by Ryan Holmes, Koibids
A koi fish is a generally hardy animal that can live for many years, especially in captivity. However, for them to grow and live long, they must be subjected to optimal conditions. One of the biggest factors that dictate if they thrive or not is their habitat. This article will discuss the essential points to maintain a thriving koi pond.
Due to evaporation, water in a koi pond gradually decreases, leaving behind minerals and other substances that may lower the quality of the water. Because of this, it is important to remove at least 10 to 15 percent of the remaining pond water weekly and refill the pond with fresh water to the desired level. Since tap water is chemically treated to make it potable, you will need to add a dechlorinator to the water before you pour it into the pond.
Generally, biological pond filters should be backwashed every two weeks. However, this can change depending on fish load and the surrounding conditions of the pond. You will know when the filter needs backwashing if the reading on its pressure gauge is much higher than usual. An increased volume of water coming from the outlet back into the pond is also a good indicator that the filter needs to be backwashed.
For mechanical pond filters like pump baskets and skimmers, it is important to remove trapped debris every few days, even if the collecting baskets are not yet full. If you let the debris stay in the catch baskets, they will cause the water quality to degrade.
During the filtration process, ammonia in the pond is transformed to nitrate, which is a harmless substance. However, algae utilize the nitrate to grow and thrive, often resulting in overpopulation. Excessive algae in a pond is not beneficial, because aside from being ugly, the algae deprive the koi of oxygen.
To account for uncontrolled algae growth, it is recommended to use algaecides. The frequency of administration differs depending on the type and brand of algaecide you buy, so you need to carefully read the labels and follow the instructions as stated.
Another method of controlling the algae population is to add ultraviolet, or UV lamps to a pond’s filtration system. The UV light coming from the lamp helps kill algae before they can grow and reproduce. To maximize efficiency, replace the bulbs in the UV lamps every year.
Pond maintenance also differs by season. During fall and winter, when it is generally colder, some of the leaves on the aquatic plants in the water may change colors or fall off. To retain the efficiency of the filtration system and to avoid the collection of debris, it is important to cut or trim all dead and dying leaves before they fall into the pond. Also, during winter, the pond’s surface may freeze. To address this, a floating deicer should be used in a section of the pond. This allows for continued aeration of the water even during harsh snowy months.
Spring and summer, on the other hand, are the optimal times for pond cleaning because there is usually a large buildup of debris after winter. The koi must be transferred first to clean buckets with fresh water so you can more easily clean out all the debris and thoroughly scrub the walls of the pond. You should also take this time to replace all the pond’s water with clean and dechlorinated water. If the weather is too hot, you can add an additional air pump to increase the oxygen content of the water to more comfortable levels.
While the water level in a pond does decrease naturally due to evaporation, if the water seems to get low very quickly, there is likely a leak somewhere. It is normal for a koi pond to lose about 1/2 in. of water in a day, but any loss greater than that usually indicates that a leak is present. Repair the leaks immediately so you can stabilize the condition of the pond.
Proper and regular care of a koi pond is not difficult. You just need to follow a regular maintenance schedule to avoid bigger problems.