A backyard pond doesn't function like a "farm" pond.  Whether it includes fish or not, it is a closed biological system.  It will require some intervention to at least keep it muck free and pleasant smelling.  If you add fish, you also must keep the environment healthy.   If the water turns green or is dirty, you won't be able to see the fish.   

Here are the system components we recommend for a koi pond.
  1.  Liner: long-lasting & low maintenance
 2.  Filter: proper
ly sized bio-mechanical
Pump: energy efficient
UV: sized for pond environment & operated with proper flow rates
Optional skimmer
Maintenance equipment
      a.  leaf rake/net
      b.  dechlorinator for chloramines
      c.  bacteria start/restart
      d.  water quality test kits
      e.  thermometer
      f.  koi net
8.  Quarantine tank - a good idea most people don't have

General Operational Principles
We recommend a pond system that incorporates these ideas in order to keep the pond environment clean, clear, and healthy.

  1.  Circulate the water in the pond so there are no dead areas.
  2.  Pick up the water from the deepest point in the pond.
  3.  Use a filter properly sized to the fish load and pond volume.
  4.  Return water from the filter to the pond opposite the pick up, promoting adequate water circulation.
  5.  Know the actual number of gallons in the system.
  6.  Refresh pond water regularly.
  7.  Circulate the water through the system at least once every 2 hours.
  8.  Aerate the water in some form.
  9.  Maintain the filter regularly, using the proper technique.
10.  Test the water quality regularly.
11.  Minimize and remove organic material that gets into the pond.

Other Key considerations
1.  Well-designed & maintained ponds do not have a bad odor.
   2.  Select a low energy consuming pump.
   3.  Make piping as large as possible (bigger is always better).
   4.  Select a filter that is easy to clean.
   5.  Select a filter that requires infrequent cleaning.
   6.  Select a filter that can be cleaned in a short time.
   7.  Winterize the pond system before the first freeze.
   8.  Shut down streams and waterfalls during winter months.
   9.  Make the pond at least 3’ deep. 4’ is better. 5’ is better still.
 10.  Construct a pond with straight sides and no shelves.
 11.  Don’t use gravel in the bottom.
 12.  The smaller the surface area of the pond, the more extra aeration is needed.
The warmer the water temperature of the pond, the more extra aeration is needed.

Koi considerations
1.  Do not overstock the pond with fish.
   2.  Remember, each koi will grow 4” to 6” a year.
   3.  Koi grow to an average of 20” to 24”.
   4.  Daily observe koi for evidence of predators, parasites, & disease.
   5.  Koi can be quite long-lived with a proper environment.
   6.  Koi are “wet pets” similar in health care requirements to other pets.
   7.  Feed koi according to water temperature.
   8.  Do not over-feed koi.
   9.  Avoid sudden pond water temperature or chemistry changes.
Koi keepers must be able to catch their koi.
 11.  Stress
ing your koi can kill them.

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