Instructables

Fish pond from tractor (or car) tires

Featured
Garden 080328 (4).jpg
Tyre pond surround 080126 011.jpg
There are many Instructables (and other Web pages) on using tires (tyres, but I'll use the other spelling) for gardens, which I have been very motivated by, but here is how I used two tractor front tires to build a fish pond. The original inhabitants were our two surviving bronze goldfish, who after years inside, finally bred in the pond and had three babies.
This pond was built in December 2007 in the earlier days of my turn-the-front-lawn-into-garden project.
The tires came from a park mowing tractor so are wider than normal tractor tires, giving extra height to the pond. You can usually pick these up free, in New Zealand anyway, from large tire repair and supply workshops: mine came from the parks maintenance company I work for - free disposal for them and free supply for me!

Materials:
two tractor tires (one, two, tractor, car - your choice)
large cardboard box, old carpet, etc
sand
newspaper
thick polythene sheet from a local BORG (Big Orange Retail Giant)
flexible drainage coil (I had this lying around)
geotextile (eg weedmat, mudstop, etc) [oh, or you could use old carpet!]
wire mesh
fencing wire
soil, container mix, or compost
water
fish
water plants and land plants
two terracotta pots

Tools:
spade
bucket
hose
clamps
reciprocating saw, jigsaw, hacksaw or even a sharp sturdy knife
short length of 25mm PVC pipe
craft knife
tape measure
stapler
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
loveitmakeit6 months ago
Fabulous recycling idea Finton! Beautifully executed construction of your tyre pond & fantastic instructable - very well written & great pictures. Well done! Thank you for sharing your inspirational idea with others. I'm planning on moving from the sunny Queensland coast to country Tasmania (Australia) next year in my quest for a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle. I can visualise a pond just like this set up on my property to feed my organic veggies. Very much looking forward to giving your idea a go! :-)
finton (author)  loveitmakeit6 months ago
Well, thanks! *blush,blush*.
Really envy you your upcoming "simpler, more sustainable lifestyle": I'm gonna have to do the same! If you can set your tyre pond higher than your veges, you wouldn't even need a pump to water the garden.
Please post some pics when you've created your new pond - however long it is until it's built.
Yes, I will set it higher as you suggest (good idea!) and I'll definitely post pics of my 'masterpiece' once complete . :-)
Sammynigma6 months ago
Aquaponics! Build a grow bed to cover half the pond, and lead the pump into it, and just let it drain back into pond. It could also provide shade in summer. That's how my pond is set up, only I have multiple grow beds around it and vertically, and my pond being an old swimming pool.
finton (author)  Sammynigma6 months ago
Nice idea about the summer shade from the aquaponics bed, Sam. I have a fibreglass bath which could be used for just that system. Could you post some pics of your setup as a reply, please?: we'd love to see your setup.
antoniraj7 months ago
very nicely done with old tyres...
finton (author)  antoniraj7 months ago
Thanks antoniraj! I like your pond also. I have replied to a couple of comments on your 'ible.
antoniraj finton7 months ago
I am very thankful to you for your reply.. My pond is doing really well and some of the fishes have multiplied. I am really enjoying watching and feeding the small fishes
rhino2 years ago
A great pond system and a great instructable to boot. Five stars, three cheers, two thumbs up and a round of drinks. I would love to try this, but I do not think I could do that here in Arizona though because of the triple digit temps here and all the black materials used. The water would quickly heat up and it would probably be too hot for the fishies. Maybe I could build a small roof over my tire pond and grow my veggies on the roof?

