If you were getting ready to build a koi pond, and you wanted the opinion of the top 10 koi pond builders around the world, you would get 10, or possibly 11 different answers.
They have different ideas for filters, returns, where to UV or to not UV, pond skimmer selection, size, or depth!
You name it, every choice could be different for every builder.
We understand this can be confusing for someone just getting into the hobby, and amidst the debating and arguing, we would like to show you what all KOI EXPERTS actually do agree on; which quite frankly, is not much.
1. GET OUT THE WASTE
The first thing is to “REMOVE ALL ORGANIC WASTE FROM THE POND.”
By organics, I mean fish poop, excess fish food, leaves, pollen, dust, and anything else that is floating (or sinking) around in your pond.
Now, of course they may not agree on the BEST METHOD of removal, but they want that stuff out of the pond.
A few methods of removing the organics from the pond are skimmers, and bottom drains.
When debris hits the surface, good skimming will pull it out of the pond and into the skimmer 24/7.
If you have debris trying to settle on the pond’s floor, then a bottom drain can be installed, which will pull stuff out 24/7 also.
Another alternative if you don’t have a bottom drain, is to vacuum the pond on a weekly or biweekly basis.
2. SEPARATE SOLIDS
The next point the top koi experts in the world will all agree on is to “Separate solids before filtration.”
There are a few ways to do this too, so of course there is plenty of room for disagreement.
One spot to separate solids is between the pump and the bottom drain. There are a couple of ways to achieve this.
There are settlement tanks, a large chamber the water swirls around in before it is pulled through the pump that allows solids to “fall out” of suspension. Then you empty the sludgey muck out of the bottom of the tank on a routine basis.
Then there are sieves. A sieve has an area where the water slowly pours over a fine screen to catch the debris out of the water before it goes to the pump. The screen can then be cleaned to remove captured debris as needed.
Another place to separate solids is between the pump and the filter. A small unit relatively speaking called a “multi-cyclone” that swirls the water in a chamber so the solids can spin out of suspension. The unit can then be cleaned of the captured waste.
3. NITRIFY THE WATER
The last point all koi experts will agree on, although not how to do it, is “nitrifying” or filtering the water before it is sent back to the pond.
After the water is pulled from the pond, and goes through the pump, before it goes back in to the pond, it needs to be cleaned and purified for the fish.
There are many ways to do this including but not limited too, waterfall filters, pressurized filters, up flow filters, down flow filters, shower filters, and more. The list goes on and on.
Now that you understand the three fundamentals that all koi experts will agree on, you can evaluate your personal koi pond and/or you can decide on how you might want to accomplish each of these important steps on that new dedicated koi ponds you are planning to build!
Of course if you are looking to ask 10 experts for a design we would love to provide you with one of the 11….
Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!
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The name “Heron” evokes many emotions from pond owners, and none of them are good. They can range from devastation to hatred due to the loss of their beloved koi collection! Here’s a few tidbits to help you beef up your anti-heron arsenal, because we know, “Knowledge is Power” and this is one smart bird.
- Herons can live up to fifteen years, reaching four and a half feet tall, with a six foot six inch wingspan.
- They lay as many as 7 eggs annually, continually re-populating your neighborhood with new offspring to consume your precious koi!
- They are absolute Pro fishermen. They earn their living hunting dark colored, (well disguised), super fast, fish from dark, murky waters in the wild.
- Imagine their sheer joy when they discover your CLEAR pond water filled with BRIGHTLY colored, slow moving (compared to their wild counterparts) koi and goldfish!
- It’s literally like spearing fish in a barrel. Remember the old adage, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”?
- The more you learn about Herons, the more likely you’ll be able to outsmart them. Here is what herons know about your pond, that you never knew they knew.
#1. MEAL PLANNING
They know where their next meal is coming from. That 15 year lifespan is important because once they learn your pond’s location, each time they migrate through your area, every spring and fall, like Arnold Schwarzeneggar, they WILL be back.
