Keeping Koi

Water features, whether they’re fountains, ponds or rills, can be a wonderful addition to any garden. However, a lot of gardeners will hit a point where they look at their standing water, and think that it looks a bit barren. One popular way of breathing more life into your pond is buying some koi carp and giving them a home there. Here are some tips for keeping them happy and healthy.

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The Right Diet
Like any animal, a koi’s diet is essential to keeping it happy and healthy. There’s a range of specialised koi foods on the market, intended for growth, colour, general health or a combination. One of the most important things to remember is that koi are poikilothermic, meaning that their body temperature is governed by the surrounding water. This means that you need to feed them different foods during different seasons. They’ll need a lower amount of protein in the winter and colder end of spring, and foods that are high in protein during the summer. This is because food passes slowly through their gut at lower temperatures, and will be poorly digested. Be sure to consult the koi vendor about the food you should stock up on for different times of the year.
Water Quality
The quality of the water you’re keeping your koi in is another important thing to consider. You need low or non-existent levels of ammonia, nitrate, and a PH level between 6 and 9. Common toxins found in tap water, such as chlorine, chloramine, and iron, also need to be avoided to assure the best possible health for your koi. It’s also important to maintain a minimum oxygen level of 6mg per litre, which can be achieved with products like the Oase Filtoclear. You may not be able to get all of these parameters spot-on, but once you get close enough, it’s important to keep it this way. Erratic changes in oxygen, mineral levels and temperature can all be extremely strenuous to a koi’s body, and may shorten their lifespan. Whatever you do, don’t assume that the water quality is good simply because it’s clear. Battery acid is clear, but it won’t do any animal much good!
Be Vigilant
Countless people like the idea of keeping koi in a pond, but unfortunately, a lot of them simply don’t put in the time it takes to keep their environment healthy and free of problems. Now that you own koi, you’re going to have to deal with various environmental issues, such as excessive fish waste, acid rain, and nutrient runoff. These issues are fairly common, but can be serious if you don’t stay vigilant and tackle them as soon as they arise. Make sure you’re performing regular water checks, and taking steps to iron out any developing issues you come across. Koi may not be the most high-maintenance fish in the world, but when you’re not paying attention to the state of the pond, even the hardiest fish can experience some harrowing and potentially deadly health issues.

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