Koi fish

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by moonwolf, May 16, 2006.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I was asking on another thread about setting up an aquarium and someone brought up the idea of a pond also.

    Was wondering if anyone has Koi or experience with keeping these fish? Lots of info on line, I know that. Just what is your particular experience if anyone has them?
     
  2. BusyBees2

    BusyBees2 Well-Known Member

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    I've had a small pond at different houses for about 12 years now. I'm looking at building a larger one out back now that we've bought this house.

    If you have a good filter/pump system and keep it clean then ponds can be very self sufficient. Koi are only one kind of fish good for ponds. Fantail goldfish, comets and shubunkins are also great. The one shubunkin I have now I've had for about 7 years I think...and has been through a lot! He's survived a number of koi who have gotten ill and died due to high levels of ammonia & other stuff in the water.

    It helps when you first establish a pond to test the water regularly to make sure the levels of chemicals aren't way off. Plants, submersible, floating & potted, also help with balancing the water. Shading the pond water will help to keep algae at bay (it thrives on sun). Make it deep enough, at least in parts, so the fish can dive deep away from predators (squirrels, racoons, cats, etc.)

    Ponds can be loads of fun and if done right can attract some good creatures too! It's fun to find a frog taking up residence! The fish and moving water will keep mosquitos away...they eat the eggs & larvae.

    Koi, specifically, can be quite tolerant and can grow quite big. They can grow fast too! I've seen them be trained to eat from your hands, and they definitely know when it's feeding time! lol They do require a bit of space. There is some formula (but I don't remember it exactly) about the # of inches in total fish length to the # of square inches in water surface space. Though, with that said, I've seen many ponds with tons of fish doing well!!

    It can become quite a passion! Be careful!
     

  3. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I kept Koi when I lived in Texas for a few years. I had a preformed pond with a filter and motor sized for a much larger pond. We planted it with a variety of water plants and stocked it with Koi which I purchased from a dealer. I loved those fish. Almost went ballistic when the exterminator ( a newbie) placed roach granules along its edges and a heavy rain washed them into the pond that night. The company got a heated phone call from me next morning. Never have had others so beautiful- they had grown from tiny fingerlings to elegant foot long fish before they were killed. :flame:

    Koi aren't difficult to keep. Just follow what you read in terms of water depth to keep the water temps steady.Our pond was 18 inches and should have been three feet deep imo but we placed it in the shade and this was in Texas so temp was pretty stable. Plants also helped in that regard- dunno about cold temps.
     
  4. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    also remimber that they get large and need more room than other pond fish, so depending on how large of a pond you get/make dont over do it on getting the small fingerlings to start with and wind up with an over crowded pond full of Huge fish,
     
  5. Dink

    Dink Well-Known Member

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    I love koi there the only fish that have personalitys very friendly indeed.
    I believe its 1gal of water for every inch of fish ex 6inch fish need 6 gallons of water.Mine have been easy to take care of Ive got one tat will eat out of my hand.
     
  6. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Can you keep them indoors, like say a pond indoors like a basement recreation room area or something like that if the lighting was sufficient?
     
  7. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Sure you can keep them in an indoor pond. The Embassy Suites has quite large ones.

    I love koi. Goldfish just don't measure up. Koi are smarter (mine learned to jump out of a net if you were holding it in the water), prettier (irridesent blues, reds, golds, blacks, whites, calicos) and more personable (my old ones would beach themselves on your hand to get food). The pond shop where we buy ours has a pond full of 3' koi, and feeding time is a sight to behold. About 12 glimmering, colorful fish leaping straight out of the water. If you can get them past a foot, their biggest threat is (like in Tango's very sad story) people.

    I had some that were 7" and I decided to take them in for the winter "just in case". While I was setting them up, the dog knocked over the temporary bowl they were in, and I lost all of them. I was so sad :Bawling: They really get to be pets.
     
  8. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    If you decide to do a pond, I suggest that you make it bigger then you think. No one makes them big enough. Also, spend the money on a bio falls and skimmer set up that you put together as you build the pond. With this system, you put rocks on the bottom so it looks all natural. Most magazines will show a company that sells them.

    Oh, and don't bring the koi in for the winter. If you have the pond at least 2 feet deep, it isn't necessary. All you have to do is keep the ice from forming solid with either a heater or water aggitation, as in water movement, pump bubbler... This is not to keep the goldfish warm but to keep rotting leaves from gassing out. I lost all my koi from that one year because I didn't get the cover (deer netting) on before the leaves fell and it was a warm, cold winter. All the feeder goldfish lived though.

    Goldfish need 3 gallons per inch of fish and you have to consider that they will grow and take up more space.
     
  9. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    you kidding me, right? Obviously you aren't familiar with the climate up here. A 2 ft. pond will freeze solid by December here with any amount of agitation. Just not practical to keep the fish outdoors. I'd think of something like a basement indoor pond something like you describe.....but Definitely indoors from December to April here.
     
