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  1. #1

    Tips for new koi keepers

    In the last couple of years I think I've learnt a lot about koi keeping (I have much, much more to learn though). It appears to me that a lot of people are joining this forum and making the same mistakes that I did so I thought I'd share what I think are majority opinion on a few subjects. Feel free to add / dispute or tell me I'm an idiot.

    In no particular order ...
    1. A bottom drain / gravity fed filter is by far the best method of getting pond water to your filter
    2. Anoxic filtration is probably the cheapest effective filter available
    3. Reverse Osmosis water purification is a cheap (if you're not on a water meter) way to improve your water quality and koi growth
    4. Having salt in your pond as a precaution at a background level is bad for your fish
    5. Join a koi club, you will get a lot of free, useful advice
    6. Regular water testing of pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate is essential at least until your pond chemistry is stable. Free chlorine, KH, GH, TDS, phosphate are very useful tests to do too.
    7. Topping up with untreated tap water is a bad idea (either use a dechlorinator or chemical treatment)
    8. Treating for parasites before you know exactly what parasites you have (ideally by scraping and viewing through a microscope) is a very bad idea
    9. Having fish other than koi in your pond will restrict parasite treatments you can use.
    10. Not everything you'll be told on forums is true (perhaps including this? )
    11. An auto-feeder will make your fish less friendly than hand feeding
    12. Regular small water changes is a good way to control nitrates and other pollutants
    13. Sun light causes green water / blanket weed to grow if you also have nitrate and / or phosphate present
    14. If money is no object a drum filter and Bakki shower is probably the best filtration available.
    15. A pond with a depth of less than four feet is generally a bad idea
    16. Ball valves tend to be more reliable than slide valves
    17. If done well fibre-glassing is probably the best way to water proof a pond
    18. A microscope (and taking the time to learn how to use it) is a very good investment
    19. If using a skimmer then a guard is a very good idea.
    20. Changing water chemistry quickly can be bad for your fish. for example koi will tolerate a wide range of temperatures and pH but won't tolerate quick changes in temperature or pH
    21. Visit other people's koi ponds (via a club?). What you see will give you new ideas.
    22. Feed more when the water is warmer and little or nothing below about 8 deg C

    [edit 23/11/13] removed the temperature one as there is no majority opinion, added joining a club and visiting ponds

    [edit 12-02-14] added feeding

    This list doesn't cover everything or try to give reasons, every subject above has lots more discussion this forum, the search tool is a very good friend



  2. #2
    Moderator Rank = Supreme Champion miles41's Avatar
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    Thanks for your work on this John and have made it a sticky for ease of reference
    1630 Gallon raised pond
    4" 'Avenue' bottom drain
    Estro sieve
    Econobead EB60 bead filter
    Sequence 18000 pump, 6000 pump on skimmer line
    Elecro 2kW in-line heater
    Evolution Aqua 70 air pump
    Standard wall skimmer
    Hozelock Vorton 55watt UV
    and some nice koi

  3. #3

  4. #4

    Tips for new koi keepers

    Great work John, this is simply a great guide for any new koi keeper. Fantastic that you took the time and a little stick for putting this list together WELL DONE BUDDY 👍


    7000ltr pear shape pond
    Gravity Fed Oasis vortec 20000 filter
    Olympus 9000ltr pump
    TMC 55w UV
    Evolution Aqua 70 air pump
    Sent from iPhone using TapTalk

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by hawes412 View Post
    Great work John, this is simply a great guide for any new koi keeper. Fantastic that you took the time and a little stick for putting this list together WELL DONE BUDDY 👍


    7000ltr pear shape pond
    Gravity Fed Oasis vortec 20000 filter
    Olympus 9000ltr pump
    TMC 55w UV
    Evolution Aqua 70 air pump
    Sent from iPhone using TapTalk



    7000ltr pear shape pond
    Gravity Fed Oasis vortec 20000 filter
    Olympus 9000ltr pump
    TMC 55w UV
    Evolution Aqua 70 air pump
    Sent from iPhone using TapTalk

  6. #6
    Thanks Hawes.
    I've edited the list a bit after comments by DaveJ

  7. #7
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Nanasai bobchagi's Avatar
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    Hi John,realy good post but 3 years too late for my pond build.Lots of mistakes made but getting it sorted gradualy.Great sorce of information for anyone coming into the hobby,regards Bob

  8. #8
    A pond is a hole in the ground that we keep frowing money at

  9. Thanks carrier, Keeef Thanked / Liked this Post
  10. #9
    I'm throwing money at my education


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #10
    Moderator Rank = Supreme Champion miles41's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnKitching View Post
    I'm throwing money at my education


