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Adding Some Life To Your Garden

September 05, 2023

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We have fish.

A lot of fish.

They live outside, in our pond, but it certainly doesn't mean we love them less than any of the house dwelling pets we've had over the years.

DIY Backyard Fish Pond

And trust me, there have been many.

Cats, a dog, frogs, hermit crabs, turtles, a hamster and indoor fish.

But let's get back to those outdoor fish, shall we?

You see, our first house was situated in the back corner of a 40x100 lot of land.

Whatever yard we had was mostly in the front of the house and the majority of that was driveway.

Needless to say, our backyard was small.

So when we moved here and found ourselves surrounded by more space - and trust me, that's a relative term, because our yard is still small by most accounts- we wanted to make the most of every inch of acreage.

Being animal, nature and water lovers, a pond with a fountain was on the top of our list very long cottage garden wish list.

Easy DIY Backyard Pond

Luckily, we found a super easy way to install one while shopping for patio furniture at Kmart, many, many years ago.

It was a pond kit and it was literally a Blue Light Special. Remember those?

Well, let's just say we came home with more than a wicker sofa that day.

My handy husband installed the pond, which was just a large, plastic tub, like this one, and a pump, finished it with some lovely stones and filled it with fifteen cent, pet store feeder fish.

Small Outdoor Goldfish Pond

They were so small, but we were new to pond life and koi were expensive.

Turns out they were a pretty good investment.

With proper care and clean pond water those fish grew. And grew. 

A sly and hearty bunch, they hid from predators under plant cover and in deep water. With the help of a DIY pond cover, they also survived harsh northeast winters under mostly frozen water for months at a time.

The ones we have now are probably a good 5 or 6 years old and bigger than my hand.

Large Goldfish For Outdoor Pond
One of our goldfish in 2021, he's even bigger now.

Unfortunately, our pond isn't really made for a school of friends that large. Or not that many of them anyway.

Natural resources grew thin with that many bodies in the water, including oxygen.

But we couldn't just toss any of them out. We loved them all, which ones would have to go?

And where would we be sending them?

Overcrowded Fish Pond

Honestly, it wasn't really a serious concern until an early morning last summer, when we noticed many of the fish gathered at the surface, in one area of open water by the fountain.

Where lots of bubbles were produced.

Clearly, they couldn't breathe in the depths.

And that simply would not do.

We immediately sprang into action, headed off to the store and bought them an aerator pump.

This one says aquarium, but it was recommended to us at the pond store and it's been perfect.
Pond and Aquarium Air Pump

It was a quick and easy fix.

We just attached the enclosed hose to the aerating pump, placed it on the bottom of the pond and plugged it in.

Bubbles were everywhere, problem solved.

Outside Fish Pond Aerator

Within minutes the fish disappeared back to the bottom of the well oxygenated pond, breathing freely again.

Where they have remained, and believe it or not, still growing larger every day.

We might eventually need a bigger pond, but for now all is well.

Outdoor Pond Fish Care

Happy fish.

Happy us.

Not bad for a 20 year old Blue Light Special.


Do you have a pond?

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  1. So happy your school of fish are doing well. Glad you could put that aerator in to help them. Hugs. Kris

    1. Thanks Kris! We love those little swimmers and area so happy they're thriving.

  2. How cool is it that you have an outdoor pond with fish and that they've lived that long? Not only does it make a back yard beautiful, but I bet it is relaxing to sit by it, too.

    1. Super relaxing to sit by, Melanie...and it adds so much life to the yard. At feeding time, I seriously feel like a kid again!

  3. No, I don't have one. But I sure wish I did. I miss the one I had and would really, really like another one. Maybe someday. Love yours!

    1. Thanks Brenda! I remember your fish. I think it would great for you to have another one.

  4. Wow - they really are big! Glad you thought of the aerator, I wouldn't have.
    No pond for us, but I sure like yours! And what a deal!

    1. They really are, Mari! It's crazy how big they've gotten since we bought them. They were super, super teeny!! I guess they like it here.

  5. Gee I remember Kmart and the blue light specials. We had an outdoor pond for a few years- was a lot of work so we said goodbye to it

    1. Those specials were awesome. This one was amazing. I have to say, yes, I totally understand the work aspect. There is maintenance involved for sure, but I guess because our pond is tiny, it's really very manageable. I don't think we'd be into a very large pond though, that would be too much for us!

  6. Oh, yes you know I love our fish too. This was fun to read and to see your amazing fish!!

    1. Thanks Carla!! Aren't fish the best? I think they're very underrated pets.

  7. Whoa, that's one big goldfish!!!! We used to keep them in our pond too, but our Zia has this terrible habit of gently picking them up and dumping them in the swimming pool. I guess her doggie brain figured they needed more space or something. We gave the only two that survived the move to a friend of ours.

    1. Huge, Michelle and with the most beautiful mermaid tails. I was shocked, they didn't look anything like this when we brought them home in that bag. I understand your sweet pup's fascination with the fish, rescuing them all the time! Haha! We had two kitties that were fascinated, as well. They just didn't like to get wet so the fish were safe!

  8. I don't have a pond but always wanted one. I had no idea they could survive the winters. Glad you found a way to solve the problem!

    1. They are super hearty. I had no idea they could make it through the winter outside either, more than a decade in, they do great! I am clearly not as hearty. It's not even fall yet and I'm already cold!! Haha!!

  9. I still miss our fish and our babies had babies like crrazy. As we were making them a bigger home, the man that was supposedly an expert killed them all. He basically suffacatted them with lack of oxygen. You probably remember me telling you the story. He threatened to take us to court when John wouldn't pay his hefty bill. He backed down when John's corporate lawyer got involved. They had names and were enormous and various colors. He knew he was in troublle because manyof our fish were so big they we worth $100's of dollars.

    Aren't the Koi relaxing anf fun to feed and watch?

    Sorry I haven't been visiting but with Peanut we have no schedule. I even pulled out of my fall home tour. I'm doing the Christmas tour. I'm getting back to writing and have been updating tons of old content.

    1. I'm sorry that you lost your fish, Cindy. That's just terrible, I know how I feel about mine. It's sad to lose pets and that's really what they become. Ours are simple goldfish, we bought feeder fish since we were new, had no idea how to care for koi and they were expensive. We figured we'd start with goldfish and graduate to koi, but here we are a decade or more later with the goldfish! Perhaps someday you'll get another pond!

  10. Kim,
    Playing catch up again, I am embarrassed to say....
    Those fish are definitely thriving in your little pond so you definitely have been taking good care of them and doing something right!! My Nephew owns a brick and mortar, Along with an online business, called Jamrock Corals in Myrtle Beach. It is an aquarium/pond store....He turned his love of aquariums and fish into his business after he could no longer work as a firefighter and paramedic because of an injury...I always wanted a pond but then realized it would be too much work for me as Joe would be useless in taking care of it....I hope you are having a good weekend!!