How to Build a Koi Pond: Everything You Need to Know!

How to Build a Koi Pond

Are you thinking of renovating your yard? Have you ever considered building a koi pond to make your property more appealing? There is something wonderful and relaxing about watching fish swim around the pond and hearing the soothing sound of the water.

Aside from its aesthetic appeal, many people believe that it is lucky to have a koi pond at home. If you have been deliberating whether or not to put up a koi pond at home, maybe it’s time you acted on it. It may not be that easy but it will be all worth it. So, here’s everything you need to know on how to build a koi pond within your property.

Why You Need a Koi Pond

Why You Need a Koi Pond

Everyone has their reasons for wanting to build a koi pond. They believe that it has several benefits not only to add beauty to their homes but also for their health. Before we show you how to build a koi pond, let’s find out the benefits of having one.

Improves Property Value

In case you plan or need to sell your property in the future, having a koi pond will increase your property’s value. Ask any real estate agent and all of them will tell you that having one will improve the marketability and will help you sell your property faster.

Makes the Home More Charming and Welcoming

Have you ever visited a friend’s house that had a fish pond? You surely loved how beautiful it looked. So, just imagine how it will improve the overall appearance of your yard. There is no doubt that building a koi pond at home will make it more charming and welcoming. Even if you hire a professional or you do it by yourself, it will make your garden more sophisticated and stylish.

Koi Fish Can Bring Good Luck

In Japan, people believe that taking care of Koi will bring good luck and fortune. Koi fish is considered a mystical fish in Japan. Whether you believe in it or not, there’s no harm in building koi ponds at home.

Helps Improve Health Conditions

Studies have shown that having a koi pond can help improve people’s health condition. The relaxing ambience that koi ponds provide helps people suffering from stroke recover faster. It is also a great stress reliever. Those who have anxiety disorder and high blood pressure can find comfort just by watching the fish and listening to the sound of the water.

A Good Way to Earn Money

If you need extra money or just want to increase your household earnings, you can sell koi fish. They are very easy to sell as they are in demand and people will pay a good price for them. If you have several Kois that have nice colors and patterns, you can definitely earn a big sum of money from them.

Encourage the Growth of Plants

Having a koi pond on your property will improve the growth of plants and beautiful flowers that will soon captivate the attention of birds and butterflies. There is no better way to spend a quiet morning or afternoon in your garden watching colorful butterflies and birds flying around.

Natural Insect Repellent

Contrary to popular belief that koi ponds attract mosquitoes and other insects, it is actually the opposite. Adding a koi pond can help repel these nasty insects in your backyard.

Entertaining

If you have children or grandkids, they will enjoy watching the fish swim around. They can even feed the Kois making it a great way to bond with family and keep the little ones busy for a long time.

Things to Consider Before Building a Koi Pond

Things to Consider Before Building a Koi Pond

You can’t just build a koi pond anywhere on your property because you think it will look good in that area. Or you can’t start digging then stop when you get tired, thinking you’re fine with the size and depth already. These things matter when building a pond. To help you out, consider the following before buying all the tools and materials for your pond project.

Budget

Whether you are building it on your own or you’ll be hiring a professional to do it for you, building a pond can be very costly. In addition to that, koi fish are also expensive, so if you are planning to buy several Kois for your pond, expect to spend a lot of money. Your budget will determine the size of your pond and the number of Kois you can bring home.

Size

The size of your pond will all depend on where you want to place it and how many koi you plan to take care of. Some may prefer a smaller pond thinking that it will be easier to maintain and will cost less. However, having a bigger pond means you can hold more fish, but may also require a larger liner, filtration system, and pumps.

Pond Location

This is one of the most important things to consider when building a pond. You may want to stay away from areas where there are trees and electrical lines. If your preferred area has rocky soil, then consider using an underlayment material, as you don’t want to get holes in your liner.

If your chosen location will expose your pond to the sun the whole day, it is a must to have an adequate filtration system. This will help keep the pond water clean and reduce algae buildup.

Defense System

Kois are an easy target for predators and if you don’t want to wake up in the morning with all your fish gone, then it would be best to consider putting up a defense system around your pond. Electrical fencing or netting are great options to protect your pets.

Equipment Needed for Your Koi Pond

Equipment Needed for Your Koi Pond

Before you learn how to build a koi pond, you need to be familiar with the different equipment that you will need to keep your pond clean and a safe place for your koi fish to live in.

Pond Skimmer

A pond skimmer is used to remove any kind of debris or impurities from the surface to the bottom of the pond. Most ponds tend to collect leaves, algae, seeds, and pollen. If these impurities are not removed from the pond, it can give off a bad smell and will keep the water dirty which is not good for your koi.

Pond Filter

Pond filters come in two types. It can either be a biological filter or a UV filter. The UV filter helps maintain the clarity of the water and gets rid of green water. The biological filter ensures that the ideal quality of the water is maintained. Between the two, biological filters are easier to install. Adding a filtration system to your koi pond will make maintaining the pond much easier.

