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  1. #1

    Planning a koi pond fed by a stream from a lake!

    Hi all
    I've had aquariums for years and love watching the fish but never had a koi pond... until now... I'm at the planning stage for my first pond. I am planning to use a pump to pump water from a 1.5 acre lake, over a waterfall, into a man-made stream. The stream would then run into the koi pond and a stream at the other end of the pond would take the water back to the lake. I'm thinking of using marine great stainless steel wire mesh where each stream meets the pond, so that the water can flow through, but the koi would stay in the pond.
    I'm thinking of a 30,000 litre koi pond but it could be bigger. As a newbie to koi what I don't know is:
    - Would this be a good home for koi, instead of using filters, UV lights, etc.? They would have a constant stream of fresh water from a lake which contains just over 12 million litres of water(!)
    - How much flow should go into the pond and out again? I understand koi like a flow of water but not too much or it stresses them. Looking at the Oase Aquamax Eco Expert range they can do anything up to 44,000 litres per hour, but I guess it would be less than that in reality as the water would be pumped up by about 2.5 metres to the top of the waterfall. I want a good flow of water so the stream is making a nice sound, but also want the koi to be happy.
    - Should the pond be designed so that the water flows through an edge of the pond so that the rest of the water in the pond is much calmer for the koi?
    I really don't know where to get help on this. Internet searches haven't come up with anything so I thought I'd see if anyone on the forums can please help. I've attached a map which slows the existing lake and a rough sketch in the bottom left showing the planned streams and pond.
    Many thanks
    John


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    Last edited by Johni; 17-09-2023 at 05:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rank = Adult Champion Gazkoi's Avatar
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    Hi mate,

    Personally I would be very wary of pumping source water from a lake.

    Cheers

    Gaz
    Hobby and business gone but when you’re hooked you’re hooked.

    Always happy to help!!

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  4. #3
    Senior Member Rank = Adult Champion Alburglar's Avatar
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    Is the lake crystal clear? Or murky? If it's murky, the pond will be also need its own mechanical filtration, more so that a normal pond, as you'll effectively be filtering the entire lake.
    But I would think the clincher would be, treating for parasites. Koi are very susceptible to that, and you'd have to treat the entire lake. Take flukes for example, 30,000litres would be £75 per treatment X3 treatments. Calculate that out to 12,000,000 litres its £30,000 per treatment. -its just not practical.
    With filtration though, it would be a great pond to keep some common/mirror carp and some sturgeon.
    2660 Gallons. 4" Bottom Drain and Skimmer. Draco Solum 16 Drum. Anoxic Filtration. Air lift returns.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Rank = Yonsai Martin59's Avatar
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    A friend of mine did something similar to what you are thinking of doing but his pond was fed from a small stream. When he needed to treat the pond for anything he just shut off the flow and return, and turned on a separate pump to circulate the water. It seemed to work fine until otter’s got into the pond and devastated his stock. He has a raised conventional pond now

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  7. #5
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    there are also enviroment agency issues wth a natural body of water.
    if there is a water course into and out of it, or it is above 1 acre.
    you would need a environment agency license to stock or remove fish from, or could face fines up to £50,000

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/permissi...from-a-fishery

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  9. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Gazkoi View Post
    Hi mate,

    Personally I would be very wary of pumping source water from a lake.

    Cheers

    Gaz

    Hi Gaz
    Why would you be wary? Is there anything specific I should look out for?
    Cheers
    John

  10. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Alburglar View Post
    Is the lake crystal clear? Or murky? If it's murky, the pond will be also need its own mechanical filtration, more so that a normal pond, as you'll effectively be filtering the entire lake.
    But I would think the clincher would be, treating for parasites. Koi are very susceptible to that, and you'd have to treat the entire lake. Take flukes for example, 30,000litres would be £75 per treatment X3 treatments. Calculate that out to 12,000,000 litres its £30,000 per treatment. -its just not practical.
    With filtration though, it would be a great pond to keep some common/mirror carp and some sturgeon.
    Hi Alburglar
    The lake is crystal clear and I have done the typical pond tests on it (nitrates, oxygen, etc., etc.) and all the results look good. I should also have mentioned there are a few common and grass carp in the lake that look after themselves (i.e. never fed or treated for anything) but are really healthy and growing quickly.
    I definitely could spend £30k on treatments, but if the common and mirror carp are healthy would that mean there aren't any flukes in the lake? Is there a way I can test/check for flukes?
    One last thing to mention - the lake is only fed by natural springs and rain water and is up on a hill...
    Cheers
    John

  11. #8
    Hi Martin59
    It's great to hear that it worked well for a while for your friend. Do you have any idea how much of a flow your friend had going through the pond? The otter (and herons) are my main worries too. Herons often come by but there has only been one otter in the last 8 years (there is another small lake much further from the house which acts as a bit of a sacrifice pond). When the otter turned up in the main lake about 3 years ago, I could see where it was going from the bubbles while it was underwater. I managed to get to where it was going to pop up at the edge of the lake. It popped up right under me, ran off like a rocket, and has never been back.
    Cheers
    John

