Pond Supplies, Waterfalls, & Koi Pond Construction

Posts Tagged Koi Fish

3 Horrible DIY Pond Builder Mistakes

3 Horrible DIY Pond Builder Mistakes

According to The Pond Digger, These Are The Most Dangerous DIY Pond Builder Mistakes

We spend a great deal of time helping Do-It-Yourselfers design and build their dream ponds. Its a great job, and the reward of seeing people get their hands dirty bringing their dreams to fruition is priceless. When we get pictures of clients standing next to their completed projects, with that ear to ear grin, so proud of the beautiful thing they have created with their own blood, sweat, and tears, it is the ultimate reward.

On the flip side, one of the most challenging conversations we handle, on the daily, is helping the DIYer with their problematic pond because they started their project without professional guidance. My husband, Eric Triplett, The Pond Digger spends a great deal of time with weekend warriors in their backyards after the fact. Wouldn’t you prefer to have Eric in your backyard before you start the project for pre-pond build guidance rather than after your project for post-pond build guidance?

Here is are the three most common DIY Pond Builder mistakes we experience on a regular basis.

1. FRANKENPONDS!!!

People see lots of ideas on the internet. They like a certain skimmer, the water clarity on this system, they want a bottom drain, plants, no gravel on the bottom, but gravel on the shelves, (WHAT??!!?!) purple elephants, pixies spreading wildflowers, and then they want all this random equipment they’ve gathered to function perfectly together.

They basically pull equipment they like, out of different pond set ups they like, smoosh it all together, and hope it will all work. By mixing parts of successful recipes for pond construction they are creating dysfunctional systems, just like Dr Frankenstein did in Mary Shelley’s novel.

The results are often as devastating for the pond owner and their fish, as they were for Dr Frankenstein, resulting in high ammonia, not enough oxygen, poor circulation, no water clarity, and out of control algae!

Pick a pond build recipe that works, and stick to it.

2. JUST ENOUGH INFO TO BE DANGEROUS.

At the beginning of their project, these weekend warriors spend their time researching all things pond, so they can be informed when it comes time to purchase the kit from us. The challenge of separating the wheat from the chaff of info on the ‘net in the pond world, is just like everything else on the internet. There is just too much, and soon enough, you must stop or lose your mind.

Now they are diving in without enough info to achieve the goals and expectations they have for their pond.

I recently had a DIY pond guy decide he would build a pond just like Eric did on Snapchat.

When he sent me his pond size, and equipment list, I had to put on the brakes.

While the components he had were generally correct, they were not correctly sized for his feature.

He would have been sorely disappointed with his results, because he thought he knew what he needed, but didn’t understand the specifications.

That’s okay though, I’m here to help.

3. GO BIG OR GO HOME.

Not just a suggestion, but akin to a command, maybe with a little less force. 😉 Reconsider your size.

Not going big enough in the first place accounts for over 30% of The Pond Digger Construction projects, because the homeowner didn’t want to get crazy and build a lake in their yard. I’m telling you, get crazy. In about a heartbeat, that 8 x 11 pond will be looking small.

You’re going to want to start with 3 or 4 koi, then someone gives you their koi because they are moving away, then you get a koi for your birthday, then you go to a show, and pick up a super cool koi like you’ve never seen before, suddenly your koi spawn and you want to keep the babies, and then…..you can see where I’m going here, right?

Don’t forget, these are living, breathing, critters that GROW. So, you bought 4 cute little six inchers, that are now a whopping 24 inches, and that’s not even counting the motley crew that were added by circumstance. See? Your pond is too small.

Just go big in the beginning, it will save you in the end.

Do It Yourself Photos from a few of our clients

Charla Hatch – Snowflake, Arizona

Geoffrey Hayes – Hampton, Illinois

Geoffrey Hayes – Hampton, Illinois

Thomas Banneck- Muskogee, Oklahoma

Theresa Corkill

Jaimie Russell – Hawaii, Hawaii

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Leslie Triplett
The Pond Gal

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I Have A New Fish

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I Have A New Fish

Picture this: A frantic man rushes through the front door of my shop. He harried, frazzled, and obviously upset. He sees me, gets a small, nervous smile, and says, “My fish need help!” The next sentence is one of these: My fish are laying at the bottom of the pond, gasping for air by the waterfall, jumping like Shamu at Sea World, or not eating, and they ALWAYS eat!

