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Robyn's Back Liner Pond Page

Last Updated: 3/30/22

Rock pond on 5/5/12.

Basic Information
Plant Inventory
Animal Inventory

Basic Information

Liner: Standard 6' x 8' EPDM liner
Dimensions: 3' x 4.5' with submerged rocks, 2' x 3' without the inner lip of rocks; 1' deep at the maximum sloped out
Volume: 30 gallons
Dug and Lined: 5/8/12
Rocked: 5/13/12
Finished: 5/15/12


On 3/18/12, I pulled the liner out of my 16.5 gallon liner pond as well as most of the rocks. It was not until 5/8/12 that I broke ground for a replacement about 50 feet closer to the house (but still about 100 feet from the house). I had bought the liner a few years ago. A year ago, I got a pallet of rocks. It was time (since I have no paying job) to bring the parts together.

First, I de-sodded an area of 3 feet by 4.5 feet. I put the sod in a nearby hole. After de-sodding, I evened it all out down to a depth of about 3 inches and checking the level. The ground was almost level in this area, less than an inch off. I cut the edges straight down (only a minor slope). I then went in about 5" on all sides. This created a shelf for rocks that would be partially submerged to hide the sides of the liner. From that 5" in, I dug down. At the north, deep end, I dug down a foot. This sloped from there to the south, outlet end (for animals to hopefully get out if they have trouble). There is less of a slope than with the old liner pond. I tried to dig the north, east, and west sides almost straight down. I encountered two large rocks in the deep end which left a big of a hole in the wall and floor there that I tried to patch. I used all the dirt to fill in the old liner pond and the hole in the old garden where I dug up the dirt to repot all the pond plants. My digging process entailed using a regular spade for de-sodding and breaking up dirt and then a trowel when I was in the main pond. Only the trowel could be used to delicately sculpt the edges and curves of the pond. I would break up some dirt and then use a trowel and bucket to remove the dirt layer by layer. After four hours of digging, it was as I wanted it. I put a few pieces of Ultiliner left over from my 153 gallon pond in the bottom for a little padding but I did not have any sand to put in there. There were quite a few roots but no huge ones that I could not get with the shovel. I put in the liner. By this point, it was raining pretty good. I drove out four loads of PA fieldstone and dumped them by the pond and put a few on the liner to hold it down. By morning, the pond was half filled from the rain! Next week, I will adjust it, work on an overflow, and start to set the rocks in. I have at least a dozen more loads of rocks to bring up so I can pick the best for my needs.

On 5/13/12, I added a larger shelf on the back side of the new pond, expanding it out another six inches and down a few inches. This allowed for a larger shelf and some rocks in the water on which frogs and the like can sit. I started to place the rocks and got about 75% done. I still have to finish the rocks and hide the liner edges.

On 5/15/12, I finished the back pond. I tried to hide all the liner but, of course, failed. I put some pea gravel in the gaps. I tried to make an overflow but I failed at that too. I made a trench with a foot long piece of PVC over the liner and then covered it with rocks. When it rains, tons of mud goes in the pond. We had a few inches of rain the day before. For the first time, I had an inverted liner which means that it was up because there was water underneath of the liner. I used the pond vacuum to vacuum all the water off the top and then under as well. I bailed in fresh water two gallons at a time so the pond was measured at 30 gallons. Funny, that was exactly my guess!

On 5/20/12, I put a clump of moss from the waterfall of my 1800 gallon pond in the wet rock area of this new pond. I have moved all the snail-related yard doohickeys (my mother had put all those back there) from the old 18 gallon liner pond to this new 30 gallon liner pond.

On 5/22/12, I put gray treefrog tadpoles in this pond (see below under animals).

On 5/23/12, we got almost three inches of rain in a matter or hours. The new pond was a disaster. It was full of mud, and the liner had fully inverted. By that, I mean that there was water under the liner that displaced 70% of the volume. I had to wait until the end of the next day to refill the pond which by then looked nearly empty as the water under the liner went down. I do not know how many of the gray treefrog tadpoles died as a result.

On 5/26/12, I pulled out an old Solar Flow Mini Pump which is a 40 gph (when full sun hits it) solar pump. I put it in this new pond. The water spit a tiny bit but mostly did nothing. It only runs in full sun but that is better than nothing so I figured that I might as well use it. By 5/27/12, it seems to be fully clogged, and nothing is coming out! Ugh!

On 6/1/12, we got 1.5" of rain in a single storm. The new pond's liner inverted yet again! The tadpoles were left with almost no water so I had to add more as the water under the liner receded.

On 6/9/12, in the morning, I came to realize how much of a genius the resident raccoon is. He/she had taken/removed about 20 rocks from around the pond and literally made a staircase to get in to the pond! I am not kidding! The pond has a drop off in the shallow end, and the raccoon thought it was too deep. Now, I cannot get the rocks back just so as they used to be! The animals are just so much smarter than I. Many of the larger gray treefrog tadpoles are gone now. I never saw any with legs so I fear that the raccoon ate his fill.

