How to Make a Backyard Fish Pond



A backyard fish pond is a worthy addition to any property. It helps create a relaxing backyard and may also increase the value of your property. A well-designed and properly constructed backyard fish pond can attract wildlife to your property, helping bring nature into your backyard.

Here is a step-by-step guide to building the backyard fish pond of your dreams.

Choose a Location

Begin by planning the location, size, and shape of your pond. Choose a location where you can easily observe and enjoy your pond. Make sure there is no risk of falling debris such as tree branches. Avoid areas that receive direct sunlight all day or the water in your pond can overheat, which can be harmful to fish.

The size and depth of the pond will depend on the types of fish you plan to keep. For example, koi require a larger and deeper pond than goldfish. As a general rule, plan for a pond that’s at least 2 feet deep for smaller fish and up to 3-4 feet for larger ones like koi.

Avoid placing your pond in an area where water runs off after heavy rainfall. Runoff water can infiltrate the space between the pond wall and its liner, causing the liner to rise upwards. This usually occurs if the liner wasn’t installed properly. When installing the liner, securely fasten it all around the pond’s edge, or you may have to empty the pond to mend it.

Time to Dig

Once you’ve chosen your pond’s location and design, mark the perimeter using a rope or spray paint. Start excavating within the marked boundaries. The walls should be slightly sloping rather than straight down. Leave a ledge around the edge of the pond for border decoration or plant shelves.

Ensure that the sides of the hole are level all around, as any unevenness will be visible when the pond is complete. The rim of the pond should be slightly elevated to prevent entry of rainwater runoff.
In the United States, it’s a legal obligation to contact Digline at 811 before initiating any digging work. This free service will provide information about any buried utility lines, cables, pipes, or other obstacles at your intended site.

Install a Pump

A pump can help keep your pond clean and maintain optimal oxygen levels by circulating the water at least twice every hour. For ponds up to 1,500 gallons (5,678.1 L), a 1 1/2” pump is recommended. If your pond holds more than 1,500 gallons of water, opt for a 2” pump.

For a pond larger than 2,500 gallons (9,463.5 L), consider a 3” or 4” pump. Look for a PVC pump as PVC pumps are usually more affordable than flex hoses and are simpler to install. Purchase and set up the pump before laying down your pond liner.

Pond pumps come in all shapes and sizes. If you have trouble choosing the right size of pond pump, consult a fish pond installer near you in Randolph.

Install the Bottom Drain

Make sure that the bottom drain is fitted with an anti-vortex cover. Without one, the fish risk being drawn into the grating. The drain should be securely sealed through the pond liner and underlayment to ensure no leakage. If the drain fails to provide a tight seal, the whole pond could potentially fail.

Install a Pond Liner

Next, you’ll need to install a pond liner to prevent water from soaking into the ground. There are several types of liners, including PVC, EPDM, and butyl rubber. EPDM liners are quite popular due to their durability and flexibility.

To determine the size of liner you will require, follow these steps: start by dangling a string 18” from the edge of the pond where the water reaches its highest point. Let the string follow the widest part of the hole, contouring to the hole’s curves. Then, mark the string 18” away from the opposite edge. Measure the marked string. Repeat this process for the length of your pond.

Every pond liner will naturally descend and sink to the bottom of the pond as it gets filled with materials like gravel, rocks, plants, and silt. It’s crucial to procure an additional 1 foot (0.30 m), or better yet, 18-24 inches (46-61 cm) more than your initial measurements in both length and width for the liner. Should the liner retreat beneath the water’s edge, you will need to empty the pond and reinstall the liner.

Place a layer of underlayment or old carpet under the liner to protect it from sharp stones. Then lay the liner in the hole, press it into the corners, and let it follow the contours of the pond. Trim off any excess, leaving some overlap.

Install Eductor Jets and a Skimmer

Eductor jets create underwater currents, pushing pond water to prevent any zones of stillness from forming. The skimmer, designed to be safe for fish, is essentially a bucket that enables the system to automatically collect fallen leaves and other debris from the water’s surface.

It’s vital to inspect the filter and filtration system at least two to three times every week to prevent any potential damage to the pump or filtration system. Regular checks will help maintain cleanliness consistently.

At this point, you will also want to install a bead filter and UV water clarifier. A bead filter captures sand and debris and also provides a habitat for beneficial bacteria, crucial for maintaining the health of a pond and the aquatic life in it. A UV clarifier works to eliminate algae blooms, helping keep pond water clean.

Add Water and Fish

Add water to your pond. If you’re using tap water, treat it first to remove harmful chlorine before introducing fish. Add some aquatic plants, as they can help maintain water quality and provide cover for fish. Add fish gradually, over a few weeks. Start with hardy species as they will help establish the pond’s ecosystem.

Atlantis Water Gardens is a leading pond builder in Denville, NJ. Our water feature experts have years of experience transforming dull backyards into oases with stunning water features. To make an appointment, call 973-627-0515.






