Koi Pond

An Introduction To Koi Ponds

Koi ponds have become a popular hobby in the world, and the reasons are clear
as to why. Koi are beautiful, vibrant fish that can literally light your day.
Koi come in many colors, varieties, and kinds, so it is likely that everyone in
the world can find at least one type of Koi that would suit their likes. While
Koi may be a welcomed beauty to your pond, they also have an interesting
history attached to them.

In Chinese culture, Koi ponds are said to being good luck to their owners. Koi
ponds are used as an overall plan to fulfill their lives. Other parts of the
world consider Koi ponds as a form of relaxation and serenity. In the united
states, more and more people seem to find Koi ponds to be fun more then
anything else. No matter what the reason you find to have a Koi pond, they are
sure to brighten your life.

However, Koi keeping should not be taken lightly. Koi, like any other animal,
require time and money to maintain. The majority of first time Koi owners fail
because they get the idea that keeping Koi is easy in some way. Do not let this
discourage you though, as educating yourself will greatly improve your chances
of succeeding.

It is important for you to learn all you can BEFORE you begin obtaining the
things you need for Koi keeping. This way, you will not slip up and have to
replace anything that you have already done or bought. Planning ahead will not
only save your money, but it will potentially save your sanity as well.

It is important to learn the information for yourself rather then relying on
other sources. People such as your product dealer and pond builder will have
limited knowledge, but should not be trusted for a reliable source, as they are
selling products and may be bias. Plus, once you are at home with your Koi, your
product dealer or pond builder may not be available to help you in the event of
a problem.

5 Steps To a Perfect Koi Pond

Step 1 - Setting Up The Perfect Environment

You perfect Koi pond starts with the actual pond itself. You have to create a
pond that will not only be pleasing to the eye, but will also adequately
sustain Koi. Proper placement, size, and pond type is essential when building
your pond.

When it comes to pond size, the bigger is always better. Koi have a habit of
growing rather fast, so you have to consider pond size at the same time you are
considering how many Koi you are going to put it in.

Unless you have a large amount of knowledge in outdoor landscaping, fish
keeping, and construction, it may be a good idea to leave the pond building to
a professional. While some people think that building the pond yourself with
save you money, this could not be further from the case. If your pond is not
build properly the first time, you will end up spending a large amount of money
on fixing the problems that come up. Not only that, if your pond is not properly
setup, you may not even be able to keep fish alive.

Remember when you hire a professional, it is their job to give you what you
want. They can give their knowledge when it comes to decision making, but
ultimately, they will do whatever you want them too. Because of this, you
cannot blame them if your pond fails do to location, size, or other factors.
However, beware of extremely cheap quotes as they may cut corners that could
potentially cause you problems later. While quotes will come in different,
there should not be a very dramatic difference between them.

Step 2 - Learning about Koi Keeping

Knowledge is power when it comes to Koi keeping. It is important to learn as
much as you possibly can about the hobby before jumping in with both feet.

It is important to learn the information yourself rather then relying on other
sources. People such as your product dealer and pond builder will have limited
knowledge, but should not be trusted for a reliable source, as they are selling
products and may be bias. Plus, once you are at home with your Koi, your product
dealer or pond builder may not be available to help you in the event of a
problem.

Step 3 - Picking Out Koi

Once you have created the perfect environment, you will need to start looking
into buying your fish. It is important to remember never to purchase to many
Koi because they will grow rather large, and they breed almost yearly.
Overpopulating your Koi pond will cause serious problems in the future.

Step 4 - Preventing Common Koi Pond Problems

You can prevent certain types of Koi pond problems by following simple
prevention steps.

Always quarantine new fish before introducing them to your current Koi
population. Koi can have certain illnesses and viruses, such as KHV or Koi
Herpes Virus, with little or no showing symptoms. By quarantining, you will
greatly reduce the risk of exposing your population to potentially deadly
situations.

Do water tests at least on a weekly basis. This will allow you to notice
discrepancies in the test results long before your pond starts showing symptoms
of stress. This iwill potentially save not only your pond, but your fish as well.

Step 5 - Feeding Your Koi

Finally, feeding you Koi can be one of the most pleasing parts of having a
perfect Koi pond.

You should check with your local pet store or Koi dealer when it comes to the
amount and types of food that you should be feeding your fish. Feeding patterns
change with season and temperature.

Koi can be fed treats such as fruit, veggies, bread, and store bought treats.

Koi can literally be trained to eat directly from your hand. This takes time
and patience, but will ultimately provide entertainment to you and your
visitors.

The Basics of Keeping Koi

Koi pond's popularity are on the rise, and the reasons are obvious. Who would
not want living creatures as a part of their garden? However, Koi keeping
should not be taken lightly. Koi, like any other animal, require time and money
to maintain. The majority of first time Koi owners fail because they get the
idea that keeping Koi is easy in some way. Do not let this discourage you
though, as educating yourself will greatly improve your chances of succeeding.

It is important for you to learn all you can BEFORE you begin obtaining the
things you need for Koi keeping. This way, you will not slip up and have to
replace anything that you have already done or bought. Planning ahead will not
only save your money, but it will potentially save your sanity as well.

It is important to learn the information for yourself rather then relying on
other sources. People such as your product dealer and pond builder will have
limited knowledge, but should not be trusted for a reliable source, as they are
selling products, and may be bias. Plus, once you are at home with your Koi,
your product dealer or pond builder may not be available to help you in the
event of a problem.

Your Pond

Before ever buying Koi, you must create a proper habitat for them. This is
where information from your pond builder and supplier will come in handy.
However, you should not rely on the opinions of just one person. It may be a
god idea to do research on your own, before you go to purchase the materials
needed for you pond. Because of it's popularity, an unlimited supply of
resources can be found on the topic of Koi keeping. Visit your local library,
fishery center, or research online. There are quite a few things needed to
sustain a habitable pond.

When it comes to pond size, the bigger is always better. Koi have a habit of
growing rather fast, so you have to consider pond size at the same time you are
considering how many Koi you are going to put it in.

You filtration system is extremely important. There are 2 types of filtration,
mechanical and biological. mechanical filtration relives the pond of solids
such as dead algae, insects, and Koi wastes. It is important to have enough
filtration to sustain the size of the pond, and the amount and size of your
Koi. Biological filtration causes a nitrogen cycle, which is what removes
dissolved wastes from your pond. Without biological filtration, built up waste
will turn into ammonia and kill your Koi within just a few days.

Another consideration is the water quality. It is sometimes said that having
Koi is literally just a side effect of having the proper water quality. To keep
your Koi alive, you must have the proper knowledge on how to maintain your water
quality.

Koi Have Personality

You would not believe that Koi actually have personalities similar to other
animals. They are social, and can even be trained to eat directly from their
owners hands. The more time you spend with your Koi, the more you will notice
each Koi has individual characteristics and traits.

Koi have been known to live for up to 200 years at time, but generally the
average lifespan of a healthy Koi is about 30 years. So if you are looking for
along time pet companion, Koi may be a good choice.

Building Your Koi Habitat

Before ever buying Koi, you must create a proper habitat for them. This is
where information from your pond builder and supplier will come in handy.
However, you should not rely on the opinions of just one person. It may be a
god idea to do research on your own, before you go to purchase the materials
needed for you pond. Because of it's popularity, an unlimited supply of
resources can be found on the topic of Koi keeping. Visit your local library,
fishery center, or research online. There are quite a few things needed to
sustain a habitable pond.

When it comes to pond size, bigger is always better. Koi have a habit of
growing rather fast, so you have to consider pond size at the same time you are
considering how many Koi you are going to put it in.

Your filtration system is extremely important. There are 2 types of filtration,
mechanical and biological. Mechanical filtration relives the pond of solids such
as dead algae, insects, and Koi wastes. It is important to have enough
filtration to sustain the size of the pond, and the amount and size of your
Koi. Biological filtration causes a nitrogen cycle, which is what removes
dissolved wastes from your pond. Without biological filtration, built up waste
will turn into ammonia and kill your Koi within just a few days.

Besides the technical aspects of your pond, you will also have the ability to
create a visually appealing area as well. Waterfalls, fountains, and other
water features will not only add a visual show to your pond, but it will also
create movement and sound. A variety of plants and flowers are also available
for your pond.

