Koi carp, or more correctly 'nishikigoi' originated in Japan. They are genetic mutations, manipulated over the years to create the 'living jewels' we all love today.
Carp are generally hardy animals, but as they are genetic mutations, koi are often more at risk of disease, parasites and water conditions.
Our ponds are far more difficult to maintain than the natural bodies of water inhabited by wild carp. Water quality is of high importance to the koi we keep. Amongst hobbyists, there are differing opinions of ideal water quality, but the things that remain constant are the need for stability, zero ammonia and zero nitrite.
As koi breathe, and excrete waste from food, ammonia is produced and released into the water. Ammonia is a toxic substance to koi, and damages tissues. The ammonia must be removed by water changes, or more practical, a biological filter.
Almost all koi ponds now incorporate biological filtration in an effort to reduce harmful chemicals. These filters contain surfaces on which bacteria colonise, and work together to break down the ammonia produced by koi and their waste. The bacteria break down ammonia into nitrite, which is also harmful to koi. Another family of bacteria work to reduce this into nitrate which is not harmful at levels seen in koi ponds. Advanced hobbysists strive to reduce nitrate down to undetectable levels.
When building a koi pond, the filtration is the aspect most often over looked. It is of our opinion that the filter is the most important part - affecting water quality, and consequently fish health. Without good health, beautiful koi become impossible.
Modern ponds are built with a bottom drain, which feeds a filter via gravity. This allows the biggest, and most polluting waste to be extracted from the pond easily. A good quality filter should be placed close to the pond, followed by a Ultra Violet Clarifier which reduces green water.
More information to follow....
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