A Look at Koi Ponds

koi fish in koi pondMany of us who have ever had the pleasure of visiting a successful koi pond find ourselves yearning for one of our own. The fish grow to lengths of more than two feet and oftentimes come to behave much like pets we know and love that reside above-water.

For instance, koi will come to feeding areas at certain times of day in anticipation of a meal, especially if the person feeding them has made a habit of feeding them at the same time and place. The fish will grapple and strive with one another for food and behave like a group of puppies at feeding time, stealing bites from one another and pushing and shoving. Some koi can be trained to eat right out your hand!

And the calm tranquility of a well-laid out and landscaped koi pond knows no rival. There is nothing much more peaceful than sitting quietly in a lawn chair or on a garden bench and gazing at the beautiful koi swimming beneath the water, a weeping willow's branches gracefully brushing against the bank along with the soothing background sounds of a fountain or waterfall located somewhere on the pond.

Educate Yourself about Koi Ponds

But before you rush to the shed for your garden shovels, there are a few things you need to know before breaking ground for koi pond excavation. Koi ponds must be distinguished from other ponds that hold only plants (water gardens) or even from goldfish ponds. Koi need a living environment that is a little different.

Koi ponds should be at least 10,000 gallons. Sounds like a lot, right? But almost invariably, people build smaller ponds then go back several years later and build a larger one. The reason is that koi need large areas of water in which to grow to their maximum size. The pond also needs to be four feet deep or even deeper to not only promote growth, but to deter predators such as raccoons.

Pond Lighting and Plants

Provide adequate shade. Koi do not fare well in direct sunlight, so make plenty of water plants (such as lilies), overhanging stones, trees (weeping willows - as mentioned above - work beautifully), and shrubs available to keep out the harmful effects of too much sun. If you decide to use trees and shrubs, be aware you will need to occasionally clean out leaves and sometimes branches from your pond.

A water pump, filtration system (biological or mechanical), UV sterilizer, pH buffer, and a heater to prevent water from freezing over the entire top of the water if you live in a climate where this is a danger are other must-haves for koi ponds. For optimum health of your fish and to keep your pond at the height of attractiveness, you may also opt for tests that monitor the degree of ammonia, nitrites, copper, nitrates, oxygen, alkalinity, and other things.

So, you see, there is quite a bit more to building and maintaining a successful koi pond that digging a hole, installing a liner, and throwing in some fish. Take the time to research the subject thoroughly. There is plenty of info on the Net, in magazines, and at your local library.

Many areas also have koi clubs, since this has become such an appealing hobby nationwide, so look online for those, as well, or in your local phone directory. And good luck! A beautiful, fully functioning koi pond is a little piece of heaven on earth!

Image by theBrassPotato