Preventing Overpopulation

Koi overpopulation is one of the hardest problems to deal with when it comes
Koi ponds. Once you have to many fish in your pond, severe problems can occur,
and potentially cause death among your fish.

There are a few ways to help prevent overpopulation. While you are never
guaranteed that it will never happen to you, following a few simple steps will
greatly reduce you chances.

Do Not Overstock

A common problem new Koi pond owners run into is over stocking. When you first
go to buy your Koi, it may come down to deciding between a number of Koi that
is equally beautiful and playful in the spirit of saving your pond from over
stocking.

Talk with your Koi dealer or Pet Store professional about the specifics of your
pond. You should tell them information about what type of filtration systems you
have, what total size your pond is, and where you are planning on placing your
pond. With this information, a professional will be able to adequately predict
the right amount of Koi you can have in your pond successfully. Do not worry if
this number seems small, because the professional will also be taking into
account the fact that Koi grow fast
and get rather large.

Some people run into the problem of not being able to turn down Koi from
others. When accepting fish from sources such as other Koi pond owners, take
into account why they are giving you the fish. Chances are they are giving away
fish because they are having issues with over population as well. Turning down
fish does not mean that you are causing any damage to those fish, it simply
means that their owner will have to find a different person to take the fish.

Once Overpopulation Has Occurred

In the event that overpopulation has already occurred in your pond, there are
several ways of removing babies from your pond.

One way is to stop feeding your Koi the minute you realize that spawning has
occurred. You should stop feeding your Koi for no less then three weeks. Do not
worry about your Koi starving, as they will focus more on natural foods if you
are not feeding them daily. This "natural" diet includes their young. Koi are
not cannibalistic animals by any means, but they will eat their young when they
are still eggs or if they are small and resemble insects. Once the baby Koi
actually resemble real fish, and the adult fish recognize this, they will no
longer see them as food, so it is important to start this process as soon as
you notice spawning or babies.

While this is a process of nature, you may still find this method to be cruel
or unusual. Another way of removing unwanted babies from your pond is to give
them away.

First, check with your local pet store. Many pet stores have programs in which
they will accept unwanted animals and give them good homes. Some may even pay a
certain amount for each fish since they sell them, but do not count of this.
Local Zoos may also have programs.

If you know of a local Koi society, you may let them know that you have
unwanted babies. Alternatively, you can find a message board or group online
and post messages there. Who knows, you may even start another person on a Koi
keeping hobby.

Buying Koi

There are potentially thousands of different types of Koi, with about 20
different popular versions. Koi are popular because of their beautiful colors
and patterns.

Your pond should be complete before you even look into buying your Koi. The
size and amount of Koi you buy should be highly based on your pond. Be careful,
overstocking will cause problems right away with you pond, potentially killing
many of the Koi you purchase, causing you to loose time and money.

Most fish owners understand that most fish will only grow to the size of their
enclosure. Koi, unlike other fish, will grow until they are the size of their
specific type. You must be able to accommodate the amount of fish you purchase
in the future.

Keeping Your Koi Pond Clean

Keeping you Koi pond clean should be one of your number one priorities. A clean
pond could mean the difference between you Koi living a beautiful stress free
life, and potentially suffering until they ultimately die. The water in which
your Koi live is not only where they eat, sleep, and feed, but it is also where
they use the bathroom as well. If you do not properly clean your pond, it is
almost as if your Koi are living in the bathroom toilet.

The water in your pond should almost be completely clear. Your pond should
contain no floating or suspended debris, and the Koi should appear to be
floating in air. If you are unable to see the bottom of your pond, then chances
are your pond is not clean enough.

We know that you take great pride in your pond, especially when you were
constructing the beautiful landscape around it, and picking out flowers that
bloom in beautiful colors and have beautiful smell that are unmatched. However,
no matter how beautiful the landscape around the pond is, a pond is not
successful unless you can sustain beautiful fish within the water. While ponds
are designed to resemble nature, you must remember that your Koi pond is
actually just a really large outdoor fish tank, and that it needs to be treated
as such.

Unlike natural water systems, fish tanks need a large amount of care.
Filtration systems are needed to maintain water quality, and a pump system is
needed to keep the water moving.

In nature, Koi would not nearly the amount of food that they do in controlled
ponds. It is not unheard of for pond owners to feed many pounds of food to
their Koi per week. This produces a larger amount of waste, whether it comes
from the digestion process on the Koi's part, or the amount of uneaten food
that has settled to the bottom and spoiled. It is important to vacuum the
bottom out as much as possible, and make sure all types of drainage systems are
clear and in working order.

Another issue is the fact that your pond is indeed, outside. Being outdoors,
your fish tank faces problems that a normal indoor fish tank would never have
to deal with. Debris can easily find its way into your pond. It is important to
skim your pond as much as possible.

No matter if your blame the Koi, yourself, or nature for the pond not being
clean, it is important for you to clean it up. The health of your Koi is at
stake if you do not. Even if your water quality is clear, a large amount of
debris can cause your Koi stress. Stressed fish are more susceptible to disease
and viruses.

The Four Seasons and Your Koi Pond

Spring

Your Koi pond will literally come to life at the first of springtime. The life
in your pond have spent the previous Winter in a proverbial hibernation, and is
ready to come to life at the first signs of warm weather. This is the perfect
time to begin maintenance on your pond before the fish, plants, and other pond
life come back to live from their winter slumber. As the days begin to get
warmer, your pond will start drastically changing. If you are not careful, you
may miss this much needed opportunity to perform maintenance. Generally, watch
for temperatures around 50 degrees, as this is the perfect time.

Spring time is a very weak time for your fish, because they have not eaten for
months, and have may be living on a low level of energy. This cause your Koi to
be more susceptible to attacks from organisms such as bacteria, parasites,
viruses and fungi. This makes Spring the opportune time to take all
preventative measures possible. Adding a large spectrum of treatment solutions
will greatly reduce the amount of disease causing pests and material. Once the
temperature warms up, another dose of this treatment will ensure that your Koi
will be well protected while they redevelop their immune systems. Once
temperatures warm up, your Koi immune systems will be effective enough to
protect themselves from disease.

Fall

Fall brings a change to your pond, as the majority of plant life begin to
change. Fall is a time you move all plants that cannot withstand lower
temperatures indoors, or in a green house.

Another issue during fall is leaves. Falling debris will have to be cleared
more then any other time during the year. Skimming the pond daily will help
maintain a healthy, clear pond. Alternatively, you may want to invest in a pond
cover.

Winter

Winter is coming, and this will be the first Winter that you go through with
your Koi pond. Think of Winter as a down period for your pond, as less events
happen during Winter then any other time. However, there are special
precautions that you need to take before Winter arrives, to ensure that your
pond and fish survive.

You will need to feed your fish far less during the winter months. Talk with
your local pet store to determine how often you should feed your Koi.

Prepare for cold weather by investing in the items you will need during the
summer. Koi have been known to withstand constant temperatures as low 39
degrees, and temperatures slightly lower then 39 degrees, for short periods of
time. When buying a heater, remember to research what size you will need to
adequately heat your pond during the winter, otherwise ice will still form,
causing potentially dangerous amounts of gas in the water, due to it being
trapped under the ice. In extreme events, it may be a good idea to have an
emergency tank inside available.

Summer

Summer is considered one of the best and more vibrant times for your Koi pond.
Temperatures are beautiful, and you are more able to enjoy your pond then
during the cold winter months. However, by no means, should your maintenance
drop during the summer months. Remembering a few things during the summer
months will ensure that your pond stays beautiful and lively.

During the summer months, the oxygen level in your pond actually decreases.
Proper precautions should be taken, especially if you live in an area where
temperatures stay high for the majority of the year. If you witness your Koi
hanging out towards the top of the water, and they seem to be gasping for air,
this may be a good indication that your pond does not have a high enough
concentration of Oxygen.

Not unlike other situations in life, heat brings on potential parasite and
illness. The majority of parasites are not seeable by the naked eye, so
instead, you must watch your Koi for signs of illness.

You may notice strange behaviors in your fish such as rubbing against objects,
scratching, shaking, or shivering. Each symptom could indicate a different type
of illness, so it is important to watch closely.

If any type of change is noticed, contact your local vet, pet store, or Koi
dealer as soon as possible. While some parasites will cause little damage, some
illness such as KHV or Koi Herpes Virus have a high mortality rate, and should
be treated as soon as possible.

