Home GardenDesign The Koi Pond: A Sea of Serenity

The Koi Pond: A Sea of Serenity

by a Friendly Gardener
Koi fish

The stars in any koi pond, are undoubtedly the koi. Koi ponds are water gardens designed to exalt the beauty and majesty of these extraordinary fish. The Koi fish has been thought to have its origins in China where it was a source of food. In the middle of the 1800s, the Japanese began to breed them for their beauty and aesthetic appeal paving the way for their present-day popularity. Though they may be distantly related to the common goldfish, they actually descend from a species of carp.


The Superstar Fish

Koi fish of many colors

Koi are very intelligent fish and like other domestic animals such as dogs or cats, they can be trained to eat out of one’s hand. They may even recognize their owners and the owner’s voice if enough time has been spent with the fish.

Koi are omnivores and commonly feed on plants and greenery within the pond. This breed of fish can grow as long as three feet. Females tend to be larger than males and neither have any teeth. One thing to consider when planning a koi pond is the depth. Koi are subject to sunburn if the pond proves to be too shallow. Koi can be found in white, yellow, orange, red, blue, and black.

One of the risks in breeding koi fish in your pond is their tendency to eat freshly hatched young during the mating season. Koi babies are known as koi fry and the adults should be removed to protect the fry. Breeders are paid handsomely for prized koi fish with prices ranging in the thousands of dollars. The life span for koi fish is commonly between twenty and forty years of age. While the fish’s age may not be apparent to the naked eye, growth marks, that are microscopic in size cover their scales in a way that is similar to rings inside a tree trunk. These marks can indicate age, growth, and even a lack of food.


Koi Pond Ideas

Koi fish in a koi pond

If you think you want to build a koi pond, you’ll need to invest money, time, and work but it can be incredibly rewarding. A koi pond will not only provide a beautiful habitat for your fish but can provide you with an attractive spot to relax while in your backyard. While these fish are a pretty hardy species and relatively easy to keep, there are some things you should consider before starting.

Here are some initial aspects to take into account when planning:

  • Climate. Your area’s climate is an important aspect of building a koi pond. If you are in a sunnier, warmer climate, your pond will need more depth. If you are in a cold climate subject to freezing, koi can survive with as much as six inches of surface ice on your pond. However, there must be an open contact between air and water so a bubbler or de-icer may be required. Also, a fountain or waterfall will help guarantee aeration in your pond.
  • Cost. These fish can be quite expensive. Their size is a contributing factor to their cost. Much like a person, koi fish can live for up to a hundred years, but most live somewhere between twenty and thirty years on average. They will grow throughout their entire life span. The more expensive koi are usually the older the fish are. Only about one in five thousand fish actually achieve the premium ranking of the most expensive examples. These are valued for their lack of defects and the markings on their bodies.

5 Goldfish in a koi pond

  • A koi pond will require filtration with both biological and mechanical filters. A drain in the bottom of your pond will also facilitate you in changing the water. Like aquariums, ponds require maintenance. The size of your pond will indicate the size that your filtration system needs to be.
  • Choose the correct location that ideally will already be level ground. Make sure that it is not entirely in the shade.
  • Predators If you live in an area with wildlife, you may want to consider some type of fencing to protect your koi.
  • Size. Koi need lots of space, so when building your koi pond, keep this in mind. The often-cited ideal size is approximately three feet deep with a capacity to hold about one thousand gallons of water. A pond that measures six by eight feet will usually hold a little under 1100 gallons of water, But, the more fish you have, the larger your pond should be! The six-by-eight-foot pond can adequately host five medium-sized koi.


Koi Ponds Waterfalls and More

Running water has a positive effect on just about all living things. It can be particularly therapeutic by blocking out stressful noise. Koi ponds may feature waterfalls, but unlike other types of ponds, they will not be specifically part of the filtration system in the pond. Instead, they will contribute to the aeration of your pond, helping to distribute oxygen, and there can never be too much oxygen in your pond. This increase in oxygen will help keep your koi healthy, oxygenate plants and help reduce algae. A waterfall is not sufficient alone to provide aeration. A koi pond fountain is also a great way of enhancing your backyard.

Koi ponds waterfalls in a backyard

Landscaping can be done around the pond and can include elements overhanging the pond. Koi pond rocks are a very popular way to complement your setup. The pond can be illuminated at night with underwater lighting to enhance the atmosphere of calm and beauty. Koi can also cohabitate with other types of fish such as goldfish. You may want to check out which species are koi-friendly.


Koi Ponds Filters

Koi ponds utilize biological filtering as well as microfiltration that is exceptionally efficient. Easy-to-clean filters, pond skimmers, and bottom drain filters will commonly be found in these ponds. An eternal pump will pump the water so that no electrical devices are found in the water. Oxygen is provided by an aeration system. Both systems, pump, and aeration will be external units that can be installed at a distance from the pond and often be placed completely out of view.

A pond skimmer and the bottom drain will constantly remove any waste or debris so that your pond doesn’t require draining. Nitrates will be removed from the water during backwash cycles in the filtering system. The pond will have new freshwater thanks to an automatic water fill valve within the pond skimmer.

Koi Pond maintenance is relatively simple. Filters should be cleaned at least every thirty days and pond skimmers and bottom drain filters should be cleaned every seven days.

Goldfish in a koi pond

Above Ground Koi Ponds

While most ponds will be completely underground, some can be built partially under and above ground. Others can be built completely above ground. Generally, these above-ground ponds will be built with concrete blocks, poured concrete, or wood with retaining landscaping outside. The above-ground koi ponds will have linings in rubber, polyurea, or even simple concrete that keeps the water inside the pond.


Building Koi Ponds

To build Koi ponds, you should imagine a swimming pool for fish. Usually, rocks, gravel, and aquatic plants that can potentially harm koi should not be included. The sides of the pond are constructed straight up and down and there should be no steps. With steps, predators can help themselves to a koi meal.  The minimum safe depth would be four feet although many are built to be five feet, six feet, or even deeper. These ponds may also feature aeration technology that is installed externally so as not to obstruct the view inside the pond.

Once you’ve built your koi pond, you can begin to enjoy the tranquility that they gift to their owners.

Koi pond inside a greenhouse

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