For the next FIFTEEN years, your pond is on their flight plan.You can take extra precautions during these seasons to help prevent loss
#2. FULL MOON MADNESS
Herons are typically crepuscular, stalking your koi only in the early morning hours and at the failing light of dusk, but 3 days a month, they can eat your koi ALL NIGHT LONG!
When the moon is full, and the nights before and after the full moon, there is enough light for that ultra-determined predator to wait until you are tucked in before stealing your family jewels.
#3. FEEDING YOUR FISH
This is the most incredible factoid that will shock, and maybe even disgust you.
Herons are smart, you know that, and patient, standing for hours at the pond’s edge waiting for the koi to get comfortable enough to swim near their scary shadow, but did you know they will FEED your koi?
Thats right, those genius predators know that if they regurgitate in to your pond, the fish will come running to that smell, because of course just like in a heron’s belly, the main ingredient in koi food is FISH!
Your darling babies, so well trained to come to the smell of koi food, will literally come RUNNING to heron barf.
There is no 100% way to insure you koi are safe, unless you fully enclose your pond, but here are a few tricks to try:
- A scarecrow; a motion sensor sprinkler that shoots the heron, and anyone else approaching your pond, with a harmless, but SCARY stream of water. Change batteries MONTHLY!
- Netting over your pond. Helps keep out leaves too! Fishing line in a pattern over the pond, or as a trip wire around the pond.
- Trees, shade sails, or a gazebo creating a safety canopy over the pond
- Hotwire around the pond-shocking but not deadly
- Heron statue-used to establish “territory claimed”- needs to be moved several times a week to replicate live birds.
- Dogs- VERY effective deterrent, especially bird dogs!
Here at The Pond Digger, we believe in water changes and would like to see a small percentage done weekly. Not a lot; maybe as little as 25 gallons per 1000 gallons of pond water. This accomplishes a ton of beneficial activities in a very short time frame that ultimately give your fish a cleaner, healthier home to live in and reduce the risk of diseases.
The Helix Life Support Filtration equipment help to support that goal. The Helix Waterfall Filters are cleaned by running water out of the pond as they rinse the media out. This equals a water change, and is frequently as much as you need to do to get that weekly percentage that totals 10% water change a month.
Also, when you are performing this filter media rinsing, you are using your pond water, not hose water to accomplish it, so it keeps all your beneficial bacteria from being damaged by the chlorine in your tap water.
The cleaning sends waste water, loaded with emulsified biological waste in the form of fish poop, fish food, and ground up plant materials, directly to your yard where they work as AMAZING fertilizer for your garden, fruit trees, or even your lawn. This same debris left in the pond is what fed the bad algae. By removing the food, you starve out the algae.
The benefits are adding up, right?
Now, this cleaning/water change accomplishes something even more amazing in the pond itself for your fish.
The fish poop, food, leaves, pollen, dust, and any other biological waste in the pond are food for the algae, so removing them means you will have less undesirable algae.
Tap water is loaded with oxygen and a few key elements that have an important job in reducing biological waste in the pond. This is going to get really scientific for just a minute, but bear with me. I’ll be as concise as possible, while still trying to be easy to understand.
Your tap water contains oxygen, calcium, magnesium, often trace amounts of copper to name a few things. All of the elements have a “charge” and each of these I just mentioned actually have a positive charge. Everyone, I’m sure is familiar with the old adage “opposites attract,”
In this particular instance, your pond contains all that biological waste that we talked about earlier. This waste is from, fish poop, food, plants dropping leaves, and fish respiring which produces ammonia. All of these by products have a negative charge. You may see already where I’m going.
When the negative charge from the fish poop (hydrogen sulfide) and the waste created when the fish breathe (ammonia) combines with the positive charge of the fresh oxygen, calcium, and magnesium from the tap water, the bad stuff gets broken down.
