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POKÉMON and PONDS?

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POKÉMON and PONDS?

I realize that you are thinking…Here goes Eric, losing his mind over some new trend. Okay, admittedly, I do get a little carried away sometimes, but this new trend is on FIRE!

FIND THE FUN

AND, people are getting up off their couches and actually WALKING, (or even running) to catch the Pokémon in their neighborhoods, grocery stores, and shopping centers.

What could be better? Kids can use their mobile phones and their feet! Exercise and gaming all in one! Plus the WHOLE family can join in.

When I am cruising the neighborhood, trying to catch Pikachu and his buddies, I see people of all ages, from 6 to 60 chasing down Pokémon with me. It’s a friendly game, and before you know it, you are bonding with strangers over where to find Diglett. We compare catches, share secrets, and tell each other where to look for the coolest critters.

I recently caught an Arcanine, and I am the envy of all the kids! My kids, and their friends actually WANT to spend evenings with me chasing down Pokémon in the neighborhood several times a week.

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EMBRACE THE ADDICTION

The point is, I fully embraced this new addiction my kids have, and I’m spending all kinds of fun time with them. We sprint around, laughing, yelling, and playing for hours every week.

How does this apply to ponds you ask? It’s soooooo simple. I am not a huge Pokémon fan, but my kids are…..get it? I am doing this to spend quality time with them, and they love me for it. Plus, there are “pond based” Pokémon, AND you can drop a “lure” by your pond so the kids can catch cool critters right at the water’s edge. Just be prepared to meet your neighbors, and their kids, and their friends.

So, when it comes to your pond, take this Pokémon advice and apply it to the pond in your life:

INVOLVE EVERYONE

1. Involve your family and friends as much as possible. Give them what THEY want in your pond to help them enjoy it. Add candles and comfy, plush seating for your wife, put an outdoor TV for your husband with a built in ice chest nearby. Add an excellent gaming chair for your kids with some wifi, and get a hotspot if it is too far from your modem. Even if they are staring at their phone, at least they are out there with you.

GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANTlights

2. Find a way to enjoy the pond after dark. Let’s face it, most of us work 40+ hours a week and can’t begin to enjoy our pond until evening. Pokémon creators knew this, and have special critters that only come out at night. They are practically FORCING you to go play with your kids!!!! Brilliant.

Add lights, night blooming plants, and citronella tiki torches to your pond. It will create such a cool atmosphere, you will want to be there, and you family will too! Put a picnic table nearby, so you can enjoy beautiful, peaceful evening meals by the pond. Fire pits are always a bonus, because what kid doesn’t love s’mores?

FINAL THOUGHT

The real take home here is this, if you are as addicted to your pond as your kids or grandkids are to Pokémon, take my advice and offer them incentives to love time by your pond as much as you do.

And maybe offer to go Pokémon hunting in trade. You’ll be glad you did!

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Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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3 Mistakes Architects Make When Designing Ponds

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3 Mistakes Architects Make When Designing Ponds

Architects really know their stuff when it comes to buildings, but ponds are definitely one of their weak spots when it comes to design, equipment, and circulation.

The real first mistake they make is not having a pond builder in their back pocket for design questions. If they consulted a pond builder during the designing phase of a project, these 3 big mistakes could be easily avoided.

SHAPEshape

Architects are known for making beautiful curving, edges that make very cool nooks and crannies which become debris catchers.

The most beautiful lagoon looking ponds with hidden spot back in the trees and bushes create a pond builder’s nightmare.

The builder must then come in and find a way to filter these nooks and crannies. While it is possible using multiple skimmers, that can drive the price up significantly.

Multiple skimmers could also mean more pumps are needed, driving the cost up further, along with a crazy electric bill later on.

CIRCULATIONcirculation

Fluid dynamics are something architects frequently overlook also.

They don’t take into consideration that the water in a pond needs to flow a particular way in order for filters, and especially skimmers to pick debris from the pond.

When that flow is interrupted, the debris will settle to the pond floor, creating a mucky mess that you must remove by hand later on.

LIFE SUPPORT AREAlife-support

When an architect designs a pool, they are typically very familiar with the equipment used, and spec accordingly.