Winterizing Your Koi Pond

Winter is coming, and this will be the first Winter that you go through with
your Koi pond. Think of Winter as a down period for your pond, as less events
happen during Winter then any other time. However, there are special
precautions that you need to take before Winter arrives, to ensure that your
pond and fish survive.

Clean Up- Take about a weekend to completely go over your pond. Clean up and
unwanted bulk material in and around your pond. Inside your pond, clean up all
leaves, slit, and other material from the bottom. Also, remove any plants or
flowers that will not make it through the winter. Around the pond, clean up
anything that can blow into your pond, as you are not likely to notice this
debris until the end of winter. Taking the time to make sure that as much
debris is removed as possible will prevent potentially harmful bacteria and
parasites in the future.

Stop Feeding- You must remember to stop feeding your Koi during the winter.
When fall begins and the temperatures hover around 55 to 60 degrees, only feed
once a day. Once the temperatures drop below 50 degree for the first time, stop
feeding completely. Even if the temperature goes above 50 degrees, still reframe
from feeding your fish. The majority of Koi, when healthy and the temperature is
above 50 degrees, take at least four days to completely digest food. If you
mistakenly feed your fish to late the food will not digest and will end up
killing your fish. Do not mistake you Koi as hungry when they open to their
mouths to you. This is more of a learned reflex then hunger. If you are
concerned about not feeding them, remember that fish eat other things besides
the food you provide them, especially if your pond contains a large amount of
natural plant life. If they are at all hungry and you are not feeding them,
they will fill up on this.

Check Up- Do you seasonal check up on all your equipment. This includes
everything from your filtration system to your store of preventable
medications. Since the majority of ponds in the world lie dormant during the
Winter, you are less likely to be able to find the products you need. Make sure
your emergency kit is ready and up to date, which should include medications,
bags, nets, and your water testing kits.

Prepare For Cold Weather- Prepare for cold weather by investing in the items
you will need during the summer. Koi have been known to withstand constant
temperatures as low 39 degrees, and temperatures slightly lower then 39
degrees, for short periods of time. When buying a heater, remember to research
what size you will need to adequately heat your pond during the winter,
otherwise ice will still form, causing potentially dangerous amounts of gas in
the water, due to it being trapped under the ice. In extreme events, it may be
a good idea to have an emergency tank inside available.

Turn Off All Water Sources- In colder temperatures, your heater will be working
hard to maintain a water temperature suitable enough to keep your fish alive. If
you have water features such as waterfalls, streams, or constant moving
fountains, make sure to turn them off during Winter. These features will
circulate water, and constantly bring new, and cold water into your pond. With
these switched off, the only water that your heater will be responsible for is
the standing water in your pond.

Koi Ponds During The Summer

Summer is considered one of the best and more vibrant times for your Koi pond.
Temperatures are beautiful, and you are more able to enjoy your pond then
during the cold Winter months. However, by no means, should your maintenance
drop during the summer months. Remembering a few things during the summer
months will ensure that your pond stays beautiful and lively.

Higher Temperatures Cause Less Oxygen

During the summer months, the oxygen level in your pond actually decreases.
Proper precautions should be taken, especially if you live in an area where
temperatures stay high for the majority of the year. If you witness your Koi
hanging out towards the top of the water, and they seem to be gasping for air,
this may be a good indication that your pond does not have a high enough
concentration of Oxygen.

One way to keep oxygen moving in your water is by installing water features
such as waterfalls and fountains. The more the water is moving, the more Oxygen
is available to your Koi.

If water features are not available, frequent water changes will give your fish
the amount of Oxygen they need to survive.

Watch For Evaporation

Higher heat will cause your water to evaporate at a much higher rate. Pay close
attention to your water levels and do adjustments as necessary. Remember, you
must remove all chlorine from the water you add.

Summertime is Parasite Season

Not unlike other situations in life, heat brings on potential parasites and
illness. The majority of parasites are not seeable by the naked eye, so
instead, you must watch your Koi for signs of illness.

You may notice strange behaviors in your fish such as rubbing against objects,
scratching, shaking, or shivering. Each symptom could indicate a different type
of illness, so it is important to watch closely.

It is especially important to pay attention to your Koi if they start
developing noticeable spots or changes on their body. They may also knock fins
off.

If any type of change is noticed, contact your local vet, pet store, or Koi
dealer as soon as possible. While some parasites will cause little damage, some
illnesses such as KHV or Koi Herpes Virus have a high mortality rate, and should
be treated as soon as possible.

Feeding Your Koi

To remain healthy during the summer, you fish will need food high in the types
of nutrients that they need. During the summer you should feed your fish a food
that in low in protein at least one to three times a day. If you fish still seem
hungry after feeding, you may want to increase feeding slightly.

Feeding your Koi small amounts of food at a time will prevent food from
spoiling. If you feed in larger amounts, some food may remain uneaten, and it
can spoil in a very short amount of time. Fish will only eat what they need to
survive, and will leave the rest. Spoiled food can cause water quality issues
if close attention is not paid.

Feeding your Koi actually causes less Oxygen content in the water. During the
summer this can especially be an issue, as Oxygen levels deplete in high
temperatures. You can remedy this by feeding your fish in the cooler hours of
the day.

Summer presents a special time to hand feed your Koi. Children are out of
school, and the weather is usually perfect for being outside. Get the kids
involved as they will remember it for years to come.

Koi Ponds During The Spring

Making sure your pond is ready for the coming seasons should not take you more
then a weekend to complete, and will ensure that you have a successful water
garden for the remainder of the year.

Your Koi pond will literally come to life at the first of springtime. The
Living organisms in your pond have spent the previous winter in a proverbial
hibernation, and are ready to come to life at the first signs of warm weather.
This is the perfect time to begin maintenance on your pond before the fish,
plants, and other pond life come back to live from their winter slumber. As the
days begin to get warmer, your pond will start drastically changing. If you are
not careful, you may miss this much needed opportunity to perform maintenance.
Generally, watch for temperatures around 50 degrees, as this is the perfect
time.

The maintenance needed on your pond will largely depend on what happened during
the previous winter. If the previous winter was hard, chances are you will need
to perform more changes, so it may be a good idea to start as soon as you start
noticing the weather changes. However, some spring maintenance will have to be
completed every year, no matter how harsh or how mild the previous winter was.

Water Quality

You may notice that the water in your pond is extremely clear when the seasons
are changing from Winter to Spring. Do not let this fool you, as there are
several factors that will actually cause problems once Summer comes if you do
not remedy these issues ahead of time.

During the Fall and Winter months, organic material such as leafs and plant
material may have found it's way into your pond. While the water seems clear at
the time, the organic material placed a large amount of nutrients into your
pond, which will cause a surge of algae growth once spring arrives. If algae
was not enough, the large amount of organic material in your pond will start to
decompose, and will reduce the oxygen content in your water.

Since your water is perfectly clear, it is the perfect time to clear all of
this unwanted debris and slit from your pond. This can be completed a number of
ways.

1) Hire a pond professional from your local dealer or pet store. They will have
the equipment needed to vacuum the majority of the debris and slit out of your
pond. While this is a more costly option, you will have the assurance that the
majority of the problem causing material will be removed from your pond.

2) If hiring a professional is not an option, you may want to consider using a
fine mesh net to scoop up as much debris as possible. The only issue is most
nets will only stir up the slit in your pond, rather then remove it.

Once you have removed unwanted debris, you must then test your water. Winter
seems to cause the pH levels to change. At the start of Spring, your pH level
should be an 8. This can be achieved by topping your pond off with treated tap
water which is buffered to be slightly alkaline by your local water company.

Maintaining your Fish

Spring time is a very weak time for your fish, because they have not eaten for
months, and have may be living on a low level of energy. This cause your Koi to
be more susceptible to attacks from organisms such as bacteria, parasites,
viruses, and fungi. This makes Spring the opportune time to take all
preventative measures possible. Adding a large spectrum of treatment solutions
will greatly reduce the amount of disease causing pests and material. Once the
temperature warms up, another dose of this treatment will ensure that your Koi
will be well protected while they redevelop their immune systems. Once
temperatures warm up, your Koi immune systems will be effective enough to
protect themselves from disease.

