May '02 - Lynn Smith's 5700 Liter Köi Pond. (USA)
After almost four years featuring all kinds of setups every month here this section, it's getting harder and harder to actually find something "new" to show and talk about, so it's really nice when I get the chance to do so. This month the section expands beyond the house walls and into the garden! Outdoor fish ponds are extremely popular all over the world, dating way back to the early Chinese dynasties. They combine the decorative and relaxing effects of both gardens and fish tanks, offering hours of enjoyment for both the owners and their visitors. But as any fish setup, ponds are dynamic entities and in order to make sure they're really a source of enjoyment rather than frustration, reading a lot and understanding what you're getting into is extremely important. Being only a beginner pond keeper myself, I'll shut up now and pass the word to Lynn Smith, owner of this very pleasant Köi pond, to talk about her creation and ponds in general:
This pond was started spring of 1999, the past 3 years have been filled with joy as this has been quite an easy pond to deal with. It is in my backyard away from the trees enough so that leaves aren’t as big of a problem...yet close enough that it gets some shade. The pond is 3 meters long, 2.4 meters wide and 80 cm deep, or roughly 5700 liters. I run 2 large external pond filters, one that is rated for a 17000 L pond (4500 gph) and the other for a 5700 L pond (1500 gph). The larger filter is what runs my waterfall. I am rather lazy, so I just took the return pipe and made it run over my stacks of rock forming the waterfall, it works quite well. The pond is edged in flagstone (highly recommended) and the waterfall is built of 100+ year old cobblestones. Plants are another very important aspect of pond keeping. You should research your zone before purchasing plants, to make sure which will do best for you. I use several different types of water lilies, some cat tails, duckweed, and have hornwort potted in the pond. The pond has about 2 cm of a peagravel/sand bottom. The fish currently include 5 Köi...I did keep a few comets and large fantails here as can be seen in the photo, but those have been moved to other tanks. Köi grow to at least 50 cm and can reach almost 1 meter, so they shouldn’t be kept in common aquariums and not even in small ponds, they require a minimum of 750 liters per fish, and aren’t suited for any pond less than 2000 liters.
Landscaping around the pond includes many different plants and shrubs. I actually don’t know what they are...I went to a garden center, told them what I wanted them for and they hooked me up with those plants. They come back every year without my having to buy more, so it's good. The best advice I can give anyone that wants to build a pond is to buy a good pond book...you wouldn’t believe how much you're going to use it. There is a lot more to pond maintenance than just digging a hole, throwing in a liner and filling it. Yes, you must do water changes on your pond...at least twice per year of 30% each time. I prefer to do 3 water changes: once in spring, once in mid summer and once in late fall, in preparation for winter. I leave my smaller filter running year long so the pond surface never freezes over. Don’t feed your fish unless the temperature is above 10°C for at least 3 days. A well kept pond and pond fish should provide years of enjoyment for you and your family with minimal work...and remember: bigger is better! You’ll find that even the largest pond is never really big enough.
If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.
Photos taken by Lynn Smith, and displayed here with her with permission.