koi fish garden pond

Outside of their native country, koi ponds are more popular than ever. The world is not nearly as difficult to navigate as you may think, and top-quality koi can be had at an affordable price practically everywhere.

Prepare yourself to learn everything you need to understand about setting up and also developing a koi fish pond if you’ve ever wished to unwind close to a gentle pool while hand-feeding enthusiastic koi!

The History of Koi Ponds

What we refer to as koi in the West are far more appropriately called Nishikigoi () in their native Japan. The East Asian landmass (Russia, China, Southeast Asia) is home to the Amur Carp (Cyprinus rubrofuscus), which has long been valued for its ability to replenish fish ponds with food.

By deliberately choosing shade for their Nishikigoi, the Japanese elevated the art of koi reproduction. Koi breeding became popular in the 1820s but was restricted to a small section of the large island of Honshu until the 1910s.

Through their efforts to introduce the newly industrialized Japanese society to the rest of the world, koi became into a source of national happiness and the leisure activity that was taken seriously.

As long as the pet and steed reproduction are European, decorative carp is an East Asian specialty. For nearly a thousand years, fish (Carassius auratus), which are related to Amur carp, have been bred in China. Koi is a specialty of the Japanese, and koi ponds are necessary for external Kanso, the Japanese kind of feng shui.

Koi Pond
Koi Pond

Building Your Own Koi Pond

Everything you need to know about setting up and creating the ideal Koi fish pond is covered in this section.

Pond Planning and also Design

Have a clear vision of how your fish pond will surely turn out before you make any purchases. You can make some design adjustments along with the method once the ground has been harmed. There are less shocks when there is a solid design.

The first step in creating a fish pond is choosing the location. Here are some things to think about before starting your design:

Can I view the fish pond from inside my house and from the outside as well?

Are the shallows shaded in the summertime (in warm environments)? Is it deep sufficient for overwintering (in cold climates)?

Could tree origins possibly permeate the lining with time?

Exactly how does my fish pond suit my future outside structure strategies?

Strictly how natural is my fish pond with the remainder of my landscape?

You may easily determine whether the location, size, and shape of your fish pond are ideal by laying out the design using a spray paint can or a group of orange flags.

Preformed vs. Liner Ponds

While I’ll be focusing on lining fish ponds, I wanted to take a moment to discuss one of the other popular options: using tough plastic premade fish ponds.

Preformed fish ponds, made of either pure plastic or a rubberized plastic mix, are a simple, inexpensive way to have an aesthetically appealing yard water feature without having to go through all the time-consuming planning that a handmade fish pond necessitates.

Any opening can be filled in around the base after preformed fish ponds have been placed within. The plastic is almost impervious to pebbles and also roots, and it is also quite strong.

They can’t be made nearly as big as a liner fish pond since they are so stiff. If you live somewhere warm, like Florida or Southern California, you can also leave pre-formed fish ponds above ground all year long!

Koi Pond 2
Koi Pond 2

Indoor vs. Outdoor Ponds

Unlike aquarists, those who take care of fish ponds have a variety of options, such as whether to place the fish pond inside or outside. There are many benefits to both options, so you should carefully consider which best satisfies your goals as a koi fish pond keeper!

Benefits of an Indoor Pond

  • Can be appreciated from a patio area or various other encased area
  • Smaller sized and also generally cheaper
  • Koi can be maintained cozy all year-round
  • The absence of straight sunlight stops algae development
  • Dissipation is much easier to handle

Benefits of an Outdoor Pond

  • Bountiful all-natural sunlight for fish pond plants
  • Yard component
  • Fish ponds bring in wild animals like dragonflies and also frogs
  • Fewer issues over spilling or leakages

Laying the Foundation for a Liner Pond

Once you’ve decided on the size and also location, it’s time to start digging! If you aren’t working with a landscape design company, you’ll need a few shovels as well as pickaxes, Maddox, and other specialized tools to work with the local dirt.

Depending on your layout, the first superficial rack placement is typically 6 to 12 inches deep, with a text that can be as long as 2 feet.

