Getting Started with Koi Ponds: A Comprehensive Guide

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Many household and commercial spaces can take advantage of the elegance of koi ponds. Whether a complement to an outdoor walkway or the centerpiece in your home’s foyer, a koi pond, water garden, or various backyard ponds allow you to impress guests while caring for aquatic plants and beautiful fish.

Ready to get started with a pond already? Contact Backyard Depot Ponds and Landscaping today. Read on to explore koi ponds and what they can offer your home’s landscaping – inside and out!

Koi Fish – Background and History

Feeding koi fish in pond

The history of koi ponds dates back multiple centuries in Asia, where pond owners began collecting and caring for these exotic koi fish. These ponds offer more than just a regular pond for fish. Their history ties to royalty and wealth, making them worth the effort for many homeowners. Today, koi ponds populate countless homes’ landscaping and often feature large koi fish.

Koi descend from the Common Carp, and many Asian homeowners would keep them as a reliable food source for multiple centuries. This captivity led to new breeding patterns, yielding various mutations in shade and color in some offspring. As a response, the owners of koi ponds would separate these more desirable koi from those harvested for food.

After centuries of selective breeding, we have the modern koi that comes to mind when you hear the name. Today’s koi come in multiple breeds and varieties, like the butterfly and longfin koi, adorned with ruffled nasal folds and wing-like fins. Patterns include a range of colors of orange, white, and black.

Even to this day, koi can cost a pretty penny. The most expensive koi in recorded history sold for nearly $2 million. You won’t have to spend that much, but you will spend a bit more than on a traditional goldfish to populate your koi pond.

Koi shows occur worldwide, just like those for dogs and cats, with strict rules and metrics the most spectacular koi strive to meet. Many US koi pond owners get most of their koi shipped straight from Japan. Experts consider these koi more desirable than domestically bred variants.

Common Water Features

Koi pond with waterfall

Such a magnificent fish indeed calls for some amenities that you would not find in other fish ponds. Koi ponds give you practicality and elegance with various fish sizes and options.

Best practice entails between 200-300 gallons of water per koi. Some larger breeding females can call for up to 600 gallons per koi, significantly as their size increases when they develop their eggs.

You’ll need a specific filtration system for your fish and water levels with the primary pond. These setups combine biological, mechanical, and UV filtration methods, among others.

As far as additions and flairs, you can get lights installed in the pool to easily see the koi ponds in all their splendor at night. If you don’t mind the extra noise, a waterfall makes a nice addition and helps with water flow.

Mechanical Filtration

Mechanical filtration devices remove unwanted particles from the koi pond’s water that would otherwise impede biological filtration. Often, these setups include a settling tank, skimmer basket, one or multiple open-cell foam sheets, and a drum or sieve filter.

Biological Filtration

You’ll house the beneficial bacteria which dictate the tank’s nitrogen cycle in a biological filtration unit. The most prevalent piece in most koi ponds includes the pressurized bead filter.

Bead filters store tiny plastic beads that allow good bacteria to attach easily and proliferate. Koi ponds must have weekly backwashing to prevent clogging and compaction.

Alternatively, your options include lava rocks, gravel, matting, bakki showers, recycled strapping, and other non-degrading and porous materials. Proceed with caution, as you can overclean the filtration system if you use chlorinated, hot, or pressurized water.

Alternative Filtration

Traditional koi ponds have UV filters. Paired with a housing, this UV bulb pumps your pond water like the above entries on our list. In the process, the filtration system removes algae and harmful particulates. You’ll need to replace the bulb annually.

Water Climate

Hole in frozen water

You can’t build successful koi ponds without setting up the proper environment for the fish to thrive and make the most of their lifespans. Luckily, koi have some resilience and can even survive around six inches of surface ice in a three-foot-deep pond. Still, you need to retain contact between the air and the water using a bubbler or de-icer to maintain this.

Fountains and waterfalls make tremendous additions in that they aerate the water regularly and efficiently.

Maintenance Routine

Koi ponds only require around 30 minutes of maintenance a week, if that.

Maintenance includes feeding your koi and removing excess debris from the skimmer. Monitor the water level regularly and take note of the behavior and appetite of your fish.

For the best results, always consult a professional. The last thing you want is to miss a critical maintenance step and lose countless fish and hours spent working on the project.

Kinds of Fish That Can Live in Koi Ponds

Goldfish in pond

Unsurprisingly, koi fish tend to populate most residential and commercial koi ponds. But, despite the common myth, you can put various goldfish in the same ponds. The myth states that two species cannot live together, but both have a phylogenic relationship, sharing parasites and helpful bacteria.

Some fancier goldfish may struggle to keep up with the currents in a koi pond, as they require a less swimming-intensive environment. On the other hand, Comet goldfish work splendidly, as well as some species of catfish (so long as they cannot swallow the koi).

Ask a koi breeder about other species to consider for your koi pond to ensure a long and healthy relationship between species.

Getting Started with a Brand-New Koi Pond

Ready to leap into the beautiful world of koi ponds? Start with the experts at Backyard Depot Ponds and Landscaping. Transforming your yard with a beautiful koi pond will add extravagance to your property, and we’ve helped countless of your neighbors in northeast Oklahoma do it before.

Fill out our form today to talk about your koi pond!