Building a Koi Pond

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated January 24, 2022)

Despite what many people may think, koi ponds are not only for oriental gardens. Koi ponds make a great addition to just about any kind of garden, in large part because they are so easy to maintain and operate. Building a koi pond may be a bit of a task though, so make sure that you follow these directions to get the job done properly.

  1. What's your budget? One thing that you will need to figure out before doing anything else ,is to decide how much money you have to spend on this project. Koi ponds aren't exactly cheap to install, and can easily cost $1000 just for the installation. Make sure that you know what you can afford, and plan your pond accordingly.
  2. Choose the location. Making sure that you have the proper location for your pond is perhaps the single most important part of the entire building process. Koi ponds need to be at least three feet deep, and hold a minimum of 1,000 gallons of water. In addition, koi need to receive at least four hours of full sunlight, and can't be too close to any trees.
  3. Get the materials. Get the materials and tools that you will need. These are things like a shovel, spray can (for drawing out your pond), a liner, pond pump, skimmer, filter, ultraviolet sterilizer, sand, river rocks, and any water plants that you would like to have in the pond. Make sure that you have between 10 and 20 percent extra materials than you think you will need just incase an accident comes along.
  4. Create a shape. Take the spray can, and begin drawing out the shape of your pond. The easiest shape to build, and maintain, is a rectangle. If you feel up to it though, you can make the shape as intricate and natural appearing as you want.
  5. Dig and mark. Dig out the shape you just drew to a depth of about one foot. Since most koi ponds are multileveled, this will be the initial level of your pond. Mark out the shape of your next level as well. This doesn't need to be the entire length and width of your current level though.
  6. Repeat. Repeat the process of digging out the new shape, and marking out a third level, and then digging that out as well. You will need to repeat the process as many times, and in as many places, as necessary until you have all the little hidey holes that you want for your fish.
  7. Place the skimmer and waterfall. At one end of your pond (it really doesn't matter which) place your pond skimmer. Dig a hole in one of the side walls of the first level of your pond, with the opening about where you will be having your water level at. Most pond pumps should fit within the pond skimmer. Directly opposite of where you placed the skimmer, place your waterfall, and that you chose the best possible waterfall (those that incorporate a water filtration system) so that you don't have to work as hard to maintain the pond.
  8. Dig a ditch. From the water filtration system waterfall to your pond skimmer, dig a ditch. This ditch should only be deep enough to cover the PVC piping that will connect these two items. Once you have installed the pipes, go ahead and cover the ditch with some dirt until you have a relatively flat and level bottom.
  9. Install your liner. Pour some sand along the bottom of your koi pond hole so that you can help protect the liner that you are going t be installing. This layer of sand should be at least an inch thick along the bottom of the pond. Begin installing the liner for your pond. Make sure that as you do this, you have at least a foot extra on all sides so that you can tuck this under some rocks along the bank to help hold it all in place.
  10. Fill and add rocks. Attach the water hose to a spigot, and turn it on. Begin filling up the pond, and you should notice that the wrinkles smooth out. However, if it doesn't, you can gently pull the liner until it is smooth. Keep an eye out for any possible leaks, and then add the river rocks and gravel to the bottom of the pond. Smooth out the rocks as much as possible, and make sure that you don't overfill the pond.
  11. De-chlorinate the water. Use some de-chlorinators, and turn on the waterfall and pump. This will help begin creating a current and remove all of the chlorine and other heavy metals.
  12. Add the fish. After you have been running the system for a week, add a bacteria starter (which you can get from most pet stores) and then add your fish.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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