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  1. #1

    New Pond No Fish

    Ok,

    Is it good, bad or indifferent to run a new pond for a while without fish ?
    Is there any benefit or detriment to the water, bio filter and/or fish when introduced?
    Even with no fish at present, would it be any benefit in running trickle in/out to keep the water fresh?



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    Senior Member Rank = Hassai Koiz's Avatar
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    This is a really tricky decision for you at this time of year.

    Your bio media needs ammonia to start the nitrogen cycle and achieve maturity. You therefore need either fish in the water, or you can do a 'fishless cycle' whereby you add ammonia yourself to the water. I've done this successfully when wanting to mature new biomedia before adding to my system but I've done it in a small volume of water to keep the cost of the ammonia down. Trouble is, with water temps dropping rapidly now, any bio filter will be very hard to establish so even if you did add some cheap 'starter' koi or goldfish now to begin the process it may not be overly successful and take a long time. Then you also have the issue of having some fish in your pond that you may not want to keep long term, so will have to move them on next year which may not be that easy. I can quite imagine how much you want to see fish in your pond right now after all your hard work but it does need some careful thought! If you know someone who would happily take starter fish off you next year once you are at the point of wanting to start your koi collection, then popping a few in now may be an option to get the cycle going, but I'd plan ahead for the re-homing of any fish as, just in case you were not aware, it is illegal to release pond or aquarium fish into rivers or lakes. Not only are such fish likely to die quite quickly, but you risk a serious disruption of the environment into which they are released. This is a good guide about it: Your Legal Duty of Care for Keeping Fish under The Animal Welfare Act

    When I went Koi only, I had a real hard time finding a home where I was happy to send my goldfish, shubunkin and orfe. After about 10 months of research, I was delighted to be granted special permission to rehome all my fish in a beautiful managed lake on university grounds where my brother worked. It was a long journey for them and took a lot of careful planning as we moved 31 fish in one go! Happy to report they all arrived safely at their new home and my brother gets to see them still when he's on campus. As soon as COVID is a distant memory, I plan a visit there to see how many of my fish I can spot. It was very hard letting them go and I still miss many of them now 15 months on

    If it was my pond, and knowing how much fun NPS can be, I'd be tempted to just hold fire till Spring when water temps are holding above 13c to add some nice koi that I really want, and just keep the filter system turning over to keep the water in good condition. However, I wouldn't have a trickle change running as that's just a waste of water, but just change it now and then if it looks like it needs it - which may be more to do with whether you are running a UV to stop the water greening up. I can't see any reason why running an empty pond through winter is going to do any harm to your system, but I'd do a good hefty water change before new fish went in.

    Hope something in this is helpful for you
    Last edited by Koiz; 16-10-2020 at 04:43 PM.
    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

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  5. #3
    Senior Member Rank = Yonsai Wain's Avatar
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    Hahahaha like to add I would happily take starter fish off anyone. . . . at mates rates
    I have housed several peoples runts and each is treated the same by myself

    Seriously I agree with Koiz you do need to think about where the starters go as you may not want to keep them as you are going for specimen rather than perceived cheaper fish in the long run

    I have used the Evolution type bombs to introduce bacteria etc for filters again a point others may argue for and against

    Interested to watch the threads and replies on this subject

    Good luck in maturing your pond.
    1000 gal
    2 x Hozelock 6000ltr 9W UV
    Allpond Spin Filter 8000 11W UV
    Blagdon pond oxy 640 ltr/hr

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  7. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Koiz View Post
    This is a really tricky decision for you at this time of year.

    Your bio media needs ammonia to start the nitrogen cycle and achieve maturity. You therefore need either fish in the water, or you can do a 'fishless cycle' whereby you add ammonia yourself to the water. I've done this successfully when wanting to mature new biomedia before adding to my system but I've done it in a small volume of water to keep the cost of the ammonia down. Trouble is, with water temps dropping rapidly now, any bio filter will be very hard to establish so even if you did add some cheap 'starter' koi or goldfish now to begin the process it may not be overly successful and take a long time. Then you also have the issue of having some fish in your pond that you may not want to keep long term, so will have to move them on next year which may not be that easy. I can quite imagine how much you want to see fish in your pond right now after all your hard work but it does need some careful thought! If you know someone who would happily take starter fish off you next year once you are at the point of wanting to start your koi collection, then popping a few in now may be an option to get the cycle going, but I'd plan ahead for the re-homing of any fish as, just in case you were not aware, it is illegal to release pond or aquarium fish into rivers or lakes. Not only are such fish likely to die quite quickly, but you risk a serious disruption of the environment into which they are released. This is a good guide about it: Your Legal Duty of Care for Keeping Fish under The Animal Welfare Act

