My 600G Koi pond: I know what I did this past summer


Season 1 - The preparations

My summer 2007 project was to build a 600G/2000L fish pond in my backyard. Since I had a contractor coming to build a patio and do some brickwork and gardening renovations anyway, I decided to take this opportunity and build a smallish pond. My wife and kids think I am nuts, but I enjoy it.

May 11, 2007

Here is a picture before we started on May 11, 2007.

Where I live it is not easy to dig down since we sit on bedrock. Therefore I had to bring in a backhoe and chip away at the rock under the 20cm of topsoil. The deep end will be about 70cm and the shallow end about 30cm. The oval pond is to be about 1.7 meters wide and about 3.5 meters long with a rock waterfall of about 1 meter in height.

May 30, 2007

Here are a few pictures after the backhoe finished its work on May 30, 2007.

July 12, 2007

Since we have moles and since the bedrock leaves sharp and jagged ends, I requested to have the hole lined with a thin layer of cement (2-3 cm). This will keep the moles from getting to the PVC liner (they range in the topsoil only, obviously) and it will smooth out the walls somewhat as well. Here is an initial picture on July 12 after our first layer of cement was placed.

July 19, 2007

After smoothing out the walls, here is a picture from July 19 where one can see the general shape of the pond as well as the planned rock edging that will be used once the liner is in place. The size of the pond is now 1.8 meters across (6 feet), 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) long, with a depth ranging from 70 cm (2.3 feet) to around 30 cm (1 foot).

July 25, 2007

Today we started filling the pond. First I laid out the PVC in the sun to make it more supple so we could manipulate it easier.

Here is a picture with the felt-like underlay laying on top of the PVC and then laid out inside the concrete structure of the pond.

Next came the gradual filling of the water which took about 40 minutes.

Unfortunately, I had planned the maximum depth to be 80cm, and by the time we hit 65cm, the water was at the top edge. I had told the contractor that the edging needed to be higher and with a slightly raised lip of 8-10 cm.

So we stopped the water and he added sand that shifted easily under the PVC. After we added 2 more centimeters of water he decided to add rocks and cement under the liner to raise the edge. I had to leave and when I came back I was not pleased with the sharp edges from under the liner nor with the level of the siding. So over the next few days we undid the work he did, and we worked together to fix up all the edging by draining 5cm of water, folding back the PVC and exposing the edging and fixing it with cement. It now has a variable height (5-12cm) concrete border.

Here is a picture from the end of the day from July 25.

July 31, 2007

Here is a picture after we finished fixing the pond edging via a variable height concrete border (5-12cm) on July 31.

Aug 13, 2007

I have finished more or less what needed to be finished. We cemented the paving stones along the raised cement edge of the pond. Another trick we used was to use drywall joint tape between the liner and the paving stones. Since the PVC liner is smooth, the cement may not bond well to it so by adding two strips of drywall joint tape we add an extra amount of bonding.

We built the waterfall using the remaining paving stones. The waterfall is 70cm (2.3 feet) in height from the water level. One important aspect to remember is to leave enough of the PVC liner so that it extends to be completely under the waterfall. This was not listed in the various sites and books when planning a pond but fortunately we realized to do this. The water that flows/trickles down the waterfall will also seep down to ground level. If you don't want to lose water by waterfall seepage as well as having consistently wet soil around the waterfall, best to leave enough liner for the waterfall and trim the edges after the waterfall is in place.

But with all the planning and forethought, I still made a mistake. See if you can spot it in the above two pictures. The electrical cable that runs from the pump to the electrical outlet was simply buried between the PVC liner and the paving stone edging as well as partially under the waterfall. What I should have done is build a narrow cable conduit and snaked the electrical cable through it. Now, when my pump dies in 5 years I will have to cut the cable at both ends, and run a new cable and break the rock edging and put in a proper conduit at the time. This aspect was also never mentioned in any pond setup articles that I have read.

I am not worried about the pump hose being buried as well, since that can be disconnected and be reused by the next pump.

Aug 15, 2007

Over the past 2 days I drained the pond and cleaned it up from all the building dredges. I went into the pond with a hammer and gently tapped away the excess cement from the paving rocks we used on the edging. I then used rags and rough sponges to clean away the caked on dry cement that was on the PVC liner. I cleaned out the pump and opened the filter and cleaned it out as well.

I then added in the 3 plastic tree trunks and the 80kg of riverbed rocks (see below) and refilled the pond. Here is a picture from at night:

Aug 20, 2007

Here are pictures of some of the 2 comets I have in the pond (one is a common comet and the other is a red & white Sarasa Comet):

Aug 23, 2007

Here is a final daytime picture of the pond:

Aug 30, 2007

Lily - Gana Walska (purple day tropical):

Two comets (going right to left) and a Koi (going left to right) under the lilies:

Aug 31, 2007

Two views of the pond:

Oct 2, 2007

Lilies continues to bloom:

Oct 11-12, 2007

More pictures which includes some recent additions to my pond - a Siamese Algae Eater and a Chinese Algae Eater.

Oct 17-19, 2007

Well that was a big mistake to add the Chinese Algae Eater - CAE (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri) to the pond. Via a local fish forum I bought 5 Siamese Algae Eaters (SAE) and one CAE from an individual. I knew the SAEs would be good pond mates but I wasn't sure if they would make it through the winter, so I took the 4 small SAEs and added them to my aquarium (two of them will go into the pond after the winter) and the larger ones - a 9cm SAE and 9cm CAE, I added to the pond. Only later did I research the CAE properly to find out that as they get bigger they become aggressive: FAQs on Freshwater Algae Eaters
I found one morning one of my 16cm Koi floating dead in the pond, missing part of its rear tailfin. So I was forced to drain the entire pond on Oct 19 to find and remove the CAE. In the process, another 20cm Koi died.