I ask, “Did you add new fish three weeks ago?” He looks at me like live blackjack online I’m the palm reader at the state fair, and says, “Yes! How did you KNOW that!?!!?!??!”

Here’s the skinny on adding new fish: Quarantine, quarantine, quarantine, quarantine.

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Did I say it enough? Do it. It is as simple as that.

Nike said it, and it’s more true with quarantining your koi than with exercise. Just do it.

When you get a new koi, whether you purchased it at a shop, a show, or it came as a gift from a friend, or your spouse, or your mom’s neighbor’s daughter’s hairdresser’s boyfriend, and you KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, these koi are SAFE, QUARANTINE.

A few simple steps can save your koi, and you from a world of heartache. Believe me, I speak from experience. Please do it even if the dealer, friend, or neighbor says that the fish have been quarantined.

Set up a simple tub, wading pool, aquarium, whatever works for you, with a filter on it, and a couple of permanent residents to keep the filter active.

Make sure it is large enough to house the biggest koi you are likely to purchase.

My system is one of simple prevention. Once you have your new bouncing baby koi in hand, get him set up in the quarantine tank. The most common parasites are easily treatable in a small environment like this.

My typical routine is to treat for flukes, anchor worm, fish lice, costia, trichodina, chilodnella, epistylis, and ich.

Medicines vary from state to state, so get what is available in your area to treat these parasites.

Keep in mind that in the early stages, several of these parasites are easily treatable using salt, so make sure a good quality salt is part of your quarantine process.

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Follow all procedures listed in the medications you use, and be sure not to mix medications that should not be used with others. This is the easiest way to kill your koi quickly.

The other part of quarantining is to help prevent bacteria from getting in your pond. We feed anti-bacterial food during quarantine, and treat for bacteria topically also to help insure the safety of our previous residents.

We are typically treating for flexibacters, aeromonas, and streptococcus, so see what is in your neck of the woods, and treat accordingly.

Again, salt is a safe and simple ally for many of these guys in the early stages, without the dangerous side affects of some of the stronger medications.

After the treatment period is complete, (according to procedures on your medications) your fish can now be added to your pond. The old adage, “An ounce of treatment is worth a pound of cure” is never more true than when it comes to quarantining your fish. Learn from my mistakes and set up a quarantine tank. Your fish will thank you.

For daily pond pro tips, follow us on SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

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The Worst Pond Myth, Busted WIDE Open

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The Worst Myth Pond Myth, Busted WIDE Open

I seem to start off a lot of these blogs with “I got a call from a client…” I do, I know, but answering the phone calls, and everyday questions that people have gives me the insight to answer the questions you may have also.

So, I got a call from a client the other day asking about enlarging his pond:

He said slotspie he thought it was about time since his 5 koi had been in one of those 100 gallon home depot ponds for the last TEN YEARS?!?!!??!?!!?

He tells me they’ve been fine in there, and they are healthy, so he doesn’t need much more in the way of filtration, or size really, but just a little bigger might be nice. And he truly believes this.

He thinks these fish, that should be 32″-36″ by now, with a girth the size of a dinner plate, are happy and healthy.

I do have to say, I think I held my poker face pretty well. My soul was dying, my brain was sizzling into a little pile of mush, and my heart was broken for those poor koi. After 10 years, they are only 12″ long.

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Not only are these fish NOT healthy, but they are NOT happy, and they are seriously stunted. Perhaps for life now. They need a proper sized home, proper filtration, frequent water changes, and a good diet, STAT!

Okay, I’ll lighten up, I guess this is a “first world problem”, right? But still, if I can prevent this from happening to more koi, I will.

So let me try to bust this myth wide open, one more time:

Fish do not grow to the size of their environment

They are limited by the pheromone level and water quality in the pond.