Skimmer Net

This is a very handy piece of pond equipment. You can easily remove any floating organism like algae and leaves from your pond with a skimmer net. This can be very beneficial when you need to remove the koi from the pond when you need to clean it.

Thermometer

This is one of the most important equipment you will need to keep your koi healthy and alive. The water temperature will help you know what type of food to feed your fish. For example, if you notice that the water temperature is below 70° F you might need to mix a wheat germ that has low protein content into your fish’s diet. The water temperature will also tell you when you need to stop feeding your fish.

How to Build a Koi Pond

How Build Koi Pond

Before you learn how to build a koi pond, you need to be familiar with the different equipment that you will need to keep your pond clean and a safe place for your koi fish to live in.

Pond Skimmer

A pond skimmer is used to remove any kind of debris or impurities from the surface to the bottom of the pond. Most ponds tend to collect leaves, algae, seeds, and pollen. If these impurities are not removed from the pond, it can give off a bad smell and will keep the water dirty which is not good for your koi.

Pond Filter

Pond filters come in two types. It can either be a biological filter or a UV filter. The UV filter helps maintain the clarity of the water and gets rid of green water. The biological filter ensures that the ideal quality of the water is maintained. Between the two, biological filters are easier to install. Adding a filtration system to your koi pond will make maintaining the pond much easier.

Skimmer Net

This is a very handy piece of pond equipment. You can easily remove any floating organism like algae and leaves from your pond with a skimmer net. This can be very beneficial when you need to remove the koi from the pond when you need to clean it.

Thermometer

This is one of the most important equipment you will need to keep your koi healthy and alive. The water temperature will help you know what type of food to feed your fish. For example, if you notice that the water temperature is below 70° F you might need to mix a wheat germ that has low protein content into your fish’s diet. The water temperature will also tell you when you need to stop feeding your fish.

How to Build a Koi Pond

Once you have set a budget and have decided where and how big your pond will be, and you have an idea of the equipment you might need, you are now ready to start the construction of your koi pond.

Clear the Site

The first step is to clear the area or site where you want to put your fish pond. If there are plant pots, furniture, or vegetation in that area, you need to move them away. Check for any pavers and get them out of the way. Be sure that you also clear out the surroundings around your designated location so it would be easier for you to move around and work.

Mark the Shape of Your Pond

Use a marking paint or rope to outline the dimensions of your pond. Decide on the shape. Most koi ponds are round or rectangle but don’t limit yourself to those, as there are also ponds with irregular shapes. You also need to mark where you will place the filters, pumps, falls, and so on.

Start to Dig

Once you’re done marking the outline, you can start digging your koi fish pond. Keep in mind that your pond needs to be at least 4 feet deep. This is to make sure your fish can live through during winter. Start to dig up the shelves and tiers and the sides. If you have a friend, ask them for help to make construction faster and help you reach the bottom of the pond sooner.

Place Some Equipment

Top up and place the skimmer and spillway, and roll out where you will place your flex pipe and pressurized filter.

Install Underlayment and Liner

Before installing your pond liner, best to use an underlayment and remove any rocks from the bottom of the pond. Lay it across the whole pond and fall area if you plan to add a fall. This will prevent your liner from getting punctured and having holes. It is recommended to use a 45 mil EPDM liner.

You would need help from other people to install the liner and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When laying the liner, leave at least 3 feet so it will not slip and will be secured properly.

When attaching the liner to the skimmer, you need to use a lap sealant. You also need to attach the liner to the spillway or behind it when the faceplate is not available.

Install Underlayment and Liner koi pond

Placing of Rocks or Stones

The next step is to get your rocks or stones and start putting them on top of the liner and all over the edge. You can use different sizes of rocks, but be sure to start with larger rocks. Make sure that the liner at the surface level is completely covered. However, leave at least 1 foot of the liner; this will prevent rainwater from going in your pond.

Once you are done placing the rocks, dig a ridge that is at least 3 inches high surrounding the edge. Creating a ridge will prohibit soil, grass clippings, lawn chemicals, and rainwater from getting inside the pond. You can use a spade to form the ridge, ensuring that your pond liner touches it.

If you want to put a waterfall in your pond, put some waterfall foam near the spillway and in the stream. Don’t forget to put waterfall foam between the rocks as well so that water will not vanish as it flows in the stones.

Connecting the Skimmer Pump to Spillway

Use a PVC flex pipe to start connecting the skimmer pump into the spillway. The pipe should be placed at the back of the skimmer. Next is to attach the handling pump to your pond’s pressure filter and back to your spillways. You can also attach it directly to the pond.

Installing Filtration System

When installing the filtration system to build a koi pond, always read and follow the instructions or ask your equipment supplier about it. When you have your filtration set up, it should consist of biological processing, mechanical filtration, a settling chamber, and a bottom drain.

The filtration instrument should be placed beside the pond and should be slightly submerged. Install all parts by following the directions for each. The mechanical filtration catches the debris in the water and the settling chamber allows you to get rid of the debris easily. It is important to keep your pond water clean. It is recommended to get a settling chamber that has a size of 40 inches deep and 40 inches in diameter.

