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Fish pond: tips and methods of construction


 Depending on your opportunities and desires you can construct a small pond, with a volume in some buckets, or a huge one like a small lake. Construction technologies of large and small water bodies are different, but the basic principles of their construction are common.

First of all, for wintering fish pond’s depth should be not less than 2 m, as the depth of frost penetration can be more than 1 m, and the fish need under-ice layer of water of more than 70 cm. If the depth of the pond is less, fishes for the winter should be moved away somewhere. From a small pond fishes can be isolate in aquariums, and the local species of fish can be let in natural water.

Comment: except depth at the construction of a fish pond it is necessary to think over possibility of air supply under ice during the winter period, otherwise, fish can simply suffocate, during freezing of the pond.

The first option involves the saturation of water with oxygen by means of the compressor (the so-called aeration).  The aerator should not stand on the bottom and closer to the surface of a pond, to not disturb the fish and did not lead to the mixing water of the lower and upper layers. But at the same time the device should be installed not too high, so that the aerator will not freeze at low temperatures.

In the second variant the adaptation for ice thawing has to be provided. It means the supply of warm air and the creation of holes on the surface of a frozen pond, through which the air will come. It isn’t recommended to beat a hammer ice as it is possible to deafen fish by pneumatic blow and educated air wave.

Secondly, the banks of the pond should rise above the surrounding terrain for at least a few centimeters in order to avoid soil wash-off in the clear water of the pond under the influence of atmospheric precipitation and snowmelt. To do this, the ponds-reservoirs  are not buried in the earth by the edges and leave them at 10-20 cm above ground level. Around the ponds created using other technologies, make the embankment of stones and other non-blurry materials, or from the land, sowing in it the plants with developed root system.

Comment: For more aesthetic harmony, necessary to make a drainage cushion, where the water would leave, thus, the board of a reservoir will coincide with the level of the ground and won’t stick out, breaking the overall landscape composition.

Thirdly, the water in the pond should b
e updated, which is achieved either by a flowage or filtration. The flowage is easy to ensure for only a very small pond, providing a small supply of water and a drain to a drainage ditch (the main thing is not to flood the neighbors). In a case with considerable reservoirs on the volume if there no river or a stream on your land, it is necessary to apply system of reverse water supply with the pump and filters.

Comment: reverse water supply can be provided with either filters, or a bio plateau. For having crystal-clear water , you have to calculated correctly the volume of the filtration. There is a number of indicators proceeding from which, calculation has to be carried out: the volume of the pond, the number of Sunny days per year, the presence of plants, soil, gravel, possibility of getting into the lake of organic substances, etc. The theme of the water filtering is enough big, and it is possible to devote an entire article.

Fourthly, as a rule, the bottom of the pond should not pass water through the ground. This is typically done using a variety of waterproofing install waterproof containers to seal the bottom and coastal slopes of the pit liquid sealants. This is how build the vast majority of ponds.

Comment: If this is anartificial pond, 2you will definitely need waterproofing. Not only the bottom but also the entire surface of the pond. The most reliable waterproofing materials designed exclusively for ponds — a special EPDM-membranes or PVC-oilclo
th.  They elastic, aren’t afraid of an ultraviolet, and possess possibility of simple gluing together. It is desirable to protect such membrane from two parties, at least geotextiles (specific weight 500 гр. on sq.m), and it is even better a concrete layer. So, we get the next structure: concrete bowl, then the membrane and re-concrete structure, after it is placed decorative stone or finish. This bowl can be not only hold water, but also can play the role of constructive: to be supportive and keep the soil if there is terracing or biases
. And reservoirs are often on uneven areas and even artificially create gradients in order to create an impressive beautiful waterfalls.

As a last resort, of course, you can just dig a pit, clean it from foreign objects, so that nothing could penetrate the oilcloth, especially such sharp objects as branches, fittings, sharp rocks. It is desirable to fill up this ditch with sand, and then to put a oilcloth. This is the easiest way, which has several disadvantages. Besides, that the oilcloth isn’t protected and can be damaged, one more shortcoming consists that when water is gathered, this oilcloth becomes covered with slime and becomes slippery, therefore, there is a high probability to slip.

But in this method, there are advantages — this bowl is easily repaired. If suddenly something broke through the oilcloth, the lake can be drained and it’s easy to understand where  is it damaged. You can drain it not completely, but onl
y to the level of damage. You can stop when the flow is over, and at this level look for the injury site.

But if on a pond site ground waters lie at a small depth, sometimes it allows to create the reservoir similar natural, fed ground waters. If there is a clay on your place, it can be used, having covered a pond bottom with rather thick layer of clay and and putting it on top only geotextiles, without the use of synthetic waterproofing. However, these experiments can be unsuccessful and very expensive, as it is very hard sometimes to predict fluctuations in water level in this reservoir, the behavior of the underlying soils and other nuances.