The pheromone level is determined by the quantity of fish, and the frequency of water changes.

The more you change the water, the lower the pheromone level will be. Plus, water changes equal lower ammonia, nitrites, and more.

I’ve seen 24-30″ fish in a tiny child’s wading pool. They grew that large in just a few years with superb water quality due to excellent filtration and frequent water changes.

While they would’ve been happier in something larger, (which they did get) at least we knew they were healthy, because they had achieved proper size.

Pheromone level is what allows the fish to grow. Keeping them in too small a pond, without proper filtration, nutrition, and water changes not only stunts their growth, but also slowly kills them.

I’m not talking slowly like, ya, once we’re born, we’re all slowly dying. I’m talking, these gorgeous, amazing fish that can live for more than 100 years, are dying in as little as a few years.

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So, if you want koi, plan on BARE MINIMUM 250 gallons per adult male koi, and 500 gallons per adult female koi in your pond.

For instance, if you want 10 female koi, you need at least a 5000 gallon pond. If you want a big herd of koi, build 20,000 gallons.

A 5000 gallon pond isn’t for everyone though, and I do understand this. But it is pretty simple. If you want a 100 gallon courtyard pond, don’t put koi in it.

Put some nice goldfish in there, like Shubunkins, Comets, or Black Moors. They stay relatively small, and while you still can’t have oodles in there, a couple of these guys in 100 gallons with proper filtration, and water changes will be A-okay.

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, Instagram, FaceBook, and Twitter

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

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4 Simple Tricks To A Beautiful Pond

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4 Simple Tricks To A Beautiful Pond

Too much food, too many fish, no water changes, and poor filtration are the main reasons ponds get a bad reputation. Ugly, smelly, green, or with a ton of algae, these problems are easily solved with a few simple changes.

Getting clean, clear water is easy if you have a few important pieces of equipment, and some simple, routine maintenance tricks in place.

FILTRATION

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Make sure you have enough filtration for the size pond you have. When I say enough, I really mean, add more…..more is better….basically, you can never get enough filtration.

Keep in mind that pond filters are designed to support the amount of fish life your pond is SUPPOSED to have. You and I both know, your pond, my pond, her pond, his pond, has waaaaay too many fish.

First, when it comes to filtration, you must understand this, if a filter says it is for a 3000 gallon pond, the manufacturer is expecting you to have about 6 koi in that 3000 gallon pond, so that filter is for a 3000 gallon pond with SIX koi. See what I mean?

Put filters on there like to support the quantity of koi you KNOW you will put in your pond, and then CLEAN them.

Don’t wait for the little light to tell you it’s time to clean.

Don’t do it once a month because someone told you.

Don’t wait until the pump slows down because the filter is clogged.

Clean it often. Test your routine by occasionally cleaning the filter between the normal cleaning times that you’ve set up, and see if the water comes out dirty. If it does, step up your routine.skimmer-dog

USE A SKIMMER

Plus, put a skimmer on your pond. If you have a pump in the bottom of the pond, it pulls every bit of debris that hits your pond’s surface directly to the bottom of the pond. Then all that debris sits there and decays. Does that make sense?

A pump in the bottom of the pond means your pond is designed to collect debris at the bottom.

A pump in a skimmer pulls the debris in to the skimmer into some kind of handy little device that allows you to take it out of the pond, and put it in the mulch pile.

AVOID OVERCROWDING and OVERFEEDING

You and I both know that we have too many fish in our pond, and we feed them more than we should. I mean, they’re so cute when they’re begging and sucking on your fingers or toes, you just can’t help it.

So, the first step is when your pond is full, and you know you shouldn’t put any more fish in there, stop putting fish in there. Just say no.

Don’t put yourself in the path of temptation!

Stay away from the fish that are for sale when you buy your koi food. Get your food, and go home.

The next step is to try to feed only what your fish need to thrive, and not what your heart wants to feed them.

The general rule of thumb is, the amount of food that they can consume in just a minute or two, or the equivalent amount of food to the size of their eyeball. I know that just freaked you out. I like feeding my fish too.

