DESIGNING THE POND The designing of a pond that will house your prized Koi is a very rewarding experience due to the opportunity to release your inner creativity. It is completely up to you what kind of design you'd like to build, whether that is a natural Japanese style, an expressive modern design, or something entirely different. The point is, whatever you decide to build, just be creative and let your imagination lead the way.
BUILDING A POND While the aesthetic design of Koi fish ponds may be quite subjective, when it comes to choosing equipment and building the pond, there are some rules that must be followed in order to maintain a healthy fish environment. For information on how to build a pond from start to finish, please see our guide entitled 'Building a Pond' (coming soon).
FEATURES OF KOI POND Koi Fish Ponds differ from regular ponds (ponds not housing Koi) in a few key ways. Here are a couple of the many things that must be considered if you're planning on housing Koi in your pond:
DISSOLVED OXYGEN IN KOI POND Koi require a certain level of oxygen in the water to maintain optimal health, growth and reproduction. This minimum level is 6 mg of dissolved oxygen per liter of water. Although koi can survive for periods of time in water as low as 3 mg per liter of water, the fish will likely become more and more stressed with time. Stress should be avoided if at all possible since stress is a primary cause of disease.
Cold water will naturally have more dissolved oxygen than warm water. Therefore, it is especially important to keep an eye on the dissolved oxygen levels during the summer months since the water temperature will generally be higher. One sign that oxygen levels are low is that your fish may become lethargic and as a result may stop eating. If things get really bad, the Koi may come to surface and appear to be 'gasping' for breath. If this happens, you have a serious situation on your hands, and emergency water aeration must commence to keep your fish from dying. It is also possible for too much air to be trapped in the water, in which case fish can get 'gas bubble disease'. This is generally more likely to occur in the winter when water temperatures are low.
AMMONIA LEVEL To prevent a serious koi condition known as 'lamellare hyper plasia', ammonia levels in the pond water must be kept in check. Biological filtration and regular partial water changes are the best defense against rising ammonia levels. The toxicity of ammonia can also be reduced by adding pond or aquarium salt.