Need your imput and suggestions - new koi pond.

Blackshear, GA

Hi
I am finally getting my koi pond I have wanted for a long time. I wanted to post the pic of where it will be and I wanted to see if anyone had some suggestions before I begin.

Thumbnail by GAgirl1066
Phoenix, AZ

It's hard to tell from the pic, but is there a place to sit and enjoy it? Will you be able to see it from a window in the house?

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Paula

Glad you are finally getting your koi pond. I too am wondering about the questions FishKnees has asked - I am also wondering if there is an area from inside where one can sit and enjoy the pond? I know you have to pretty much be on my back deck to see my pond and there are times I often thought it would be nice to enjoy the pond from a window inside the house. One thing I do have is a screened in porch off my bedroom, so at night when we have the porch door open, one can hear the waterfalls. I truly love that sound....

I am wondering as well - what will the dimensions of your pond be? I see the schematic is close to the house, which is not a bad thing - just make sure that any run off from the roof does not end up going into the area you have mapped out for your pond.

I know you are looking for suggestions - probably one of the best suggestions I can offer is to read as much as you can get your hands on regarding the subject of koi ponds. When DH and I started 10-11 years ago with ours, I could not get over how much information there was out there and how much there was to learn.

In the meantime, you can figure out roughly how many gallons of water you will have in your pond by the dimensions of your pond and it would be a good idea to check out various pond filters to see what you want in a pond filter. You want to turn over at least half the gallons of your pond in an hour. This will help with both your filtration and oxygen in your pond.

There are a lot of really nice, knowledgeable people in this forum - so please feel free to ask any questions you have.

Carolyn


Thumbnail by Carolyn22
Blackshear, GA

Fishknees,
Yes I plan on putting a bench or a little bistro table and chairs, not to mention its right by the side door/walkway where I go in and out about 20 times a day and also will be able to see it from my bedroom and garden tub window.

Carolyn,
There shouldn't be any runoff. The roof of the breezeway is slanted to the front of the house for that reason. There will be a gutter installed on the other 6 ft section where rain runs off and directed out in the yard. The pond will be approx 6 x 16 ft. My liner is 13 x 20 so maybe a little bigger, but I know you have to allow 1 ft on each side plus twice the depth. I have been reading up on it and I was just wandering to what extreme I should go. Most books say that the ponds should be at least 3 ft in one spot. My BILs neighbor's pond is only about 18 in. deep and about 4 x 12 and he has (BIL says) 75 in his. I saw it and he does have a LOT of fish in there. I also know another lady that has one and hers isn't that deep either and she probly has about 20-25 in hers.

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Paula

Sounds good so far. The depth accomplishes several things - it holds more water, so temperatures are less apt to have huge fluctuations. Another reason is that koi need to be able to swim vertically as well as horizontally - it exercises different muscles and helps to keep them healthy.

It appears from your picture, that the location will have periods of time during the day where your pond will be shade - this is excellent as this will help to regulate temperatures and shade will help to inhibit algae bloom.

There are different calculations regarding how many fish to have in a pond. I have heard about so many inches of fish to so many gallons of water and there was another calculation, which I cannot remember what that one was right now, but the key to how many fish you can have in the pond is filtration. Your BIL's neighbor definitely has a LOT of fish, but if he has the filtration, to handle that many fish, it does make a big difference. Do you know if they have a bottom drain? Are you planing on having a bottom drain? I know we have discussed bottom drains in this forum before - some people swear by them and other's do not.

Carolyn

Blackshear, GA

I wasn't planning on having a bottom drain. Would that be for draining it or some other function? If I ever needed to drain it, I have a nice pump that could pump it out in no time.

I chose that location because I thought it would offer the best protection from the sun of getting too hot, in the winter of getting too cold, and protection from predators. Not to mention that is where I would see and enjoy it the most.

Thanks for your help!

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Paula

The bottom drain would be to drain off the fish wastes and other cruddies that accumulate at the bottom of the pond. I don't have a bottom drain either, but I know some people swear by them.

Carolyn

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

What about the debate on gravel versus no gravel in the bottom? Side shelves for planters? Places for the fish to hide? That's all I can contribute.

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Quote from Oberon46 :
What about the debate on gravel versus no gravel in the bottom? Side shelves for planters? Places for the fish to hide? That's all I can contribute.


Mary - you contributed a lot! ^_^

Side shelves for plants - personal preference. I know many people have them. I think it is wise to build with the walls as straight up an down as possible. This diminishes any possibilites of predators able to get to the fish. Not sure what type of area youl live in Paula, but there is always the possiblity of herons and if you are in the country, then I would add raccoons to that list as well... The upside to the shelves is if you need to get into your pond, you have an easy in and out to the pond.

