Dont Overstock Koi & Goldfish Ponds

Page Summary: When a pond is first built product specifications and choices are based upon the ponds status quo at that time. What the pondkeeper forgets is that fish grow, fish breed, and more food is fed and thus more waste is produced. In other words fish stock density increases. The cummulative effect of these changes can be serious in terms of exceeding the biofilters capacity and thus its important to consider the impact upon pond water quality and therefore the koi or goldfishs quality of life. Always oversize the equipment at the design stage or at the time the fishpond is actually constructed.

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The Tell-Tale Signs of an Overstocked Pond

There are many reasons why you should take preventative measures to avoid overstocking your koi and goldfish pond, but how can you tell if you’ve already got too many fish? Fortunately, you need not play a guessing game, as the side-effects of an overstocked pond are usually quite obvious.

If you are worried that you may have too many koi or gold fish, there are two obvious tell-tale signs that you should look out for:

  • Poor water quality - the importance of testing your pond water cannot be overemphasised, as high nitrate and ammonia levels are often indicators of a struggling filtration system.
  • If you can’t attribute high levels to a new, immature filter, then it is highly likely that your pond’s fish density is too high.
  • Persistent koi health problems - if you’ve ruled out the possibility of poor water quality, but your koi continue to exhibit signs of ill health, you are probably witnessing the side-effects of overcrowding and competitive stress.

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Help! I Think I’ve Overstocked, What Must I do?

If you’re reasonably convinced that you have an overstocked koi pond on your hands after testing and logging ammonia and nitrate levels, there are immediate and long-term methods that you can follow to address the problems associated with too many fish:

  1. Immediate Plan of Action
  2. If your fear of an overstocked pond is confirmed, the first thing you want to do is dilute the high levels of ammonia and nitrate by carrying out a water change. Don’t forget to make use of a water conditioner or purifier. This measure is particularly effective in the case of New Pond Syndrome.

    The next thing you should do is radically reduce feeding, as it is the ammonia from koi and goldfish waste that reduces the water quality. You can also rigorously diffuse aeration via the bottom of the pond as an emergency measure and, as a last resort, you may consider moving your koi to a different pond if they appear to be suffering severely – but this should only be done if you know of a better environment where they can be moved to aid their long-term recovery.

  3. Long-term Preparations
  4. If you averted disaster with the abovementioned immediate plan of action, you might want to take a long-term view of your pond environment. If you plan on maintaining the number of koi in your pond, then increasing filtration and aeration is an absolute must.

    While increasing aeration can be done with minimal time and effort, increasing your pond’s filtration involves forethought, as installation and maturation may take many weeks. However, this measure can’t be avoided if your pond environment is not coping with the current amount of koi it contains.

While it’s understandable that you may not want to part with any of your beloved koi or gold fish, you might consider downsizing as an option with the view that your remaining fish will flourish in a pond that isn’t overcrowded.

As far as koi are concerned, it really is a case of less is more. Rather be modest and ensure the health of your pond and fish, than suffer the consequences of an overstocked pond.

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