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How to Install a Koi Fish Tunnel & Set Rock Walls in your Pond [VIDEO]

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Good tips from the Pond Digger team about setting rock walls in your pond.  Here are my favorites:

  • Turn and examine your rocks to find the optimum position (i.e. find the rock’s “top” and “bottom”)
  • Use smaller support stones to brace the larger rocks
  • Creating a fish tunnel is an easy way to give your fish a place to be safe from predators
  • You can use a piece of underlayment as a rock sling to make it easier (and safer) to move larger rocks
  • Mix in larger rocks to add variety.  Also, show rocks make your pond look great!
  • Use a back brace!


Eric: Hey, I’m Eric, The Pond Digger, and we’re on location rocking in the pond.  We’re going to take some time out and show you some tricks along the way.

Okay, first of all, when you’re stacking stones, what I want you to know is that there’s always a top and a bottom to the rock. Always. Sometimes there’s multiple tops and bottoms. For example, you can see this guy has a nice flat edge. We’re going to be stacking up on top of this, so you don’t want this to be round. That’s first and foremost. This rock, for example, it has a couple of edges, kind of flat here, it’s got a back that’s flat here, so it can go uptight against here.  When you drop this rock in, now it’s got a nice and flat plain.  Let me just show you… this is a great rock, there is a bunch of tops and bottoms. This one, I don’t like it this way as much because it’s slanted here and it’s round here. I want to get a nice flat plain for stacking, so I would say this is definitely not a top. This side, for example, that’s a great top.

Now, also what we’re doing is we’ll take some other size stone like this and we’ll use it in the cracks like this and what this does is helps to lock the stones into place. We’ll use a foam gun and not everyone does this, but we like to go the extra mile here.  We’ll just drop a little bit of foam in here and when the foam solidifies, it’s expanding foam, it locks everything into place and give you more stability, especially on a taller wall. This is a professional gun. The gun cost about eighty bucks, but it’s really worth it if you’re doing a larger pond. You also can get a do-it-yourself can of foam; it has a long applicating nozzle that you can squirt into the rocks. Let me have a professional jump in here and work on it for a little bit and show you some more. Here you go Jeff.

Jeff: Thank you. Let me come over here and show you what we did yesterday.  You can see here, this is already solidified; these rocks are in here pretty darn nice. They’re not going anywhere. I’ll come over here and continue on my way. Filling in the gaps really helps solidify the wall as it’s being built.

Eric: All right, now here’s a little secret that I think every pond should have right here. This is a little fish tunnel that we are creating in the pond. As you can see, we’ve integrated a little shelf into the excavation and we’ve put this large culvert pipe in here. It’s about fourteen inches and once we finish rocking it in, you won’t see it at all. What’s going to happen here is we put this underlayment down because these edges can sometimes be a little bit sharp and we’re going to rock this in right now. Jeff, do you want to hit this frame right here?

Jeff: Sure.

Eric: Once this is rocked in, you won’t even notice this is here at all.  Of course, we’re going to put some foam in here to harden everything up and help lock these small rocks into place. This is great for any pond, just because what happens is you’ll have raccoons come and visit the pond. The real killer is the blue heron, the blue heron comes over and stalks your fish, makes them all frightened. If they have a place to run and hide to, they’ll appreciate it a lot.

Okay, so when the pond’s complete, you won’t see this pipe at all, it’ll just look like a cave. You’ll have some gravel in here, you won’t see any of this turquoise or green or whatever color you want to call this. Here’s the real secret, this fish tunnel right here I got for free off the side of the road. If you keep your eyes peeled on some construction going on, often times they’ll throw scrapes like this in the dumpster.  You can’t buy this anywhere, if you do, it’s going to be like forty bucks a foot, you have to buy twenty foot increments at a time. Do yourself and your fish a favor and look for this stuff on the side of the road.

Ready? One, two, up. On three, ready? One, two, up. On three, you ready? One, two, up.

Jeff: I’ll follow you.

Eric: You’ll follow me?

Jeff: We’re moving heavy rocks. We’ve developed this thing I call the rock sling. This is just a piece of underlayment off the roll. What it is, is another guy grabs the handles, makes handles on either side and we’re able to move this thing, like… this is a two hundred pound rock and we’re able to just do this. Don’t be afraid of the big ones.

Eric: Just roll it off?

Jeff: Okay.

Eric: Yes. A lot of times when we see ponds built by other people, that the rocks are all the same size, there’s are a lot of small rocks in there.  Nothing makes the pond look real hot, other than large character boulders, both underwater and above water, so I don’t want you to be discouraged about setting larger stones. If you noticed, we used the rock sling. It’s just a piece of underlayment. It comes with most pond kits, the same stuff you use underneath the rubber liner here to protect it from roots and sharp stones and such. Liners, it’s resilient, it can handle a lot of compression. We can put a ten ton rock right on top of this liner and not damage it. However, it doesn’t take abrasions very well. If you wanted to put a rock down and move it around a little bit, it’s good to have a piece of underlayment underneath here. Since we’re using these wedge stones underneath here to get a nice level surface, we’ve thrown in some underlayment underneath there. As you can see, this pond, this rock is about, I don’t know… one hundred and fifty, maybe two hundred pounds and we were able to bring it down into the pond real easily and get it over here in place. Don’t be afraid to use the larger rocks. Just grab an extra piece of underlayment when you’re setting them.

Okay, so your final tip of the day. This back brace right here: fourteen bucks. It’s a whole lot cheaper than a chiropractor’s office, so don’t be too cool to go get yourself one. There’s your construction tips for the day, I’m going to get back to rocking this pond in. Have a good one.

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