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#268012 - 08/16/11 01:30 AM Cost of Digging & Aeration?
driftinaway Offline

Registered: 08/16/11
Posts: 8
Loc: West Alabama
Let me start by admitting I'm a newcomer and know relatively little about pond construction, so excuse any ignorance I may have when asking questions ;-)

I'm wanting to build a decent-size (1 or 2 acre) pond for mostly fishing (bass, channel cat, sunfish), and maybe some recreational swimming during the summer. From reading other forums and advice, I'm guessing my pond should be an average of 10 feet in depth (correct me if I'm wrong).

Question 1: How much are the average/typical digging costs for 1 acre @ 10 ft. depth? I know this answer will vary depending upon the contractor I choose, but can anyone here give me a rough estimate on typical costs? No tree's need to be cleared, btw, and our dirt is mostly clay.

Question 2: Since I plan on having fish, will aeration/diffusers be absolutely necessary? I swear I can remember as a kid catching some killer catfish in ponds that had little or no aeration, so how important is aeration?

Question 3: If aeration is necessary, I'd probably prefer bottom aeration (diffusers), but I'm confused on big of a diffuser I would need per acre or depth of water. 1hp diffuser per one acre @ 10ft depth, maybe? Any advice on this??

I've read estimates on forums from folks in California that claim upwards of 50,000...which is utterly ridiculous. Im in Alabama, and thinking a range of 5,000-15,000?

Thanks guys, hope someone can help me out here. Hope it isnt rude to ask 3 questions in one post...forgive the newbie here if its taboo!

Edited by driftinaway (08/16/11 02:03 AM)

#268023 - 08/16/11 06:34 AM Re: Cost of Digging & Aeration? [Re: driftinaway]
Dave Davidson1 Offline

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13486
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Cost depends on existing topography. $50,000 may not be far off.
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

#268024 - 08/16/11 07:29 AM Re: Cost of Digging & Aeration? [Re: Dave Davidson1]
Greg Grimes Offline
Field Correspondent

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Pretty tough to give pond estimate so many factors. My advice get several bids from reputable pond builders. We have not been involved with any 2 acre ponds that cost less than $25,000. Cost of diesel fuel has made it tough to build for less than that even in what sounds like a good site.

Depends on depth but typically if a 2 acre pond is 8 foot avg depth I would say a two diffuser system with 1/2 hp is more than adequate and looking at under $2,000. Not neccesary but great investment for your water quality and fish.
Greg Grimes

#268036 - 08/16/11 09:58 AM Re: Cost of Digging & Aeration? [Re: Greg Grimes]
Sniper Offline

Registered: 04/02/10
Posts: 529
Loc: North East Texas
Building and maintaining a pond is costly. If these numbers scare you, it's best to leave it lay.

I had to pony up $12,000 for a well this year, which certainly was not in the budget. And I have about $3000 to go for a slab and small shed.

You can always tackle the pond down the road.

Edited by Sniper (08/16/11 09:59 AM)

#268038 - 08/16/11 09:59 AM Re: Cost of Digging & Aeration? [Re: Greg Grimes]
esshup Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24028
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Diesel fuel is a big factor in digging the pond, as is the equipment used. The distance that you have to move the dirt is another factor. I think I spent more $$ spreading out the dirt from renovating the pond than I did getting the dirt out of the ground. It sure took more time to get it spread out!

There are lots of dirt movers out there, and any of them can dig a pond. Now, the big question is whether that pond will be user friendly, and whether or not it will hold water. With the good pond builders, that's one thing you don't have to worry about. It will be very expensive to have a contractor come back and fix a leaking pond, plus if it leaks a year later, you have the possibility of losing the fish that you stocked.

Take your time, and research how to construct a pond. Pond Boss has a few books for sale that will help with that, and they make good reference material.

The more that you know about digging and constructing a pond, the easier it will be for you to discuss the various aspects of the pond with a contractor.

I probably could have saved 25% or more of my construction costs by knowing more about digging a pond. For one thing, I would have made sure the contractor had the correct equipment, and in retrospect would have the contractor give me a finished price, not a per hour price.