Dec 5, 2007

Some winter pictures with the water temperatures around 15c.

Season 2 (2008)

The Upkeep - 2009-2016

DIY - How to Build a Gravitational Filter for a Koi Pond

Pond Resources

Pond setup articles

How to Build A Water Garden or Fish Pond (English - from
Many Pond setup articles (English - from
How to Build A Water Garden or Fish Pond (Hebrew - from Atlantis Fish)

Pond size calculators

Pond size calculators

Koi Disease and Treatment

Koi diseases
Koi medication
Koi ailments
Koi disorders
Koi diseases

Koi Stocking calculator

Koi pond stocking table

Israeli Koi Breeders

Hazorea Aquatics
My field trip to Hazorea Aquatics Koi breeding farm - Oct 2007
My field trip to Magnoy - Gan Shmuel Koi breeding farm - Dec 2007
My field trip to Magnoy - Maagan Michael Koi breeding farm - Feb 2008

The equipment

Now for the pond equipment I purchased. I checked out various pond and fish stores in Israel and settled on Atlantis,
which had the best equipment and the most knowledgeable people from the numerous stores I researched.


For the filter, which is the most expensive part in a pond, I went with a Sera pressure filter with UV (11W).

Sera Pond Pressure Filter T25 + UV
UK: 149GBP
IL: $330 (pretty much the same cost as in Europe)

It is rated at max 6000L/hr, but in reality I bought it to handle 2000L/hr, due to the fact that I have strong sunlight with few to no plants and it will be mainly a Koi pond where I intend to keep up to 70cm of Koi.

This filter, I believe, is only available in Europe and is not sold in the US.


Next up was the pump. I decided to go top of the line and not go with cheaper Chinese pumps. I didn't want to buy a pump that needed a sponge and I wanted one with a top notch impellor. I settled on the Fishmate 3000 Pond Pump. In the US one can find it at Futurepet.

IL: $170
US: $92

The Fishmate 3000 in Europe is about the same as the Fishmate ANI248 in the US (800GPH). It is rated 3000L/hr but since my waterfall will be 1 meter high, I bought it since it is rated as 2000L/hr at 1 meter height (the US ANI248 delivers 540G at 3'). The cost in Israel is about the same as in Europe, but far more expensive than in the US. I contacted Fishmate (known as Petmate) and asked them if a 110V ANI248 could work on 220V in Europe. Their answer was that without a transformer it would not. I did not want to add a transformer to the design (waterproofing is not easy) so I had to buy the European 3000 model.


Next up was the hose. I went with heavy duty 2.5cm (same as 1" in the US) black ribbed hose. Pricing:
UK: 2.40GBP/meter = 19GBP
IL: $6/meter = $48
US: $23

I bought 8 meters of the heavy duty 2.5cm ribbed black hose. The cost is slightly more expensive than in Europe and double the cost of a similar hose in the US. I am not sure that the hose in the US is the same quality as those available in Europe.


For the liner I went with the thickest one sold locally which was .8mm (31mil). I wish they sold 45mil liners in Israel, but they don't. I bought a 4x6 meter section (13x20 ft). Here is an Amazon link for a 15x20 ft liner.
US: $171
IL: $200

Liner Underlay (geothermal blanket)

Since my hole has sharp edges even after the cement overcoat, I decided to add in a geothermal blanket that would rest between the walls of the hole and the liner itself. Here is a link to Garden Supermarket in the US and to Pondkeeper in the UK.
US: $40
IL: $40


I did not want harsh or strong lighting around the pond but I did want it lit up at night so no one might fall in. I also did not want to run wiring around the pond so I went with solar lighting. After researching it, I settled on a set of 12 Strathwood Brushed Copper Finish Solar Light Set for $89 (they now sell for $99 on Amazon). I used only 7 around the pond and 5 elsewhere. The reviews were positive and each comes with 2 white LED bulbs for extra brightness rather than the standard one LED.
US: $89

Electrical system

I installed a water proof electrical box near my waterfall and filter. It is attached to the back of a palm tree so no one can see it. It has 4 outlets in two rows. I also installed external cutoff switches on the outside for each of the two rows - this way I can easily turn off the power without having to unscrew and open the box nor go to the circuit breaker panel and cut the power.

I connected the pump to one row and the UV filter to another row. This way, in the winter I can turn off the UV filter when there is no sun and still leave the pump running. I have two spare outlets if I decide to add lighting or anything else in the future.
Cost: $125

Pond decoration

I bought 3 large plastic pond ornaments that resemble a log with plants. This will give the fish a place to hide.

I bought the Penn-plax DGSP1 (Super Size) model, which would be huge in an aquarium but fits nicely inside the pond. This is available in the US at HerpSupplies, and at Dag Hay in Herzelia Pituach in Israel.
US: $135 (3x $45)
IL: $139

I also bought 80kg (176 lb) of reddish polished riverbed rocks (from a company called Tufit in Israel) to place at the bottom of the pond so as to cover the pump hose and electrical cable as well as to anchor the plants I am buying.
IL: $100


All water plants were bought from Li-Noi in Moshav Sede Yitzchak.


Where I bought fish in Israel

What kind of fish did I buy?

Cost totals

Cost of building a 600G/2000L pond
Israel costUS cost
PVC liner$200$171
Electrical system$200$200
Brick contractor$1100$1100

In addition, I invested about 100 hours of my own time into building this pond.

I would love to hear your comments - send them to Hank Nussbacher (