Introduction: One Hour Trash Can Fish Pond

Picture of One Hour Trash Can Fish Pond

Make a great fish pond in under one hour.

If you have young children do not make ponds that they can reach. All ponds are a drownding hazard and should not be accessible to young children. IIf you or your neighbors have young children do not make ponds that they can reach. Enclose your pond with a fence that will prevent children from access any pond you make.

Fish do not like sudden changes in temperature. Most "feeder" gold fish bought at a pet shop come in a plastic bag with water in in. Put the bag with the fish and water from the pet store in your pond without opening the bag. This will allow the water in the bag to slowly reach the temperature of your pond and there by avoid shocking your fish. When enough time has passed for temperature of the water in the bag to equal the temperature of the pond open the bag and let the fish out. If you live in areas were the ground freezes you should remove your fish before the water starts to freeze and keep them in a large aquarium to winter over; again using water from your pond so as not to shock the fish. Treat fish gently and humanly.

Step 1: Start With a Plastic Trash Can With Out Any Holes.

Picture of Start With a Plastic Trash Can With Out Any Holes.

Start with a plastic trash can with out any holes.

Step 2: Dig a Hole...

Picture of Dig a Hole...

Dig a hole slightly bigger than the can and deep enough so the top of the can is slightly below the level of the surrounding ground. Put the can in the hole. Make sure the can is level with a level or a board across the top with a large pan on top with 1/2" of water in it. With the can level add dirt a bit at a time tamping it down with a stick. Add water to match the dirt level so the can will hold its shape. Keep the can level as you can not move it after the dirt is near the top. End with the can slightly below the level of the surrounding ground.

Step 3: Add Flat Rocks Around the Edge of the Can. They Should Be Placed to Hide the Edge of the Can

Picture of Add Flat Rocks Around the Edge of the Can. They Should Be Placed to Hide the Edge of the Can

Add flat rocks around the edge of the can. They should be placed to hide the edge of the can and large enough so they will not flip into the pond if a raccoon steps on the rock. Thats all there is to it. Add some fish (gold fish are $.10 each if you buy "feeders" at the pet store) and plants from any pond or creek.


OctaviaA (author)2015-07-31

It's lovely, but without some sort of filter or pump you to move the water,are inviting mosquitos - you can find very small pumps at Walgreens or Kmart during the holiday season as part of "indoor fountains" last minute gift ideas.....

xrobevansx (author)2008-01-21

You do realize standing water breeds bacteria (among other nasty things) and especially mosquitoes which can foster West Nile Virus. Get a filter/pump system.

mrwizard4570 (author)xrobevansx2008-02-06

if there's fish in the water there will be no mosquitoes...they eat the larvae

tom.wando (author)mrwizard45702015-03-15

what about frogs being in the pond like bullfrogs or regular frogs

Matin (author)xrobevansx2008-01-21

If you add fish, they will eat mosquito larva before they mature.

xrobevansx (author)Matin2008-02-06

Matin: My friend makes/installs/maintains ponds for a living. He has the complete opposite view than you. He said (after I told him of this instructable) that this pond would turn into a dark, stinky, cesspool in a matter of weeks. I don't mean this to sound negative, but he said there is no way fish and plants can keep a pond clear...certainly not a pond of this size. He recalled a still water pond the size of a swimming pool that had fish and plants, in fact the carp/koi were as long as his arm! But the water was black, and STUNK! He said mosquitoes are FAST egg layers and a pond this size would be overrun quickly. I guess he may be wrong as your pond may be evidence, but this is one pond-makers' opinion.

Matin (author)xrobevansx2008-02-09

I have three "trash can" ponds and two are over 3 years old and going strong. The water is clear and sweet. There is muck on the bottom but if you do not mix it up the water stays clear. I have some duct weed on top to help block the sun. In this climate Northern California the pond neither freezes or gets very hot. I also have a few gold fish in each of the ponds. There are NO mosquitoes larva.

xrobevansx (author)Matin2008-02-09

Maybe it's the location. Here in Southern NJ in the summer, it may as well be and HUMID.

truemirror (author)xrobevansx2009-04-12

I started with two minnow sized gold fish to start in a double bucket sized pond for three years, murky on the bottom but clear on top, no stink, no mosquito's in the "pond" and attracted frogs, turtles and salamanders in WV, a few feet away a trash can lid turned over collected rain water and mosquito larva in a weeks time, so I think the gold fish do eat larva, also they won't grow any bigger than their environment, and if it is deep enough they winter over. I'd rather encourage the mosquito to lay in the pond and get eaten than to have them find an old tire or overturned trash can lid and live to reproduce more. a good rain causes the "pond" to replenish it's water, and it's nice to sit in the evenings and watch the fish come to the surface.

chuckr44 (author)Matin2008-04-01

That's true. And I've done it. Although I had only 1 goldfish (10 cents) in a 40 gallon pond. I never fed him all summer and he ate any bug that fell in there as well as all mosquitos. He was really fat by September (he went in in April) he must have eaten well.

Matin (author)xrobevansx2008-01-21

My ponds all have fish and water plants and the water is clear. Though I am sure there is bacteria there is bacteria everywhere. See: Bacteria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia There are approximately ten times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the human body, with large numbers of bacteria on the skin and in the digestive ... If you have fish then you will have no mosquitoes; no mosquitoes: no West Nile.

