A water element, such as a koi pond, can take your backyard from ordinary to extraordinary. This smart home improvement project can be installed in a single day or certainly over a weekend.
However, getting the pond in place is just the start – the fish are the real stars. Here are some koi care tips to get your new backyard pets off to the best possible start.
1. Remove chlorination from the water: Chlorine and chloramine are common additives to drinking water, but they can be deadly to your fish. Use chemicals to remove these contaminants before you fill your pond.
2. Install a good filtration system: Proper filtration is essential for your koi pond, so choose a model designed for outdoor use. If you’re unsure, consult the staff at your local pet store or pond supply center.
3. Ensure proper aeration: This keeps the water moving and ensures an adequate supply of oxygen in the water. Choose an option that works best with the size, depth and design of your pond.
4. Don’t overload your pond: Adding dozens of koi to your pond at the same time is a bad idea. Add a few at a time, bringing in new fish once the existing ones are doing well.
5. Quarantine newcomers: Set up a quarantine tank for your new fish to avoid the unintentional transmission of any illnesses. Transfer the fish to their new backyard home after a three-week holding period.
6. Check their diet: Koi fish will eat virtually anything, but that doesn’t mean they should. While they can safely snack on ornamental plants, their staple diet should consist of specially formulated pellets. Feed them only the amount of food that can be consumed in five to 10 minutes and space feedings five to six hours apart.
7. Supplement their diet with silkworms: The secret to huge koi is the right supplementation, and silkworms can make that happen.
8. Watch for signs of illness: Torn fins, white spots and other symptoms are cause for concern. You may need to quarantine the sick fish until they have recovered.
9. Keep the pond full: Water evaporates quickly in the sun, which could cause a great deal of stress for your koi. A deep pool gives them a cool place to hang out until the sun goes down.
10. Protect the babies: If all goes well, your big koi will give birth to little koi. If you see any tiny fish swimming around, remove them with a net and raise them indoors until they’re better able to care for themselves.
Having a backyard koi pond can be fun and relaxing, especially if you stock that water with colorful fish. If you care for your new pets well, you can enjoy their beauty for many years to come.