How To Fill A Pond With Water

Digging your new pond bottom can be hard work, and it is only half the battle. Filling your pond is the final stage and will be the most exciting. Like other new pond owners, you’ll probably be itching to add your new fish so they can swim around.

However, there are certain things you need to do to fill a pond in the right way. Luckily, in our guide, you can learn far more than how much does it cost to fill a pond with water.

You’ll learn everything from using the right water source, cycling the pond, and much more.

Ways to fill a pond with water

How Do You Fill a Fish Pond With Water?

Farm ponds or ponds can be a dream for anyone who wants an idyllic landscape in their garden or needs a farm pond site for another reason. (Learn How Often To Water Vegetable Garden)

No matter with, there is more to it than digging a hole and letting it fill with water before you add your fish. Ultimately, a pond will be a living ecosystem, yet it takes time to reach that stage. Besides this, you need to build your pond correctly and use the right water source to fill it.

Here is all you need to know about building your pond and filling your pond with water.

Preparation is the key to a successful pond construction.

Water and the Law

Many rural landowners are unaware that they do not own the water on their farms. In legal terms, almost all the country’s lakes, rivers, and streams are designated “Waters of the United States.”

Everything that affects these waters requires EPA approval under the Clean Water Act. State laws often encompass water not covered by federal legislation. From Lake Tahoe to a puddle on Los Angeles streets, every drop of water is controlled in California.

Ponds used for agricultural purposes such as irrigation or livestock watering are free from most permit requirements. However, you must still file for the exemption, which may be highly troublesome.

A permit is required to swim in a pond, provided at the state’s environmental protection division’s discretion. Permits are easier to get the further the pond is from a year-round stream.

Contact your local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office to learn about the restrictions that apply to your property.

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will help you determine if you need a permit for your small pond and which agency to apply to. They offer free technical and financial aid to develop ponds and which water conditioners you can add and which you can’t.

Water Sources

One of the critical aspects of filling your pond will be the use of a water source. Here you can find various water sources available when you look at how to fill a pond.

It is workable to maintain your pond full all year round by combining different water sources. Here are some benefits and drawbacks of each:

Surface Runoff:

Ponds filled by rainwater that runs into them over the land’s surface are the easiest to get a permit for since they have little or no impact on streams or aquatic species. As a general guideline, for every acre-foot of pond volume, you’ll need at least 3 acres of land draining into the pond.

Ponds fed solely by surface runoff gradually dry up over the summer through evaporation and draining in places where summer rainfall is scarce, such as much of the Western United States. Because of the soil particles in the runoff, they are also prone to cloudiness.


Groundwater is rarely sufficient as a pond’s only source of water, but it can contribute significantly to ponds fed by surface runoff, resulting in a lower drainage area being required. Low-lying locations with a high water table level have the most groundwater. Moderate slopes with damp soils are perfect for putting a pond construction. (Learn How To Water Strawberries)


Springs form when seepages reach a volume large enough to flow continuously above ground. Spring-fed ponds may not require any surface runoff to keep them filled, resulting in clear, pure, and cool water.

In some areas, using spring water to fill your pond may need permission requirements, but it is the best water supply when looking at how to fill in a pond for your farm pond.


Getting a permit to construct a pond directly in a stream is quite tricky because of the environmental impact. A portion of a stream’s flow can be diverted to help keep a water level high in a pond in a nearby region.


Pumping water from a well to fill a pond is possible. However, it is expensive unless your pump is solar-powered. Well water is usually only a viable option for a small pond or topping off large ponds’ water levels during dry seasons.

Pond Design Concepts

Pond Design and Construction

Most farm ponds are built in a drainage basin on gently sloping land. The dam is built with the earth that was excavated for the pond basin. However, the pond must have enough clay content in the soil to hold water — a minimum of 20% clay content is advised.

Here are the steps you need to determine clay content in your soil:

  1. Collect soil samples from several holes near the pond’s location. Dig beneath the thick black topsoil for subsoil samples.
  2. In a quart-size Mason jar, add a handful of soil from each of your dug holes.
  3. Shake vigorously for about 60 seconds after filling the jar with water (2 inches from the top).
  4. Place the jar on a table for 24 hours. Watch as debris and dirt particles settle. Sand particles fall instantly, followed by silt which settles on the sand. Over 24 hours, the clay particles, smaller than sand or silt, slowly create a top layer.
  5. Once the water is clean, measure the thickness of the three separate layers and compute the percentage of each.

If your soil lacks enough clay, it is possible to import heavy clay from a landscape supply firm for the pond bottom and the dam to prevent leakage. Rubber pond liners provide an alternative but are expensive unless you have a small pond.

Following on, here are all the steps you need to build your p[ond site and how to fill a pond with water.

Digging Your Pond

Digging out the hole is the first stage in building a pond site. Choose a partially shaded location that receives at least 5-6 hours of sunlight for small ponds. It will be warm and inviting. With a rope or garden hose, mark the location where you want your pond site and then dig the new ponds sides, ensuring they are level.

