Creating A Koi Pond

The next best thing to visiting Japan and taking in a shrine’s garden, with its sparkling pool full of bright orange koi, is having one built in your own backyard as part of a renovation. You may think remodeling your interior is a big enough project, but having your remodeling company create a koi pond for you is an investment in serenity.

Discuss with your remodeler where the perfect location for your pond would be. Put it away from direct sunlight and under the shade of a wall or an evergreen tree or a palm. Don’t put it under a deciduous tree that loses its leaves, as they can make the pond a mess.

Koi ponds need to be deep, not long and shallow. Koi fish get their daily workout from swimming up and down. Without such exercise, their body composition can suffer. Also, the deeper the pond, the less likely it will have paid temperature changes—never good for the fish. Also a deep pond helps keep predators from using your pond like a sushi bar—raccoons and herons are two culprits in Southwest Florida—and as koi fish can be expensive, you don’t want to have to replace them often. The pond will be dug about 6 feet deep and a vinyl pond liner added. It creates dimension without the expense of a customized hardscape. You may make the pond permanent by having a concrete base poured, but don’t have the pool lined with rocks as they can hamper good filtration. How big should your pond be? Bear in mind that Japanese koi each need at least 2 square feet of pond surface by the time they are fully grown and you will want a few fish to add interest to your pond.

Good filtration is vital. The pond has to provide a place for beneficial bacteria, (which eat the harmful pollutants in the pond), to grow on special media. Add snails, frogs, toads, and turtles to help control insects and algae. Aeration is another big consideration. Special aerators can be installed or discuss the creation of a waterfall with your remodeler. Such a water feature adds oxygen and another element of peace and beauty. For a waterfall, a pump will be installed that circulates half the pond capacity per hour. The remodeling designer will create a waterfall that will be in scale to the pond and its overall appearance. Too small of a waterfall will disappear from view, while too large of a waterfall will look unreal and out of place.

A mechanical skimmer will be installed at the opposite end of the pond from the waterfall so that the surface debris can easily float towards the skimmer without having to fight the waterfall current.

A filtration system will be used consisting of a settling chamber, an external pump, a pressurized media biological filter and an ultraviolet sterilization unit. The settling chamber will collect most of the debris and waste from the water that passes through the bottom drains and skimmer before it can reach and clog the biological filter. Settling chambers are routinely backwashed to remove the collected debris and waste. The pump takes water from the pond via the bottom drains, skimmer and settling chamber, then passes it through the pressurized biological filter and UV light and returns the water to the pond through any combination of ways such as waterfalls, jets (TPRs & GPRs) and/or fountains. The biological filter removes the chemical waste from the pond water and creates a healthy and safe environment for koi and other aquatic life by creating an environment conducive for beneficial bacteria (Nitrosonomas & Nitrobacteria) to grow. Pressurized biological filters must also be routinely backwashed. From the pressurized biological filter the water is passed through an ultraviolet sterilization unit, commonly referred to as UV lights. An ultraviolet sterilization unit alters the DNA of organisms, bacteria, algae and viruses thus rendering them sterile and ending their reproduction cycle.

Once your pond is completed, let the pond stabilize for a few days, then put in a few goldfish to get some good bacteria going in the water. Use a water quality test kit to check the water quality (for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.)

Then you can add the koi, a few at a time (they will get along fine with their goldfish neighbors.) Check also with your local landscape company for a great selection of water plants that can share the pond with your koi and further enhance the beauty of your outdoor area and then enjoy.

Cornerstone Builders of Southwest Florida has lots of experience adding koi ponds, waterfalls and other features to add to the outdoor lifestyle that typify life in paradise. Call us today to come out for a free estimate on your remodeling or renovation project.

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