Koi are sensitive fish and they require a well-maintained pond. Water quality, cleanliness and fish handling tools are several of the requirements for pond maintenance. The equipment required for indoor and outdoor ponds is similar but outdoor environments do require a greater effort and a few additional tools.
A quality filtration system is critical for pond maintenance. Filtration systems put the water in motion and remove biological decay. Filters improve water quality and maintain a healthy system. Numerous filtration systems are available with sizes designed to fit any pond. All filters have an outflow and a return flow for the water. The outflow sucks water from the pond and pushes it through the filter. The inflow returns the cleaned water to the pond. Inflow systems are often placed in waterfalls and other creative water features.
Basic pond cleaning supplies are readily available and absolutely necessary for maintenance. Skimmer nets with long handles are used for surface cleaning and scooping debris. The skimmer net has a handle with a flat bag made of fine mesh. You can skim the surface to remove old food particles, leaves and fine particles that effect water clarity and quality. Leaf netting is a great tool for outdoor ponds in the fall. Cover the pond with the netting to effortlessly catch leaves and prevent them from accumulating and clogging pond filters.
Water quality is the top priority for pond maintenance. Chemical testing kits are available through pet stores and they are easy to use. Test the pH, nitrates and ammonia levels at least one time each week. Many pond owners test daily to maintain ideal conditions. Healthy ponds require ammonia levels near zero, very low nitrate levels and a pH level ranging from 7 to 8. Charts are available with the appropriate levels and chemical requirements for the pond. Hang a chart above the pond or near your maintenance supply area.
Handling fish is necessary for pond cleaning and disease treatment. Use a net with a large, soft bag. Mesh bags are effective and non-abrasive for relocating and removing fish. Telescoping handles are also effective for reaching different levels of the pond. Keep a separate tank, trough or small pool for quarantined fish. Add an electric aerator to the fish-holding pool to supply oxygen.
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Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at bustedoarlock.com.