    When I went Koi only, I had a real hard time finding a home where I was happy to send my goldfish, shubunkin and orfe. After about 10 months of research, I was delighted to be granted special permission to rehome all my fish in a beautiful managed lake on university grounds where my brother worked. It was a long journey for them and took a lot of careful planning as we moved 31 fish in one go! Happy to report they all arrived safely at their new home and my brother gets to see them still when he's on campus. As soon as COVID is a distant memory, I plan a visit there to see how many of my fish I can spot. It was very hard letting them go and I still miss many of them now 15 months on

    If it was my pond, and knowing how much fun NPS can be, I'd be tempted to just hold fire till Spring when water temps are holding above 13c to add some nice koi that I really want, and just keep the filter system turning over to keep the water in good condition. However, I wouldn't have a trickle change running as that's just a waste of water, but just change it now and then if it looks like it needs it - which may be more to do with whether you are running a UV to stop the water greening up. I can't see any reason why running an empty pond through winter is going to do any harm to your system, but I'd do a good hefty water change before new fish went in.

    Hope something in this is helpful for you
    Hi Kois,

    Thanks for your very informative reply, its really great when someone with obvious long experience and knowledge takes time out to reply to a self confessed newbies question.
    The only thing I should have mentioned is I have an air source heat pump, so currently keeping the temp at 15 degrees.
    So hopefully this probably would change some of the advice ?

    Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk

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  9. #5
    Senior Member Rank = Hassai Koiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wain View Post
    Hahahaha like to add I would happily take starter fish off anyone. . . . at mates rates I have housed several peoples runts and each is treated the same by myself
    That's how I ended up with so many fish in my pond ... I became the fish sanctuary!!! In the end I wanted to go Koi only as I thought that'd be easier to manage as my goldfish were so rampant I was forever having to sedate and repair them from all the damage they did to each other. It honestly made me really upset to see the poor females being litterally rammed to death on a regular basis despite having 8 spawning brushes in the pond. Randy little devils. Anway, so far I have mostly females amongst my Koi and whilst they do like a good chase around, there have been no attempts at actual spawning but I dread the day this may happen in case I have to be out there again with the Aquased and Iodine! I'd really love to raise some home grown Koi, as I did goldfish, and I'm hoping with a higher ratio of females to males the process may not be so violent. Fingers crossed
    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

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    Senior Member Rank = Hassai Koiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffers22 View Post
    The only thing I should have mentioned is I have an air source heat pump, so currently keeping the temp at 15 degrees. So hopefully this probably would change some of the advice ?
    Yup - heating changes everything! So, my understanding is (and very happy to be corrected if this isn't quite right)... the optimum temp for Nitrifying bacteria to grow is 25-30C. At 18C their growth rate is 50% less, and at 10C that rate is reduced to 25%. No activity will occur when temps reach 4C, and at 0C the bugs will die. Nitrobacter (that convert Nitrites to Nitrates) is less tolerant of low temperatures than Nitrosomonas (Ammonia to Nitrite), which is why as temps cool you can start to get a rise in Nitrites if you continue to feed more than the biofilter can effectively convert, and this is one reason why we move onto the lower protein feeds such as Wheatgerm as temps start to cool, and then stop feeding altogether as they drop to 10C, according to param readings.

    Now, as you are providing a 5 Star Spa environment in your pond , you could go ahead and start stocking with two or three small Koi that you really like, but I'd be tempted to raise the temp up to 18C. Over the years I've used a number of filter starter products, and I'd personally recommend the gels over the balls. This year when I started up my system from scratch having installed a new Oase ProfiClear, I used Oase Biokick Premium. I wrote about it here, so may be worth a quick read as I include a price comparison and some tips and tricks to maximise success: https://www.koiforum.uk/water-treatment-protein-skimmers-filtration/26461-quantity-k1-required.html#post340360

    Quick Q - have you got some poly carbs to go over your pond to keep the heat in ... and the herons away?!
    Last edited by Koiz; 16-10-2020 at 06:16 PM.
    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

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    Senior Member Rank = Hassai Koiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffers22 View Post
    Thanks for your very informative reply, its really great when someone with obvious long experience and knowledge takes time out to reply to a self confessed newbies question.
    Thanks for such a nice reply! Really appreciated. To be honest, I've been on a steep learning curve myself this year with a prazi resistance fluke outbreak - that was fun! You most definitely never stop learning in this hobby I've kept aquariums for some 30 odd years, but have only had a pond for 9 since moving to my new home which came with a 'hole in the ground' in which the previous residents had left the ugly or poorly fish they didn't want! And so started the madness that is pond ownership You've put a lot of thought into your build and I really think, with some well chosen koi, you have a very good chance of some plain sailing in creating a beautifully stocked pond.