  10. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    if you make a deep enough end to the pond, depending on reccomendations in your area the fish will go to the deep end and be fine you might cleen one last time before the freeze though to get rid of as much of the rotting vegitation as possible
     
  11. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    I used to raise koi and goldfish...
    I gave up on the filters and pumps, a waterfall in the pond kept them happy.
    floating plastic xmas wreaths make good breeding beds and they have tons of babies.

    then the bullfrogs came, and a blue heron found my pond.

    *burp*

    no more fish.
     
  12. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Koi will overwinter, ours did. But, we lost most of them during one very long winter, but the much smaller goldfish survived. Be careful not to overpopulate, and make sure the outdoor pond is deep enough if you overwinter. Ask a conservations agent (whatever you have up there) about fish requirements. Here, in Michigan, it's suggested you have 45 inches of depth. In addition, you can also keep a hole open in the ice using a livestock deicer, or even a light bulb. Keep in mind that koi can and do jump out. If your indoor aquarium/pond is relatively shallow, they will become adventurous and you will find them on the dry floor.
     
  13. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    The 'long winter' you describe is the norm here so the koi likely won't survive. I've even lost most hardy minnows in my outside pond having the deepest spot over 6', but the oxygen levels are too low. I'm just not going to fool with trying anything out there since it's not close to the house and wouldn't serve nice for observing koi anyway. Indoors is the way I'll go now that I know they can be kept that way. It'll be a further study. I got lots of time before I'll ever get them.
     
  14. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I stick by my at least 2 feet. The earth is warmer then you think and if you try to drill through the ice in winter, you will find that it won't be solid. That is, of course, for bigger ponds, not tubs or barrels. Agitation or heaters are only to keep a hole in the ice, not to keep the whole pond melted. I had one goldfish freeze solid in my skimmer. My father-in-law wanted to get it out with a hammer or torch but I wouldn't let him. When it got warm enough, it swam out on it's own. Bringing them inside is hard because chances are you will not have a big enough tank to keep them in. MHO
     
  15. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    That's why I'm going with the inside pond and not an aquarium tank.
    I can easily make it 3 ft. deep, just not sure how large for the other dimensions for keeping say a half dozen or so koi? what do you think for size of the pond inside? Outside is out of the winter question. I won't do that. I want to enjoy my pet fish more than 6 months of the year!
     
  16. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    Think 3 gallons per inch of fish, keeping in mind that each year they will grow.
    If it is tighter, do more water changes to keep the nitrates down.
     
  17. tbishop

    tbishop Well-Known Member

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    Some things-

    In an outdoor pond, you can grow cattails and reeds and leave them in place during the winter. If it's deep enough to have a layer of water underneath the ice, the darker color of the dead reeds will absorb heat from the sun and keep airholes open.

    Most koi affecianados say 100 gallons/ fish. Why? I have no idea. I've even seen people say 200 gallons/ fish. I could keep 10 in a 100 gallon if I had my choice of filtration, set up, and introduction of fish.

    Another way to keep nitrates down is to encourage plant life. Lillies, "weeds", algea, reeds, and whatever else will live in there use nitrates as fertilizer. I'm a lazy fish keeper- I let algea grow wherever I don't absolutely have to remove it due to filter function or viewing enjoyment. There's a fairly prominent goldfish breeder here in Minnesota that raise HIGH quality goldfish in tubs that have NO filtration other than lilies.

    That's all I can think of right now.

    Tim B.
     
  18. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Outdoors, your pond plants will create ten times more oxygen during the day than they use up at night. Indoors is different. The plants aren't going to be supplying much oxygen to the water. However, they will use the fertilizer provicded by the fish. Our outside pond used a water pump that moved the water from the bottom of the pond up to a vent and a 100 gallon water trough, cascaded into a 50 gallon, then into the pond. The troughs were filled 2/3 with volcanic rock, then some potted marsh marigolds, blue flag iris, and other marsh plants. This was the fitration system. I'm sure something similar could be done indoors, but you'd need different plants.

    I'm sure three feet would be deep enough. And, I'll bet you could grow orchids in the pond room.
     
  19. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    cool idea!
    I have access to marsh marigolds that grow profusely throughout low areas on my land. Also, I can find many wild marsh irises. Wonder how that would grow indoors and into the growing season that naturally ceases for those plants outdoors by fall? Would the root systems alone survive to provide the filtration?
     
  20. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think if the plants are in pots you could bring them indoors, but they need a winter period just the same. You could grow the marsh marigolds outside, but also grow more tropical plants that would die in the winter. These you'd bring inside at the end of summer. Probably, you would be better off keeping a garden area in your basement with the appropriate plants. I say this because anything that will do well in your basement is going to be an understory plant that requires little light, and your outside pond plants will be getting sunlight. Arrowhead should do well and I think it may serve as a filtration plant.

    The volcanic rock has many nooks and crannies, so it has a tremendous amount of surface for algae and other beneficial things to grow on. This is what will keep the harmful bacteria down. You can move the volcanic rock from the outside to the inside when the weather starts to get cold. You can have the indoor pond all set up a month in advance of moving the koi inside. It is normal for koi to go through a winter period, but I know there are koi farms in Texas, California and Arkansas, so I guess they will do alright without an annual freeze. When you move the fish, the biggest shock will be the ph difference, so you will need a container where you can mix the water.