We don't know of anyone who has regrets over building a Koi
pond. Koi are so much fun to feed, they are true hogs. The only regrets often
are many would build it differently the second time around. Following are some
of the regrets:
- First and most importantly make it as big as you can. Most of
us start out with a pond from 500 to 2,000 gallons, and then build another one
that is 10,000 to 50,000 gallons. The reason is we want more and more Koi. There
are hundreds of combinations of colors and varieties, and we want one of each.
We can't put more than about 20 full size Koi in a 2,000 gallon pond, and to do
that requires a lot of filtration and aeration.
- Second, do not put any goldfish into your pond. Many of us
spend our lives trying to get the gold fish out of there because they breed so
- Third, make it at least 4' deep; 4' keeps out a lot of
raccoons who love the taste of Koi; 8 feet doubles the size. 8' means you can't
stand up in it without taking out a lot of the water, but it will make it a
little more difficult for Great Blue Herons, Kingfishers, etc to clean out your
- Fourth, just in case, have a geometry that will allow you to
put a bird net over the pond. A single Great Blue Heron can eat a hundred or
more Koi (6") in just one meal. They are a very serious threat, and they
can cost you thousands of dollars, particularly during May and June (in
Colorado) when they are feeding their young. Sometimes they will just kill a 2
foot long Koi, and leave it around your pond.
- Fifth, locate the pond out of direct sunlight all day long.
Koi need shade from direct sunlight; you can provide plants (like water lilies)
with plant stands, or clay drain tiles, anything that will give them relief.
Keep it away from overhanging trees if possible so the leaves and needles don't
blow in. However, sometimes we just have to deal with an imperfect location.
- Sixth, you need a properly sized water pump, filtration
system, and an ultraviolet sterilizer. We can help you with those, and we
believe we are more competitive than anyone else. In fact, I don't know of
anyone in the country that can beat our prices. If your budget won't allow a
properly designed filtration system, you can limp along on homemade stuff for
awhile, until you can afford it. We have directions for homemade filters on the
website, but all the money you sink into the homemade stuff will be wasted when
you build a proper system. More importantly, you will work much harder and
longer trying to clean out the filters, etc., than you will with a proper
- Seventh, an inexpensive cattle trough heater will keep a hole
in the ice during the winter hard freezes. They are available in 1,000 and 1,500
watts. Moving water or aeration will also keep it from freezing. You want to
avoid a solid ice cap over the entire pond.
- Eighth, if you have the money we recommend a gas pond heater
for cold climates. Koi don't eat when the water is much colder than 50 degrees,
and they don't grow when they don't eat. A pond heater will greatly lengthen the
growing season, which means they will get bigger faster. It will also reduce the
fluctuations in temperature between a hot day and a cold night.
- Ninth, very few ponds have a protein skimmer, but they are
very useful to reduce the organics causing the foam under your waterfall, etc.
- Tenth, be ready to easily replace 5-10% of the water
every week to keep the water fresh, and to reduce the buildup of organics. Of
course that may require replacement of some of the chemicals more often. Click
here for water change calculations.
- Eleventh, never forget that chlorinated water will kill your
Koi. You need to buffer the pH, and continuously monitor the ammonia and nitrite
(that's different from nitrate) levels. They can kill your Koi, and will also
tell you about over feeding and over crowding. It is also important to test the
chlorine, pH, alkalinity, hardness, salinity, nitrate, phosphate, copper, and
- If you want to hire us to design your pond, or consult with
you on it, we would be able to help you even more. If we design your pond
you will get a 20% discount on Koi purchases.
If you prefer to do it yourself, and many people do, we will
still provide as much help as possible.