There is a really cool chemical reaction that happens and the ammonia and sulfides are literally broken apart at a molecular level, resulting in cleaner water. And that is what we want!!! Fish get happy, water gets clearer, and you have less algae! Its a win/win.
Helix Waterfall filters are designed with built-in air assist cleaning systems to make it easy to do a water change as you are cleaning your filter. The air helps to break apart debris that has been gathered on the filter media and then the rinse cycle washes it out of the filter. This action means you have to replace the poop filled water that you just evacuated and there you have it, a water change, courtesy of Helix Life Support Filtration.
Whether you have an existing pond, or you are about to build a pond, call our headquarters and we will help you get Helix Life Support Filtration on your pond.
Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal
Eric Triplett is being inducted in to the “Green Industry Hall of Fame” on Saturday May 2nd, 2015. Typically accustomed to rocking the pond world, this particular honor has rocked Eric’s world.
While we feel this honor is richly deserved, Eric humbly continues to question if he has really contributed enough to the field, frequently heard saying, “I thought you had to be older to win an award like this?”
Eric’s recent contributions to pond filtration, the Helix Life Support Filtration line has helped dramatically reduce the annual water consumption of a pond, while still maintaining the high water quality standards required by his water features’ aquatic inhabitants. This is an especially important achievement in California’s current water-starved climate.
Eric’s career in the water feature world was initially spurred by his love for anything with scales, eventually making him a leader in the pond world. Triplett’s unique and innovative ideas in pond filtration have opened the waters for many people who love ponds, whether they are building for others or simply enjoying their own backyard oasis.
Eric loves to share all he has learned with everyone he meets. He willingly helps people start their own pond installation business and through his “Ponds For Schools” program, helps kids around the Inland Empire learn the benefits of water features in daily life. He has contributed dozens of water features to schools throughout the IE.
Loaded with tips and tricks he has learned through years of installing, Triplett’s Youtube channel is a mecca for do-it-yourselfers hoping to build the pond of their dreams. His new #asktheponddigger show is getting great reviews, thanks in part to Eric’s level headed responses to serious questions.
On the horizon for Eric is his new TV show “Pond Diggers”. More than just about building ponds, the show features Eric’s eclectic crew and provides an education in one entertaining program.
Leslie Triplett, the Pond Gal
Eric Triplett, The Pond Digger, will be teaching classes on both pond design and construction at this year’s Water Garden Expo in Shawnee, Oklahoma on February 25th, 2015.
Eric has the honor of leading an extraordinary pond build with the help of some of the most talented pond builders in the industry. Triplett will be incorporating pond products from several different manufacturers that will be showcased at the convention center during the Water Garden Expo.
Learn how to tie everything together and create a beautiful, living, functional, piece of artwork that you will want in your very own backyard.
Get your hands dirty and sweat alongside The Pond Digger himself, Demi Fortuna the 2014 “Waterscaper of the Year” and the 2014 Helix Life Support Pond Contractor of the Year that won’t even be recognized until February 26th during the opening ceremony at the Water Garden EXPO!
Come and learn fun tips and great tricks from these industry leaders at this very special event. Learn trade secrets about insuring fantastic water quality and super low maintenance.
By combining puzzle pieces from Helix Life Support, Atlantic Water Gardens, Franklin Electric, Danner, Sequence Pumps, Aqua Ultra Violet, and Aquascape, you’ll learn how many different manufacturers can work together to not only make an amazing water feature but to unite on a pond build for the “Benefit of the Industry”.
Triplett said, “In 2008, I had the honor of running similar to the one we have planned for Water Garden Expo 2015 was EPIC!” “It was a multi-cultural pond build using a variety of different manufacturers!!!” “A melting pot if you will.”
Triplett added, “As a proud American, I recognize the United States of America is a “melting pot! A NATION of culture, diversity and greatness! Much like the Water Garden Expo pond build will be.”
