Newbie with Many Questions

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Hi!

My father has left my siblings and myself in charge of his house while roaming around the world. The house incorporates a koi pond. Maintaining the house is no problem...the koi pond is another. My sister tried to maintain it last year, but basically, unfortunately due to lack of knowledge and a blue heron which came by last fall... she thought the heron was cute and did not know any better...2/3s of the fish population is gone. With this I am taking it over. We have the pump under control, and I have been reading books and googling, but it is getting a little confusing. Basically, I need help.

The pond is :
8' x 5'
3.5' deep
Stone wall structure 1.5' above the ground all around forming an oval shape
Cascade where the water falls 2.5' to 3' into the pond

What's left as far as fish:
2 adult koi...I believe they are males because they are thin in gurth
12 baby coments..born in the pond...blue heron feasted on their parents.
10 baby koi...3-4 inches long...blue heron feasted on their parents.

I have a few questions:

Is the pond supposed to be crystal clear? My sister's goal, not mine.
Should I buy snails? How many for that size pond? Any type in particular?
Should I buy catfish? How many for that size pond? Any type in particular?
I am trying to create a breeding environment to restock the pond. Any suggestions?
I know I have to buy a female koi...any suggestions?
If I buy koi from someone else, other than a breeder, do I have to "treat" it before letting it into the pond? If yes, how do I do this?
Chemicals. Do I really have to use chemicals all the time? What about pond salt?

Any help would be great, and appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Here's some answers to start. Others will chime i, too:

1. We always aim for crystal clear water, yes.
2. No snails needed. If they die in the pond it takes a long time to realize it and they pollute the water.
3. No catfish needed either.
4. You'll need to wait for the little fish to become of breeding age Your 10 babies could end up being females, of course.
5. You should quarantine any new fish for at least 4 weeks. This would mean you'd need a separate pond. Most of us don't have that luxury.

6. You need to do water changes every week of 20%. This means you pull out old water from the pond, and you put in fresh water from the hose. In this case, you need to dechlorinate the water you are replacing (the 20% only), with a pond dechlor pruduct you can buy at any big pet store. This helps get rid of the bad stuff in the water like chlorines and such so they don't kill the fish.

Does that help a bit? What other questions do you have?
 
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Yes, this helps a lot, thank you.

There is a lot of "muck" on the bottom of the pond. They are trapped in-between the stones/pepples. Do I leave it alone or try to gently stir the pond every once in awile to the pump can extract as much "muck" as possible?

What can I do about birds eating the fish? Netting is ugly, and besides I have lilies and other water plants. And suggestions?

Thanks a lot. Take care and be well.

Please keep the advice coming.
 
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Oh, I forgot one more question. How often do I feed the fish? I had goldfish when I was a kid and I remembered that fish will always come to the surface for more food even if their bellies are full.

I know this is going to sound funny, but please base answer on female size hands. Thanks.
 

koiguy1969

GIGGETY-GIGGETY!!
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doesnt matter the size of your hand...when you feed give enough for maybe 5 minutes eating time... i feed mine 2 or 3 times a day but only what they'll eat in 2 or 3 minutes. as long as they are feding vigorously continue but when the frenzy stops so should the adding food.
 
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You should get rid of the stones if possible. This is the main negative to rocks in a pond. You can't get rid of the muck that goes in between.

You feed the fish 2 to 3 times per day, for as much as they will eat in 5-8 minutes. Throw in bits on a time...not handfuls. As they consume it you throw in more. Like what you can grab in your fingertips. After 5-8 minutes they are done.

Netting isn't pretty for sure, but it does keep predators away. Some folks string up fishing line in a zig zag pattern above the pond. It's clear, so a little harder to see so obviosuly. There are those water scarecrows that will shoot water at anything that moves (including you. LOL), etc.
 
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Thanks for the feeding advice. I have just been feeding it once a day.

If I get rid of the pebbles/stones what can I use to hide the bottom of the pond which is concrete and tubing?
 
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nothing. You just leave it bare it it will all take on a green algae hue in short order. You can add some plants like hardy lilly and water hyacinth and lettuce if you are worried about the concrete.
 
