Before approaching the task of constructing a Koi Pond, ask yourself the following questions:
Are you prepared to build the Koi Pond yourself or get an expert to build it for you?
There is no substitute for getting quality advice from a professional pond builder. After you have done your preliminary research and have started to gain some idea of what you want, you can really benefit from consulting with a professional. They can discuss your ideas with you and help spell out what is doable and what is not; what is realistic and what is not; and finally, what is affordable and what is not! Following such a discussion, you will be in a far better position to decide whether you want to build yourself or hire a professional builder do the work for you.
Just how much can you afford to spend?
This is the easiest but most critical question of all. Take a guess at what it “might” cost to build the Koi Pond you have in mind and then double it! Is this amount out of your reach? Well, guess what! This is exactly the “scary” question you ought to ask yourself! Now, get yourself an expenses book and list out all predicted itemized expenses as you do your research. You will need to determine a budget for absolutely EVERYTHING before you even think about grabbing that spade! As you finalize your preliminary budget, ask yourself once more if this is affordable or way beyond your means. If it is within range of what you expected, then you can look for ways to reduce spending if needed, along the way. For example, when it comes to stocking your completed pond, you may want to cut back by purchasing smaller or less mature Koi specimens as these are often less expensive. Likewise, you may be able to cut back on pond plant expenditure or ornamentation if necessary. Discuss with Surveyor today
How much room do you have for a Koi Pond?
Now this is almost as important as the “Money” question! You really need to consider not only the size of the pond that you “want” but what your backyard can “accommodate”. Think in terms of what percentage of the yard would be needed for your ultimate pond – this can help put things in perspective. If your yard is big, then this normally won’t be an issue, but, you do still need to think about the “location” within your yard. When considering how much space, think along the lines of “bigger is better” – meaning Koi can grow quite big and realistically require a lot of room to grow. You may also be tempted to buy “one of every color” when it comes to stocking your pond, so there is a risk of over-crowding! Set yourself a limit on the quantity of Koi you will have long-term (either by purchasing more Koi later on or from breeding) and ensure that your pond size will be sufficient to accommodate them.
How many Koi fish do you want to have?
It’s fairly well known that fish will only grow to a size that their environment can sustain. They will also grow faster where there is a smaller population of fish as a result of less competition for food and better water quality resulting from less waste. It is less well known however, that the growth of Koi can be promoted better by an increase in water surface area. In other words, if you think about 2 ponds of equivalent volume, let’s say 10,000 gallons (just about 38,000 litres) but different depths, the deeper pond will not promote growth as well as the other as a consequence of a smaller water surface area. Consider also, that a pond can support a corresponding total weight or “biomass” of fish. For example, in a small pond, the biomass may support either 2 large fish or 20 smaller fish provided that the total weight is the same in either situation, and provided that it does not exceed the final biomass for that pond. A general guideline when determining how many fish your pond will take is, about 50 to 100 gallons per small koi (under 12″), and 500 to 1000 gallons per large koi (over 24″) in a properly filtered pond. Some experts say that those new to the Koi hobby are advised to build a pond between 1,000 and 5,000 gallons, however, others advise that the ideal pond is more around the 10,000 gallon mark. Ultimately, your pond size will be influenced by cost, location and space, but aim for the biggest you can manage – it’s very difficult to go back and make your pond larger afterward!
How much time are you happy to spend maintaining your Koi Pond?
This question needs to be answered with the same level of honesty and practicality that the question of “Money” was! Think about how much time you “think” you may have to spend upkeeping your Koi Pond and then double it! Is this more time than you’re happy to put in or not? This is another area that should be discussed with your professional koi pond consultant.
Do you have the right location for a Koi Pond?
Just like Real Estate, it’s all about Location! Location! Location! Your Koi Pond needs to be where it can be admired and enjoyed BUT it also wants to be located with the following considerations in mind. To begin with, your pond needs indirect sunlight where possible so that the water temperature doesn’t undergo huge daily variations. Also try not to place it under a tree where it will collect a lot of leaves and other debris – you don’t want to spend any more time than necessary scooping out leaves. Finally, don’t forget to consider building restrictions from your local council or authority and check for underground pipes and cables before you commence.
Are you prepared to learn about Koi and their needs?
Take the time to do your homework. This will minimize the mistakes that are easily made from guesswork, and could save you a great deal of time, money and effort. There are lots of resources available for you to take advantage of. Try talking to Koi enthusiasts or visit Koi fish club meetings.
Can you dig deep enough for a Koi Pond?
Depth is critical to the success of your Koi Pond. Too deep and it becomes impractical to clean, to catch Koi if necessary, and let’s face it, it becomes too costly to build. Too shallow and your Koi might not have enough shelter from would be predators like cats and birds or shelter from the heat of a summer’s day. If you are excited about the prospect of hand feeding your new pets, then think about having a shallow area that you can stand in while feeding them. You will still need to have the remainder of the pond at a minimum depth of at least 3 or 4 feet, but ideally, if you can manage it, 5 or 6 feet is better. If creating a multi-level pond, be careful not to create static areas where the water does not circulate sufficiently, as this provides places for serious diseases to breed and for debris to collect. This can cause major problems with water quality.
What “Extras” do you want with your Koi Pond?
Would you like “Fries” with that? I mean, would you like Fry in your pond? If you’re thinking about breeding Koi somewhere in the future, you will have to ask about this at the same time you are consulting with the professional pond builder. There are various “extras” that may need to be factored in for the purposes of spawning. Likewise, if you are looking at the aesthetics of the pond itself, you may want to investigate the cost of adding a “Waterfall” which can greatly aid in the oxygenation of the water and consequently affect the size of any filtration unit required. Pond plants can also add to the expense – be sure you do your research here as you can’t put in any plants you like – that’s an entire other subject. There are many other materials that need to be factored into the cost of your pond that come under the heading of “necessities” rather than “extras”. These may include but are not limited to such things as a biological filter, pipes, settlement chambers, a de-chlorinator, bird netting, drains, pumps, skimmers, heating, plus more. Again, these should all be discussed with your consultant at the planning stage.
Are you really, really enthusiastic about having your own Koi Pond?
The answer to this one, even after all of the above, should be a resounding “YES”, otherwise, go and buy yourself a goldfish bowl – it will be a lot less expensive with a lot less work, but ultimately, will be a lot less rewarding (no disrespect to goldfish intended!). If the answer is in fact “YES” then great! You have many years ahead to look forward to as your pets grow in size, personality and beauty!