Should I have a light or dark coloured pond liner?

Choosing a lighter coloured liner (Blue / White / Cream) will make your fish stand out – especially for bottom feeding fish such as Sturgeon. Black pond liners provide more protection for your fish from predators.

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Choosing between a Light or Dark Pond Liner?

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Most pond liners are dark (black), but that doesn’t mean your pond can’t be different.  The main reason dark pond liners are most popular is that many pond owners know that over time, fish waste, silt, dirt and debris will cover the base of the pond liner.

Did you know?
Darker Pond liners help prevent the growth of Algae and Blanket Weed when compared to blue pond liners.

Fish waste alone will make it naturally dark, so choosing a lighter coloured pond liner such as white, blue or even green pond liner will end up making it look dirty if your do not perform regular pond maintenance.

Raised Pond with Blue Pond Liner
Raised Pond with Blue Pond Liner

Lighter coloured pond liners will allow you to see your fish easier, but it also a double edged sword – if you can see your fish better – but so can predators such as cats / herons etc.

Coloured pond liners can make your pond really stand out from the standard “black pond liners”, but will require a lot more upkeep compared to black pond liners.

It’s also worth noting that durability on coloured pond liners will generally not be as good compared to black pond liners.  We suggest always using either pond liner underlay, or buying a durable black pond liner to sit on the base of your pond first.

Having owned both black and light blue pond liners, I much prefer the black liners as they seem not only to last longer, but require less maintenance ( constantly pond-vac / scrub the liner to remove green pond algae).

Can I use a blue tarp as a pond liner?

It may be tempting to save costs and use a blue tarp as your pond liner but this is not advisable.  Blue tarp is generally water resistant - rather than waterproof so will degrade much quicker when compared to a normal pond liner causing pond leaks.

Why are pond liners black?

The colour black is a popular choice for various reasons. Not only does it provide a natural and visually appealing look, but it also offers several practical benefits that enhance the overall performance and longevity of the liner.

  1. UV Resistance: Black pond liners made from materials like EPDM rubber or PVC contain carbon black, which increases their resistance to the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. This ensures a more durable and long-lasting pond liner.
  2. Algae Growth Prevention: The dark colour of black pond liners helps limit sunlight penetration, thus reducing the growth of algae. By minimizing light exposure, it helps control algae proliferation in the pond.
  3. Heat Absorption: Black pond liners are efficient at absorbing heat from sunlight, which can raise the water temperature. This is advantageous for certain aquatic species that prefer warmer water and promotes a healthier pond ecosystem.
  4. Easy Installation: The flexibility of black pond liners makes them a user-friendly option for pond installations. The dark color is also effective at hiding dirt and stains, providing a practical advantage during installation and maintenance.

Should I choose a dark liner over a light coloured pond liner?

Every new pond owner will want to see their fish, so choosing a pond liner colour will often sway their decision.  Choosing a lighter coloured liner (Blue / White / Cream) will make your fish stand out – especially for bottom feeding fish such as Sturgeon.


If you’re planning on keeping Koi in your pond, the darker breed varieties such as Ghost Koi will be much easier to see when using a lighter colour pond liner.

Dark liners (Black) on the other hand are not only cheaper, but they are available in a multitude of different sizes to suit your pond.  Dark pond liners do make it much more difficult to see bottom feeding fish – especially if your pond is not crystal clear.

Will a Blue Pond Liner affect my fish health?

The choice in pond liner colour will not directly affect the health of your fish (or any aquatic life), however there are risks associated with using a lighter colour for your pond liner .

Lighter coloured pond liners will show fish waste and dirt more so than the standard black pond liner.  I do know some really nice pond owners that will vacuum their pond every weekend to ensure their ponds constantly look amazing.  It is possible to keep on top of the maintenance, but skipping just 1 week will really affect the overall look of your pond.

I feel one of the greatest reasons not to use a white/blue coloured pond liner is how easy predators such as Herons can spot the fish from the air.  Herons, especially during the winter months will be scanning UK gardens for their next meal and although it’s great “we” can see the fish easily – you’re openly inviting a Heron to swoop down and gobble up your fish.

Will the UV rays of the sun affect the colour of my coloured pond liner?

When coloured pond liner was first introduced into the UK in the early 1990’s, there was a huge surge in pond owners opting for a bright coloured pond.  Over time, the striking blues became a faded light blue due to the UV sun rays damaging the plastic pond liner.

There was also a theory that the break down of the pond liners could potentially affect the health of your fish and other aquatic life due “free radicals” being released during the degrading of the plastic liner.

Today, this story is completely different due to all lighter colour pond liners having full UV protection ensuring not only the longevity of the liner, but minimal toxic effects on the pond fish.

Do Blue Pond Liners cost more?

Generally speaking, any pond liner that is not black will cost more money, this is due to the laws of economies of scale (the more you produce the cheaper it becomes) – more people choose black pond liner over blue.  

This doesn’t mean that you can’t choose a different colour for your pond liner.  The main problem we found when looking at different colours is the availability of larger colours of pond liner.

I’ve put together a simple table below showing the price difference between a standard 3m x 3m pond liner in both black and blue.

Colour Size Price
Blue Pond Liner 3m x 3m £32.00
Black Pond Liner 3m x 3m £15.99

As you can see from the table above, the price for blue pond liner is double that of the black pond liner which you should take into account when planning your pond build.

Deciding on which pond liner is best, you need to look at how much time you are willing to dedicate to maintaining your pond.  Darker coloured pond liners will require much less maintenance than lighter colours.

Once you start to add fish to your new pond, you will see they are “poo” machines, and even with the best pump in the world, you’re going to see fish waste and debris on the pond floor.  Lighter pond colour liners will show this dirt much easier – so be prepared for daily cleans.

Can you paint a pond liner blue?

Unlike a swimming pool which can be painted different colours, painting a pond liner with epoxy pond should be completely avoided.  Pond liners are usually made from a rubber/plastic material which has been completely UV treated to ensure they are durable and safe for all pond life including fish, frogs and even plants.

Painting your pond liner may introduce toxic chemicals into your pond which would not only be bad for pond life, but would completely upset the balance of your pond water.

Painting the area of pond liner that is not exposed to water is possible, but as the pond liners are not non-porous the paint really hasn’t got anything to adhere to and will eventually just scrape / rub off leaving a very messy pond liner.

If you’re looking to change the colour of your pond liner, then best method is to completely drain your pond and re-cover with a new liner in the pond liner colour of your choice – this will be much healthier for your fish and other pond life.

Final thoughts about coloured pond liners

The ultimate decision when choosing a pond liner resides with you.  If you’re ok with paying a premium price for a non-black pond liner, then be prepared to perform many hours more maintenance to ensure the pond liner looks as good as new.

Speaking from my own experience, the lighter colours really look nice, especially at night – however over time I realised that even with the best pond vac, I can’t justify spending every day removing pond debris and fish waste.

There is often a worry from pond owners that having darker fish (Ghost Koi / Sturgeon) would completely disappear when using a darker pond liner – this is not the case.  Yes, they are a little more difficult to see, but providing your pond is clear, you will see your fish absolutely fine without daily liner cleaning.