Do your koi get enough oxygen to sustain them?
If you see them hanging out by the waterfall or at the top of the pond gasping for air then the answer is no!
A koi pond needs aeration to keep it and the koi healthy. Fish need oxygen to survive. They breathe the oxygen dissolved in the water.
Lack of it will result in the death of your koi. You must get that needed oxygen into the water. To do this you need a system for aeration.
There are two factors that affect the amount of oxygen in the water:
1. Algae growth which depletes oxygen level
2. Too many fish for the size of the pond.
Either situation requires oxygen supplementation.
One way to aerate the pond is to add a simple waterfall. Besides being pleasant to hear and to look at, the splashing of the water also increases its oxygen content.
There are bubbling devices like airstones and rings that you can use if constructing a waterfall is not possible. An air pump is needed to use these devices. These are especially useful in aerating the bottom of the pool that is farthest from the surface and receives less oxygen.
Fountains are another good way to get oxygen into the water. In fact, anything that breaks the waters surface introduces oxygen into your pond.
The best way to ensure enough oxygen would be to combine air stones with a waterfalls or fountain to get plenty of oxygen to every level of your pond.
In the case that you wish to attract wildlife into your backyard instead of just keeping Koi, this post is for you.
To the uninitiated a fish pond is simply that, a fish pond. Experienced pondkeepers, however, know that this is only the tip of the iceberg and many design the pond to attract wildlife, birds, mammals and frongs etc. A fish pond or probably more correctly a water garden in this case is home to may forms of natural wildlife. An even bigger diversity of wildlife can be attracted by paying attention to the aesthetics and the design. Birds for example require shallow areas in which they can take a welcome bath or gain a much needed drink of water. Running water from a cascading stream will certainly create a haven for many of nature’s insects. This combined with a clean gravel bed will make a nice place for them to lay their eggs or build a home. In fact you will discover that the diversity of insects and other wildlife that a water garden correctly designed encourages is enormous; some prefer stony areas, others prefer shallow areas, whilst others take refuge in wooded areas.
Simple Things You Can Do To Encourage Nature To Your Fish Pond
Why not consider adding aquatic plants to your fish pond. Not only will this help to keep algae under control and add valuable oxygen to the pond it will also attract frogs and birds; especially if you include floating lilies and other plant species with wide floating leaves. The inclusion of submerged plant varieties encourages insects to breed and offers them a hiding place from predators.
A great way of not only adding effect to the flow of water in ponds that include a waterfall or stream is to place a large boulder in the centre. Not only will this add wonderful sound and character to the flow of water but it will also create a great perch for wild birds to rest on. You may even find the odd dragonfly using it as a landing pad.
Create a shallow area with a slight incline and place pebbles around the edge of the pool. This will help frogs and toads to gain easy entry and exit from the pool. A branch can be placed in the water and leaned against the edge. This also creates a natural looking way for frogs and toads to gain entry to your water garden and of course to safely get out again. The addition of marginal plants to the edges of the pond will also make it simpler for wildlife to climb in and out of the water.
Placing a tree stump over part of the pond creates a natural looking bridge. This will quickly become a favourite of birds and other large insects. A word of caution however! It can also make an excellent fishing spot for herons, king fisher and other fish eating bird species.
The addition of planting crates or planter baskets around the perimeter of the pond with pebbles or stones between pots looks great and yet again makes it easy for frogs and toads to get in and out. Flat slate inclined slightly makes a great bridge.
Why do Koi fish become susceptible to diseases? The answer of course is not an easy one, and its not unlike what causes humans to get sick. Stress is the main factor that causes fish diseases. Many pathogens commonly co-exist in the same environment as the fish; but, under normal circumstances, they do not do any harm. They start to become a problem when the fish suffers stress. As a pond owner, you can maintain a healthy pond environment by controlling stress.
Koi Stress and fish health
You can be sure that a stressed fish will be a sick fish in a very short while. Stress has a dramatic and very real influence on the lives of Koi. Stress breaks down the immune system, the body’s first and most natural defense mechanism against diseases.
Breeders apparently did not concern themselves with the developing the Koi’s immune system alongside their colors and markings. Hence, the Koi we have now do not have an effective immune system against chronic environmental changes and various stressors. Any subtle or severe changes in the environment have a direct and immediate effect on the fish. It is ultimately the response of the immune system to these changes that will determine whether your Koi will survive the stressful events they go through.
As a Koi keeper, always keep in mind that fish diseases are usually not caused by any single event, but are a result of a series of interaction between several pathogens in a stressful environment.
Some causes of stress in koi fish are:
- High ammonia level
- Low dissolved oxygen level
- Handling and/or moving fish
- Inadequate and improper nutrition
- Poor water quality
- Over Crowding
- Too high/low water temperature
- Other toxic chemicals (chloramines, oak blossoms, weed spray,etc.)
- Sharp edges in and around pond
The quarantine and treatment of sick fish is probably the single most important step Koi owners need to do to ensure the continuous health of their ponds and fish.
Simply put if a plant lives under the water then it is classed as an oxygenator plant. Some species are far better than others, when it comes to the amount of oxygen they release into the pond. All good oxygenators have a root system that floats beneath the surface and the nutrition and absorption and gaseous exchange occurs on the surface of the plant directly to each cell. The species will be thin walled and have very thin leaves that allow gaseous exchange to take place easily.
Which Oxygenator Plants Are The Best To Use?
Some of the best ones include Water Crowfoot, Water Buttercup (Ranunculus aquatalis), Curly Pond Weed (Potamageton crispus), Canadian pondweed (Elodea Canadensis) and Parrots Feather (Myriophyllum proserpinacoides). Obviously certain species are susceptible to climactic conditions and this is something that needs to be considered when making your choice. Also make sure that the species you choose doesn’t outgrow your pond too quickly.
In my opinion if possible always include at least a few oxygenator plants and a waterfall or fountain. This way you get the benefits of plenty of additional oxygen along with the beauty and nitrate removing properties of the plants. If on the other hand you don’t like the idea of adding plants, as you see it as more of a hassle than a pleasure then at least utilize a waterfall or fountain for oxygenation and a UV clarifier for algae control.
Don’t get me wrong! A pond using a waterfall, fountain or pond aerator to add oxygen is a perfectly good set up and will suffice. However I recommend adding some plants for the following reasons:
- Aquatic plants add to the overall look and feel of the pond.
- They somehow make the pond seem less liking a swimming pool and more like a natural pond or lake.
- Atmospheric oxygen does not dissolve into water easily; particularly in warmer water (cold water holds more oxygen than warm water).
- Turbulent action at the surface makes the absorption of oxygen easier. That is why the splashing of a fountain or waterfall helps.
- Oxygenator plants on the other hand release oxygen into the pond beneath the surface, effectively removing the barrier between oxygen in the air and the barrier at the pond surface.
- Aquatic plants provide a place for fish to shelter or hide from predatory birds and other predators.
- They also make a great place to spawn for many fish species.
- Oxygenator plants or any aquatic plant for that matter compete for the nitrates in the pond water with algae cells (algae are a microscopic form of plant life). This reduces the opportunity for algae blooms to develop and with it reduces the problems associated with pea soup like water and subsequent carbon dioxide problems.