Koi Supplies – Getting the Essentials Right

Koi fish are some of the most ornamental and beautiful fish in the world. If you’re starting out with your first Koi pond you’re in for a great treat. But understand that it will take some basic understanding of fish, outdoor ponds and the right supplies. They aren’t maintenance free but it’s worth every effort.

If you already have a pond, or if you’re just starting to plan for a new pond, think about including a fountain, waterfall or other water feature that will circulate the water. This movement will not only add to the setting but will insure that the pond is aerated to supply fresh oxygen to the pond. This is important for the health of your fish.

You will also need a filtration system in the pond that is designed to maintain the quality of the water. The filter is used to remove harmful pollutants from the water and help keep your fish healthy. In larger ponds the only way to keep the water moving through the filter is with the installation of a pump. Even though you may have a fountain or a waterfall in your pond, they won’t be enough to let the filter work properly.

There are other supplies that you will need but not use on daily basis. First, plan on checking the chemical level of the pond water on a weekly basis. There are home testing kits that can be purchased at a local pet store that will do the job. You need to manage the pH and nitrate level of the water for the health of your fish. Pond salt and baking soda should be kept on hand to be added to the water when the test show the chemical balance of the water is off. When you add fresh water to the pond from a tap or garden hose, you will need a dechlorinator to add to the water to eliminate harmful chemicals that are found in most tap water.

One of the main reasons Koi are so popular is the brilliant colors that they come in. But this is also a problem when it comes to protecting them from natural predators. Depending on the part of the country you live in these can range from herons, kingfishers, foxes, cats, raccoons, badgers and a host of others. One form of protection is keeping the pond deep enough to keep unwanted visitors from wading in. You can also create overhangs high enough to keep predators from reaching the water. Some pond owners prefer to cove the whole pond with a net insuring the safety of the fish and to keep leaves and other debris from getting in the water. This makes for easy clean up.

Certainly food is a key Koi supply. Koi eat a variety of natural foods but you’ll want to keep a supply of pellet food on hand to insure their proper diet.

This may seem like a lot of trouble at first. If done properly it will be well worth the effort and you’ll enjoy your Koi pond for years to come.

Black Koi – A Variety to Behold

The Black Koi fish is one of many varieties that have been bred over the years. This variety like most of the others, are set apart by their color. First bred by the Japanese, these fish can live for an incredible life span. Some have been said to live for 200 hundred years. The more normal life span is about 25 to 35 years – still a very long life for a fish. As breeding has continued these fish now appear in ponds all over the world displaying brilliant colors and admired by all. When spawning, 1,000 eggs can be laid. The baby Koi known as Fry will start to emerge in about 4 – 7 weeks depending on the temperature of the water. Their color will come somewhat later in about 3 – 12 weeks.

When Koi were first bred by the Japanese from carp mutations they only came in one or two colors.  Now after continued breeding more and more color varieties and patterns have appeared. In the future who knows what might emerge. One thing is for sure. The possibilities are endless.

The Black Koi can grow to 36 inches in length. For this reason, like most Koi they need to be kept in large outdoor ponds. The Magoi species is one of the first all black varieties. They are actually bronze in color but look black when viewed from above. Because this species can grow so large, they are being used to breed other varieties with faster and larger growth potential.

There is more than one variety of Black Koi. The Karasu species is another extremely old variety of Koi. Karasu means “crow” in Japanese and is characterized by black fins and a black body.

The Kumonryu is probably the most popular variety of the Black Koi species. The name means “dragon fish.”  Early breeders thought these fish reminded them of dragons that were depicted in ancient paintings ascending through white clouds in the sky.

Some Koi have the interesting tendency to change colors. The color change is induced by changes in their environment and diet. With changes in the seasons and the change in the temperature of the water, the color of some Koi can change completely. They can be seen turning completely black or white. What’s even more amazing is the fact that they will revert back completely to their original color when the conditions change.

It’s no wonder that having a Koi pond is one of the most rewarding hobbies around. Imagine having fish that will actually change color right before your eyes. Taken care of properly, Koi fish can be enjoyed for many years. It may take a little time and effort to maintain your Koi pond, but the rewards and enjoyment you’ll get is well worth it. Take the time to learn how to take the best care of your Koi fish. They will reward with years of pleasure and enjoyment.

 Koi Gardens – Secrets for Amazing Results

Anyone who has ever been around a Koi fish pond knows what an enjoyment the experience is. So if you are starting out to build your own from scratch or are looking to convert an all ready existing garden pond into a Koi pond, there are several important things to consider if you want truly spectacular results.

Let’s think about the typical garden. Most people think of the beautiful lush green trees, flowers and shrubs that make up the landscape. But for the truly spectacular setting, you need a water element – a pond. The Koi garden takes this theme to next level with addition of beautifully colored Koi fish in a beautifully landscaped pond.

If you plan on building a Koi pond, there are a few things to remember. The size of the pond is extremely important. Since Koi can grow quite large the pond needs to be big enough for the Koi to have enough space to thrive. You will probably want to add more Koi over time to add color and variety to your pond. The depth of the pond is also important to consider. You want your pond to be at least four feet deep. A pond of this depth affords the fish protection from natural predators such as cats and raccoons. The placement of the pond is also an important consideration. Selecting a location that will keep it out of direct sunlight is the best choice. The trade off is debris that might collect on the pond if it is located under trees or next to bushes. You also want to prevent harmful the pond from getting harmful garden pesticides and chemicals in the water. Even a small amount of common lawn chemicals can be kill sensitive Koi fish. So the word is caution and planning.

