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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