Koi Pond Maintenance Through the Seasons
While koi fish may be known for their grace and beauty, few know that they are also one of the dirtiest and high-maintenance fish to own. Because they like to root up the pond’s bottom surface, and because they produce a lot of waste, koi pond water can easily become mucky and dingy. However, it’s extremely important for you to keep up with your koi’s environment. Keeping on top of maintenance ensures a proactive approach to any problems in the pond, and if problems do arise, you’ll catch them before they become even worse. Koi pond maintenance, while changing from season to season, is essential for the health and wellbeing of your entire koi population.
Daily and Weekly Maintenance
Feed your fish everyday, either three or four times a day, depending on their age. Early morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon are the recommended times to do so. Feedings can be tricky if someone is not home during the day, so plan accordingly. During each feeding, keep a close watch of your koi to spot any strange behaviors or appearances. This is the ideal time to get up close and personal with your fish and the best time to spot anything out of the norm.
Each day, take the time to scoop out any leaves, debris, or uneaten food in the pond. This prevents the organic material from decaying and keeps your water in better condition.
Each week perform a 10 percent water change. Drain out a portion of the pond’s water and top it off with dechlorinated tap water. For any debris you missed in your daily cleanings, vacuum out the bottom of the pond. Flush out the filter and check the water content with your testing kit. Fix any water fluctuations as necessary.
If you live in a climate that swings wildly from season to season, your koi pond maintenance will also change drastically throughout the year.
In the summer, a koi pond is at it’s peak. Koi fish are active and so are bacteria. This is a prime time for algae to spring up, so make sure to clean your filters and water valves each week. Your koi fish will likely be eating more, swimming more, and producing more waste, so keeping on top of cleaning is especially essential during the summer. Consider adding some shade to the pond to cut down on bacteria growth. Continue to perform a 10 percent water change each week too.
Autumn is all about removing debris. You’ll be getting a lot of use out of your hand net with leaves blowing into the pond. If your pond is directly under a tree or other foliage, consider placing a netting over it. Continue to perform a 10 percent water change while the weather is still over 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If your pond has running water, such as a fountain or waterfall, turn these off once the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Stop feedings once the temperatures drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue to clean the filter and skimmer. This is also the time to diagnose and treat any koi fish illness, which will get worse if left untreated throughout the winter. Trim back any foliage that hangs into the pond; these can wilt and add to the debris.
Winterizing your koi pond is a must for frigid climates. There are various options, such as heating your pond, which can get very expensive, or bringing your koi inside if your home has the space. When leaving your koi outside, you’ll want an ice porthole to release the gases in the water. Koi are much less active and their metabolism slows down during this period. Throughout the winter you’ll need to continue to clean the filter and to check the water quality each month with your test kit.
Koi come back to life in the spring. Once the temperature climbs back up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, slowly begin feeding your koi fish again. At 55 degrees Fahrenheit, turn the waterfalls and fountains back on. Continue to test the water and to clean the filter each week, in addition to changing 10 percent of the water each week.
If you heated the pond throughout the winter, turn it off once the weather climbs back up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. During the spring, be sure to watch for signs of illness in koi, as their immune systems are vulnerable at this time.
Do you have any special tricks or tips for koi pond maintenance? Share them with other koi connoisseurs! Leave a comment or tell us via the contact form!