Preventing Cleanliness Issues

Above cleaning your pond on a regular basis, adding preventative measures can
also increase the cleanliness of your pond.

Keeping your pond moving is one way to help keep your water quality up Moving
water adds more Oxygen to your water, as well as potentially keep floating
debris for collecting in your pond. Moving water can be achieved several ways
such as waterfalls, fountains, and pump filtration systems designed to move
water.

Another way you can avoid cleanliness issues is by keeping your amount of fish
down. Start by buying smaller amounts of fish as spawning will cause you to
have babies in the near future. The less fish, the less waste is involved.

The Dos and Don'ts of Koi Ponds

First, you must understand that Koi ponds are not just simply holes in the
ground that you can keep fish in. For a Koi pond to work properly, and actually
sustain fish, a number of different things must be considered when you begin
planning it. A few simple rules will ensure that you do not end up with an
expensive hole with dead fish.

First, unless you have a large amount of knowledge in outdoor landscaping, fish
keeping, and construction, it may be a good idea to leave the pond building up
to a professional. While some people think that building the pond yourself with
save you money, this could not be further from the case. If your pond is not
build properly the first time, you will end up spending a large amount of money
on fixing the problems that come up. Not only that, if your pond is not properly
setup, you may not even be able to keep fish alive.

Remember when you hire a professional, it is their job to give you what you
want. They can give their knowledge when it comes to decision making, but
ultimately, they will do whatever you want them too. Because of this, you
cannot blame them if your pond fails do to location, size, or other factors.
However, beware of extremely cheap quotes as they may cut corners that could
potentially cause you problems later. While quotes will come in different,
there should not be a very dramatic difference between them.

Koi ponds, are by no means, swimming pools or animal water troughs. This is the
reason why so much care must be taken in planning and building your pond. It may
cost more money then building a typical swimming pool, but the rewards are much
greater. Be sure to keep all children and other none fish pets out of the pond,
as they can cause problems. If your children swim in your pond, not only could
they cause a chemical imbalance, but they could also cause major problems such
as leaks. While it is typically ok to have other pets around your Koi pond,
some pets may get the idea that is fun to mess with your filtration system or
chase your Koi around.

Remember, the majority of Koi ponds are permanent once they are built. This
means that you cannot decide in two or three weeks that you do not want you Koi
pond in the front yard, that you would rather have it in the backyard. Carefully
plan each and every aspect of your pond, because once it is built, there is
little you can do to change it. Remember such things as size requirements, and
placement.

Finally, remember that maintaining a Koi pond can be a substantial amount of
work. Make sure that you will have enough time to carry out the everyday needed
maintenance, and remember that, like with any other pets, issues will arise that
require extra special attention. Vet visits may be needed, or you may need to
take some extra time out of your weekend to clear up an algae infection. Have a
plan, and make sure that if you are going to be going away, make sure someone
with enough knowledge to properly maintain you pond is available until you
return.

Purchasing The Koi For Your Pond

The first Koi were produced by breeding Carp such as the Asian and German Carp.
After years of selective breeding, various color mutations started showing up.
The first colors were recorded as early as 1805. Today, there are literally
thousands of color variations available. The most popular colors found are
white, silver, yellow, orange, red, black, blue and green. Combined with the
patterns available, the possibilities are almost endless. Each noticeable
pattern and color have their own names, which are typically as unique as the
color they are referring too. Favorite types vary by country and location.

Koi are raised for purchase in countries like Japan, Singapore, Israel, and in
the warmer American states such as Nevada and California. Koi can be purchased
at most local pet stores. If they do not have stock on hand, typically they can
be ordered. Ordering Koi has its advantage and disadvantages. You have more
options when ordering Koi, since you do not have to pick from the stock on
hand, but the disadvantage lies in the fact that you will not be able to pick
specific Koi.

Your pond should be complete before you even look into buying your Koi. The
size and amount of Koi you buy should be highly based on your pond. Be careful,
overstocking will cause problems right away with your pond, potentially killing
many of the Koi you purchase, causing you to loose time and money. Talk with
your local dealer about your setup so that they can inform you on the amount of
Koi in which you should have in your pond.

Most fish owners understand that most fish will only grow to the size of their
enclosure. Koi, unlike other fish, will grow until they are the size of their
specific type. You must be able to accommodate the amount of fish you purchase
in the future.

Koi are none-aggressive fish. Koi do not have teeth, so you will not get bit if
you decide to attempt to feed your Koi out of your hand. This even allows you to
get smaller children involved. Smaller children will be delighted by the
beautiful colors and gentle nature of the Koi.

Koi, like any other wild animal, will naturally be afraid of you in the
beginning. Instincts tell them to be afraid of you, which is what keeps them
alive in the wild. You must build up trust with your Koi, and this takes time
and patience.

Koi are omnivorous fish, which means they will eat both meat and plants. This
means that their diets are very versatile. Koi will eat pretty much anything
that you put in the pond with them, no matter if it is good for them or not.
Since Koi do not have a sense of what is bad and good for them, as their owner
you must control their diet.





