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I don't know a thing and just bought a house with a koi pond

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Mom and I bought a new place 4 minutes from my sisters and 9 minutes from my son's..I'm so happy...It's only 5 acres(I'm living on 43 so it's a big difference)..but it's way out on a dead end road,with no one for a long way off,we won't hear people or cars much.. an occational tractor...yay!!! Only 10 minutes from a good sized city(Springfield,IL.)Now I will be close to the good stores again...:-)
I don't know a thing about koi or ponds and we just bought a house with a
koi and lily pond..It's supposed to have about 38 koi in it...I saw about 10 they
look to be about 8"-10",some orange some white and's dirty...about 15 x 15 she said it was 3 feet deep...I will ask her what other colors they are when we go sign the papers tomorrow..YAY!!!..Maybe I can get a photo of their backs,the water is to dirty to see them very well and I don't think they do much for the pond,it need part shade to keep the algae down correct?
I need to know basicly everything...Do I need a filter?
The place also includes(goes with it) about 40 chickens,and a cat that needs spayed... :-(
Here's my New Koi pond..I've always wanted them couldn't afford them then ended up with I mention I was very happy

Thumbnail by JodyC
Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Congratulations! It looks like all you have is a liner and some water, is that right?

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

yep that's correct and a small water fall..with about 38 koi in it...nothing else...what do I need it need cleaned so I can see the

This message was edited Mar 15, 2007 1:25 PM

Columbia, MO(Zone 5b)

I would think that is a lot of Koi for a pond of that size, but I do not have Koi so you may want to wait for someone who is more knowledgable about them. You will have green water in the spring, that is normal. I would definately advise that you get a filtration system of some kind. I have also heard that barley bales will help green water. As far as providing shade is concerned, that is the fun part! There is an unbelievable amount of hardy and tropical water lilies and other plants that will provide shade in the pond as well as beauty for you. If you can you may want to consider enlarging the waterfall, that will help oxygenate the water if you do not want to have a fountain. No matter what you decide to do, I know that you will really enjoy your new home and new pond. :^)

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

I agree, that's a lot of koi for that pond, even if it had great filtration.

There are so many options available to you but it would be soooo helpful to you if you knew something about ponds and filtration to help you make choices. I recommend going to your local library and getting some books on to build them and stuff, they'll cover some filtration basics to get you going. You'll need to decide how much money you want to spend on it and how involved you want it all to be, it can all get very expensive. And because it really is an investment, there's no easy way to tell you what to do, there are just too many choices.

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Thanks..I'll just start's one..we went and signed the papers I went out and feed them some dry cat food..that's what she feeds them anyway it was cold so not to many came to the surface to was only about 45* today

Thumbnail by JodyC
Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

oh heck one

Thumbnail by JodyC
Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

last think there might be a couple giant goldfish in there do they have yellow koi?

Thumbnail by JodyC
New Hampshire, NH(Zone 5b)

Congratulations and welcome to the world of ponding!! You will be addicted in no time! I agree that education is one of your greatest tools. Perhaps even hold off on doing any major changes the first year. Instead, spend that time enjoying your new pond and learning about ponds. As you learn, begin to develop a plan for how you want to improve it. I tried to build my first pond on limited knowledge, designing it as I went, and made so many mistakes that I started over the following year (AFTER spending 6 months reading everything I could get my hands on). Needless to say, the second year's results were MUCH better!! Just be forewarned - the world of ponding is full of different opinions about what is necessary for a healthy pond. Some say you don't need anything but plants, others will say you need a variety of filters. Some say no rocks on the bottom, others swear by them. Read every side of the story and then make an educated decision. Get advice from others, but remember that there will always be a success story for every setup, but it is not necessarily working for everyone. I personally have mechanical and biological filters, bottom drains, no rocks on the bottom, a skimmer - and I couldn't be happier with the results!. But I've heard of others being just as happy with less. For me, less didn't work.

I'm sure you will love you new home and pond. Fish are great entertainers. I can stare at mine for hours and never get bored!


This message was edited Mar 16, 2007 6:44 AM

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

I wouldn't feed them much until it warms up some. They kind of go dormant in the cold.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Ahhh, you've got goldfish, not koi. While they are dirty fish what you have now is not too many, it will be too many next year after this years babies are all grown.

Christina is so right, there are many schools of thought on ponding and what works for one person won't necessarily work for another even if you try to duplicate the setup.

