An Outdoor Tank

August 25th, 2006

This summer I decided to try my hand at some outdoor water gardening. My problem, of course, was that I didn’t have a pond outside, and we don’t have a lot of space in the backyard to make one. So, we came up with the idea of building something a little bit different — a small raised brick pond.

Small Brick Raised Pond
(Photo immediately after construction – May 2006)

Since construction, our “pond” has gone through a number of phases. One of my experiments for this project was to see if I could get away with keeping the pond healthy without your typical pond filtration. I found out that while I could get away without filtration, I couldn’t get away with a lack of circulation. Within a few weeks of filling the pond, the surface was pretty much covered in blue-green-algae (BGA). I decided it was time to invest in a pump to move the water around. The obstacle, was that I didn’t want to go to the trouble of extending our outdoor electrical circuit over to the pond. So, I found a solar-powered pump instead, which has worked out beautifully.

Solar Panel for PumpThe pump circulates approximately 170l/h, which is just about perfect for the 65-75 gallons of water in our pond. As you can see, the panel itself is not too large, and doesn’t take away from the overall view of the backyard.

Now, with the algae under control, I introduced a number of plant species from my aquariums. I added heteranthera zosterifolia, sagittaria subulata, limnophila aromatica, hygrophila polysperma, hydrocotyle leucocephala, phyllanthus fluitans, frogbite, and echinodorus quadricostatus. Additionally, I added about 2 dozen Endlers livebearers fish, some cherry shrimp, and plenty of common pond snails.

As expected, the Endler population has exploded. From the 2 dozen initial fish, I estimate there to be no less than 200 fish currently in the pond. They’re quite active fish, and do not shy away if you put your hand in the water. In fact, they will readily swim up and nibble on your arm hairs, if you let them.

Endlers swimming into your hands

This fall, I hope to drain the pond for the winter and sell off or give away most of the Endlers and plants. It’s been a really enjoyable project that’s enhanced the look of our backyard. Additionally, it’s become a gathering spot for our two cats to amuse themselves, and for our dog’s a drinking trough. (Regardless of how much we discourage them.)

L. Aromatica Emersed

Sag. Sub. Flower Finally, I snapped some pictures of a sagittaria subulata flower, and the  limnophila aromatica, which has started growing emersed. Did you know that in some asian countries, l. aromatica is used as an herb in cooking? I hope it flowers too!

11 Responses to “An Outdoor Tank”

  1. Dilip Says:

    jus went thru ur article “raised brick pond”. Its brilliant.A few more pics would have boosted my imaginations.Surely u must have enjoyed working on it.
    It’s my dream to build a similar one here in india. 12 ft * 11 Ft is what i am building. Once complete hope I have a simialr website like urs.

  2. guitarfish Says:

    Hi Dilip,

    Thanks for your comment! I’m glad that you enjoyed this article. I will definitely be posting a few more pictures of the pond as the season progresses. Good luck on your project! Yours will be much larger than mine when complete.

  3. Nick! Says:

    Do you have a product site for that pump? I have a similar delima on my pond of about the same volume.

  4. guitarfish Says:

    Hi Nick. Unfortunately, I do not have a product site. It’s a cheap pump from ebay, if that gives you a starting point.

  5. goio Says:

    very nice

  6. Chris Says:

    what a lovely mosquito trough you’ve created! I kid, I kid… thankyou for solving my airpump dilema actually..never thought about a solar one. Cool pond.

  7. Andrea Says:

    Hi there,
    I just read this article and think this pond looks great! I’ve been thinking of moving my aquarium outdoors and was thinking of building something just like this with some white cloud minnows. What kind of construction is this? One layer of brick with a liner? I’ve been trying to figure out what materials to use, but the information overload is confusing lol
    Thanks so much!

  8. guitarfish Says:

    Thanks for your comment Andrea! The structure actually has an internal wood frame that supports the weight of the water, and that’s covered by the liner. The brick external is really just a facade. The entire thing sits on a poured cement foundation. Good luck!

  9. Andrea Says:

    Thanks a lot! Would you happen to have any photos of the construction process?

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