The pond industry makes this difficult as there are no real standards, so architects are forced to guess.

When the pond builder shows up on the scene, the space left for pond equipment can be undersized, forcing us to invade space designated for something else, or stick equipment right out in plain view, mucking up an otherwise lovely view.

PLANNING YOUR DREAM POND

If you have an architect drawing up plans for your house, insure they are connected with a well trained pond builder that will help make your dream pond possible, while avoiding these simple mistakes.

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Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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3 Ways to Make Your Pond Pump LAST

3 Ways to Make Your Pond Pump LAST

Submersible mag drive pond pumps have many redeeming qualities. They are easy to install, easy to replace, and quiet, (usually). They have a decent lifespan, and can give you and your fish many happy, safe hours of clean, clear water.

The disadvantage of a mag drive submersible pump is once they reach the end of their lifespan, they are not re-buildable.

There are a few ways you can help to extend the life of your submersible pump.

Most important to extending the life of your pump is to keep it clean. Mag drive pumps are a magnetic impeller driven by a magnetic motor. It is literally the magnet making the water move.

The space between the impeller and the wall of the motor is tight, and can be easily clogged with gummy, sticky, debris form the pond.

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This part of the pump needs to be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent that tiny space between the magnets from clogging up. As soon as that space clogs, it can cause the pump to overheat. Once it gets too hot, the motor may be damaged beyond repair.

There is no hard and fast rule like, “change your engine oil every 3000 miles” because every pond can be completely different. Fish load, feeding regimen, filter quality, and even pond volume, all have significant bearing on the timeframe for cleaning your pump.

A smaller pond, with a heavy fish load, and a fish mom that LOVES to feed will need significantly more cleaning than a large pond, with only a few fish, and an owner that forgets to feed 5 days a week.

The first pond may need the pump cleaned as often as once a month, while the second, larger pond may only need the pump to be cleaned once every six or eight months.

The best way to determine how often your mag dive pump needs to be cleaned is to check the impeller at three months of operation. If it is still spotless, check it at 6, then 9, then 12.

Once you find a dirty impeller, clean it, but check a month earlier on the next round.

So for instance, your pump is clean at 3 months, but at 6 months, it’s pretty dirty. Next time, check it at 5 months instead of 6. If it is dirty at 5 but was still clean at 3, you should probably clean your impeller every 4 months. Get it?

Keeping the impeller clean is absolutely the most important thing you can do to help extend the life of a mag drive pump, but there are a couple more things you can do.

Make sure you have excellent pre-filtration.

Your mag drive should ideally be in a skimmer, not on the bottom of the pond. If you don’t have a skimmer, make sure the pump is in some sort of box filled with filter media, or has a pre-filter box that sits on the intake.

These pre-filters will need to be cleaned very regularly, using the same time test technique from above.

If your mag drive pump is in a skimmer, it will be pre-filtered with a basket and pad, a net and brushes, or a net and a pad. Whichever it is, make sure that the basket or net, and the pads or brushes are cleaned at least weekly.

If you have a lot of leaf debris or live in a very windy, dusty area, you may need to do this more frequently.

The last tip may seem weird, but it is often overlooked, and can be life ENDING for a mag drive pump:

Keep the cord protected. Mag dives are somewhat sensitive about their cords. If the gardener cuts it, and then tries to repair the cord, the pump sometimes starts shorting out. There is often no way to fix this, except buy a new pump.

Keep the cord buried in a pvc electric line (it’s the gray stuff) to the plug station. If you can’t get the electric conduit, at least put it in regular PVC. This little buffer may help save the life of your pump.

Hopefully some or all of these tips help your pump to live a longer, safer, life.

Follow us on SnapChat and Periscope for daily PondPro-Tips!

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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How Saving $$$$ Could be Costing You Time

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How Saving $$$$ Could be Costing You Time

Some people have more time than money, and some people have more money than time. In today’s world, you’re always paying with one or the other.

When it comes to choosing a pump for your pond, the same old rules apply, do you want to spend more time working on it, or more money?

Submersible pumps have been used with fish for decades.

