Everybody has seen those beautiful ponds in malls or at the botanical gardens that have the pretty fountain and the beautiful white and gold and black giant goldfish called Koi. They are impossible to walk by and not stop to watch for a moment or two. Originally the focal point of Japanese gardens, they are now found nearly everywhere. What many do not know by looking is how easy it is to have your own in your own yard or garden.
While the giant stone bottom ponds and babbling brooks of 100 plus meters long ending in a 3 meter waterfall are not really a do it yourself project, the basic small pond with a nice sounding lit fountain and a half dozen of the beautiful and interesting fish can be put together in an easy weekend by most people with just common yard and garden tools.
The simplest way is to go with the plastic preformed ponds of various sizes and depths and interesting shapes available in better garden stores. Choose a size that complements the area you want to place it in. A deeper pond allows the water to stay cooler in the summer and is better for keeping fish so finding one that is at least a half meter deep at the deepest point is ideal.
For placing the pond, you can usually dig an adequate size and depth whole with a hand spade in a couple hours. If you want a larger pond or have particularly difficult rocky soil you may need to hire out to have the pond dug. Make the hole 6 inches larger all the way around and 3-4 inches deeper than actually needed, then line the hole with sand before putting in the plastic pond and leveling it.
If you plan to add the Koi to make the pond a real focal point of interest then an adequate pump for circulation and aeration of the water is a must. As well as adding beauty and interest the fountain or waterfall that the pump runs helps oxygenate the water for the fish. These pumps usually come with very long cords that are able to reach the house or shed for electric supply, and some are actually solar operated. If using the cord, bury the cord several inched below ground.
After placing rocks around the pond and on the pond bottom and sides for a more natural appearance, fill it with water and run the pump for a week or so. The addition of pond water plants from your local gardening store can be done now as well. Once again, this not only looks better, it also helps add oxygen and cleans nitrates from the water to prevent algae.
Give the water and pond a t least a week (2 weeks would be better) to “age” prior to adding fish, and then add 1 or 2 fish at a time until you reach the capacity recommended from your fish supplier. To maintain the pond little is needed so long as you are careful not to over feed. If it is needed a simple filter system can be added to the pump.