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 HELPFUL INFO ABOUT INSTALLING
A SMALL FISH POND

 

You should contact your city for rules and regulations on
installing a fishpond on your property

 

       Stake off an area you would like to place your pond. You can use a garden hose to lay out an area for digging. Don't forget to make careful considerations when deciding the best area for your pond. The site should be shade free for 5-6 hours for the best optimum display of Water Lilies and other aquatic plants, but also needs some protection from strong winds and too much hot sun. Trees that hang over the pond pose serious problems as the leaves that fall into the pond decompose and produce harmful gasses and encourage green algae. (pond netting). Choose a spot that is convenient for electricity and water and also close enough to the house to enjoy the sights and sounds of your pond.

Removing the earth may not seem that big of a task, but unless you are planning a very small pond, or you are in reasonably good shape, this may be more than you can handle yourself. An alternative way to excavate the dirt would be to hire an earthmover from your area. Before you dig make sure there are no cables or pipes in the area to be dug. Notice the shelf area around the inside of the dugout pond. This shelf inside the pond is used to place marginal plants that are in containers (plant containers). Deep-water aquatic plants are placed on the bottom of the pond. Do not get rid of the dirt; you may need it later.

 

    After the hole is dug, leveled and ready for the liner, install the skimmer box and level it out. (Be sure the box opening is at the water level you will have when pond is filled). Now place your water fall box in the desired area of choice. Be sure to level this box as well. Then dig a small trench about 5 inches wide x 1 foot deep around the perimeter of the pond, this is where you will need to backfill the liner edge into the trench to keep the liner secured in place.

   Place the liner pad in first then place the liner across the newly dug out pond area. DO NOT PULL THE LINER TIGHT, LEAVE THE LINER LOOSE FITTING. Pleat the edges or corners to form a neat edge. Loosely backfill the trench with the dirt, or place stones to secure liner in the trench area. Do not compact dirt yet. Slowly fill the pond with water and add stones as you go. The liner will stretch and contour to the shape of the hole. Once you start filling the pond, keep a watch on the liner to make sure all the areas are conforming to the pond like you want, straightening any areas before there is too much water pressure and weight to adjust. You should get into the pond barefoot and monitor the pond as it is filling. Do not start filling pond and leave area, or you may have to drain and refill to make any adjustments. Add a pea stone cover to the floor of your pond and larger soft cornered stones to the sides. Continue adding water and rocks as you fill the pond. (Note: the rock covering will protect the liner from the sun and give beneficial bacteria a place to grow).  You may want to wash the stones and discard the mercy water before your final fill of pond water. You can use your pump to pump out the bad water.

     When the water reaches about 2 inches from the bottom of the skimmer box opening and you are sure of the stone placement, turn the water off. Attach the liner to the skimmer box and the water fall box. Cut the excess liner around the edge of the pond with scissors. Leave about 6 inches around the edge. This is the time when you would want to place your pump and/or filter into place. You can run your tubing and connections around the liner and just under the ground; be sure not to put it in the way of any plants you plan on using around your pond. This is also a good time to install your electrical connections, lighting, fountains, etc. Remove all of the stones around the edge of your liner. Backfill trench, and compact the dirt now.

 

  Lay the rocks of choice around the edge of the pond so they lay over the edging toward the inside of the pond about 1 to 2 inches. This will help hide the top inside edge of the liner. After all of the stones are laid out; Place small rocks into the gaps to make sure all of the liner area is covered. Fill the pond to the desired level of water and add the water conditioners and bacteria. Turn pump on and adjust water flow, and water level. Allow to run like this 24hrs. before proceeding.


 OK!  Now you are ready to stock your pond with plants.  Place water plants into the pond by setting the pots onto the shelf and on the bottom of the pond. Generally, some like to wait 1 week to 1 month before introducing fish into the pond. Personally, I have placed fish into the pond right away, but I first put a good conditioner for fish in the pond. I never lost a fish. Just make sure your pump is oxygenating the water. A good rule of thumb is one inch of fish per sq ft of water surface; unless you are stocking KOI fish then the rule is one fish per 25 square feet of pond space.

 

  Pond fish require a good balanced food. Feeding your fish floating pellets will enable you to net out the uneaten food before it has a chance to decompose. Read the directions on the fish food as to the rate of feed, but usually what is not eaten in 5 minutes should be removed. Your pond will supply lots of food on its own for your fish, but a supplemental food for good nutrition is recommended. The fish will eat some of the algae that grow in the pond however, if algae get to be three feet long it must be removed or treated as this is too much. Barley supplements can control algae from becoming a problem.

 

  Never feed your fish if the water temperature goes below 50E F.  The metabolism of the fish slows down and it is hard for the fish to digest the food. You can buy winter feeding food or a food block to put in the pond before it ices over. Read the label on your fish food for its requirements. The fish will sometimes need to be trained to go deeper down in the pond for the first year. This can be done by feeding with food that sinks in the late fall. They will learn that the food is at the bottom and continue to look for it there. In spring when you open up the pond again, feed with floating food once more.

You may also want to use a floating heater and an aerator in the pond for the winter months. These will give an opening and better oxygenation to your pond when it ices over.

 

Remember: to take your time and have fun with it. Your pride of doing it yourself will last forever.

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