Adding a koi pond can be a great way to improve the aesthetics of your yard, and koi can be fun, interactive fish. However, learning how to clean a koi pond is going to become an essential part of your knowledge base, and we have a few tips that may help.
1. Install A Filtration System
For your koi fish, their pond is their entire universe and if it’s not clean, this is not a safe environment for your koi. Koi, of course, produce waste and a filtration system can remove debris, including fish waste and excess food, which can ensure your water stays cleaner and healthier for your fish population.
The type of mechanical filtration system to apply depends upon the size of your pond or rather the number of gallons in your pond, as well as the number of fish you intend to stock in your pond. It is crucial that you clean the filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendation and empty the skimmer or leaf trap consistently to ensure that the filter can work efficiently.
2. Keep The Water Moving
Stagnant water is a breeding ground for a host of serious water quality issues. When water becomes stagnant, oxygen levels drop and water temperatures increase, which can be dangerous for your fish.
An aeration system can circulate all of the water in your koi pond, which can reduce water temperature and keep oxygen levels steady. Aeration systems, such as a fountain, also can add to the overall aesthetics of your koi pond. No matter what type of aeration system you purchase, it needs to be powerful enough to circulate all of the gallons of water in your pond several times per day.
3. Add Some Beneficial Bacteria
A mechanical filtration system is a must, but it also is smart to consider a source of biological filtration. Adding natural, beneficial bacteria for ponds can be an excellent and easy way to maintain water quality and clarity.
Beneficial bacteria consume excess nutrients in your pond, such as nitrogen and phosphorous. When your pond has too many of these nutrients, this can cause oxygen levels to drop and create the ideal conditions for a rapid buildup of floating green organic matter.
While mechanical filters can remove larger debris, such as leaves and some fish waste, beneficial bacteria can tackle the tiny molecules of excess nutrients that you cannot see. Using a combination of mechanical and biological filtration is the best option for any koi pond, and at Healthy Ponds, we have several beneficial bacteria products ideal for koi ponds.
Our AquaSpherePRO® is an all-natural, easy-to-use monthly treatment that contains a proprietary mix of beneficial bacteria. Simply toss the biodegradable sphere into your pond and it begins releasing bacteria and continues to release bacteria for 30 days.
Our AquaLily® water cleaner dispenser and our Pond Water Cleaner are other monthly beneficial bacteria treatment options to consider. With the AquaSpherePRO®, you simply toss the spheres into your pond, but with the AquaLily® and Pond Water Cleaner®, these are reusable dispensers to which you add water-soluble packets of beneficial bacteria every 30 days.
Each AquaLily® can treat up to 1,000 gallons of water and our Pond Water Cleaner dispensers can treat up to 2,500 gallons. We have AquaSpherePRO® available in several sizes, as well, so this can be an option for water features with just 1,000 gallons and up. All of these products use the same beneficial bacteria and all three are easy options for koi pond care.
If your pond is experiencing problems such as the presence of floating green organic matter, you may want to add our Natural Blast® product to the water. Natural Blast® also contains beneficial bacteria and is a perfect supplemental treatment to use in conjunction with the AquaSpherePRO®, AquaLily or the Pond Water Cleaner dispenser.
Natural Blast® also can be added to the water at the start of your warm season to provide an extra dose of beneficial bacteria to accommodate the rising water temperatures. You also can treat the water with Natural Blast® after a large rain event or whenever temperatures suddenly spike to ensure that you have enough beneficial bacteria in your koi pond.
All of these beneficial bacteria products are chemical-free, all-natural, and veterinarian-approved. They are safe for koi and other fish, as well as wildlife, pets and people.
4. Remove Debris Quickly
Cleaning a koi pond doesn’t have to be difficult, and if you’ve already added filtration, aeration and beneficial bacteria, this will make general koi pond maintenance much easier, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to physically clean the pond from time to time.
For instance, at feeding times, skim out any leaves or other debris floating at the surface. Leaves and debris eventually sink to the bottom of the bottom, and while some might be filtered out and end up in your filter’s skimmer basket, any debris that stays behind eventually will decompose and begin to form a sludge layer on the bottom of your koi pond.
Skimming out the debris and cleaning out the filter basket every day is crucial, and there may even be times when you need to use a pond vacuum to remove sludge or excess debris from the bottom of your pond. Typically, though, with daily skimming, aeration, filtration and the use of beneficial bacteria, you may be able to avoid investing in a pond vacuum.
If you live in an area of the country with deciduous trees, it also can be smart to cover the koi pond with netting during the fall to ensure that an excessive amount of leaves don’t end up in your pond. You also should clean out the pond carefully after a wind event or rainstorm to ensure that excess debris doesn’t end up in the pond.
5. Maintain A Manageable Fish Population
Did you know that koi easily can live 30 or more years? Happy, healthy koi can enjoy long lives, and while the steps above can help improve and maintain pond water quality, it’s also important that you don’t overstock your pond.
In an overstocked pond, the fish have to compete for oxygen and the excess waste can lower the oxygen levels. To ensure that your pond has an ideal fish population, talk to a fish pond expert about how many fish to stock and how to feed and care for your koi properly throughout the year.
Should You Add Fresh Water?
Water does evaporate, so you will need to add water to your koi pond from time to time. Additionally, changing out a portion of the water can ensure that water stays at healthy as possible. The trick is to not change out too much water, as this can drastically affect the conditions in your pond.
Typically, with a koi pond, you will want to change out about 10% of the pond water each week and sometimes more or less, depending on your climate. It’s also important to note that you cannot simply add hose water or faucet water directly into your pond, as this water may have high levels of chlorine.
Again, before you establish a koi pond, do some research and talk to a koi pond expert about the best methods for changing out water and adding water to your koi pond.
At Healthy Ponds, we are committed to providing our customers with safe, effective and all-natural treatments for koi ponds, small water features and large ponds. We hope this information helps you better understand how to clean a koi pond and maintain water quality, but if you have any questions about our beneficial bacteria, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.