These are the toughest things to overcome, but if you succeed, your water quality will show it, in a good way.

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WATER CHANGES

The last tip is to do frequent water changes. Not the whole pond, not even half, but the equivalent of 10-20% on a monthly basis divided into small weekly portions will have a startling affect on your water clarity and cleanliness.

If your pond is 1000 gallons, try doing a 50 gallon water change every week.

See, that’s not much, you very likely can do this much simply when cleaning the filters correctly, and in the right time frame.

I’ve seen some grossly under filtered, crazily overcrowded, insanely overfed ponds in amazing shape due to regular water changes. It’s almost shocking.

These simple little changes will create a huge difference in your pond, and you will be back to loving it before you know it.

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Eric Triplett
The Pond Digger

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11 Things All Ponds Need, #2 Will Rock You

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11 Things All Ponds Need, #2 Will Rock You

1. ALGAE

I know this is hard to believe but algae..YES ALGAE! 9 our of ten pond owners see algae and assume they have a dirty pond! Algae has several important functions in your pond such as helping filter the water to keep it clear, giving your fish something to graze on, providing hiding spots for baby fish, giving your koi somewhere to lay their eggs, and making your pond look more natural.

2. SALT

Fish need salt. They use it in many bodily functions, just like people. It makes their heart beat correctly, as well as helping other internal organs function correctly, helps fish perform osmosis, fight off parasites, build up their protective slime layer, and can help reduce uptake of ammonia and nitrites. Use a good quality pond or aquarium salt, free of iodide. Buy Pond Salt Here!

3. BACTERIA

 

Yes, your pond needs bacteria. I’m not talking flesh eating bacteria here! We want “good” bacteria that helps to break down excess fish waste, plant debris, and fish food that can turn into undesirable algae, ammonia, and nitrites. All bothersome to either you or your fish.

Beneficial bacteria, can also help improve your filtration if your pond is overcrowded with fish, like mine! Check out the Professional Strength water treatments we use on all of our ponds! Buy Beneficial Bacteria Here

4. POND PLANTS

Pond plants are excellent at helping reduce the nutrient build up in your pond that allows undesirable algae to grow. While a nice biofilm of algae on the rocks is very beneficial, we want to avoid an outbreak of string, mat, or pea soup algae. Pond plants consume all the same nutrients the “bad” algae grows on, and can out compete it, reducing the growth of it. They take all those icky nutrients, and turn them directly into beautiful leaves and blooms. Plus, your fish like to chew on pond plants, especially beautiful, yummy, lily blooms.

5. BIO-FILTRATION

Filters capture the free floating debris that can settle out and cause your water quality to deteriorate. When you empty the filter the captured nutrients are removed entirely from the system, creating clean, clear water that you and your fish will love.

6. AERATION

Aerators help to agitate the surface of the pond, allowing oxygen exchange to occur. This oxygen exchange will help to break down undesirable nutrient build up, reducing ammonia and nitrites to keep your fish happy and healthy. This surface agitation also allows more oxygen to get into the water column for your fish to breath.

7. SURFACE SKIMMING

 

Surface skimming helps to reduce the debris that actually settles to the bottom of the pond. The skimmer will catch the debris in a handy little net or basket, that can be easily cleaned to remove the decaying material from the water column. The less debris that hits the bottom of the pond, the better your water quality will be! Our favorite pond skimmer of all time is The Helix Pond Skimmer! Buy The Helix Pond Skimmer Here

8. FISH

Fish, in moderate numbers, actually help perform a valuable service in the pond. As they swim along the bottom, they will stir up debris that has settled there so the filtration system has a second chance to remove them from the water column and they eat undesirables like mosquito larvae!

They also provide some nutrients, (poop) in a very easily broken down form for the plants to quickly absorb and make in to beautiful blooms.

Plus, koi over 16″ can do some serious damage to string algae. They suck that stuff up like spaghetti noodles!

9. SUN

Sunshine feeds your plants, and allows that beautiful layer of lovely biofilm algae to grow on your pond walls. So, you might say, sunshine helps filter your pond!

