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If you’re thinking about building a koi pond, there’s a few things to keep in mind when DIY-ing it, some of these mistakes can be costly to fix but, more importantly, can also result in killing your fish!

Read on to find out how to avoid the most common mistakes when building your koi pond.

Backyard pond waterlooToo Shallow or Too Small

A shallow pond is typically easier to dig than a larger one, but if you create a pond that’s too small your fish may not be able to winter properly if you’re in the north, and the pond may not stay cool enough if you’re in the south.

You need a good depth to allow for your koi to protect themselves in different weather conditions, but a shallow pond also opens your fish up to attack from predators. For koi, a good rule of thumb is the deepest section should be 120cm.

A smaller pond is likewise much easier to dig, and many beginner pond makers choose a smaller pond because it seems like it would be easier to maintain when actually the opposite is true! A larger pond, when built correctly, is actually simpler to maintain.

Small ponds can be outgrown by your fish, and if you try to make changes later you can really disrupt the entire ecosystem. It’s much better to get it right from the beginning. This runs doubly so when you consider that over time you might want more koi than the 2 or 3 you start off with.

Lack of Ledges

One of the more common shapes that an amateur pond maker uses in digging is a smooth bowl shape. This is a mistake because the smooth liner of the pond is incapable of holding the stones in place, meaning that over time they all settle in the bottom of the pond!

Ledges, on the other hand, are well suited to layers of rocks and stones that complement your garden space and naturally hide the liner that you’ve used.

Another aspect to consider with ledges is that they offer a greater breadth of plant life. Some water plants will need to be half submerged, which is much simpler to achieve when you use the correct amount of ledges on the outskirts of your pond.

Not Using the Correct Rocks and Stones

Speaking of rocks and stones, you need to make sure you’re using the right ones. It sounds odd, “the correct rocks?” When you’re installing your pond, you might want to go for smaller, easier to move rocks, especially when DIY-ing.

Whilst that makes it simpler to move, you lose out a lot on the aesthetics of the more natural randomly and differently sized rocks, but you also lose out on structural integrity if you choose the smaller, easier path.

Your stones, rocks, and boulders are going to hide the liner of your pond, but you need to consider the finished appearance from the start. Choose a variety of smaller and larger rocks, along with appropriate gravel.

These rocks will not only look great, but give benthic organisms a place to thrive — great for your pond’s ecosystem.

Inadequate Filtration Systems

You’re planning on putting live animals in your water feature, in this case koi, and just like humans need a good natural mix of air in their houses your koi will need a well filtered and well oxygenated water to live in.

Filters in your pond mean that the water stays healthy and clean for your fish. Improperly filtered water can degrade to the point that only mosquitoes and algae can survive in the pond!

The more fish you have, the larger the filtration system required. Think about your expanding needs at the start, as changing later can be disastrous, and always go a little larger than you strictly need when you first make the pond.

Underestimating the Labor Involved

Making a good koi pond right the first time is not a simple process and does require a lot of labor intensive days to get done. This is something that beginner koi pond makers underestimate all of the time and the tiring work quickly turns into lack of desire to finish the project.

When DIY-ing your pond, make sure you either have a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of respect for the time you will need to take, or a lot of great help.

Of course, whilst building a great koi pond takes a lot of research and effort the end results are amazing to behold. Sometimes the idea of creating the best pond possible in your space can be daunting, but professional help is always available.

If you’re thinking about a koi pond on your property, get a consultation from Quiet Nature.

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