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Koi Fish Care

by a Friendly Gardener
Koi Fish 3

Who would believe that beautiful koi fish are related to common carp (Cyprinus carpio)? Many centuries ago, Carp was known for its colorful varieties in its native Asia and predominantly in China. When the Japanese began to selectively breed them, they became more popularly known as “Japanese Koi Fish”.

Koi fish come in many sizes, colors, and patterns with various kinds of scales. They are certainly one of the most popular types of pond fish and may very well be one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful of pond residents. During the course of the last century, koi fish have populated ponds on a worldwide basis.

Whether your fish live in a pond or in an aquarium, they will need their basic necessities guaranteed. Here are some fundamental tips for how to care for koi fish and ensure their welfare.


Living space

Koi fish have the capacity to grow quite large. Undoubtedly, where they live will affect how large they can grow. If they remain healthy, they can live an average of twenty to thirty years, and some even longer. Some koi have been known to live as long as a hundred years or more. A proper-sized pond is the foundation of their well-being and will influence every aspect of their living.

Goldfish in a koi pond

If you are just beginning to acquire and nurture Koi, the experts maintain that the minimum pond size for raising koi should be able to contain at least 1,000 gallons of water. However, water capacity is not the only condition as the depth of the pond is so very important. A koi pond should be at least three feet deep and preferably four feet, five feet or deeper would be even better. Koi must have the possibility to find cooler water in the summer and warmer water in the winter. If your pond will be the minimum size of 1000 gallons of water, know that the maximum number of koi it can host will be five.

The bottom of your koi pond should not have the hardest rocks or hardened gravel. Ideally, the bottom of the pond will be smooth or if you choose a gravel covering, the gravel should be very fine. This is an important detail in how to take care of koi fish because, in cold weather, koi will spend most of their time near the bottom of the pond and may even make contact with the surface. If this surface is rough, it may injure their soft underbellies, leading to an infection that can prove fatal.

Koi Fish

The Quality of the Water

While koi can survive relatively easily in an ample range of water temperatures, they are somewhat resistant to cold, so they can survive in most seasonal climates. They do not do well if there are sudden radical changes in the temperature, though.

They can survive the winter months as long as the bottom of the pond does not freeze. Good-sized portions of the pond water should be open to contact with the air in the event of ice formation. This will help with the exchange of gases within the water.

The risk in the summer months will arrive from the sunlight if the pond is not deep enough. Koi should not be exposed to direct sunlight to avoid sunburn. They do need sunlight however for the generation of oxygen. This is an important consideration. The amount of oxygen in the water is vital. To assist with the oxygenation of the pond, a waterfall or a fountain in the pond is a great idea, and it can be attractive aesthetically. As koi increase food intake in the summer, they will require more oxygen, so levels should be higher. A pond skimmer can also assist in keeping oxygen levels safe.

Orange koi fish swimming

Filtration of the water is vital to your koi’s health. The number one reason cited as the cause of koi deaths is water conditions. So, water must be properly oxygenated and filtered. Waste must be cleaned from their environment. All of these elements are important for how to take care of a koi fish pond. Also keep in mind that if the number of fish increases or decreases, you should reevaluate the water quality in your pond. Koi breeders suggest using high-volume filters to reduce the work involved in maintaining water quality. The ideal solution is the installation of a bottom drain for easy cleaning and changes in the pond’s water.


Even a Koi Needs a Good Meal

Part of the attraction of having koi can be found in the beauty of their vivid colorings and their playful nature. Their health and pigments will be deeply affected by what they eat. If fed correctly, you will have lovely koi fish.

Hands holding fish food pellets

A varied diet will be more appreciated by your koi. Generally, they are fed with sticks and pellets that are sold in pet supply stores, however, they enjoy river shrimp and bloodworms. A weekly treat will make you popular with your koi. Beware, they, like people, should not be overfed. Overfeeding will cause obese fish and polluted pond water as uneaten food will disintegrate and move to the bottom of the pond. The quantity of food can be measured in time. No more than they can eat in five minutes and feedings every four hours. in warmer temperatures, koi will need more food while in cooler temperatures the opposite is true.


Introducing Your Koi to the Pond

If your koi is in a plastic bag, do not just empty the bag into the pool. Leave the plastic bag unopened for 15 to 20 minutes before opening. When you open the bag, add in water from your pool until it’s about half full. Let your koi adapt to the new pond water. Now allow your koi to enter the pond from the bag.

White goldfish

Uninvited Guests are Unwelcome

Predators are the principal danger for koi. If you live in an area near wildlife, consider fencing and if there are birds in the area consider protective netting to protect your koi.

Koi are notorious jumpers often jumping out of the pond. They will usually find their way back into the water, however, if they are unable to and remain without assistance, they will die.


New Family Members

If you purchase or receive a new koi fish, you will want to quarantine your new fish before introducing it into your pond. Keeping a separate quarantine tank is a good idea. This is necessary because fish can carry bacteria, fungi, parasites, or illnesses. The koi in your pond has already learned to coexist with these elements in your pond, but a newbie may not be up to the challenge. Quarantining and a slow introduction to other koi and water will guarantee safety for all. Also, koi become easily stressed during transport, so a period of quarantine will enable them to adjust.


Daily Monitoring

Koi will demonstrate exactly how they feel. They swim freely within the entire pond when well. They also spread out and rush at feeding time. Should your koi gather in one place and move very little or exhibit wobbly movements, they are probably ill. Also if they gather around the water filter or open and close their mouths near the water’s surface, they are showing a lack of dissolved oxygen in the pond’s water.

We hope this care guide for your koi has been helpful and that you will enjoy your newest family members.

Koi fish with mouth open

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