Koi ponds | Living the Country Life
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Koi ponds

The Swansons aren't coy about koi. These folks love their fish.
  • Long-time fish fans

    Mike and Janel Swanson of Scandia, Minnesota, and sons Michael, Jr., Devin, and Tayler, have always loved fish. As the boys were growing up, the family had eight aquariums in the house. Janel later added a water feature to the yard, which housed goldfish.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 18, 2012
    Tags: Koi, Ponds, How-to, Fish
  • A different kind of construction

    When they moved to their 40-acre place in the country, Mike, who's in the construction business, built a three-tiered pond and added some koi. One thing led to another, and he quit the construction business and went into the pond business.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 18, 2012
    Tags: Koi, Ponds, How-to, Fish
  • Proper ponds

    With the right pond constructions, koi can stay outdoors year-round, even through Minnesota's cold winters. In the summer, the Swanson family enjoys relaxing on the pond-side patio, watching their beloved fish.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 18, 2012
    Tags: Koi, Ponds, How-to, Fish
  • Not all ponds are created equal

    There is a difference between water features and koi ponds, Mike says. "Water features have rocks at the bottom and have an average depth of about 2 feet. Koi ponds have a bottom drain, excellent filtration system, and are 4 feet or more deep."

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 18, 2012
    Tags: Koi, Ponds, How-to, Fish
  • Low-maintenance hobby

    Koi ponds are also much lower in maintenance, due to the bottom drain and filtration. "You never have to take the fish out of the ponds for cleaning, because debris is either pulled into side skimmers or into filters at the bottom of the pool," he says.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 18, 2012
    Tags: Koi, Ponds, How-to, Fish
  • Lovely landscaping

    Mike designs and builds koi ponds across North America. At home, his ponds are bordered with water iris, reed grass, arrowhead, curly rush, miniature cattails, papyrus, taro, water mint, weeping katsura, Japanese maple, twisty black locust, and a few hostas that followed Janel out to the country from the suburbs years ago.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 18, 2012
    Tags: Koi, Ponds, How-to, Fish
  • A family affair

    Here, Mike and Tayler work together to transfer fish from indoor tanks to outdoor pools. All three of the boys are involved in koi. Michael Jr. and Tayler work with their parents, and Devin is in Niigata, Japan, studying with a top Japanese koi breeder.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 18, 2012
    Tags: Koi, Ponds, How-to, Fish
  • Fancy fish

    The fish are raised in indoor tanks before they are added to outdoor ponds. In Japan, Devin is learning breeding, culling, and what makes quality koi. He has an eye for picking show fish, which can fetch upwards of $30,000 each.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 18, 2012
    Tags: Koi, Ponds, How-to, Fish
  • Fun with the fish

    Mike has no problem swimming with the fishes if the weather allows. The koi are quite tame. "The fish told me there's more to life than working all the time," he says

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 18, 2012
    Tags: Koi, Ponds, How-to, Fish
  • Feeding frenzy

    This bright yellow fish is a Yamabuki Ogon koi. They are always looking for a handout. "We've even seen koi up on their lower fins chewing grass from the edge of the pond," Janel says. "People think I'm crazy when I tell them that, but it's true!"

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 18, 2012
    Tags: Koi, Ponds, How-to, Fish
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