Have you ever wished to learn how to design and construct a standard fish pond for maximum fish productivity? If yes, then you are lucky today to have met this resource.
Let me start by saying that there is no fish farming without a fish pond, and there will be no maximum yield of fish if there’s no standard pond.
What Is A Fish Pond?
Simply put, a fish pond is an artificial habitat or structure that meets the basic requirements for fish rearing.
Just before we proceed on how to construct and design a standard fish pond, shall we look at the primary characteristics of a fish pond? Yes, it’s important.
Primary Characteristics Of A Fish Pond
Inasmuch as there are different types of fish ponds, the following below are the basic structures and characteristics of a typical fish pond;
- Presence of Dykes (also spelled as Dikes) or Pond walls –which retains the pond water
- Inlet/outlet channels or pipes responsible for moving water to and fro the ponds.
- Water controls –that control the water flow through rate or/and the level of water in the pond
- Harvest facilities (and many other materials for water and fish management
- Roadways and Tracks along the pond wall providing easy access to the pond
Having known the basic features of a typical fish pond, lets do a little introduction on Fish pond construction.
Fish Pond Construction
It is vital to note that a typical earthen fish pond should be about 300m2. Inasmuch as some fish ponds can be quite larger than this, constructing several small ponds will frequently facilitate more fish harvest unlike having just one large pond which can be difficult to manage and can take long to fill and drain.
In addition, the physical features of a fish pond for the records pose a direct influence on attainable levels of production and returns. However, the core physical factors that must be considered are;
- Water supply
- Land area [and]
- Soil water retention Ability.
Favourable Site Location For Fish Pond Construction
It is crucial to note that just before you jump on any land for fish pond construction, you must first choose a land area with a gentle slope and layout ponds in such a way that will explore advantage of the present land contours. Again, such a site should be far away from flooding.
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What Is The Source Of Water Supply For A Fish Pond?
Are you aware that a good water source should be relatively free from aquatic insects, silts, toxic substances and even potential predators. Additionally, such a water must have a high concentration of dissolved oxygen (D.O).
More so, the quantity and quality of water should be adequate enough to support production all round the farming cycle.
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For your benefit, it’s vital to state that the most common water sources include;
- Seepage water
- Spring water
- Borehole water or Pumped water
- Rainwater or run-off
- Wells and spring water
- Water from a river, reservoir or lake
- Tide water (marine ponds)
Suitable Soil Type For Earthen Pond Construction
In order to determine whether a soil type is suitable for pond construction, the following simple test can be done;
- Dampen a handful of soil with water –advisable to use enough water to dampen the sample without saturation.
- Squeeze the sample firmly in your hand.
- Let loose of your hand:
- If the sample retains its shape (which signifies an available sufficient clay soil) then it’s good enough for constructing a pond
- However, if the sample collapses or/and doesn’t retain its shape, it is clearly not good enough for building a pond
Also know that the soil type greatly influences both pond water quality and productivity. Therefore, it is recommendable to import clay soil for compacting the pond bottom, sides and main trench so as to reduce seepage.
11 General Fish Pond Design Recommendations
- Often consider the planned fish farming practices to be done. This is to say that when designing your fish farm, you should decide how and where the nursery, stocking and farming ponds are to be constructed.
- It is further vital to determine the average depth, specific size, water volume, and maximum depth of the fish pond, as such data will come in handy when calculating the number of fish fingerlings required for stocking and amount of herbicide required for weed control
- The source of water supply must be capable of keeping the pond filled all round the farming cycle
- Relatively shallow ponds are productive, however, the shallow end must be at least 0.5m in depth so as to prevent invasion of weeds.
- It’s often desirable to place screens on fish pond inlets and outlets in order to scare away insects, predators, and unwanted fish, and at the end, keep the farmed fish.
- Fish ponds must be drainable.
- Fish ponds must possess a self-controlled inlet and outlet.
- Excavation of a main trench must be carried out where soils are less suitable.
- Perimeter and feeder roads are however needed to facilitate transportation of machines during construction and harvest
- If there are plans to drive on the dikes, you should erect them at least 3 meters wide on top, and wider at the base.
- Soil used to construct dykes must often be compacted in layers.
STEP-BY-STEP PROCEDURES FOR CONSTRUCTING A FISH POND (EARTHEN POND)
Step 1 – Get The Selected Land Area Ready
- First and foremost, plants must not be found in the soil used in building the pond dikes –therefore, should be uprooted from the land area prior to commencement of soil excavation
- Wash off the topsoil from the site.
