1. Do NOT overstock the pond. You can have only 4 Koi in a 2000 gallon pond. Exceptions are
a. you are a koi veteran and know how to deal with overstock situation
b. You have an excellent filtration system that filters the total pond volume every 15-20 minutes and you have a backup generator and pumps.

2. While adding municipal or chlorinated water to the pond, always add a dechlorinator to inactivate chlorine and chloramines. We recommend Pond Prime or Ultimate.

3. Pond should have a mechanical filter (to remove solid particles) and a biological filter (to remove dissolved chemicals like fish urine, hormones). Best mechanical filter is Nexus EZ Pod and best biological filter is 55 gallon rain barrel with Kaldens K1 media. Don't buy koi if you don't have these 2 filters. Absence of either of these will result in cloudy water, high ammonia and nitrite levels. It takes about 4 weeks at temperatures of 72*F or above for a biological filter to have enough nitrifying bacteria to make water safe for Koi.

4. Pond must be run using 2 pumps. If you run only one pump, and go on vacation, fish will be dead when you return home if the pump fails. Connect each pump to a separate electrical outlet. You must have an aerator. You can connect an airpump to a soaker hose and weigh down the hose with rocks and leave in the pond.

5. Ultraviolet sterilizer: It is essential to keep water clean. UV kills suspended algae. One bulb lasts one season. Always have a spare UV sterilizer and a bulb. If you see algae bloom, fish will be dead by the time the new UV or the quartz sleeve arrives. Do not add algaecides if the algae bloom is heavy. Bacteria that decompose dead algae will consume oxygen resulting in fish death. Same with water clarification treatments. The best way to deal with heavy algae bloom and cloudy water is to make 75% water change. Water is cheaper than chemicals and fish.

6. You must have the following test kits
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, KH (total alkalinity), GH (general hardness), Phosphate, Chlorine, Copper
Ammonia and Nitrite should always be zero. They are toxic to fish but they are end products of fish metabolism. More food always results in more ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Kaldens K1 media allows growth of nitrifying bacteria that convert ammonia and nitrite into harmless products. If there is ammonia or nitrite, that simply means your biological filter is dead.

Pond Prime and Ultimate can bind to both ammonia and nitrite making the water safe to fish for 2 days. But you must resolve the situation within 2 days or continue to add another dose every 2 days. Ammonia burns fish gills and nitrite binds to red blood cells.

Nitrate should be less than 20ppm. If higher, make a water change. There are no nitrate binders but you can pass water through activated charcoal filter. However, pond prime also binds to activated charcoal. High nitrate levels make fish sluggish, reduce appetite and growth. Wounds don't heal quickly.

Stable pH is the key to Koi health. But pH and KH are related. When KH is low, planted ponds can have high pH during the day and low pH at night. Optimum pH is between 7.6 to 8.2. Don't try to adjust with pH reducer or raiser (Muriatic acid/baking soda), rather adjust the KH or total alkalinity to 7dH or 120ppm by adding baking soda. This will keep the pH between 7.8 to 8.0. Bacteria in the biofilter use up KH. So you must add Baking soda on a weekly basis after doing a KH test.

GH should also be constant. Low GH is good for red color and high GH is good for black color. But maintain the GH at the same level as your incoming water.

High levels of phosphate and nitrate create algae bloom. Phosphates come from rotten leaves and fish food. There are phosphate binders (iron hydroxide) but again, water change is cheaper and more beneficial.

Always remember to add dechlorinator when adding chlorinated water to the pond. Chlorine burns fish gills, kills nitrifying bacteria. Water treatment facilities are replacing chlorine with chloramines to purify water because it lasts longer in water but Hypo or Sodium thiosulfate cannot neutralize chloramines.

Copper is toxic to fish. Make sure not to use copper tubes, nails or heaters with copper coils in the pond.

7. You must have the following water treatments and medications
Pond Prime or Ultimate (dechlorinator)
Terminate or Proform C (treats all single cell parasites that irritate fish)
Praziquantel or Supaverm (treats flukes)
Bifuran (kills bacteria including the ones in the biofilter)


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