_bradylee (author)2011-02-04

I plan on building one of these, but i have a different idea for one. ill post it if i build it.

sthealthraider (author)2009-04-17

its more like a trap! Lol

Tenchuu (author)2009-03-27

I agree on the use of a pumps, but if you don't want to go that way, look for bacterial blocks that they sell at pond stores that kill many types of mosquito larvae. You usually change them once a month, and only for the mosquito season. A few comments on fish: Fish are generally not that efficient at eating mosquitos. This technique was applied in Australia with rather disastrous results (Don't buy "mosquito fish"). Try to pick fish that are local or else go for goldfish. That said, other fish don't mix well with goldfish, due to some attractive biological features of goldfish (they pee in the water, which also increases algae). My biggest problem with using fish in this project (I love it in all other respects!) is that anything larger than a minnow will have a miserable life in a container that size for any long periods of time. Nothing to look at and a couple of feet in each direction. Vertical distance means little to most fish. It could be eighty feet deep and they'd be just as miserable. There's also nowhere for them to hide, explore, etc. It's a tube that bugs occasionally fall into. So do some research into the fish you add to your life!

JOEDUPONT (author)2009-01-05

if you had a slope you could dig in a dozen of them and have one flow into the other with a spout.

irrilia (author)2008-09-06

Awesome project! I do wonder about the mosquitos tho.....we go fishing about a mile from the house and there are loads of mosquitos. Fish too..altho, sigh...we don't always catch them.

BigPupChuck07 (author)2008-01-21

Good idea i would use those large rubbermade storage containers to make it have more area

chuckr44 (author)BigPupChuck072008-04-01

I used a Rubbermaid storage container to make a pond. They degrade quickly during the Michigan winters here. The plastic freezes and breaks easily. After its 2nd winter I now have to remove it, it is so broken up. I guess that's why the plastic they use for molded ponds is different. A trash can might be different as it's expected to be outside and freeze.

Matin (author)chuckr442008-04-02

Trash Cans have UV stabilizers incorporated in the plastic they are molded of and most hold up well over time.

chickenliver123 (author)2008-02-01

This is perfect, but it's missing something, a filter to keep the water clean so you don't have to clean it every so often

Matin (author)2008-01-30

If you plan to have fish make sure it is 18" deep. This helps keep the raccoons from easily reaching the fish.

waterppk (author)2008-01-26

A good tub for a tub garden like this is a beer keg cooler. They're typically larger diameter then a trash can and really really thick.

flactemnad (author)2008-01-23

Not a bad idea, but I would probably opt for a little larger container like the rubbermaid container mentioned above. And if you're happy with the pond that's what matters! A goldfish would probably rather be in that trash can pond than a glass bowl - except when the wildlife comes around fishing!

Ohm (author)2008-01-23

This is really not big enough to be any good, if you were using it as a reservoir for under a bubbler or something that would be different, but not for fish.

Brennn10 (author)2008-01-23

I really like this. Simple and easy! A great use for reusing old trash cans!

Very Keri (author)2008-01-22

It's cute and a good idea, but while the rocks are a good start, I would place some plants around it or make a fountain out of it so it's more noticeable. It looks like something I would step in on accident, even if it is off of the path, I'm pretty clumsy.

stamestame (author)2008-01-22

Dont advise using rocks from streams please.

darkmuskrat (author)2008-01-22

I live in Beautiful cold, wet, dark British Columbia :P so it might not work. I do have a pond though and this rocks. Oh, i just got the joke i made, rocks :)

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-01-22

Cool, but I would make it bigger next time. Great job!

BigPupChuck07 (author)2008-01-21

In Louisiana where i live we have more trouble than racoons....alot of egrets and herons like my neighbors goldfish pond

Matin (author)BigPupChuck072008-01-22

Well it is true that nothing is 100% for sure. But I have had good luck. A deep pond helps a LOT. If you stock gold fish then to loose a few is not too bad. I have a neighbor who uses a plastic (but very real looking) great blue heron and claims this spooks real fishing birds but I prefer to not see a fake bird at my ponds.

Aar000n3y (author)2008-01-21

Like Andrew said, it's too small. I would take some sort of a plastic sheet (probably a camping tarp), and use that to line the walls. This would allow for larger ponds, differently shaped ponds, and not having to hide the edges (you could tuck the end of the tarp into the dirt at the top).

Matin (author)Aar000n3y2008-01-21

The problem I have had with pond liners is with great white egrets poking holes in it while they fish. Kids "spear fishing" are a problem also. ,After which it is hard to find and patch leaks. Tarps and plastic sheeting do not hold up well. If you are going for a liner get the thick black rubber or vinyl, but these are expensive. Trash cans even the big ones are cheep, hold a lot of water, look good and hold up.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-01-21

Wow! That's pretty cool, to admit. Though the trash can does have bacteria and other toxic demons to destroy us human creatures living on this so called planet "Earth", this is a great Instructable, it looks great!

reedz (author)2008-01-21

"It's like shooting fish in a barrel"

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2008-01-21

huh... well actually thats kinda neat, mabe use something bigger tho. ...but what??? hmmm... :-/

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