The “Living Jewels” Pond
Koi are often called the “Living Jewels” for their beautiful appearance, much like treasured jewels in bright colors as they flash in the sunlight that filters through the water. As such, they need an environment to compliment their beauty and also to keep them healthy.
A koi pond is built purposefully and it is different from an ordinary water garden feature in your landscape design. There are many different items involved in building a koi pond that will keep your fish healthy and also act as a lovely focal point in your lawn.
Choose the Area
When you decide to put a koi pond in, you will want to choose the area in which it resides very carefully. Since this is a focal point, it’s best to place it near your home or by an outdoor seating area. Your ideal placement will be where it can be viewed from your home through a window or from your porch. You can make a rough outline with lawn spray paint, which is not harmful to your grass, to get an idea of the placement.
Determine the Size and Depth
The next decision to make is the size and depth of your pond. The average hobbyist usually goes for a pond that is between 23 and 25 feet long by 12 to 13 feet wide and 4 feet deep. This size can easily accommodate 15 to 20 mature fish that are 24 to 28 inches long with plenty of room to exercise without appearing overstocked or overcrowded.
Determine the Water Volume
You will need to know the volume of your koi pond so that all the components will be the right size to work together properly and keep your water and fish in tiptop condition. Multiply the width x length x depth to get the cubic feet and then multiply the cubic feet by 7.5 gallons per cubic feet to get your volume of your pond in gallons.
The Filtration System
Water quality is your number one concern when keeping koi. You need to make certain that you have an adequate and appropriate filtration system in place. The best filtration system includes a bottom drain, settling chambers, mechanical filtration and biological processing.
Bottom drains are best if they are continuously gravity fed into the filter system. Gravity fed systems allow the larger debris to stay intact while it enters and settles in the first filtration state. If debris is lying in a drain and waiting to be manually cleaned, it can produce harmful gases that will make your fish very ill. A 4,000 to 6,000 gallon pond will work out okay with one bottom drain, however, if you pond has a larger volume you will want two bottom drains into either two separate filtration systems or one very large settling chamber. You should use at least 4-inch PVC pipe that is schedule 40 or 80.
Settling chambers are best in the vortex or whirlpool style. A swirling motion inside forces the larger pieces of debris to move out to the sides of the chamber and then forces them to the bottom where the purge line is located. Your settling chamber needs to be at least 40 inches in diameter and 40 inches deep to be sufficient for a koi pond.
Mechanical filtration is achieved by placing something in the water to trap or take something out of the water. Cylindrical brushes that are about 4 inches in diameter with at least four rows that have brushes that are overlapped with one another are placed side by side. Choose a heavy-duty type to last longer and clean them every so often.
Biological processing is necessary by a container of some sort of material that is placed outside the pond. You can choose from a number of ready made filtering systems that have different types of filtering media in them. Make certain that it is the correct size for your pond and also for how many fish you intend to keep in it.
Dig out your pond as you planned it and dig out a trench for the 4-inch bottom drainpipe to run to the rest of the filter system. Fit and cut the pipe, set it in place and then glue all of the pipe and fittings together. Returns from the pump and filtration system to the pond are usually made with a waterfall and a few through the liner fittings to create a current by using spa fittings.
Place some old carpet or carpet pad into the bottom of your pond. This provides cushioning for your EDPM pond liner to avoid punctures. Roll the liner up and place it in the bottom of the pond then unroll it up the sides and overlap it onto the surrounding ground. Cut a hole in the liner with a utility knife for the bottom drain and then use aquarium safe adhesive to bind the liner to the pipe.
Start filling the pond with water and working out any wrinkles in the pond liner as the water rises. Place varied sizes of rocks around the edge of the pond on top of the liner to hide it. You don’t want to actually see the liner on the outside or inside of the pond.
Start up your filtration system and allow it to run. You next step is the water testing and getting the levels correct in your new koi pond. Wait 72 hours for the pond water to adjust in chemistry and temperature and to stabilize. Add pond detoxifier to neutralize any chlorine or chloramine and to reduce fish stress and heavy metals in the water.
Start adding a few koi at a time and build your population up with your “Living Jewels.” These tips will help you to build a lovely addition to your landscape for hours of quiet and solitude while watching your koi swimming gracefully through the water.