Can one vacuum the fish poop out of the pond with a wet/dry shop vac instead of emptying it to clean it?
I know that this is a very late reply but I have only begun to play...
Take a look into aquaponics. There are many of the techniques that would work for it. I am doing it on a small scale in Colorado Springs Colorado. I have used wading pools as well as a preformed pond.
Once they are up and running they are almost without effort except making certain things get picked and eaten.
finton (author)  1makerofstuff7 months ago
Time is irrelevant on Instructables 1makerofstuff! I am planning on trying aquaponics: would you post some pics (or an Instructable) of your setup, please?
Thanks for the info. I lived in Colorado Springs before moving to Arizona and loved it there. Stay safe from the fires.
finton (author)  rhino2 years ago
Thanks rhino. As for it being too hot in AZ, you could paint the tyres white (see pic), surround them with something (see pic and my step 8), bury them (see pic), or place the pond in shade (eg the north side of your house, or grow somthing on the south side of the pond [see my young banana palms and sugarcane in step 1). Your roof suggestion is a great idea, especially if you make it part of a aquaponics system (plenty of ideas on the Web). You probably could vacuum out the poop using a wet/dry vac, but they only hold a relatively small amount of liquid. You needn't empty the pond anyway - just siphon out some water while making the pipe reach the pond bottom. Aquaponics would take care of this for you.
White tyre.jpgfountains-ponds-large cropped.jpgpermaculturetyrepondlarge.jpg
rhino finton10 months ago
Thank you. I will have to try your suggestions.
1makerofstuff10 months ago
I wonder if this could be adapted to make a waterfall for my basement pond/aquaponic system? (If I line them with food grade pvc it should still qualify as organic practices I think.) It is making my brain spin in happy directions!!
finton (author)  1makerofstuff10 months ago
I'm sure it could 1makerofstuff. I'm not sure exactly what you have in mind, but one possibility would be to step tyres above each other and make one of those cascade things, sort of like the attached picture.
Cascade.jpg
My brain is spinning with the ideas of what can be done with the tires. I was thinking that combining the tire "wreath" with a pump could make a great spitter to make a splash into a pond. My garden junk is starting to take over.
I know what I'm doing with the 4 tires I brought home after getting new ones, I was just going to make hanging planters but after seeing this I have to give it a try ! Thanks for sharing your talent !
finton (author)  squawkamole1 year ago
Thanks for the feedback squawkamole. Would you post some pictures of your pond when you've built it? You may want to consider some type of filtration or drainage as discussed elsewhere in this 'ible.
Sure will! If I can make it work I will post it !
Living in a colder climate (Michigan) We make sure our ponds are deep enough for the fish to survive the winter. I believe it is supposed to be deeper than 18 inches. I think two tires below ground should do the trick, a third to be more certain. A retaining wall of earth (from the hole) forming a raised bed round the bottom might also be a good addition.
My mother kind heartedly allowed the neighbor to bury about 80 -100 tires out back half out of the ground as a "landscape fence" in the back yard to foil the local blight inspector. Its legit but ugly and now that I'm living here I'll have enough of these ponds eventually to consider fish farming LOL. I am going to see if I might be able to connect them under ground via a 4 inch pvc pipe if I can rig up a gasket gizmo that wont leak.
Great way to recycle! Great instructible! Keep up the good work : )
finton (author)  Rahdzhillaxxx2 years ago
Aye, fortunately it doesn't get that cold in Auckland, NZ, even if it is too cold for macmundi's guppies (still: no reason why the pool couldn't be heated). I was thinking of drilling a hole through the bottom tyre and through the plastic liner, then using tank fittings to attach a drain pipe, or in your case a connecting manifold. Having it come up from underneath would only be safe if you drilled through the bottom sidewall and liner, otherwise the liner wouldn't be rigid enough to handle any pipe movement. Thanks for the compliments. Sttach some pics when you've built your pond(s), yeah?
macmundi3 years ago
This is an excellent idea mate!! Let alone not having to pay the throw-away charge for our old tires. To prevent algae growth, I thought of putting a few guppies in it. If the algae grows too fast, put in more!! These fish can live solely on algae and leaves fertilizers for your lilies.
finton (author)  macmundi2 years ago
Well, it's a year late, but here's my reply! Guppies are a good idea: in Auckland it gets too cold, best as I know, - they're a "tropical" fish here. Where are you macmundi? However it's a good idea, and I'm sure we could get something to cope here.
oogiemama2 years ago
I live in Northern Minnesota, and this looks like a great addition to our garden I am always looking for great recycled projects and this one is a keeper!
finton (author)  oogiemama2 years ago
Thanks for the comment oogiemama. Would you post some pics of your pool when built - or better yet do a short Instructable!
antonoso3 years ago
great backyard proyect i will make in the spring because my nymphs
finton (author)  antonoso2 years ago
Thanks antonoso! "because [your] nymphs" what? When you make your pool would you post some photos of it, please?
