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DIY plans for a waterwall with fish in the pond ...

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 4:20 am
by oproudfoot
GREETINGS all, I plan to make a largish vertical (1.2 M wide) "waterwall" that cascades into a rectangular reservoir (of 1.4 - 2.0 M in width) at the bottom. You see these things everywhere, and I reckon they look great. Then I want to put fish in the reservoir at the bottom. I have the appropriate pump (baffled-outlet/ adjustability of the rate and angle of flow etc.).

ORDINARRILLY, I would also have the know-how to build an appropriate construction; if fish were not involved. I would probably use materials such as "form-ply" as a backing for the wall, concrete for the reservoir/ "pond" at the bottom, various types of metal (in the form of nuts/ bolts, screws, brackets etc.), "liquid nails" or some similar industrial-grade (strong weathering) adhesives, and "stacking stone" or the very much thinner (thus lighter, and cheaper) 'tile' version of it, to "furnish" the wall.

HOWEVER, given that anything that the water comes into contact with will eventually "leach into" the fish, obviously it's very important not to use anything that is potentially toxic to fish. Which probably includes some of the above, particularly the adhesives. Also, maybe other elements I would otherwise use such as the concrete are a concern; I've read that using concrete to construct a fish-pond is unwise, because it can affect the pH of the water over time (tends to render it acidic ?). I've also read that there are "treatments" that can be applied (painted or sprayed) onto concrete ponds, to render them safe for fish. The problem with all of these treatments is that they state that it is not a permanent solution; you need to "drain the pond, scrub it, then recoat it" with the product every few years. This seems a ludicrous suggestion, and I can't actually believe anyone would ever do it.

SO, my main question is, is there a standard set of building materials that are used to build water-features intended to house fish, that are known to be safe for fish in the long-tem, and do not require the application of any (non-permanent) sealant "post-build" ? Particularly, I am interested in "fish-safe" adhesives, and/ or ways to blend concrete that render it (forever-after) inert re affecting the pH of the water it is in contact with, once it has set. I am not interested in anything that ever needs to be "re-applied" to the substrate/s; only things that result in a "permanent solution" ('set-and-forget'). Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Owen

Re: DIY plans for a waterwall with fish in the pond ...

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 11:37 am
by MrFaulty
Don't use form ply, it is still ply and will fail eventually, instead use the compressed fibre cement sheeting that is used for the flooring in wet areas (bearer and joist construction dwellings) - Bunnings sell it but it's not cheap but will last.

Re the cement, mix Silasec with it to waterproof it. I made a concrete pond and nothing lived in it for several months, but eventually the ph sorted itself out. Id suggest make the water feature first and let the rain wash over it for a few months, even water it if it's not raining.

If you get the right consistency, the cement/silasec mix will stick to the fibre cement, hence no need for glues, however, if you do use glue, just remember that the VOCs given off are given off for some time - sometimes up to a few months, so again, the aging process should eliminate your potential problems.

Hope this helps


Re: DIY plans for a waterwall with fish in the pond ...

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:57 pm
by oproudfoot
Dear Ben, thank you very kindly for your time and wisdom, that is exactly the information I required. I will utilise all of your suggestions, and post a follow-up in this thread (in a few months) to let you know how it went.

Owen Proudfoot