Converting a Boat to Fish Pond

Discussion in 'Newbies to Garden Ponds' started by unfiltered, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. unfiltered

    unfiltered

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    Good day. I have secured a 14 foot fiberglass boat which I want to convert to a pond. The exterior of the boat will be repainted to colors to match our application. All interior components (wires, metal, seats, etc.) of the boat will be removed and large openings between the floor deck and boat bottom will be patched with screen or sealed (water will be able to get between the floor and bottom). I will likely be able to use existing thru-hull fittings and drain ports to use to pump water to my filter system. At this point I am planning on making my own bio filter out of a plastic tote which will be camouflaged inside of an old lobster or crab trap and placed on the topside of the boat. I have a few questions though.

    1) The average depth of the water in the boat should be about 2.5 feet deep. The boat will sit on the ground and will not be sunk into the ground much, if at all. I will likely back fill some dirt around the boat hull for stability. I was hoping with a small heater I should be ok during the winter months. Do you think so?

    2) The hull and floor is fiberglass. I'd like to seal/paint the insides white for aesthetics but, to also smooth out any rough fiberglass spots so the fish don't rub up against it. I was going to use white bilge paint made for fiberglass boats. Is this an ok option? Should I choose something different?

    3) This is my first pond and one I know is kind of unorthodox. . Any other things I should look for or consider?

    Thanks for your help! 20170814_123438_1503163347330_resized.jpg 20170814_123451_1503163348341_resized.jpg
     
    unfiltered, Aug 19, 2017
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  2. unfiltered

    sissy sissy

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    The thing that concerns me most about this is the tip over factor .The water will be heavier at the top since it is wider and a wind or someone leaning on it could cause a major problem .Even heavy rains .Other is keeping the pond water from getting to hot or cold ,I have seen them cut in half and made into cool bars ,how about a bar next to the pond
     
    sissy, Aug 19, 2017
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  3. unfiltered

    MitchM

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    Welcome!
    It's hard to give winter advice without knowing your location and what your winters are like.
    I would also be concerned about any petroleum residue (spilled gas and oil) that could have accumulated over the lifespan of the boat.
     
    MitchM, Aug 19, 2017
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  4. unfiltered

    unfiltered

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    The keel of the boat will be dug slightly into the ground. It will also be reinforced from the sides before being filled. I have that accounted for to prevent the boat from tipping.

    MitchM. Good point on the petroleum. That was one of the reasons I want to seal the interior. My initial thought was bilge paint since it is intended for that purpose.

    Thanks!
     
    unfiltered, Aug 19, 2017
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  5. unfiltered

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Hello and welcome! What a cool idea, but I agree with other comments posted.

    1. Where do you live? A totally (mostly) above ground pond will be more subject to temperature extremes : freezing in winter; overheating in summer. Heaters in ponds are intended to keep a hole open if you have ice -- this is for gas exchange. They won't keep the water from freezing.
    2. And stability could be an issue. Water is very heavy and depending on how much of the boat is top-side, I would want a supporting frame. I might be wrong, but tend to agree with @sissy about tipping.
    3. Yes, be sure that all petroleum residue is cleaned out, and make the surfaces as smooth as possible.
    4. As to the color..... White is pretty, but it's not going to stay white. As soon as the algae (which is normal, good, and healthy) starts to grow, you'll never be able to tell that it's white. It might still look great -- it just won't be white.
    Keep us posted! I would love to see how it turns out!
     
    Mmathis, Aug 19, 2017
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  6. unfiltered

    unfiltered

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    1) I live in PA.
    2) I have accounted for this and will install the boat in the ground where in needs to be and there will be support from the side.
    3) Good point.
    4) Figured it wouldn't stay white because of algae but, figured it would be better than any other color.

    Thanks!
     
    unfiltered, Aug 19, 2017
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  7. unfiltered

    Lisak1

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    I've actually seen this done - a pond store near us has an old boat that they use as a pond. I thought I had a photo - let me search a bit more. It looked very cool!
     
    Lisak1, Aug 20, 2017
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  8. unfiltered

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Oh goody! I would love to see pics! It does sound cool, and I think I've seen pics of something like that, as well. People have turned all kinds of interesting "things" into ponds!
     
    Mmathis, Aug 20, 2017
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  9. unfiltered

    Lisak1

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    Boat pond.jpg

    Not my photo - took it from their website. And not a great photo at that! You'll have to take my word for it that it's got water and fish in it! haha!
     
