DESIGNING AND BUILDING A KOI BREEDING POND
If you are planning to breed koi, then you must start out on the right foot. You cannot simply find someone who is selling koi, bring a few back home with you, then toss them into a five-gallon bucket and expect them to thrive in this “new home”. Koi are hardy, but this treatment would certainly not be good for any fish, much less the Koi. These fish have the potential to be very time consuming, but you can curtail this somewhat by doing your homework before even purchasing a few Koi.
A Pond for You
If you want to keep koi, then you need a pond. It is best to build the biggest pond you can afford, because these fish can grow in length to reach twenty-four inches or even more. You will also want to make sure that you have plenty of room for spawning when the time comes to breed your koi. You may want to design your own pond, and do all the work needed to build it yourself. You may want to hire someone to design and build a pond for you. You may decide to purchase a pond liner, filter, and pump from a dealer who specializes in fish ponds.
Formal or Informal?
One of the best ways to decide exactly what kind of pond you want is to look at what others have done to create theirs. Keep in mind that you must decide on how large it will be, and what shape will fit best in the area of your yard that you have selected for a pond. Ponds can be formal, or informal, and it is up to you to decide which one of these styles will work best for you.
Pond Size Counts
Pond size is everything when keeping koi carp. Large or small, your choice of size is going to affect how many koi you will be able to keep, what kind of filtration system you will need to keep the pond water fresh and clear, and how much time, effort, and money it will cost you to do daily upkeep and routine maintenance on your pond.
Koi experts agree that if you enjoy koi enough to want to breed them, you need to build the largest outdoor pond you can afford. You certainly do not want to go to the time and expense of building a pond (or having it built) only to have to build another one because your fish are outgrowing the first one!
Pond Depth and Width
Keep in mind that you need to consider not only how wide and long your pond will be, but also how deep. Long time breeders insist on ponds that are at least four feet deep, as they claim the fish grow larger and have better conformation when living at this depth. Koi also need a pond that is at least twelve feet in length, and has at least one hundred forty square feet of water surface. Once you see the number of fry that come from the first spawning in your pond, you will understand why lots of room is essential! You can certainly have a smaller pond, and enjoy watching your koi swim and frolic about, but you will not have much luck in breeding your koi. Pond size is crucial when it comes to breeding.
Where to Build Your Pond
You will want consider carefully the area on your property that you choose for the location of your breeding pond. You will want your koi pond to be accessible to you, so that you do not have to put forth an effort to get to it. If you choose an area that is difficult to maneuver in during good weather, it may be impossible to navigate come winter. The same goes for a breeding pond that is built during the fall, after the leaves are gone. If your pond is too close to shrubs or trees, things may get a bit crowded in the spring when they leaf out and/or bloom again. You will also have to put up with leaves dropping into your pond.
It is best to place the breeding pond as close to your house as possible, so you can see your fish from a window while inside. This makes it much easier to check on them during bad weather. It also makes it much easier to feed them if they are just a few steps away from your door.
Sun, Shade, and Tree Roots
You do not want to build a breeding pond that will be in the sunlight or in the shade all the time. A little sunshine is good for koi. However, koi can sunburn unless they have a place to go in order to get out of the sun. Too much shade can inhibit the growth of the fish. Watch out for the roots of any large trees that may be nearby. They can snake out much further than you would think. Many an area chosen for a koi breeding pond has been abandoned because of the massive root systems of elderly trees.
You can either be sure to choose an area that is not around any large trees, or choose the type of tree that you would like around the pond. Many people choose palm trees, as the roots of this tree cannot hurt a pond. Palm trees are not messy like most trees are as they shed their leaves. If too many leaves make it into your pond before you have a chance to use a net to get them out, the resultant decomposition is going to make your filter work much harder than it needs to.
Providing a breeding pond for your koi may mean a lot of work for you if you choose to design and build it yourself. However, you will be rewarded tenfold by taking the time to do the job properly.