How to Make a Beautiful Goldfish Pond
This tells how to add beauty and tranquility to your yard. A DIY that can be fun and add value to your property.
Having a simple water feature in your yard adds such tranquility; but add goldfish to that and stand back in awe! The beauty you can create is only limited by your imagination!
The gurgling water, rocks, flowers, and nightlight (solar is preferable I think) just set off your beautiful fish that are always glad to see you and your guests.
A pond is so much easier than a tank. The weather can freeze and snow can cover their pond and they will be just fine!
Having a goldfish pond is a pretty big project with a good bit of work and maintenance, so you need to weigh the pros and cons and work out all the planning before you decide. Is it worth the effort? Only you can say.
Depth and Location
Planning the Pond
- To start, remember that ponds in cooler temperatures need to include areas where the water is at least two feet deep so the pond will not freeze up. The fish will survive extremely cold temperatures but they swim to the bottom in winter where temperatures are much warmer so do be sure you allow for that in your plans.
- Find the perfect location. You may want to view the pond from your home through a window or from your porch.
- Consider how much sun your pond will get. It should get sun for several hours or half the day. Ponds in warmer climates may benefit from shade spots to provide cooler cover for your goldfish in the summer heat.
- Determine the size you want. Size and depth should be proportionate to the number, size, and type of goldfish you will have (and vice-versa).
- Smaller ponds (less than 4 feet in diameter) are easy to build, but get dirty really fast and may not provide enough room or cover for your goldfish. They also may become overgrown with plants.
- Decide the shape or form of your pond. Using a length of rope or string, outline the shape on the ground to help you see how the pond will fit into your landscape.
- If you have land on a hillside or slight dip, it may be perfect for a stream (as shown in the photos). It is really simple to cut into the ground and place rocks for the water to flow over. You can hide all the hose and pump works well above the actual pond.
- Do you want just goldfish and/or koi? More on this below.
Buying the Fish
- Always go to a local pet or fish store to buy your fish rather than a big box store. The fish store owner has expertise and knows how to medicate them if they arrive sick, and many goldfish do. They are shipped hundreds to a box and sometimes the shipping times are longer than is good for the fish. If they arrive unwell, they need to stay in the store and be housed in a quarantined and medicated tank. Usually the new fish stay in the store four to seven days before they are sold. If you shop at a reputable store, you know you are getting a healthy fish. The big box stores do not do quarantine and medicate, so you may be buying sick fish.
- Goldfish like cool water below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can overwinter well beneath ice as long as your pond does not freeze solid.
- Goldfish eat and poop a lot, so they make a mess. Do not overcrowd your pond. I suggest one linear foot of fish per 25 square feet of pond surface.
- Do not feed your fish! If you keep your population down, your fish will eat your anacharis (plants for fresh water aquariums) but not as fast as it grows. That way, a thorough yearly cleaning will remove all the organic matter those goldfish leave behind, your water will stay clear and your water chemistry will stay balanced. When you feed goldfish, you increase organic matter and throw your balanced pond out of balance and create lots of maintenance that takes up your weekend relaxation time.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
May be easier than you think.
Creating the Pond
- Dig the pond using your outline. If you plan to include plants (which no doubt you will want to do), make places for them as you dig. I did mine on a bank, so I had sort of stair step tables.
- Use a level at the top edge of the pond using a 2x4 and carpenter's level. Put the 2x4 across the pond and place the level on top of it. If needed, alter the soil level until your level is square. Repeat this every 12 inches of the pond’s length.
- Get your pond prepared for the liner making sure the inside of the pond is free of debris, rocks, and roots and such that may tear your liner. Add sand to help smooth out the soil and protect the liner from damage.
- Next, place the liner in. Be sure you leave an extra foot of the liner extending out all around. Use just one sheet of material so there won't be leaks.
- You are all set now to fill your pond with water. As you do so, work out any wrinkles, although small ones will flatten with water pressure. If you use tap water, use a dechlorinator to kill chlorine in the tap water.
- Weigh the liner down all around the outer edge to keep it in place with rocks, gravel, or the material of your choice.
- Make a dugout to lay your soft hose that connects the pond filter and skimmer. Filtration tackle helps lower the care for your pond by trapping leaves and debris to help keep the water clean and clear.
- Now to ensure proper water flow, put your filter and submersible pump just inside the edge of the pond. Connect the tubing and pump to the filter using clamps for a tight fit.
- Plug up your pump to your power source to make sure all piping is tight and leak-free. Once it is, put soil over your piping to hide it.
- Now let your pump cycle clear the water.
How Do You Keep Herons and Other Predators From Eating Your Pond Fish?
One of the most common predators of our fish is the beautiful but dreaded Great Blue Heron. This bird is found in most of the contiguous United States. It can stand over 4 feet tall with a wingspan of nearly 6 feet. They feed primarily on fish and frogs, which is what makes a residential pond worth a visit….
Leaf netting and the ScareCrow can help.
- Leaf netting may detract from the beauty of a pond, but so can disappearing fish. If you plan on using leaf netting in the fall anyway, why not just leave it over the pond until spring?
- The ScareCrow is a motion-activated sprinkler that attaches to your garden hose. When a heron (or anything else) crosses its path, it emits a burst of water, frightening away the would-be predator. It is a great option for predator control, but winter usage is limited. Since it requires a garden hose, some climates would cause the hose to freeze and break. Cooler climates will require you to put the ScareCrow away in winter months.
These methods should also be effective for other predatory birds such as cranes. However, the ScareCrow may not deter birds that swoop down to feed such as owls and kingfishers.
An artificial fish can look like an easy target to a preying bird. But when the attack is made, the bird is unable to eat the intended meal and may retreat to find a tasty meal elsewhere….
Read Herons, Raccoons & Other Predators Want Your Fish! for more information.
Beauty and Fun for Everyone
Let the family help plan!
- Now is the fun part of adding all the pretties! Water lilies are gorgeous floating on the water and give the fish a place to hide.
- Once your water is ready, add your goldfish. Remember to let their container sit in the pond water to adjust them to the pond temperature before setting them free. I like to put the plastic bag up against plants instead of out in the wide open for about 20 minutes so they may keep calmer; less afraid in their new adventure! When you set them free, do it gently sideways so they glide in instead of just dumping them in.
Goldfish or Koi?
Do you know the difference?
Do You Want Goldfish or Koi?
- Many say they have a goldfish pond when technically they do not.
- Koi and goldfish are a lot alike and will even breed (but the offspring are sterile). It is very hard to tell the difference between these two fish when they are small.
- The best way to tell the two apart is by the barbels by the koi’s mouth which the goldfish does not have.
- Goldfish cost less (the larger the fish, the more they cost). The last I checked, the price was anywhere from $1.50 for a goldfish, a fraction of what koi were selling for.
- Koi can live 100 years or more, so if you take good care of them, I would call it a good investment.
© 2014 Jackie Lynnley