Biological filtration works by adding beneficial bacteria to your pond water to decrease levels of nitrite and ammonia. These chemicals can be harmful to koi.

Adding Water to the Pond

Fill your pond with water. Get your garden hose and start filling it with water and add some beneficial bacteria. You can use a water conditioner or dechlorinator if the water is not fresh or has not been dechlorinated. Make sure that before you transfer your koi fish to your new pond that the water has no chlorine in it as it can be toxic for Kois and other fish.

Chlorine treatments can be bought from fish supply stores. If you are not sure if your water is safe for your fish, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your water supplier.

Check the Water’s PH Level

To test for pH levels, you can use a water testing kit. It is vital that you maintain pH levels between 7 and 8.6. Keeping the right pH levels will help keep your fish healthy and happy. You can always adjust the water parameters if needed.

To help maintain the right pH levels and avoid having high dissolved nutrient levels, do not overfeed your fish and do not overstock it. Gradually changing the water regularly can also help. However, keep in mind that when changing water, do not exceed 20% of the full volume as this can shock the fish.

Koi Pond garden

Check Water Temperature

Similar to pH level, there is the right level of temperature. It should be around 65°F. You can check the temperature of the water with a thermometer. You can use an aerator or pond heater when needed. If you think that the pond water is too hot, add cold water gradually. Never change the pond water temperature abruptly as it can kill your fish when they go in shock.

Installing the Aerator

An aerator does not only help keep the water from freezing during winter but it also keeps the water moving. It aids in the gas exchange and oxygenation of the pond. Most pond owners prefer a pond aerator over a pond heater because it is cheaper.

When purchasing an aerator, you need to know the size, shape, volume, and depth of your pond. Since it comes in different sizes and designs, find the one that is suitable for your koi pond.

Check If the Aerator and Filtration System are Working

Before putting your koi in your pond, turn on your aerator and filtration system to check if they are working properly. Do this as soon as you fill the pond with water with your garden hose and before you let the Kois swim in the pond.

Time to Put the Koi in the Pond

Once everything is set, now is the time to let your koi get acquainted with its new home. However, don’t release them immediately in the pond water. Let them float while still in the plastic bag for around 30 minutes. This will help them adjust to the temperature.

After 30 minutes, add a little water from the pond and tie it. Let them float again for another 30 minutes. Once the koi had adjusted to the water temperature, you can now release them. Another thing to remember is to avoid letting the koi float in the plastic bag for a long time under direct sunlight. If there is no shade in your pond, you can put a cloth or towel over the plastic bag.

Beautify the Surrounding

Now that you’re done with your koi pond, you can continue adding some finishing touches to your garden or around your new koi pond. You can surround the pond with plants or colorful flowers, and you can even set up a nice lighting system to make them look more enchanting in the evening. Lights can be added either inside the pond or outside; it will all depend on your preference.

Take Care of Your Koi

The last thing you need to do, now that you know how to build a koi pond, is to make sure that your koi are well-fed and healthy. To ensure that they don’t get sick and die, it is important to keep the water clean. If you notice that your koi are not eating enough, have abdominal swelling, inflamed skin, and an unusual swimming pattern, your fish may not be feeling well.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Build a Koi Pond Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to build a koi pond?

Koi pond construction can be very expensive. Depending on the size, materials, and equipment you will use, it can cost around $9,000 to 14,000. However, you can save some money if you will do most of the legwork like excavation.

How deep should a koi pond be?

A koi pond should never be less than 3 feet deep.

Can you build your own koi pond?

Yes, it is possible to build a koi pond on your own. However, you may need some assistance from time to time, especially during excavation and laying the liner.

How do you build a backyard koi pond?

How to build a koi pond in your backyard? It’s quite doable. You just need to find a spot where you want to place it. Dig the area, lay your pond liner, install the pond equipment, put some rocks over the edge of the liner, fill the pond with water using your garden hose, clean the area, and add the fish. Add some plants around the pond to make it more attractive.

Is a Koi pond high-maintenance?

It is recommended to keep the pond clean regularly but it doesn’t have to be high-maintenance. As long as you remove the debris and algae from time to time, that should be enough.

What is the life expectancy of koi fish?

The life span of a koi is around 25 to 35 years.

Can koi live through winter?

Yes, koi can survive even during cold temperatures as long as the water does not freeze solid. During the cold season, ensure that the fish have enough oxygen and always check the quality of the water.

Can koi live without a pump?

It is important to have adequate oxygen levels in the water for koi to survive. Although it is possible to not install a pump in your pond, it will take a lot of work to keep them alive and healthy. So, it’s best to install a pump in your pond. The installation process is much easier than having to manage the oxygen level manually every day.

Conclusion

Now you know how to build a koi pond. It doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you know where you want to place it, the size, and you have enough budget to complete the construction, then you’re good to go. Installation of the tools needed to make the koi pond a good place for the fish to live is basically easy. As long as you follow the instructions that come with them you’ll be fine. So, no need to worry too much. Keep in mind that keeping your fish healthy and alive is what’s more important.

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