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4 Mistakes to Avoid Making with Your Koi Pond



Want to give your backyard a makeover? Consider adding a koi pond to it. A koi pond can improve the aesthetic appeal of your property and help create a relaxing backyard. Spending some time in a garden with a koi pond is a great way to control blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost mental health.

Avoid these koi pond building and maintenance mistakes to keep your koi pond looking great and koi healthy all year round.

Building Your Pond Too Shallow

Koi ponds should be no shallower than two feet. The temperature of a koi pond that is too shallow may fluctuate wildly in winter and summer. Temperature fluctuations could negatively impact fish health and promote algae growth in summer. Koi fish need 10 gallons of water every inch of their length. So, a 12-inch koi needs 120 gallons of water. If you have 5 12-inch koi, your pond should have at least 600 gallons of water.

In a shallow pond, koi may have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Because sunlight reaches the bottom of a shallow pond, algal blooms are more likely to occur in them. Not only is algae unsightly, but it can also affect pond water quality and compete with your koi for nutrients. Make sure your koi pond is at least 36” deep so your koi has ample space to hide when predators like raccoons and herons attack.

Failing to Ensure Your Koi Have Enough Oxygen

High temperatures can have a profound effect on koi health. Given that warm water holds less dissolved oxygen than cold water, dissolved oxygen concentration in your pond can drastically fall in summer, and your koi may have trouble breathing. Algal blooms can also cause dissolved oxygen levels in water to drop.

To maintain normal dissolved oxygen levels, add a waterfall to your pond. A waterfall moves pond water to increase the number of oxygen particles dissolved in it. Alternatively, install a pond air pump. As the name suggests, pond air pumps pump air into pond water to increase dissolved oxygen levels.

If you are having difficulty choosing the right air pump or waterfall for your pond, contact a koi pond company near you in Randolph for help.

Adding Chlorinated Water to Your Pond Without Neutralizing It

Chlorine can damage the gills and skin of your koi fish. When refilling your koi pond, remember to add a chlorine/chloramine neutralizer. Use a water shut-off valve to ensure your tap does not run too long.

Rarely Changing Pond Water

Contaminated water can affect fish growth and health. Fish release pheromones to communicate with each other. These chemicals can build up in your pond and negatively affect koi health. To prevent these problems, change 10-20 percent of pond water every week.

Atlantis Water Gardens is a renowned pond builder in Randolph. Our professionals have years of hands-on experience building different types of ponds. To learn more, call 973-627-0515.





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4 Do’s and Don’ts of Outdoor Ponds

The benefits of outdoor ponds go beyond aesthetics. An outdoor pond can turn your outdoor space into an oasis. You can spend time by your pond after work every day to unwind and relax. A backyard pond provides food and shelter to local wildlife and supports local plants.

Like other water features, ponds require ongoing maintenance. Regular maintenance keeps your pond in tip-top shape by addressing current problems and preventing future issues.

It is not uncommon for pond owners to make mistakes when maintaining their ponds. Unfortunately, a seemingly innocuous pond maintenance mistake can affect water quality and disturb the balance of its ecosystem. 

Here are some do’s and don’ts of maintaining your outdoor pond.

Add Stones to Your Pond

Do: Add stones of different shapes and sizes to your pond to give it a natural look. Use one type of stone to build your pond’s perimeter. Make sure the stones are neither too big nor too small. A couple of rock types worth consideration are granite and sandstone. Smaller stones placed beside the perimeter offer contrast to larger stones. If you want to keep fish in your pond, place smooth or rounded stones at the bottom.

Don’t: Do not use stones with sharp edges as they can injure your fish. Garden pond builders near you in Randolph recommend against using limestone as it can alter the pH of water. When arranging rocks, consider scale and proportion, or you may create low spots that can cause leaks.

Keep Your Pond Naturally Balanced

Do: To maintain a healthy pond ecosystem naturally, add plants to your pond. Some plants to consider include water hyacinth, water lilies, and water lettuce. Add good bacteria to your pond from time to time.

Don’t: Do not turn to chemical-based products to control algae.

Prepare Your Pond for Winter

Do: Before winter arrives, clean your pond. Using a long-handled pond net, remove plant leaves, pine needles, plant branches, and other debris from the bottom of your pond before they start decomposing. Clean the skimmer basket and trim dead or dying foliage. Stop feeding your fish when the water temperature falls below 60 degrees.

Don’t: Do not move your fish inside your home. Ensure your pond is deep enough for your fish to hibernate safely.

Visually Inspect and Maintain Your Pond Liner

Do: Visually inspect your pond liner regularly for leaks. To fix minor leaks in a small area, apply a patch. If, however, you are dealing with extensive damage, consider replacing your liner. When maintaining your pond, be careful not to drag heavy items across your pond liner. Avoid walking on it whenever possible.

Don’t: Do not clean your liner. Because beneficial bacteria grow on pond liners, cleaning them can affect beneficial bacterial populations.

Atlantis Water Gardens is a reputable garden pond builder near you in Randolph. Our pond builders have years of experience managing small-scale as well as complex, large-scale projects. To request an estimate, call 973-627-0515.

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We got em. 🙂 Here’s some pretty photos you can look at to destress.