Koi Have Personality You would not believe that Koi actually have personalities similar to other animals. They are social, and can even be trained to eat directly from their owners hands. The more time you spend with your Koi, the more you will notice each Koi individual characteristics and traits. Koi have been known to live for up to 200 years at time, but generally the average lifespan of a healthy Koi is about 30 years. So if you are looking for along time pet companion, Koi may be a good choice. How to Keep Your Pond In Good Condition Keeping your pond in good condition should be your number one priority. Once your pond starts developing problems, you will find that it will take more time and money then if you were attempting to prevent these problems from happening in the first place. Water Quality You filtration system is extremely important. There are 2 types of filtration, mechanical and biological. Mechanical filtration relieves the pond of solids such as dead algae, insects, and Koi wastes. It is important to have enough filtration to sustain the size of the pond, and the amount and size of your Koi. Biological filtration causes a nitrogen cycle, which is what removes dissolved wastes from your pond. Without biological filtration, built up waste will turn into ammonia and kill your Koi within just a few days. Keeping you Koi pond clean should be one of your number one priorities. A clean pond could mean the difference between you Koi living a beautiful stress free life, and potentially suffering until they ultimately die. The water in which your Koi live is not only where they eat, sleep, and feed, but it is also where they use the bathroom in it as well. If you do not properly clean your pond, it is almost as if your Koi are living in the bathroom toilet. The water in your pond should almost be completely clear. Your pond should contain no floating or suspended debris, and the Koi should appear to be floating in air. If you are unable to see the bottom of your pond, then chances are your pond is not clean enough. Keep Supplies On Hand As a new Koi pond owner, you may be overwhelmed with the amount of supplies needed to properly maintain your Koi pond. While the important of the majority of these items cannot be denied, the feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount needed should be disregarded. Simply knowing the function of each item can help you understand why they are needed. There are certain items that you need to have on hand at all times. Because you pond is outdoors, emergency situations do occur. Nature is simply unpredictable at times, and you do not want to be caught in a situation where an item is needed, but they is no way to obtain it. Do Not Overfeed Overfeeding can ultimately cause water quality issues.. In nature, Koi would not nearly the amount of food that they do in controlled ponds. It is not unheard of for pond owners to feed many pounds of food to their Koi per week. This produces a larger amount of waste, whether it comes from the digestion process on the Koi's part, or the amount of uneaten food that has settled to the bottom and spoiled. It is important to vacuum the bottom out as much as possible, and make sure all types of drainage systems are clear and in working order. Prevent Common Illnesses When purchasing new fish, it is a good idea to quarantine the new fish separately from your current population for no less then 15 days. Knowing that the Koi Herpes Virus is activated at exactly 74 degrees Fahrenheit allows you to expose your fish to the right conditions for the disease to show itself. Koi that live in the conditions for this amount of time and do not develop any symptoms will have a substantially less chance of having the virus. It is important to remember that when you quarantine your new Koi, they should remain under total isolation. This means that you should not allow anything to come into contact with the quarantined Koi, especially items that also come into contact with your current population. Separate tools, food, and water should be used, and never under any circumstances, should the tools used for your quarantined fish leave the area in which they are used. Another important thing to remember is proper hand washing procedures when handling both Koi and Koi items within the same time period. Quarantining will not guarantee that you will not expose your fish to viruses, but it will greatly reduce the chance that you are. Making Koi Keeping Easy Koi keeping is quickly becoming a very popular hobby in America. Koi are beautiful, vibrant fish that can literally light your day. Koi come in many colors, varieties, and kinds, so it is likely that everyone in the world can find at least one type of Koi that would suit their likes. While Koi may be a welcomed beauty to your pond, they also have an interesting history attached to them. In Chinese culture, Koi ponds are said to being good luck to their owners. Koi ponds are used as an overall plan to fulfill their lives. Other parts of the world consider Koi ponds as a form of relaxation and serenity. In the united states, more and more people seem to find Koi ponds to be fun more then anything else. No matter what the reason you find to have a Koi pond, they are sure to brighten your life. However, Koi keeping should not be taken lightly. Koi, like any other animal, require time and money to maintain. The majority of first time Koi owners fail because they get the idea that keeping Koi is easy in some way. Do not let this discourage you though, as doing your homework will greatly improve your chances of succeeding. Essential Koi Pond Supplies As a new Koi pond owner, you may be overwhelmed with the amount of supplies needed to properly maintain your Koi pond. While the importance of the majority of these items cannot be denied, the feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount needed should be disregarded. Simply knowing the function of each item can help you understand why they are needed. There are certain items that you need to have on hand at all times. Because you pond is outdoors, emergency situations do occur. Nature is simply unpredictable at times, and you do not want to be caught in a situation where an item is needed, but they is no way to obtain it. Filters- Having a working filter is essential for removing unwanted pollutants, and maintaining proper water quality. If you do not have a proper filter, water quality issues can occur, which in turn will cause your fish to have health issues. Pump- A pump is essential to the health of your pond. If you water is not moving, there is no way the system can process the water. Moving water can also be from waterfalls, fountains, and other water features, but in no way should completely replace your pump. Dechlorinator- Tap water contains chemicals that can potentially harm your fish. When adding new water for any reason, you must add Dechlorinator to eliminate these chemicals. Test Kits- You will need to have ammonia and nitrite test kits on hand at all times. You will need to perform weekly water tests on your water to ensure proper water quality. Emergency tests may also be needed in the event that you notice discrepancies in your Koi behavior or in the water. Pond Salt and Baking Soda- Pond salt and baking soda are used to regulate kH and Nitrate levels in the event that you find a discrepancy. Pay close attention to the amounts you are suppose to add to your pond, which depends on size and the issues you are currently having. Bags- You must have the proper bags on hand to transport Koi. Do not attempt to transport your Koi in trash or regular plastic bags, as they are not designed for this, and may cause damage to your Koi. Unless you remembered to keep the bags you brought your koi home in originally, you will have to make a trip to your local pet store. Make sure to get bags sizable enough to hold your Koi. Rubber Bands- You will need quite a few rubber bands for each bag you buy. Make sure that your rubber bands are good quality, as you do not want the pressure from the water to pop the rubber band in the middle of the transport. Net- You will need to have a net sizeable enough to compete with your Koi. You will never need the net to pull the Koi out of the water with, but you will need it to lead and direct your Koi into the place you want them. Nets can potentially damage your Koi, especially as the larger they get. Paint Bucket- A paint bucket is a better option for catching your Koi, as they cannot hurt your Koi like a net can. Make sure that your bucket is sizable enough to hold your Koi. Koi Staple Food- Like any other pet, Koi need to be fed daily. Talk with your local pet store or Koi dealer when picking foods for your Koi, as different seasons may dictate the type of food you need to be feeding. Koi have even been known to eat out of their owner's hand, so make sure to get food in which you are able to do this with. Koi Treats and Snacks- Like other animals, Koi delight in treats, and will respond in a playful manner to them. Specific Koi treats are available at your local pet store. If you do not mind feeding "human" food to your pets, you may even consider feeding your Koi veggies, fruit, and bread. Learn about Koi Keeping Knowledge is power when it comes to Koi keeping. It is important to learn as much as you possibly can about the hobby before jumping in with both feet. It is important to learn the information yourself rather then relying on other sources. People such as your product dealer and pond builder will have limited knowledge, but should not be trusted for a reliable source, as they are selling products and may be bias. Plus, once you are at home with your Koi, your product dealer or pond builder may not be available to help you in the event of a problem. Since Koi keeping is a popular hobby, a large amount of information is available. Online sources feature quite a few articles and website containing useful information. Visit your local bookstore or library for books on the subject as well. Understand Koi Keeping is More Then Just Keeping Fish Now only will you be maintaining fish, but you will also have to maintain a proper habitat for them. Keeping your pond in good condition should be your number one priority. Once your pond starts developing problems, you will find that it will take more time and money then if you were attempting to prevent these problems from happening in the first place. You will find that your pond condition will directly effect the condition of your Koi. Bagging and Transporting Koi Koi, like any other pet, will have medical issues throughout it's life, especially since Koi have been know to have a life span of up to 30 years. You contact the vet because you Koi is showing signs of injury or illness, and unless you have a vet that does house calls, chances are the first thing they will say is "bring it in." Issues with your pond can arise, whether it is an emergency move because your pond is placed into harms way by natural events, or a planned move due to new construction. No amount of planning can ensure that you will not have to move your Koi for one reason or another. With the problems that arose from recent events such a Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, and everyday events such as common illnesses, it is imperative that you have a plan of action when it comes to your pride and joys. No matter if it is an emergency or not, knowing how to properly bag and transport your Koi could mean the difference between life and death. Equipment Needed First, it is always a good idea to have all the equipment needed to transport your Koi on hand. If you are having an emergency with your Koi, you may or may not have time to make a trip to your local pet store to gather what you need. The equipment needed to bag and transport Koi is small, and easily stored when not in use. Bags- You must have the proper bags on hand to transport Koi. Do not attempt to transport your Koi in trash or regular plastic bags, as they are not designed for