Julieta and I built a
pond in our back yard in July of 2000. We added plants later that summer,
and fish in the spring of 2001. In the Spring on 2002 we added a second
smaller pond for water plants.
Click on the following years to jump to a particular year or scroll down to see the evolution of the pond.
Colours of the month in
Before the pond in
First we dig the hole.
The backyard had a lot of grass at the time ...
Then we line the hole with some ugly carpeting we removed from the den, add the liner (which gets really really hot really really fast), and then fill it up with water. The pond takes about 550 US gallons (2000 litres) of water to fill.
Finally we add some
rocks around the edge and some more landscaping.
Then comes winter. We leave the pump running but he pond comes close to freezing over a couple times on the coldest days of the year
Spring again and now we add 3 goldfish which by the end of summer have become 55
Its late summer and we are starting to think about the coming winter, and pond stuff is going on sale. To increase the chances of our fish surviving, we are going to bring some of them inside for the winter, so we need to build an indoor pond. This time we are going with a pre-formed 75 gallon pond which we are sitting up in our family room.
In October began introducing plants and fish to the indoor pond eventually moving 12 inside for the winter. The plants survived until January when the water lettuce and water hyacinths died off, leaving only the oxygenators ... which continue to grow quite happily. The fish are still doing fine and are also growing quite happily.
Outside the fish are hanging out on the bottom and are doing OK so far. We left the pump running again and added a small doughnut-shaped heater this year to make sure the pond doesn't completely freeze over.
We only lost one fish over the winter and we brought the inner fish back out to join their brothers and sisters. We also added a couple tadpoles and didn't see them as frogs until the middle of August.
We added a UV clarifier this year to help with the algae, and built a smaller shallow pond for bog plants since the netting that we were using in the man pond made it hard for plants to grow there.
Here are some pictures of the pond as of June 2002:
In late July 2002 we suffered a major loss of fish. Within 3 weeks we lost more than three quarters of our fish to infection, with 51 dead. Among the dead were all 3 of the originals, most of the biggest, and my favorite fish (the overly friendly goldfish) but at least we were able to save some of the family ...
Since we wanted to completely clean and disinfect the pond anyway, we took this opportunity to make part of the pond deeper in preparation for winter, and added a bigger and better filtration system. Now we have an in-pond filter, an external filter in the garage, and a U/V clarifier, all of which has made the water much clearer. We also added an air bubbler to help during the very hot weeks of late July and early August.
Fortunately our two frogs were fine, though they needed some encouragement to leave their home for the temporary renovation.
Then another winter (2002/2003) was upon us and we moved 4 of the fish inside to the same indoor pond we set up last year, and left the 5 fish and the two frogs outside. For several days over the winter the pond was almost completely frozen over.
Here's a picture of the indoor pond and the 4 indoor fish
This year the indoor fish shared their room with another small highly excitable goldfish in an aquarium. Here is the small goldfish swimming (quickly) around his Christmas tree.
In the summer of 2003 we added 4 bullfrog tadpoles to the upper pond, and while we were doing that we found that we had at least 5 small fish swimming around the upper pond as well as several small fish in the lower pond. The new frogs are much more interested in sunning themselves on the rocks than the previous 2 frogs which we haven't seen for a while.
By the end of the summer we did see a big tadpole swimming around in the big pond ... so we may have more frogs than we thought.
We brought 6 fish inside this 2003/2004 winter along with the UV clarifier (which helped a lot) to augment the indoor pump and air generators. We left 11 fish outside.
Now they are all back outside and there are at least four frogs, including one new one, hanging out in and around the pond.
-2005-Spring again and the indoor fish head outside ...
After continued attacks
by raccoons (who like disassembling the lights in the pond) and cats (who
like to stare at the fish) we decided to add a defense system to the pond.
For $60 the motion and heat detecting water sprinkler has done a pretty
good job deterring the local critters from menacing the pond without
driving away the birds.
This is the first year
we tried adding Microbe Lift to the water and that did a very good job
keeping the water clear in the summer.
This year we added a
second web cam that can see a bit into the infra-red so we can get an idea
what is creeping around at night.
-2006-This year we decided to add a bunch of oxygenators to the pond. They quickly took over and needed to be culled back pretty aggressively.
-2008-In the spring we found that we lost a couple fish over the winter. This is the first time we saw this, but it may be that its the first time the pond was clean enough that we could find them.
-2009-Again we lost a few fish over the winter - all the large ones, leaving us with about 30.
-2010-All the fish made it through the winter.
cleanup we found that the liner for the upper pond was ripped making
it impossible to use the waterfall between the two ponds. Rather than
replace the entire upper liner we decided to isolate the upper pond
with just the plants and a small pump to keep the water moving. We
also decided to remove the big physical filter in the garage and just
use the small filter, the bubbler, the 35w pump, and the UV clarifier
in the lower pond. As you can see in the photo below the UV clarifier
is now sitting on the edge of the lower pond - we need to try and hide
it some more.
did not use any Potassium
Permanganate this year since it seems like all of the issues
related to the infection a decade ago have ended, but we continue to
add the beneficial bacteria.
have a new water lilly that's very aggressively taking over the lower
pond and pushing out the other three older lillies, so we need to keep
it in check.
year we seem to be down to about 7 fish, but we didn't see any obvious
The Japanese maple
hadn't been doing very well for the last couple years after something
tried climbing on it, so we removed it late in the year. Otherwise things
in the garden are growing quite well.
-2015-The fish population is coming back up as we have four large fish and what looks like at least 10 smaller ones. We are continuing to use the beneficial bacteria and the UV clarifier, and along with the lillies covering the pond we haven't had much trouble this year, aside from the raccoons trying to re-arrange the upper pond to their liking.
-2016-After the snow melted and some paint, here is the new garage in January with the remaining parts of the wisteria back on the roof.
-2017-This year we finally removed the last patch of grass in the back yard and planted vegetables there.
Algae eye in the pond in January
Views near the
one from on top of the garage looking back at the house
This year we added a 240 V
outlet to the garage to support our two electric cars, which involved
digging a thin trench through the north side of the back yard, but the
plants seemed to come through it ok.
We seem to have 8 decent sized
fish and a handful of new small ones. All the fish came through the summer
OK. Lots of hummingbirds this year.
We get several other regular visitors to the pond including raccoons, squirrels, skunks, possums, and an assortment of birds and butterflies.
and an assortment of
birds (pigeons, robins, starlings, hummingbirds, a pair of cardinals,
a woodpecker) and various insects ...
Here are some time
lapse movies of the pond. The first is from 2003, and the second is
Things that we have found to be really useful to have for the pond:
The web page was last updated (12/04/18)