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Who's built a tiny pond?  RSS feed

 
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
94
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There's a bit of talk about ponds on permies at the moment and my question's probably talked about somewhere...got a handy link?
I've wanted a pond for ever, but basically haven't got around to it.
I visited someone today who had a small, unaerated pond with frogs, fish and waterplants. I have pond-envy!
Here's my situation: the pond would need to be very small, around 20-30 gallons (?)
I'm basically on pure sand, so I can't just seal it with bentonite, I'll have to use a liner, maybe something like this
I plan to siphon my rainbarrels' overflow through it, so it won't be totally stagnant, but it sure won't be fresh Anyone doing this?
Do you have any of these: a tiny pond in sandy soil, use your overflow to fill it, unaerated water?
 
gardener
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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I have 6 tiny ponds in my front yard and 6 super tiny tire sized ponds down the side of the house running downhill. I got an easy one for you and you even get a panting berm out of it for every one you do, plant a free bathtub in your soil, berm the earth around the tub and cover the edged that are flush with the ground with walking stones. There's always a free bathtub, i found two in my backyard, and they dig in an afternoon, I put those feeder fish in them, frogs show up, salamanders show up and I grow duckweed and cattails no mosquito's. When i don't have tubs I dig a stress relieving hole of any shape till i get to tree roots, i layer that building plastic 4 layers thick and I bury the ends under the berm. The ducks have two 10x6 foot ponds in their run, with tubs you can always drain them to sterilize them, grow mussels to fix phosphate then throw dirt in them after you harvest. I don't go for anything overboard or else I feel like I can't have many of them or share the technique with people of less resource.
 
pollinator
Posts: 10533
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I have a little pond of less than 100 gallons, it stays fresh due to water plants. It might be more difficult to keep one a whole lot smaller because of evaporation. Make it deep, if small, but make sure to provide some way for frogs and toads to climb out, such as a gradually sloping small log.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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in the past i had tiny ponds..one was concrete..it worked really well..when you build that you dig and then buy the bags of concrete, mix it in a wheelborrow or whatever and then form it..making sure to use a level to keep the top edges level..with a small dip in it on the overflow side..remember deeper is better..

you can use a barrel, or bucket , or sink, or bathtub in the ground for a pond..even a trashcan can be buried for a pond but animals falling in might not be able to swim out so if you use something deep use a board in it or some rocks or a log to give footing to animals to get out.

at this time i have a fairly large pond..about 175 x 100 a sorta odd figure 8 shape with island in the center and channels on each side..it has a clay bottom
 
pollinator
Posts: 1454
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I have a 40 gallon with three fish and plants and tadpoles and a 500 gallon (ish) with a bunch of fish and plants and lots of tadpoles. No aeration, no pump. You can see pics of the large one on my link (signature) and I can post pics of the little one if you like.

I pretty much do nothing to them. Today the bigger one has three water lilies blooming. Those plants came from the smaller 40 gallon container - they had lived there for about 3 years before I moved them. If you have questions I'll be glad to answer.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Thanks for the ideas people. I'm starting to collect stuff...
I scored a big, used, good-quality plastic kid's bath. I envision sanding the heck out of it, burying it (level) and coating it with clay/bentonite/whatever's cheap and available and letting it dry. Or trying to: we are getting a lot of rain!
The bath won't leak, but I need an interior surface that's friendly to life and makes it look a bit less like a plastic bath...

How do people feed water into their ponds? I'm a novice with this stuff, but here's my initial plan: have a permanent, camouflaged hose leading into the pond, that can be telescoped into my rain barrel overflow hose, then disconnected and the overflow hose directed elswhere. Make sense?
I'm totally fine with a bit of pond overflow: while having a tiny wetland would be cool, in my sand, any extra water just disappears.
Could running water in/over like that damage the plants/ tadpoles etc? It's from really minimal head, so there'll be very little water-pressure
I don't know much about water/gravity, but if the 'open' end of the hose is higher than the pond end, the water's not going anywhere, right?

Jeanine, I'd love pictures of your tiny pond
 
Posts: 386
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You will find this really useful! http://vimeo.com/41597573
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Tal, that's a cool clip.
My space is really small, and my pond will have to be really tiny.
Literally baby-bath-sized...
 
Posts: 177
Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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Leila Rich wrote:Tal, that's a cool clip.
My space is really small, and my pond will have to be really tiny.
Literally baby-bath-sized...



There's a trick out here in dry california that might help you. We create little tiny water spaces with native plants. Native Wetland Pots are small (sink-sized) containers of a pleasing design and color, raised out of the earth a little. They are planted with native water-loving species into a substrate of native soil and a lot of gravel. The pots are flooded once a week to push out any mosquito larvae, and that flood waters the surrounding plants. This weekly flood gives us a huge variety of plants to choose from for just that little area.

If you have a small yard this might be helpful as it would give you a great chance to diversify your palette.

