Koi & Pond Q&A part 1

Part I

Whether you are new to the hobby of Koi keeping or a seasoned ponder, you may have questions about ponds and Koi keeping. Here are a few Koi & Pond questions sent in by our Sarasota Pet Magazine readers:


Image by Carolyn Weise


I keep hearing that the big birds will eat the Koi in my pond. I live on the water and there are a lot of birds around. How do you prevent this? Shivaun

There are a couple of tricks when building a Koi pond that will help deter predators. First your pond should be at the very least 2-3′ deep with straight sides, this will make it difficult for the birds or raccoons to wade in and take your fish. Keep in mind Egrets and Herons are patient and may wait on the side of the pond for the fish to come up. Koi are bottom feeders by nature so try using sinking pellets when feeding so your fish will not be encouraged to come to the surface. We always install a Koi “cave” in each pond we create so the fish have a place to hide as well as being able to swim to the deep and wait for the bird to leave. Plants like Water lilies will also help hide the Koi. If all else fails you can install a motion sensor device called a scarecrow. It connects to a water hose and runs on a 9 V battery. When the bird walks in front of the sensor, it shoots out a blast of water and scares the bird away. Be careful, the scarecrow works on anything that walks in the sensors path. We had a customer years ago purchase one to keep her neighbor from feeding her fish when she was not home. It worked like a charm. He was blasted once with the stream of water and never returned. Hanging reflective objects, like mirrored wind chimes, will work for a short time. The bird thinks that someone or another bird is there due to the reflection, but they get wise to the shiny objects too.


filamentous algaeWhen adding algaecide to my pond the directions on the bottle say to add the treatment based on the amount of gallons in my pond. How do I calculate the volume of water in my pond? Matt

Making sure you add the correct amount of algaecide to your pond is very important. Adding too much could deplete the oxygen and could kill your Koi, adding too little will not work. Here is a simple formula based on the shape of your pond

Ÿ  If your pond is square or oblong measure the Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.5 = Gallons (example: 10’L x 8’W x 2’D x 7.5=1200 gallons.)

Ÿ  If your pond is round multiply diameter by itself x average depth x 5.9 = gallons (example: 8’x8’x2’x5.9=755 gallons.)


I have a friend who adds salt to her pond. What is the benefit of adding salt to my Koi pond? George

There are several benefits to adding salt to your pond both as a preventative measure and as a treatment for sick fish.  Stress from poor water quality or pond predators will cause your Koi to lose their slime coat making them vulnerable to parasites and bacterial infections. As a preventative to help maintain slime coat on the Koi and to keep them from up taking ammonia into their gills the recommended rate is 1 1/4 cups of salt per 100 gallons. Keep in mind that salt will not dissipate and the only way to remove it is by doing a water change or diluting the water with fresh water. Never add salt without using a salt meter to test the levels. Make sure you only use non-iodized pure salt. Morton’s System Saver Solar Salt is what we use. If you have a problem with parasites or bacterial infection the salt, at a higher dose of up to 3 cups of salt per 100 gallons of water, will help eliminate several types of parasites and will help heal wounds caused by bacterial infections. When treating for parasites or bacterial infections it is very important to monitor the salt level closely and only keep the higher dosage of salt in the pond for up to two weeks, no longer.


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