It has been a long time since my last update. I have been working on building a koi pond and thought I would post our progress here. No outstanding photography, in fact most were taken with my cell phone.

We had a nice little pond and never intended on raising Koi. We purchased a few 38 cent goldfish on a whim just to see if they would survive. Not long after, we purchased our first Koi from Walmart… This must have been around 2008. In 2009 we built an additional pond and had one flowing into the other. At this time I added real filtration. We picked up a couple more Koi from a trusted breeder about 2 hours away. Then they started to grow…

We started enjoying them so much. When I came home from work, we would have a beer on the back porch and feed the fish. It is so peaceful and relaxing to watch their simple grace. It turned into a real stress relief. My wife loves the pretty back yard, the lights, water, fish etc. I enjoy the engineering behind it all. What it takes to make the water “gin” clear and supply the best possible water quality for our Koi. I like coming up with innovative ways to remove waste and improve their environment. We started observing that they all had different personalities. I would never have thought…..

One Friday night after work, we had more than a couple of beers while enjoying the fish. We came to the conclusion that these small ponds were just not going to satisfy what was becoming a growing fascination with raising Koi. My wife looked at me and said “Go big or go home” that is when it all began….. I started designing our pond. With the helpful folks over at Koiphen I came up with what we thought would fit our purpose and space. Many discussions on the forum and over the phone we hashed out our plan, made corrections, changes etc. until we got something on paper that looked like it fit the bill. Then when it came time to start construction, it all changed again….

Our first contractor we hired to dig the hole. I told my wife I was not hand digging in that hard red clay anymore. This is the job he did. 10’Wx20’Lx6’D at approximately 9000 gallons. He started talking about pouring forms and cost. We discussed it and decided it would sure save us a lot of time to build forms and pour concrete. He said he could start right away. We came up with the money and were excited to get started. He unfortunately put us off for over a month. Finally we had enough and started exploring additional options.

One day I was at the gas station that I always fill up at and asked the attendant I see every week if she knew a concrete contractor. She seemed excited about the question for some reason and said she would have a business card for me when I came next week. Enter Bernie owner of Above and Below construction. He stopped by the house to meet us and talk about what we wanted. We were skeptical from our previous contractor experience but heard him out as he seemed very down to earth. After the work talk was over he hung out for a little while and just talked to us. His price was much higher than what the previous guy quoted us. He said there was no way the other contractor could do it for that price, it just doesn’t make sense. We discussed it, asked him when he could start and decided to go with it.

Bernie is great and has become a good friend. He did what he said he was going to do aside from rain delays and sometimes that didn’t matter.

Oh the mason crew and the contractor were hilarious. Our sides hurt by the time they left. These guys worked very hard. It took them about 12 hours to lay all the block. Four guys laying block and one mixing and moving blocks. They were all Mexican’s and the only English speaking guy was the foreman. My wife cooked a feast that day and we fed them lunch. They sat down, ate lunch and inside 30 minutes were back at work. When they left, the foreman “Kildare” stopped and thanked us saying they had never been treated so well on a job site.

Our contractor overseeing the final project. You can see an arm inside the hole. That is Kildare cleaning up the mortar that got slung on the inside so we didn’t have any lumps behind the liner.

Our Supervisor of Construction.

Now it is time to start the filter pit. This is where all the filtration for the pond will go. I have it all laid out in my head. I called Bernie and asked what it would cost to pour a concrete pad for my pit. He quoted us a price and we had just enough money to do it.

Once the form was laid out. I had to leave town on business and left my wife to oversee this part of the project. I called home to check on things and she told me the concrete had been poured that day. I asked her if we barricaded the concrete so the “supervisor” couldn’t run over top of it. My wife’s response was “Nah, she won’t go near it”. I asked her to keep an eye on the dog to make sure. She agreed. I told her I still thought it was a good idea if she put some string around it or something to deter the dog. She insisted it would be ok.


I hate to say I told you so but I told you so. Bernie was pissed!! “WTF, you let that damn dog run across my pretty concrete!!” ROFLMA, it adds character I guess. I hardly notice it with all the filtration in there anyway.

We ordered the liner. We decided on a product called BTL. It is a fiber reinforced PPL material used in commercial applications and chemical containment. As well as agricultural applications like large irrigation ponds. This stuff is hard core. It is think, rigid and tough as nails. However, it only weighs in at about 130 lbs or so. My wife and I were able to stretch it out in the yard, re-fold it, heave it over the side and stretch it out by ourselves. It’s amazing what we can accomplish together sometimes.

Skip forward by a couple of stages and this is where we currently stand on construction. We are getting pretty close now. Rock work to go.

Current Pond


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