Build a fish pond from a small round pool to start water gardening in your landscape. Ponds make an excellent centrepiece for home gardens and also attract a variety of wildlife to your property. Constructing a small pond on your property from a plastic pool is cheaper and less labour intensive than building a traditional in-ground pond. While plastic pools may restrict your ability to design the shape and layout of your pond, you can easily customise its appearance to accommodate your landscaping needs. Several species of small fish can live in ponds constructed from small plastic pools.
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Things you need
- Hand tamper
- Small-diameter gravel
- Landscaping rocks
- Water feature
Locate a suitable location on your property for a pond. Look for level areas where you can place the plastic pool without having to alter the slope. The location should receive at least five to eight hours of sunlight daily in order to support healthy plant and fish development, but should not be placed in full sunlight. Pools in full sunlight facilitate the growth of algae, too much of which can quickly deprive the water of dissolved oxygen and kill fish.
Dig out the location where you want to place the pond to the depth and width of the plastic pool. If you are installing your pond above ground, ensure the area is free of rocks and the ground is level.
Pack down the dirt with a hand tamper to make sure the ground will not shift or become uneven under the weight of the plastic pool when it is full.
Set the pool on the packed earth and fill it with water. Most fish will benefit from having the deepest pool possible, but small fish such as guppies, platys, mollies and small goldfish can thrive in shallow plastic pools.
Allow the water to sit for 24 to 48 hours and check for any leaks.
Place a 1- to 2-inch layer of small-diameter gravel inside the plastic pool along the base to give it a natural appearance; place larger landscaping rocks along the edge of the pool to hide the sides. Larger rocks also provide shelter for fish in your pond.
Add large stones or bricks and small landscaping plants around the edge of the pond to give it a natural look. If you install the plastic pool above ground, build a wall with landscaping rocks, bricks or dirt around the outside of the pool to hide the plastic.
Install a fountain or water feature to help maintain water quality and create water circulation in the pond. Water features also help maintain dissolved oxygen in the water, which is necessary for keeping fish alive.
Wait 24 hours before installing plants or fish in the pond in order to allow the water to stabilise.
Acclimate the fish to the water conditions in the pond before releasing them. Place the plastic bag containing the fish in the pond and allow it to stand for 30 minutes so that the water temperatures stabilise. Open the bag and splash a little water inside every 5 to 10 minutes to allow the fish to adjust to the water chemistry of the pond. Release the fish after 45 minutes.
Feed your fish a small amount of fish food daily. All food thrown into the pond must be processed by fish or decomposers in the pond. Overfeeding is one of the most common problems affecting fish ponds.
Monitor your fish daily and identify and address any problems in your pond early in order to maintain healthy fish.
Tips and warnings
- Place only two to five small fish in your new pond at first. Introducing too many fish to the pond at once can disrupt the water chemistry and cause lethal levels of ammonia, which can cause disease and mortality in your new fish.
- Fish and aquatic plants make ponds more attractive but they will not survive the winter if you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, so they will have to be brought indoors shortly after the first frost.
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