How To Fill In A Pond

Last Updated on March 13, 2021 by Anne Thynne

Pond is something that makes you realize how beautiful and relaxing life can be. It can be an amazing part of your surroundings, and you can find peace in the color of the plants, swimming of the fish, or simply by listening to the sound of the water. But how is it done?

After digging out the pond, simply prepare the pond with pond liner, sand, and rocks on the edges. Fill the space with rain, river, or tap water, and introduce aquatic plants and fish. You can also add other decoratives like fountains or waterfalls later on. 

To know more on this, you just have to keep scrolling and see what I have to offer. So, let’s go straight to the steps of how to fill in a pond.

Filling in a pond – The Steps

Ponds are a stunning space full of tranquility. Putting in a bunch of fish and decorating with plants enhances the beauty of it even further. But before you introduce living things to your pond, there are several things to do.

How To Fill In A Pond

Here I’ll try to give instructions on how to fill in a pond- in easy and doable steps. Let us proceed to the steps where you’ll have everything you need to know.

1. Digging out the pond

The first step to filling in a pond is to dig out the hole. Select a partly shaded place with at least 5-6 hours of sunlight. That way, it’s going to be warm and cozy. Mark the place where you want it with a rope or hose pipe. Then dig the pond, making the sides level on all sides.

2. Separating stones

After digging out the hole, get in there and remove big and sharp stones so that they don’t damage the pond liner you are about to install. Put down about 5cm thick layer of sand at the bottom because it will not allow any seed to grow into a plant.

3. Placing the pond liner

Now it is time to install the pond liner in the pond. Drop the pond liner into the hole, place it carefully all over the pond, and cut the excess parts. Set the liner with large rocks and fill the bottom with sand and pebbles. Here are some tips you can apply to hide the pond liner.

4. Filling the pond with water

This is the only step that may take longer than all the others. Most ponds are filled naturally with rainwater. It is the best way but may take a longer time. And if you want rainwater, plan to install the pond before it starts to rain.

If you couldn’t catch rain on time, don’t worry, there are alternatives. You can either use hose water or pump water from a nearby creek or river.

Use a filter, by all means, when you are using hose water.

5. Securing the edges of the pond

After filling the pond with water, the liner will expand a bit. What you’ll need to do is cover the edges with soil and more stones.

Another thing that is a must to keep in mind is that the liner’s material degenerates when exposed to sunlight. So, make sure that the uncovered areas are not bare for too long.

6. Adding plants to the pond

Now it is time to fill the pond with greens.

Plants are nature’s true filter. They add character to the pond by adding colors and texture. Plants absorb nitrate in pond water as fertilizer, thus controlling its nitrogen level and algae growth.

You can implant aquatic plants approximately 1-2 weeks after the filling. Choose the ones that are hardy and of native species.

7. Introducing fish to the pond

The last step of filling in a pond is to introduce fishes to the new environment. As the plants are already installed in water, the underwater environment should be prepared by then.

Before releasing fishes into the water, ensure the pH level is between 7.2 and 7.8, and the water temperature should be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. When everything is ready as required, the fishes can be released after a minimum of three days of filling in the pond.

How to introduce a new pond to the fish? Put your fish in bags, let them float in the pond water for 20 minutes to a half-hour to get used to the new temperature, then slowly release the fish into the water.

8. Adding Decoratives

This step is completely optional for pond owners. You can install a fountain or easily set up a DIY waterfall in your pond. It is not only a beauty enhancer; waterfalls and fountains keep the pond water moving, thus providing aeration in pond water.

You get the same benefits from installing pond spitters. Plus, there is a vast range of designs and shapes to choose from!

The Do’s and Don’ts before filling in a pond

There is a lot more to know before filling in a pond. From creating the perfect environment to using fertilizers, a new pond keeper needs to be cautious. In this part of the article, you’ll find some of the crucial factors you must know before you fill the pond with water.

Manifesting advantageous bacteria

The first time you fill in a pond is like a blank canvas- an environment with zero bacteria. Bacteria break down fish wastes and organic wastes, keeping the underwater clean and ammonia-free.

Ammonia mixes in pond water through fish waste and gills. As a new pond is bacteria-free, it is at risk for ammonia levels rising. This rise of ammonia can be fatal to fish.

A type of bacteria called Nitrosospira keeps the ammonia level in balance and turns ammonia into nitrite to nitrate. Nitrate is the end result that is not harmful to any aquatic entity and is consumed by plants and algae of the pond.

You can grow this super-beneficial-bacteria by simply installing stones, sand, gravels from a well-established pond and, most obviously, by installing a good filter. If you want to have more nitrosospira, add more from another pond. If you do not have any near you, you can purchase refrigerated nitrosospira from any aquarium store.

Another thing to keep in mind is, it is best to release only a few small fish as more fish means more ammonia. When the pond gets well established, release more later.

Keeping the pond protected

The pond should be a safe haven for all living things. It should have predator protection like fish tunnels, decoys, and nets. Plus, you mustn’t release more fish than the capacity.

Don’t let the water get dirty

Always keep the water clean. Skim the leaves that fall over the pond with a net or a skimmer. Adding a waterfall can regulate the flow of the water and beautify the pond at the same time. Additional pond tint will help to keep the water cool in scorching summer.

Also, avoid overfeeding and over-fertilizing the fish and plants because doing so can make the water polluted and have adverse effects on the habitats as well.

How long does it take to cycle a new pond?

The prep time for the pond to be well established is known as the cycle of a pond. In this period, the pond prepares itself naturally by slowly developing bacteria to provide a GOOD environment for the fish and plants.

The average time for this cycle to complete is about a month. The new pond should be ready after about a month, and it should develop a balanced environment for the fish and plants to be introduced to the pond.

Is it okay to use hose water to fill in a pond?

No, it is not okay to use hose water or tap water to fill in a pond. To make the water safe for humans to use, chemicals are added to it, which is harmful to any fish and plants.

If you don’t have any other option but to hose water, you can buy a filter and install it at the end of your hose. Only after that, you can fill in the pond with zero tension. You can easily find it in any hardware store.

Another option you can take into consideration is filling in the pond with well-water. I’d highly recommend well-water because the water comes straight from underground and no water is as pure and clean as it for the water is filtered through many many layers of rocks and sand.

If you have access to a well, definitely use well water to fill in your puddle.

Is Bacteria safe for aquatic plants and animals?

When we read or hear about bacteria, we assume that it is something adverse, but it is not like that. Some Bacteria kill living things, but some are actually beneficial!

Beneficial Bacteria breaks down ammonia as mentioned before. They also help decompose leaves and debris, leftover fish food, organic waste, and many other things.

Not only do they break down wastes, but also they contribute to keeping the water clean by producing enzymes.

Bacteria may be fatal to fish in small ponds, but that may result from a Bacterial outbreak, which is rare. Plus, pond keepers need to be cautious of a type of bacteria that may affect goldfish, koi, and other fish as well.

Let’s get started!

When you say filling in a pond, it does not only mean to fill the pond with water; you need other things to do as well. But, now you have instructions on filling in a pond in easy and doable steps; you’ll get the pond of your liking.

I believe my suggestions on how to fill in a pond will shower you with all the necessary info you needed to start out. Be the pond owner in a DIY way!

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