Converting 15,000 gallon in ground pool into a Garden Pond


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Hello all!

I am very new to this, so please forgive the stupid questions. I have some experience with keeping fish and reptiles, but am completely new to the pond game and really am pretty new to having a pool as well. I just bought a house with a 15,000 gallon chlorine pool in Shelby, NC and after one summer I am already sick of it. I have watched tons of videos on converting it to a pond and it seems pretty doable, but I definitely have some issues specific to my pond I would like answered if possible.

First off, do I need a pond liner? My pool already has a liner and it is pretty decent shape, the only potential issue being a drain at the bottom and the skimmer on the side but if the pump is turned off I can't imagine those are issues. I see so many videos where people are digging areas, laying down fabrics/liners, and then filling it in with water. I am just curious as to whether or not I need a pond liner on top of the pool liner. I think it would require me to drain the pool and refill it which I would rather not do.

Is it even possible to set up my pool pump and filter to work for my pond? I think this is a quick no due to the sheer power that the pump sucks with and I would imagine many animals would fall victim to the skimmer. But if there was a way to lower the pressure it would be incredibly convenient to already have a pump/filter/aerator built in to the area.

How necessary is a filter? I have seen several backyard ponds that only had a pump/aerator for oxygen. I dont know if I am missing the part where they mention it or if it really is possible to make this work without a filter? If I do need a filter, any DIY recommendations for that?

I also have a million other questions that I cannot think of so please, any other information you think might be handy feel free to add in.

Thank you!!
 
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j.w

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Hello all!

I am very new to this, so please forgive the stupid questions. I have some experience with keeping fish and reptiles, but am completely new to the pond game and really am pretty new to having a pool as well. I just bought a house with a 15,000 gallon chlorine pool in Shelby, NC and after one summer I am already sick of it. I have watched tons of videos on converting it to a pond and it seems pretty doable, but I definitely have some issues specific to my pond I would like answered if possible.

First off, do I need a pond liner? My pool already has a liner and it is pretty decent shape, the only potential issue being a drain at the bottom and the skimmer on the side but if the pump is turned off I can't imagine those are issues. I see so many videos where people are digging areas, laying down fabrics/liners, and then filling it in with water. I am just curious as to whether or not I need a pond liner on top of the pool liner. I think it would require me to drain the pool and refill it which I would rather not do.

Is it even possible to set up my pool pump and filter to work for my pond? I think this is a quick no due to the sheer power that the pump sucks with and I would imagine many animals would fall victim to the skimmer. But if there was a way to lower the pressure it would be incredibly convenient to already have a pump/filter/aerator built in to the area.

How necessary is a filter? I have seen several backyard ponds that only had a pump/aerator for oxygen. I dont know if I am missing the part where they mention it or if it really is possible to make this work without a filter? If I do need a filter, any DIY recommendations for that?

I also have a million other questions that I cannot think of so please, any other information you think might be handy feel free to add in.

Thank you!!

okies, I get first whack atcha! heh heh (don't worry, Boss has me on a leash lately, so I'll be nice! or at least as close to it as I can!! ;):D:cool:)

Yes, you can convert.

Lots of people fill in the deeper areas but i don't see any real reason why.

[Edit] ah, okay, SECOND whack; I see our resident lil Queenie stomped on by...

I would say you don't need a new liner but I'd make sure the one you got is cleaned well. Now, if your liner is aging, might be a good time to consider a new one just so you can get those 20+ years while you're still young!

Bottom drain is no issue and you CAN use it but it's not necessary.

Plumbing for your pool MIGHT be an issue if there's standing water in them all the time and no movement; for this reason alone you could use it for aux current, but I'd make sure any wildlife can't get into the plumbing. Again, peeps with pools are needed NOW!

I'd not use the pool pump as most pond pumps are designed for 24/7 use and yeah, that's how you should use it. There's a reason.

Not sure re the skimmer as I don't have a pool nor a skimmer on my pond; others can chime in. Again, you don't need one for a pond but others see it as beneficial. Sort of depends on how much falls into your pool/pond.

I'd not set up any pond where you expect wildlife to live that you wish to see. If all you want is a natural pool, then yes, you can, but you'll have a swampy mess, eventually as there's also no water movement. Now, if you move the water, you get a pass, at least for a while. In the end, a filter keeps the water clear enough for you to see and the fish to thrive. That last part; very important or we'll be seeing a LOT of you in the Newbie Forum...

Think about a bog filter; it'll make you smile when your realize there's practically NO maintenance once it's established. Just thinning of plants periodically. Search the forums here, take a looksee; you'll note a lot of us are in the BFC. Again, for a reason.


That should get you started writing out your next set of questions...

[edit] I guess I get SECOND whack as I see our resident lil Queenie stomped on past...
 