Some of the most talented guys from the Authorized Helix Contractor Nation are scheduled to be on location during the pond build, as well as Certified Contractors from Atlantic Water Gardens, the International Professional Pond Companies Association and contractors from the Certified Aquascape Contractor program.
At the 2008 pond build similar to the one scheduled at the Water Garden Expo 2015, Triplett “Buried The Hatchet” and literally buried a hatchet next to the pond with Koi Pond Expert, Kent Wallace, as a symbol of the Water Garden World and the Koi Pond World working together to try and unite our amazing industry!!!
Triplett finished with, “It is my hope the Water Garden Expo Pond Build of 2015 will be one to be remembered and change the lives of many of my peers!” “I’m planning on making new friends and reuniting with old friends I haven’t seen in quite a while!”
As Eric would say, “Life is Short, Enjoy Koi.”
It’s not to late to register for the Water Garden Expo. Follow this link to secure your spot while you still can. http://www.wgexpo.com
Tattoos mean different things to everyone. Some people love them, and some people think anyone with a tattoo is a criminal.
In the past, they were viewed as the mark of a dangerous criminal. This is due to their origin. Hundreds of years ago, the Japanese marked their criminals with tattoos on their forearms that described the crimes they had committed. These “marked” criminals covered the incriminating tattoos with beautiful “sleeves” of colorful art, to hide their crimes. So, if you had tattoos, chances were, you were, or had been, a bad guy.
Nowadays, tattoos are considered “body art” and displayed with pride by people from all walks of life. It is not unusual to find a tattoo under the shirt of the most corporate business man.
They can represent the wearer’s views on life events such as romance, or children’s births, and as memorials for lost loved ones. Tattoos can also represent hobbies, beliefs, and memories from childhood.
Though the reason for getting tattoos varies greatly from person to person, the symbolism behind the art can actually be quite specific. When it comes to tattoos of koi, and aquatic plants, you might be surprised at their meanings.
Koi tattoos, as a whole, symbolize strength, determination, perseverance, power, prosperity, long life, independence, worldly aspiration, and good luck. This is all based on the deep respect and love that the Japanese culture has for koi.
The variations of direction, color, and surrounding plants come into play. If the koi is swimming in an upward direction on the arm, leg, or torso, then the wearer may be in a struggle to overcome an obstacle in their life, but they will not give up the fight. The koi represents their inner strength to get them through the struggle.
A koi facing down on the wearer can mean two different things. On meaning can be that in the face of past adversity, they used their inner strength and overcame their challenge successfully. Another reason can be that they do not have the inner strength to fight a current or upcoming battle.
The color of the koi adds another dimension. Red koi symbolize love and are the most energetic and strongest of all the colors. Black means the wearer successfully overcame great pain or adversity. Blue symbolizes masculinity and is frequently used to represent the birth of a male child. The well known Yin Yang koi symbolizes a life of balance and harmony.
Koi are often displayed with flowers, each species symbolizing something different. A frequently used flower is the Lotus, a gorgeous aquatic plant that grows in mud and muck. The spectacular bloom of the lotus represents great beauty and strength, while the mud it grows in represents coming from an extremely adverse beginnings and still overcoming the odds. Another commonly used flower is the Cherry blossom, which signifies spring, or rather, new beginnings.
Arguably the most majestic of all representations of the koi is the strong and mighty dragon koi. This koi has gone through a lifetime of struggle, and upon reaching it’s lofty goal, was granted the honor of being turned into a dragon koi.
Most people believe the Koi Fish originated in Niigata, Japan, however fossils of koi 20 million years old, found in Southern China may prove otherwise.
Originally, Koi came to Japan via Chinese invaders. The fish established a foothold, and the Japanese began farming them for food. About the 1800s, when a farmer noticed a Koi swimming in the rice ponds with some pretty color, they began to separate the fish out from the food stock, and started breeding for koi color.