Pond depth is one of the key elements of the style because koi have different needs depending on the season. The majority of warm countries experience four erratic seasons, including a robust winter.

Koi can be overwintered if your fish pond freezes over because they enter a reduced activity/suspended computer animation condition throughout the winter. The position for the fish pond must be at least 3 to 4 feet deep; otherwise, it will surely be too cold for the fish.

In warmer regions of the country, summers can also be brutal. Koi may also avoid shallows where direct sunshine and a dark substrate might cause temperatures to rise. For at least a portion of the day, you must plan on color from nearby trees, buildings, or plants like cattails, as well as some method of moving water to keep oxygen levels up.

You’ll require a water drainage chute for debris and fish waste to collect once you’ve reached the bottom. Give the area you are excavating a gentle bowl-like form so that water circulation and gravity may usually lead the dirt down.

Various other bonuses to prepare for excavating consist of skimmers, PVC piping, and other hidden fish pond devices.

Additionally, I frequently advise keeping any acquired dirt rather than simply throwing it away. Indeed, more land will be useful for growing plants, building embankments or falls, and carrying out numerous other landscape design jobs!

Koi Pond Liners

You’ll first need fish pond underlayment before you can start laying the rubber lining. Because the underlayment for fish ponds creates space between the lining and the ground, gases from decomposition and other processes can be started.

Because you’ll need more of it than you think, fish pond lining is also quite expensive. Following estimates will surely provide you with enough liner to work with, provided that you aren’t using a fish pond that is really strange in shape.

  • Optimum pond size + (2x optimum deepness) + (2x overlap measurements) = Pond Liner Length
  • Optimum pond size + (2x optimum deepness) + (2x overlap measurements) = Pond Liner Width

The lining covers the overpayment in a single item directly. The same concept applies to how much underlayment is needed.

Keep in mind that there are a number of alternatives to underlayment. The procedure works with any durable fabric, including worn-out carpets. Another popular option that provides a significant barrier for the lining but does not allow for gas flow is sand.

When the lining is in place, you should place rocks, decorations, and potted plants in strategic locations to keep it in place. Place them both along the overlapping edges, at the bottom, on clay racks. Rugged broken rock and stones are ideal if you want a lower substratum because they allow particles to easily reach the water drainage.

You’ll also need a second lining area if you decide to build a fall. This strip runs from the very top down into the actual body of the fish pond.

man cleaning fish pond filter system healthy fish keeping providing means remove harmful substances improve overall water quality
man cleaning fish pond filter system healthy fish keeping providing means remove harmful substances improve overall water quality

Pond Technology

While the fish pond shows up primarily total with the hole dug and lining in position, there’s still a great deal extra that must be done before we consider including fish and plants!

Pond Filtration

The variety of fish pond filters is almost as wide as that of interior fish tanks. There are several ways to filter a fish pond, from sump to completely organic designs.

A pondside filter is an additional option if you’re using a lower drain or an immersed pump. With one, you don’t have to worry about splashing, and because they are located outside of the fish pond, you can grow them without endangering the inside space.

They frequently provide separate sections for the mechanical, chemical, and organic phases of purification. Completely submerged filters are far more limited and typically only rely on mechanical and chemical processes, ignoring the nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria.

The only downside is that they lack aesthetic appeal significantly. However, they can be hidden in a planet-wide side area, blocked by vegetation, or by several other creative landscape design techniques.

Pond Skimmer

Cleaning up all of the debris that can accumulate on and within outdoor fish ponds is a major maintenance worry. Loss leaves, grass clippings, and more materials can give a fish pond an untidy, unpolished appearance in no time.

The fully submersible pump is located in the recessed area of fish pond skimmers. Skimmers are positioned on the fish pond’s side and allow water to pass through a mesh screen as a pre-filter before being pumped to the filter or falls.

Pond De-Icer

Some people might find it surprising that fish pond heating devices exist; after all, isn’t the idea that the fish can live outside all year round absurd? Yes, however it’s important to remember that a fish pond is a fabricated natural community. In comparison to any natural fish pond, the ratio of fish to water is significantly higher.