Comment: Creation of a natural pond is an aerobatics in a water landscape. Often the water at such reservoir is dirty,  also there are difficulties with forecasting of her natural behavior. To make it beautiful, without landslide coast, to provide clear and transparent water, it is necessary to conduct the whole research, it is very good to weigh and provide all further activity of such reservoir. In this case the ideal option is the flowing reservoir, for example, the stream or a ravine in which water accumulates and constantly replenishes. At such option it is possible to make a good natural reservoir, by means of creation of platinum or a dam and it really will turn out qualitative and with clear water.

But besides, it is necessary to explore: where from does this water undertake.  For example, if it passes through industrial zones or fields, the stream can collect many phosphates in itself and it will be simply impossible to get rid of greens in such a reservoir. So, having summed up all aforesaid, I would recommend to do artificial reservoirs because they are more stable, cheaper and the quality of water in them, of course, is much  higher. .

And, fifthly, common for all fish ponds are shape — no corners, providing normal limits at all sites created the waters, and terraced bottom with shallow areas near the shore and deeper into the center of the pond, allowing you to land on the shore of the various aquatic vegetation and to provide a place for wintering for fish.

Before pond construction, irrespective of its sizes, it is necessary to decide the sizes of future reservoir, construction technology which will be applied, and to calculate the estimate of planned expenses. It is important, because if you won’t make it, arrangement even a small pond can unexpectedly noticeably «cost a pretty penny».

Comment: Before construction of a reservoir, it is necessary to create the project. Quite often importance of design is underestimated for some reason. I think it’s a great mistake, considering that the hydraulic engineering const
ruction is under construction for many years, and its creation is very responsible, expensive procedure where everything has to be accurately planned and coordinated at the initial stage. The full project with sufficient documentation is a peculiar conductor for establishment of mutual understanding of the customer and the performer who will help with result to receive exactly what he wants and to protect the estimate completely.  The studio of water landscapes of Konstantin Yudin doesn’t work without preliminary design. At first we do the project when all is clear to all: technologies materials from which the pond is constructed, the sizes, visualization is created and we start construction.

An exception may be only very simple small ponds, for example 5×5 m, make that possible without the project. More reservoirs are created only with the design and visualization.

What to apply technologies? First of all, it depends from the sizes of future reservoir which are defined proceeding from the free area on your land. If it is quite small, and you want to create a small, almost toy pond, ready capacity will be the optimal solution. And it is unnecessary to buy it in the store. As the pool it is possible to use the big basin which is available in economy, a trough, a bathtub or other capacity of the suitable sizes. You can buy ready-made plastic ponds volume from 100 liters up to 5 cubic meters. The advantage of such reservoirs is that it’s easy to install. It is enough to dig a hole in the form of a plastic tank, pour the sand under the bottom, install and fill the emptiness seized soil. For maintenance cleaning of water such reservoirs can use electric centrifugal pumps with a discharge or flow-through filters of various capacities and for small ponds up to 1 cubic meter of suitable and low-power aquarium equipment, which will provide both filtration and aeration of water. For reservoirs of bigger volume it is preferable to use special, more powerful and expensive equipment.

To provide a direct water s4upply from a well, borehole or summer water through a hose by small trickle, made in the wall of the self-regulating pond draining to the garden groove, diverting water to the flower beds, gardens or into the gutter. The drain opening or cut should be fenced off a grid that together with water from a pond fish didn’t «flow away». Water consumption will pick up empirically, for not to flood your site and neighbors. It is necessary to provide the upholding of the incoming water and optionally filtering (if the water is supplied from natural ponds) and dechlorination (if the water from the Central water supply) before entering the pond. To do this, you can skip the water before it enters the reservoir through a separate open capacity, divided into sections, filled with filter material. For these purposes, will fit a small tub, baby bathtub or plastic container, divided into three or four sections by wooden partitions, between which may be placed in the first two sections of any fibrous, in the last two — porous material, suitable materials can be purchased at pet stores or pick up natural). In one-two sections it is possible to plant water plants also. In fact, it is the same flowing filter which is on sale in the shop. It is better to place this capacity on the site which is well lit by the sun. Arranged with stones, pots with plants it can also be an additional element of scenery of a pond. Draining into the pond in the form of a falling stream or waterfall is preferable, as in boiling water for better gas exchange occurs — disposal of residual chlorine and oxygen saturation.

Comment: In the deepest part of the pond, this settling tank that was designed for the topping may be used as an additional filter, so that the pump is pumping water from the lake in this capacity.

Thus, when creating a pond of the finished container in the estimate of construction will include the cost of the reservoir pond, excavation, equipment for water purification and decorative elements. If a small 200-liter pond will costs you the sum from 1 to 4 thousand rubles, the cost of a large one with a volume of 4 cubic meters can be up to 60 thousand rubles.The pressure filter of sufficient capacity will cost a couple thousand to the owner of a small pond or 5 thousand rubles for owner of 4 cubic miters reservoir. The rest depends on your imagination — from what and how you are going to decorate the pond.