Remove Stones

After digging the hole, go inside and remove any large or sharp stones to protect the pond liner. Put down a 5cm thick layer of sand at the bottom to prevent seeds from growing into plants.

Add Your Pond Liner

Now is the time to put the pond liner in place. Drop the pond liner into the hole, carefully place it all over the pond, and cut away any excess. Fill the bottom with sand and pebbles and line the liner with huge rocks. (Learn How To Water Succulents Without Drainage)

Filling Your Pond With Water

This is the only stage that has the potential to take longer than the others. Most ponds are naturally filled with rainwater. It is the most efficient method, but it may take longer. If you want rainwater, start building the pond before it rains.

Don’t worry if you didn’t catch rain in time; there are other options, as you saw above. You can use hose water or water from a nearby creek and pump water for a simple way how to fill in a pond. If you’re going to use hose water, you should use a filter.

Securing Pond Edges

The liner will expand as the water level rises in the hole in the ground. Now, to secure the liner, you can fill in gaps with soil and small amounts of rocks to hold it in position.

Adding Plants To Your Pond

Once your pond is complete, you can fill the pond with greens. Plants are a natural filter and also add character to the pond by adding colors and texture. Plants absorb nitrates from the pond water and use these as fertilizer, thus helping to control nitrogen levels and algae growth.

You can add aquatic plants around 1-2 weeks after filling.

Adding Fish to your Pond

Adding Fish To Your Pond

The last step in filling in a pond is to introduce fish to their new surroundings. The underwater environment should be ready by then, as the plants have already been placed in water.

Make sure the pH level is between 7.2 and 7.8, and the water temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit before releasing fish into the water. After a minimum of three days of filling in the pond, the fish can be released if everything is in order.

How do you introduce fish to a new pond? Place your fish in bags and allow them to float in the pond water for 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the new temperature before slowly releasing them into the water.

Adding Decorative Items

Some pond owners may want to skip this stage. Install a fountain or pond pump to make a DIY waterfall in your pond. Waterfalls and fountains keep pond water flowing and add aeration.

How Much Does It Cost To Fill A 1 Acre Pond With Water?

The typical pond costs $3,150; however, prices vary by pond type. For example, koi and swimming designs require distinct materials. The cheapest form is a tiny garden pond for $50, while farm or fishing ponds might cost $10,000 or more.

Swimming Pond Cost

Building a swimming pond costs $50 per square foot. Natural swimming ponds are popular among homeowners since they are chemical-free and straightforward to maintain.

Manmade Pond Cost

Because there is no set size or design for manmade ponds, prices range from $100 to $5,000 or more. The type of liner, the amount of labor, and the total size are the primary cost factors because homeowners have greater freedom with this body of water.

Cost of a Farm Pond

Farm ponds or lakes can be used for various purposes and range in price from $2,000 to $10,000. A lot of people had them installed because they supply water for irrigation, livestock, and fish. This type of pond not only needs to be large enough to offer adequate liquid for the farm, but it also needs to be well-maintained.

Backyard Pond Cost

A modest garden design can cost $50, while a complex, larger body of water might cost up to $5,160. Before you start, verify with your community codes or HOA.

Cleaning your Pond

Pond Bacteria And Cleaning Water

A new pond is like a blank canvas, with no germs. Microorganisms decompose fish poop and organic waste, keeping the water clean and ammonia-free.

Ammonia enters ponds via fish excrement and gills. Because a new pond lacks microbes, ammonia levels may rise. This ammonia surge can kill fish.

Bacteria called Nitrosospira bacteria to balance ammonia levels from small fish by converting them to nitrite and nitrate. The outcome is a nitrate, which is harmless to other fish and plant life, consumed by pond plants and algae.

Installing stones, sand, gravels from an established pond, and, of course, a suitable filter will cultivate this super-beneficial bacteria. Add more nitrospira from another pond. Without any nearby, you may buy chilled nitrospira at any aquarium store.

Also, remember that more fish and living things lead to more ammonia, so release only a few little fish. In addition to this, aeration is vital, so a pond pump may be needed to add oxygen through moving water.

We think of bacteria as harmful, but that’s not the case. Some bacteria are harmful, but others are beneficial.

Beneficial Bacteria break down ammonia as they decompose leaves, fish food, fish waste, organic trash, and more by producing enzymes.

Bacteria can kill fish in small ponds, but only in rare outbreaks. Also, pond managers must watch out for bacteria that can harm goldfish, koi, and other species.

Can I Use Tap Water To Fill My Pond?

No, you cannot fill a pond with a hose or tap water. To make the water safe for human consumption, chemicals such as chlorine are added, harming fish and any aquatic plant.

If you must tap water, you will need to use water conditioners to prepare the water for use. Water conditioners break down chemicals and chlorine and remove contaminants in the water.

Chlorine can also break down in sunlight, although it takes 24 hours or more before it is safe to add fish. However, there can still be other debris and contaminants that need attention from your water conditioners.

Another alternative is to fill the pond with well-water. I highly recommend well-water because it comes directly from underground and is filtered via many layers of rocks and sand.

How To Fill A Pond With Water

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