Added a few koi to a established goldfish pond


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My kids have been bugging me ever since building my pond that they wanted colorful koi. I was always concerned with overpopulating the pond and I didn't want to add koi after already having goldfish.

Nevertheless, I fell victim to the sad faces and we picked up a few koi and the kids are happy. Ive lost quite a few goldfish over the years to prey and the population was shrinking. I am concerned about the bioload but I feel like I have good filtration and plenty of plants.

My question is about feeding the koi. When I first started the pond I was feeding the goldfish everyday. Over time I learned they will eat almost anything in the pond and now I was feeding every 4-5 days.

The koi farm we went to was very friendly, helpful and gave a lot of advice. I know they're tank setups are much different with heavy filtration compared to residential owner but they were recommending at least two to three times a day for feeding.

I suppose from their point of view there's nothing wrong with it and it will help koi grow bigger much faster. But from a homeowners point of view I could see the bio load from so much waste increasing exponentially and just causing problems.

Is there any reason I should be feeding the koi more often than I was originally feeding my goldfish?
 

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mrsclem

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If I remember correctly, your pond is under 1000 gallons. How many koi did you get? Feeding multiple times a day will get you some very large koi very fast and very poor water quality as well. I sold koi for years, had several go 36" and larger and had several filters that required daily cleaning. Check out Shubunkins, colorful and think your kids will like them. See if you can exchange the koi - unless you are planning digging a larger pond!
 
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I feed my koi/comet mix once a day max but if its raining or I'm out of town, I don't care if they go for a few days without food. I bet they do just fine on algae etc. I feed them only my home made veggie food. I use a small container (a tiny metal bowl) and try not to give them more even if they're begging for more.
 
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My pond is 1000 gal give or take 100. 2 large box filters on the floor and filter pads in the skimmer and waterfall box. I rotate the cleaning of pads quite often and recently added more plants (maybe 10 or 11 total) that have grown quite well the past month. Deep root growth through the rocks.

I have 2 shubunkins and a few 2" comets. Will likely get rid of the comets and stick with koi.

I am likely overstocked and maybe I'm wrong but I think my filtration is adequate for the amount of fish. If not, maybe another filter box, more plants, less feeding. If none of the above work, time to rehome some fish.

I'll feed once a day, taking a day or 2 off each week here and there for the rest of the summer
 
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Be sure the kids are there when problems arise (and fish start dying) due to your filters being overwhelmed, which WILL happen. @Lisak1 has a chart showing how the output from koi goes up exponentially with growth. It's eye opening. The kids are going to be a lot sadder when that happens than when you exchange them for Shubunkins. Not trying to do anything but warn you; 1000 gal is not enough for more than one mature koi.
 
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Here you go:


@brokensword is correct. There is nothing sadder in pondkeeping than losing fish. This would be a good opportunity to teach your kids the importance of making sure the animals in your care have the type of environment they need to be healthy. Just like you wouldn't bring a pony home and raise it in your living room, you can't keep koi in a too small pond and hope for the best. The inevitable will happen. You might get three, four, five years of "all is well". But we hear ALL THE TIME "I've had this pond for years and everything has been great... and now my fish are all dying!"

CAN you over filter a pond and keep it overstocked? Sure. But when will you know that it's not working? By the time you see the signs, it's too late.

Check the chart I shared and show your kids the math - the difference between on 12 inch koi and 4 three inch goldfish is remarkable.
 
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In my 900 gallon pond, I had a single koi (he was a 7" baby when I got him) and some goldfish, fed once a day at most, but I usually skipped a day or two a week [ someone can insert sad little fish faces emoji here] in the summertime, and didn't feed them at all under 60 degrees (water temp) and they did fine for many years. But, I would not have added another koi, as keeping the water quality under control was increasingly difficult. (We moved to FL and they're in a bigger pond, my solution to the growing koi. So far we're all well.)
 
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Okay I appreciate all the advice I really do. I get it. A lot of you have much more experience than I do and your opinions are likely based on facts. But surely there has to be people out there that overstock ponds and don't have problems. So like it was said above that you can have over-filter an over-stocked pond, are there any suggestions to increase filtration besides loading up the entire bottom of my pond with box filters?

I would think a bog mighy be my best answer to greatly increase filtration. But, if I'm going to build a bog I might as well increase the pond size. I have plenty of room for both but it's a big project and would like to explore other options. I have plenty of room around the back side of my pond where I could create a small wall to hide a another large above ground filter box and pump. Maybe add 3000gph pump?

Right now I have a 1500gph pump for the waterfall/skimmer and a 1000gph pump for the box filters.
 
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that's the key; have a BIG pond and overstocking gets a lot harder to do and a lot easier to forgive. It's the small natured pond that tends to create all the problems and gets snarky responses from the likes of me. We want you to enjoy the pond, we want you to have fun, we want you to brag how good your fish look; we just want to insure they're not floating when you do.

Small ponds = goldfish. Large pond = koi and/or goldfish. A bog will give you a lot of latitude for success but you still need adequate volume and surface area to keep koi. Ask anyone here who's seen my vids; they'll tell you I'M overstocked. To which I'll nod vigorously and say; get your popcorn, sit down, and hold my beer!
 

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My pond is about the size of yours. I also have goldfish and a few koi. I only feed my fish daily and don't worry if I miss a few days.

Enjoy your new fish and be aware you may need to make some adjustments later, if the koi do end up getting large. My 12 and 15 year old koi are only 12", but I am still trying to catch some goldfish to give away to make room in the pond.
 
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you can have over-filter an over-stocked pond,

If you choose to go this route, be aware that you will also need to closely monitor water quality. Things can go upside down very quickly.