Placing potted plants in the Koi pond is common for decorating. But unfortunately Koi and potted plants don’t go well together. They can sometimes knock over the pots while trying to dig in them resulting in very messy ponds. The problem can be avoided by placing netting over the pots to keep the fish out. Placing pea gravel and larger river rock around the pots can also help them from being knocked over.

Lilies are an excellent choice for the Koi pond. There are many varieties to choose from so do some research and select a variety that will do the best in your pond. Some varieties do better in shallow ponds while others do better in deeper water. While lilies will provide shelter and shade for you fish they won’t do a lot for oxygenating the pond. So you may want to add other plant varieties as well.

The secret to getting the most out of your Koi garden is to plan out the whole garden area – not just the pond. With just a little time and planning you can achieve truly spectacular results. Follow these simple tips and your Koi garden will give you years of enjoyment.

Koi Filters – Helping Nature

Having the right filtration system in your Koi pond is extremely important. Aside from not giving them the proper diet, improper filtration is the next greatest threat to your Koi. Since Koi fish are more sensitive to the quality of the water then other fish, don’t neglect this buy not having a good Koi filter in the pond.

The purpose of the Koi filtration system is to keep the environmental and biological balance in the pond. Normally the fish waste is removed by flowing water in a large open pond, river or stream. When the fish are contained in a pond without these natural filtration systems, one has to be supplied. The filtration system provides to functions. First, the mechanical filter cleans the waste form the pond trapping it in the filter to be removed during normal pond maintenance. The other function of the filter is a biological one. The filter uses bacteria to break down toxic wastes such as ammonia into less harmful substances such nitrates. This is also known as keeping the proper pH of the water. Now nitrates can also be harmful to Koi but only in large amounts. These two functions are the key to keeping the right environment is the pond for healthy and thriving Koi fish.

Depending on the size of your pond, a pump may also be needed to achieve the proper filtration. In small ponds the filter along with gravity may work fine, but in larger ponds a pump will be required to circulate the water properly through the filter. There are many varieties to choose from. Do a little research and fined the one best suited for your size pond.

Aeration is another consideration for the pond. It is important to have a constant supply of oxygen added to the water. Many owners add a small fountain or waterfall to the pond to stir up the water. This stirring of the water insures that fresh oxygen is constantly being supplied. Good oxygenation is essential for health fish.

You will also need to test the chemical make-up of the water weekly. The easiest way to do this is get a home testing kit at a local pet store. They are simple to use and inexpensive. The other way is to take a sample of the water to the pet store and have them test it for you. Personally, I think the home testing kit is the way to go. I hate to be running to the pet store every week.

As you can see, owning and maintain a Koi pond is never maintenance free. While it does take a little time and effort the rewards are worth it. With just this little maintenance your Koi pond will give you years of enjoyment. Your Koi will be healthier and thrive for years. You have made or are about to make a big investment. Take care of it to reap the rewards and enjoyment you expect. This is one of the greatest hobbies around.

Koi Feeding Secrets

Koi feeding can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of having a Koi pond in the first place.  Many owners have trained their Koi to eat out of their hand. Like many pets the Koi fish will learn to recognize their feeder and swim around you at feeding time. Who wouldn’t want the enjoyment of these fish right in their own backyard?

Koi fish will eat a variety of meat substance and plant matter. If the pond water is kept between 61 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit your fish will always have a great appetite. If you want to give your Koi something special for a treat try lettuce or peas – even bits of watermelons will do fine. But don’t forget that Koi do require a more healthy diet as well with the right blend of protein, fats, fiber, minerals and vitamins – just like you. Koi can get their food from only two sources – their owners and the environment. To insure your Koi feeding provides the best diet most owners feed them pellet food. This can be purchased at most good fish stores. As you feed the fish the pellet food will float on the surface of the pond. This will attract the fish so they can be easily observed. Use this opportunity to inspect the fish to make sure they are healthy with good appetites and they are free of any injuries. The better the diet the better the vivid colors of the fish.

Koi fish are opportunistic eaters. They will eat anything that comes along as long as they can get it in their mouths. They will nibble on underground foliage of plants in their pond and even other fish if they’re small enough. Koi will co-exist quite nicely with other fish just so long as they are about the same size. Koi will also feast on a variety of insects that get within their reach on the surface of the water, and occasional worm found swimming in the pond. So remember a balanced diet is the goal of your Koi feeding program. Just remember it’s not really that hard.

For the winter months don’t worry. These cold water fish do just fine as long as their ponds are deep enough. Their digestive system slows to almost nothing when the temperature gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They may nibble on algae at the bottom but don’t feed them when it gets this cold. The food that gets left in their stomachs can go bad making them sick.

Koi feeding is really not difficult at all. Since these fish have such good appetites keeping them on a balanced diet is not really that hard at all. In fact, Koi feeding should be the time that you really learn to enjoy your fish. Letting them feed from your hand lets you interact with your Koi. Get to know them and enjoy them for many years to come. After all you got your Koi fish for the beauty and relaxation they bring to your garden.

Koi Pond Building - Getting Started

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

  • Biological filtration
  • The Nitrogen Cycle
  • Nitrifying bacteria - what they are and what they do
  • 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.