10. CIRCULATION

Proper circulation helps prevent debris from getting captured behind rocks, plants, and gravel. Captured debris begins to decay, creating problem algae, and undesirable water quality.

11. MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE

Designing a regular maintenance schedule for your pond, and sticking to it will help keep your pond from getting dirty. Weekly water changes, filter back washes, and skimmer basket cleaning, help remove decaying material from your pond before they get a chance to cause a negative affect.

Trimming plants regularly helps reduce leaves and stems in your pond, and checking on your equipment will keep your pond in tip top shape for years to come.

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For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter.

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Connect with The Pond Digger:

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9 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Built My First Pond

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9 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Built My First Pond

People are always saying, “If I knew then what I know now…” This statement was never more true than in the world of ponds. If you are considering building a pond, read these helpful tips we’ve heard hundreds of times from our clients. Maybe they can help keep you from saying, “If only I’d known….”

1. I wish I would’ve known how much I love it I want to go bigger


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About 35% of our business is actually making ponds bigger for clients. Not only if you have more pond, do you have less weeds, but you also have less grass or other plants to water. Though ponds evaporate a little, they use up to 75% less water than the same footprint of lawn! Help with the drought, build a bigger pond!

2. I wish I would’ve known friendly the fish are, I want more

This common occurrence also results in needing a larger pond. The fish are soooo friendly, eating right out of your hand and even letting people pick them up, that everyone wants more!

3. I wish I would’ve known how many colors of lilies there are

Lilies are the ultimate pond plant. If you have a pond, you must have a water lily. The PROBLEM is, there are dozens of colors of lilies. In order to have room for every color of lily you want, you may need a bigger pond!

4. I wish I would’ve known about floating stepping stones

There are many cool features you can add to a pond, but floating steps are one of the most amazing ones, in my opinion. When you are out in the middle of the pond, surrounded by the clear, clean water, with dozens of fish begging for food, and lilies blooming away, you are transported to another world. It is an experience that once people have, they want in their own yard. So they need a bigger pond.

Are you sensing a theme yet?



5. I wish I would’ve known how much my family loves it

I’ve had many clients tell me that they are so pleased that their wife/husband and kids spend more time with them because they are relaxing by the pond together. It’s pretty cool to hear, and now they need a bigger pond.

6. I wish I would’ve known how big koi get

Koi get HUGE!!! They can easily reach a length of 28″-30″ with a breadth equivalent to a dinner plate!!! Imagine that swimming around in a little 11′ X 16′ pond. You’re gonna need a bigger pond.

7. I wish I would’ve known about Helix Pond Filtration

I have clients dreaming of the ease of maintenance Helix Life Support offers you. No dragging out heavy bags of lava rock that can tear and spill everywhere, or fighting with unwieldy pads full of decaying algae and fish waste. Helix has simple cleaning routines that don’t even require getting your hands wet, much less dirty. People love it. They want a bigger pond.

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8. I wish I would’ve known that you travel to build ponds

The Pond Digger has built ponds in nearly half of the state’s across the US, including Hawaii. After spending weeks or months of blood, sweat, and tears, building their dream pond, clients say if they had known Eric traveled to build ponds, they would’ve had him flown out to build their pond. And they would’ve made it bigger.

9. I wish I would’ve known about dojos and hi-fin banded sharks

After seeing the cool varieties of fish besides koi and goldfish that can live in a pond, people wish they had made their pond bigger so they could put more fish in.

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter.

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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The Carnivorous Koi

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carnivorous-koi

The Carnivorous Koi

Did you know Koi eat fish? Well, okay, maybe they don’t outright run around hunting down small koi or mosquito fish like a coyote eats rabbits….or do they?

“DUDE!!!! I just watched *Skeletor EAT Happy!” This was the panicked phone call I got from Joey Moss the other day after he watched his big Koi, Skeletor, eat his baby Koi, Happy, who was born in the pond.

Apparently, Skeletor was overly excited at feeding time, and sucked in Happy along with some pellets of Koi food.

