Learning to Keep Our Fish Healthy as We Progress Up Thru the Different Stages of the Hobby

By Ron Boedeker

As we progress in the koi hobby, we pass thru fundamentally different levels of pond and koi keeping.

We may at any point in this journey, reach a point when we are happy and satisfied with what we have and not move any farther. Or we may follow the upward path for an entire life time.

  1. At our earliest level, we usually just want a nice looking low maintenance pond with nice plants and fish, but are not very interested in why things work. The fish and plants will be inexpensive and simply replaced if they die.
  2. This next level is the most popular. Here we have a little bit of everything happening, we are learning, but don’t have much for answers yet. We are struggling with all the normal ponding issues like pond size and design, fish diseases and losses, filtration, water chemistry, fish types and differences. We spend a lot of money trying all kinds of new and wonderful things, most of which do not work as advertised.
  3. Next level, we have started to understand many of the basic underlining concepts on keeping a pond and koi. We are making our ponds bigger, doing more water changes (numerous small 10% to 15% changes, not the occasional 30% to 50% changes), reducing our fish loads, quarantining new fish and plants, feeding better quality foods, shading the pond in the summer and maybe even tenting and heating in the winter.
  4. Here we are making noticeable progress, now we understand most of the principals of successfully operating a pond system and have implemented most of these ideas. We no longer fight common disease or algae problems. Our water chemistry is constantly stable and our koi do well year after year.
  5. Now we are coming to the top of the curve. We are working on the last few pieces of the puzzle and trying to get that last bit if efficiency out of the system. The pond is running smooth and we spend our time worrying about koi genetics, blood lines, normal aging problems and etc.