I'm not sure what you mean by "box filter" - can you explain what those are?

The filtration you need to increase is the biological filtration - mechanical filtration is important but isn't the critical factor. A bog will add biological filtration, as will plants in the pond. The filter pads in your skimmer and waterfall will add to the biological filtration IF you're handling them correctly (specifically NOT rinsing with chlorinated water). However, the only way to know for sure if you're at the right level of filtration is water testing. Keeping a very careful eye on what's going on with the water will be most important. And knowing what to do if something goes wrong.
 

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A lot of you have much more experience than I do and your opinions are likely based on facts. But surely there has to be people out there that overstock ponds and don't have problems. So like it was said above that you can have over-filter an over-stocked pond, are there any suggestions to increase filtration besides loading up the entire bottom of my pond with box filters?
Hmmmm….. Maybe you need to hop over to KOIPHEN.COM. THOSE are the guys who very successfully handle overstocked ponds. They have what we refer to as DKP’s, or dedicated koi ponds. For the most part, they have very sophisticated filtration setups, consisting of multiple exterior filters, settlement chambers, bottom drains, etc. Most of these setups take up a good bit of real estate. But, they can feed their koi multiple times per day, and have pristine water. They also have very regimented care routines and check their water parameters frequently.

The trick is not by having “multiple box filters” inside the pond. The trick is having a good pump that will take your water to an effective filtration system. As @Lisak1 said, while mechanical filtration is important, it’s the biological filtration that keeps the pond alive — literally. It’s all about surface area for the beneficial bacteria. An overstocked pond will require more surface area for the bacteria to grow and thrive.

So yes, experience does matter. But, we also know that sometimes we learn our best lessons from the mistakes we make, so, maybe that’s where our “experience” comes from. Sorry for sounding harsh.
 
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Hmmmm….. Maybe you need to hop over to KOIPHEN.COM. THOSE are the guys who very successfully handle overstocked ponds. They have what we refer to as DKP’s, or dedicated koi ponds. For the most part, they have very sophisticated filtration setups, consisting of multiple exterior filters, settlement chambers, bottom drains, etc. Most of these setups take up a good bit of real estate. But, they can feed their koi multiple times per day, and have pristine water. They also have very regimented care routines and check their water parameters frequently.

The trick is not by having “multiple box filters” inside the pond. The trick is having a good pump that will take your water to an effective filtration system. As @Lisak1 said, while mechanical filtration is important, it’s the biological filtration that keeps the pond alive — literally. It’s all about surface area for the beneficial bacteria. An overstocked pond will require more surface area for the bacteria to grow and thrive.

So yes, experience does matter. But, we also know that sometimes we learn our best lessons from the mistakes we make, so, maybe that’s where our “experience” comes from. Sorry for sounding harsh.
Thing is, I bet none of the 'koiphen experts' are doing this in 1000 gallos or less!
 
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If you choose to go this route, be aware that you will also need to closely monitor water quality. Things can go upside down very quickly.

I'm not sure what you mean by "box filter" - can you explain what those are?

The filtration you need to increase is the biological filtration - mechanical filtration is important but isn't the critical factor. A bog will add biological filtration, as will plants in the pond. The filter pads in your skimmer and waterfall will add to the biological filtration IF you're handling them correctly (specifically NOT rinsing with chlorinated water). However, the only way to know for sure if you're at the right level of filtration is water testing. Keeping a very careful eye on what's going on with the water will be most important. And knowing what to do if something goes wrong.

I have the full api kit and randomly check the water parameters now. Water changes are another easy task that can be completed quickly and as often as I need.

The box filters I have on the bottom of the pond are from tetra. I have 2 and each box has 3 pads. Skimmer and waterfall have filter pads also.

I understand the biological filtration aspect and when I was referring to an additional large filter box to be placed outside the pond, I was talking about pump/filter combo that has numerous filter pads/bio balls enclosed in the filter. Something similar to this

I need to increase the overall biological filter surface area maybe 2-4x of what I have now. A large filter with numerous pads is what I believe will help.
 

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Hmmmm….. Maybe you need to hop over to KOIPHEN.COM. THOSE are the guys who very successfully handle overstocked ponds. They have what we refer to as DKP’s, or dedicated koi ponds. For the most part, they have very sophisticated filtration setups, consisting of multiple exterior filters, settlement chambers, bottom drains, etc. Most of these setups take up a good bit of real estate. But, they can feed their koi multiple times per day, and have pristine water. They also have very regimented care routines and check their water parameters frequently.

The trick is not by having “multiple box filters” inside the pond. The trick is having a good pump that will take your water to an effective filtration system. As @Lisak1 said, while mechanical filtration is important, it’s the biological filtration that keeps the pond alive — literally. It’s all about surface area for the beneficial bacteria. An overstocked pond will require more surface area for the bacteria to grow and thrive.

So yes, experience does matter. But, we also know that sometimes we learn our best lessons from the mistakes we make, so, maybe that’s where our “experience” comes from. Sorry for sounding harsh.

KOIPHEN is great, lots of information.

I keep saying box filter....well, it is a box with several filter pads. Biological filtration is occurring on those pads. I need more filter pads to increase overall biological filtration surface area. I figure a 3000-5000gph submersible pump in the pond center that flows to a large filtration box outside the pond is enough. Like these.... https://webbsonline.com/Category/Filter-Kits-Water-Garden-Filtration-Combo

My fish are important to me and I don't have problem spending money on a large pump/filter

I was looking for a ballpark number on how much more GPH's of flow I would need to accommodate the new koi. I suppose bigger is better :ROFLMAO:
 
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