One of the things that separate koi fish from most domestic fish is their size. When people think of pet fish, they often picture an indoor tank. Koi fish were bred to be kept in much larger enclosures.
Some types of koi fish can even grow to be three feet long. For this reason, koi tend to be kept in outdoor ponds. The pond aspect of owning koi fish is actually a big part of their allure. You’re not just getting a new pet; you’re making an artistic addition to your home or business.
Keep in mind that koi are docile timid fish and should never be kept in a pond with aggressive species such as tilapia cichlids and other cichlids.
As with all aquatic life, temperature is important for survival. However, the common carp that koi fish originate from is a strong, cold blooded fish that adapts well to different temperatures. Koi tend to be more durable than most pet fish when it comes to the changing seasons.
But there are still steps you can take to help your koi survive. If your pond freezes over, there needs to be a large hole made in the ice somewhere. The water has to be touching open air so that new oxygen can enter the water and carbine dioxide can leave.
If it gets cold enough, koi may linger at the bottom of the pond where it is warmest and enter a hibernation state.
Keeping the Water Clean
Having fresh water is vital to the survival of koi. Any owner of a koi pond will have to equip it with a proper filtration unit.
Koi fish secrete ammonia through their gills and it is also present in their waste. Ammonia in high concentrations can be deadly. If it is not being filtered regularly, the ammonia levels will build and the koi fish will be fatally poisoned by their own waste.
Overfeeding koi fish can also lead to water pollution. If the koi are eating more than they need, it means they are also producing excess amounts of waste; which means more ammonia. Uneaten food will also rot and become a hazard for bacteria. Owners should only feed koi fish what they need.
Swabs used to test the bacteria levels in water can be purchased at most pet stores. It is also a good idea to own a net that can be used to sweep debris out of the pond regularly.
Keeping Threats at Bay
Because of their bright colors, koi fish tend to draw predators like a spotlight. Foxes and raccoons are common examples of koi theft. Owners who have koi fish in their backyard should have their yard secured by a fence or similar structure. This will make it harder for wild predators to get access to the koi.
Those who own koi ponds in public areas, such as in the lobby of a business; should take measures to ask guests not to bother the koi. People will often throw things like bits of food or even coins into koi ponds, which can become a health hazard. Have signs posted and do not let people interact directly with the koi.