    The one thing I would suggest, if you've not already done so, is get a good book about the history of koi and the varieties. One of my favorite books is the Mini Encyclopedia of Keeping Koi - it's an easy read without getting too bogged down in detail, and has a great visual guide to the different breeds. Once you know what you like the look of and what kind of 'moving picture' you want to paint in your pond, you can set about finding your perfect fish. The key to success, is making sure you buy from a dealer with the right bio-security in place to stand the best chance of healthy koi coming into your pond. From my own, and others experiences, I would advise against buying from garden centre based chains. Not sure where you are in the country, but may be worth touching base with Gazkoi of Aurora Koi on here. I haven't personally had any fish from Gary, but his service is second to none as per the many reviews on this forum. I'm sure if you post a thread asking for recommendations for good breeders in your area, you'll get a lot of input from members.

    Will be interesting to see how your work of art comes along, so I'll be watching with interest.
    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

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  15. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Koiz View Post
    Yup - heating changes everything! So, my understanding is (and very happy to be corrected if this isn't quite right)... the optimum temp for Nitrifying bacteria to grow is 25-30C. At 18C their growth rate is 50% less, and at 10C that rate is reduced to 25%. No activity will occur when temps reach 4C, and at 0C the bugs will die. Nitrobacter (that convert Nitrites to Nitrates) is less tolerant of low temperatures than Nitrosomonas (Ammonia to Nitrite), which is why as temps cool you can start to get a rise in Nitrites if you continue to feed more than the biofilter can effectively convert, and this is one reason why we move onto the lower protein feeds such as Wheatgerm as temps start to cool, and then stop feeding altogether as they drop to 10C, according to param readings.

    Now, as you are providing a 5 Star Spa environment in your pond , you could go ahead and start stocking with two or three small Koi that you really like, but I'd be tempted to raise the temp up to 18C. Over the years I've used a number of filter starter products, and I'd personally recommend the gels over the balls. This year when I started up my system from scratch having installed a new Oase ProfiClear, I used Oase Biokick Premium. I wrote about it here, so may be worth a quick read as I include a price comparison and some tips and tricks to maximise success: https://www.koiforum.uk/water-treatment-protein-skimmers-filtration/26461-quantity-k1-required.html#post340360

    Quick Q - have you got some poly carbs to go over your pond to keep the heat in ... and the herons away?!
    Right....so 1st thing get some polycarb then up temp to 18+
    I have the proficlear compact gravity M filter aswell
    Your not the first person to recommend the Oase bio kick premium filter starter.
    The guy at local koi shop told me that the rep from Oase had actually told him that when the Oase labs tested some the other well known bio gels etc they found that most of the bacteria was actually dead, fresh out of the tub and they guarantee the bacteria in there product.
    It might be a load of sales bs but it's sold me and I have some ready & waiting New Pond No Fish

    Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk

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    Senior Member Rank = Hassai Koiz's Avatar
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    I like the fact that Oase state how many bacteria are actually in their product. Can't find that info on any of the other filter boosts. Plus it comes in 4 vials so you only open what you need. Yup, I'm sold!

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    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

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    Senior Member Rank = Hassai Koiz's Avatar
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    Just in case you need any input on polys, this is the thread about my solution:
    https://www.koiforum.uk/koi-carp-cha...ost353466.html

    @RS2OOO has a thread going about his polys too at the mo New Pond No Fish

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    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

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  21. #11
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    Firstly, fair play Koiz again exceptionally informative and well advised responses with no limit on time allocated to help someone.

    Secondly, whilst I am a Retailer this is not a sales pitch...

    So personally, I do not like fishless cycling - whilst I’m sure many of the ‘techies’ on here may disagree I question how reproductive this really is. In my mind fish produce much more than just ammonia etc..

    Until I read about the ASHP, I would have suggested get some goldfish for the winter and get used to a ‘keeping routine’. Goldfish are much hardier than koi and would serve you well for initial keeping, routine and cycling (which would be limited in colder temps) but it stops your pond from being just pumped water....