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Okay, but I also saw some wire mesh on the bottom. I was worried that the fish would cut themselves on it. The pond is about 3.5' deep. I have one tropical lily in a pot on a stand where it is aprox. 6" from the surface, 10 hyacinths divided into two mini type laundry baskets so the adult koi do not eat the roots, and the basket floats around. I'm dying to get a deep red lotus, but I promised myself to take it slow. I sometimes feel I just bought a new house and have the urge to re-furbish the entire house. Very hard to take it slow.

My husband, who breeds guppies and other little fish, was excited when I told him we are taking over the koi pond, but then thought about the maintence.

I have 2 koi, male I think, and I want to buy a female. I read the ratio should be 1 female for every 2 males. Is that true?
 
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Oof! Well, that is a problem with regard to the pond floor. I wish I could offer a better solution, but rocks will always collect muck/debris. So you've got a conundrum.
 
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I know. I was thinking of waiting until I winterize the pond to do a full evaluation before I do anything major. For now, I am thinking of creating a manual vacuum to clean the muck and yuck.

Any suggestions of a reliable water tester kit?
 
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Hi bbchin,
I was just reading your posts (helpful questions & answers). I'm also in Huntington and my husband and I, just this past weekend, started our own pond. It'll be complete this weekend for adding koi and frogs. If you don't know this yet, there's a place on Waterside Rd in Northport that has all pond stuff and knowledge...I'm sure they can help you with any questions and they have all sorts of fish to buy. It's called Sherers & Sons Water Gardens...it's a few blocks up from 25 A. Maybe they can help you with your wire mesh floor dilemma.
Talk to you later
Lisa
 
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Yes, I was there last Sunday purchasing a tropical lily. They have great stuff and are very helpful. They have these unbelievable lotus flowers that shoot anywhere from 4' to 6' tall and are gorgeous in color. Wish I could get my hands on one. Unfortunately, they do not sell them. They use them for propagating. Thank you for thinking of me.
So, what type of fish are you planning to place in your pond? And where are you buying them from? Is it local? Please tell me if you post any pictures of your pond. I always like to see what other people are doing.
 
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Hi, It is a great place! We plan on getting our fish from them. We liked the 5 inch koi. We only have a 4x8 pond which comes to roughly 600 gallons so it is recommended to only have 50 inches of fish. I'm guessing that koi are just like goldfish in that they will only grow to the capacity of the pond. So if I were to only get 2, then they would grow big, but if I get 5, they'll only grow a little...which is ok with me. I'd rather have a bunch of different little ones than 2 big ones. I also want to get a bunch of tadpoles.

How many fish do you have?

I'm sure there are other pond places on the island to find that lotus flower you're looking for. We just started, so we haven't looked into other places yet.

A lady (customer) there told me a trick that she does with plants (since they are expensive, they die and fish may eat them) ...she goes to Michaels and gets fake ones and sticks them in here and there and she says they look real. Some people would really frown at this, but I wouldn't mind trying it if I really wanted a certain plant and couldn't have it live because my pond is in shade and the plant needed sun. This same lady also said that the more fish you have the dirtier the water gets and the more maintenance there is...so I plan on less fish for that reason alone.

Another idea I had...We are using a liner, so you see the rubber around the pool...so I bought sheet moss (at a wholesaler...let me know if you want some) and I'm putting that around the rocks to hide dirt and liner.

I'll post a photo as soon as we're done. I think we'll be finished this weekend...we're in the process of putting stones down and configuring the waterfall. It's going to sound great and I hope attract a lot of birds

Maybe we'll bump into each other at Sherers and not even know it. :bowdown:
 
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Hi Lisa202:

Did you know that on Sherers and Sons website in the Special Offers box there are coupons each month. When I was there last Sunday, I used the May coupon to buy the water lily...20% off. They even let a customer use it to buy koi. She purchased 10 baby koi (bundle pack 3-4 inches). Came to $50 with the 20% off coupon.

It limits one coupon per day per person. So, if you and your husband go, print out two coupons. And keep printing them each time you go for that entire month.

Take care and be well.
 

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