In aquariums the pump of choice for time, practically immemorial, has been mag drive pumps. These pumps can be used in ponds as well though, given the right circumstances.

In the pond world, typically direct drive pumps are used. Knowing the differences between these pumps, will help you choose the pump that is right for you.

DIRECT DRIVE PUMPS

A direct drive pump is a powerhouse of a pump. It can push a big volume of water a long distance, or a great height. Sometimes both!

It works sort of like a garbage disposal, using an impeller to sort of grind the water up into the main shaft and push it out of the pump with tremendous force.

If leaves, twigs, or other small debris are caught up in this cyclone, they are ground up into so much small grunge and driven into the filter where they are captured for later removal during filter cleaning.

The impeller is stationary, because you don’t need to take it out for cleaning. Some direct drive pumps need to be oiled occasionally.

Direct drive pumps do use a lot of electricity to fuel their tremendous power. Here in California, that tends to be a cause for concern as our electrical rates continue to climb exponentially each year.

One interesting aspect is direct drive pumps do not do well without a good head pressure (force or friction causing them to work harder) because the motor will spin too fast and burn the pump out early. This incidentally also causes the pump to use more electricity before it finally expires.

A larger pond, or a taller waterfall typically call for a direct drive pump as bigger features want more water movement. A direct drive pump does run a little hotter than a mag drive, so a small pond could run too warm with a direct drive.

MAG DRIVE PUMPS

A mag drive pump is a magnetic body with a magnetic impeller in the middle of it. The outer body makes the impeller turn using a magnetic force, similar to when you were a kid playing with little hand magnets that would attract or repel another magnet depending on the direction they were facing. The turning impeller pulls the water through the pump.

These pumps tend be less expensive than direct drives, and use less electricity. They do not have the power of direct drives though, so you will find that they can not push water as high, or as far.

DO I HAVE TIME, OR DO I HAVE MONEY?

Here is where the “Time or Money” aspect comes in. The mag drive pumps, while initially costing less, and running for a bit less per month, require regular maintenance from you to keep them running.

Dust, and small unicellular algae, along with string algae, sticks, and leaves can bind up between the two magnets of the motor, causing the pump to overheat and eventually fail.

In order to prevent this, after installing one of these pumps, it should be checked at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months to assess debris buildup.

At whatever point you begin to notice muck on the impeller, you know you should back track by a month, and set that as your routine cleaning time.

So, if you check the pump at 3 and 6 months and it’s fine, but at 9 months there is sludge, then you should clean the pump at least every 8 months. This cleaning schedule can be as frequent as every couple of months in very dusty areas like deserts or areas with high winds. It might be much less in a small sheltered courtyard.

Also, if your waterfall is small, you should typically use a mag drive pump because they like the lower head pressure that a shorter fall creates.

One more point on a mag drive. Sometimes, (but not always) when mag drives fail, the impeller can be replaced, bringing the pump back from the dead, so to say. This can be a very inexpensive way to learn the “I need to clean this pump more” lesson. Once a direct drive pump dies, its done for good.

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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A Bevy of Beautiful Butterflies

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3 SIMPLE Ways to Get a Bevy Of Butterflies

Attracting butterflies to your yard is easier than you might think. Planting the right bushes is the most important step, but butterflies will come in droves, and even establish residence, if you provide them a few more simple comforts.

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WATER, THE NEW GOLD

They love a water source. Shallow, with little to no movement, like a shelf in a pond, or even a standing bird bath will work great.

A shallow decorative dish with some small stones in it will work too.

Keep it fresh by changing daily, if it is in a small dish.

No need to create a mosquito haven or an algae ridden mess.

SAFE SHELTER

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Butterflies are delicate, with huge wings to catch air, and a body so light weight, they have trouble fighting the smallest breezes. If you can give them some protection from wind, they will LOVE you for it!

Put up some wind barriers like small decorative fences, paint some old doors and stand them up.

Stand some old, cool looking windows, or even just plant some small trees and shrubs big enough to help block breezes.

Just don’t block the sun too much because butterflies are tiny, decadent, sun worshippers. They love to drink the heated nectar from a sun-warmed flower.