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Well I have to get some baby koi..I've read they are mush friendlier and you can even teach them to eat out of your hand and glodfish hid more than koi..maybe I can gather them up and make a trade at a mom and pop fish store,my son goes to..I want think I'll be selling a few thing before I move and put the money into a filter..i did an online calulation and it's about 5000 gallon pond..gee dies this mean I need a bigger pond for bigger'm already thing about a second one and haven't even got the first one cleaned up..I'm already hooked..and yes I read your not supposed to feed them when it's cold because they can't digest the food right,but that was after I tossed some cat food in there,just because i wanted photo's to show you all..:-)
they don't have to be moved out until may in the meantime..i'll get a couple barley balls..what do you think?

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

LOL It's so easy to get hooked! We have a place here that we can take fish in to trade, sometimes they have plenty of goldfish and don't want them (late in the season) so you want to take them in very early in the season.

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

Oh boy, what an adventure you have in front of you. I echo the advice of others here. Read all you can. What is a perfect set up for one ponder doesn't work as well for another. Me, I have some rocks on the bottom, a waterfall filter, skimmer filter with UV lights, 8 koi, 2000 gal. and more goldfish than I want or should have. I would have to say don't add any fish until you get your filtration situation in hand and don't feed your fish until the water temp is 50 and will stay at 50 or above. Read, read, read. Locate a power source for a pump. Here is a link that will help you figure out how many gallons your pond holds:

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b) comes out to 5062.5 gallons...I will read read..I think I like the goldfish some are very big and very pretty also,but I think it has to many,so maybe I'll pack some up and try to trade them even for some small koi..I'll try I just have to get a few koi...:-)

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

Nooooooooooooooooooooo! You'll get hooked like the rest of us!

Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA(Zone 9a)

Isn't there some old saying about "pain shared" being "pain halved" or something like that?
My neighbor's mother, who was from the old country, used to ask me every time she saw me: "You eat the fish?" I kept trying to tell her that the fish were PETS, but that didn't make sense to her. Finally one day I told her I was waiting for them to get bigger. That seemed to work. I was always afraid she'd be out there with a net.....
Enjoy the addiction!

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

My grandmother was from Checkoslovakia. Fish was a special dinner, especially Christmas dinner. I can only imagine what she would have thought of me digging a hole in the back yard and growing them as pets. With names, no less.

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

That's funny...and yes..I've gone fishing a couple of times..I always tossed them back because I couldn't make myself kill and clean them...I think if I had to kill anything I'd become a vegetarian...

Virginia Beach, VA

I found the pictures Jody. I can feel your excitement and by the way do not waste the food. Start feeding them in May. again congratulations!! Bellie

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

Snapple, I KNEW I had a kindred spirit with you from all of the other forums we both have frequented! I'm originally from Ohio, and my grandparents are Czech as well.

JodyC- you will be an addict in NO time! I would recommend you get a filter with a UV light....look on Ebay for deals, as they can get quite pricey normally. Apparently, if you have an abundance of fish in there, it's healthy water, just dirty water. If you REALLY could, it would be best to net all fish into a kiddie pool, and pump all the water out, get out the years of muck (nice word for fish poop) and refill with clean water. Dechlorinate and add some healthy bacteria (it comes in powder or liquid form) to start the water in a healthy way. That way, when you add your filter and UV light, it maintains clean healthy water, instead of sludge constantly bogging it down. If you have no electicity around the pond, there are solar fountains which can add aeration, but not neccessarily clean the water. Both Koi and Goldfish can come in yellow forms.

Keep us updated as you go along!

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

I'm on a well out there,so no chlorine and they told us it goes dry in the fall,and they haul Mom is going to dig a new one deeper than the one they have,so we will have two wells...a good thing because I'm going to need them since I'm going to have to move all my plants from here to up there and they'll need more water their first year in the ground..I have had an aquarium before and my fish never died,i think i lost a couple the tiny pretty blue ones that swim in schools back and forth at the same time...I was taking treatments for my hep C and gave them to my son,the whole aquarium with about 5-7 fish that I'd had about 3 or 4 years,they were DOA a few months later when I went to visit him or he fed them to his pirahna..brat...25 and still doesn't care for critters like his mama..he should know better I thought I taught him

I'm so excited Bellie..thanks for coming to look at the photo's I was so excited I had to e-mail you...:-)