- In a condition where the pond is to be situated in hilly areas, try to measure the slope of the site with a stick or level so as to identify the most favourable site and orientation for the fish pond
- Measure and also stake out the width and length of the fish pond.
Step 2 – Peg Out The Fish Pond Area
- Just after measuring the pond width and length, make use of pegs to mark out the fish pond area
- Decide on the dike width and slope, and further determine the main trenches pegging
- Your fish pond dykes should be about 0.5m above the water level (this is referred to as freeboard) so as to stop the fish from escaping
- Its advisable that such fish pond dykes have a gentle slope of about 2:1 –which ensures the pond is strong and also stop them from collapsing or/and undercutting into the pond.
Step 3 – Build Clay Cores
- A clay core is known to be the root of the pond dike which ensures it is strong and avoids water leaks.
- When a dyke or pond bottom soil is suspected to be highly permeable, quickly dig a core trench, just in the same manner we dig the foundation for a house, under the dikes around the fish pond
- Assemble the core trenches with impermeable clay and compact it appropriately
Step 4 – Excavate The Fish Pond And Build Dikes
- Decide on the depth of your fish pond and commence the digging process.
- Make use of the excavated soil to construct the pond dykes. Ensure that you carry this out gradually, and compact each layer of soil added on the dike just before the next layer.
- Make sure not to use sandy or/and rocky soil or even soil that comprises grasses, leaves, roots or sticks –as their usage will decay later and then leave a weak spot in the dike giving room for water leakage
- If the fish pond is deep enough, continue digging, however, never forget to move the soil distance way from the pond site
- As soon as the dyke is built, it’s advisable to grow grass on it –whose roots will aid in holding the wall together thereby avoiding soil erosion
- In the case where you as a fish doctor is economically sound, you can go for stone pitched dikes –by using bricks, stones or even concretes, the earthen dikes will be permanently protected from rat holes or crab
Step 5 – Install Drainage System
- The importance of the drainage system is to empty the fish pond when there’s a need to harvest the fish or/and change the pond water
- It comprises the outlet system for moving water out of the fish pond and the drainage ditches which transports the water out from the fish pond.
- The simplest and suitable method of having a good drainage system is to construct the fish pond in a location that provides a good slope.
- The drainage system should be constructed before the pond dike due to the fact that few drainage devices Pierce through the walls
- One of the simplest methods of draining the fish pond is to put a bamboo or plastic (PVC) pipe through the base of the wall into the deepest area of the fish pond.
- An overflow pipe can be mounted at an angle into the fish pond. However, this should be done only in emergencies. During heavy rains, the overflow pipe takes excess runoff water and rainwater away from the fish pond
- The end of the pipe which is inside the fish pond must have a screen over it to prevent the fish from invading the pipe. Whereas, the other end of the pipe is plugged with clay, wood or it can be fitted with a tap head. In order to drain the fish pond during harvest time, the plug must be pulled out
- Mount the intake of the drain pipe underwater, as this will stop the screen from clogging with debris that might be floating on the fish pond surface
- Finally, the use of siphons and pumps are other ways of draining water out of the fish pond.
Step 6 – Install Water Inlet Pipe
- All fish ponds, well, except for those filled directly by rainwater or spring require water inlets
- During the construction of the pond inlets, filters must be used in the channel so that unwanted fish and other materials don’t enter the pond
- A water inlet could be as simple as a bamboo or plastic pipe having a good diameter running from a water supply via the wall into the fish pond
- The pond inlet pipe must be placed about 0.15m above the water level so that the incoming water splashes down into the fish pond, as this will aid the mixing of air and introducing oxygen into the water. Lastly, this will stop fish from jumping into the inlet pipe.
Equipment For Making Pond Inlet and Outlet Pipes Screens
- In a case where the water has too many grass or leaves in it or is muddy, the wire mesh screen is preferred
- Nylon mesh bag will be suitable if the water source is free from micro organisms or/and organic material
- Should in case the water contains more organic matter or unwanted fish, gravel filters and sand are most preferred, as they are more effective and economical
- In addition, a clay pot having holes punched in it can further be used for screening
- A loosely woven grass mat can serve as good screen material
In order to successfully design and construct a standard fish pond, such a pond must be capable of retaining water and also sustaining favorable conditions for production.
To put things straight, fish ponds that were poorly constructed, offer poorer yields and returns in production, as extra managerial efforts and associated costs are needed to attain maximum yields.
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Feel free to leave a comment or drop a question relevant or related to this topic, I will always be available to answer you.