Keeping Your Pond Fish Healthy

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Written By Mark Washburn

Mark has 20 years of experience as a professional pond management consultant.

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Keeping koi fish healthy all year round can be easy with just a little know-how. Achieving and maintaining good water quality is necessary, and from there the population will take care of themselves. There are a number of steps one should follow in order to ensure that koi keep their beautiful, entertaining vigor and vitality once they have made their home in an attractive outdoor pond.

First, choose fish that compliment each other in size, shape, and color. When purchasing new specimens, keep numbers on the smaller end to give the forming ecosystem a chance to adjust to new inhabitants and adapt accordingly. Keeping the population at a naturally self-sustaining level will be mutually beneficial to both the fish and plant life present.

Creating the most natural environment possible is best. Stock up on varying levels of a variety of surface-dwelling and submerged plants. The flourishing plant life will naturally purify and condition the water, aiding in the production of a healthy environment for plants and fish alike to thrive in.

Installing a pond pump and filtration system is important for sustaining high volumes of koi. They are inquisitive in nature and tend to uproot potted plants. This results in an excess of waste production that the ecosystem may not be capable of breaking down on its own and disturbing the delicate balance needed to promote a healthy system. A fish pond filter will detoxify the water by breaking down ammonia produced by the fish and keeping the water clean and safe. Stringy, green pond algae are present in any fishpond environment. A small amount of algae is favorable because it puts oxygen back into the water. Too much algae, however, is unsightly and reflects negatively on the owner. A good filter system will also actively control koi pond algae. Pond filters are meant to run continuously, should never be turned off, and should be cleaned out twice a year in order to maximize results.

Obviously, fish are living beings that need to be fed. A high quality food should provide a well-balanced diet to satisfy needs for energy and growth adequately. It will permit the inhabitants to store extra energy to last through the colder winter months. It also will not cloud the appearance of the water.

In climates where temperatures get cold enough for the water to freeze over, a koi pond heater is essential to keep the populace alive. Most are electric and are available in both floating and submersible varieties. Floating heaters are recommended for areas with heavy possibilities of ice. They work by melting a hole in the ice and allowing oxygen and ammonia to continue moving freely underneath. Submersible heaters are more suitable for areas that do not get very much ice or snow. They sink to the bottom of the water and provide heat directly to the inhabitants.

Keep in mind that it’s important to begin cold weather periods with a relatively clean pond to keep nutrient levels down. Using a beneficial bacteria along with the pond heater will also help keep the pond cleaner through the winter months.

Monitoring population levels, water temperature, clarity and cleanliness, and algae presence and providing proper aeration and a well-balanced diet will ensure a long, happy, healthy life of koi. Start building a beautiful koi fishpond for years of enjoyment.

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