MAINTAINING AND CLEANING THE KOI POND

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MAINTAINING AND CLEANING THE KOI POND Pond maintenance helps you to maintain the proper water quality for your koi. It is vitally important for the sake of your koi that you keep the quality of the water as pristine as possible. Water quality has to do with much more than keeping the water clear. You will need to purchase a water testing kit so you can check the pond water for –
• pH
• Oxygen
• Ammonia
• Nitrates
• Nitrites

You will also want to make use of a pond skimmer to get the leaves, insects, and other organic debris out of your pond.
Deep Cleaning
Deep cleaning of your pond is usually done twice a year, in the spring and fall. There are pond maintenance services that you can hire to do this for you, or you can tackle the job yourself. It really is not a difficult task. You will need to do the following –

• Remove any debris you can see in the water
• Fertilize and prune any plants that live in the pond
• Remove any algae from the pond
• Do a thorough inspection of your filtering system and your pump.
• Check the hose and connectors of your pond equipment
• Check out any pond lighting or pond vacuums you may have
• Drain the pond and add fresh water
• Check the water chemistry, and then take care of any irregularities that pop up.

Removing the Koi
It is understood that you will remove your fish before this deep cleaning takes place! All sorts of debris and muck will be floating in the water, and you do not want your fish to struggle for breath while trying to swim. Koi quarantine tanks are available for purchase in many places.

What is in the Tap Water?
When first setting up your pond, you will probably use a garden hose to fill it with water. This is fine, but you will also need to add a chlorine neutralizer to the water. Chlorine is deadly to fish, and can kill them very quickly.
Chloramines are also in tap water, so make sure the neutralizer you use will take care of them as well. Use your water testing kit each time you add fresh tap water to your pond to make sure there is no kind of problem with the water. About once a month is often enough to change out or add new water to the pond. You can bump this up to every three weeks if the water looks especially needy.

Parasites, Keep Out!
Keep a close watch on your pond for any type of parasite. You can purchase chemicals to add to the water that will kill any parasites that may be there, and will also prevent any new parasites from entering the pond.

To Salt, or Not To Salt?
Many people who keep Koi insist on adding salt to their ponds. It can be a good idea in quarantine ponds, as it can help those fish that are suffering from stress. However, salt may cause more trouble than it is worth in a pond for breeders or young Koi. When a sufficient quantity of salt is placed in the pond water, the skin of the Koi gets slightly irritated. This causes them to have to produce an extra thick slime coat. That slime coat helps to protect them from parasites and bacteria, which sounds good.
The reality is that salt kept in a pond all year can cause the parasites that plague your Koi to slowly but surely build up a resistance to the salt. This will make it harder than ever to kill off the parasites and rid your fish of them once and for all. A little salt is fine in the Spring to boost the immune system of your breeders, but make sure to do your regular water changes in order to clean all the salt out of your pond when this “spring tonic” is used.