A Quick Guide to Koi Carp Ponds
The ultimate touch to a landscaped yard is to add a water feature; an excellent choice that many opt for will prove to be a conversation piece as well: koi carp ponds. Interesting, beautiful and captivating, these ponds are a delightful addition to any yard.
Koi are, quite simply translated, brocaded carp. As opposed to their common bottom feeding cousins that are found in lakes and streams, koi are decorative fish kept specifically for their colorful patterns. Dating back over one thousand years ago, Chinese fisheries began to cross breed the common carp to derive color mutations. They were subsequently brought to Japan within the last 500 years or so, where color adaption practices were continued aggressively. In 1914, koi were put on exhibit in Tokyo; their first introduction to the outside world. This exposure resulted in eventual worldwide interest and demand for the brightly hued carp.
Many people are prompted to either purchase or build a pond in which koi can be kept after viewing one on display. The fish are voracious feeders, yet gentle enough to feed by hand. This characteristic, along with the lovely colorations of the fish, often instigates the desire among viewers to have a pond of their own. For those who have the room to do so, having koi carp ponds are both fun and relaxing.
There is no set standard for how koi ponds should look. Some people have ponds specially designed to match the landscape and the existing structures in the yard; hiring professionals to set the pond and introduce plant life around the water feature. Others take matters into their own hands; digging out and setting the pond themselves. The pond can be of any size and shape as long as it meets the needs of the fish. Many people begin with a smaller pond of up to 2,000 gallons and then wish they had a larger one. As a rule of thumb consider that, at most, around 20 full sized koi can occupy a pond of 2,000 gallons. The pond should have a depth of a minimum of 4’, which will discourage land animals such as raccoons from feeding upon your fish. Even deeper water will allow the koi to be protected from air predators, including kingfishers and Great Herons.
After the size, shape and depth of the pond has been decided, a water pump will need to be installed to provide filtration. Installing an appropriately sized filtration system at the onset will save hours of work later on keeping the water clean for the koi. If your region experiences winter freezing, a heater must be installed. There are inexpensive options such as those used for cattle troughs, or a gas pond heater can be purchased for a bit more.
Plants placed around the perimeter of koi carp ponds will help provide shade during hot summer months as well as offer attractive borders. The koi need to be afforded relief from the hot sun, but trees that overhang should be avoided.
Introducing your new koi to the pond should be done with care. Be sure no chlorine is in the pond water; it must be clean water in its simplest form. The fish should be acclimated to the water by floating the bag they are in within the pond for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add some of the pond water to the bag and let the open bag float for another 20 minutes before releasing the fish. Allow the bag to float sideways, providing an exit for the fish.
Enjoying koi carp ponds is a new yet growing trend. Watching the koi float gracefully through the water is a relaxing and captivating activity that will provide years of enjoyment.