    Heat changes a lot and Koi will be happier and cycle quicker however New Pond Syndrome will be encountered and can cause issues even with the benefit of heat. From a practical perspective the cold and dark winter may also reduce your motivation to get outside and ‘stuck in’ at times too...

    If you are new to koi keeping you will undoubtedly be aware koi prices vary significantly alongside quality. Again personally in your position (regardless of affordability) I would add a few cheaper koi to start with, limit the risk to you and the koi and see how you go... there is always plenty of great advice available on here for the situations you will undoubtedly face.

    Many dealers ‘close down’ sales for the winter so there may be some bargains around this time of year. Buy from a dealer who can tell you the history of the koi, maintains good husbandry and who offers after sales advice - not just someone who is interested in making the till ring.

    A koi pond with out koi is not a koi pond...

    Welcome to a fascinating hobby.

    Cheers

    Gaz
    Last edited by Gazkoi; 17-10-2020 at 07:23 AM.
    4,100 gallon pond, infinity window, duratec heater, aerated BD, 3 bakki showers full of BHM, amalgam UV, 3 Blue Eco’s, construction skimmer, trickle in/out, Oase Profi Drum and some very spoilt koi.

    3 separate grow on vats, one 1,600 gallon QT and a customer first business

    www.aurorakoi.co.uk

    www.facebook.com/aurorakoiuk

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    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion freddyboy's Avatar
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    lots of good info here. nice one wendy. great info as always. my first pond 28 years ago. i matures it through . the winter. no filter starters.
    i did nt know about them green new to fish keeping then. no heating or covers.
    i added a few rudd. orfs and gold fish. more hardy as gaz said. i was supposed to get rid of them in the spring and add koi only. still got some of them now. sentimental. could nt let them go.
    it matured my pond for the spring to introduce the koi carp. so pond maturity does work in the winter.
    in your case with heat. your laughing mate. i would go for it now. ok you will get NPS . plenty of help on here with that. to get you through. so long as you do n t go mad with the feeding and not a lot of fish
    its controllable. i have had a couple of fish of gaz. and there nice fish. and there will be some bargains this time of year.
    go for it
    fred

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  25. #13
    I think the general consensus is that heat changes everything?
    I would like to start things off probably with 3 cheaper koi if there are some bargains to be had.
    I presume fish size is also a factor?
    Obviously smaller koi will consume less food, ergo less waste for filter maturing, but which are considered hardier small or larger fish and which would cope better with new pond syndrome ?
    I'm thinking pros and cons of say adding 3-4 koi of say 15-20cm versus 2-3 koi of say 30-40 cm?


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    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion freddyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffers22 View Post
    I think the general consensus is that heat changes everything?
    I would like to start things off probably with 3 cheaper koi if there are some bargains to be had.
    I presume fish size is also a factor?
    Obviously smaller koi will consume less food, ergo less waste for filter maturing, but which are considered hardier small or larger fish and which would cope better with new pond syndrome ?
    I'm thinking pros and cons of say adding 3-4 koi of say 15-20cm versus 2-3 koi of say 30-40 cm?


    Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk
    I would go for the 4 fish. You need ammonia in there lol. To get the pond and filters maturing. The quicker the better.
    That's not to many. And not to few.
    Plus more odds on them eating. And producing ammonia.
    Fred

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    Senior Member Rank = Hassai Koiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffers22 View Post
    I think the general consensus is that heat changes everything? I would like to start things off probably with 3 cheaper koi if there are some bargains to be had. I presume fish size is also a factor?
    Obviously smaller koi will consume less food, ergo less waste for filter maturing, but which are considered hardier small or larger fish and which would cope better with new pond syndrome ?
    I'm thinking pros and cons of say adding 3-4 koi of say 15-20cm versus 2-3 koi of say 30-40 cm?
    All good questions, and Fred's suggestion is sound, but you're forgetting the biggest factor ... love is in the eye of the beholder

    Your best laid plans will disappear in a puff of illogic as soon as you come face to face with a fish that makes your stomach flutter and your heart skip a beat So, best advice I can offer here is get your polys sorted (as that'll save you so much money on heating in the long run), do some reading and shortlist what you think you like the look of, then toddle off to see some good dealers with your Mini Encyclopedia tucked under your arm. Don't buy on line at this stage - go see the fish first hand and spend a good long while watching them. Don't worry too much about what's 'right and wrong' in terms of show quality patternation, skin, form etc as your first fish can become very precious so go for gut feeling. As Fred said, sentimentality plays a big part with these early purchases. One of my Koi is my first pond fish bought when I knew nothing about Koi; there are so many things you could criticize about him in terms of 'quality' but I adore him and his colour is incredibly vivid - he's proper GOLD with the most incredible jet black eyes that I've never seen on any other koi yet! Not bad for a £3 fish from Maidenhead Aquatics (but I still stand by my advice to avoid such outlets).