This nearly tragic tale, had a happy ending since Skeletor spit Happy back out after deciding he wasn’t the right flavor, but it doesn’t always end this way.

Koi WILL eat fish. I have had clients watch their koi eat mosquito fish, small goldfish, small koi, frogs, and more.

NOTE: Koi are NOT carnivorous but they an are opportunistic feeders better know as omnivores. If you watch them for a few hours, you may see that they pick nearly everything up in the pond with their mouth, to test and see if it is edible.

If they like the flavor or consistency, they swallow it. Much like a troublesome 2 year old, they are always looking to see what they can put in there mouth.

People may be slightly at fault here, as one of the most abundant protein sources is fish, and any quality koi food you look at will have fish as the number one or two ingredient.

We’ve trained them to like the flavor. Weird, right? Not really. We just learned what to feed fish by watching what fish eat in the wild. Fish eat fish.

IMPORTANT DIETARY INFORMATION:

When koi are young and growing, they need more protein for making new cells.

A growth formula is the way to go. It provides a higher protein level to promote correct growth.

As they mature, they will need less protein, so they can be switched to an all season diet.

If you are trying to brighten color on your koi, there are color enhancing foods that can help. COLOR ENHANCING FOODS are often a higher protein level even than GROWTH FORMULAS, so please don’t feed this diet straight up. Mix it with an ALL SEASON or Growth Formula.

Too much protein for too long can cause kidney damage in your koi and shorten their life. ):

When the seasons change, the temperature fluctuations between night and day dropping the pond’s water temperature can cause problems with a koi’s digestive tract.

A quality COLD TEMPERATURE FORMULA fish food has wheat germ as the first ingredient because it digests easily. It is designed to be digested quickly, so by the time the cooler night time temps come, the morning meal is already digested, and not sitting heavy in their belly like Thanksgiving dinner.

A fun treat to try with your koi is watermelon. Cut the melon into discs like wagon wheels and then take a small 2″ diameter ring out of the center. Float the wheel in the pond, and put some pellets of food in that small open space at the center.

We do this because the koi sometimes don’t recognize watermelon as food. As the koi are eating the pellets they will end up tasting the watermelon, and then the fun begins!

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent, except for Joey Moss. Joey’s name is real!

For daily pond pro tips follow us on SnapChat, FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter

Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

Connect with The Pond Digger:

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WHO ATE MY KOI LAST NIGHT???

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WHO ATE MY KOI LAST NIGHT???

“My koi are all GONE!” This is a phone call we have received too many times at headquarters. Not only is it awful for the client who’s koi have mysteriously vanished, but it makes us sad too. Usually the client wants to know what ate their koi, so they can prevent it from happening again.

There are, of course, several possible culprits when it comes to eating koi right out of your pond. Raccoons, egrets, herons, cats, snakes, dogs, and even hawks or owls, have been known to catch koi and eat them. Here are a few helpful hints to figure out who your hunter is, so you keep your fish safe.

pineconebirdANGRY BIRDS

Herons, egrets, and other water birds live almost entirely on fish.

Your pond maybe the easiest buffet they’ve ever seen. Let’s face it, their normal hunting grounds are big lakes, rivers, and even the ocean!

Imagine how much easier it is for them to catch a meal from your small backyard pond. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel…

Typically, when a pond has been raided by predatory birds, we see little to no sign they’ve been there at all.

If the plants are all in place, the water is still crystal clear and not muddied up, but your fish are MIA, you were probably hit by some type of bird.

They are very slow and methodical hunters. Even when we’ve seen hawks or owls hit the pond to snag a fish, they swoop down, and make a grab without disturbing anything in the pond, except for the fish….the fish are VERY disturbed.

racoonMASKED BANDITS

When a raccoon, or bear is hunting your koi, they create a complete disaster. You’ll find plants torn out by the roots, pots knocked over, and rocks pushed in to the pond.

They wreak havoc. It’s like drunken college students on spring break in Ft. Lauderdale, MESSY!

