What do I need to know about water quality?
Not all ponds are healthy environments for koi.  Adult koi require a significant amount of space and water volume.  Smaller ponds of 1,500 gallons or less, can be more difficult to maintain, compared to a pond two or three times it size. This problem is often exaggerated by overstocking and over-feeding.  It is common for first time pond owners to overstock and over-feed.  Koi require 10 gallons of water for every inch of fish.  An adult koi of 18” requires 180 gallons of water, so an1,500 gallon pond is suitable for (8) 18” koi.   Also remember koi can grow at an alarming rate - 3-5” of year is perfectly normal.  The larger the ratio of koi to water the easier it is to maintain.  The size and capacity of your pond filter plays a huge part in your water quality, as well as your water to koi ratio.  Over-filtering is always preferred.  Proper koi ponds must run 24-7, and if the cost of running is a concern, you must look into finding a more affordable pump solution.

Why is my pond water green?
It is not uncommon to experience green water (algae blooms) in new ponds or in the beginning of the season after the winter.  This is normally caused by immature bacteria in your pond filter.  Open top filters such as biofalls are often prone to early season algae blooms due to the wide temperature fluctuations at night.  Pressurized filters do not experience this issue.   Algae blooms can be indirectly dangerous to a koi pond, mainly because of improper usage of algaecides.  Even dying algae, if not properly handled, can cause a second cycle of algae that is growing off the remains of the first.  It can be a frustrating cycle.  Shallow gravel ponds suffer from this cycle more than any other pond design.

What causes poor water quality?
Most Koi keepers know all about the dangers of high ammonia and nitrite waste.  However, long term exposure to decomposing organic waste (common with Gravel Bottom Ponds) also can create a serious health hazard to your koi.

How do I test my pond water?
Testing your pond at regular intervals (weekly if possible) is an easy way to forecast problems.  Basic test kits are all you need.  We prefer using liquid dropper tests over the strips due to their accuracy
and long shelf life.  Test strips are not reusable from year to year.  The key tests you need to perform and the acceptable levels follow:

     Ammonia (NH/3 NH/4+) = 0.0-0.2
     Nitrite (NO2-) = 0.0
     Oxygen = 80% Saturation
     PH = 6.5-8.5 (7.4 is perfect)(daily fluctuations of less than 0.4) Salt = 3.5 lbs per 100 gallons
     Hardness = >80

What do I need to know about PH levels?
Koi can adapt to a fairly wide range of temperature and PH, but they do not like rapid changes.   The more stable the environment the better.  Trying to adjust your PH can be tricky and perfect PH is not what we are looking for.  Stable PH is the goal. 

These tips will help:
      Avoid new concrete work around the pond
      Avoid Limestone
      Be consistent with your water source
      Control your free floating algae
      Don't react without considering your options

What about oxygen levels?
Koi require high levels of dissolved oxygen (80%+).  One of the most common items overlooked in a koi pond is the level of dissolved oxygen required for healthy beneficial bacteria.  Good bacteria requires just as much oxygen as a koi.  Quite simply, without enough oxygen your pond will fail.  A common reason for lack of oxygen is the cost of running your pump 24/7.  If your pump is too expensive to run 24/7, you need to invest in a pump that is more energy efficient.

How do I make my pond surfaces safe for my koi?
Koi are easily injured by sharp or abrasive objects in the pond.  All surfaces that come in contact with your koi should be extremely smooth or rounded.  Avoid having exposed rocks in the bottom of the pond as they can easily damage koi, and trap waste.  Stainless pipe clamps can also be a big concern when there are exposed metal edges.  Be aware that koi also have the tendency to jump, and can jump out of uncovered stock tanks and shallow ponds.

What about predator-proofing my pond?
Predator proofing can also be easily done if it is considered before initial construction. T he simplest way to predator proof your pond is to construct it with vertical walls and avoid shallow sections. Shallow planting sections are one of the most common design problems.  Remember that most predators will not enter a pond if they cannot feel the bottom. They are smarter than you think, and if they cannot guarantee themselves getting back out if they fall, they simply won't try.  Netting your pond is an option in extreme situations, but sometimes is necessary.  Other options are motion sensor sprinklers, decoys, or even just having a multi-colored beach ball bobbing in the water. Movement is the key to scaring predators.

How do I know how many koi I should stock?
One of the biggest challenges that all koi keepers face is to avoid overstocking their pond.  Koi grow rapidly, and can reproduce yearly in good conditions.  A pond can become overstocked before you know it and most koi keepers only notice after it has become a problem.  The general rule of thumb is 1” of fish for every 10 gallons of water with good filtration.

How do I feed my koi to ensure proper nutrition?

Feeding good quality koi food is very important for the health of your koi as well as to the overall health of the pond.  Good quality koi food improves color, promotes healthy bowel movements, and provides steady growth rate.  Cheap food produces bland colors and overweight koi, and will even cause some health issues, primarily fatty liver degeneration.  Freshness is also very important. The vitamins provided in koi food dissipate over time.  You should not use food from previous years. When buying food, make sure you don't overbuy, and never feed your koi food that has been exposed to moisture.

Do not overfeed your koi.   It is our opinion that you should not feed more than twice a day, even if the packaging can often say 3-5 times daily.  Not many ponds can handle the amount of waste that much food can produce.  There is no need to strain your pond filter with more food.  Feeding twice a day will still provide 3”-5” of growth annually.  We recommend that you feed your fish only what they can eat in 3-5 minutes without leaving anything on top.  If you find food in your skimmer or you net food out daily, you are overfeeding.

What about the effects of stress on my koi?
Stress kills.  Koi may be tough, but they can be easily stressed.  In, fact, the number one killer in koi is stress.  It can be deceiving, however, because stress in koi works on a delayed timeline.  Often if a koi shows high stress, we ask the customer what has happened in the pond the last 2 months.  New construction, pond cleaning, new plants or any kind of a change can cause stress.  Even the simple task of buying new koi can be stressful for the fish.  Poor water quality only exacerbates the situation. Stress can be fairly easy to see.  The symptoms can be clamped fins, red streaking in the fins and body, not eating, and segregation from the pack.  The most extreme symptom of stress is severe bleeding from the gills, whichis often found in older overweight koi.  Some simple solutions are to add some extra salt or hydrogen peroxide to the pond.

B & M Aquatics

3408 State Route 94, Hamburg, NJ 07419

973.209.1185 -