Make sure there are open sunny spaces for your butterfly brood. They will reward you by lounging lazily about the place displaying all their beautiful colors.

PERFECT PLANTS

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Now for the crowning glory of any garden, blooming beauties to attract bevies of butterflies.

Here is a list of plants you can add to your garden to bring those babies to your yard.

And speaking of babies, the right selection of plants will also stimulate the butterflies to lay eggs!

Plants of choice vary from species to species, so if you want a particular type of butterfly to breed, make sure you have the plants they prefer for their young. Monarchs for instance, prefer milkweed.

Allium, Aster, Bee Balm, Butterfly Bush, Cat Mint, Clove Pink, Cornflower, Day lily, False Indigo, Fleabane, Floss Flower, Globe Thistle, Golden Rod, Holly Hock, Honeysuckle, Lavender, Lilac, Lupine, Mallow, Milkweed, Mint, Pansy, Phlox, Privet, Purple Coneflower, Rock Cress, Sage,. Sea Holly, Snap Dragon, Stone Crop, Sweet Alyssum, Sweet Rocket, Tickseed, and Zinnia.

Happy Planting!!!

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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3 Beautiful Ways to get Hummingbirds to Your Yard in DROVES

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3 Beautiful Ways to get Hummingbirds to Your Yard in DROVES

Who doesn’t love a colorful, friendly hummingbird, flitting in and out of your garden? And, yes, I did say friendly. Provide a happy habitat for them to hang out in, and they will get to know you. They actually become down right NOSY! I have one in my yard that follows me around as I do my outside chores, buzzing along just above my shoulder, checking out everything I do!

If I pick up a hose to water some plants, he’s right in the stream, drinking some fresh water. I think that may be his true goal, but I’m still not sure.

waterfall2016WONDERFUL WATER

Hummingbirds love running water. They much prefer it to standing water. They are quite particular when it comes to the freshness of their water!

Water is critical for small birds to stay hydrated, and because of a hummingbird’s extremely fast metabolism, they need constant access to drinking water.

Provide them a gently cascading waterfall, or a pot with water flowing out the top and down the sides. They love not only to drink from these gentle cascades, but they also love to bathe in them.

Hummingbirds love to be clean and fresh and will bathe daily if given the right water flow, and there is almost nothing as cute as a tiny hummingbird bathing in your water feature.

BITTY BUGS

Hummingbirds also eat a surprising number of insects every day, including mosquitoes. If you include some plants that produce fruit that will attract insects, like fruit flies, hummingbirds will flock to your yard in droves. You can also put over ripe bananas out in a shallow dish to attract fruit flies.

beebalm-hummingbirdHummingbirds will consume twice their body weight daily in food, and up to eighty percent of this can be insects. That is a LOT of little bitty bugs.

FRAGRANT FLOWERS

Hummingbirds can be easily attracted to your yard by adding the right plants for them to feed from. They can be lured to stay by adding the other key components to make your yard a haven for them.

Here is a list of plants that hummingbirds are attracted to. Please research each plant before placing in your yard because some of these plants get HUGE!!

Happy planting!

Ajuga
Bee Balm
Begonia
Bleeding Heart
Butterfly Weed
Canna
Cardinal Flower
Century Plant
Columbine
Coral Bells
Cleome
Crape myrtle
Dahli
Dame’s Rocket
Delphinium
Fire Pink
Four O’ Clocks
Foxglove
Fuschia
Gilia
Geranium
Gladiolus
Glossy Abelia
Hollyhocks
Impatiens
Iris
Lantana
Liatris
Lily
Lupine
Nasturtium
Nicotiana
Paintbrush
Penstemon
Petunia
Phlox
Sage
Salvia
Scabiosa
Scarlet Sage
Sweet William
Verbena
Yucca
Zinnia

Pond Clean Out Tips that Could Save Your Koi!

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Pond Clean Out Tips that Could Save Your Koi!

Spring is here and you are itching to get out and plant some petunias, peas, and pond lilies.  We know it, because we feel the same way!

Here a a few quick tips to help you keep your koi fish safe while you get your pond cleaned up and ready to receive those gorgeous plants.

