I don’t know anyone who has ever regretted building a pond. However, I do know several people who would have made some changes to their pond design if they had known how much fun and pleasure they got out of their ponds. Especially if they stock it with koi fish. These guys are hogs, they’ll eat out of your hand and they never get full.
Here are five tips to consider if you’re thinking about building a pond:
1. Build the pond as big as your yard and budget will allow. Most of us start out with a pond that ranges in size from 500 to 2,000 gallons. And then, if the room is available, build another one.
The reason is simple. If we stock it with fish, we start out with a few and then want more. There are hundreds of color combinations and many varieties of fish to choose from and one is never enough.
Some, like Koi, get really big and you should limit the number of fish to one for 100 gallons to avoid overcrowding. Fish may require additional water filtration and aeration equipment and that should be decided during the design phase. It’s very similar to planning a swimming pool. Considerations are almost the same.
2. Locate the pond where it will not be in direct sunlight all day. Fish, especially koi, need shade to help keep them from stressing out. Plants that do well in water can be used or plants in pots placed close to the edge of the pond. Anything that provides shade on the water will give them relief from direct sunlight.
Overhanging trees should be avoided to keep debris out of the water and reduce the maintenance requirements.
3. Don’t skimp on the water pump and filtration system. And get an ultraviolet sterilizer. You can get these almost anywhere pond kits are sold. Think of it like building a swimming pool. If you can’t get a professionally designed filtration system, you can do some homework and build a homemade filtration system that will do the job.
4. Get a water heater. If you live in a cold climate and your fish winter outside, an inexpensive water heater may be needed to keep the pond from icing over. Cattle trough heaters are available from most hardware stores in 1,000 and 1,500 watt sizes and can be used safely. You may be able to keep it from freezing just by moving the water or providing aeration. The important thing is to keep the pond from icing over completely.
5. Avoid the temptation to put goldfish into your pond. These little guys are prolific breeders and will get very big in a big pond. you might end up spending a lot of time trying to get the gold fish out of there because they breed so easily.
A pond, whether you call it koi pond, a fish pond, garden pond or whatever, can be a joy to own. Building one is not an impossible task if prefer to do it yourself, and there are many places to get help and advice when you need it. Think about it and make a list of what you desire in a pond. Then remember the rule of thumb about DIY projects. Take your time and cost estimates and double them. When you get it finished, you’ll have something to be proud of.