Are You New to Koi or Fish Pond Keeping?

Page Summary:  A new fish pond sounds like a great idea and it is of course because a fish pond with koi, goldfish or indigenous fish will add value to your home and many hours of pleasure to your life. However like much in life installing a fish pond and getting it running is not as simple as pouring water into the fishpond followed by the fish. For a fish to remain healthy in an artificial environment like a fishpond care has to be taken to get the aquatic environment just right for the koi or goldfish.

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Koi pond: new activity

If you’re new to the world of koi and goldfish keeping – welcome! In the weeks and months ahead, you can definitely expect to be challenged and, if the correct measures are taken, you will also be duly rewarded.

It’s not uncommon for new owners of smaller ponds to find themselves struggling to maintain good water quality. Perhaps you’ve attempted to correct high levels of nitrite and ammonia with partial water changes, salt and used various products, only to be disappointed with the results when you retest your pond water. You may start to feel slightly disillusioned, wondering what you did wrong, what you could have done instead and whether the current situation can be redeemed.

Sit back and take a breather while your concerns are addressed. The first few months of owning a new pond are certainly the most challenging. This is the time when your initially lifeless pond and pond filter must mature in order to support healthy koi and gold fish. While there are suggested methods one can follow in order to avoid water quality problems during the stage when your pond is maturing, you may have already made certain errors that will require you to take corrective action.

New Filter Concerns (NFS)

After the many hours spent designing and constructing a pond, it’s understandable that you would be very keen to introduce some koi or goldfish to your newly crafted aquatic wonderland. However, what many new pond owners fail to realise is that new ponds are essentially lifeless in comparison to a natural body of water.

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What your pond and bio filter need more than anything else is a plentiful amount of bacteria and protozoa which will detoxify pollutants such as ammonia, and thus prevent toxins from accumulating. When you stock your pond with koi or gold fish, a steady flow of ammonia will also be introduced via their excrements. If there isn’t a sufficient population of microscopic life already in your pond, the result will be a build up of pollutants, reflected in high ammonia and nitrite levels when testing water quality. This state is termed New Filter Syndrome (NFS), which is a direct result of stocking your fishpond too hastily. Your situation will have been aggravated by the fact that your pond is small and therefore cannot benefit from the diluting effects of a large quantity of water.

How will NFS Affect my Fish?

Even if your koi and gold fish aren’t immediately displaying the negative side-effects associated with poor water quality, they will show signs of ammonia-intoxication shortly if NFS has been confirmed. Typical symptoms include excessive mucus secretion, gasping at the water surface and lethargic movements. Your fish may survive the increase in ammonia, but they will also need to get through the related nitrite surge.

While ammonia levels will decrease steadily when Nitrosomonas bacteria have multiplied in your new biofilter, nitrite is a more hardy bacteria which will take longer to be processed by Nitrobacter. The problem with persistently high nitrite levels is that this toxin is absorbed through your kois’ gills and will therefore accumulate in their bloodstream, causing a reduction in the oxygen-carrying capacity of their blood. This is why your fish may be flashing, gasping or scratching.

Treating NFS

  1. Carry out a series of partial water changes to dilute ammonia and nitrite levels without totally removing the beneficial bacteria which are trying to multiply.
  2. Reduce feeding, especially if you overfed you fish in the first few weeks. Ammonia is directly linked to protein in the diet, so decreasing intake of food is entirely necessary while you attempt to correct the water quality.
  3. Help your maturing filter along by adding an additional source of bacteria in the form of a proprietary preparation or some mature filter extract from a fellow koi keeper.
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Dont stress over pond pH and Testing Koi Pond pH

Interpet Koi Pond Test Kit

I will make a few very important points here which should be taken very seriously by anyone contemplating measuring pH in a koi pond and then TAKING ACTION based upon the measured result from testing the koi ponds water. If you test do it reliably... Interpet lead this pond water testing field of the koi keeping hobby

  1. pH of koi pond water will vary depending on time of day measurement is taken and especially if plants are in the pond. This means if you take a pH at 9am it will not be the same as a pH taken at 6pm. This single piece of information therefore must never be the information relied upon to make fundamental decisions
  2. pH is notoriously difficult to measure even in a laboratory with sophisticated instruments let alone in a koipond or fish pond using a piece of litmus type paper or a vial with coloured scales on it.
  3. If you must measure pond pH and this is a great part of the hobby then take the pond pH at the same time every day and plot the result on a graph. So now what youre looking for is not a single pondwater result but rather a pH trend in the pond water that you can use to sensibly consider a pH strategy.
  4. Very high pH in a koi pond is a serious threat to the well being of koi when levels reach about 9.5 because at this pH level ammonia which is a natural metabolic product of the koi and its existence becomes extremely poisonous
  5. It would be extremely rare for a koi pond to reach dangerous pH levels but could well occur in koi ponds with serious algae problems

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How Do I care For My Garden Fish Pond In Cold Winter

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