this, and may cause damage to your Koi. Unless you remembered to keep the bags you brought your koi home in originally, you will have to make a trip to your local pet store. Make sure to get bags sizable enough to hold your Koi. Rubber Bands- You will need quite a few rubber bands for each bag you buy. Make sure that your rubber bands are good quality, as you do not want the pressure from the water to pop the rubber band in the middle of the transport. Net- You will need to have a net sizeable enough to compete with your Koi. You will never need the net to pull the Koi out of the water with, but you will need it to lead and direct your Koi into the place you want them. Nets can potentially damage your Koi, especially as the larger they get. Paint Bucket- A paint bucket is a better option for catching your Koi, as they cannot hurt your Koi like a net can. Make sure that your bucket is sizable enough to hold your Koi. Bagging your Koi The process of catching and bagging your Koi is actually pretty simple as long you have the proper equipment available. If you pond is large, you may want to consider enlisting the help of your friends when bagging your Koi. Use the net to guide the Koi into the Paint Bucket. Once the Koi is in the paint bucket you can remove any excess water, and begin bagging the Koi. Make sure that your check the bags for leaks. Once you are sure that the bag is secure, place the bag over the Koi from head to tail. Make sure there is enough water in the bag to completely cover the gills. Leave plenty of air room so that the bag is not to heavy to carry. Slip the rubber bands around the end of the bag and continue to double it until the bag is secure. Place the bags horizontally in your transport container. Make sure that you do not bend the fish when lifting it. Secure the bag so that it will not move with bumps and turns, and cover the fish so that as little heat and sun light can enter as possible. Your Koi Pond After The Storm First off, take time to breath. You pride and joys are probably fine. They may be somewhat traumatized by the whole experience, but that would be any pet caught in unusual situation. Unless extreme damage was done, their health probably is not an issue, however their home may be in need of some repairs. You may have been completely prepared for the storm, or the storm may have taken you by complete surprise. Whatever the case may be, you must jump into action as soon as you physically can to ensure that no further damage is done to your pond. First, you must undo all of your storm precautions to survey the possible damage. If you netted your pond, clear as much debris off the net as possible and remove the netting. Once you removed the netting you will be able to survey the damage and the condition that your fish are in. If high waters were expected and your sand bagged the area around you pond, as long as the water level is normal, remove all sand bags so that you can easily access your pond. Do not get discouraged if things seem out of place, and it may not be as bad as it originally looks. Once you have removed all netting and other precautions, take time to look at the area. If any debris is present, remove it by skimming and netting. If plants or decorations are uprooted or out of place, replace them to their rightful area. If you find major damage to your pond, it is important to remove your Koi as soon as possible. Proper bagging and transporting techniques may be needed if the damage done will take a large amount of time to fix, but there are several temporary options available if damage can be fixed quickly. You may want to consider using a children's pool to house your Koi. If nothing is available at the time, get into contact with your local pet store or zoo, as they may have program available to help you house your Koi until maintenance can be done. Once you have decided that only small repairs are needed, then you must focus on the water quality. You water may seem cloudy or murky due to the storm and the amount of extra water from rainfall. If the storm lasted for a long amount of time, you may be facing ammonia issues as well. Test your water for Nitrates. If Nitrates are present, add the proper amount of salt to the water. Typically you would add 3/4 to one pound of salt per 100 gallons of water. However, if your fish are especially shocked by the situation, or seem to have sustained any type of injuries, it may be a good idea to add more. If you have plants in your pond, it may be a good idea to remove them before adding the salt into the water. Your fish should be the most important issue at this point, not your plants. If you are having KH issues (especially if it is below 100) you will want to add baking soda to your pond. Typically you can add 1 cup of unpacked baking soda per 1000 gallons of water. This will protect your pond from a future pH crash. Feeding Koi Treats Like any other type of pet, people find it fun and popular to give their pet Koi treats. You might delight in seeing your Koi respond to treats while you, your children, or grandchildren feed them. While this is a great bonding experience between pet and owner, some precautions should be taken. Koi will eat pretty much anything that you put in the pond with them, no matter if it is good for them or not. Since Koi do not have a sense of what is bad and good for them, as their owner you must control their snack diet. Another potential problem is over feeding treats. Again, Koi do not have the knowledge to know when to stop eating, and weight issues may come from overfeeding none nutritional foods. However, if you feel that your Koi deserves treats, there are many types of foods that are available that may contain nutritional value, and will not harm your Koi in any way. Natural Koi Treats- The best type of treat to feed your Koi is what they would find naturally in their pond. Things such as earthworms, tadpoles, and bloodworms are found in ponds, and may be eaten by your Koi without your knowledge. The best way to find out what natural treats are available is just to look around the pond. Once you know what it out there, then you can either dig up the treats from the ground around the pond or buy similar products at your local store. Prawns- Prawns are edible crustaceans which are similar to shrimp, but are usually larger. Prawns are actually very good for Koi because they are high in Protein. You can find prawns at a number of places including your local pet stores, department stores, and feed stores. Prawns are available in regular and frozen, but be sure if you buy frozen to completely thaw it out before giving it to your Koi. Prawns are also one of the best treats to promote hand feeding. Lettuce- Lettuce is high in essential vitamins and minerals, and it quite healthy for your Koi. There is no need to tear the lettuce in smaller pieces as the Koi can find joy in doing it themselves. Fruit- Koi will eat a wide variety of fruit. When feeding your Koi fruit, make sure to break the fruit up into small pieces. Fruit should only be fed to your Koi on special occasions, as most fruit contains high amounts of natural sugar, which can be bad for Koi in large amounts. Bread- One of the cheapest treats available is Wheat Bread. Take a piece of bread, break it up, and roll it into small balls before throwing it into the pond. Be sure to avoid all types of white bread, as it may contain small amounts of bleach and other chemicals that can potentially be dangerous to your Koi. No matter what type of treat you decide to use, it is still very important that you do not over do it. To many treats and interfere with their diets, and cause more harm then good. Just do not get carried away, and you will be set. You should pay special attention to the certain foods such as corn, beans, and grapes, as they contain an outer casing, which cannot be properly digested if swallowed by Koi. If you must feed this type of foods to your Koi, be sure to completely remove the outer casings before giving it to your Koi. Koi Population Control Population control is typically easy with the majority of domesticated pets. It is usually as simple as removing the possibility of conception until the time in which the opportunity has passed. Unfortunately, this is not the case with Koi. Koi, no matter whether you want them to or not, will spawn and lay eggs, and other Koi will fertilize them. It is nature, and there is little you can do. Since contraceptive methods are not available for fish, population control really comes down to removing the unwanted babies after they are already born. As a new comer to this hobby, you may simply disregard this information. For whatever reason, whether it is that you feel removing unwanted babies is cruel, or if you believe that the more fish the merrier, you will quickly realize that keeping all the babies that are born could be a potentially harmful situation to both your pond, and the original parent fish. Why Are The Babies Harmful? What is so harmful about having more fish the your originally started with? Well a number of harmful situations can happen. First, Koi can and will grow to us to three feet in length. Koi, unlike some other fish, will grow, no matter the size of their habitat. This will turn a beautiful pond in a wasteful, extremely overpopulated pond. Not only will to many fish cause damage to a smaller pond, but they will not be comfortable in their habitat. When you originally setup your pond, surely you set the filtration system up for a specific amount of fish. Adding extra fish without adding more to your system will ultimately cause a surge in unwanted gases and chemicals in the water that is dangerous to your Koi. Getting Rid Of The Babies There are several ways of removing babies from your pond. One way is to stop feeding your Koi the minute you realize that spawning has occurred. You should stop feeding you Koi for no less then three weeks. Do not worry about your Koi starving, as they will focus more on natural foods if you are not feeding them daily. This "natural" diet includes their young. Koi are not cannibalistic animals by any means, but they will eat their young when they are still eggs or if they are small and resemble insects. Once the baby Koi actually resemble real fish, and the adult fish recognize this, they will no longer see them as food, so it is important to start this process as soon as you notice spawning or babies. While this is a process of nature, you may still find this method to be cruel or unusual. Another way of removing unwanted babies from your pond is to give them away. First, check with your local pet store. Many pet stores have programs in which they will accept unwanted animals and give them good homes. Some may even pay a certain amount for each fish since they sell them, but do not count of this. Local zoos may also have programs. If you know of a local Koi society, you may let them know that you have unwanted babies. Alternatively, you can find a message board or group online and post messages there. Who knows, you may even start another person on a Koi keeping hobby. Join a Koi Community Koi proves to be an interesting hobby, as it is ever changing. The nature of this hobby makes it almost imperative to communicate with others who have knowledge in Koi and Koi pond keeping. However, what happens if you run into a problem when your Koi dealer just is not available to answer your questions? This is when a network of Koi enthusiasts would come in handy. When looking for a community, be sure to check their statistics. While there are literally thousands of communities, only a few are actually active. Typically, statistics are available on their main page. Look for a community that not only has a large amount of active members, but also quite a few posts each day. Once you have found an active community, participate! Post new messages, and reply to others. You may even be able to help someone out of a bad situation! Koi's Past and Future Koi, or Nishikigoi, are quickly becoming popular in the