I installed a new solar pump in the 30 gallon new pond on 6/9/12. The old solar pump was pathetic. When full sun hit it, it would drizzle. The new pump is the same strength but new. It is a Smart Solar Sunjet 150+. When full sun hit it, it ran like a small real pump! It requires full sun to do anything though but something is better than nothing for the poor tadpoles. The pump could be put on the bottom (tubing did not reach the surface) or floated so I floated it on the Styrofoam piece which was rather large. The whole thing was anchored to the bottom by fishing line and a mesh bag with a heavy rock. I had a bad feeling about what the raccoon would do.

On 6/10/12, as predicted, the raccoon went for the new solar pump in the 30 gallon pond. At first, I saw nothing but, after fishing, I found the pump and mesh bag with rock. The Styrofoam, fountain head (two pieces), and fishing line were simply gone. The raccoon took them and ran away. As luck would have it, the uptake tube and fountain head for the old solar pump fits the new one so I put those on. So, it works. But, it does not stick to the liner (with suction cups) so, every morning, the raccoon has knocked it over, and I have to fish around in there for it as well as remove the 3 to 15 rocks that he tosses in there.

I took the solar pump out on 9/9/12. I had not seen it run in a long time, and it was usually under water (would not stay upright).

I cleaned the pond on 3/14/13 beginning at 11 am. It was only 37 degrees F with high winds. First, I raked up most of the leaves within five feet of all sides of the pond, and there were tons (two wheelbarrows full). It was hard as the winds were throwing them back in my face. I had to break the ice off the pond and threw that in a wheelbarrow. I then netted the massive amounts of leaves, sticks, pine cones, and black cherry pits out of there. I found one beetle (the same one who was in there when I netted the pond back on 11/25/12). I also found two pieces of anacharis which I moved to the 153 gallon pond along with the beetle. I used my Pondovac to suck the pond dry, squirted it down after running three hoses out there, and refilled the pond. I finished this pond at 12:07 pm. A few hours later, it would already have a dozen more leaves blown in there.

I cleaned the rock pond out on 3/27/14. It was a hard winter. I had to break an inch of ice off the pond to even start cleaning. I netted out most of the leaves (I had pulled some out a few weeks earlier). I used the pond vacuum to drain the pond. There was nothing alive in there. All the remaining fish and tadpoles had died as they all had in my other two tub ponds this winter.

I cleaned out the back pond on 4/8/15. I netted out the leaves, sticks, and debris. It smelled horrible! I saved a small wad of anacharis which I would put back. Aside from that, I found no life but I did not sift through the thousand leaves.

I attempted to clean out the back pond on 3/30/16. I had just used the OASE Pondvac to vacuum out my 153 gallon pond but it would not suck when I put it in the back pond. There had to be a clog in the line but I could not get it out! So, after I had netted out the leaves, I had to bail the pond down. I could not get out the last few gallons of black sludgy water without the pond vacuum working so I just refilled it without a thorough cleaning. Despite that failure the pond was certainly in better shape than if I attempted nothing.

This pond was cleaned on 4/3/17 and 4/2/18 with 100% removal of leaves via net and then pond vacuum for the rest. In both cases, I did not look for any survivors of the brutal winter and was not willing to sift through the smelly rotting slop.

I cleaned out the back pond on 4/1/19. What a cesspool! I cannot sort it for life because it is full of so many leaves. The smell is horrible. Many of the rocks had fallen in to the water so I tried to put them back close to where they used to be.

I cleaned the back pond on 3/30/20. It was mostly leaves but I did find one green frog tadpoles and two beetles! They were predaceous diving beetles, Acilius mediatus. Since we never had a real winter, and the pond never froze solid like it normally does, that one tadpole was able to survive. There were so many rotting leaves that I may have missed and tossed more animals. I tried to sift through it despite the stench. I put the tapdole and beetles in my 153 gallon pond. I tried to reset some of the rocks but it is hard to tell where they went originally anymore. The ground and rocks have shifted over time.

I cleaned the back pond on 3/22/21. It was all smelly, rotting leaves. I did not find any plants or animals but I was tired, and I did not look too hard. I did not sift through the leaves. I never saw any movement.

I cleaned the back pond on 3/25/22. It was all smelly, rotting leaves. I did not find any plants or animals. I did not sift through the leaves. I never saw any movement. There was over a dozen rocks in the bottom. I had trouble trying to figure out where they were supposed to go! Animals keep knocking them in the cesspool.

Plant Inventory

On 5/15/12, I put in some duckweed and anacharis from the 153 gallon pond and some parrot feather from the 1800 gallon pond. It is not very much, just to see if it can survive.

