To me there is nothing more relaxing than a nice pond with trickling water and fish swimming about. Ever since I was very little I have found great pleasure in sitting by a lake or river for a few minutes of relaxing meditation. Recently I also discovered that a fish pond is great for Feng Shui. The Chinese even believe a pond by your front door can bring great wealth and success to the household.
A few weeks ago I set up my own very cheap fish pond complete with a solar powered water fountain. It is really quite sharp! In this post I will show you how to make a beautiful fish pond for around $100. It will take about an hour to set up but you will be extremely glad you took the time to do it.
What is Feng Shui?
I am not normally into Feng Shui but lately I have become a little more interested in it. As you know I have started my own business and when you are out on your own trying to earn money you will take any help you can get. And when I heard that certain Feng Shui activities could help to improve my financial situation I thought I would give it a whirl.
Now Feng Shui is an art that originated in China and is all about using positive energies in your home or office to bring about certain outcomes. Many people think the whole thing is baloney but the more I look at it the more I can see there is some wisdom behind its practices.
For example, Feng Shui tells us that you should have pictures of running water, good crops and symbols of money on your work desk. This makes sense because they all act as mental ques for you and help to get you in the “money making zone”. You wouldn’t really want pictures of death and destruction in your workplace would you?
There are Feng Shui tips for money, health, a good sex life, love, spirituality, etc. Depending on your level of interest you can rework your whole house to be Feng Shui ready or just change a few positive items in a room. The hard thing about Feng Shui is that it is different for the Northern and Southern Hemisphere and there are different lines of thinking. For example, some schools work around magnetic North while other school believe North indicates the main entrance of your home (even if it faces another direction). So if a Feng Shui website tells you that the wealth section of your home is in the East you better make sure you know which way East really is!
Feng Shui, millionaires and fish ponds
I recently read an article about a whole pile of Asian millionaires who believed that a beautiful flowing water fish pond at the front of their businesses and homes was a big factor in their level of success. There was even a story about a Malaysian hotel (maybe the Hilton?) which was about to go bankrupt and in a last ditch effort to save the joint the owner built an elaborate fish pond at the entrance.
They are now the most popular hotel in the region.
If you think this is all hocus pocus I don’t blame you. It does sound very new-age. But, as I said earlier, when you start your own business you want all the help you can get. And seeing as we are in a big financial crisis right now maybe we all need a little more positive Feng Shui in our lives!
Fish ponds and relaxing meditation
Let’s put all this Feng Shui stuff aside for a moment and talk about creating a relaxing outdoor area for your meditation practice. A fish pond with trickling water is one of the best ways to turn a boring area into a place that is alive, inspiring and extremely relaxing.
Everyone these days is struggling with stress. We go to work and then come home tight bundles of anxiety. But a flowing fish pond can really help this. It has helped me. Every time I feel an attack of the stresses coming on I make myself a cup of tea and head out to sit by the fish pond. The sound of the flowing water alone is enough to calm me down and leave me feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
The fish pond I built cost around $250 but you could do it for much less. It is a small price to pay in order to have an area in your house that can act as a mini retreat center – peaceful, calm and beautiful – especially if you live in the middle of a busy city.
How to make a cheap fish pond for meditation and wealth
In order to maximize the Feng Shui related benefits of a fish pond it should be placed directly in front of the main entrance of your house. Now, your main entrance is the one you use the most often, not necessarily the front door. So, if you park the car out the front and then walk around the side gate entrance to come inside then that is your main entrance and that is where the pond should be placed.
The water also needs to be flowing. A Feng Shui teacher once told me that stagnant water is a very bad thing to have for creating wealth so make sure your pond is moving. As I said, I have a neat little solar powered water fountain in mine. Costs me $0 to run and works a treat.
Here is how I built my cheap fish pond. If anyone knows a better way feel free to leave a comment and let us know.
1. Get a cheap wine barrel or water tight pot
My fish tank from IKEA
The cheapest way to make a fish pond is to use an item like a wine barrel or a giant pot. I found a fantastic iron plant pot at IKEA which is about a four feet high and cost me $40. It is completely water tight and looks pretty nice.
