It is vital to have a good fish pond for better fish production to grow fish. A fish pond is just a man-made structure or habitat that fits the criteria for the growth of fish. As you read on, you will discover how to plan and construct a fish pond from beginning to end. Let’s have a look at the overall characteristics of a fish pond before we get into the steps.
A Fish Pond’s Characteristics
Although there are many different types of fish ponds, the following are the most common features and structures:
The pipes or channels that bring water into and out of the ponds are known as inlet/outlet pipes or channels.
Pond walls or dykes are structures that keep water in place.
Tracks and roadways along the pond wall, for easy access to the pond harvesting facilities and other equipment for the management of water and fish. Water controls, control the level of water in the pond, the flow of water through the pond, or both.
Construction of a Fish Pond
A normal earthen fish pond should be around 300 square meters in size. Although ponds can be much larger, having multiple tiny ponds rather than one large pond allows you to harvest fish more frequently.
The fact that many but tiny ponds are more expensive to build than a few but bigger ponds is a drawback. In comparison, small ponds squander a lot of space. Large ponds, on the other hand, require a long time to fill and drain and are difficult to manage.
The physical characteristics of a pond usually have a direct impact on the amounts of production and returns that can be achieved. The land acreage, water supply, and soil water retention capacity are the most important physical aspects to consider.
Construction of a Fish Pond on Appropriate Land
Choose a piece of land with a mild slope and plan your ponds to take advantage of the existing land contours. A farmer should select an area that is large enough to accommodate current ambitions as well as potential future expansion. Also, make certain that the area isn’t prone to flooding.
The Pond’s Water Supply Source
A good water source will have a high percentage of dissolved oxygen and be relatively devoid of sediment, aquatic insects, potential predators, and poisonous compounds. Throughout the culture stage, the quantity and quality of water should be sufficient to support production.
Springwater, seepage water, rainwater or run-off, tidewater (marine ponds), water from boreholes (wells), or water pumped or diverted from a river, lake, or reservoir is the most prevalent water sources. Water from wells and springs is often preferred because of its persistent good quality.
Construction Soil for Earthen Ponds
To determine the suitability of the soil for pond construction, use the following easy test:
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1. Soak a handful of soil in water for a few minutes. Only use enough water to wet the sample (do not saturate it).
2. Take the sample in your hand and squeeze it tightly.
3. Stretch out your hand:
If the sample retains its shape, it is suitable for pond construction (sufficient clay present).
If the sample collapses and does not maintain its shape, it is not suitable for use in the construction of a pond (too much sand present)
In a pond, the condition of the soil has an impact on both productivity and water quality. To reduce seepage, farmers should consider importing clay soil to compact the pond bottom, sides, and core trench.
Design Considerations in General
=> Think about the cultural practices you want to implement: It should be decided where and how many nursery, raising, and stocking ponds will be built while designing the fish farm.
=> It’s critical to know the pond’s exact dimensions, maximum depth, average depth, and water volume. This data is valuable in determining the amount of herbicide required for weed control and the number of fish fingerlings required for stocking.
=> During the culture period, the water source must be able to keep the pond filled.
=> Shallow ponds can be profitable, but the shallow end should be at least 0.5 m deep to prevent weed invasion.
=> Installing screens on pond inlets and outlets are always a good idea to keep predators, insects, and undesired fish out while retaining the cultured fish.
=> Every pond should be able to drain.
=> Each pond should have its independent inflow and outlet.
=> Where soils are less suitable, a core trench should be excavated.
=> Machine movement is essential during building and harvest, hence perimeter and feeder roads are required.
=> Build the dykes at least 3 meters wide on top and broader at the bottom if you plan to drive on them.
STEP 1: PREPARE THE SITE FOR BUILDING AN EARTHEN FISH POND.
Vegetation should be removed from the site before excavating and moving soil since it will be included in the soil used to build the pond dykes.
Take away the topsoil from the area.
In hilly locations, use a level or a stick to measure the slope of the land to determine the ideal location and orientation for the pond.
The length and width of the pond should be measured and staked off.
STEP 2: PEG OUT THE POND AREA.
