the hose in there once or twice a year thats really all i do.


Yeah, with those herons around I wouldn't even bother with koi unless you're going to put some sort of screen over the water, which detracts from the aesthetics of the pond anyway.

That catfish looked pretty cool in that video. Koi are really cool looking, especially since they're bred for ponds so they look really cool from above, but if you get small koi you're still looking at a minimum of $10 per fish when they're still small and anywhere from 6 to 15 times that for fully-grown koi. And those heron can get those big koi.


That looks bad as fuck,good job.


I want one now but have no backyard :frowning:


That's a very relaxing backyard I bet! Kudos!


OP, that is a really beautiful pond. I love the lily pads!
I've always wondered what to do with the fish in the winter. Here the pond would be frozen for a few months.




You don't do anything with them! I'm on long island so the pond is frozen a few months of the year. Basically you just need to keep a small hole in the ice which you can do with either an air bubbler or a small floating heater this way you get gas exchange at the surface. Other than that the fish basically hibernate under the ice all winter. You just have to make sure part of the pond is at least 3 feet deep so they can get down below the frost line


And one in my front yard.


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OK, so it's the depth that is important. It'd have to be a deep pond for me. I live right next to a river that freezes over enough for ice fishing and snowmobiles some years. I do love the idea though, it looks so peaceful.


I've got a pond in my backyard, and in another life I worked at a garden center so I know quite a bit about them.

They really are lovely once they're established. Not so lovely when you're digging the hole though... but still, they really add to a backyard, especially with the appropriate lighting and plants around them.

There are certain zones for how deep it must be for the fish to survive. In NJ, it's 18 inches - less than that and they won't make it. In Quebec, it's probably deeper but not much. As a previous poster said, a pond heater that keeps a hole in the surface of the ice is all that's needed, as koi go into hibernation during the winter months.