Pond Build Finished… For now
I’ve always loved streams and small sources of freshwater. I think part of that is because my dad used to take me and my brothers to local streams and we would go creek walking for miles. You never knew what you would find creatures you would find and stretch was unique.
Building a pond also felt like a natural progression because I’ve had a fish tank for the last 6 years. Seem like a good way to scale up! Fish, plants, and water are often moved between the fish tank and pond for various reasons like seasonal changes or cleaning.
I wanted to make it look as natural as possible. I didn’t want anything artificial showing, so I ordered about 10 tons of uncut natural rocks ranging in size from a 1 ton rock to little pebbles. I then hired a couple guys from the front of Home Depot and we went started digging based on an outline I had drawn.
And since streams don’t have an observable starting point most of the time, I didn’t want mine to either. It appears to be flowing out from under the porch. Who knows where it actually begins!
It’s not perfect, never will be. It is kind of like a hobby in that there are endless ways to improve and expand on it. For example one day my youngest was siphoning water from the top pool and trying to make it flow down the hill into the main pool. I said sure we can do that!
If you see that small pool right up against the house, water is just being siphoned into that. Now I have two stream sources with mysterious beginnings!
The pond water has always been really clear. I just have a basic bump that brings water from the big pool back up to under the porch. This Tetra 3,000 gallon.
There is no artificial filtration and zero chemicals in the pond.
The unfiltered water is simply pumped from the bottom to the top. These are the reasons I believe we have such clean water without a filter or chemicals.
- Minimal Fish – I believe the pond holds about 600 gallons. So not that big. I keep no more than three or four fish not exceeding three inches.
- Lots of Plants – Mainly floating plans with big roots that hang down into the water are the best. Those floaters are dwarf water lettuce.
- Lots of Oxigination – You can’t really tell from the pic, but there are lots of little waterfalls all along the stream.
- Optimal Biological and Mechanical Filtration – I have lots of large rocks that the water skims over. I believe this has the greatest benefit to water clarity.
I was very familiar with how long it took for water to become clear because the kids and I were always messing about and red clay would get into the water. It would take about a day or two for the water to clear up.
But then I added on the siphoning stream on the left side. I noticed that when the pond would get dirty it would now clean up in less than a day! This is because there was now more rocks skimming off the dirt and holding beneficial bacteria.
I wanted to use all-natural uncut stones. I loved looking at the big rocks at the landscaping store. They’re not like anything else in that they don’t have a set viewpoint that they look best at. It’s up to you to figure that out. Also, some of the jagged edges of the flagstones are so unique. Many of them look like mountain tops.
Having children and lots of delicately placed stones around a pond is not a great combination. They would move rocks into the creek area and that would raise the water level at that spot enough for water to leak out or muddy rainwater would find it’s way in.
To secure that side of the creek I placed large uncut flagstones as steps. I photographed the flat rocks from the roof then cut them out and arranged them in Photoshop before actually placing them. These were lots of fun to work with. I have some plans to use more of them again on some other projects.
Adding the large stepping stones also amplified the sound of the creek. With the brick wall of the house and the big steps sound really bounces off. I noticed that from the bedrooms just up on the second story.
I like to think of the pond as being an interactive playground, or like a science lab. My kids are at the perfect age to enjoy playing with something like this. When we go out hiking or camping we often grab plants or creatures and toss them in! (only if we see that there are plenty of them) How do they do in the pond? I make a point to check on our inhabitants regularly.
Tadpoles are the most fun to watch. They grow up quick, but unfortunately, they don’t want to stick around.