  12. #9
    Senior Member Rank = Adult Champion Gazkoi's Avatar
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    hi mate,

    Koi are nowhere near as hardy as other Carp species unfortunately.

    cheers

    Gaz

    Quote Originally Posted by Johni View Post
    Hi Alburglar
    The lake is crystal clear and I have done the typical pond tests on it (nitrates, oxygen, etc., etc.) and all the results look good. I should also have mentioned there are a few common and grass carp in the lake that look after themselves (i.e. never fed or treated for anything) but are really healthy and growing quickly.
    I definitely could spend £30k on treatments, but if the common and mirror carp are healthy would that mean there aren't any flukes in the lake? Is there a way I can test/check for flukes?
    One last thing to mention - the lake is only fed by natural springs and rain water and is up on a hill...
    Cheers
    John
    Hobby and business gone but when you’re hooked you’re hooked.

    Always happy to help!!

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  14. #10
    Hi davethefish1
    Thanks for highlighting the environment agency issues. Looking at their guidance I think I'm ok as it's a private lake (not a fishery). Also the lake isn't connected to any other watercourses. I'd effectively be making the lake slightly bigger with water flowing out of it and back into it again. Given the size of the possible fines I'll double check with them though!
    Cheers
    John

  15. #11
    Senior Member Rank = Adult Champion Gazkoi's Avatar
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    hi mate,

    to name a few concerns:

    Legislation as DTF has already advised
    Pollutants - these could be significant
    Ecosystem differences / imbalances
    Debris
    Parasites

    Personally I would urge you to consider alternatives.

    Cheers

    Gaz


    Quote Originally Posted by Johni View Post
    Hi Gaz
    Why would you be wary? Is there anything specific I should look out for?
    Cheers
    John
    Hobby and business gone but when you’re hooked you’re hooked.

    Always happy to help!!

  16. #12
    Hi Gaz
    Thanks for letting me know. I'm getting a few different answers so will see what everyone says and speak to a few more people like you who know a lot more about koi than I do (I've only read the book "Koi for Dummies") and then see what to do.
    If it's too much of a risk - I wouldn't want the koi to suffer - I'll just end up with a little stream which will still be nice (but of course not as nice).
    Cheers
    John

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  18. #13
    Senior Member Rank = Adult Champion Gazkoi's Avatar
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    always happy to offer my advice.

    Maybe consider an alternative set up or some hardier fish stock than Koi.

    Cheers

    Gaz

    Quote Originally Posted by Johni View Post
    Hi Gaz
    Thanks for letting me know. I'm getting a few different answers so will see what everyone says and speak to a few more people like you who know a lot more about koi than I do (I've only read the book "Koi for Dummies") and then see what to do.
    If it's too much of a risk - I wouldn't want the koi to suffer - I'll just end up with a little stream which will still be nice (but of course not as nice).
    Cheers
    John
    Hobby and business gone but when you’re hooked you’re hooked.

    Always happy to help!!

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  20. #14
    Senior Member Rank = Adult Champion Alburglar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johni View Post
    Hi Alburglar
    I definitely could spend £30k on treatments, but if the common and mirror carp are healthy would that mean there aren't any flukes in the lake? Is there a way I can test/check for flukes?
    John
    Koi will die if you look at them funny. There will be parasites in the lake, all of the common ones, every year. Wild carp will be hardy. The koi need a lot of looking after.
    2660 Gallons. 4" Bottom Drain and Skimmer. Draco Solum 16 Drum. Anoxic Filtration. Air lift returns.

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  22. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by davethefish1 View Post
    there are also enviroment agency issues wth a natural body of water.
    if there is a water course into and out of it, or it is above 1 acre.
    you would need a environment agency license to stock or remove fish from, or could face fines up to £50,000

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/permissi...from-a-fishery
    That was the first thing I thought of, too.




    Don't get me wrong, Johni, I think what you're proposing is a very nice idea, as a concept, but in real-world terms, it could be fraught with all manner of practical and legal pitfalls, a few of which have already been mentioned.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gazkoi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Johni View Post
    there are a few common and grass carp in the lake that look after themselves (i.e. never fed or treated for anything) but are really healthy and growing quickly.
    I definitely could spend £30k on treatments, but if the common and mirror carp are healthy would that mean there aren't any flukes in the lake? Is there a way I can test/check for flukes?
    One last thing to mention - the lake is only fed by natural springs and rain water and is up on a hill...
    hi mate,

    Koi are nowhere near as hardy as other Carp species unfortunately.
    I'm inclined to agree... far more 'in-breeding' in Koi genetics than wild carp, I would think. Can't say for certain, but I would expect koi to have far weaker immune systems than wild carp.