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Indoor pool? So no wildlife issues. Are you planning on having fish and if so, what kind? What are the dimensions of the pool?
 

addy1

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Welcome to the forum!

Is the pool really indoors?
 
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j.w

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An indoor pool pond would be quite interesting. And if you wanted to go for a dip, who's stopping ya? The fish won't mind and they love to nibble on human leg hair :D
 
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If i was to build a pond out of my pool i would have to think weather a vinyl liner that is only good for 15 to 20 years if i wanted to spend the effort to naturalize a pool to a pond. .
could you simply build a bog up on the decking and have it spill into the pool sure yes the bog could be a raised bog that has wood 6x6 as a retaining wall or cinderblocks or even boulders it's all in the look you want .

I would use everything you currently have the main drain and the skimmer i would see if i can tap into those lines or if using the old filter would be a bonus for a bog filter between the two you should have polished water.

Build a raised bog that sits on the decking somewhere. if indoor i imagine there's not a lot of room around the pond you may need to think long and skinny pea stone bog. pictures help ! you will not have the added benefit of chlorine to keep the pool clear so by building the bog running the water through tons of gravel and plants on top take on that roll my question is how much light is there not many fast growing bog plants grow in the shade . you may need more gravel or a larger percentage of the surface area to make up for lack of plants. This is fine some bogs have no plants at all .

With this PLAN OFF ATTACK IF YOUR LINER DOES FAIL YOU HAVE LITTLE TO REWORK REMOVE OR RE DUE. ADD A EPDM LINER AND then build a tradition pond similar to what these guys did .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLiV3hMkhR8

I would instead of dumping tons of stone in the bottom of the pond i would have built a bog or also known as a upflow wetland filter at the bottom of the deep end fill it up 3 feet . so if you had a 8 foot deep pool as most do you'll be up to 5 feet and if you want to do the whole rock thing it can be easily pulled off from 5 feet . from 9 feet is beyond a chore this way it won't look like a swimming pool but will look like a indoor oasis
 
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Wow thank you all for the replies! The in *ground* pool is NOT indoors lol and the pool dimensions are roughly 14' wide, 20' long, and 7' at its deepest point but a lot of the pool is the slope. It is surrounded by concrete by at least 3 feet on all edges and is roughly 15' away from the back of my house. Ideally I would love to have sunfish, turtles, crawdads and whatever nature wants to bring on. My garden already tends to attract lots of wildlife so I just want something that doesn't dose them in chemicals before sucking them into a drain.

What other animals are advised to encourage a healthy ecosystem?

What animals are considered negative wildlife issues?

Would there be any issues with the fact the pool/pond is in full sun the majority of the day?

Would it be unethical/inadvisable to have largemouth bass in the pond?

If I need to redirect this discussion to a new forum please let me know.

Thank you all again and I will definitely check out Pelican services!
 
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How's about you open your drowsy Mojito eyeballs and read the title of this thread Mr Kingy boy o_O
I'll be expectin' that lil 'sowwy' face early in the morning, and on my desk, Ms. Queenie.... :D :D :cool:
 
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Wow thank you all for the replies! The in *ground* pool is NOT indoors lol and the pool dimensions are roughly 14' wide, 20' long, and 7' at its deepest point but a lot of the pool is the slope. It is surrounded by concrete by at least 3 feet on all edges and is roughly 15' away from the back of my house. Ideally I would love to have sunfish, turtles, crawdads and whatever nature wants to bring on. My garden already tends to attract lots of wildlife so I just want something that doesn't dose them in chemicals before sucking them into a drain.

What other animals are advised to encourage a healthy ecosystem?

I'd play it like this; build it, and they will come! After that, the more co-habitative you can make your vision, the better everyone will get along. Most of our garden ponds ARE healthy ecosystems. A bog filter goes a long way toward insuring that.

What animals are considered negative wildlife issues?

ah, herons comes first to mind...but negative is relative; herons are negative for fish keepers but not in natural ponds where they keep the fish population in control. Sure, there's various fish and plants and crustaceans that are considered parasites due to re-location from their usual homes. Too many to name. Give a list/do a search on what is invasive and that should help that area. Some like invasive species...

What is the goal here? That is, are you going to make this a natural environment by stocking it? Most here keep ponds for their fish, plants, amphibs and reps. We tailor our environments to achieve our own personal vision of 'natural'.

Would there be any issues with the fact the pool/pond is in full sun the majority of the day?

Most of your flowering pond plants need at least 6 hours of sun per day. Full sun means you'll want to provide shade via plants or sails so you don't get overloaded with algae. But plenty of plants are always going to be your friend.

Would it be unethical/inadvisable to have largemouth bass in the pond?

