This is a guide to constructing a koi pond for your garden or yard. I designed this pond and the layout of our front yard in order to visually connect the house to the street and protect our house from traffic. We (my fiance, future father-in-law, one friend and myself) completely transformed our small front yard with garden walls, walkways, new stoops and a wonderful koi pond.
Here, I am going to share how we built a custom concrete pond that will last forever, protect the fish through the harshest of winters, provide easy maintenance and beautify your home.
We expanded our living space outside and are able to enjoy the pond year round. The pond provides extra seating in the small courtyard, visual interest and soothing sounds of running water. While sitting on the ledge you are able to sit and look into the pond and entertain your guests.
This project took a few weeks to complete. As you can tell in the photos there were many other projects going on in the construction of our new yard. In order to complete this project, moderate construction skills and knowledge are required but by no means do you have to be an 'expert'. The most difficult aspect is having access to the concrete forms and knowing how to properly set them up.
This instructable can be taken and applied directly, or the ideas and methods can be used to influence a variation of this design/process of your own. Good luck and enjoy!
Step 1: Koi Pond Information
I just want to touch on some of the basics of koi and building a pond. I did a lot of research before designing and building our pond. I have found there are many myths out there about koi and want to dispel a few of them here. Koi are beautiful fish (in the carp family) that can live for many years if properly cared for. The better the environment you build for them the longer they will live. As you will discover water quality is key in keeping koi healthy.
Myth 1. Koi are expensive.'
It is true there are koi fish that go for thousands of dollars. Most cost 20 bucks or so and on up. You don't really need many fish, as we found out they BREED like crazy. So only buy a few to start. I recommend buying from a koi farm and not just any pet or garden supply store. You will get better quality fish in health and they are often cheaper at a breeder. By speaking to the breeder we gained a lot more knowledge of koi and learned about all the different types and colorings.
Myth 2. Koi ponds need to be large.
'''A general rule of thumb is one inch of fish per 10 gallons of water.'''
You can make a pond any size but you do have to be careful of over crowding in smaller ponds. I often heard people say koi only grow to a certain size based on how large your pond is. This is false. as long as you have healthy water quality and feed them they will grow to any size. The more you feed them the more they will grow, these fish eat nonstop. But with this in mind you have to determine what is right for you and your pond, such as how many fish you would like to have. Over estimate because of breeding and you will probably want more than you plan on.
Typically A koi pond should be no less than 1000 gallons (ours is around 2000 gallons). Ideally, you want to change the water twice a year (spring and fall). We aim for fall since the water will be good quality for the winter, therefore, putting less stress on the fish during the cold months. You will see further in this project how we installed a valve in the bottom of the pond to provide easy clean out, making maintenance fairly painless. There are a ton of water treatment options, filtering and pumping systems one can buy. As you get more involved in the hobby of koi ponds you can decide what is best for you. We started very simple expecting to add more later, though so far we haven't needed to. The pond stays crystal clear with the simple filtration system we started with, which is explained later. It is important to note that even though your water may be clear, it does not mean the quality of water is healthy for your fish. The 4 main water quality tests you should do regularly (especially before putting fish in your pond and again a day or two after the fish are in the pond) are PH, KH, Ammonia and Nitrite.