How to Build a Low Cost Goldfish Pond

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Hiring a company to build that beautiful goldfish pond you’ve always wanted in your back yard can be very expensive for a lot of people in these economically hard times. Pretty much any one with a strong back and the ability to work with their hands can build an attractive pond in a few weekends and save a ton of money. It took me several weeks but I built my own pond for less than two hundred dollars.

I started by digging a hole fourteen feet long, eight feet wide and three feet deep. I’m fifty eight years old so I didn’t try to do the job in one day. I took my time and stretched it out over a week or so. Even if you’re young I wouldn’t go at it too hard or you might become a regular customer at the local chiropractor’s office.

After I dug to a depth of three feet I extended the hole out another foot to form a shelf to sit five gallon pots of water plants on. You want the shelf to be deep enough so the top of the bucket is right at the waters surface.

I built an 18 inch high limestone wall completely around my pond. It provides a great place to sit, keeps the lawnmower from blowing grass in the water, provides enough height so the neighborhood cat can’t reach the fish and helps protect small animals like rabbits from accidentally running into the water.

Limestone rock is quite expensive so I got mine for free from construction sites around town. I’ve never had a job foreman say no when I politely asked if I could have some. The rock is heavy so once again, use common sense and don’t over do it when loading your truck or trailer.

You will of coarse need mortar to build your wall. Buying it already mixed in bags will cost you a great deal of money so make your own. A ton of bulk sand can be bought from most lumber yards for next to nothing. Pick up a bag of Portland cement and mix one part to three parts sand to make the mortar.

Instead of buying an expensive pump I went to the hardware store and picked up a sump pump like the ones you use in your basement for less than a hundred bucks and its been working for four years now with no problems.

I wanted a water fall so I built another wall in the shape of a semi circle behind the pond and about a foot higher. Inch and a half pvc pipe attached to the sump pump in the lower pond takes water to the top one. It passes through a filter and then runs over the ledge to fall back to the bottom pond creating a three foot wide water fall.

Don’t buy your liner from a pond supply store unless you have plenty of money. I got mine free from a roofing company. They mainly work on huge commercial roofs that are flat and use liners before they apply hot tar. Their left over pieces can be as big as twenty by twenty feet which will work for most ponds. All you have to do is ask them for a couple of pieces. Offer to pay for it and in all likelihood they will give it to you for nothing.

I bought a dozen goldfish from the local bait shop for four dollars. They were small but grew very quickly. Some of them even had fancy tails. They multiplied like rabbits and now number close to forty.

You don’t need a high priced heater for the winter time. Cold water doesn’t bother goldfish and koi. You just don’t want the water surface to freeze over so turn off your sump pump and buy a small inexpensive submersible pump and set it on the shelf. Attach a ¾ inch piece of pvc pipe and run it up to where its just below the water surface. Trim the pvc pipe until it barely causes the water to ripple. That will keep a two foot wide hole in the ice so the toxic gases can escape and oxygen can reach the fish.

If you do need supplies, I recommend Aqua Super Store - they have reasonable prices and deliver items promptly. I once received an item that I no longer needed and they took it back graciously. It's always nice to find a store that puts customers first. However, do what you can without spending too much money at a shop is my first motto. See also how to make your own pond filter.


kathy moseley
Posted on Mar 28, 2015
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