United States. However, few know of thier origins. The first Koi were produced by breeding Carp such as the Asian and German Carp. After years of selective breeding, various color mutations started showing up. The first color patterns were recorded as early as 1805. Today, there are literally thousands of color variations available. The most popular colors found are white, silver, yellow, orange, red, black, blue and green. Combined with the patterns available, the possibilities are almost endless. Each noticeable pattern and color have their own names, which are typically as unique as the color they are referring too. Favorite types vary by country and location. Koi are raised for purchase in countries like Japan, Singapore, Israel, and in the warmer American states such as Nevada and California. Koi can be purchased at most local pet stores. If they do not have stock on hand, typically they can be ordered. Ordering Koi has its advantages and disadvantages. You have more options when ordering Koi, since you do not have to pick from the stock on hand, but the disadvantage lies in the fact that you will not be able to pick specific Koi. Koi, unlike most other fish, will continue to grow until they reach their breeds dictated size, no matter the environment that they are in. Baby Koi can be found as small as 3 inches. Jumbo Koi have even been know to reach lengths of three feet or more. The most common size found is around two feet in length. Koi are omnivorous fish, which means they will eat both meat and plants. This means that their diets are very versatile. Koi will eat pretty much anything that you put in the pond with them, no matter if it is good for them or not. Since Koi do not have a sense of what is bad and good for them, as their owner you must control their diet. Another potential problem is over feeding treats. Again, Koi do not have the knowledge to know when to stop eating, and weight issues may come from overfeeding none nutritional foods. The healthiest treats for Koi are what they would find naturally in their ponds, such as earthworms and tadpoles, but it will not hurt to feed Koi treats such as Lettuce, bread, fruit, and veggies. You should pay special attention to the certain foods such as corn, beans, and grapes, as they contain an outer casing, which cannot be properly digested if swallowed by Koi. If you must feed this type of foods to your Koi, be sure to completely remove the outer casings before giving it to your Koi. Koi are none-aggressive fish. This means that they are suitable to live with other fish such as goldfish or comets. The only issue you may find is smaller, less able fish may suffer from lack of food, as Koi are quick eaters. Koi are so mellow that they have even been known to be trained to eat out of their owners hand. Koi do not have teeth, so you will not get bit if you decide to attempt to feed your Koi out of your hand. Koi have been known to live up to 30 years under the right conditions, so if you are thinking about buying Koi, you must consider this. The record for the oldest Koi is held by a Japanese Koi, who was 233 years old when he died. Preparing Your Koi Pond For Major Storms No matter the area in which you live in, you are bound to come into contact with at least one type of severe weather throughout the year. Recent events such as Hurricane Katrina have shown us that having an emergency plan could mean the difference between saving your pond, and total destruction. Smaller Storms Preparing for smaller storms, and storms that you have more notice on is somewhat easier then preparing for a large storm. Taking a few simple steps will help guide your pond through the storm. 1) Stop feeding your fish. Your pond contains enough natural food sources that your Koi will not starve for a long amount of time. If the storm does any damage to your filtration process, not feeding you fish will cut down on the chance of any ammonia problems later on. 2) Do as big of water change as possible to your pond. In the case that something goes really wrong and you are unable to attend your pond right away, your Koi will have the freshest water available to them. Also, leave out several inches of water to make up for coming rainfall. This way, there will be less chance of your pond overflowing. If you have some type of drainage system, make sure to clear it of any debris so it will work at it's full potential. If you pond is ground level and high waters are expected, you can add protection by sand bagging around the area. If nothing else, this may keep your koi confined within the area if flooding occurs. 3) Net over your pond to protect it from any flying debris. Using the same net you use during the fall to keep leaves out should suffice, as long as you properly secure it down. 4) Remove anything that could potentially blow over, away, or fall into your pond. A good rule of thumb, if you can push it over, so can the wind. Items that could blow away should be completely removed from the area and placed indoors. Large Storms Large storms like the recent hurricanes prevent any type of preventative measures from being successful. The only real way to save your pond in these types of events is completely remove your fish from the pond. First, it is always a good idea to have all the equipment needed to transport your Koi on hand. If you are having an emergency with your Koi, you may or may not have time to make a trip to your local pet store to gather what you need. The equipment needed to bag and transport Koi is small, and easily stored when not in use. Bags- You must have the proper bags on hand to transport Koi. Do not attempt to transport your Koi in trash or regular plastic bags, as they are not designed for this, and may cause damage to your Koi. Unless you remembered to keep the bags you brought your koi home in originally, you will have to make a trip to your local pet store. Make sure to get bags sizable enough to hold your Koi. Rubber Bands- You will need quite a few rubber bands for each bag you buy. Make sure that your rubber bands are good quality, as you do not want the pressure from the water to pop the rubber band in the middle of the transport. Net- You will need to have a net sizeable enough to compete with your Koi. You will never need the net to pull the Koi out of the water with, but you will need it to lead and direct your Koi into the place you want them. Nets can potentially damage your Koi, especially as the larger they get. Paint Bucket- A paint bucket is a better option for catching your Koi, as they cannot hurt your Koi like a net can. Make sure that your bucket is sizable enough to hold your Koi. KHV- Koi Herpes Virus KHV or Koi Herpes Virus is a potentially deadly virus which has recently shown up in the Koi industry. The first outbreak was reported and confirmed in late 1998, early 1999 in Israel. Since then, outbreaks have been reported all over the world, in Asia, Europe, and The United States of America. As with the majority of Herpes type viruses in the world, Koi Herpes Virus is believed to remain with infected fish for their full lifespan. Even Koi that was exposed to the virus at one point or another are considered carriers, even if they did not show signs of the virus. The mortality rate for fish exposed to the virus ranges from 60 to 80 percent. When it comes down to it, any Koi is susceptible to the virus. The only real way to prevent it is to make sure that your Koi is never exposed to it. As long as you are knowledgeable about the disease, the chances of your Koi catching Koi Herpes Virus is substantially less. Koi Herpes Virus Facts Since the first outbreak in 1998, quite a bit has been learned about the virus. Knowing the facts about the virus may mean the difference between potentially infecting your pond, and preventing it. Once a fish has been exposed to the virus, it will always be a carrier. Even with proper treatment, these fish will never be able to go to a new home. Sending exposed fish to a new home can potentially spread the virus to other fish. Likewise, adding new Koi into your pond could cause the new fish to get the virus, and cause a potentially higher mortality rate. There is no known cure for Koi Herpes Virus. Stress does not cause the disease in any way. However, stress can cause the disease to have a higher mortality rate. 74 degrees Fahrenheit activates the disease. This is extremely useful information because it allows for quarantining and testing to see whether or not fish have Koi Herpes Virus. The virus can be spread a number of ways, including coming into contact with infected fish, water in which infected fish swam in, tools used when handling infected fish, and so on. Preventing Further Spreading Of The Virus Once your fish have been diagnosed with Koi Herpes Virus, the only real way to ensure that you do not infect any other fish is to consider depopulation. Depopulation is essentially the elimination of your entire population of Koi. While this might seem harsh, it is truly the only way to completely eliminate the possibility of any other fish from catching the virus. When purchasing new fish, it is a good idea to quarantine the new fish separately from your current population for no less then 15 days. Knowing that the disease is activated at exactly 74 degrees Fahrenheit allows you to expose your fish to the right conditions for the disease to show itself. Koi that live in the conditions for this amount of time and do not develop any symptoms will have a substantially less chance of having the virus. It is important to remember that when you quarantine your new Koi, they should remain under total isolation. This means that you should not allow anything to come into contact with the quarantined Koi, especially items that also come into contact with your current population. Separate tools, food, and water should be used, and never under any circumstances, should the tools used for your quarantined fish leave the area in which they are used. Another important thing to remember is proper hand washing procedures when handling both Koi and Koi items within the same time period. Hand Feeding Your Koi One of the best features of Koi is their lack of fear for humans. Once the Koi understand that you are not going to harm them, and that you are the one who provides them food, they will likely eat right out of your hand with the right training. Hand feeding can be one of the funniest and most entertaining experiences. Koi are none-aggressive fish. Koi do not have teeth, so you will not get bit if you decide to attempt to feed your Koi out of your hand. This even allows you to get smaller children involved. Smaller children will be delighted by the beautiful colors and gentle nature of the Koi. Koi, like any other wild animal, will naturally be afraid of you in the beginning. Instincts tell them to be afraid of you, which is what keeps them alive in the wild. You must build up trust with your Koi, and this takes time and patience. You will not be able to hand feed over night. Koi are omnivorous fish, which means they will eat both meat and plants. This means that their diets are very versatile. Koi will eat pretty much anything that you put in the pond with them, no matter if it is good for them or not. Since Koi do not have a sense of what is bad and good for them, as their owner you must control their snack diet. Another potential problem is over feeding treats. Again, Koi do not have the knowledge to know when to stop eating, and weight issues may come from overfeeding none nutritional foods. The healthiest treats for Koi are what they would find naturally in their ponds, such as earthworms and tadpoles, but it will not hurt to feed Koi treats such as lettuce, bread, fruit, and veggies. You should pay special attention to the certain foods such as corn, beans, and grapes, as they contain an outer casing, which cannot be properly digested if swallowed by Koi. If you must feed this type of foods to your Koi, be sure to completely remove the outer casings before giving it to your Koi. The