Tips

Ideas to think about when building a Koi Pond

    1. Nobody has ever said they should have built their pond smaller instead of bigger. It may be difficult to visualize but when it fills up with rocks, plants and fish and begins to mature it’s inevitable that you will want it larger and deeper or with waterfalls or a stream or with more aeration. The best advice is to build it as big as your budget will allow because it’s much easier to build it the size you want the first time instead of going back later and renovating. Just a thought!
    2. While we are on the subject of size, let’s talk about depth. If you are going to put any fish in your pond, PLEASE do not make it any shallower than 3′ in depth. This is where there is a big difference between a water garden and a fish pond. Nature can be a beautiful thing to see but it can also be tough to watch when a Great Blue Heron is feasting on your beloved Koi while standing in the beautiful pond you just finished. Nobody wants to see this! There are several benefits here, your fish will be safe from predators, your water won’t be able to heat up and possibly kill your fish in the summer and you won’t have to fill your pond with commercial housing designed to save your fish from predators. Trust me on this one!
    3. Proper filtration cannot be overstated! There are different types of filtration and usually several different types are used in a properly balanced Koi pond. Its important to use a skimmer to pull leaves, pollen and dirt off of the top strata of the pond. A bottom drain is virtually required for fish waste but also helps with circulation of the water column along the bottom. There are many options available for biological filtration such as a Pressurized filter, a Bakki shower or possibly even a bog. Another option is a UV light which will aid in water clarity by eliminating algae.
    4. If you’re planning on Koi? Please consider a Bottom Drain as a necessity! Koi will eventually be big fish and will make a big mess. Plan for this now by using a bottom drain or two. They do not add a lot of $$ if done now instead of later when it can be very costly. You will be glad you did!
    5. A controversial subject is pebbles and rocks in the bottom of your pond. I can understand the desire because it certainly looks more natural than a concrete bottom or rubber liner but consider for a minute what kind of environment you are creating along the bottom of that pond after it fills up with fish waste, dirt, decaying bugs, and rotting leaves. After a while, all of these things will begin to rot and fall into the cracks and crevices of these pebbles and rocks where they will sit and build up an oxygen dead zone which can be deadly to your fish. I know what the videos on YouTube look like but at least consider leaving the rocks out of your pond. Don’t fall for the marketing, in the real world it doesn’t work.
    6. Make sure you add enough aquatic plants to help keep your ecosystem in balance. Plants add more than just beauty, they also help to add oxygen and a natural filtration to your pond. You do not have to buy expensive chemicals, you can use nature to help keep your pond in check without a weekly or monthly dose of costly bio materials. Once again, great marketing at work!
    7. Consider using some high quality lights in your pond. Some of the best times to see your fish are actually at night without the glare of sunlight. It will also increase the amount of viewing time for you and your family. A well lit pond at night will definitely become a gathering place for your family and guests!
    8.  Another important point is to make sure your pond is properly aerated whether with natural looking waterfalls or some type of bubbler.
    9. Don’t overpopulate your pond. If you are adding Koi, they will eventually get very big possibly over 36″. Koi can live 60-70 years in a well maintained pond. The general rule is for every 1″ of fish, you need 10 gallons of water. Using an avg. fish length of 21″ and typical pond dimensions of 9’x16′ gives you a surface sq. footage of 144. With a depth of 3′ that pond (3232 gals) should support approximately 15 Koi with and avg length of 21″.
    10. Have FUN! Koi can bring you amazing serenity and peace to your pond. They are big, beautiful docile animals with their own personalities and quirks which you will soon learn. It’s not unheard of to train them to eat right out of your hand!

Well, those are some of the basics of building a Koi pond. Follow these ideas and you will find yourself enjoying your backyard oasis more than you ever imagined!  Please don’t hesitate to contact me at Austin Waterscapes with any questions.