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Lol.....
    1630 Gallon raised pond
    4" 'Avenue' bottom drain
    Estro sieve
    Econobead EB60 bead filter
    Sequence 18000 pump, 6000 pump on skimmer line
    Elecro 2kW in-line heater
    Evolution Aqua 70 air pump
    Standard wall skimmer
    Hozelock Vorton 55watt UV
    and some nice koi

  12. #11
    All I would say regarding keeping pond fish everything is a balance get the right balance and your almost there. Some people add salt 1/2 oz per gallon, with salt your are restricted in using chemicals for blanket control. expect minor loses as there is in the wild. What you are trying to achieve is a natural environment for the fish. Feed little and often in the summer, little and less in the winter. But you already know this.

  13. #12
    only think i can think of adding is read, learn, and see other peoples ponds. and only pay what you can afford to lose on a fish. and remember even the best koi keepers lose fish. they say a dogs for life not just for xmas and the same is true with your koi they can live up to 50 years. and i think the best did i can add is the only people that make money from selling koi are the dealer, don`t keep koi to make money. it is life changing.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by vince View Post
    only think i can think of adding is read, learn, and see other peoples ponds. and only pay what you can afford to lose on a fish. and remember even the best koi keepers lose fish. they say a dogs for life not just for xmas and the same is true with your koi they can live up to 50 years. and i think the best did i can add is the only people that make money from selling koi are the dealer, don`t keep koi to make money. it is life changing.
    Interesting point Vince. Haven't you "lost" the money whether it dies or not?
    In fact, you could even argue you'll lose even more money the longer it lives.
    I don't really mean the above, just thought I'd start an argument

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by gudgeonking View Post
    All I would say regarding keeping pond fish everything is a balance get the right balance and your almost there. Some people add salt 1/2 oz per gallon, with salt your are restricted in using chemicals for blanket control. expect minor loses as there is in the wild. What you are trying to achieve is a natural environment for the fish. Feed little and often in the summer, little and less in the winter. But you already know this.
    Good point on the feeding, don't how that one got missed, I've edited the list thank you.

  16. #15
    you win John lol but i see what your saying. as far as my wife thinks its an investment lol . think its the only way she can understand what i see in this hobby.

  17. #16
    Don't do it
    or
    move next door to someone who is bang in to their koi so you can see them from your bedroom window lol

    I've learnt to never place filters on wood across a pond because in time they rot with the condensation/water and collapse with a loud crack as you watch your filters slowly go in the water and then in a split second you make the decision to run like hell to the kitchen to turn the plug off to stop the filters filling with water - luckily, the lids were on and they floated for a few valuable seconds
    and
    never be lazy in screwing in the last piece of wood securing your polytunnel because the strong wind will find a way in and blow the back out causing wind chill
    and
    never leave a filter sock on a filter with only one outlet pipe - it overflows and drains half your pond water
    and
    if you have a sunken pond that is ground level always make sure you have an overflow fitted because at 4:30am in the winter when its hammering down with rain and you pond is over flowing so your babies could float away and your stripped naked from the top down in a pair of shorts bailing out bucket loads of water when your neighbour is watching and asking 'how did you know your pond was overflowing' and you think 'mmm, if you knew, would you have knocked on my door to let me know' lol

    koi keeping is stressful but also rewarding knowing you've managed to keep alive a really tempermental species that can change colour, shape and become ill in a flash!


    My name is KoiManMick and I'm addicted to koi carp pmsl

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  19. #17
    But the best tip is to never let your other half see you have a double headed coin when you keep on winning best out of three when it comes to cleaning the pre-filter sponge on your pump at silly-o'clock

  20. #18
    Senior Member Rank = Hassai hippo's Avatar
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    Nice work , John . Such a lot for us newbies to take in , at the start of the journey . It definitely pays to spend a long time , researching , planning , and learning off others before taking the plunge !
    Colin

    2500 Gallon Fibreglass Pond
    Eazypod , Bio-Max 4 Bead , 18 Basket Anoxic

  21. #19
    Hi John,

    Something that might be worth adding, everyone needs to learn the Nitrate Cycle to better understand their pond.

    Steve


    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk

  22. Thanks Keeef Thanked / Liked this Post
  23. #20
    Brilliant post and reading all the mistakes that if were honest we all make
    are the way we learn and even the most experienced koi keepers made
    some of these at first, so in my opinion its good to make some mistakes , I know
    it doesn't seem like it when things go wrong but you remember it and don't usually
    let it happen again.

  24. Thanks RhysHill1, Keeef Thanked / Liked this Post
 

 
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