Use pegs to mark out the pond area after measuring the length and width of the pond.
Determine the dyke’s slope and width, as well as the pegging of the core trenches.
To keep the fish from jumping out, the pond dykes should be roughly 0.5m above the water level (also known as ‘freeboard’).
A modest slope of about 2:1 is recommended for pond dykes. This strengthens them and prevents them from collapsing into the pond due to undercutting. This ratio, however, is dependent on the size of the pond. A softer slope is required for larger ponds.
STEP 3: BUILD CLAY CORES
The pond dyke’s base is made of clay, which makes it sturdy and prevents water leaks.
Dig a core trench under the dykes around the pond, just like you would for a house foundation if you feel the dyke or pond bottom soil is particularly porous.
Pack impermeable clay into the core trenches and compact it carefully.
In a big pond, machines are at work.
STEP 4: EXCAVATE THE POND AND BUILD DYKES
Determine the pond’s depth and begin the digging operation.
Build the pond dykes with the excavated soil. Gradually add soil to the dike, compacting each layer before adding the next.
Avoid using sandy/rocky soil, as well as a soil containing roots, grasses, sticks, or leaves. These will decompose over time, leaving a weak area in the dyke where water can pour out.
Continue digging if the pond is deep enough, but dispose of the soil away from the pond area.
It is preferable to sow grass on the dyke once it has been built. The grassroots serve to keep the wall in place and prevent soil erosion.
If the fish farmer is financially sound, stone-pitched dykes are an option. The earthen dykes will be more permanently protected from crab or rat holes if concrete blocks, stones, or bricks are used.
STEP 5: CONFIGURE THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM
The drainage system’s purpose is to empty the pond when it’s time to change the water or harvest fish.
It is made up of two parts: an outlet system for allowing water out of the pond and drainage ditches for carrying the water away from the pond.
Building the pond in a location with a decent slope is the best and easiest approach to ensure a good drainage system.
Because some drainage devices go through the walls, the drainage system must be erected before the pond dike.
Placing a bamboo or plastic (PVC) pipe through the base of the wall into the deepest area of the pond is one of the simplest ways to drain it.
An angled overflow pipe can be built into the pond. This should only be used in a pinch. The overflow line removes surplus rainwater and runoff water from the pond during heavy storms.
To prevent fish from entering the pipe, a screen should be placed over the end of the pipe that is inside the pond. The pipe’s other end is either plugged with wood or clay or fitted with a tap head. The plug is pushed out to drain the pond during harvest season.
Install the drain pipe’s intake underwater. This will keep the screen from becoming clogged with material floating on the pond’s surface.
Other means of draining water from the pond include the use of pumps and siphons.
STEP 6: INSTALL WATER INLET PIPE
Except for those that are replenished directly from a spring or rainwater, all ponds require water inlets.
Filters should be placed in the channel during the building of inlets to prevent undesired fish and other debris from entering the pond.
A water intake can be as basic as a bamboo/plastic pipe of sufficient diameter flowing through the wall into the pond from a water source.
For the entering water to splash down into the pond, the intake pipe should be located about 0.15m above the water level. This aids in the mixing of air (and thus the introduction of oxygen) into the water. It also stops fish from swimming into the input pipe and escaping.
An Earthen Fish Pond in Cross Section
Screening Materials for the Pond Inlet and Outlet Pipes
The wire mesh screen is better if the water is dirty or has a lot of leaves or grass in it.
If the water source is free of organic stuff, a nylon mesh bag will work.
Sand and gravel filters are best if the water contains undesired fish and additional organic materials. It is more efficient and cost-effective.
Screening can also be done with a clay pot with holes punched in it.
A loosely woven grass mat can be used as a screen material.
Finally, a pond must be able to hold water and maintain optimal production conditions. In addition, one should be able to do the necessary pond maintenance tasks (such as harvesting and feeding) with relative simplicity and safety.
As a result, poorly designed ponds produce lower yields and returns. This is because comparable yields necessitate higher management efforts and costs. The first step to successful pond production is to pay attention to pond design and construction detail.
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