Koi Pond Maintenance
Simple tips for how to keep a koi pond clean
- Don't over-clean filters
- Limit chemical use
- Maintain high oxygen levels
- Provide shade
- Limit feedings
- Routinely use natural bacteria treatments
Some of these tips may seem a little bizarre so let's dig in to the details....
Don't over-clean the filters. Interesting idea... my pond is dirty and you want me to forget about cleaning the filters? YEP! Here's why- besides collecting waste, filters act as a natural filter for nutrients in the pond. Regular pond filter cleaning is like an invisible "reset" button for your pond. It resets in 2 ways. The first is that you wash away good bacteria that lives on the filter pads. The second is that fine particles can make their way through a clean filter pad but are more likely to get caught in a dirty one. The best rule of thumb for cleaning filters is, when water flow slows down its time to clean. Its OKAY if they look dirty! That means they are doing their job :)
Limit chemical use. If an algaecide or flocculent is needed on a weekly basis, this indicates that there are greater issues with the pond. Regular use of chemicals prevents the pond from creating a natural and balanced ecosystem. Chemicals can create issues for fish by reducing oxygen in water. It's okay to use treatments to manage a difficult algae bloom or cloudy water but just use them with caution and sparingly. We will talk about alternatives in number 6.
Maintain oxygen levels. One of the best things you can do for any garden pond is add an aeration system. Maintaining high oxygen levels promotes good bacteria activity to naturally clean water. Adequate oxygen maintains happy and healthy fish. Bottom aeration also creates better circulation to get waste from the bottom of the pond to the filters where it belongs.
Provide shade. Sunlight is needed for algae to grow. The sun also heats up the water which eventually reduces oxygen levels. Adding aquatic plants, whether they are shoreline bog plants, water lilies, or floating water hyacinths, gives the pond shade and creates protective cover for fish. We recommend 30% of the garden pond surface to be covered with aquatic plants.
Limit feedings. Your fish are friendly. They will come to the surface when they see you. If you feed them they always seem to attack the food like they are starving. The truth is, the fish are trained and this is how they react to food. Fewer feedings per week reduces waste going into the water. It also creates a greater dependance on bugs and algae to eat which keeps your pond cleaner!
- Maintain natural bacteria levels. Good bacteria is your friend! It's important to treat every 1-2 weeks with natural bacteria EVEN IF THE WATER LOOKS GOOD. Natural bacteria treatments like Muck Remover GP and Pond Remedy maintain balance in the pond. They work together to reduce algae-causing nutrients and break down waste that builds up at the bottom.