Koi keeping is the same as keeping any other animals in a caged condition (Zoo’s for instant). You have to give animals a large area to move about and play. You have to give them lots of attention and care. Imagine a cemented area; say 4m x 10m fenced with 40x puppies in it. If you have proper kennels and wash the floor every day to remove excrement and urine, feed them well and play with them they will be fine. Leave them alone for a month and you can imagine what will happen. They will become sick, diseased, stressed and die. Now imagine the scenario when the puppies become adult, the cleaning process becomes much more intense.

Now imagine a pond with 40 000 liters and 40x koi 400 to 500mm in length. If you don’t have proper filtration, bio filtration and UV lights your koi will die. It is like koi swimming around in a suraged facility. Sounds crude but this is true.

Must do’s when building a koi pond:

  1. Consider the size of your pond first. We suggest 15 000 liters or more. This size is good for 10x large koi to be happy. Stay away from trees as this will cost you in maintenance. Trees are beautiful but will put strain on your filters and roots will crack your pond. Build your pond in an area near your patio and visible from rooms if possible. Don’t build your pond at the bottom of the garden area you never visit. You want to come home sit down near your pond and relax.
  2. Fit a bottom drain to suck all debris through a filtering system. Not a bottom drain with a grid on top as this will get blocked with leaves and your pump will seize to work. Use a bottom drain with a screw on lid that sucks around the perimeter of the lid and won’t block. Isivande has special drains for this purpose. Debris that settles on a pond floor breeds parasites and diseases. With a floor that slopes at least 500mm to a bottom drain will prevent this from happening.
  3. Use an outside the pond pump designed locally and suitable for koi ponds, easy to maintain and to repair. Always check the relation between filter size and pump size. Seek help from Isivande if you don’t know. Don’t use a submersible pump as they don’t last and electrical problems become a way of life. Submersible pumps cost more and uses the same watts to operate. Submersible pumps are in the water and need to be removed on weekly bases to be cleaned as the suction side needs to be cleaned. Outside pumps have a filter basket to be cleaned weekly, easy peasy…
  4. A settlement chamber system, to filter water before the water arrives at the sand or bead filter, bio filter and UV lights. A settlement chamber system consists of three chambers 800 x 800 x 600 deep as a guide line, large debris settle in the first chamber. The second chamber has stainless steel brush filters and the third chamber has bio grog media. Believe me this works and will ensure a low maintenance pond. Without this the maintenance becomes much higher on your sand filter system.
  5. A sand filter system must be installed to filter the water. Use volcanic media in this filter as it is brilliant, works better than normal sand and helps with bio filtration. The filter must be a fiberglass filter with fittings inside for koi media. Don’t use plastic roto mould filters or swimming pool filters as they don’t work, crack and need to be replaced. Fiber glass koi filters have easy access lids for stirring sand, last for decades if maintained and can be refurbished.
  6. The alternative to a sand filter is a plastic bead filter with a blower to stir the beads instead of stirring the sand. This filter never needs to be opened. The beads weigh half that of sand. The backwash procedure is less labour intensive.
  7. Bio filtration after the sand filter is essential as this cleans the ammonia from the water. Never open the bio filter as bacteria colonizes in this system and rids ponds of ammonia.