How To Build A Small Pond For Fish?

Last update: 2021-02-24

How To Build A Small Pond For Fish?

Building a small pond for fish in your backyard, woohoo, what an exciting plan!

But I know you are getting now a ton of questions to ask, such as: “How deep should a fish pond be?”, “Do fish ponds need a pump?”, or “Are pond lights bad for fish?”

The good news is all of them will be the answer in this ultimate guide:

Find The Best Pond’s Location

Determine The Pond’s Dimensions

But beforehand, make sure you’ve identified how much area of the backyard available to build a pond and how small it is according to your preference.

How To Build A Small Pond For Fish?

Once you’ve got the dimensions (length x width) of your desired pond, find its area (sq. ft.).

Now, you are able to identify the number of fish should be added to it, following this:

Each one inch of fish needs one sq. ft. of space.

If you add an extra filtration device, the number of fish can be increased 2 more inches/sq. ft. Otherwise, don’t break the rule.

A too small pond will push fish to fight each other and lead to unwanted injuries.

Bonus: How deep should a fish pond be?

The depth of your fish pond is dependent on your fish sizes and how many of them would be added to the pond.

A too shallow pond leaves your fish vulnerable to predators like raccoons or foxes. You should find a reasonable depth for it to avoid solidly frozen water in the winter and to give fish some space to huddle as well.

How To Build A Small Pond For Fish?

So the best depth would be around 4’ to 21’ deep.

Check The Location

First off, call your local building department to determine how far the pond should be from your house.

It’s commonly no further than 20 feet from your patio because out-of-side ponds are usually neglected while you can’t hear the gurgling of a fountain.

Next, call the local environment department to make clear about your local’s relevant laws and regulations.

After getting all the needed information, it’s time now to choose a pond location based on the ratio of shade/sunlight in your area. The ideal place should be able to get morning sunlight and shade in the afternoon to keep the water temperature warm/cool enough.

How To Build A Small Pond For Fish?

Avoid places that are:

  • Highly pollutant
  • Under trees
  • High in water retention

To check if the soil has high water retention or not, start by throwing a handful of soil ball into the air. When catching it, if the ball doesn’t break apart, dig a small hole and in the morning, fill water into it to the top.

Wait to see the water column in the afternoon, refill the water if needed, then, use a board to cover it completely and leave overnight.

The next morning, if you find 85% to 90% of the water is still remained, it’s ideal to build a pond on.

What Are The Best Fish For Outdoor Ponds?

How To Build A Small Pond For Fish?

This feature should be considered due to the weather or climate in your living space. If it’s only mildly cool during the winter then congrats, you can fill the pond merely every kind of fish. However, for frost-bite cold weather, here are some special options to consider:

  • Sticklebacks
  • Sterlets
  • Rosy Red Minnows
  • Redears
  • Pumpkinseeds
  • Koi
  • Goldfish
  • Golden Rainbow Trout
  • Fathead Minnows
  • Bluegills
  • Archerfish

Build The Pond

What You’ll Need

The following list consists of the most basic items needed for a pond.

  • Shovel
  • Pond liner
  • UV clarifier
  • Pond filter (optional, if you want to increase oxygen levels to the pond, pick it)
  • A mini water test kit
  • Pump
  • Hose clamps
  • Tubing (to link the filtration system)
  • Edging material
  • Soil, décor, fish, and plants

Or, you can buy a backyard fishing pond kit which already includes everything needed. Take note that they’re specifically designed for different pond sizes. For a DIY backyard pond for fish, don’t go anything longer than 6’ and deeper than 18”.

How To Build A Small Pond For Fish?

Step 1: Mark the pond dimensions that you’ve planned before on the place where you intend to build it.

Step 2: Dig a hole at least 3’ if you live in an extreme northern region or 2’ in standard regions. If this is your very first time using a shove, here’s how to use it with no back pain:

Step 3: Make a shelf under the waterline’s surface, using the excess soil. This shelf will be for plants or add safety to your pond if someone falls into it, especially if that’s a kid. It creates a step for him/her to climb back to the ground.

How To Build A Small Pond For Fish?

Step 4: Loosely put the liner over the hole

How To Build A Small Pond For Fish?

Step 5: Fill the pond with water, using a garden hose to save your effort

Step 6: Attach the pump feet to keep it to the pond floor and then, locate it in the center of the pond.

Step 7: If you plan to use a filter for your pond, place it in a shaded place at a level surface that’s above the waterline of the pond.

Step 8: Add plants, décor stuff, and fish.

How To Build A Small Pond For Fish?

How To Maintain The Fish Pond

  • When the water level lowers, refill it
  • Remove debris off your pond weekly
  • Add new fish (if needed) to stabilize the population


Well, that’s all for this article.

I hope the provided pieces of information above are enough of the instruction about how to build a small pond for fish. But if you still have any questions, feel free to ask me by leaving your comments down below.

Thanks for reading!

Harry Ramos
Harry Ramos

Related Articles