Koi Pond General Information

Watch out for Dr. Koivorkian

 Here is just one example of what not to do to your Koi.  Note we said just one.  Here are a few more examples of some things that we do not agree with:

Injections.  The injections might make some humans feel good like their a doctor or something, or that they are doing something skillful or important.  The fact is, Koi are not warm blooded mammals.  They do not have the vascularity or capillaries that a mammal or human does, so the medication is not rapidly absorbed.  Plus, you run the risk of a medication abscess, and if that happens... there is no way to save the fish. The stress of this is a big factor also.

Cutting fins or tail.  This is a ridiculous way of handling the problem.  Fin & tail rot is caused by a pseudomonas bacteria and with the proper medication can be cured.

Handling the fish and rubbing antibiotic ointment or iodine or salt on the wound.  Another ridiculous treatment that does not work. Never handle your fish.



If your salt levels are above 0.1% in your main pond, start doing water changes right away.  You will have to do at least 3-4 water changes to get the sodium level down.  Your fish will appreciate this!
Koi General Information & Important Facts That You Should Know

Koi keepers should know that all of the information on this website pertains to their hobby, and Koi fish.  All of the medicating techniques, the disease library, articles and everything else written in all of the website categories.

Why are we explaining this?  Because Koi keepers tend to segregate themselves away from the rest of the tropical fish industry.  For some reason, they think that we are here talking about tropical fish and say "I don't have tropical fish, I have Koi and they're different".  Actually, they are pond fish, and that is the only thing that really makes them different from a fish kept in an aquarium.  There are some obvious differences of course, but medicating fish is the same no matter if you are medicating a Koi, or a Neon Tetra.

Koi are colorful mutations of the wild carp, and thus are classified in the same genus and species, Cyprinus carpio.

Cyprinids have the widest continuous distribution of any freshwater fish family.  The greatest diversity and the most advanced cyprinids occur in Southeast Asia, which is thought to be the center of origin of the family.  The cyprinids' ecologic equivalents in South America are the characins, and in Australia, the rainbow fishes.

Fact:  Did you know that a Koi can live up to 60 years?

Koi In The Watergarden

Koi can be included into a densely planted pond, if the area is large and deep enough.  The Koi will do much better if the population is kept small and they are not confined to smaller spaces.  In stocking a pond, the usual recommendation is for no more than one inch of fish per square foot of pond surface area.  The water quality of well-stocked ponds should always be closely monitored to prevent ammonia levels from becoming toxic.

Koi have special environmental needs and are, therefore, not really suited for life in the water garden un-attended.  Even though Koi may be fed sufficiently, they still require fresh greens in their diet.  The submerged grasses and tender submerged lily growth often prove irresistible.  Trying to curtail their appetite with daily feedings of fresh lettuce and celery leaves, may not prove to change some of their habits.  The pond is a virtual smorgasbord to a Koi.  It may be worthwhile to culture some small pots of leaf lettuce.  You can put these in the pond if you cover the topsoil with some rocks so they won't nudge them over, and then set them in the pond for the Koi to feed on.

Like wild carp, Koi are omnivorous, and in captivity are normally fed once or twice a day.  They can be offered processed food (pelletized food) that has been especially made for the Koi's nutritional requirements.

Koi can be very hard on your plants because of their persistent rooting habits.  They will root around looking for insects and larvae to feed on.  Any valuable plants should be planted in tubs, which are then placed in the pond.

Also make sure that if you are using bricks as a platform to set your plants on, to use some concrete pond paint on them to prevent them from leeching lye into the pond.  This will be toxic to the fish and cause you to have extremely high pH levels.

Pond Fish

Sometimes, unfortunately... we are not blessed with good water, and must use the 8.6+ pH city tap water in our ponds.  These high pH levels are not real good for many species of Koi.  It may be better for you to keep some common goldfish, comet goldfish, or shubunkin's instead.  These fish will grow huge just like the koi, and they will be much easier on your budget.  Plus they are pretty hardy, and the shubunkin's are very colorful.

Some species of catfish, tilapia and the aquarium plecostimus (algae eater) may be introduced to the pond in warmer climate zones.  These fishes are scavengers and will help keep the bottom of the pond cleaner (This is no excuse not to clean your pond).  Continual maintenance of your pond is crucial, and keeping a beautiful pond has proven to be too much work for many people.

Contaminated Water

Run-off water from a nearby stream, or collected rainwater may contain toxic insecticides, herbicides or fertilizers.  Rainwater from metal roofs or asbestos shingles will contaminate the pond and may prove toxic to both the fish, and the plants.  If the fish display signs of toxicity, execute a 50% water change and/or remove the fish to safe quarters, or a hospital tank until the water has been changed.

Acid rain may produce stress in water lilies.  Immediately following a heavy rainfall, the lily leaves may show signs of burning at the edges or abrupt yellowing.  A partial water change may be needed after such rainy periods, if the pH readings are lower than the neutral 7.0 range.

White foam at the waterfall entry of the pond is a sign of a high level of dissolved organic compounds.  Do some partial water changes and add some Aqua Gold to the pond to handle the high organic load.


Click Here to view a common Koi Disease and treatment chart.

Adding Salt To Your Pond

The maximum level of salt that you can run without major damage to the fish is 0.3%.  This high salt level is used for treating fish wounds and parasites.  To achieve this level, add 3.8 oz. of salt per 10 gallons.  This salt level is better suited for a bath or in a hospital tank. Never run this high level in your main pond as it will damage the fish when used long term.  Your fish will suffer from kidney damage or renal failure if this is the case.

 We run our salt levels at 0.1% or lower.  We never use salt to medicate any of our fish.  Salt was an "old time" dip for external parasites like gill flukes.  Salt in the water will not prove to be effective for 99% of the diseases you may see over time.  Be careful what you are reading in internet chat rooms folks.  Running high salt levels in your pond will kill your fish over time.  Koi are not brackish water or marine fish, and do not require salt to survive.


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