A bonus pre-tip to get you started, don’t try to catch your pond fish until you have the water drained down so low, that their back fins are almost out of the water.  This way there’s no chasing koi and goldfish around, just dip the net in, lure them into your koi bowl and catch them stress free with ease.

ONE

Should you pressure wash your pond?  We say, an emphatic no!  Pressure washing cleans the green stuff off of the rock faces on the inside of the pond. The drawback to that is, that green stuff is called a “biofilm” and has a pretty serious job in your pond.

Biofilm is responsible for helping consume biological debris, such as fish waste, and excess food, that hits the rocks. When you do your spring clean, and pressure wash that off, you lose a good portion of your filtration right at the start of the season. It then takes several weeks, sometimes months to grow it back.

Secondly, the main debris we want to clean out of your pond is behind the rocks, not on top of them, so pressure washing the fronts of them isn’t actually getting rid of the problem.

Your rocks can build up a ton of debris behind them that contributes to the biological load in the pond, resulting in dirty looking water, the potential for sick fish, and undesirable algae growth, like hair algae, clumping algae, and green water algae.

Washing behind the rocks, helps to eliminate the build up and get the real problem out of your pond, and doesn’t remove that very helpful biofilm layer.

TWO

Once you have completed the clean out, we suggest boosting your pond’s ability to bounce back by adding beneficial bacteria for 14 days. During that time we double or triple the dose to push the good bacteria to peak levels.

If your normal dose is 1 teaspoon per 1000 gallons, add 2 or 3 per 1000 gallons for that critical first 14 days. After that resumes normal bacteria additions.

This additional bacteria does two things:

First, it helps boost your filter that has just been stripped of a lot of it’s beneficial bacteria colonies due to the pond cleaning.

Second, when the fish are pulled out and put back for the cleaning, they often stress out a little, causing them to release more ammonia than usual into the pond water. The extra bacteria will help to break this down.

THREE

Sometimes, just like a candlelight dinner with a bottle of wine, a pond full of fresh clean water inspires your koi to spawn, or breed.  I mean it’s clean, and clear, and beautiful?  Of course they want to spawn, right?

The interesting thing with koi is, there is no actual intercourse.  What happens when they spawn is first, much like humans, the male koi chase the female koi around the pond.

Here is where humans and fish begin to differ. While the male koi chase the females around the pond, the females release a BUNCH of eggs freely into the water as the males release a bunch of milt (koi sperm) freely into the water, and the sum total of this is a whole lot of biological waste.

Sure, some eggs get fertilized, attached to rocks or plants, and turn into baby koi, but the majority of the eggs and milt just start decaying in your pond water.  Suddenly, your previously crystal clear, clean water, starts looking cloudy and foamy.

This is a sign of very serious, potential problems.  We recommend you get another water change done immediately.  Somehow, the second water change doesn’t typically initiate a second spawning.  Just get a water change done, and fast, before you lose any fish, which is a very real possibility.

I hope these quick tips help you and your koi this spring.  Good luck and enjoy your pond!

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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The GHOST with the Most – SnapChat

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The GHOST with the Most – SnapChat

Do you believe in GHOSTS? I have proof that 100 million people believe in the SnapChat GHOST.

Here are 3 Reasons I GUARANTEE you’ll find value Following The Pond Digger on SnapChat!

BEHIND THE SCENES, SUPER SECRET STUFF

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Throughout my day in the pond world, whether I’m filming new #AskThePondDigger shows, Koi Discussions, Ponds Gone Wrong Episode, or getting ready to Broadcast Live on Periscope, I’m snapping it up and sharing valuable content that Pond Freaks and Geeks need to know!

In fact, my producer Dietmar Quistorf is constantly yelling at me to stop snapping and get back to work, as I let my Fans and Followers in on all the behind the scenes action.

Catch my freshest content for upcoming YouTube videos before the film even hits the editing table as I snap throughout our day filming.

EXCITING KOI ADVENTURES

When we are building a cool, new water feature, checking on the health of someone’s fish, or putting koi through our quarantine procedures, I snap quick videos and photos for my story too!