Ive seen a design identical to yours,but with crayfish & blue gills & included soil retainer wall-but with heavy duty shade cloth, & nitrogen loving grape, Roma, & cherry tomato mix, cascaded down the face of the plastic mesh.( They used orange, construction-site barricading material left over from a project!) Vines were tethered to mesh & encouraged to fill in the voids. Plus they thought ahead & ran a 1/2" for water return & oxygen bubbler stone,through the bottom, before partially burying the 3 tier-tire design. A constant drip flow feed to neighboring basil plants (oriented in the ground on north & west sides) which grew quite nicely & complimentary to tomatoes! I believe a simple toilet float valve switch always kept it topped off with fresh H20. I'm thinking strawberries/catfish would be a nice substitution for my little experiment! :-)
finton (author)  teslawasRIGHT3 years ago
Thanks teslawasRIGHT . Yeah, typical. And I thought I was the first (well, I might have been: when did you see the other one?). Another case of sychronicity / morphic resonance perhaps (eg motorised aeroplanes*, telephones, etc)? ;] At least I was first on to Instructibles with it, so I get the kudos! (eg as with the patent holders of motorised aeroplanes, telephones, ...).
I had thought about fitting a water return etc, but at the time was more interested in getting the thing built while I had the enthusiasm. After it proved to work, I've subsequently thought about retrofitting all that to the pond but haven't had the inclination as the current system works OK. I would like to try an aquaculture system though...
* first invented in New Zealand by Richard Pearse. First patented by the Wright Bros.
markhull233 years ago
hi i just wondered how long you've had the fish in there for and have they lasted without filtration and a pump?
finton (author)  markhull233 years ago
Since Dec 07 (see Step 6). They lasted well without filtration and pump as I emptied the pond regularly to water the garden (Steps 6 and 8). I got a bit slack last winter - the garden didn't need watering - and the pond got too scummy for the big mother goldfish: she died. The two remaining fish (her babies) are doing fine. I now use a pump to empty the pond (Step 8), but that's not really necessary: I have emptied the pond using a 3m length of hose to syphon the water out - make sure the fish aren't left to suffocate when the pond is empty!
HPIM4154.JPG
antling3 years ago
Great!!..
As I lived in year-long-summer country, this would be perfect for my yard!
bigmark3 years ago
That is so cool.we wonted a little pond,but we rent.so this would be cool we could just take it with us when we move.do you know how to turn a tire inside out to make a planter??? my mom had two when we were kids.& we have never seen them since.great job.
finton (author)  bigmark3 years ago
Cool! My first ever Instructables comment! Thanks. A couple of car tyres (to use the correct spelling... ;] ) would do as a small pond. A rule of thumb, I understand, is to have the most water possible per fish, otherwise you'd need filters and aerators, etc. If you did not put the soil around it, you may have to paint it white or shade it in summer (and then you could take the shade away in winter so the tyres warm up and stop the pond from freezing!).
I've seen a lot of those YouTubes, Instructables, etc on turning tyres inside out: if you look closely in photo 1 you can see where I tried this for the top tyre of the planter behind the pond with the banana palms in. Personally I don't do this because: I don't like the look, I don't gain enough in volume to warrant the effort (in fact I'd say I get less, but I haven't quantified that), I always leave the bottom sidewall on to help with water retention during summer (also helps keep the soil in if I have to drag the planter anywhere), and can you even IMAGINE doing that with tractor tyres??!!!
Thanks for your kind comments: I'm glad it inspired you.
l8nite finton3 years ago
I think your referring to a rimless tire in which case I agree, if you leave the rim on then depending on the way you cut the tire you can add the depth of the rim as well (6-8in)in most cases. I never thought about using it as a pond but when filled with soil and plants they are VERY heavy. Full size car tires (15in) are easier to turn inside/out than compact car tires. Radial tires you'll need a metal cutting blade in your saw. I think Im going to have to see what I have available and do a pond version... Im SURE my neighbors will be thrilled ... . . .... .. .
finton (author)  l8nite3 years ago
Hmmm, good point about the extra height gained from the sidewalls; maybe I'll have another go if I can find an easy way to do it (is there an Instructable? Should we invent a tyre-turner and post an article?) - would save the problem of getting rid of cut-off sidewalls. Mind you, tyres aren't scarce, so the extra height can be recovered by just using more tyres! I don't know about other countries, by NZ radial car tyres only have steel in the tread and beading, not the sidewall; the only tyre I've needed a metal-cutting blade for was the one truck tyre (left foreground in Step 4). Tractor tyres are so low-pressure that they also don't need steel sidewalls. I'd love to see pics of your pond and process when it's done! I'm going to try 9w2xyx's pallet wood barrel idea...
finton (author)  finton3 years ago
"but" NZ radial car tyres
finton (author)  finton3 years ago
Better still, look at the banana tyres in the first photo of step 6 for the inside-out tyre. This was easy to twist because I'd cut both sidewalls off. I'd tried the twisty thing with a normal tyre and decided I really couldn't be bothered: not to mention the reasons above.
chamunks3 years ago
Wow now I know what to suggest to my mom to do with all of her extra tires kicking around in her garage.
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!