I don't think so, but you should understand the stocking level and the husbandry necessary to keeping them. There are such things as fish farms...

I don't have the particulars re bass, but the info should be readily available with a bit of searching. There's even a 'Pond Boss' forum with peeps that do exactly that. https://forums.pondboss.com


If I need to redirect this discussion to a new forum please let me know.

Thank you all again and I will definitely check out Pelican services!
 
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aws crazy as it probably sounds keeping many fish game fish in particular can require permits. We have a member who up until recently kept trout in his pond and if i remember he had to have permits. i say environmentalist and Politian's get off my property.

full sun can also be addressed with lettuce and hyacinths they can do double duty they grow like wildfire keep algae down and shade the pond and look great. islands of parrot feather can also provide shade
 

addy1

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Would there be any issues with the fact the pool/pond is in full sun the majority of the day?
All of my ponds are full sun, it has never been a issue. I do filter with only a big bog which keeps down the nutrients that would cause massive algae growth with that nice warm sunshine.
 
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I am in awe of how helpful you all are!

Okay so bog filter sounds like a non-negotiable and sounds pretty doable.

My purpose for this pond I guess is just to compliment the garden and encourage sustainability. I would like to use the pond water for my garden plants as well because it is so good for them. I also just really want one pet largemouth that I can handfeed.

Another issue I feel like I will have (for those of you still interested) is creating a natural, living border around the pond on top of the concrete. I am unsure if I want to add boulders/dirt on top or create a hanging/floating system that rests on the inside of the pool.

I have several petty neighborhood cats, any chance they would scoop out the fish?
 

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Yes! We did it, we made another person think bogs are non-negotiable! ( they are freaking amazing though )

I think you should be fine with a largemouth, as they are fine with warmer water, just make sure you have plenty of aeration. ( bog spilling into the pond should provide enough ) I believe I have seen several youtubers in warmer climates keeping them withought problem in much smaller systems. Also be aware of restrictions in your area if there are any.

Making the edge of the pools natural is the main thing I think of whenever someone mentions converting a pool into a pond, as 90 degree dropoffs with perfectly straight sides are by no means natural. You could possibly place a few large boulders with some plants around the pond area to make it a bit more natural, although I cant really think of anything beyond that withough reaching very deep into your wallet.

Cats are probably the least of your problems when it comes to predators, and with how deep and how sudden a pools water is, fish can simply swim down and away into the deep end if they feel threatened.
 
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I am in awe of how helpful you all are!

Okay so bog filter sounds like a non-negotiable and sounds pretty doable.

My purpose for this pond I guess is just to compliment the garden and encourage sustainability. I would like to use the pond water for my garden plants as well because it is so good for them. I also just really want one pet largemouth that I can handfeed.

Another issue I feel like I will have (for those of you still interested) is creating a natural, living border around the pond on top of the concrete. I am unsure if I want to add boulders/dirt on top or create a hanging/floating system that rests on the inside of the pool.

I have several petty neighborhood cats, any chance they would scoop out the fish?

You'll thank us after you get up and running and start cussing every weekend that you don't get to clean the filter....

With your deep end, the water should stay cool enough, I'd imagine, should any fish not handle the warmer summer temps near the top.

Were it mine, I 'd definitely be thinking of bringing in soil and creating some berms which you'd naturally slope out to look part of your landscape. Would take some creativity and labor, but you could create some shelves around the perimeter IN the water, upon which you could place some rocks to disrupt the straight pool side lines. They even make hollow fake stone, if you want to go that way and then, again with some ingenuity, you could mount them on styrofoam, let them float on the water at the edge, making sure they're tied in some way to the bank. Would be easy re labor and not hard to glue resin fake rock to an insert of foam. Also, easy to disassemble should you want to change it up or get rid of it. You'd also incorp some driftwood logs/stumps along the sides to break up that man-made perimeter. Were it mine, I'd definitely figure how to build something that altered that straight line, even if you have a floating island with plants on it. Been done before (see 'floating garden' in the search; it should come up with the pertinent thread).

As FishGuy says; feral cats will be the least of your issues; herons come first in the hierarchy, then raccoons, followed by snapping turtles. This assumes you aren't plagued by bears, moose, cougars, minks, martens, or osprey, to name a few others! Be thinking now about a net system, the only sure way we've found to keep your fish IN your pond. Or, let nature take it's course but most here don't buy their fish to feed the wildlife!
 
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j.w

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I'll be expectin' that lil 'sowwy' face early in the morning, and on my desk, Ms. Queenie.... :D :D :cool:
It did say indoor pool Mr Kingy! Someone changed it to in ground................... @addy1 ?
So no sowwy from me. Now pay attention from now on or fees will be charged to your account :p
 

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