This means that you can actually watch the pond come to life instead of just some before/during/after shots on FaceBook or Instagram. It’s great fun to see my crew and I constructing, and playing throughout the day as we build someone’s dream right in their own backyard.

We treat our Koi at headquarters before offering them for sale to the public and we walk you through what we are doing, so you learn the proper procedures for a safe quarantine. We also go to homes to perform biopsies on client’s fish, and you learn signs of problems to look for and the methods we use to treat parasites and bacteria.

Plus, if you live too far for us to visit your pond, and you have a question or concern about it, you can send me some snaps so I can see your koi, and offer you suggestions!

POND PRO TIPS

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Every time I have an opportunity to share a Tip, Trick or Secret that could help a pond enthusiast shorten their learning curve in the hobby, I Snap It Up and post it to My Story!

I’ve Snapped Construction Tips and Tricks on how to cut stone, properly foam in a waterfall and even snapped the best methods for Handling and transporting Koi are just some of the Pond Pro Tips I’ve shared in the last week!

The opportunities for me to share content with you are endless! Catch me on SnapChat and I’ll have you believing in the Ghost in no time!

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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What’s Happening on YouTube!

YouTube Channel Updates!

We love sharing our knowledge on YouTube. We give you, our loyal viewers, all of our experience, including not only our successes, but also our failures, in order to help you have a great experience with your pond, whether you are building one, or just appreciating the one you have.

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So, we are happy to give you our latest news on The Pond Digger YouTube Channel, about our recent and upcoming videos, and some exciting news on turtle views!

We are pleased to share that one of our first YouTube videos, “Turtle Pond Design” has reached 1 million views. We have produced many videos since Turtle Pond Design, that have more views than it does, but it holds a special place in our heart, and will always be one of our favorites.

We also just released the newest in our “Ponds Gone Wrong” series, “The Real McCoy”. This series will help you understand just how critical seaming your pond correctly is. We will reveal some great secrets in seaming, and some critical mistakes that we don’t want you to make!

On February 13th, we will begin filming a new tutorial on building a waterfall without a pond! This is especially great in homes with small children that don’t want the worry of a pond, or for businesses that want the magical sound of water without the liability of a body of water.

Also, we have great tips and tricks daily on Snapchat, and Periscope. Look for The Pond Digger on both sites to get your daily dose of pond fun! We hope to see you soon on YouTube, SnapChat, and Periscope.

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Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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Master These 7 Fundamentals, and You Will Be Well On Your Way To Selecting Brilliant Koi.

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Master These 7 Fundamentals, and You Will Be Well On Your Way To Selecting Brilliant Koi.

  1. Once you have confirmed that the body is correct, good shape, all eyes, fins, and tail accounted for, and no kinks or bends, then you begin to look at pattern and color.
  1. Pattern and color are different. The color is how “deep” and “pure” the red is on the fish. The pattern is where the color is located on the fish.
  1. IMG_9762The white needs to be as pure and close to snow as possible, though when they are young, the white on Koi is more flesh colored.  It whitens to “snow” with age.
  1. There should be some red pattern on the head, and all the depth of the red should be even throughout the Koi.  So, the patterns or islands of red need to be all the same color tone.
  1. On the back of the Koi we are looking for a pattern of “steps” leading from head to tail, with breaks in between. If there are no breaks, the pattern should be interesting. If the solid pattern of red is sort of lightning bolt shaped, it is highly desirable and is called Inazuma.
  1. The red pattern should end before the tail, so the tail is white, like the other fins.  The fins should be pure white with no red, or any other color on them.
  1. If there is a red circle on the head and also red elsewhere on the koi, the red on the head is called Maruten, and the Koi is a “Maruten Kohaku. If there is only red on the head, and no where else, it is a Tancho. A Tancho is another variety of Kohaku.  A good Tancho would have a perfect circle of red on it’s head, perfectly centered between it’s eyes. The Tancho is considered very special because it represents the Japanese flag, which is designed after the Tancho Crane. A very special bird in Japanese culture.

There are many other subtleties to learn, but if you understand these 7 fundamentals, you would be well on your way to understanding the Kohaku, where all koi begin, and end.

Watch This Short Video To Better Understand The Kohaku –

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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