I put more anacharis in on 5/27/12 and 6/3/12. I continued to put in anacharis and duckweed about weekly until July when most of the gray treefrog tadpoles have gone.

Animal Inventory

On 5/22/12, I looked at the pool cover for gray treefrog eggs. I found no eggs but there were thousands of tadpoles! I had not seen tadpoles in there before. Over two sessions, I got about 50 and put them in my new pond. When I was looking at the tadpoles in the new pond, I saw mosquito larvae and, what's this?, fish fry! There are at least two fry in there. They must have come in on the plants that I moved from the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds so they could be goldfish or rosy red fry. Since they are dark, they are probably goldfish fry that were eggs on the parrot feather. I will probably have to remove any survivors in the fall to overwinter indoors.

I initiated "Operation Tadpole Rescue" the morning of 5/27/12 and did another round the next morning. I set a plastic colander in a plastic litter bucket and ran the water waste from the pool cover through there. In that way, I rescued hundreds of gray treefrog tadpoles which went in the new 30 gallon pond. I also hand removed more egg masses, dozens of them. I have so many tadpoles in the new pond now that I am feeding them fish food, and I put in some more anacharis from the 153 gallon pond.

We took the pool cover off on 6/3/12. I had my brother pour the last of the yucky water through my sieve. I put the gunk with water and tadpoles in a bucket overnight. I had not counted on the raccoon getting in to it but he only dumped out some leaves and killed a few tadpoles. I used a net to get most of them off the surface and then ran the water though a net. I hand sifted the last of the slop. The tadpoles were all put in my 30 gallon pond out back which now has probably 1000 tadpoles in there! I would like to think that I saved about 80% of the tadpoles but I have a feeling that many will not survive their overcrowded conditions. I did put a few dozen in my 50 gallon tub pond as well.

By 7/5/12, most of the gray treefrog tadpoles were gone.

On 9/15/12, I walked by the pond, and there, on a flat rock, was a dried up two inch goldfish! Back when I set up the pond, I had seen two little fry brought in from moved plants. One must have grown that large already! I had not seen fish anytime recently in there. I do not know if the goldfish jumped out and then dried out or was removed by the raccoons or other animals who play in the pond.

The pond was full of leaves and filthy by late fall. I did not have time to pull out the pond vacuum so, on 11/25/12, I decided just to run the net through and remove most of the leaves from this now cesspool. Imagine my surprise when something was flopping around in the dumped leaves! It was a 2" goldfish (naturally colored). I rushed him in my bare hands to the 1800 gallon pond and put him in. He might have survived in the 30 gallon pond if the winter turns out to be mild as it is deep enough but the pond has no filtration or aeration and stinks badly. Good luck little one!

On 4/20/13, I put some wads of moss in the 30 gallon liner pond that were full of goldfish eggs.

On 5/11/13 and 5/12/13, I put about a dozen gray tree frog egg masses in the pond to join the goldfish fry.

I netted some of the baby goldfish out of the 30 gallon liner pond on 9/1/13. One baby was an inch long, one was about half that, and the rest were really tiny. I removed 30 of them that I put in the 1800 gallon pond. There are at least that many left in there.

On 10/13/13, I netted out about 12 more goldfish to move to the big pond. I need to bail the pond to get them all soon.

On 10/27/13, I bucket bailed most of the pond and sifted through the debris to remove about a dozen goldfish and it seemed like over 100 green frog tadpoles. I left a few inches in the pond before refilling so some animals will be left in there over the winter and may or may not make it. The animals I found went in the 1800 gallon pond.

on 5/18/14, I found gray treefrog eggs in the 30 gallon pond! I have moved many there but these are the first eggs I have found actually laid in this pond! Yay! I also saw some fast, small animals, probably daphnia but maybe seed shrimp. I have had both before in other ponds.


Photos are listed from oldest to newest.

These photos are from Day 1 of construction of this pond on 5/8/12.
Grass area before digging
Area de-sodded
Hole mostly dug
Underliner - I put some old Ultiliner (from the 153 gallon pond) on the bottom for cushioning. If I had had some sand available, I would have used some.

From 5/13/12, continuing to build the pond.
Liner full of rain water. I would have to drain that. There was water under the liner too.
Rock pond - almost done!
Rock pond - closer view of the north end

Finally, from 5/15/12, the new pond was done!
Rock pond - done, facing north
Rock pond - done, facing east
Rock pond - done, facing south
Rock pond - done, facing west

Rock pond on 6/3/12.

Here are gray treefrog tadpoles in my rock pond on 6/3/12. The green plant is duckweed. There are two sizes of tadpoles. If you look close, you might see a mosquito larvae or two.
Gray treefrog tadpoles
Gray treefrog tadpoles
Gray treefrog tadpoles

Rock pond on 6/28/12.

Rock pond all cleaned out on 3/14/13.

30 gallon liner pond after cleaning, facing north on 3/27/14.

Back rock pond on 5/9/15.

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