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Building your first pond

Subject: Building your first pond
by 2010 on 22/4/2010 10:34:07

Your first pond, where to start what to do. (My opinion)

First you should draw what you want, if you don?t you have no plan to work to, which means you will not have any idea what its going to cost and can you afford it?

A pond should be situated somewhere that gets some sunlight, but also not near a tree or bush. Trees and bushes have roots and leaves, roots really can puncture a flexible liner, also come autumn leaves falling into a pond are not good as they give off gas as they decay, depleting the pond of oxygen. For ease of understanding this is also only for a pond using a flexible liner.

The dig
Once the area has been chosen you can now start to dig. You should mark the perimeter with either rope or sand. You can put dry sand in a dry bottle and use it like ?paint? Stand back and look at the area you can still change it if its not quite right.

You should aim to have the base of the pond around 75 cm below the surface as a minimum. There is no rule that says you can?t go down 60 and have 15cm above ground its up to you (and how hard your soil is) The idea behind the 75 cm depth is so the bottom of the pond maintains the same temperature throughout the year. Whilst digging you can leave a shelf half way down for plant baskets. (Its up to you)

The sides should be at an angle of 15 degrees, but if you like you can have a side that is around 45 degrees, this is later covered with stones and called a beach area, its for wildlife to easily enter and exit the pond. (Hedgehogs can swim but they can?t climb very well) The top of the excavation should be level, if its not you can take some of the excavated soil and build up the levels.

The Liner
You have already chosen to have a flexible liner, so now its time for it to go in. You should cover the base and sides of the hole with a 2-4cm layer of sand. Some say you can use old carpets, I have found that most DIY stores and builders merchants do not sell old carpets, so sand it is then. The other reason against carpets is they are not flexible enough and after some time they will rot, giving no support to the liner.
Once the liner is roughly in position you can start to fill it with tap water. They used to say lay the liner above the hole and put stones around and the liner will pull itself to shape, I have never had much luck with this, since often it pulls too much from one side, hence put the liner in the hole yourself then fill. Leave the pond for at least 3 days for the water to pull any creases out then you can trim the liner and decorate the edges with materials of your choice.

The water
You have now filled your pond with tap water and left it for 3 days you can now add plants but don?t add fish at this stage, as tap water is fit for humans to drink but not for fish to live in as it contains traces of chlorine leave it for at least a week. Before adding fish.

What next?
Now you can add your pump and biological filter if its NOT going to be a natural pond. Why do you need a filter?
A fish has to eat and drink, but where is the toilet? That?s why you have a pump and biological filter.

The filter, pump and UV
There are 2 main categories of filter. Tank and Canister.
Tank filters are often the same size as a small water storage tank you may find in your loft, Both tank and canister filters have sponges and other filter media (How they work is for another time) Tank filters have a UV light fitted either externally or as an optional extra, canister filters have a UV light inside (What a UV Light does is for another time) The advantage of a canister filter is that unlike a tank filter, it can be buried in the ground adjacent the pond if you wish (Out of sight) Often they also have an integral sponge cleaning option (not all do) Where as a tank filter you have to take the sponges out and clean them periodically.

The size of the pump UV and filter is important. The filter and UV should be able to handle all the pond volume once every 2-4 hours. So if your pond is for example 1000 litres the UV and filter must be able to accept 250 litres / hour minimum. Like wise the pump must be able to pump 250 litres / hour to the filter and UV

So your pond has water plants and fish, sit back and enjoy

Not Mentioned: But worthy of note:

The electricity supply for your pump etc must be installed by a part P certified electrician, or you can notify your local councils BCO office first. (What you actually do is up to you)

Pond edges are often decorated with rocks from the local garden centre etc, why? Nature doesn?t do that. Use rocks of different sizes and lots of them for a more natural look.

Adding fish should be done gradually and never strait after filling.

There is more to a pond, how it works how to look after a pump / filter etc, so please look out for other articles for your guidance.