Twenty Six Thousand litre Marine Pond !!!!!

4 May 2007
Reaction score
Durban, ZA
Oh boy the Reef Hunters have been busy again looking for those hidden gems that are lurking out there just wanting to be seen...

I got an excited phone call from Alan a couple of weeks ago saying something about a guy that's got a pond. Here's me thinking, Alan have you lost it, we not interested in Koi as nice as they are, we like Salty Fish.. No, no he says, this is a MARINE pond..

Oh ok I think, so some dude filled up his kiddies swimming pool with some seawater, chucked in a couple of clown fish and now it's a pond... Oh well lets go and check it out anyway, if there's salt water in it it's got to be worth something. So digicam batteries charged and a spectacular African winters days, we head off to the pond.

We pull up in the driveway, and Pierre is waiting for us. Get out the car wondering where the kiddies pool is and OMG, what is this?!?!?!!!!!!


That ain't no kiddies pool; It's a 26 000 litre outdoor Marine pond, with an assortment of fish that would make Neptune go weak at the knees !!!!!!!

I thought I had seen a few things as far as Marine Systems go, but here I found myself speechless again. It took a while to sink in, that this guy has a fair size swimming pool, housing some of the most beautiful fish in the sea right in his back garden !!!!!!


Angels, Butterflies, Idols, Bannerfish, Surgeons, Goldies, Wrasse.. and then some.


Last edited by a moderator:
Ok so after the intial shock, when we were able to start speaking coherently again we bombarded Pierre with all the questions about how, why and when. The pond was built about 9 months ago. It was Pierre's dream to create something that closely resembled what a true piece of ocean would look like. Being an avid diver and fisherman Pierre has seen many local reef scapes and wanted to provide an enviroment that would closely replicate that. The cost of doing it in a glass box would be rediculous, so why not a pond.

It also allows for a completely different perspective on things. Viewing these wonderful creatures from the top down brings a whole new appreaciation of their beauty and grace. Colours seem different and motion seems so much more natural.

The pond is located between the front entrance of the house and an awesome outside entertainment Lapa. Pierre confessed that since this has been built he spends more time out there then he does in the main house. Who can blame him !!!!



Last edited:
Ok so what makes this all tick, must be one helluva complicated system ?

Actually not really, I was amazed at the simplicity of it all.

The system is filtered by live rock and heavy skimming. Circulation is provided by 2 swimming pool pumps and lighting is provided by good old natural sunlight.
Here is the engine room as such...


Water is drawn from the pond via a grate that has been strategically placed under the rock work on the far end of the pond. It's carried to the external sump, which are the 2 big flow bins that you can see. The water is split from the incoming pump and water is Tee'd of which feeds the skimmers. The balance of the water is pumped into the first 1000 litre flow bin which contains a few hundred kg's of live rock. The skimmers also return into the first flowbin. The system is skimmed by two Aquamedic T5000's.

Water is drawn from a second surface skimmer (Pool type leaf filter) and then filtered through a sand filter and then pumped straight back into the pond. This is mainly for circulation, and man does it provide circulation !!

Other than that there is nothing as far as chemical filtration or additives is concerned. Evaporated water is topped up with RO water that is just fed directly into the first flow bin when the level drops. This is not automated.


This is a couple of days worth.. NASTY !!!!


Last edited by a moderator:
Circulation surface skimmer pick up


Close up


The first flow bin where the skimmers return

Last edited:
As far as maintenance is concerned the only thing that Pierre does is clean the skimmers regularly and he performs water changes.

With the system only being 9 months old and him wanting it to settle down a bit he has only performed 2 water changes. But these are a whopping 6000 litre water change at a time. Water changes are quick and easy. Set the valve to backwash and flush 6000 litres down the drain, then pump in freshly collected Natural Sea Water. What a bonus living at the coast :)

I thought that keeping this system cool would be a problem with it being outside and exposed to the sun, but it isn't. The biggest challenge is keeping it warm. Pierre suffered a few losses due to the temp dropping down to 15 degrees in winter. Then he installed this puppy.


A 3 KW Titanium heater - That's right 3000 watts. Now the water comfortably sits at 24-25 degrees. He wants to add a second heater as a back up.

Due the the strategic location of the pond, the sun doesn't have too much of an influence on the heat and Pierre is able to maintain stable temps in the warmer months without having to use a chiller. I suppose the total volume has something to do with this as well.

Also due to good run off of rain water from the area around the pond it doesn't have an influence on the salinity. No cover is used when it rains and although rain water does get into the pond it hasn't caused any problems. KZN experienced some torrential rain earlier this year so it has been tested.
Last edited:
But it's all about the fish... Surely one of the icons in the Reefkeeping world has to be the Moorish Idol. Widely regarded as one of the more difficult fish to keep in captivity but look at the health of these beauties..


Nice and fat with streamers in full flow

Last edited by a moderator:
Then just when I thought they were all there, I peered into the second flow bin, and what do we find hiding...


Two Cat sharks!!!!!!! This is a temporary setup until Pierre builds them their own enclosure. They are as healthy as everything else in this system and come up to the surface for a belly scratch. They seem tame although Pierre warns that their teeth are sharp and bite sore.. (I quietly retract my hand and watch as he strokes them..)

Pic of the far end of the pond from another angle



This is one truly amazing and unique system and I know that it's got Alan's mind working overtime. In fact I'll put money on it that he's paced the garden and worked out where he's going to be setting up a Marine Pond.

Kudos Pierre on your hard work and planning and we hope to come around again soon to enjoy a cold one in your pub while admiring your pond.

Hope you guy's enjoy it as much as we did ;)
Last edited by a moderator:
Amazing....................... and thats what you call skimmer scum.
Absolutely incredible. Any idea how many fish he has in there?
As Anthony has said kudo's to you Pierre you are a true hobbiest and one of the most skilled fish keepers i have had the pleasure of meeting, thank you again for hosting us and giving us permission to display this amazing system on MASA.
Dean i do recall the figure of about 400 fish in the system.
Absolutely incredible. Any idea how many fish he has in there?

Yeah Dean about 400 odd. I forgot to mention that there are 2 shoals of Glassies, about 100 in each shoal. Was difficult to photograph because of the light.

There's even a goat fish hiding away in there.
Well done reef hunters on your great find. Fantastically interesting, especially the the lack of overheating in Durbs.

Great job Pierre, and Alan and Anthony for finding it.
Impressive, to say the least... and it has made me pace my yard as well... unfortunately for me, piping the NSW to Bloemfontein might just sink my project :)

So, Pierre... why aren't you posting on this Forum ? We would love to learn more from you. Oh, and please post water specs, etc.

wow, 400 fish!!!

How often and what does he feed them?
Just looking at the photos again... does the first photo show the whole pond? If that is so, then perhaps someone can elaborate on the size of this pond.

Judging by the garage door and the tiles visible, it looks as if the total pond length could be perhaps 6m - 8m in length, and about 1.5m wide. It's obviously difficult to judge, but if the depth was 1m deep, the total volume would only be around 9000 - 12000 litres, or am I missing something...

Hi Hennie, we didn't take the actual dimensions, but where you see the tiles the pond actually goes under the Lapa for about 1m so it is almost like a giant over hang and the pond is about 1.2m - 1.5m deep. We will try get Pierre on board to answer some of the questions that are going to arise.
Top Bottom