The oilcloth’s technology waterproofing pond involves laying a solid waterproof oilcloth in the trench. For a small pond, comparable by the sizes with the reservoirs described in the previous paragraphs it is possible to use any the household waterproofing materials – polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, banner fabric, etc. It is possible to stick together seams the usual or fiber reinforced sticky tape. As geotextiles any suitable soft substrate can be applied to protection of a waterproofing against sharp inclusions as a part of spreading soil. Of course, this is not as reliable as professional special welded or glued with a special adhesive tape rubber waterproofing membrane. But, considering a difference in the prices and simplicity of operation (including, repair) with the small pool, probably, you want to try to avoid excess expenses. Those who had the opportunity to raise children in the Soviet hostels, probably remember from the old cot and plastic sleeves arranged quite functional bathing small children. Thetechnologiesaresimilar.

If you are going to create a really big pond, then, of course, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises, it is better to buy a special waterproofing and geotextiles under it, or use another technology — strengthening of bottom and banks of concrete, wood (suitable teak, larch and other conifers), adding all powerful system cleaning and disinfection of water and decorative elements. Probably, in this case, you will need the help of experts in the design and construction of t5he pond.

A good solution
that will allow significant savings in the regeneration of large, several tens of cubic meters, the reservoir is shallow and narrow channel (sleeve) several meters in length along one of the banks of the pond, separated from the waters of the reservoir dams, and should be set with rigid water vegetation there. Pumping the ordinary electric pump water from a pond one way flutes, and lowering in a pond – from another, it is possible to provide rather effective water purification. In the drain side of the channel you can optionally install the ready flow filter industrial manufacturing.

Comment: We call it a regeneration area.

At the choice of any of technologies of creation of the pond, at calculation of the estimate of expenses it is necessary to take reservoir volume in a basis.

Asking to the services of excavator, pre-calculate the amount of work and ask about the performance of the used techniques for digging, which can be dug for 8 hours, not dragged on for years. Don’t be fooled.

Comment: From my experience I can say that those who have no deal with such kind of work, it will be difficult to stay not cheated. Excavation work is work that requires experience. I tell you why: there should be not just dig a hole and dig this pit, which is consistent with the planned reservoir, given its stylistic solutions and all technological modes.

For example, the excava9tor operators like to dig a pit in depth, with sharp gradients. That’s why, they must be tightly controlled, roughly speaking, we need to stand over him (excavator operator) and show where and how to dig, and, moreover, before beginning this work the excavator must provide a consistent drawing of digging and ensure accurate follow him. The person who accurately understands an essence and a problem of work of the excavator operator has to carry out control as a result to provide necessary result.

It’s easy o dig out a ditch, to correct something after is very difficult, it is almost impossible. It is necessary to consider the peculiarity of the clay. If there are loams, in this case it is enough solid ground, which keeps the shape well and sometimes even allows you to make fairly sharp slopes.  But, again, everything must be thought out in advance, if it was dig you won’t dig it back

The summary is next: you need experience, a plan/drawing of the pit, a clear understanding of the purpose.

Flow rate of materials (waterproofing, geotextiles, etc.) is calculated using the simple formula:

The area of material = (Width of pond + Depth x 2 + 1 m) x (Length of pond + Depth x 2 + 1 m) (all dimensions are in meters).

There you can find calculators to calculate the quantity of these materials depending on the size of the planned reservoir and parameters of purchased materials (thickness, roll width, and so on) on the websites of the manufacturers and sellers of waterproof oilcloth and geotextiles for ponds.

Comment: manufacturers of hydraulic materials usually have standard size products. It is good to learn in advance from the producer: what are parameters of standard pieces of a material and to adjust the reservoir sizes to these parameters, so there were no big scraps.

In the calculations of other materials (gr10avel, sand, concrete, etc.) just multiply the coverage area by its thickness. In cases where a layer of material covers the entire bottom and the edge of the pond, the calculation of the area of ​​coverage will be similar to the calculation of the area of ​​waterproofing membrane. When expressed terracing pond granular materials (sand, gravel) will only be used on horizontal surfaces, and their consumption will be equal to the coating thickness multiplied by its area. While strengthening the banks of logs, timber or planks that will be placed vertically, they will require in the quantity equal to the height of each terrace, multiplied by its perimeter, which is determined by large-scale drawing or empirically.

In addition it is neces
sary to get the glue, gluing tape and other material which quantity will be proportional to the area of the bottom and coast of a projected pond and will depend on applied materials and technologies. To avoid mistakes in the calculations, in the preparation of the estimates you should base on the needs in their per unit area (perimeter) of the pond. It will help you to determine material requirements accurately and to plan the necessary expenses.

You should remember that the main thing is to create the bowl of the reservoir and to provide it with sufficient water exchange. Even unfinished pond, filled with water, will reflect the clouds and blue sky, and in the night the stars will look in it. Further you will be able, without hurrying anywhere, to equip, improve and decorate a pond, enjoying the results of your own imagination and the work, at the same time watching life of inhabitants of own s
mall lake, pleasing children and surprising guests.


This article is prepared by the journalists of the Publishing House «Land Owner of the North-West” with using comments of the expert in water landscape

Konstantin Yudin


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