How To Make a Backyard Fish Tank

A backyard fish tank can be a beautiful choice for your yard. Besides its aesthetic value, backyard fish tanks are often installed for practical uses. Today, many families are considering fish farming as a sustainable food source on their own property. Making a backyard fish tank is an investment, but many families find maintaining a backyard tank well worth it. Here's how to make a backyard fish tank:


  • Large aquarium, swimming pool, or supplies to make one
  • Sand and gravel
  • Carbon filter
  • Heater
  • Aerators (either those made for aquariums or garden fountains)
  • Thermometer
  • Water conditioners
  1. Plan the space. The amount of room you want to devote to the backyard fish tank will determine the aquarium and other supplies you need, and also what type of fish you can keep successfully. Your backyard fish tank should be reasonably near an electrical outlet, unless you are willing to run underground lines for electricity to reach the aquarium. If you plan to have a lot of aquatic plants in the tank, you'll need somewhere that gets some sun.
  2. Purchase the tank and supplies. You can use a large aquarium, or build your own. Of course, it must be watertight, using materials that will last in your area's climate. If you are planning a backyard fish tank purely for food purposes, you can use a swimming pool instead of an aquarium. You can purchase a kit that includes a tank with all of the equipment needed, or gather it piece by piece. Make sure that the aerators, filter, and heater are appropriate for the tank you are making.
  3. Fill the tank. Place the tank in position in your backyard, and then fill the bottom with sand and gravel. This substrate will aid in the formation of beneficial bacteria, filtering the water in the tank. You'll need at least three or four inches of sand and gravel at the bottom of the tank. Then fill the tank with water, install the equipment, and let it sit for at least 2 weeks before you add fish. Test the pH level; if it's not between 6.5 and 7.0, add water conditioners.
  4. Add fish. Choose your fish wisely; they must be able to live with the water quality and environment in your area. You can't just visit the pet store and purchase any fish you see. Determine whether you want the fish for their aesthetic value, or visit a local fish farm to buy stock if you plan to eat the fish. Add the fish to your backyard tank one at a time over a period of several weeks.
  5. Monitor the tank. Periodically check water quality levels and ensure that the tank is staying warm enough for the variety of fish you have chosen. Regular maintenance is the key to keeping your backyard fish tank healthy. You may need an indoor tank for some fish if your yard gets very cold during the winter months.

Whether you choose to make a backyard fish tank for aesthetic or food purposes, it is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family.


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