Careful selection of the most colorful koi bred, crossbred, and line bred, over hundreds of years eventually created the amazing color varieties of Nishikigoi that we know and love today. Nishikigoi means beautiful carp in Japanese language. Niigata, Japan is recognized as the birthplace of the beautiful jewels we now love and celebrate today.
As the Japanese farmers spent time with the huge colorful, inquisitive koi, they were impressed by the strength and perseverance of the fish, and legends began springing up about them.
They were used in art, to celebrate victories in their daily lives, and to adorn their bodies with permanent ink to express their fascination and love for the fish. In Japanese, “Koi” means love, another example of how much this strong fish impressed the Japanese nation.
While Japanese legends about koi are abound, my personal favorite is, “The Dragon Gate”. The legend goes something like this;
There were thousands of koi swimming up the Yellow River in Japan. They swam for a very long time upriver. The huge group eventually reached a tall, and pounding waterfall. Most of the Koi were scared away by the great height and noise of the waterfall, and turned back down river. However, three hundred and sixty of the strongest Koi, were determined to reach the top of the waterfall.
For hundreds of years, these brave, strong Koi tried to jump to the top of the waterfall, their beautiful, shiny scales flashing, and winking in the sunshine. Some local demons, attracted by the splashing, and shining of the beautiful koi, amused themselves by raising the height of the waterfall, to make it more difficult for the Koi. Each time a fish would get close to the top, the demons would raise the waterfall higher.
After some time passed, one Koi finally made it to the top. The Gods rewarded the koi by turning him into a beautiful, shiny, Golden Dragon. He now spends his time chasing among the clouds in the heavens, gathering pearls of wisdom.
Since then, when a Koi makes it to the top of the waterfalls in the Yellow River, he is rewarded by being transformed into a Dragon.
Life Is Short, Enjoy Koi!
The Pond Digger
The oldest koi in the world was reported to be 226 years of age. This is a legend typically heard at koi shows, a place filled with the people that love koi the most, though this fish was reputed to be not the most striking color, and not an amazing show fish. I would venture to say though, that Hanako was the most beloved koi ever.
Translated as “Flower Girl”, Hanako spent her long life in the hands of generations of the Koshihara family, who loved her as jewels, because she was so special. Each family member charged with her care received instructions to ensure her health and welfare for the length of their lives.
She was estimated to be hatched in the year 1751, 5 years before before Mozart, 19 years before Beethoven, and 58 years before Abraham Lincoln. That was 25 years before our nation’s founders signed The Declaration of Independence. She died in July of 1977, and was mourned by a nation of koi lovers.
She spent her life in the crystal clear waters of a pond less than 20′ across, at the base of Mount Ontake, in the Mino Province of Japan, along with five other koi reported to be also over a hundred years each.
Researchers at Nagoya Women’s College had determined her age based on the growth rings on her scales, similar to the way a tree’s age is determined by its growth rings. It took two months of studying the scales through a light microscope to determine how many rings there were. Though not one hundred percent accurate, due to weather patterns, and food availability, they feel this estimate was very good.
People still talk of Hanako today, wondering if the legend is true, and wishing their koi will live as long.
The Pond Digger
The Moonlight Pond Tour is this weekend!! Friday & Saturday
You don’t want to miss this beautiful weekend! Join us during the first full moon of the month this Friday (5pm-10pm) and Saturday (2pm-10pm)
Each site of this self-guided tour is enhanced with nightscape lighting and we will be in the Halloween spirit! We are also excited to show you some exciting new pond creations and help you catch a glimpse of what your backyard could look like with our help!
We are donating the profits from our Moonlight Pond Tour to ALS research! With your support, we have raised money for countless charities at each of our pond tours and we can do it again! This year ALL PROCEEDS benefit ALS & the Humpty Dumpty Foundation!
Tickets will be $10 (Children under 12 FREE)
Tour bracelets and maps will be handed out at The Pond Digger headquarters until 5pm.
Call Now for Info 800-522-5042
The Pond Digger
31710 Dunlap Blvd, Yucaipa, CA 92399