Saturday, October 15, 2011

More on How to Make a Mini Pond

Because there were so many questions about my pond set-up, I put this together with the hopes that it answers some of your questions. 

Remember not to overcrowd your pond.  Your fish need room to grow and overcrowding makes for an unbalanced system and adds stress to your fish.  I'll eventually have to look into making another pond soon as my fish get larger.  Also be careful not to shock your fish when introducing them to their new home.  Float the bag containing the fish in the pond water for 10-15 minutes, then open the bag and add a little of the pond water and reseal with air and continue to float for another 10-15 minutes before pouring them in.
Common name: Pearlscale Goldfish
Cost: purchased 3, for ¥500 at local farmer's market
Common name: Killifish, medaka ใƒกใƒ€ใ‚ซ
Cost: purchased 8, for ¥500 at local farmer's market

Beside being purdy water plants are important for 1.) keeping your water clean 2.) sheltering your fish from critters and the sun 3.) providing a source of food. 
Common name: Parrot feather Myrophyllum aquaticum
Cost: free - collected & introduced from a nearby canal
I uprooted a couple of small healthy looking stalks and used a piece of wire to attach them to a rock.

Common name: Water Hyacinth Eichhornia
Cost: ¥100 from home & garden center
I recommend just buying one of these; they're like zucchini in the sense that they're prolific.

I opted to collect rocks for two reasons: 1.) an established bacterial colony which help to breakdown pollutants 2.) they're free.  Also look for water snails that can help clean eat excess algae.  You want to make sure your rocks are clean.  Using any old gravel probably isn't a good idea.  Clean, aquarium rocks are cheap and sold in all kinds of colors and sizes.
Cost: free - collected from a nearby stream

Tap water is treated with chlorine to make it safe to drink, but it can kill your fish.  Treat tap water with a chemical decholorinator — found at any pet shop, or in my case the 100 yen shop — before introducing your fish, just follow the instructions on the bottle.  I do a partial water change every couple of weeks, meaning I siphon out about 1/3 of the water and replace it with fresh treated water.

I opted for this set-up because it was what I had on hand but it's not ideal.  In a perfect world you would want a container with more surface area to allow for more oxygen transfer, but because my pond is relatively small I just went with it.  You can also oxygenate the water using an air stone and a small pump.

I feed my fish once a day a small amount of fish food.  Be careful not to overfeed.  One last thing, remember that this is a closed system so every couple of weeks you'll have to do a partial water change.  This means, siphoning out 1/3 of the water and replacing it with clean treated water.   Also the plants will take up water and water will evaporate so replenish it as the water level drops.

Whew!  I hope I got everything.  Honestly, this may sound more complicated that it actually is.  Once you get everything going, it does a great job taking care of itself.  Make it;  you won't regret it.


  1. oh wow that's so cool

    i looked up the prices of the pearlscale goldfishes in America and they cost around $30 for one. :(

  2. @oh.steph - Really? Keep looking though, a YT commenter who sells fish said they went for $9 or so. Don't give up!

  3. Since colder weather is around the corner, how will the plants and fish adapt to the weather change? Will they still be okay or would they need to be brought inside the home? Thanks in advance.

    @Oh Steph- I'm having a bit of an issue with the prices as well. It all depends on your area T______T;;

  4. @GloomGem - Winters here are relatively mild & I've read that my varieties of goldfish are pretty hardy. If it looks like temps will drop below freezing, I'm planning on insulating everything w/styrofoam & bubble wrap. As far as the plants are concerned, I'm not worried about their survival since they grow wild here. And if at all possible I want to keep the pond outside so it gets natural sunlight.

  5. @Emmy- Thanks for the quick response and that's a really good idea. I'll definitely have to try out<3

  6. dont you need a pump to make the water keep flowing so it wont stand still and get oxygen in the water? I thought you always needed that...

  7. Hi! I'm from Hong Kong but I am studying in Sydney. I just went to an urban farming talk and they recommended to make fish pond or habitat for frogs too. The girl who gave the talk also gave some ideas on making a fish pond similar to what you did here! Very nice! But yea, I was thinking if we need to buy a pump to aerate it or the plants will do? What about during night time when the plants take up O2?


  8. hah! i like that the bucket says bucket on it!

  9. did you just use a big pot laying around

  10. Hi EmmyMade, Thank you for the videos. I love them! Keep it up. Also sorry to hear about your fish, but I'm going to try it in my small pond and see what happens. Thanks!

  11. I will need to try this [your] idea, as my garden is very small, but i would like a small/mini pond with some fish etc. Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿž