Building A Beautiful Goldfish Pond Step-by-Step

You don't know it yet, but at the end of this article you too will be able to build your own backyard goldfish pond. Goldfish ponds are relaxing, make your backyard look more attractive and it's the best "home" for goldfish to thrive.

There are three ways you can build a pond: molded pond, lined pond and concrete pond. All three types need digging so if you're not that excited about digging the pond yourself, hire someone to do it for you. Some places have laws regarding building a pond on your property, such as permit requirements. Make sure to get more information about any municipal ordinances your town may have, so you can avoid any unpleasant misdemeanor offenses and charges.

A professional home-builder who's created ponds for clients, suggests hiring the pros if you live in a climate that sees freezing temperatures during the winter. "If you plan on having your fish live in their pond year-round, it's best to hire the professionals to come in and quickly dig a hole of adequate depth. I've seen too many homeowners digging away by hand and determining their pond to be 'good enough', only for it to freeze solid during the winter."

Before we get started, you must know where the best location for your new pond will be.. Ensure that the position selected gets full sun and in reach for an outside power outlet.

It is important that your pond also has partial shades over some regions of the pond. Here your goldfish can cool down in the summer when it's hot outside.

Goldfish Ponds can have many shapes and sizes. Ponds with flowing curves and simple shapes allow a good circulation of water and avoid dead spots. For example, a concrete pond with corners rounded off and sloping of the pond base towards the bottom drains gives the best results, but it's most expensive.

The most popular shape of ponds are the informal ponds. These have no particular shape like the rectangular, circle, oval or square shapes formal ponds have.

Pond Size

There are several drawbacks to keeping goldfish in small ponds: the size of your goldfish is limited by the small swimming area. Sudden changes in water temperature and chemical composition are dangerous for goldfish.

Goldfish ponds need to provide clean, well oxygenated water for its inhabitants to grow up happy and healthy. A goldfish can grow up to 12 inches(30cm) plus.

The minimum size pond is 8 feet X 6 feet and 3 feet deep(2.5m X 2m X 1m). The larger the pond the better for your goldfish.

Being tempted to economise, some people end up building 2 or 3 ponds to get to the desired size. Keep in mind that building a good size pond in the first place is cheaper than building a succession of them.

Maintaining a consistent water temperature year round depends on the volume of water. In a small pond, a hot summer day can send the temperature soaring. Also the freezing temperatures of mid winter can kill your fish if the pond isn't deep enough.

The stability of the pond water temperature is affected by the surface area. Ponds with a large surface area in relation with depth are less affected by temperature fluctuations. This also helps you have a well oxygenated water for your goldfish. Think big when building goldfish ponds!

Getting Started

The cheapest way to build a pond is by building a liner pond. This is the most popular type of all goldfish ponds and it's not hard to build. Here's what you'll need:

  • pond filter system
  • oxygen supply
  • pond liner tubing
  • flexible plastic
  • water pump
  • stainless steel ring clamps(X4)
  • dechlorinator
  • healthy bacteria supplement
  • rocks
  • sand
  • newspapers
  • screwdriver
  • shovel and spade
  • 2X4 board
  • rope
  • plants and decorations

Pond Construction

Step #1:Excavate the area

Use the rope to lay out the shape and size of your pond. Start digging with your shovel and spade. If you want to create a plant terrace keep digging 8 inches deep inside the rope outline.

Continue digging until you have the desired shape and size of your pond. Remove any roots or stones.

Step #2:Level the Pond's edges

Set the 2X4 board across the excavated hole and lay the carpenter's level on top of it. Level the pond's edges, cave a 1-inch-deep channel on the side to redirect the flow. For bigger ponds same rules apply, only the 2X4 will be too small.

The pump cord will run trough a PVC conduit. You need to dig a shallow trench to the nearest electrical outlet.

Step #3:Adding layers

Distribute a 1-inch layer of sand around the entire base and terrace. Cover the sand with a layer of 1/2 inch-thick lining of newspaper.

Step #3:Line the pond

If your pond is 8 feet X 6 feet X 4 feed deep, the liner would have to be 17 feet long and 15 feet wide. Double of the width and length + add 1 foot as excess on the side.

Place the liner in the pond. Place some rocks on its edges to hold it in place. Begin to press the liner down along the inside edge and then along the bottom of the hole, working you way around the pond. Smooth out the creases and folds. Ensure that the liner is pushed tightly into the crevices.

Step #5:Fill your pond

Start filling your pond using a garden hose. As your pond fills, water will pull the liner towards the middle. Continuously pull the liner to keep it in place.

Step #6:Install equipment

Position the filter and install your water pump and skimmer along the inside edge of the pond using the tub, screwdriver and rings to connect them. Thread the pump's cord trough a section of PVC conduit cut to length. Set the pump in the deepest part of the hole. Ensure all piping connections are free from leaks and the plug them in.

Step #7:Landscape your pond

Arrange pea gravel and rocks along the border of the liner so it's edge is covered up. Arrange the rocks until they sit in an interlocking position. You don't want them to fall and kill your goldfish.
Add plants and decorations around the pond.

Step #8:Start the Nitrogen Cycle

Add the dechlorinator and biological supplement for the healthy bacteria. It may take up to a month for the pond to be "cycled" and safe for your goldfish. Use testing kits to keep and eye on ammonia, Nitrite and pH levels.

Carry out a 20% water change to dilute the ammonia and nitrite levels.

Add your plastic bag with goldfish in the pond to adjust the temperature. Release your goldfish. Remember to follow the basic goldfish care guidelines and never overstock your pond. The golden rule is one goldfish for every 50 gallons of water - minimum. Don't forget that keeping and maintaining a tank is a day to day job. Good luck and take care.

Love to you,

Useful Articles

Buy Goldfish | Tips and Guidelines
Essential Goldfish Care Guidelines
Feeding Goldfish The Healthy Way | Benefits and Tips
Breeding Goldfish Successfully | A Step-by-Step Guide

Image credits to: stew @