Gravel - that all depends on how hard you want to work at keeping your pond clean. Crud will build up with a gravel/stone bottom which will produce anaerobic bacteria which will contribute to fish disease. Gravel/Stone bottoms look nice,but are hard to keep clean. Also, a your liner is going to go gray eventually anyway - so the stark black will not be an issue for long.

Places for the fish to hide is an excellent idea. I know that Mary has little hidey holes that her fish just love. I have a thick covering of waterlily pads, which is great in the summer, however my fish are exposed during the Spring and Fall......



Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

For hiding places, I use drain pipe from the hardware store. It is about 6 inches in diameter, and I get the ones with a joint, so it actually has 3 ends. It makes an interesting swim for them and they can hide in the tubes. In the northeast our two biggest threats are raccoons and blue herons.

Marcia

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Cathy

We too have the heron problems, not so much the raccoon problems. One thing I have always wondered about though is the hawks. I see them circling overhead and it would be nothing for them to drop from the sky and emerge with a big fat koi. I have never read about that happening though. I have seen the hawks and the eagles circling over the rivers, which is why it comes to my mind about the koi.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Raccoons don't attack that often, but they do more visible damage. (They threw the plants around and bit the heads off my fish and left them.)

The herons can sometimes be seen in wait at dusk perched on chimneys.

I lost so many fish in the small, outdoor pond that I put on bird netting which was helpful until there was evidence of raccoons where they had difficulty getting through the netting. We then added chicken wire, but by fall there was so much junk and fallen leaves that the pond was no longer enjoyable.

As a result my loving husband built me a pond indoors with no predators, and they are quite happy. An indoor pond has other requirements, but is not too difficult to maintain. There are five koi and five goldfish/shubunkins. They are happy, however, difficult to photograph. I will not buy butterfly koi again as they are very aggressive.

Thumbnail by cathy166
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Possums tend to reak havoc, bite heads off, and not eat the actual fish, too. If you use straight edge drop down walls, instead of graduated slopes into the pond, you can eliminate many of the predators. Herons need a place to land and then wade into the water, but can't go much deeper than the length of their legs. Although possums and racoons can temporarily swim, it hampers their ability to catch and swim at the same time, so usually look for water that's no deeper than their chests to forage for smaller 6 inch fish that may be around the plants.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Mary, you sound like a pro!

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Cathy, in what way are koi aggressive? Never saw any of mine behave that way toward each other and now I have 6 or 7 little ones in with them and they haven't bothered them yet. Just curious.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

My koi are sloow moving. They just swim around in a very mellow manner, sucking algae off the walls.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Is that now Mary, or their usual. I saw a few koi ponds in Hawaii this month and they were just lazing around as you say. One was a long fin, yellow with streaks of white in the fins. The one pond was only maybe 18" deep and maybe 9' long by 2-3' wide. There were four 12-16" koi in there. bottom looked gunky but water was clear with a waterfall stirring up the surface. Lots of small blackish (tiny) fish, only one had a bit of yellow on it.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Most of the time they are very mellow...they follow me around the edge like lap dogs. Only when I throw the food in do they look like pavlovs dogs and swish around all over each other and splash. But they're not aggressive to each other..or other fish. The nibble on plants from time to time, but that's about it.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Laura and I visited a temple on Mauii in 2007 and they had a huge lake with a gazillion koi (and turtles) and they were like paranha when food was thrown in. Koi don't have teeth do they??

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

No, koi don't have teeth. I have had them put their mouths around my thumb and fingers when I get down on the ground and feed. They all come running just as Mary stated. Mine also follow me around the pond. Ironically they remind me of puppies....

Lewes, DE

My shubunkin are like puppies, too. All I have to do is call out: "Here fishy, fishy, fishies!" and they all swim toward me, even in the winter when they are hibernating. Sometimes they will even let me pet them.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

My largest koi have a floating bacopa plant in their pond and love to move it around and nibble off it. Does't usually get a chance to bloom but keeps them happy.
Wish I could get mine to let me pet them but don't think that will happen.

Bonnie

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Bonnie

Give them time and they will let you pet them. Most of mine won't let me pet them, but they all come to see me when I get down on the deck on my belly to see them. The thing I like about this is that I can check them all out closely to make sure everything and every one is well.

Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

It took a while, but I trained mine to come to the sound of a gong. They make a mad dash across the pond whenever they hear it. Then I sit on the feeding rock and they swarm. I'm hoping to get another gong for the goldfish pond to see if I can train them as well. It helps when you want to check them for disease, parasites, etc.

