● By Wendy Sipple
The tradition of koi fish dates back centuries to both China and Japan,
but it wasn’t until a 1914 exhibition in Tokyo that the rest of the world began to see the colorful fish as the ornamental creatures we know today. Because koi fight the current of the water to swim upstream, popular culture often interprets the symbol of the koi as representing non-conformity or strength in time in adversity – ideas that many people find appealing enough to incorporate into their backyard landscape design.
A Bevy of Benefits
According to Georgia Vonk, Treasurer of the non-profit Camellia Koi Club of Sacramento, “There are lots of reasons people install a koi pond but it usually starts with the love and admiration of koi.” Whether your interest in koi ponds is one based in history or in symbolism, building a pond in your own yard can create an ambiance of beauty and serenity bejeweled by these swimming gems.
Koi ponds add sound, movement and color to the yard. “A well-built koi pond just draws people to it,” explains Steve Walker, president of Sacramento Koi. “Many people who have enjoyed having a swimming pool for most of their life find that they do not use it as often as they get older. When they move into a smaller home after the kids are gone, they find that a koi pond gives them everything they need,” he adds. “They still get the enjoyment of having the soothing sound and appeal of water in their backyard but also receive the added bonus of a pond full of beautiful koi, which often will come up and eat out of your hand.”
Picking Your Pond
Once you’ve decided on installing a koi pond, there are a few preliminary things to keep in mind. John Hansen with Nimbus Pond says, “The size and design of a koi pond should blend with its surroundings. Koi ponds need to be close to a shaded gathering area.” Shaded locations work best because the shade helps slow algae growth and can keep the water cooler during the summer months, however, koi ponds can be constructed in most outdoor settings. To keep the fish safe from predators like heron and raccoons, ponds should be at least four to five feet deep; otherwise, experts recommend homeowners purchase a net to cover the pond to keep the koi safe.
Even though many might imagine pond water being murky, a koi pond should be crystal clear, down to the bottom. Because koi produce a significant amount of waste, a bottom drain and a good filter are crucial. Some filters can even produce a current for the koi to swim against to act additionally as a sort of biological filter.
If you are considering adding a koi pond to your outdoor landscaping, Hansen says, “Do your homework and build the koi pond correctly the first time, and you’ll get years of enjoyment from it.”
Nimbus Pond, Inc.
Camellia Koi Club