Snakes are also very sneaky, and you may see no sign of their visit, but it will be mostly smaller fish that are gone, The fish eating snakes do not grow very large, so the fish they take are smaller.

FAKE FURRY FRIENDS

Dogs can create quite a mess too, but not nearly as bad as raccoons or bear. They might just knock some plants or rocks down while chasing the fish around.

Cats also do little damage to the environment, but you will notice smaller fish missing.

curvyneckPREVENTION

Once the correct hunter has been determined, you can take steps to help prevent further raids.

For birds, about the only effective deterrent seems to be a good net. Cover the pond with a sturdy net, staked in place, and you should be pretty safe.

Unless you have a bird hunting dog. Dogs are awesome.

If you have a fat, lazy, couch dog, maybe not so much, but an active beagle will be worth his weight in gold when it comes to protecting your koi.

Even a tiny, yappy, determined yorkie or chihuahua will chase off many predators. I’ve also seen a good guard dog chase off a bear!

For raccoons, cats, and dogs, it seems the best deterrent is a “scarecrow”.

This is a motion activated sprinkler that squirts everyone that approaches the pond with a stream of cold water. When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE.

The scarecrow doesn’t care if it shoots, a heron, a goat, or you. It is fully non-discriminatory.

It is a good idea to place it so you have a safe path to shut it off before you get hit.

Snakes are a conundrum. I am not sure how to prevent them from coming, or chase them away if you have them. If anyone has any brilliant, snake-deterrent ideas, send them my way!

redeyewhitebirdPLAN AHEAD

Our general rule of thumb is, eight by eight is a dinner plate. Basically we mean, if your pond is only 8′ x 8′ or less, it is very easy for predators to catch koi from your pond. We encourage you to build bigger than that as your first preventative step.

Deeper ponds are also very helpful, as the fish can swim down. We like to add a fish tunnel. This is simply a nice sized pipe built into the pond that the fish can swim in when they are being chased.

ALMOST NOTHING IS PERFECT

These hunters are all very wily. After all they make their living finding food, and they are good at it.

There is almost no way to insure the complete safety of your fish. An aviary around the pond is pretty good. Or you can build your pond in the house. I have seen this a few times. It is very effective, especially in the mountains, since how the heck does anyone keep a bear from going where it wants to?

Bigger is better, and deeper is helpful. And, by the way, there are some other methods I’ve heard tell of, but remember, most wildlife is protected, and killing them can result in heavy fines, so be careful what you do.

Try to build preventatively, and if you already have a pond that has been raided, I hope you can find some answers here.

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Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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3 Pond Myths EXPOSED!

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3 Pond Myths EXPOSED!

I hear all kinds of crazy stories. Most of them are even about ponds! Today, I thought I would expose some of the most commons Old Wife’s Tales I hear about ponds, that can help improve the quality of your fish’s lives.

MYTH #1 FISH ONLY GROW AS BIG AS THEIR PONDfish-square

This has become the platform for people that want to put a koi in their 60 gallon Home Depot, plastic, preform pond.

With proper feeding, filtration, and water changes, your fish are going to grow as big as they are meant to be, no matter the size of the pond.

I have personally seen several 3′ long koi in a 300 gallon pond. I once even saw a 28″ koi that had been grown in one of those 6′ wide, 18″ deep kiddie wading pools. Of course, filtration, and water quality in both of these instances was beyond reproach.

The real secret to koi growth is pheromones. Koi release pheromones in to the water all the time.

The pheromones in the pond tell the fish many things, such as who is ready to breed, who is sick, and most importantly, how crowded the pond is. If you keep the pheromone level low, the fish will grow more.

When the pheromone level is high, it tells the fish not to grow. The easiest way to keep the pheromone level low is to perform water changes.

Speaking of water changes….

MYTH #2 WATER CHANGES ARE BAD FOR MY FISHkoi-feeding

Water changes are good, great even. The more frequently you change water in your pond, the better. I’m not talking 100% water change every week, of course, but a nice small weekly water change would be a beautiful and very beneficial thing.