De-Icers keep a small hole in the ice open all year to make sure that oxygen and CO2 can mix, keeping your fish active.

If your fish pond is 2 feet or less in depth at its deepest point and you reside in a good environment, you will need to choose a suitable fish pond heater. Set the water heater to start when the temperature reaches 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the water temperature periodically throughout the day. If a cable is tripped or there is a power outage, a small fish pond can quickly ice over, killing your koi.

UV Sterilizers

All aquatic communities struggle with algae, and fish ponds are no exception. Algae will surely grow more abundantly as the water becomes more nutrient-rich and exposed to more light. Additionally, as sunlight is without a doubt the best for causing it to grow… You comprehend.

Beyond removing algal spores, UV sterilizers don’t do much for hair and sludge algae that grows on rocks. A light, unclear environmental development on submerged surfaces is valued by many fish pond owners. They work wonders for eliminating the single-celled algae that float freely and cause environmentally friendly water flowers.

The majority of bacteria, as well as the eggs and spores of disease-causing bloodsuckers like ich and fungus, are also eliminated by UV sterilizers. They need a pump to get water through them, but you typically install one up along the line going from the big pump to your filter.

If green water is a persistent issue, cutting back on feeding, adding color, and encouraging the growth of rival plants will surely solve almost all algae issues.

Pumps and also Powerheads

A key element of the fish pond innovation landscape is circulation. Your pumps’ number and efficiency will surely depend on the height at which they must operate in relation to the size of the fish pond and their intended uses.

Fish Food

Since you do not desire to feed the same food all year round, Koi food is essential.

Koi food is necessary because you don’t want to feed the same thing to your fish all year long.

Plants for the Koi Pond

One of the most exciting features of owning a koi fish pond is the presence of fish pond plants. They aid in completing the natural landscape impression, provide food and a haven for your fish, frequently bloom, and reproduce without any effort on your part! I go into much more detail on the 13 More Popular Pond Plants, but I’ll list a few of the most well-liked ones here!

Floating Plants

Right here are a couple of drifting fish pond plants that you need to take into consideration:

Water Lettuce

Pistia stratiotes, sometimes known as water lettuce, is a common fish pond plant. It looks like a floating head of butter lettuce and is really simple to grow. Water lettuce grows quickly in fish ponds with their rich nutrient fluids and adequate sunlight.

Water lettuce is a somewhat delicate variety that cannot withstand cold because it is an alien variety. It grows best in USDA zones 10 and warmer.

Water Hyacinth

The water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) blooms throughout much of the summer and has flowers that resemble hyacinths that grow on land. The plant has a unique appearance thanks to the drifting light bulbs, which are also difficult for most vegetarian fish to eat. Due to its rapid growth, it also serves as a vitamin and mineral sponge, soaking up phosphorus and other nutrients that would otherwise feed irritant algae.

Be responsible when using water hyacinth, and always remove or compost any that are introduced to your fish pond. It is quite invasive and has the potential to seriously upset the equilibrium of natural rivers.

Submerged Plants

Below are a couple of immersed fish pond plants that you ought to think about:


Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) is a great choice for koi fish ponds since you can throw it in and watch it grow. Hornwort can grow either anchored or free-floating, where it branches off to cover the water’s surface, however that’s not particularly attractive to look at.

It spreads quickly in both direct and indirect light and is excellent for supplemental oxygenation. In the midst of the dense growth, fish and koi quickly disseminate eggs, and it is also winter-resistant. Additionally complex and unappealing to koi, hornwort is.

Emergent Plants

Below are a few emerging fish pond plants you need to consider.

Pond Lilies

They typically arrive potted and create the classic lily pad that fish and frogs like. There, koi and dragonflies find refuge from the intense sun and also on the lookout herons. The roots of fish pond lilies are frequently placed in a pot or basket of nutrient-rich mud, which makes it quite simple to grow them.

