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Stock Tank Fishpond - Part 1 - The Build

Posted 4/9/2021

Last week I mentioned to T that I would like it if he and the Boy would build me a water feature for our deck as a Mother’s Day present. I had an idea in mind using concrete that I needed to draw out and show T, but since we were out on a bike ride, I told him I would explain it when we were finished. By the time we made it home, the wheels were already turning in T’s head and he asked if I would like an above-ground fishpond instead. Well, of course I would!!

I am going to post the pond project in three blog posts. Today’s post, Part 1, is the main build of the pond and surrounding decking. We originally were going to go with a much smaller project, but I am very pleased that we went with the final larger design. Part 2 will cover the pond filter. I am notoriously cheap and so decided to go with a DIY biological filter made from a plastic storage container and kitchen scrubbers. This filter should work as good, or better, than a commercial filter. Part 3 will follow when the weather has warmed up a bit and will include the addition of plants and fish.


Part 1 - The Build


The location of the pond before it was builtThe location of the pond before it was built


We decided to build the fishpond out of a 150-gallon poly stock tank. I was hoping to use a black tank but could not find one the size I wanted, and we ended up buying a blue one from our local UFA store. I have toyed with the idea of painting the interior black, but for this year I am going to stay with the blue and see how it looks after the plants and fish are added.


150-gallon Poly Stock Tank150-gallon Poly Stock Tank


All the lumber used was pressure treated. The lumber was easily the most expensive part of the project, comprising around 75% of the total cost. Currently, Alberta is seeing record-breaking lumber prices due to an unexpected boom in homebuilding and renovations just after some mills have shut down due to COVID-19.  Perhaps this was the wrong time to build, but I had to jump on the chance to get a pond in the yard! T and the Boy built a platform framed with 2x6 boards and topped with deck boards. The platform was 3’ x 10’ allowing for some extra room on the ends for storage, and decking for the pond filter and potted plants.


Building the platformBuilding the platform


We framed out the storage areas on each end with 2x4’s and attached a deck board along the top of all sides. The back side was completely boarded in prior to moving the pond into place since that side would be inaccessible once moved. If I had planned on painting the boards this year, I would have done that now, but I am going to let the wood weather for a season and see how it looks next year.




The area where the pond would sit was prepared by pulling back the mulch and removing the shrubs that would be in the way. Some gravel was laid down and the site was levelled.


Gravel padGravel pad


The base was moved into place and levelled. We had originally planned on the pond sitting below the deck height, but the project grew and now the top of the pond frame sits about 10 inches higher than the deck, which is perfect.


Set in placeSet in place


With the stock tank in place, the remaining three sides were finished with deck boards. 1x4 trim boards were added on the corners and along the top. The storage areas were covered with deck boards but the first four boards on each end were not fastened down. These boards sit in the space between the trim board and the fifth deck board which was screwed down. This allows for access to the storage areas by simply lifting the four boards out. The side edges of the tank were also covered by a length of deck board run down each side on the top. 


Storage areaStorage area



Completed decksCompleted decks



Removable deck boardsRemovable deck boards


The final pieces to be added were the diagonal corners to cover the remainder of the tank edges that were showing. These pieces did not have any frame to screw into so we made a 'peg' from a long screw and fitted this into a drilled hole on the adjacent deck board before screwing the outer corners in place.




And that is the end of the build for Part 1. Right now the pond looks like a little hot tub or a weird outdoor bath! I am looking forward to building the filter and filter cover next. This will add a bit of dimension to the flat pond decking.


Completed pond deckingCompleted pond decking


I am super happy with the placement and size of the pond. It has become a nice focal point in the yard and I anticipate many hours of enjoyment sitting on our deck, enjoying the sound of the filter waterfall and watching my goldfish swim about. 


New yard focal pointNew yard focal point


Be sure to watch for Parts 2 and 3 of the

Stock Tank Fishpond build in the upcoming weeks.




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