This one is a stumper for me. About the only way I can figure out how this one started was if someone forgot to de-chlorinate their water after a change, or it was high summer, 115 degrees, and they put ice cold water back in the pond after a water change.

In either of these cases, you are going to lose some fish. Otherwise, water changes help in so any ways.

A normal, reasonable, regular water change, does nothing but good for your pond.

It will help remove any waste build up, reduce ammonia and nitrite in the water, and add oxygen, magnesium, calcium, and potassium, all of which perform beneficial duties for your pond.

Removing all of the above contaminants will also help reduce your algae production.

Algae thrives on decaying materials in your pond, and regular water changes will help to reduce those decaying materials.

MYTH #3 PONDS ARE DIRTY, UGLY, AND A TON OF WORKcherry-dragonfly

There is some basis in reality for this myth:

If a pond is set up with incorrect filtration, has too many fish, and is fed like crazy, it very well could be messy, smelly, and a lot of work. I’ve seen this time and time again. Frequently with little, preformed, hard plastic, ponds from big box stores.

The reality is, these little puddle style ponds are not big enough for fish, except maybe a few mosquito fish.

They never have good enough filtration, and some have no filter at all. They are destined to fail.

When we design a pond, we always try to filter the same way we know people are going to stock the pond; more than needed.

Usually, by the time our clients finish stocking, they have just the right amount of filtration. And then they say, “Just one more koi I think”!

The reality is, you can never have too much filtration, and that is the goal to shoot for.

If you end up somehow not overstocking your pond, the koi in there will love the extra filtration they have. It’s a no-brainer.

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Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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Abomination or Angelic Beauty

butterfly-koi-banner

Photo courtesy of Koitotheworld.com

Abomination or Angelic Beauty

Traditional Koi connoisseurs are filled with an all consuming passion for their fishy friends. They love the depth and spectrum of colors, carefully evaluate the body shape, and dissect the lineage of their koi. They have preferred breeders to buy from, and those breeders wok tirelessly to produce the “perfect” koi.

butterfly-koi-vertical

Photo courtesy of Koitotheworld.com

Koi connoisseurs anxiously await the color changes brought on by each passing year, as their koi mature and change. They fret over the plain, little, black, fingerling, hoping it will make the leap through the “Dragon’s Gate” to become the amazing snow white, and deep black Utsuri they dream of. They drool over the never ending changes on their prize Showa, waiting for the final dramatic flourish of color that will make the time spent all worth while.

What they don’t do is love Butterfly Koi. They actually consider them abominations. They kind of hate them. Some koi connoisseurs don’t even consider butterflies to be actual koi.

Still, I love butterfly koi. Their long, flowing fins, take flight in my mind as elegantly as eagles soaring majestically overhead.

I love their colors and patterns, the way they move, and their slightly, odd body shape. I even love the long flowing nares, admittedly somewhat similar to an old man’s nose hairs sticking out all over the place, but beautiful in their own way.

Traditional koi connoisseurs don’t consider butterflies “real” koi. In fact, only recently have they been allowed at some koi shows. They don’t show well against traditional koi though, so they are given their own classes, and are entered as “longfin variety” not koi.

Butterfly koi were originally bred by crossing Indonesian long fin river carp with traditional koi to help increase the hardiness of traditional koi.


Some koi connoisseurs don’t even consider butterflies to be actual koi.


butterfly-koi-tattThe Japanese breeders that produced them, called them “onogaoi” which translates as long tail carp. So, I guess technically they aren’t true koi, when you get down to the nitty gritty.

That said, butterfly koi are a beautiful addition to your pond, with their ridiculously long fins flowing and swirling around them in the peaceful waters, they lend a greater sense of calm to the pond, and add their own special beauty.

Butterfly koi fans often call them “angel” koi, supporting the beauty of their graceful finnage with a heavenly nickname. Other fans call them “dragon” koi, a name reminiscent of the strength they have given to the traditional koi lineage.

If you are willing to live outside the box, look in to butterfly koi, you may be pleasantly surprised.

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Leslie Triplett, The Pond Gal

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!

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