How to Install Preformed Fish Ponds


A water feature such as a fish pond provides a focal point for any landscape. Preformed polyvinyl ponds take the guesswork out of deciding what shape the pond should be and how deep. All that's necessary is to decide where the pond should go and what kind of fish you would like to have. Goldfish, and most other 'backyard' fish, require a pond that's 24 inches deep so there's a place to hide from predators and stabilize the temperature of the water. Koi, another popular fish to raise in ponds, require a depth of at least 36 inches. Koi grow to 36 inches long.

Step 1

Place the pond where it receives at least eight hours of sunlight a day--especially if you want flowering water plants as well as fish in the pond. Position it away from deciduous trees and bushes so leaves won't fall in the water and pollute it. A boggy area might seem to be a good location but in reality it's not. Runoff from the lawn and other garden areas may overflow into the pond carrying fertilizers and pesticides that will kill the fish.

Step 2

Lay the preformed fish pond on the place you've chosen and trace its outline with a hose, spray paint or flour, then remove the form.

Step 3

Dig a hole following the outline of the pond form. Make sure the hole is 3 inches deeper than the depth of the form.

Step 4

Remove any rocks or roots.

Step 5

Put the preformed pond in the hole to make sure it fits.

Step 6

Lay a 3-inch layer of builder's sand on the bottom of the hole and level the sand with the length of wood by passing it over the sand to smooth out bumps. Check with a carpenter's level that both the length and the width are perfectly level. Water finds its own level and if the bottom of the pond isn't level, the water will be higher in one area and lower in another.

Step 7

Place the form in the hole and backfill around the edges with any excess soil if necessary. The lip of the form will be 1inch above ground level.

Step 8

Place rocks, bricks or stones around the lip of the pond to hide it. Flowers and bushes may be planted around the edge if desired.

Step 9

Put a single layer of river rock or gravel on the bottom of the pond.

Step 10

Fill the pond slowly by putting a garden hose in a bucket and the bucket in the pool. The water will fill the bucket and go over the sides and gently fill the pond.

Step 11

Add water plants after 48 hours and fish after another 72 hours. Add only two or three fish at a time.

Tips and Warnings

  • Have an electrician install the wiring for the pump. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. Don't rush the process of adding plants and the fish. Chlorine and other chemicals in the water need to dissipate before adding fish.

Things You'll Need

  • Preformed fish pond
  • Hose, spray paint, or flour
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Carpenter's level
  • 2 x 4 length of wood
  • River rock or smooth gravel


  • "All About Building Waterfalls, Pools, and Streams"; Charles M. Thomas and Richard M. Koogle; 2002
  • "The Complete Pond Builder"; Helen Nash; 1995

Who Can Help

  • Fish pond products
Keywords: install a preform pond, polyvinyl fish pond installation, preformed fish pond

About this Author

Dee Power holds an MBA. She is the co-author of "Attracting Capital from Angels," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "The Making of a Bestseller," the novel "Over Time," and several screenplays. She contributes to several Web sites and is a regular columnist for