    Lisak1, Aug 20, 2017
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  10. unfiltered

    IPA

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    You could always smooth out the sides with sheet foam and use a liner. Have you thought about the height and having to do maintenance, and what if you needed to get in the pond for any reason, would it be stable enough for that? It probably wouldn't be hard to make it work for a couple years but long term is different; think about where detritus can get trapped, leaks developing, how would you replace a through hole without draining the pond, etc. good luck, it's a cool idea especially if you can make it work well.
     
    IPA, Aug 20, 2017
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  11. unfiltered

    Nyboy

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    Mmmmmmm If my old truck keeps giving me trouble might be the answer LOL
     
    Nyboy, Aug 20, 2017
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  12. unfiltered

    unfiltered

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    LOL. That is kind of what we are shooting for. We have an are between our paver patio and an old concrete hot tub pad which is at the foot of the deck coming off of our dining room. The plan after the boat is situated is to build a "ground level" deck over the concrete pad which will terminate next to the boat (like a dock), install larger pilings at the two corners, I am looking at making a bio filter out of a Rubbermaid container and hiding it inside an old large lobster or crab trap which will sit on the back of the boat and waterfall into the pond.
     
    unfiltered, Aug 20, 2017
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  13. unfiltered

    unfiltered

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    I think the inside would be smooth enough to put a liner in it. I was hoping to avoid the expense if I could.
     
    unfiltered, Aug 20, 2017
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  14. unfiltered

    sissy sissy

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    Pa can get pretty cold .I was born there and still own my parents house in Berwick
     
    sissy, Aug 20, 2017
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  15. unfiltered

    unfiltered

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    Project update....

    We have painted the topsides a fun color, removed all metal and obstructions from the insides and sealed all hardware that was through the hulls and other holes. The plan is to roll on black rubber pond sealer to provide a uniform look and add additional sealant properties.The rubber will extend above the anticipated waterline to prevent water from seeping between the rubber and inside of the hull.

    I will be digging the boat into the ground approximately 2' to aid in freezing protection and stability.

    My next question is concerning installing a filter system. My plan (willing to hear pros and cons) is to build a biofilter using a Rubbermaid bin and a canister filter from a 3' pool. The purpose of the pool filter would be more to use as the pump to the bio box and not so much for filtration, although some media could likely go in the canister and act as a primary. I would also install an inline UV filter. The plan is the have the bio box sit on the stern shelf of the boat and be camouflaged by a large crab or lobster trap and have the water returned to the boat via falls.

    The question is I would like to use existing holes in the stern of the boat if possible. There are holes at the almost bottom of the boat (3/4" or 1") and more towards where the waterline would be. It would make sense to me to draw from the lowest drain instead of the top drain. Is that correct?

    What are you thoughts of using the pool filter to deliver the water to the bio box? Again, the filtered water would be returned via a falls directly from the box itself. I was told there is a way to use the filter as vacuum. What would I need to do to accomplish that?

    Thanks for the help!
     

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    unfiltered, Sep 21, 2017
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  16. unfiltered

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    upload_2017-9-21_13-8-30.gif
    @unfiltered
    What a fun idea!
    I can't wait to see this project when all done and w/fish in there :)
     
    j.w, Sep 21, 2017
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  17. unfiltered

    IPA

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    I like the solutions that you have come up with, I think it will look impressive when done. The only issue I see with the pool filter is that the media probably removes to fine a particle and would require constant cleaning. If you agree you could probably come up with a solution for that.
     
    IPA, Sep 22, 2017
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  18. unfiltered

    BarbO

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    I like your idea, reminds me of a project the guys at "tanked",i the tv show, would do. Looking forward to seeing how it comes out.
     
    BarbO, Sep 22, 2017
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  19. unfiltered

    AJ1500

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    I like your project, I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's done
    just a thought as for a filter. this would require a little extra work but might work well
    if you boxed in your transom area, IE cut out the bottom and build a wall against the front portion inside the boat
    then raise the rear transom to the height of your sides, you could then fill it with lava rock and pea gravel or bio balls and turn it into a bio filter. put piping in the bottom like for a bog and pump the water into it so it flows up and overflows back into the boat over the transom front wall, you could even make a cut in the middle so it would act like a waterfall
    I hope that makes sense
     
    AJ1500, Sep 22, 2017
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  20. unfiltered

    unfiltered

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    My plan was really to use the old pool filter as a pump. I do not need to put anything in the canister. I figured I had it laying around and it was good enough for a 2' x 15' pool so, it should do the trick to draw more than enough water into the bio filter box I will be building.

    The second coat of 4 or 5 of rubberized pond paint is on. She is looking good!
     

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    unfiltered, Sep 25, 2017
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