Building a Koi Pond

building a koi pond

A koi pond is a great place to enjoy nature and spend time admiring your favorite fish. Building a successful, healthy pond will be much easier with some planning and forethought. Below you will find some aspects you should consider for a new pond.

Koi Pond Location

Chances are that if you are thinking about building a koi pond you probably already have a site in mind. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on a final location:

Shade: Koi fish ponds typically need some shade, temperatures in your area ultimately determine how much. If you can’t provide enough shade for the pond then floating plants are a good option, they also help koi hide from predators. Man-made shelters of mesh can also be used to provide shade in the summer and be removed in the winter to allow more sun, they also prevent debris from entering the water.

Trees: Trees close to the pond can cause leaves, branches, or other debris to fall into the pond which is detrimental to water quality. Tree roots can also protrude into the side of the pond, compromising the integrity of the walls. If trees are used to provide shade they would ideally be far enough away to keep debris or roots from entering the pond and yet provide ample morning and afternoon shade.

Visibility: Ideally your pond would be visible from inside the home as well as from the garden or outdoor entertaining areas. Seating close to the pond will enhance you enjoyment of the area a great deal.

Koi Pond Size

How big will you go? This is largely dependent on your site and budget. Your filter and other equipment will need to be sized accordingly. A koi pond should generally be at least 3 ft (1 meter) deep and allow for 25 sq ft (2.3 meters) of pond per koi. A koi pond should also be of at least 1000 gals (3785.4 liters) capacity.

Modern Koi Pond Fundamental Elements

The last decade has seen many technological advancements in koi pond engineering. No matter what kind of system you implement it should perform these functions to keep your pond clean and healthy:

Remove Solid Waste: The koi pond should use a system to remove as much solid waste as possible. Shaping the bottom of the pond somewhat cone-like with the bottom of the funnel leading to a bottom drain will help to accomplish this. Mid-water drains and skimmers will also help to remove fish waste, uneaten food, and debris from the pond. Removing the solid waste before it can break down and pollute the water will go a long way to keeping your pond healthy.

Settle Solid Waste: Organic material collected from drains or skimmers should travel next to a collection point, a pre-filter sieve or settlement tank can be used to accomplish this task and should be cleaned often. This step keeps the organics from dirtying the next stages of the filter so they can do their jobs optimally and require less cleaning.

Filter the Water: An appropriately sized biological filter will convert deadly ammonia into harmless nitrate. Filter returns such as jets or waterfalls keep the water circulating which improves oxygen levels and the health of the pond.

Koi Pond Construction Styles

There are several styles of koi pond construction, they can be used separately or combined to create a hybrid system.

Dedicated Koi Pond: A dedicated koi pond is constructed only to meet the needs of the fish. Typically deeper and using a larger filter system, the dedicated koi pond also allows the owner to use salt in concentrations from .05 to 1% which reduces parasites, provides stress relief for koi, and promotes the healing of wounds. Salt can be used in a dedicated koi pond since there are no plants, salt in these concentrations will typically kill most aquatic plants.

Water Garden: A water garden pond generally incorporates live plants and typically does not use a gravel substrate. Usually a slower water flow is used without a waterfall to keep water lillies undisturbed.

Eco-System Pond: An Eco-System Pond is an simple economical construction style. Typically a waterfall and skimmer are used and a gravel substrate provides surface area for benefecial bacteria to grow. If using a waterfall we suggest a cleanout drain which greatly simplifies cleaning. Liberal use of plants are used in an Eco-System pond and contribute to pond health.

Hybrid Pond: A hybrid koi pond uses any and all elements of pond styles, additional equipment can be added such as UV sterilizers, aerators, ozone, etc.

Mud pond: A koi mud pond is generally used by more experienced koi keepers. A mud pond is exactly what it sounds like and generally doesn’t use filtration but good pond management can actually be a more complicated process than other styles.