Pond Mates for Koi

Are you looking for some more fish to keep alongside your koi? I regret to say that there are a few fish that are perfect for koi.

Because they thrive under the same conditions, native game fish like sunfish and bass are desirable. However, I do not advise keeping them in contact with one another. They frequently exhibit even greater hostility, readily purchase young koi and fish, and have the ability to transport bloodsuckers that koi are less resistant to.

Goldfish Carassius auratus

By far, fish are the best choice for koi fish pond companions. Koi are typically much larger than fish, although they are still substantial.

Chinese Hi Fin Banded Shark Myxocyprinus asiaticus

These unfortunate species are frequently marketed as exotic fish when they become not only unpleasant but also significantly too large for interior fish tanks. They are typically born as candy-striped, hunchbacked juveniles with a sail-like dorsal fin, but they eventually grow to be over 4 feet long and also lose their stylish fins and vivid red stripes.

Chinese Hi Fin Banded Sharks are Cyprinids, which are related to Koi, Barbs, and Fish and are not actually Sharks. They mostly live in lower habitats and eat sediment and algae similar to plecostomus. They come from the same region of the world and make good companions for koi in larger fish ponds.

Apple Snails Ampullariidae sp.

Giant snails, which are common in fish ponds and fish tanks, include the mystery or apple snails in their family. They consume hair, film, and other bothersome algal growth in addition to old and dead plant matter. Snails are also the best detrivores, cleaning up any leftover food that your koi may have missed.

Koi can’t easily eat grown-up apple snails, but they will surely swallow juvenile snails completely. The best way to keep them is to add your snails and young koi at the same time. The snails will develop at the same rate as your koi, and the koi will control the snail population as it multiplies.

Wildlife Concerns

A shallow lake filled with fat, defenseless fish can be a prime target for wild creatures in the area. The smallest fish and koi are the most vulnerable, and as they grow larger, they become too huge for all but the most notorious predators to eat.

Common Koi Predators consist of

  • Community as well as feral felines.
  • Marsupials, raccoons, foxes, as well as various other opportunistic animals.
  • Water serpents, giant turtles, bullfrogs.
  • Herons, egrets, and also various other estuarine-searching birds.
  • Hawks, eagles, owls, and also various other predators.

Koi in its adult stages are too huge for herons and eagles to eat. River otters will surely enjoy taking a stroll and looking for the largest fish for a straightforward meal.

They’ll appear like clockwork at dawn to hunt once they find a fish pond with little koi, leaving you upset over your koi’s disappearance. Fish can also hide behind lily pads and dangling plants that are drifting.

Ideal Water Parameters & Cycling the Pond

You’ll need a water testing equipment in order to cycle the fish pond properly. Additionally, if algae problems persist, I would advise purchasing a phosphorus analysis package; however, this shouldn’t be an issue when first setting up your fish pond.

Over the course of a few weeks, you can add more fish. Many owners of fish ponds start off with a few inexpensive fish for bicycling. You may tell your bacteria are working and have prepared the way for your program koi when your test results show 0 ppm ammonia, reduced nitrites, and also facilitated to minor nitrate.

While the tried-and-true method of adding strong fish to start things off works well, the microorganisms needed to jump-start the process can now be purchased in bulk. By adding nitrifying bacteria directly to the water, you can quickly prepare the fish pond to house your koi.

Koi also prefer a pH between 7.0 and 8.0, which is neutral to alkaline, and modest midsummer outdoor temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Koi stopped feeding completely when the water reached a temperature of 50°F because of the resulting drop in temperature. They survive on their stored fat during the fall and winter, becoming mostly steady as their metabolic rate decreases until April.


Koi fish ponds are both a fascinating world to enter and a centuries-old pastime. Every aspect of the hobby, from attire to equipment, is enjoyable. Additionally, the tremendous customizability guarantees that no two fish ponds will ever be the same, even if your neighbors decide to copy you!

If you decide to use this information to start your very own backyard or indoor fish pond, give me a shout out and also let me know how it goes!

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