koi pond building
Just what is a koi pond? Most of us have experiences in seeing beautiful ponds and water gardens inside amusement parks, zoos, even inside office buildings and private residences; and a pond teeming with Koi fish can give us the urge to build one.
However, because it requires money, effort and time, you should really learn about how much of each goes into building and keeping those ponds in good order.
The Koi fish you are going to keep will actually be your pets. Although they are bred as ornamental and decorative fish, you cannot just leave them swimming around the pond. They aren’t like your decorative jars and other prized items needing only occasional dusting and polishing.
They need a lot of care. You have to take time to feed, clean and maintain your pond to keep the Koi happy and healthy. You need to keep the immediate surroundings of the pond healthy too. Your efforts will be rewarded not just with magnificent Koi, but you’ll see beauty and tranquility within you and your home as you watch them swim and feed in your hands.
The first thing to do before you actually try to build your pond is to know more about Koi and how they are kept. If, for example, your pond is badly designed and built, and after a year or so develops a leak, repairing it will cost you a lot of money and effort. It may even take more to repair it than when you first built it. Your Koi are bound to suffer stress because of this. So before you go to the store and buy your Koi supplies, you should to familiarize yourself with the following Koi-keeping related terms:
Mechanical filtration and why sand filters are bad
The Nitrogen Cycle
Nitrifying bacteria – what they are and what they do
Nitrifying bacteria are chemolithotrophic organisms that include species of the genera Nitrosomonas, Nitrosococcus, Nitrobacter and Nitrococcus. These bacteria get their energy by the oxidation of inorganic nitrogen compounds.
Types include ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB).
Denitrifying bacteria – what they are and what they do
Heterotrophic and autotrophic bacteria
Organic and inorganic waste products – what they are and what happens to them
Both your pond dealer and builder can define these terms and explain them to you, but in order to be a successful Koi keeper, you need to know these by heart and be able to take the proper steps to rectify and stop the deterioration of your pond.
Constructing a Koi pond is both a work of art and engineering. The completed pond should be beautiful to behold and, at the same time, provide a good home for your Koi.
Koi Pond Design
The following are some criteria to consider when designing a Koi pond:
Location: The main goal is to situate the pond where you can enjoy it to the maximum. Usually it should be near the house so you can visit your pond at least twice a day. However, the pond should not be:
where it is accessible to the public and may be vandalized.
under a tree which deposits debris into the pond.
where surrounding run-off water will drain into the pond.
Architecture: Do you have a theme in mind? Japanese- inspired ponds are typical since Koi culture started in that country. However, you can have your own theme, of course.
Size: The bigger, the better. There are two points to remember:
Do not build it so large that cleaning the pond, catching the Koi, or viewing the Koi is impractical.
Leave enough room for the biological filter.
Depth: The ideal depth is at least six feet at its deepest end. If this is impossible, make it at least more than three feet. The primary reason is the health of the fish. Shallow ponds invite predators.
Above ground or in ground: The best angle to view Koi is from above. From this point of view, their beautiful colors and patterns are more evident. A Koi pond ideally needs to be in the ground so one may look down upon it.
Shape of Pond: The pond could be any shape that you wish. The only important factor to consider when designing the shape is that there should always be water movement in all portions of the pond. There should be no static areas where disease-causing bacteria can breed.
Corners & the Bottom: There should be no square corners, only rounded ones. Square corners can form static areas where debris can collect. The bottom should not be flat. It needs to slope 20 to 40 degrees toward the bottom drains so that the waste collects in an underlying sump or distal settlement tank.
Koi Pond Equipment
While your new pond is ready to be populated with the Koi variety you choose, you need to make sure that you have the right equipment for proper maintenance of the pond. It may not be possible to go and buy all the equipments to deal with each and every need, but there are a few must-haves like air and water pumps, water filters, hose and connectors, pond lighting, pond vacuums and waterproof electrical fittings.
The equipment you select to put in your pond will help in its effective management. One of the concerns you need to address, for example, is letting tap water mature so that it becomes fit for the fish to live in. A brand new pond and the water contained therein needs to mature over a period of time. While this is going on, fish deaths and diseases are the most common problems you will encounter. You can purchase a pond care kit to address this problem and overcome fish mortality. Just make sure that the products you purchase are harmless for all types of Koi and plants in the pond.
Filter and Pump Your Koi pond requires a specific type of filtration, as opposed to garden ponds which might have other types of ornamental fish. Koi are omnivorous fish and can be fed up to eight times a day during warmer days. They can consume up to 2% of their own body weight in food daily. Because of this, Koi produce great amounts of solid waste. They excrete ammonia via their urine and gills as they breathe. Koi were bred for their attractive external appearance; but, as a result of this selective breeding, they now have weakened immune systems and require much more care and attention for them to be kept healthy. Above all, they need top-quality water at all times for them to survive and thrive abundantly. For this reason, it is important to use the right type of filter that will handle the pond’s water filtration needs.
A good filter must be able to remove as much solids from the water as possible. This is important for the following reasons:
Solids make the water turbid and, thus, it is difficult to clearly see your prized Koi.
Solids that were not removed by the mechanical filter can clog filter media and make the biological filtration stages ineffective.