A whole bunch of pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eastbaywilds/sets/72157606795675203/
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Thanks PT, I think that's the kind of thing:)
I like the idea of having one pond large enough for frogs etc, supported by smaller ecosystems.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1454
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
34
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PT those are very cute - gives me some ideas for MORE - It's always good to have more

Leila, Here are my tiny ponds. The two forty gallon containers have been there for about 6 or 7 years now. Both used to be very pretty with stones hiding the edges and pretty flowers etc. Then when our old dog died 4 years ago we adopted another one. What he didn’t chew up he knocked over, dug up or tore holes in. Killed fish, ate plants and so on.

The container that the birds play in has a hole in it but the other one was salvageable. It now has fish, plants and tadpoles again. I just haven’t bothered trying to make it pretty. My main goal is to have habitat and it is serving that purpose. You can’t see it in the pic but there is a large stone just under the surface that lizards and birds can use, butterflies and dragon flies land on the plants. The water lilies seem to do better without aeration. The fish and lizards eat the mosquitoes. I find that the less I do to them the better they perform as a habitat.
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Posts: 55
Location: Ottawa, Canada
10
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I was thinking of building one using an old rubbermaid storage bin.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Thanks Jeanine, I'm starting to get a better picture of this pond thing.
Something that's becoming very clear is that while it would be tempting to overengineer/think this stuff, if I want to promote life, all I really need is a vessel filled with water and the rest is 'bells and whistles'...
 
Posts: 19
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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Leila,

Are those goldfish in your pond? I just built a tiny (175 or so gallon) pond this spring and avoided fish because I heard they would eat tadpoles and dragonfy larvae (as well as plants), but maybe it is working well for you? We have a ton of algae growth in our pond! I pick it out by hand when I can, but I am hoping the aquatic plants will multiply soon and balance the ecosystem better.

Carrie
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Hi Carrie, those ponds are Jeanine's.
I'm sure she'll help you out
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1454
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Carrie, yes those are goldfish. It depends on the numbers and size of fish vs how large the pond and how much food is in there. In my 40 gallon container there are only 3 fish, they eat some of the plants, most of the tadpoles (but not all) and I do not feed them.

In the larger (400-500 gallon) pond there are about 30 fish, lots of smaller plants and some very nice water lilies and masses of tadpoles. I do feed those fish because they do eat my water lilies - but if I keep them fed enough we manage to share and I get to have some blooms.

Algae: I have never been to a pond that does not have lots of algae growth. Fast running creeks and rivers are often pretty clear water but in just about every still pond I have ever been to there is a ton of algae so I have never concerned myself with it. The tadpoles, fish, dragonflies, bees, birds, lizards and plants don't seem to mind it either.

In the fall after all of the leaves have dropped I do carefully scoop out leaves and throw them into the garden. I say 'carefully' because I try not to disturb the water too much and also try to leave a fair amount in the water for the bugs and amphibians. Also, I don't worry about putting soil in the water for plants - mine have never needed it. The whole thing will get dirty soon enough and the fish and visiting birds provide all of the nutrients they need. I only put a stone or something heavy to anchor the lilies to the bottom.
 
C Quint
Posts: 19
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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Jeanine (sorry for the mix-up!),

Thanks for the information! We may try a few goldfish. My kids will be thrilled!

Carrie
 
steward
Posts: 2719
Location: Maine (zone 5)
563
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Now that the spring rush is coming to an end, it looks like a pond is the next project for me. I hadn't thought of it till it was mentioned above, but I have about 30 rubbermade bins that I bought for moving all my junk/stuff. Now that I'm "home" and have no real use for the bins, I'll be digging tons of ponds in series. What a great thread! Very inspiring. Thanks everyone.
 
Posts: 159
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Long story...that led to my first guerilla pond...field next door was tiled about two years before I was born by my 100 year old next door neighbor...tile quit working this year, and the farmer working the field had the tile dug up and fixed...well, the outflow drops right next to my west property line and flows onto my property....gives me a couple feet of drop into solid clay...took my little backhoe back in there and dug a couple thousand gallons out...dammed it and dropped in a spillway and outlet channel...with plans to catch another uphill of htat one from another drain...I figure if it runs onto my land, it is mine until I let it go by...

I am thinking a few koi and some quackers back there...already got the phrogs...
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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make sure that you use a level when installing the pond before you fill it up..so that all sides are level, if you want an overflow per se you can cut a small (it won't let me use the letter so I'll say you shape) shape notch in the plastic where it will overflow..also..there are spray paints that are weatherproof that are designed to color plastic..you can find them at big box stores..fusion is one brand..buy either navy blue, black or dark green..to make it disappear.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
94
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Has anyone used clay (not potter's clay, but from an extra-clay-y spot) to line a tiny pond?
I'm trying to envision how I'd dry it before adding water.
A natural lining may not be required on a practical level, but right now, the bath's bright white, so...
 
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