You can go the whole nine yards and dig up an area, cover it in black plastic and then put rocks all around the outside but I didn’t have the time or the room. I needed something simple and portable and the IKEA pot worked perfectly.
A special note here – make sure the pot is fish-friendly. Many people use bathtubs (which look great) but for some reason the fish always die. They also don’t like zinc, lead or some plastics so make sure you read up on the material before you buy it. My tank is made of iron and the fish have been happy in there for about a month so far.
2. Fill up the pot with water and leave it to de-chlorinate
The next step is to clean out the pot and fill it up with water. You need to leave the water in the pot for about a week before you add any fish. The reason for this is that our tap water has a lot of chlorine in it and you need to let that evaporate out before adding your scaly friends. If you rush this part of the process your fish will die within a few hours.
There are also some products that you can buy at a pet shop to make this process a little quicker. One is a water ager that helps make the water the right environment for the fish and one is a bacteria mix which puts a good level of healthy bacteria in the water so the fish feel like they are in their natural environment. I bought both of these for around $15 but I am not sure how essential they are.
3. Add some plants
You need to have plants in the fish tank as they take out carbon dioxide and help to oxygenate the water. The fish also eat some of the algae that grows on the plant and they often use the plants to hide from birds and other animals that might pluck them out and eat them.
I bought a simple long leafed water plant (you can see some of it above) and put it in an empty ice cream container filled with rocks and gravel. I then sank it down to the bottom of the tank and it has flourished – its now about four times as big as when I first got it. Simple, cheap and effective.
4. Select the right fish
If your tank is going to be outdoors and unheated you really only have a few options. You can’t have beautiful tropical fish like Angels and Discus, you can only have goldfish. And as far as outdoor goldfish go the best breed is called a Comet. They are very hardy, tough and can survive some pretty cold temperature.
Now here is the weird part. Feng Shui teachers assert that you have to have eight golfish – seven orange ones and one black one. Eight is a very auspicious number in China (the Olympics even started on the 8th of the 8th, 2008!) and having eight fish is seen as essential. The one black fish is supposed to act as the fall guy – Feng Shui states that he absorbs all the bad energy.
In my opinion it is cruel to have eight fish if you don’t have a big enough tank. If you are buying a massive wine barrel then eight should fit no problems, but any smaller and you might be cutting it a bit thin. Ask your pet shop owner about how much room they need in order to be happy and healthy.
5. Introduce the fish to the water
Now that you have your fish you can introduce them to the water. The best way to do this is to leave them inside the plastic bag and plop them in the fish tank. Don’t take them out of the plastic bag for about 20 minutes as this lets them acclimatize to the water slowly. If you just pour them straight out of the bag and into the water they often die due to shock from the change in temperature.
6. Set up your solar powered water fountain
I was lucky enough to get given a solar water fountain for Christmas so I saved about $150. I am pleased to report that the technology is excellent and as long as the solar panel (pictured above) is in full sun the water fountain works a treat. However, it is fine to use a normal electricity powered water fountain as long as you are prepared to pay a bit extra on your power bill. I highly recommend the solar version as it will save you lots of money over the long run.
It is pretty simple technology. The solar panel sends power down a long chord which spins a little propeller inside the fountain itself. The whole thing is waterproof which means you can have chords going under water as you can see in some of the photos above.
Ideally you would mount the solar panel on your roof but I am unable to as the possums in my area seem to really like electricity chords! At the moment it is just on the ground but I will think of a better solution soon.
The best way to set up the water fountain itself is to jam it in between some nice rocks in the water. I used some broken bricks that were lying around my backyard and it works (and looks) fine. Just make sure you clean the rocks before you put them in and be careful to leave your fish enough swimming room.
7. Feed your fish
The only other thing you need to do is feed your fish occasionally. They do not need to be fed very often as they get a lot of bugs and algae from the pond already. There is a great saying, “a hungry fish is a happy fish” and I think it is quite true. Make sure your only feed your fish a tiny pinch every day or even every second day. That is all they need.
That’s it! Now you have your very own fish pond meditation sanctuary. If anyone gets around to doing this I would love to see some photos of what you create. And, if you make a lot of money maybe you could send me some! 🙂