    As Gaz said, a good dealer is all about customer support, so will spend the time offering advice and making sure you get the right fish for your needs in line with what you fall in love with and your budget.

    For me, I like to capture the colours of my garden within my pond, so I have white (Gin Mat and Purachina) and blue grey (Soragoi and Ochiba) that echo my white and grey granite patio and copings, yellow (Yamabuki and Kin Mat) that pick out my Choisyas and Daffodils, then the Gosanke (Sanke and Showa) that harmonise with the red flowers of my Dahlias, Lobellias and Peonies. The Shiro was the one fish my husband got to choose hahaha! I wanted either a Soragoi or Chagoi for their personality, but I didn't want the Chagoi colour, so for me the Soragoi was the perfect choice and Ochiba is a cross between a Chagoi and Soragoi. I didn't think I'd like Ochiba (meaning literally 'leaves of fall on water') until I saw them first hand and they took my breath away - plus the brown picks out the colours of my gravel nicely (see, for me it's all about the moving picture LOL).

    Give some consideration to scalation. I like Gin Rin (pronounced with a G as in Gate) for their spectacular diamond like shine, but they are not so good for clarity of colour separation on Gosanke or definition of net or pine cone patterning, where matt scales or scaleless (Doitsu - pronounced without the u at the end) really come into their own, though sometimes scaleless fish can be a little more sensitive when it comes to chemical treatments. There are endless Japanese words for everything you can possibly imagine in terms of describing Koi, so again, the Mini Encyclopedia will be really helpful in getting to know these. I found that once I spent a bit of time learning the genetics of koi, the history of the breeds and the terminologies, it made choosing them so much more fun. This is a good overview of colour inheritance in Koi:
    Coloured Koi Gene Tree by Seishu Kataoka.JPG

    Can't wait to see what you choose so keep us posted.

    In the meantime, this is my first Koi - a poor man's version of a Doitsu Kin Matsuba
    First Fish, First Love.JPG
    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

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  31. #16
    go for the cheap route and have a pee in there every day....

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    Senior Member Rank = Yonsai Wain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBKOI View Post
    go for the cheap route and have a pee in there every day....
    did he really say that pmsl

    so thats what you did do not try and deny it now
    1000 gal
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBKOI View Post
    go for the cheap route and have a pee in there every day....
    Hahaha - I've heard this one so many times! I did actually research it again recently after the age old fable of "the Japanese have done this for decades" and hubs being so very keen to offer his services
    There are arguments for both sides, but I decided the risk of transferring any nasties into the pond was just not worth it when I could buy ammonia pretty cheaply for a fishless cycle. Besides, Hubs tendency to enjoy one or two seriously strong vodkas did concern me of the quality of his offering, though perhaps the alcohol content may have resulted in sterilized pee
    I'd be really interested to hear Manky's take on this so we can put this debate to bed once and for all.
    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

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    All good questions, and Fred's suggestion is sound, but you're forgetting the biggest factor ... love is in the eye of the beholder

    Your best laid plans will disappear in a puff of illogic as soon as you come face to face with a fish that makes your stomach flutter and your heart skip a beat

    I adore him and his colour is incredibly vivid - he's proper GOLD with the most incredible jet black eyes that I've never seen on any other koi yet!

    I saw them first hand and they took my breath away - plus the brown picks out the colours of my gravel nicely


    Hahahahahahahahaha absolutely love it . . . . . . . .

    gotta ask though


    when did you last visit the opticain


    1000 gal
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wain View Post
    Hahahahahahahahaha absolutely love it . . . . . . . . gotta ask though when did you last visit the opticain
    Oh, I'm way past optician. I'm at Consultant Ophthalmic and Vitreoretinal Surgeon level thanks to a detached retina and cataracts from the resultant surgery! But, if you could be a bit more specific where I've royally cocked-up I may be able to pin point just what part of my totally shite vision is to blame
    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

  40. Thanks Wain, Ruffers22 Thanked / Liked this Post
 

 
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