Creating a koi pond | Living the Country Life

Creating a koi pond

Take in these tips before you start constructing your own relaxing haven

Radio interview source: Michael Leksak, Koi Clubs USA, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida













Listen here for the radio story

I have to be careful when I'm sitting next to a koi pond. The fish are relaxing, addictive, and mesmerizing to watch.

If you are planning to build one, it has to be in the right location, away from direct sunlight. Underneath a shade tree can work, but falling leaves can make the pond a mess. So instead, select a place in your garden that's shaded by walls or evergreen trees.

Before you start digging keep in mind that koi ponds need to be deep, not long and shallow. Koi expert Michael Leksak says the fish get their exercise from swimming up and down, which helps their body composition. But that's not the only reason to dig a little further.

"The next reason you want it deep, especially in a colder climate, is the deeper the pond is, the less likely it is to change in temperature as rapidly," Leksak says. "Another consideration for a deep koi pond would be predators such as heron, bear, or anything that would try to come in and snatch some of these prize fish, because some of them can be quite expensive."

Raccoons also love a tasty koi snack, and don't mind fishing around for it. So, a good rule of thumb is to make the pond at least 5 to 6 feet deep. Then, add a liner. Vinyl pond liners give you the freedom to add extra dimensions without extra costs. If you're looking for something permanent, pour a concrete base. Do not line it with rocks because they don't allow for good filtration.

"Biological filtration is the most important step that people need to consider," Leksak says. "This is where the pond provides a place for beneficial bacteria to grow on special media. And that beneficial bacteria is what's eating the harmful pollutants in the pond."

Aeration is important, too. Waterfalls add both beauty and oxygen. Once the pond is ready, it needs to stabilize for a couple of days before adding the koi. Leksak recommends putting in some goldfish first to help get the beneficial bacteria going. Then add the koi, just a few at a time. They'll happily co-exist with the goldfish and you'll have a soothing retreat to look forward to at the end of a long day.

Learn more about creating a koi pond:

Winter koi fish care: Learn what to do with your fish and your pond when winter rolls around.

Build a backyard koi pond: Step-by-step instructions from the editors at for creating a beautiful koi pond.

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