Good mechanical filtration can only be achieved in combination with the correct pump flow rates and the right type of mechanical filters. The golden rule to follow is: the bigger the filter, the better it is in doing its function. A filter system cannot be too big, but it can certainly be too small.
Aerators Aeration is a must have for any pond environment, but more so for smaller ponds with lots of fish. It significantly reduces nitrogen levels, especially if combined with the introduction of dissolved oxygen that help decay the waste. Available aerators include fountains, waterfalls, diffused aeration, windmills and paddlewheels.
Koi Pond Liner
It is necessary to use a pond liner to prevent the pond water from seeping into the surrounding soil. There are several types available: concrete, fiberglass, rigid plastic and flexible plastic liners. Each one has advantages and disadvantages, so you need to understand each one and decide what is more applicable to your particular pond.
Concrete pond liners last a very long time. If you want to go for a really permanent pond, use concrete. However, one of the problems usually encountered with concrete liners is that they tend to leak toxins into the water. They are also more expensive.
Fiberglass pond liners have a lifespan of more or less 50 years. They are easy to install and expand for ice and do not crack. One disadvantage is that they look less natural and are hard to disguise.
Rigid plastic pond liners are the cheapest. They can look natural and tend to be resistant to sharp roots or rocks. One disadvantage, however, is the difficulty in installing them. It can be hard to get just the right size hole to lay the liner in and stop leaks and drainage. It is a good choice warmer climates.
Flexible pond liners have typical lifespan of 20 years. They are resistant to weathering and cracking in the cold and heat. They are non-toxic and inexpensive. This type is good in any climate and, because of its flexibility, is easy to install.
Following this, you will need to fill the bottom with sand and salt to delay unwanted growth and make the bottom more level. Then you put the liner in and fill with water. This task actually requires a little work to get it right. However, it is important and necessary.
There are some basics steps you must do before installing your pond liner. First, decide where you want to place the pond (see above) and outline the shape and size with a marker like chalk or colored string. Next, start digging the hole at least 3 inches outside of the line. If you are planning to dig a hole deeper than 3 feet you might need to get a permit. The side of the pond should slope in about 20° from the vertical.
Koi Pond Maintenance
You need to have a maintenance regimen after the construction of your Koi pond.
This includes cleaning, filtering and even adding decorations to it. All ponds will eventually need a thorough cleaning. Decomposing leaves and other debris can collect on the pond’s bottom.
Dirty and foul-smelling water spoil the serenity and tranquility of your pond. The water should be clear, allowing you to see right to the bottom. The aquatic plants you have placed in the pond need to be pruned so that even they will stay healthy and contribute to the total well being of the pond.
A good and thorough cleaning is usually done in the spring and, again, just before the onset of winter. You can check to see if pond maintenance services offer the following:
Skimming off surface debris
Pruning and fertilizing pond plants
Pulling up and removal of stringy algae, sticks and leaves
Inspecting pump and filtering systems
Checking water chemistry, and taking corrective actions when necessary
Visually inspecting fish for signs of ill health
It is very necessary to regularly clean your pond in order to maintain an excellent environment for your Koi. Food left uneaten will collect at the bottom of the pond and, as it decays, toxic substances are produced. One way to minimize this waste is to skim uneaten food off the surface about five minutes after feeding. Another way to do this is to regularly drain and replace about ten percent of the pond water. An added benefit: you can use the fertilizer-rich, drained water on your house and garden plants.
The following are some basic tips and tools to keep the pond water clean and healthy for your Koi:
Never throw coins on the pond. Your pond is not a wishing well and coins are toxic to Koi.
Chlorinated water is dangerous to fish and needs to be neutralized before being poured into the pond.
It is highly recommended that you keep the pond aerated and filtered 24 hours a day.
Don’t let debris accumulate at the bottom of the pond.
Use chloramines remover every time you add fresh tap water.
Be consistent in scheduling to test the pond for any type of irregularity such as chloramines level, pH balance, excessive ammonia or any occurrence that should be guarded against, especially after adding new tap water.
Remember to change or add new water about every three to four weeks.
Look out for parasites. Use the correct type of chemicals to kill parasites and prevent new ones from coming in.
Create and keep a schedule to clean the filter. Even if the water looks clear and clean, you still need to clean them regularly.
Always be ready with medications for emergencies; as well as air pumps, water pumps and other equipments necessary for handling unforeseen happenings.
Have a spare tank equipped with filter and aerator for quarantining and treating sick Koi. This is important to prevent the spread of parasites or sickness to the rest of your stock.
Check out also koi pond filter
koi pond building people ask
How deep should a koi pond be?
A serious koi pond should be at least 3 feet deep and no areas should be shallower than 2 feet.
Any areas shallower than 2 feet is an open invitation to dinner for both blue herons and raccoons.
If you don’t think you have predators in your neighborhood just build a shallow pond and watch what happens!
Can you make a koi pond out of concrete?
Concrete works well for koi ponds because you can make the pond any shape you want.
This durable material will last for decades — an important factor considering most koi live for 25 to 35 years. Concrete also works well for installing large ponds that can accommodate these large fish