trick is to start slow. Never make any sudden movements, as this will scare even the most trusting of fish. It will be best to begin hand training your fish from the very moment you get them, but it is not impossible to train a fish that you have had for awhile either. Begin by placing a few pellets or snacks in your hand and submerging your hand under water. Slowly allow the food to fall out of your hand into the water. The Koi may not seem to be paying by attention, but rest assured that they are aware of your hand, and are aware that you hand is providing the food. Do this for a couple of days. After you have dropped the food into the pond for a couple of days, and have gained the interest of your Koi, begin making the fish remove the food from your hand. If the Koi refuse to take the food from your hand, do not feed them that day. You will not stare your fish in this process. They will quickly get the idea that if they want to eat, they must get the food from you. Doing this everyday will get them comfortable with you. Once you have the fish eating out of your hand, then you can start getting your Koi to eat the food directly from your fingers. If the Koi will not take the food out of your fingers, do not feed them that day. Food is your number one motivator when it comes to wild animals, and no fish will simply stare itself because it is unsure of the situation. Once your fish are comfortable with hand feeding, you can alternate between hand are regular feeding. If you are in a rush, there is no reason to attempt to take the time to hand feed. Also, once you get your Koi taking food from your hand, be careful when allowing visitors to feed your fish. Always supervise children and adults alike, making sure that they are feeding the fish proper foods, and not making any sudden movements that will scare the fish. Choosing Plants For Your Koi Water Garden So you finally finished your water garden construction. You have finally come to the fun part of creating your water garden: picking the flowers and plants that will make your water garden a beautiful oasis. Not only should you consider beauty when you are picking your plants, but you must also remember that plants provide another, more important value to your garden, biological life. Biological life helps maintain your pool by doing what they would do in nature. Be sure to pay attention to your climate and area. Some plants can simply not survive in certain conditions, so it is wise to do your research before hand. Talking with your local dealer will give you some idea of what plants you can and cannot have in your pond. Lotus Plants Undoubtedly, since your pond contains Koi, a tropical fish, you may want to keep with the theme and place Lotus plants in your pond. Pretty much everyone with a tropical water garden will want a Lotus plant because the beauty is simply unmatched by other flowers. Lotus plants provide beautiful blooms, and a smell that is unmatched. However, unless you live in an area that sustains temperatures higher then 65 degree Fahrenheit, you will need to have to have a place to house your Lotus plants during the colder months. A greenhouse setup specifically for water plants will work the best. Lotus plants require soil, and a large amount of sunlight. They should be planted in water about 2 to 3 feet deep during the warmer months, and indoors during the colder months. Water Hyacinths If you simply do not have the time to plant and maintain your water garden's foliage, or you are somewhat lazy when it comes to gardening, you may want to consider adding Water Hyacinths. Water hyacinths have become very popular recently because of their simplicity. They do not require any type of soil or planting, you must simply throw them into the water. Only minimal time is needed to anchor them down so that they do not float all over the pond freely. Water Hyacinths are not only pretty, but are also very functional as well. These plants aid in the fight against both algae and blanket weeds. One downside when having Water Hyacinths is the fact that they will take over your pond and yard if you allow them. Water hyacinths are very invasive, and will spread if allowed. In extreme cases, it may even jump the fence and take over the neighbors yard as well. Once they have caused this kind of infestation, it is notoriously difficult to get rid of them. Hidden But Functional Plants Alternatively, you may want to consider investing in plants that are not necessary seen. These plants live below the water line, and provide many needed functions to your pond. Some help you battle algae, put oxygen back into the water, or feed your fish for you. You can find these plants in bundles at your local pet store or Koi dealer. The majority of underwater plants will not need additional support during the winter, so once you place them in the water, you may not think twice about them again. However, the benefits that you gain from having these types of plants make up for the fact that you are not able to actually see them. How To Prevent Heron Theft Herons are beautiful, majestic birds that have one major flaw. Herons love to feast on Koi, and where better then to find Koi then an unattended Koi pond or garden? When you first notice a Heron in your garden, you may not even think of these birds as a danger. Herons are 2 or 3 feet tall, with a extremely large wingspan. They appear to be extremely graceful until you realize that the beautiful sight you were just looking at could have potentially been a thief caught in the act. If you noticed that your fish are missing in action, chances are a Heron is to blame. You may even notice large gapping holes in the sides of your Koi. This happens when a Heron attempts to catch one of your Koi, but does not get a good grip on it. Other will notice their Koi laying on the lawn several feet away from the pond, which is the result of a Heron dropping the Koi after removing it from the pond. While nothing can completely stop this from happening, you can do a few things to detour Herons from eating your pride stock of Koi. While there are many types of technical equipment available to attempt to detour Herons, you will quickly find that these types of detours will only work for a small amount of time. Some pond owners place a fake plastic Heron into their garden. This is suppose to detour another Heron from landing there. This works for parts of the season, until mating season comes. Herons will be more likely to land near your plastic Heron when they are looking for a mate. Various other types of equipment attempt to detour Herons by causing them discomfort. This only works until the Heron gets use to it, or just finds a way around it. The only way to protect your Koi is by watching out for them. A few simple things will not prevent Heron from visiting your pond, but it will greatly reduce the presence of them. 1) Constantly change your routine. Herons are smart and know when you will typically be present. Visiting your pond frequently at various times during the day will greatly increase the chance that you will catch the Heron in action. If you are unable to vary your routine, you may consider enlisting others to visit your pond as well. Older, trustworthy children in the neighborhood may delight in visiting your pond at various times of the day. Giving them permission to visit whenever they want will allow others to visit when you are unable too. 2) If you catch a Heron in the act, make as much noise and frighten the Heron as much as you physically can. Shout, yell, throw things, or whatever you feel will scare the Heron. The more frightened the Heron is, the less chance he is to return anytime soon. 3) Create a hiding place in your pond for your Koi. More natural Koi pond owners have noticed that after a Heron attacks a pond, it may seem that the Heron has got all the fish, only to notice that the Koi start appearing from strange hiding places once the scare is over. If you purposely provide a place for your Koi to hide in the event of an attack, you greatly reduce the amount of fish that a Heron will leave with. Do not worry about your Koi hiding from you, as they should know and trust that you will not hurt (or eat) them. 4) Do not restock your pond right away in the event of a Heron attack. Waiting to restock may send the Heron searching for new feeding grounds. Koi Communities Online Koi pond keeping is quickly becoming a very popular hobby among fish enthusiasts. Koi proves to be an interesting hobby, as it is ever changing. The nature of this hobby makes it almost imperative to communicate with others who have knowledge in Koi and Koi pond keeping. However, what happens if you run into a problem when your Koi dealer just is not available to answer your questions? This is when a network of Koi enthusiasts would come in handy. This network can also provide sheer fun and entertainment. Who better to discuss your hobby with then others who find just as much enjoyment out of it as you do? No matter what the reason you find to join a Koi community, you will find that you are glad you did. The majority of online Koi communities are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and are typically free to use. All that is required of you is to go through a sign up process, and then begin reading, posting, and responding to other members posts. Even if you have never joined an online community before, you will find that it is extremely easy to do so, and the benefits of being a part of such a community is rewarding. In just a few steps, you will be able to start talking with other Koi enthusiasts, potentially all over the world. 1) You must find an active community. While there are literally thousands of communities available online, the vast majority of them are old and outdated, and may not even be visited anymore. Most message boards have statistics available right on their main page, you just have to look for it. Typical statistics include the number of posts for that day and month, the total number of users that are members, and the total number of members currently signed in to the board. The larger the number is generally better, especially when looking at the amount of members currently online. The higher amount online signals that you will not only be able to post and respond to messages, but you may potentially even be able to talk to other members in real time. 2) After you find a community with the amount of activity suits your needs, then you must become a member of this form. Some message boards do not require you to sign up to post messages. This option is a good idea if you do not plan on posting more then a couple of posts. However, if you plan on visiting the board more then that, then it would be a good idea to obtain a member name and password. This will be your identity. Once you sign up, you may be able to create a member profile. Only add information to this profile that you would want the general public to view. 3) Once you become a member, you can begin flowing though the various topic boards. Topic boards break different topics into separate divisions, allowing users to more easier find and discuss what interests them. Topics can range anywhere from Koi keeping for beginners, advanced Koi keeping, all the way to specifics such as Koi behavior and health issues. 4) Once you find a board that suits your interests, you can read and post messages. Remember to only post messages on the topic listed to prevent any confusion and the possibility of your post being deleted. Also, always try to follow typical online typing etiquette when posting messages. Do not post in all caps, spell out each word instead of using abreactions, do not argue, etc. 5) Finally, help out! Other Koi enthusiasts or even people that are new to the hobby will find your opinion helpful and will welcome anything you have to say. Providing the knowledge you have may mean the difference between someone else's pond crashing, or making it through an issue.






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