Buying Koi Fish for Your Pond – Beginner’s Guide
If you have recently become a koi fish enthusiast and you have recognized their potential beauty inside your favorite garden pond, welcome to the club. Koi fish are one of the most popular fish on earth, and they are nowadays massively bred to satisfy everyone’s needs.
Therefore, there are many types for you to choose from, but there are also some legal limitations you should be aware of before adopting them. In order to ease that entire process out, we have prepared a brief beginner’s guide on buying koi fish for your pond.
Before You Buy Koi
Before you just rush out to buy some koi for your pond, please consider the following facts:
As you probably know, koi fish are considered to be sacred across some cultures, especially those around Asia. Even though they have been initially bred for food, they have later switched to being bred for their beauty. Nowadays, they are mostly kept as pets in such countries and their adoption is non-restricted.
When it comes to some other countries, such as Australia, koi fish are not legal to be imported and kept as garden pets. With them being fully captively bred and having no bloodlines in the wild
Australian waters, this species may present a danger for local fish and plants if someone decides to release them into the wild. Therefore, you can import them (in some areas), but you need to obtain special permits and you will be facing regular check-ups from local authorities.
In the USA, only one state has decided to ban keeping koi fish as pets- Maine. Because of the risk they present to local aquatic wildlife, it is not allowed to keep these fish there. At all.
When it comes to most other areas of the world, these colorful beauties should be welcomed.
– Pond Setup
Having a nice pond in your garden does not mean that you have the perfect conditions for keeping koi fish in it. Indeed, although they are really resistant and adaptable fish, they still require some alterations to be made.
First of all, water quality is one of the vitally important factors to meet. This can be achieved by setting an appropriate filtration system, as well as by regularly testing your water parameters.
Koi fish need to have a stable pH value, as well as pristine clean water with no ammonia around. That means that you should help by manually removing all visible debris and decomposing matter, as well as by performing partial water changes.
Allowing enough pond depth is just as important, as this will ensure that your fish have suitable conditions for surviving long winter days. If you are asking yourself whether you need to buy a massive indoor tank to house them during winter, you do not.
Additionally, feel free to plant as many plants as you like. And you may also decide to add a protective net over your pond to avoid any local predators stealing your koi fish.
– Pond Nitrogen Cycle
Many inexperienced koi owners think that a nitrogen cycle is not needed just because koi will be housed outdoors, in a natural environment. But that is, in fact, absolutely wrong.
A nitrogen cycle is the only efficient way of getting your pond ready to house fish safely, without the risk of them dying out in just a few days. The purpose of a nitrogen cycle is to form a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria which will help in decomposing fish waste and other debris into acceptable nutrients instead of dangerous ammonia.
It may take you anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks for an outdoor pond, depending on the size, so make sure to plan this ahead. You may place a couple of air stones towards the pond bottom in order for the cycle to be quicker.
Buying Your First Koi
So, what should you look for when buying your first koi fish? Here are some tips for beginners:
Now that your pond is ready to provide a home to some amazingly colored koi fish, you should be careful to choose your fish wisely. First of all, the best thing you can do both for your fish and for yourself is to buy them from a trusted and reputable source.
This will ensure that your new pets are healthy, legally bred and that they present no danger to your pond.
– Type of Koi
There are hundreds of different koi varieties and each of them holds specific coloration or other features. Also, some koi fish types are easier to care about than others.
If you are setting up your first koi pond ever, it is recommended, to begin with, those sub-species which are considered to be hardy. For instance, both Kohaku and Ghost koi fish are excellent choices for beginners.
Butterfly koi are another amazing solution that is very resistant to most diseases, but they tend to often injure their flowing fins while performing funny jumps around the pond.
– Number of Koi
The total number of koi fish you wish to adopt is just as important as choosing the right type. You should plan on adopting more than 5 specimens in order to achieve a functional school, but you should also be careful on not to overcrowd your pond.
A general thumb rule which seems to be practical is allowing one square foot of surface area for every inch of fish length.
How Much Do Koi Fish Cost?
It is fairly impossible to define an exact price range for koi fish, as these can literally vary anywhere from $0 to $100.000, depending on the grade and quality.
However, some general medium prices for a ˝medium-rated˝ fish suitable for privately owned garden ponds is around $50 or $100.
To conclude, having a magnificently decorative garden pond with spectacular koi fish inside is not a mission impossible. Unless you live in Maine.
All you have to do is to plan ahead and perform some minor adjustments in order to ensure a safe environment for your new pets. Once they arrive, please remember to feed them with high-quality food only and to regularly test their water.