By Frank Z Rogers  |  
Recommend ArticleWhen designing and building any project mistakes can be difficult and costly to correct. All too often we hear the words “If I was doing this again I would do it quite differently.” Unfortunately perhaps no design is ever perfect but it helps to give your proposed Koi Pond project a lot of thought before your start. More than likely this will be your first attempt at building a Koi pond and unless you are not careful you will be frustrated with not only your mistakes but also your design omissions You dream of making your Koi Garden a real showpiece so let’s look at drawing up a check list of features to include and mistakes to avoid.

Your Koi Pond – Get the Size Right

Fully grown Koi are a large fish and they need a lot of room. If you buy your Koi the size of Goldfish don’t forget they will grow. Don’t ever think that Koi will thrive in a very small pond. Koi only thrive in the largest of aquariums and do much better in a well designed larger pond. Obviously your design will be limited by your available space but if space is not an issue then consider the number of Koi you plan to keep and plan your pond size accordingly. That being said the pond has to sit well in your Koi garden and while not dominating your garden, the Koi pond needs to be its focal point.

Your Koi Pond – Water Depth

If you live in a very cold or hot climate make sure your pond is deep enough for your extremes in either winter or summer or maybe even both seasons. Get advice. Koi will not do well if water temperatures are too low or too high. The greater the volume of water the greater buffer you have against your extremes in temperature. Water depth is also helpful in your fight against natural predators, birds like herons love to fish in your pond but if the water is deep enough they will not be able to wade in your pond. It can also be helpful to have steep sides to your pond which can hold back cats, dogs and other animals from fishing from the edges of the pools. Unfortunately even domestic predators can do a lot of damage in your Koi garden.

Your Koi Pond – Shade

This can easily be overlooked. In the height of summer your Koi will need shade. If your pond is not shaded naturally by a tree or trees then you will need to supply shade in the form of plant life either within or around the pond. While an overhead tree can provide shade it can also be the source of much pollution and this needs to be considered when planning where to site your pond. Also remember that Koi can be quite aggressive and destructive of plant life within the pond and measures will need to be taken to protect your plants from the attacks that can come from your Koi.

Your Koi Pond – Natural Filtration

In nature pumps and filters are not necessary. This is because plant life will absorb the pollutants fish like Koi constantly excrete. Many water plants will feed on the ammonia and other pollutants given off by the fish thereby cleaning the water. Plant life in your Koi pond can greatly assist the work of your filtration system. However since Koi can be quite destructive one clever plan is to have your pond divided, one for plants and the other for the Koi. Dividing your pond in two one higher than the other with say a waterfall between has many advantages. The plant life in the upper pool can do all the beneficial work without damage from the Koi. The water is further aerated as it falls over the waterfall. As already indicated Koi will need plant life in their pond for shade and these plants can be protected by having your plants in pots but with their rims just up to the surface of the pond. With careful design it is possible to have an algae free pond but you will need vigorous plant life within your system to achieve this. Algae can be a real problem but it need not be provided your initial pond design has taken this issue into consideration. Plant life is your best line of defence and obviously and integral part of your Koi garden.

Your Koi Pond – Drainage

It is important to ensure that any storm-water runoff does not enter your pond. If your area is subject to heavy downpours of rain one storm could destroy your pond life. Apart from the debris carried by the storm-water, which could pollute your pond as it rots on the bottom, storm-water could carry garden fertilizers and chemicals like weed killers into your pond and kill your Koi. It is very important to ensure that your storm-water drainage cannot run into your pond. Never under-estimate how much flooding rain can come down in a good storm. If your pond is in the lowest part of your Koi garden think of flooding and take measures to ensure that drains don’t get blocked.

Your Koi Pond – Pumps and Filters

Make certain you do the maths. Know the volume of water in your pond. Know how many Koi you plan to keep and make certain that your pump and filter system is able to cope with the waste it will be called on to process. Don’t cut the margins too fine have plenty of headroom to cope with any adverse condition that may arise. Ensure that your pumps and filters are properly installed, enclosed in suitable housing, with power supplied preferably by underground cables professionally and legally installed by a registered electrician. Visible plumbing and filters spoil the setting of a Koi garden and should be hidden. Pumps are usually submerged in the pond itself but access to them for maintenance is vital. Make certain that all your support system is accessible for maintenance which will be ongoing.

Your Koi Pond – Safety

Nothing could destroy your enjoyment of your Koi garden more than with a child drowning in your pond. Fences, nets and other protective measures do destroy the aesthetic aspects of your garden but child safety cannot be compromised or ignored. In most instances the installation of your pond will require council approval and this is unlikely to be obtained unless you have addressed these concerns. One feature that could be considered is a black net installed just below the surface of the water. Often these nets can be an invisible barrier and child proof. As you design and build your pond ensure that strong anchors are built into the sides of your pond to which these black nets can be installed. Like so many of your pond issues if you get it right while you are in the design and building stage the solution to these problems is a lot easier.

Your Koi Pond – Well Designed

A well designed Koi pond can be a stunning addition to your garden. It should look natural and fit well into your landscape. Your success at keeping Koi will largely depend on how well you design all the various features of the pond. Get it right and keeping Koi will not only be a delight but not that difficult either. This check-list is not complete, you need to add all the other issues that are unique and specific to your situation, location and design. Your Koi garden can be the showpiece you dream of if your get your planning right.

To further explore the world of Koi please visit where many of other issues of keeping Koi are discussed.

Frank Rogers started keeping fish in his teens. Since those early days he has kept fish whenever it was possible to do so. While living in the tropics he tried his hand at keeping salt water fish and learnt from his mistakes. He now shares with you the challenge of keeping Koi – perhaps the fish that are the most fun to keep in either a pond or large tank. Pay a visit to [] and learn more about these amazing fish.

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Photo by Tim Pierce

Originally posted 2015-10-09 16:51:20.