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Koi Pond Care 101 (Hint: Nets Aren't Just for Fish)

Koi Pond Care 101 (Hint: Nets Aren't Just for Fish)

Find your zen with a koi pond.

Join the many who are finding out just how fun and rewarding it can be to have your very own pond. Take care of your pond to see those colorful fish thrive and grow.

Let's look at what you need to know about caring for your pond.

Koi Pond Set Up

Let's dive right into pond set up. But don't dive head first because Koi ponds are shallow.

A pond can be as shallow as 12 inches in climates that don't have more than occasional freezing weather. If you live in an area where temperatures stay below freezing for several months, your pond should be 3.5 feet or deeper.

Koi Pond SuppliesFor those who live somewhere in the middle, 18 inches is considered okay. Larger ponds may be as many as 5 feet deep. This is ideal.

The pond should be large enough for about 250 gallons per fish. This is based on the 10 gallons per inch rule and the average length of these fish when fully grown.

If you've ever had a goldfish bowl, you know that they produce some waste. But that as long as the bowl is cleaned periodically, it doesn't need filtration.

This isn't the case with koi. These fish produce large amounts of waste that will cloud the water, affect the water balance and create an unhealthy ecosystem for your fish. For best results with least effort, you need a filtration system.

Your filtration will include biological and mechanical filters. The biological filter helps break down the chemical composition of the waste so that it's less harmful. The mechanical filter removes physical matter from the pond, which includes leaves, feces, dead insects, etc.

A bottom drain in your pond will make pond management easier. The drain will be placed at the lowest point in the pond so that debris will naturally work its way toward it. The drain will suck out debris, which it will then run through the filters before returning clean water to the pond.

Additionally, similar to a swimming pool, it's ideal to have a skimmer. A skimmer sucks in water at the surface. Its job is to remove leaves and protein film before they have an opportunity to sink to the bottom.

Add water and balance it.

Stocking the Pond

It's very easy to overstock a pond because you'll typically buy the fish small. 

To attain the ideal collection, consider their full expected sizes, not their current ones.

This may make your pond seem understocked at first. But it won't last long. Overstocking will mean having to cull or find a new home for one or more to avoid an unhealthy living environment for all.

When adding a new fish to the pond, always acclimate the fish slowly over about 1 hour.

  1. Float the bag for 15 minutes
  2. Open the bag, drain about 30% of the water*, add 30% from the pond
  3. Float another 15 minutes
  4. Repeat step 2
  5. Float
  6. Net the fish out of the bag, into the pond

*Never pour bag water into the pond. If the water is contaminated, you don't want to poison your whole pond.

Pond Maintenance

Similar to an indoor fish tank, you should regularly check the chemical balance in your pond. Ammonia, nitrite and unstable pH among other unbalanced water issues can make your fish sick. Prolonged exposure could kill them. Balance the water as needed.

The larger the pond, the easier it is to keep the water balanced.

Water should always be adjusted gradually to avoid shocking the fish. Shocked fish are susceptible to disease. No more than 1/4 water should ever be replaced at a time. And don't forget to remove the chlorine first.

If you have invested in a filtration system, then cleaning the pond should be easy. You'll need to change the filters in the filtration system as recommended so that they'll continue doing their job. Check your filtration systems and remove any buildup regularly.

If you have not invested in a complete filtration system, you will need to regularly remove debris with a net and keep the water balanced to ensure the health of your fish.

Preparing The Pond For Winter

During the winter months, koi will hibernate under the surface of the water. In fact, it's a healthy part of their annual cycle. Before days grow cold, make sure that the pond is clear of excessive leaf or waste matter. You don't want the fish sleeping in feces all winter.

If your pond is overstocked, excess fish should be removed before days grow cold. Stop feeding the fish once they become sluggish. This means that they're slowly preparing to hibernate. Food will just go to waste.


Koi nutrition on a budget will mean less protein, less vibrant colors, smaller size, and likely a shorter lifespan. 

In order to get the most out of your koi pond, you'll want to invest in a premium, high protein, color enhancing food.

People who are on a budget, often choose to mix premium with economy food to get some of the benefits of premium without the price.

Koi are also very fond of watermelon, pumpkin, and lettuce as a treat. However, these don't provide a complete diet.

Only feed your fish what they can eat within 5 minutes. Overfeeding can cause real challenges like difficulty keeping the water balanced, overworked filters, and algae blooms. It can also cut their life span considerably.


Pond netting can help protect your pond from debris and predators. If you don't have a full filtration system, a net can really save your back from the chore of scooping out leaves after a storm or in the fall.

Raccoons and bears may come to think of your pond as their own personal buffet. If these or other predator animals live in the neighborhood, keeping your pond netted at night may be a good idea. 

Stray cats can become a problem, but generally, they'll opt for easier to catch meals since they don't like water.

The Affordable, Easy Way To Care For Your Pond

Caring for a pond isn't difficult and it doesn't have to be expensive if you learn the care basics and know where to find pond supplies for less.

We have the supplies you need to care for your pond. Visit our store today to see how we help you care for your pond. 

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