Is a pond with Koi a Koi Pond?
Many people call any pond with fish a koi pond. A “traditional” koi pond is built with bottom drains and external filter systems, but a more natural style of ecosystem pond still makes a wonderful environment for your koi fish and any other fish you may have.
Elements of an Ecosystem Koi Pond
Ecosystem koi ponds can be easy to understand if you have a good grasp of what components go into a basic, functioning ecosystem. An ecosystem pond works with Mother Nature to provide food, shelter, and safety to the wildlife around it. It also provides you with an all-natural, low-maintenance piece of paradise. It’s important to remember, however, that every piece of the ecosystem puzzle must be present and properly installed by an expert in order for a true ecosystem to be in place. Skip one of these elements (or mismatch them) and you’ve got an unbalanced ecosystem that won’t be so low-maintenance anymore.
5 Factors for a Healthy Koi Pond
- Filtration System: Includes the use of both a biological and a mechanical filter.
- A BioFalls® (biological filter) provides surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize and remove excess nutrients from the water.
- A Skimmer (mechanical filter) not only pre-filters the water and house the pump; it also skims debris from the water’s surface to prevent the accumulation of organic materials on the pond floor.
- Rocks and Gravel: Rocks and gravel not only protect pond liners from UV light degradation, but they also provide tremendous surface area for beneficial bacteria to break down excess nutrients in the water and dissolved organic debris on the pond floor.
- Recirculation System: This is really just a fancy way of saying “pumps and plumbing.” The proper size pump and pipe diameter are extremely important for the aesthetics of a water feature. More importantly, an efficient circulation system will keep the water moving and provide the necessary oxygen levels for healthy fish and plants. Your pond expert can determine the optimal system for you based on the size and shape of your pond.
- Fish: Fish are an integral part of any ecosystem, and in the case of koi, they also add a major aesthetic element. Unfortunately, fish are often seen as high maintenance. Contrary to popular belief, fish actually reduce pond maintenance as they graze on string algae and bottom feed from the pond floor. They also make very enjoyable pets, providing hours of natural entertainment.
- Aquatic Plants: Mother Nature’s true filters, plants are great for adding character to a pond by providing color and texture, but from a filtration perspective, they’re second to none. Thriving from the excess nutrients in a pond and depriving algae of its food source, having the right aquatic plants in a water garden is critical for the overall health of the ecosystem.
How Do All These Elements Work Together?
In order to have a successful water gardening experience, you must think systematically and understand the critical role of each ingredient in Mother Nature’s recipe.
The fish nibble on the plant life (and everything else), including the algae.
In turn, the fish produce waste that, along with other forms of natural debris, fall to the pond’s bottom.
Debris is broken down by the aerobic bacteria and the other microorganisms colonized on the rocks and gravel all over the pond bottom.
Once broken down, these substances are absorbed as nutrition by the plants.
The plants grow and are once again nibbled on by the fish … ’round and ’round it goes, infinitely.
So, in a naturally balanced water garden, you have a never-ending aquatic circle of life where all parts complement the others, and play critical roles in the pond’s natural harmony.
What do koi fish eat?
Koi enjoy eating plants, and when planning a koi pond, people generally select foliage that is safe for the fish to eat. Lilies are especially popular for koi ponds, although other types of plants may be used as well. Stocking must also be done with care, as larger koi will cheerfully eat smaller fish or each other, and the fish require regular feeding and inspections to check for general health.
Where do you put a koi pond?
Many gardeners design a koi pond as a focal feature of a garden, and they may include seating around the pond or garden paths, which all eventually lead to the koi pond. Some koi ponds come complete with little islands, bridges, and similar features, and the pond is often designed to encourage people to linger and contemplate the colorful fish. Gardeners who like to meditate may construct a meditation platform near a koi pond, so that they can relax and clear their minds to the sounds of splashing water.