    However, let's remember that this discussion isn't only one direction - even wild fish aren't immune to the influence of captive fish. For example, consider the widely-publicised sea-lice infestations commonly occurring in densely-stocked salmon farms, where fish are held captive within their natural habitat, but corralled together whilst free wild salmon swim nearby. One would think only the corralled fish would suffer, but it turns out that many of the free wild fish have also shown signs of increased susceptibility to sea-lice infestation. Whether this is due to there simply being larger populations of sea-lice (facilitated by the densely-populated salmon farms), or whether the waste 'run-off' (phosphates etc.) may be suppressing the immune function of free wild fish living nearby, or some other factor(s), is a complex issue, but I'm mentioning it purely to point out that an existing population of 'wild' carp in a lake might, conceivably, face health risks from a koi pond sharing the same water, just as the koi might face health risks from the wild carp.

    Something else springs to mind: many medications (especially those for parasites) need to be used at a certain dosage in order to be effective. Alburglar's already mentioned this in relation to crazy costs, and let's be honest, no one is likely to consistently buy enough medication to treat the whole lake, even if they're a millionaire with enough money to burn. Failure to achieve the necessary dosage may lead not just to failure of the treatment on that occasion, but, potentially, to un-killed parasites becoming resistant to the medication.
    One could try periodically isolating the pond from the lake, in order to treat only the captive pond water (not very logical to then allow lake water back in after treatment, but humour me, just to make a point). Imagine a scenario where a lake and a pond share the same water (and thus the same water-borne parasites). Because koi are so vulnerable to parasites, the pond is periodically treated to keep the koi relatively free from parasites, but in the scenario of crazy lake medication costs being cut here & there, or in the scenario of isolating the pond for seperate treatment, and then re-linking the pond to the lake, the lake could receive insufficient strength of treatment, and the parasite population living in the lake could thus be periodically exposed to weak medication which could lead to medication-resistance in some of those parasites, which could be bad news for the lake and the pond, and all the various fish living therein.






    ......and we haven't even discussed the topic of KHV.






    Quote Originally Posted by Johni View Post
    Also the lake isn't connected to any other watercourses. I'd effectively be making the lake slightly bigger with water flowing out of it and back into it again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Johni View Post
    the lake is only fed by natural springs and rain water and is up on a hill...

    @Johni - you said the lake is fed by a spring - so, if it has this in-flow, can you clarify how/where the lake out-flows? Surely it's not just evaporating any water gained from the spring?

    Also, will you have access to a legitimate sewer, for your ponds waste water, or are you planning on all your pond waste (including spent medicated water) being circulated back into the lake?
    Last edited by MustBeSomethingInTheWater; 18-09-2023 at 05:03 PM.

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  24. #16
    Thanks to everyone for the really helpful advice. Given the feedback I won't be having a koi pond after all - I'm grateful to everyone as otherwise I would have made a very costly mistake in terms of both money and the health of the fish.

    Instead I'm going to do some more research on whether I can do the same thing but with varieties of goldfish (e.g. shubunkins) in the pond instead of koi. If that turns out to also be a no-go I will just go for the waterfall and stream.

    Thanks again all.

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  26. #17
    Well, I don't like to see anyone's dreams squashed. I'm sure that wasn't anyone's intention in this thread. Just trying to steer you away from a whole heap of possible problems that could turn your initial version of the dream into a nightmare, which would be a shame.

    Could you have an ordinary closed system for your pond (i.e. completely independent of, and never connected to, the lake)?

    In other words, do you have access to mains water supply and sewer network, like most houses in the UK, or is your intended pond site 'off the grid'?


    A lot can be accomplished with a closed system, even including a man-made stream, but in order to make practical suggestions, we need to know what amenities you have available to you at your location.
    Last edited by MustBeSomethingInTheWater; 18-09-2023 at 05:42 PM.

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  28. #18
    I'm off the grid in the countryside. My water comes from a spring via 3 filters and a UV lamp, and sewearge goes to a mini sewage treatment plant on site.

    Many thanks for your suggestion. I thought about a closed system after the replies on this forum, but I really want a stream. I don't want to create a stream and then also have a separate closed pond. It starts to get complicated and expensive with multiple lots of equipment.

    I've spent the last hour or so looking at shubunkins. Like other goldfish they seem to be a lot hardier than koi, so that may be the best solution for me...

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  30. #19
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion RS2OOO's Avatar
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    One final thing that's not been mentioned and applies no matter what fish you put in the pond.

    Unless you can be absolutely certain any new fish you buy are parasite free (6 months + in a QT tank), if recycling pond water back into the lake you also take the risk of spreading parasites into the lake that the native carp have no natural defences against, so you could have a situation where your pond fish are thriving but the carp in the lake start dying off.

    The idea is great in principle and may work for a while, but ultimately as others point out you are likely to run into problems eventually.

    Also with a natural in-ground lake there'll likely be pollutants entering the water body such as pesiticides, fertilisers etc that are present in the soil and seep into the lake. Existing lake stock may have become accustomed to this over a long period of time, whereas any species in the pond will not be.

    Its a shame really, but all of us on here know how challenging raising koi / goldfish can be, hence the reaction you've had.

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