You don't need to aerate, but you can hold more fish per acre if you do, and aeration will give you more of a buffer for harsh weather conditions (i.e. hot cloudy conditions). Aeration will minimize the possibility of a fish kill due to lack of oxygen during adverse weather conditions, plus it will help minimize the muck build up in the pond.

3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

#268061 - 08/16/11 02:34 PM Re: Cost of Digging & Aeration? [Re: esshup]
driftinaway Offline

Registered: 08/16/11
Posts: 8
Loc: West Alabama
Thanks for the replies guys. As Esshup already knows, I'm battling between renovating an existing "mudhole" that was once a swamp, or building a whole new one.

I still think a 50,000 dollar price-tag sounds like a rich yankee got ripped off by a fast-talking contractor, no offense to yall yanks out there. But honestly, for 50,000 dollars, I'd rather rent the equipment myself and then pay someone 5,000 to teach me how to use it and probably still only end up paying 30,000 or so in the long run hahaha.

The dirt here is mostly clay, so hopefully I may end up lucky and not having to add the cost of spreading out clay. As for the dirt, I plan on being really economical and just using the dirt to fill in the closest ditch, which should only be a few meters away. Hell, for that matter, Ill just tell him to dump it whereever and Ill just simply look at it as my big free pile of dirt to use on future gardening or construction projects. Bottom line: he can dump the dirt wherever is close and convenient, pretty or not.

Good to know Ill only need 1 or 2 of the half-horsepower diffusers. The 1hp ones are nearly 2,000 dollars, and I was really hoping I could get away with something less powerful and less expensive.

I'm going to call 2 contractors today and see if they can swing by the property and give me a rough estimate. Any tips you guys have for me when talking to a contractor for the first time? I don't want to sound completely naive which may lead to getting a higher-than-usual estimate.

#268067 - 08/16/11 04:19 PM Re: Cost of Digging & Aeration? [Re: driftinaway]
Cisco Offline

Registered: 08/20/09
Posts: 743
Loc: DFW & Cisco,TX
I had my 1 1/2 acre pond dug out a few years back at a cost of $15,000. That was 2 dozers working for 11 days and about 10 hrs a day. They just pushed up the mud around the bank. I bought a small dozer 2 months ago and I'm still moving the dirt. Mainly just on weekends but it is a lot of work. The diesel ain't cheap. Of course it woyld help if I knew what i was doing!

It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?
Ronald Reagan
The good Brian

#268070 - 08/16/11 04:51 PM Re: Cost of Digging & Aeration? [Re: Cisco]
urup Offline

Registered: 05/27/10
Posts: 99
Loc: ky
Just check around and get prices. Around here I have never heard of $50,000 or anywhere close to it. I got my 1.5 acre dug for $8000 and it 19 ft deep but I also damed up a low area too. It would have been more if I dug it out of flat ground. Just ask around and dont take the cheapest guy.

#268137 - 08/17/11 04:03 PM Re: Cost of Digging & Aeration? [Re: urup]
Sniper Offline

Registered: 04/02/10
Posts: 529
Loc: North East Texas
Urup makes a good point. Don't be pennywise and pound foolish. There are guys who have bulldozers, and then there are guys who have bulldozers and KNOW ponds. You want the latter.

#268147 - 08/17/11 08:10 PM Re: Cost of Digging & Aeration? [Re: Sniper]
highflyer Online   happy

Registered: 07/09/11
Posts: 1854
Loc: East Texas
Know ponds or no ponds. Its up to you. Learn, Learn Learn.

My two cents.

The one thing is the one thing
A dry fly catches no fish
Try not to be THAT 10%

#376345 - 05/14/14 12:35 PM Re: Cost of Digging & Aeration? [Re: driftinaway]
Big Ponds Offline

Registered: 05/08/14
Posts: 40
Loc: Texas
I am starting to think all these ponds didnt have to spend any money to seal them. The estimates look like just the cost to dig the hole for the ponds. Not everyone lives on a site made of clay.


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