Thumbnail by dbsmith2
Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

They seem to enjoy the interaction. Or the food.... But I do have to watch the fingers - that's why one is named Hannibal the Cannibal. And Buda is another finger muncher

Thumbnail by dbsmith2
Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Diane

They are wonderful! I just love them. How long did it take for you to train them to the sound of a gong? I lay down on my deck with my head and shoulders overhanging the pond and they all come. I can inspect each and everyone of them closely this way to ensure all is well.

Great pics - I would love to see more.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I agree. Wish I could get mine trained. I guess I need to be more consistent. Of course, mine are smaller so maybe their brains aren't big enough yet to train. LOL

Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

this is the gong. I'm lucky enough to live about 90 minutes from Woodstock Chimes, so I can buy at the warehouse sales.

Thumbnail by dbsmith2
Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

It took 2 years to get them to the point that I could actually handle some of them. They associated the sound of the gong with food within a few weeks, then I sat on the rock every time I fed them, then my hand in the water, then the food in my hand. I feed certain ones first, so they learn that letting me handle them is rewarded.
Picture of the big pond

Thumbnail by dbsmith2
(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Lovely. heavy sigh.......

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Oh Diane,

I just love it. Your pictures are always so beautiful and interesting. When do you typically start up your pond? I see you are zone 5a.

(love the acorns!)

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Diane,
Simply beautiful and your training them is to be commended. I'm sure being consistent is the key. Would be very difficult to lay on my stomach on my rocks but maybe I could sit and dangle my feet in and reach over that way to feed them. Ever since I separated my fish into other ponds they have been very skiddish and panic at the sight of the dip net skimming leaves off the pond. When I just approach to feed them they take off for the other side of the pond. I'm hoping someday they calm down. When I throw the feed in they do come to the top and eat and then kindof ignore me. My husb. could build me a gong but he feels any repeticious noise associated with feeding might work. You are in such a cold climate surely you don't feed them all winter so it should be easier for me in Fl. We have had only 1 freeze so far this winter but probably will get another in Feb. Most days my water temps have ranged about 65 or above. 50 or below I don't feed cause they won't eat anyway.
Your fish are beautiful and I'm sure you enjoy them.
Bonnie

Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

Yeah - I love the acorns except when they clog the bottom drains. I try to start up in April. As soon as it really warms up (June), we drain 1/2 (10,000 gallons), go snorkeling to clean the drains and the bottom and get the water delivery truck here. I add new oyster shells and activated charcoal in huge mesh bags to the waterfall and begin the routine of adding hydrogen peroxide every week.
I think that any sound would train them - I saw a show years ago where an artist in the west had trained his fish to a small gong. When I saw this gong at Woodstock, I bought it right away. I would make your fish work a little harder for the food. Put it closer to you so that they have to get used to you.
Feeding frenzy

Thumbnail by dbsmith2
Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)


DB your fish are beautiful. Lots of different colors makes the pond more attractive.
Will start feeding them closer to the edge where I stand. I used to slap under the water when I fed them I think I should have kept it up. Will try again.
Bonnie

Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

I bought 2 more fish from Sugarloaf Koi when Matt was in Japan this fall. An asagi and a kohaku. He bought some beauties for other clients - but $1000 plus fish are not in my budget.

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Yikes Diane! I thought I was bad when I dropped $575 - but I also walked away with 7 or 8 fish that day. I will tell you though, DH and I have already decided we were not going to spend that kind of money on fish again.

Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

He has one client that constructed a huge glass house with a fireplace to house her pond. It even had a dock and a boat. And I was at his house looking at tiny fish when some people walked in and went straight to the "money is no object" tank in the back. Seriously? Thousands of dollars for one fish? But I will say that if I win the lottery, I want to go with him to Japan one year. Some people fly with him to pick out fish. It looks very interesting and he knows the country and the language. But I still won't spend that much on a fish - I'd rather donate to a charity.

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Diane

I totally agree with you. The only reason we were spending that kind of money on fish is we bought them all from one koi farm and all of her fish are quarantined for 3-4 weeks every Spring before she opens. We decided we would do the quarantining next time and not make such an investment out of the fish.

Amsterdam, NY(Zone 5a)

I just can't fathom fish that cost in excess of $5000 - and people that purchase multiples!!!! Can you imagine if a heron got it (although they were big - maybe an eagle)? And you would have to call in a vet if it became ill. I have to admit paying $200. But that's for special fish, at least special to me.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

I always think that way too....that herons don't see price tags. They could care less if a fish is ugly or beautiful....$12 or $2,000....it's food with scales. The most I've ever spend was $500, and although it was too big for a heron to swallow...it used it's beak to spork it over and over in the head. It survived about 3 more days, and nothing I did could save it. I buy better quality smaller fish, in the 12inch range, and grow them out with patience.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images
    BACK TO TOP