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1. What type pond?

Some people want to see water lilies in their yard, others want to see fish. Still others want to raise koi. All three ponds have different requirements. The water garden pond specializes in plants. The goldfish pond is for goldfish. The koi pond is for koi.

A. Garden Pond: includes plants, does not require filtration or fish, very little care. Insect control will establish over time (dragonfly larva will consume mosquito larva and other pests).

B. Goldfish Pond: requires some maintenance, can be planted, filter to keep water clear enough to appreciate fish. Balance of nature will establish over time. Plants will provide shelter for fish and recycle of fish waste.

C. Koi Pond: no plants. Koi are the primary attraction in this type of pond. Koi are bottom feeders in the natural environment, will root out any plants, upturn pots and tear apart foliage which in turn clogs filtration units and causes unsightly environment. They have different needs than goldfish; therefore koi will do best if not mixed. Koi grow to 36" in desirable conditions. They can withstand temperatures from 39-89F. Substantial pond depth can assure consistency of pond temperatures. They require larger ponds than goldfish or lilies. Koi can be costly to purchase and can jump out of a small pond. Safeguards need to be included in building design.

2. Where do I want to put the pond?

A. Garden Pond: can be situated in any sunny location. Plants will do best if placed in full sun.

B. Goldfish Pond: full sun to full shade. Depending upon the pond and whether plants will be added, the pond can be placed anywhere. However, it would be best to place the pond where it can be enjoyed easily from the house or patio areas. If the pond will be filtered, it should be located near a source of GFCI electric outlet.

C. Koi Pond: Koi can get sunburned, so will benefit from shade to part-shade conditions. It is important that you are able to view the pond from the house to monitor water levels, predatory animals or bird presences, or simply enjoy the pond from inside during winter months. Place the pond within reach of electric (GFCI) and a water source (for easy water changes or refills). Trees can bring problems with dropped leaves decaying in water, clogging filter lines, and filling skimmers.

3. How big should I make the pond?

A. Water Garden Pond: Can be sized to fit a patio tub to acres of ground.

B. Goldfish Pond: Goldfish will breed readily if left undisturbed, and quickly fill their environment. They are not particular as to size of pond. They are capable of withstanding near-freezing temperatures and can survive shallow depths.

C. Koi Pond: Koi will need as large a space as possible. Considering the size at maturity (3-ft. in length) what they do not have in water capacity will need to be made up in filtration. This can be dangerous in a black-out. In Japan, the farmers put up to 100 koi per acre, or even less in one pond. IF you cannot build the pond WIDER, build DEEPER. (Some areas have ordinances as to depth of ponds and will need permits to install. Check with your local government first.) In considering the shape of a koi pond, think of a "toilet" as the most effective in removing waste.

4. What type filter do I need?

A. Garden Pond: Aerator, spitter, fountain, or none.

B. Goldfish Pond: Aerator, spitter, fountain, submersible pump and underwater filter, waterfall, or simple outside-of-pond filter. Goldfish pond can be as sophisticated as koi pond filtration, as desired by owner.

C. Koi Pond: Out-of-pond filtration, vortex and/or bubble-bead system, bottom drain, complete pond water movement. Internal-feed jets can be used to circulate water, continually feeding debris to the bottom drain. Pumps are located outside the pond. Aeration is desirable through filtration units. A koi pond filter should turn over the total gallonage from two to four times an hour to be effective. An ultra-violet light unit, appropriately-sized for the size pond, would be desirable to kill undesirable germs and bacteria in the water. As an added benefit, it helps control the "pea soup" algae.

- Carolyn Weise

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PO Box 3628 | Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628