How to Make a Pond from a Stock Tank

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Ponds are enchanting places that are full of life and beauty. Whether you plan to breed tropical fish or raise homegrown catfish for the supper table, a stock tank is a wonderful addition to a home. When planned carefully, the water gardening possibilities are nearly endless. Especially suited for smaller properties, stock tanks can be utilitarian breeding tanks or aesthetically pleasing landscaped ponds. The addition of a wraparound deck will lend a professional and beautiful look to the area.

Things You'll Need

  • Sand
  • Clay
  • Aged pond mud
  • Flat rocks
  • Waterlilies
  • Azolla
  • Parrot’s-feather
  • Native snails
  • Aquarium sealant
  • Waterlily pots

Scrub out the stock tank with a strong bleach and water solution (do not use soap/detergents). Rinse the tank well with clean water.

Spread a layer of clay 4 to 5 inches thick across the entire bottom of the stock tank. Apply a 3-inch layer of sand over the clay (try to cover all the mud substrate).

Lay a 1 to 2 inch coating of pond sediment (top layer of pond mud) across the sand. The sediment mud should be gathered from a clean pond that cattle do not frequent.

Examine all the plants for diseases or dead limbs/foliage. Remove any suspicious-looking areas. Healthy clippings can be rooted or left floating in the pond.

Glue large flat rocks together to form sturdy caves for fish to hide. Use a fish-safe silicone and allow it to cure fully before adding to the pond. Place the caves firmly in the substrate so they cannot topple over and harm active fish.

Plant the waterlilies either directly in the substrate or use plastic flowerpots made especially for waterlilies.

Begin to fill the pond with water from a hose. Be careful not to disturb the substrate, caves or plants.

Add the parrot’s-feather to the pond when filled with water. Parrot's-feather can be left floating or secured by placing stones on part of it. Pour several cups of Azolla in the pond. Ideally, you should cover 1/3 of the surface of the pond with floating plants.

Add several aquatic snails (native to your area) to the pond. The snails will help keep the pond free of algae and eat dead fish and plants.

Introduce all fish slowly to the pond. Three to four fish every two weeks will help in preventing a dangerous biological system crash.

Tips & Warnings

  • The reason to use aged pond mud is that it introduces beneficial bacteria to the pond. It also brings in various living organisms that fish and invertebrates can eat. A healthy pond creates an effective ecosystem.
  • By covering 1/3 of the pond's surface with floating plants, the pond is partially shaded so that fish do not overheat and algae blooms are kept to a minimum.
  • Before adding fish, test the water weekly until the readings show zero ppm (parts per million) ammonia. Never add fish to a pond that shows any amount of ammonia. It can take three weeks or more for a pond to fully cycle.

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