Merrymary..I already thought about the kiddie pool,just to see what all I have in lady said it's about 38-40 of them...I have to call her and ask if any are koi...if I have no koi...I MUST buy a few small ones,just because...everyone else has them...they sound so neat..I want some too..I sound like a little kid..heehee I think if Iget them young maybe they will get used to me faster than the big ones...I also read maybe I should get some PVC pipe big enough for them to get into incase of cranes,but between Mom and I we have 10 dogs and 8 I doubt I have to worry about cranes..snakes maybe but my outside dogs kill them if they get in their fence..they can't be turned loose though because they will kill cats..:-( I have to keep them inside a fence with an electric fence around the top and the bottom they are smart and will either dig out and go under or climb out right up the fence using their toenails..I know it had to hurt them...I think I will make their fence as close to the pond and my front door as I can to keep bad critters away from my pond...besides i don't believe in keeping dogs anyway from their's just not the right way to care for dogs...I might even get another dog like another Great pyrenees...They are such great dogs to raise with chicken,sheep,goats,ect.if you start them out as pups with them and teach them not to kill from the beginning they guard everything they are raised with until they are to old to,only they don't live as long as smaller dogs do...Mom had one and we had nothing killing the chickens for 6 years...when he got old he stayed in the house(after he died we found out his heart was no bigger than the heart of a beagle) if we would have known maybe we could have helped him live longer...:-( After he started staying inside because he couldn't take the heat any more as was very ill...I caught a fox in the hen house because my dogs were barking,I snuck out there and sure enough it dropped the chicken and ran...I sort of felt bad since the fox already killed the chicken I wish asked it to come back and carry it off to feed it's was eary spring when they started killing them..Now the chicken also come with the looks like maybe 30-40 of them,I haven't counted them yet a couple roosters too...which I just love to hear in the morning but once in awhile they crow at 4am two hours before think he was on a different schedual than he should have been..i also want to get a couple peacocks again,they yell Hhheeelllppp,it sounds like an old lady in distress..Mom sold mine while I was taking my treatments,she didn't want to have to worry about them and I was living up here and they were still down at her house...listen to me I'm way off the subject..I hijacked my own know some folks get upset about that but I really don't that's how you meet people...:-)
I will get back onto the fish/pond talk..I'm glad to hear koi come in yellow I like yellow they show up well,but those red and white goldfish are just beautiful,the one in the photo is a keeper for sure...heck i'll probably have to build on to this one or add another next looks like I have a lot of work ahead of me and I will be needing some more pond plants...I have a few trades in the making...Are there any pond plants that fish shouldn't have?? I don't want to kill them they are so big and beautiful..
What do you guys/gals recommend as far as plants go,something that will give them good cover/shade durning the hottest part of the summer her July-September but I still will be able to see them..and something that doesn't take over to badly I don't mind dividing every couple of year though..I can always trade them or give them away...I can hardly wait until they get used to me feeding them,so I can see them and of course cleaning out the pond will help I'm sure...
Do koi make better freindlier fish pets than goldfish? I read they hid more and koi are easier to train to eat out of your hand,but I imagine they all have personalities just like any other animal, does some are shy some are brave...ect.Thanks for reading my book there is so much to learn and so little 6 weeks I'll be up there and I want everything ready to clean the pond and have a filter in it...Why UV? Thanks everyone...keep telling me anything you can think of I need to know...:-) I really do appreciate all the great information your giving me...Oh hurry up May 1st...I so want to move

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

I have both koi and goldfish.....koi get much larger, so will eventually be able to hand feed them. Feed them in the same place every time, like one particular corner of your pond. When they get use to that, they begin to show up at the corner everytime you go out there. Don't be tempted to over feed! It will pollute the water (the more fish poop, the more toxic the water becomes with ammonia) Get real koi food, skip the cat food. While the weather and water are cool, feed them normal cheerios, so they can digest the food.
The UV light on the filter is to keep the algae out of the water, so it won't be green water you're trying to look through. It clears it up rather fast, usually a week or so later, and you have clear water (unless your water is dirty, such as mud or soil)
My goldfish are around 10 inches, so they look much like the koi. They come in many colors too, unlike the normal "orange" ones you see at the pet store. Sarassas are red and white, shubunkins are calico. Of course there are white, yellowish, black, and orange too.

