If you have been keeping fish for a while in your aquarium, then you have thought of building a small koi pond (mistyped as a pond) yourself in your backyard. Sometime or the other, that thought may have crossed your mind. If not in your back yard, at least an indoor koi pond.
If you are that person, then you are in the right place. Here in this article, I will be going through “building koi pond, the DIY way.”
You already know that Koi fish makes this kind of pond very beautiful. That’s why even the name Koi pond.
So, let start from the start.
What is a Koi Fish?
You know and have heard of Goldfish even if you are a 5-year-old, right?. This koi fish we are talking about here is like a cousin to the goldfish. These koi fish were first found in Japan.
At first, koi fish wasn’t as popular as they are today. These koi fish started to show some crazy color mutations that began to attract Japanese people. So they carefully selected the ones that were showing color mutations and subjected them to breeding. It was in the 1800s.
Asagi Koi was the first kind of koi fish that was produced as the result of their breeding. Fast forward 200 years later, there are koi fish with multiple color variants. And that’s the exact reason they are very famous right now.
What is a Koi Fish pond?
Koi pond is a pond you dig up in the ground to give this colorful koi fish, a home. Giving them a home that is very vast and natural, increases the lifespan of the koi fish. Which also means that they grow to their maximum size and produce their maximum efficient colors.
Besides, this will make you happy to see a small koi pond that you built to add extra life to your home.
So Let’s start building a Koi fish pond.
How to Build a Koi Pond?
Step 1: Blueprint
You will have a desire to make your koi pond to look absolutely the way you want it. Right?
To begin with, you have to check on the space that is available in your backyard or inside your home, where you plan on building your koi pond.
Take a paper, pen down on what shape you want your koi pond with all the dimensions (length, breadth, depth, etc.).
Step 2: Get on the ground
Substep 1- Replicate the blueprint on the ground
While you are doing this, you will start to realize how big your koi pond is going to look. You can also analyze where you can place the waterfall, filtering system, skimmer (and anything you want to add as an extra).
Substep 2- Start digging depth
You now have your blueprint on the ground, so its time to start scooping out the soil.
It is recommendable to make the pond at a different level of heights that allows your koi fish to have a different level of swimming space.
(Recommended minimum depth: 5 feet)
Substep 3- Start digging for a watercourse or (NOT)*
Now you have a pond dug. Next, its time to connect the necessary external components to the koi pond (Waterfall, Filter, skimmer, etc.).
Dig a channel to connect the pond and pump (or skimmer). Make sure this channel starts only 2-3 inches below the ground level ( this helps in keeping your water level up inside your pond). Connect the Filter in series with the pump (or skimmer).
*if you are ok with the water pipes laying over the ground you don’t have to dig the channel.
Substep 4- Bonus step
This Bonus step is installing a Drainage pit to the pond. Even though this installation is not entirely necessary, having one will make the maintenance a lot easier.
Let me explain why.
If you are not having a drainage pit installed, then you have to do the cleaning manually regularly. Cleaning involves taking out all the waste produced by fish daily.
So if you are going with this step, you have to slightly modify the level of the bottom-most layer in a way that it points down to a single point. It helps all the unwanted stuff to roll down to this point. And “this point” is the exact spot we are installing our drainage pit.
Make a hole (in the center) and connect this hole directly to your settlement tank with a pipe. Be sure to fill up the output hole not letting the outside wastages coming to the pond.
Step 3: Tarp-ing the pond
Now, with all the digging done, you have to cover the ground with water-resistant material. This is the main component in the building of the koi pond. This material is called Tarp.
Spread the Tarp all over the pond area. Cut it in the shape of (+) above the drainage pit and the channel connecting to the pump (or skimmer).
Now take the cap of the drainage pit and fit it tightly on the opening of the drainage pit. It prevents the water from being sucked by the soil causing any leaks.
Step 4: Edging the Tarp
You are almost ready at this point. But you have to fix the Tarp so that it won’t be pulled off inside the pond later in time.
Before you move any further, make sure the Tarp has minimum wrinkles on it. Once you are done with that, cut the tarp till only 3 feet remaining outside the pond. Put some heavy materials on it. It can be soil, sand, rock, tiles, bricks, anything that goes well with your surrounding. It is entirely up to your choice.
Adding cement and pasting the tarp there is very much what we recommend to keep the tarp in place.
Step 5: Giving the final touches
Pour in the water
Fill the pond with the correct quantiy of water and de-chlorinate it by adding the water conditioners.
Purchase the bacterias and add them to the water
Introduce a few plants to the pond
You might already have a few plants that you want to plant inside the koi pond. Is so, then start planting them on different depth levels of the koi pond based on how much sunlight is enough for them to survive.
NOTE: Before you add any fish, give some time for bacteria and plants to establish themselves inside the pond.
Here is a few Koi pond plant that you can consider planting:
1) Floating Plants
- Water Lettuce: This resembles lettuce. It floats on the surface of the water with its root running down into the water. This gives the fish a place to hide and a place to escape the extreme heat from sunlight.
- Water Lily: This plant has to be kept at the bottom of the pond, it eventually grows and they appear on the surface of the water. It makes the fish feel safe.
2) Submerged Plants
- Fanwort: This plant needs direct sunlight to grow. They need extremely fast. This plant is the best place for the fish to lay their eggs.
- American Waterweed: This is almost as similar to that of fanwort except that these produce small white flowers.
Check the water
The water may be full of nitrogen, ammonia, and nitrates that are very bad for your koi fish. So you have to own a testing kit to regularly test the water (at least once every month).
Adding bacteria before adding fish will help you to get rid of harmful substances in the pond.
If you see the ammonia and nitrate level spiking and settling down to zero on your test kit reading, your koi pond is ready for the fish! Hurray!!
Step 6: Add the Fish
You don’t want to make fish uncomfortable with a sudden change of water.
You have to first transfer it to a plastic bag, make it to float on the koi
pond for a while, then keep on adding a cup of pond water to it every 5 minutes for the next half hour.
Once that is done, empty the whole plastic bag into the pond with fish in it.
Koi Pond Designs
You can set up a koi pond either Inside or Outside.
Indoor ponds are the smaller ponds. These are usually bought as a kit. They are made of hard durable plastic and a plastic or wooden outer shell. If you have a connection to a water pump, you can make use of it to set up a fountain or a waterfall.
They come with mossy rock and plants attached to them. However, you have to provide them with artificial lighting. Providing light will increase the plant and algae growth in the aquarium or the indoor pond that will serve as an alternative food source to the fish.
The outdoor pond gives you a very vast option to be creative because of the vast space you have at your backyard or anywhere you want to build the koi pond.
You can add stones and rocks to give it a very natural edge. You can also add flowering plants to make it look more and more natural. It will result in building a whole new ecosystem. By adding a fountain and waterfall to the pond will make your koi pond look very attractive.
NOTE: Keeping the fish in outdoor ponds will increase the chances of birds hunting the fish. So, installing a mesh cover can be recommended to prevent this from happening.