How to avoid overstocking your pond
Overstocking is a relative term, describing the quantity of a product in relation to the space that is available to store it. Two customers could buy the same number of groceries, one of which struggles to store it all away while the other, having more cupboard space will fit in this relatively small order with ease.
Most of us are probably guilty of over-buying at this time, getting carried away, only to discover how much we have overindulged when we get home to unpack the groceries.
Two customers could buy the same number of groceries, one of which struggles to store it all away while the other, having more cupboard space will fit in this relatively small order with ease.
We have a similar consideration when stocking our pond with koi.
A koi pond's 'cupboard space' is determined by its ability to safely hold koi, providing them with a healthy environment and giving them space for growth.
There is little point in quoting figures of how many inches of koi can be stocked per square foot of pond surface as this ratio does not take into consideration other factors (such as the size of the koi, filtration and aeration).
Yet there is a loose relationship that shows that the greater the surface area, the greater a pond's capacity to hold koi.
A koi pond's stocking rate is determined by the filter's ability to process and breakdown the waste that koi produce.
This does not merely focus on the biological activity of a filter, but also it's ability to remove solids at the required turnover rate.
A pond's water quality management system would also need to provide sufficient aeration for a given stocking rate.
The fundamental reason for not overstocking is safeguarding the health and growth of all of your koi.
By under stocking a new pond and filter system, you will avoid New Pond Syndrome where ammonia and nitrite levels increase due to the filter's inability to keep up with the rate at which koi are excreting ammonia.
If a pond is overstocked then koi can suffer by experiencing 'competitive stress' at feeding time.
Increased stress also reduces the full growth potential of koi, as research clearly shows that the growth rates of unstressed fish out strips that of stressed fish.
Problems may diminish over time if you have a new filter system (while it matures), but if you have a mature system with problems - your system is overstocked.
Even the Japanese farmers only keep their stock at high stocking levels for so long - ready for sale or returning to the mud ponds.
Emergency action points to carry out if you discover you have overstocked your pond.
koi pond overstocking
stress "water quality" filter health ammonia aeration
filtration growth fish "surface area" ability stocking
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