Building a Koi pond, seeking advice

ryanbreedJuly 31, 2008

Hi all, we're in the process of redoing our back yard, and I'm interested in adding a formal pond for fish, plants, and perhaps a few Koi.

I've been devouring books and information about how to set up a Koi pond correctly. Living in southern Cali, I'm fairly space constrained.

Best-case internal dimensions look like they'll be 11' long, 4.5' wide, and 4' deep, which gives me ~1320 gallons to work with. I have no intention of having more than 5 koi in the pond, and plan to start out very slow, perhaps only with a few shub's and plants for the first year.

I'm primarily concerned with getting the basics right so I do not have to change any pond construction after the fact. I'm very interested in your opinions on how necessary/valuable any of the below features are, and any advice you can give.

My plans at this point:

1. 2 bottom drains, bottom sloping to these drains.

2. Water spill to aerate. This will be a short drop and a clean spill, so not a lot of turbulence. To augment, I was also thinking about plumbing a 9" airdisk through the wall underneath the spill. Underneath so the spill will mask some of the disturbance from the rising air bubbles.

3. Skimmer -- I'm having a hard time figuring out how to hide this. In-wall installed products seem to add a decent amount of complexity to the build. Units that don't need to be in a wall are somewhat unsightly.

4. Overflow and drip refill -- seems like a good idea, daily 1-3% water exchange.

5. Pump return jets -- two to create current flow around the full pond, one in upper right corner, one in lower left.

6. Almost definitely will have to go with a pressurized filtration system, I don't have the room to do gravity.

When it's all done I probably won't be adding any koi for a while. We'll defer some of the filtration etc costs and take our time getting a stable water garden first with only a few fish.

I don't believe there are many predators in the area, blue herons being the possible exception. This is why I'm making the pond 4' deep.

What do you think? Anything in the above not necessary so I can save some $?

Thanks a ton,

Ryan

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