The Pond Makeup:
Size: Well I can tell you from my own experience and from 90% of
the Koi owners I know about how big to make your pond. If you haven’t made
it yet and are considering a size, double or triple it. That is because,
without exception, once you get into the Koi hobby you will want
more and bigger fish. After seeing the varieties available everyone wishes
they had more room.
Filters: Use more filtration than you think you need and then use
more yet. A bottom drain is highly recommended.
Other: Lots of aeration, plants, a waterfall or fountains all contribute
to the ecosystem. Also net your pond to keep out predators.
Nets: Make sure you have a good long handle net to safely catch the fish
if necessary along with a Sock Net which reduces stress on the fish.
Don’t use rocks or pebbles in the bottom. They collect leaves, waste and
debris making it harder to keep your pond clean. It also creates an unhealthy
environment for the Koi to live in as bad bacteria thrive in them. If they get
stirred up when they are full of debris they can make your koi extremely sick or
What you should have on hand:
Volume of quarantine tank: This tank should be at least
300 gallons and have a net covering, aeration and some
Quarantine Tank (Critical) (Why they get sick
and die): This is by far the most important equipment to have
especially if you already have an existing pond with fish. This is to acclimate
and adjust the NEW fish. If this is not done you run a risk and can expect
these new fish to develop sores, fungus and other problems that can eventually
lead to death. At the same time you also run the risk of passing problems
onto your existing fish. To further explain, this is not necessarily because
you purchased sick or bad fish but because of the stress new fish endure
due to transport. Imagine yourself going to Mexico
and drinking a big glass of water. You WILL get sick. Until your body adjusts
to the bacteria’s specific to that area you are susceptible. This is the
same thing that happens to new fish. They will need a couple of weeks to
de stress and adjust to their new water. On the same token it gives you
time to check out your new fish. Never
ever ever introduce new fish into an existing pond without quarantine.
can easily medicate them should the need arise in a quarantine tank. You
can also use the quarantine tank to care for sick fish. This way you don’t
have to medicate your whole pond. The only exception would be is if you only buy
your Koi from one source.
Salt: 4% salt added to the water will help your new fish de-stress,
help them breathe easier and backs off some parasites and fungus.
General Meds: You should have on hand, SuperVerm and or Prazi for parasites,
Malachite Green for fungus and possibly some Formalin or a mixture of malachite
and formalin (Quick Cure or Pro Form C) for a variety of common illness.
See our medication section here http://www.thekoikeepers.com/medicine/medicines.html
Selecting Your First Fish
Problems with your local garden shop:
Size: A lot of beginners think that selecting small fish is there
best choice. Often they select fish that are 3” – 6”. Fish of this size
are known as Tosai or Fingerlings. These are fish under one year of age,
have not built up their immunities and are the most difficult to raise.
highly recommend that you select fish that are 6” – 12” in size.
fish are called Nissai and are over one year of age and have gone through
at least one winter. This age has a higher survival rate and just all round
easier to care for. It’s worth the extra couple of dollars for a larger
fish. It costs you just as much to care for an inexpensive fish as it does
for a higher priced one. For best results the fish you select should be
bought from the same type of climate that you live in. Most small fish
are raised in greenhouses when shipped into your local dealers and therefore
need to be acclimated to your temperature variations. In New England or
seasonal climates this is especially true.
How Many: The amount of fish that you eventually own depends on
your filtration system and the volume of your pond. You can have more fish
in a smaller volume provided the filtration is high. By adding fish slowly,
a good filtration system will handle one fish per every 100 gallons of
Quality: Most people don’t know what a good quality fish looks like.
By doing your homework you can clearly see how different Koi look from
place to place and how they SHOULD look. Many people are disappointed after
purchasing Koi. They then realize that what they bought wasn’t representative
of that particular variety. On our site you will find a Gallery of Varieties
and what they should look like. It is well worth your while to check this
out. 90% of fish sold locally are totally miss representative of true varieties.
Get the best quality that you can afford because you will eventually see
the difference and be very disappointed in your initial purchase.
Japanese vs. Domestic: There is absolutely no comparison between
Japanese and Domestic Koi. To do this would be like comparing a scientist
to an infant. The Japanese are masters that come down from 100’s of years
and many generations and are by far the best producers of Koi in the world
hands down. In Japan
it takes 15 years of apprenticeship to become a breeder and many years
to start producing top Koi. Just to acquire acceptable breeding stock in Japan
they must be prepared to pay $50,000 to a half a million dollars. Top breeders
start with a quarter of a million fry and cull down to 10,000 fish that
may be suitable for sale. Of those suitable for sale, about 10% are taken by the
breeders for Top Quality to further there breeding lines and sell to interested
individuals. Often you will see advertised at the local garden
center or pet store Japanese Koi for sale. Beware of this deception, these
aren’t true Japanese Koi. They are Domestic Koi bred from
inexpensive Japanese or Chinese Stock often supplied by local dealers for
as cheap as $.50 a fish and grown to breeding size. Very few of these fish are true to type or good
examples of the varieties. These would be considered culls (fish that should
have been destroyed) by anyone knowledgeable in Koi. Some of the top suppliers
to dealers in America
of domestic fish are Blackwater Koi, Blue Ridge Koi, Seagrest, Z-Fish and
Lee Koi. True Japanese Koi are fish that are
imported directly from the breeders in Japan not Koi that are born here
from Japanese stock. Americans can not reproduce the Koi that come
out of Japan.
Americans are putting dollar figures on Koi that should be culled (eliminated).
When you are looking for quality Koi that are true to variety look for
the words Imported Japanese Koi. To import fish from Japan
is costly requiring knowledge of and contacts with the breeders.
We are all in the business to sell Koi but there are some things
you need to know. Pet Stores and Garden Centers
are particularly notorious for misleading the first time hobbyists. It
is imperative to understand that these places SELL Koi, they do not RAISE
Koi. The difference being when you raise Koi you better understand their
needs. People that raise them can better tell you how to care and nurture
them. If the establishment can’t tell you WHAT the
names of the varieties are or how to care for or who bred them, then they
don’t have a clue and your chances of getting a good Koi is slim to none.
Don’t expect to find imported fish at a garden shop or pet store. A
little fact: We are not aware of ANY garden center or pet store in New
England that imports directly from Japan.
Yes, they hold there ancestry from Japan
but are long removed from the raising of them. Often you
end up spending more for a Domestic Koi from a Pet Store or Garden Center
than you would for a true Japanese Koi from a reputable source. You
might hear the terms Ghost Koi or Snow Babies, well we know what they are
talking about but they do not exist. There was an original Wild Carp called
ghost carp that Koi were originally produced from but the existence of them
today is not nearly the same thing. What is called Ghost Koi today is your
basic mutt in the world of fish. If you are searching for information
on how to care for your Koi then you are going to get your best advice
from someone who RAISES them.
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