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi MerryMary..I called the owner last night she said she bought 5 koi two years ago and 1 died so I do have 4 koi in there,now I'm even more excited...And I don't have to buy any,my luck though they are all male or all kind of was hoping for a few babies..I'll probably have to add on..heehee
I will start with the pond filter and work my way up $$$...The lady that has the place going to show me how to shut off the waterfall ect. and how to turn it back on after winter..I also was looking and saw a filter you hook into the waterfall,I wonder how well they doesn't have to be crystal clear but I would like to see the have them healthy..she said she lost 1 fish this winter and it was a big one 18" or so...probably not enough oxygen or a hole in the ice to let out the bad fumes,what ever you call it...she has 3 water lilies in their and some purple iris...and told me I should get something to give them extra shade during the hottest part of the summer,it gets full sun until about 3-4pm...

Mount Vernon, MO(Zone 6b)


You have a wonderful adventure in front of you. I love my pond, I get upset when it turns green but I am working on that also. READ READ READ all that you can. When you get ready to buy stuff check prices from several places online then go to a locally owned supply place and see if they can/will match or beat the prices. Since you don't have to pay s/h you may actually save $$. Ponds are expensive to get going and there is always another fish that you have to have, but you have most of your cost built in to the purchase of the new home so you just have to tweak your pond now. I try not to even look at fish anymore because I have 18 & 4 darned goldfish and that is enough. Mine were all babies when I bought them because I am cheap and I can wait on them to grow up. I have 9000 gallons and that is about twice as big as I had planned on, but I sure wouldn't go any smaller. Have a good time learning and watching your fish.


Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Thanks Peggy..I'm getting ready to reduce the amount of goldfish I have..I'm hoping to trade TheFishMan some of my huge goldfish for some smaller koi..and I don't see any koi in the pond..nothing in there has wiskers..:-(
I'm going fish and pump hunting in another week or two they previous owners are almost moved out and we have started to get moved in I have so many roses,iris,daylilies and shade plants to move I'll be working on that half the just can't wait to see the fish without feeding them since the water is so dirty and way to many fish for a pond with no filter...:-(
Soon it will all come together...:-)
Happy Ponding,Jody

Annapolis, MD

Glad to find this thread!
Just last week we bought a place with an old concrete water garden--at least 25 years old.
It measures 12x16 and the previous owner said he thinks it's about 5 feet deep in the center.
There's a vertical concrete pier in the center, some 'pockets' built into the side and what looks like a shelf made of concrete block on which the lilies and plants are growing.
Spotted about 8 'orange/gold' fish--don't know what kind--I'm guessing goldfish--maybe comets?
There's a huge filter which my husband figured out how to prime and turn on last week.
In two days, the water was really clear--just some green algae (?) growing on one side--in which my daughter promptly found mosquito larvae.
First purchase for the pond was Mosquito Bits!
Also bought a test kit so she can learn a little chemistry this Summer, as well as a few snails and tadpoles--the latter really seemed to like the 'algae'!
The filter is currently hidden by an overgrown juniper and I can't decide if we should cut it down so the lilies will bloom--they need full sunlight to do that, don't they?
The water and sides are so clear in the shaded area, though--and the guy who owns the local pond shop said that there are two different philosophies on sun v. shade and that maybe having a half-shaded water garden was a good compromise.
It seems to be well balanced--hadn't been maintained in any way since at least a year ago when the owners moved away.
Previous owner took the Belgian Boy (urinating) spitter when he left (didn't ask him to--he took all the bathroom mirrors, too!).
I'm glad it's gone, though as I know I would find my 5-year-old doing the same if it had remained.
Have to think of some way to disguise the filter (made out of big plastic stock-feed trough) if we cut back the brush.
Any suggestions on 'Water Gardens for Dummies' type books?
Waiting on Nash's 'Pond Doctor' from the local library.
More soon,
p.s. will post pics for suggestions soon, too. . .

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

Teresa, depending on the filter situation, you can use bog plants IN your filter to disguise it, and the roots of the plants actually filter the water as it goes through. Not sure what part of the country you're in to make a recommendation of plants.
Sounds like the filtration is working well, if the water is clear. The lilies will need a good amount of sun to bloom, but pocket areas of shade are good for the fish during the summer heat. A few more fish and you won't have to worry about mosquitos, they keep the water clear of them.
How lucky you are to have this set up come WITH your house!

Virginia Beach, VA

Helo Jody!!!

Remember me??? Bellie

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Hey Jody,
How about an update on your pond? Sure hope you have it going and fish are healthy and happy.

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