If you have a nice outdoor fish pond, it probably brings you a whole lot of joy. After all, fish ponds are beautiful and they help to create a really serene environment. With that being said, they also take a lot of work and a good deal of money to build up to substantial levels.

Of course, as with all things out there, problems sometimes occur. When it comes to ponds, they can spring leaks, and seeing as you spent so much time and money on your pond, you want to solve this problem ASAP before everything goes down the tubes. How to stop a pond from leaking is what we are here to discuss right now.

wave divider

Finding The Leak In The Pond & Fixing It

The first thing that you obviously need to do if you think that your pond is leaking is to actually find the leak itself. By far, this is the most difficult part of the process, as fixing any kind of leak is usually not too hard.

The 3 Expert Tips to Stop a Pond From Leaking

1. Identifying The Leak

At any rate, before you can start with solving the problem, you need to identify it. There are a few things that might be the problem here, so let’s talk about the potential sources of the leak right now and how to fix each type of problem that may present itself to you.

Before you can really identify the problem, you need to see how much the pond is leaking and from where. A good idea is to put some milk or some other kind of colored liquid into the pond. This way you can see where the water is draining from. Some simple red food coloring is a good choice.

Pour it along the edge of the pond to see where the leak is. Moreover, if the pond has a severe leak, you need to remove the fish from the pond before the water level gets too low. Removing the fish will help you be able to identify and repair the problem much easier anyway.

Cleaning garden pond
Image Credit: Nach-Noth, Shutterstock

2. The Drain

The first problem that could be the cause of your pond leak is a faulty drainage system. Well, this could be the problem if you have a drainage system. Smaller ponds usually do not have a drain, but larger ones sometimes do. If the drain is the problem, you will need to most likely reseal the drainpipe to the pond liner to stop the leak.

The problem could be that the seal between the pipe and the liner is no longer good. In this case, you will need to repair the seal. If the drainpipe itself is the problem, usually it will require replacement. The food coloring method works well here because you will be able to see the colored water leaking out.

3. The Pump/Filter

If you think that the pump or your filter might be the problem, you need to identify it. If the filter is the problem, the leak should stop when you turn the filter off, as there is no longer any water being pumped to the filter. Keep in mind that the filter can only be the source of the leak if you have an external filter.

Now, an internal filter can still leak, but the water will leak right back into the pond. This is not the kind of leak we are talking about here. Once again, using some milk or food coloring to color the water will easily help you identify where your filter is leaking.

If it is the filter, the pump, or the tubing, chances are that you will just need to replace the broken components, as fixing them usually never works too well or lasts all that long.

Image Credit: Kwangmoozaa, Shutterstock

aquarium plant divider

Pond Liner Displacement

One of the easier problems to spot if your pond is leaking is if the pond liner itself is displaced. While this is one of the easier problems to spot, it is also one of the harder ones to fix.

If the leak is caused by the pond liner being displaced, you should be able to easily spot the problem area by identifying where the liner has shifted down. The grass or dirt in that area will be wet, maybe shifted around, and you will probably be able to see water visibly leaking out.

To fix this, you have to pull the pond liner back up into position. If the liner has moved down very far, you might have to get out your shovel, remove many things from the pond, and get down deep so you can pull the liner back up.

After pulling the liner back up, you need to cover it well with sand, dirt, and other waterproof materials that are heavy. You do not want the liner slipping back down again after you fix this issue the first time.

A Broken Pond Liner

The biggest, worst, and hardest problem to identify when it comes to a leaking pond is if your pond liner has a hole in it. If you have turned off the pump, making sure the drain is ok, and have made sure that the pond liner is still in place, but the leak keeps going on, you can be sure that the problem lies with the integrity of the pond liner itself.

In this case, you will more or less need to empty the pond of your fish, drain the water below where the leak is and get to fixing it.

Once again, pouring a bit of milk or food coloring along the edge of the pond will help you identify exactly where the pond liner is broken. Now, if the pond liner has a huge rip in it or is severely damaged, your best bet might be to simply replace the whole thing.

No, it is not fun, but it might be necessary, as patching up a broken pond liner is still not quite as good as a whole new liner. It might come apart again if you repair it, but you can always try.

dog watching over pond
Image Credit: iMedkova, Shutterstock

Fixing A Tear In The Pond Liner

The easiest way to fix a small tear or hole is to get a pond liner repair kit. Simply dry and clean the area around the tear, and apply the patch kit as instructed. Some patch kits are easier to use than others. We would recommend going for an all-in-one patch kit.

All that these require is for you to clean the area, take the backing off the patch, stick it on, and let it cure for around 12 hours before allowing it to come into contact with water again.

You might also like our article on good pond-cleaning plants, you can check it out here.

wave divider


If you have already invested a bunch of money into a beautiful backyard pond with fish, don’t let something like a leak destroy it. If you notice water leaking and the water level dropping with no clear explanation, you need to work fast to identify and fix the problem.

Featured Image Credit: Lisa Ewing, Shutterstock