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.
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.
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.
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