Best Pond Plants for Koi

If you’re searching “Best Pond Plants for Koi” you’re either planning a new Koi pond or thinking about how to make your existing pond better.  Either way choosing the right plants for your Koi pond in Arizona will make it more visually stunning and preserve the health of the Koi fish.

Koi Pont Plants

When introducing plant life into your koi pond, it can assist with improving the pond life of koi’s. In addition, it can provide aesthetics to your pond.

Owners of koi must ensure that the correct aquatic plants are chosen for the koi pond to co-exist harmoniously with koi’s. Also, make sure that the plant placement is properly conducted and use vegetation which the koi will simply eat.

Benefits of using aquatic plants within a koi pond

When it comes to aquatic plants, they are thought to be a great part of a koi pond. Aquatic plants can assist with increasing the production of oxygen in water, maintaining the pond with proper aeration for koi’s. In addition, just their presence can help keep water cooler as it provides the koi a shaded area. The submerged plants also act as an important surface during spring breeding season for female koi, as they attach fertilized eggs to the plants.

Keeping Water Cleaner

Meanwhile, the plants can prevent spreading of algae, helping to keep it under control. The shade that plants provide lowers the light that reaches the pond, thus limiting the photosynthesis of algae. Plants provide a natural filtration for preventing string algae, known as blanket weeds to form. This is done mostly by absorbing the nitrates that can be harmful and result in the formation.

Tips to introduce plant life to koi

When it comes to introducing your koi and plants, is by using a plant shelf. Plant shelfs can be installed on the edge of a pond. It is a container which you can plant water plants. It is suggested that plants are weighed down with large rocks or stones so it creates a barrier between the plants and base, and the koi to prevent risks of plants being ate by koi. Also, it is important that pond owners are aware that shelves are used by predators such as raccoons, to feed on the koi.

Although, you can position aquatic plants directly in the pond. When choosing the aquatic plants to place in your pond, there are many options available. There are three main categories that pond plants can be categorized as, discussed below:

  1. Floating plants
  2. Shallow water marsh plants
  3. Submerged Plants

An alternative for introducing aquatic plants to a pond is vegetative filters. Using this system, plants grow in a different containment area, which connects to the main pond. The purpose of the plants is to provide a natural filtration system when water from the pond travels into and out of the contained region. Therefore, providing the benefits of filtration of an aquatic plant system, without the risks of koi dislodging or eating pond plants.

Floating Plants

This form of pond plant is able to be free floating with the main vegetation being on the surface and roots hanging below, unattached or there can be plants where roots attach to muddy bottoms. The overall benefit is that they are easier to take care of, providing enough shade for the koi while competing with algae for the needed nutrients and reduce sunlight that assists in algae growth. In addition, the plants remove nitrogen that exists in the water, along with phosphates which makes them a great filtering system.

Water Hyacinth in a Koi Pond

Water Hyacinth in a Koi PondThe water hyacinth are popular options for floating plants. It is a species that’ annual in colder areas of North America, but in warmer regions it is perennial. They can produce blue or purple flowers, with roots forming a ‘nest’ compacted under them. They provide an excellent filtering system to remove excess nutrients.

Water Lettuce in a Koi Pond

Water Lettuce in a Koi PondThis is another free floating plant that is popular. Water lettuce is more warm/tropic climate plant which develops compact leaf clusters above the surface, while developing compact root mass under the plant.

Water Lilies in a Koi Pond

Water Lilies in a Koi PondWith floating plants that have attached roots, water lilies are the most popular option for a koi pond owner, and can be the best option from any type of aquatic plant. The water lilies do good in nearly any region of North America, no matter the season and are able to be potted and positioned at the bottom of ponds. Above the surface, pond owners get a view of pleasant leafy coverage that produces beautiful flowers to accent any pond design.

Lotus in a Koi Pond

Lotus in a Koi PondWith a similar appearance to water lilies, a lotus is among the oldest aquatic plants cultivated, making an excellent part to a koi pond. Usually, their leaves are large, and can measure up to 18-inches across. This provides a great amount of shade for koi during summer months. Commonly confused with the water lilies, a lotus flower is fragrant and beautiful. Although, it needs to be noted that lotus flowers do have substantial growth rates, and best for a larger koi pond.

Water Poppy in a Koi Pond

Water Poppy in a Koi PondThe water poppy produces smaller oval leaves with yellow flowers. They are a good option for a koi pond and grow rather fast during summer. It can provide a nice yellow accent to ponds, while providing a filtering system.

Shallow Water Marsh Plants

These plants can be planted partially submerged in the shallow march water at the edge of your pond to give your backyard pond a more natural look.

Umbrella Plants

These aquatic plants are tropical and do god in shallow water. If you live in a colder climate, they should be kept inside during the winter months. Umbrella plants have leaves with an umbrella shape on the end of longer stalks.

Water Iris in a Koi Pond

Water Iris in a Koi PondAnother favorite for koi pond owners is the water iris, as there are several pieces to choose from. They provide a long sharp leaf, and based on the species can produce different color flowers, from white, blue, or yellow. Typically, these plants are placed in pots which are submerged in the water. The majority of water iris will survive in partial or full sun, which is good for those that have tree coverage.

Horsetail in a Koi Pond

Horsetail in a Koi PondThis is aplant that is quick to grow and produces slender green stems. It’s best positioned on a peripheral section of a pond, doing best in partial shade.

Submerged plants

Generally submerged plants are grown within pots that are placed on the bottom of a koi pond. These are called the oxygenating plants in an aquatic plant class, which do amazing with removing extra nutrients, such as CO2 and nitrites from the water, while adding oxygen. However, it is good to know these type of plants is commonly uprooted by grazing koi, then eaten. They require great care to ensure they are protected.

Fanwort in a Koi Pond

One type of submergible plant is the fanwort, which is quick to grow and requires a good amount of light. This oxygenator plant I able to grow an inch daily. Using cuttings, it can be propagated.

American Waterweed (Elodea) in a Koi Pond

This species of plant does decent with silty pond substrates. With an exception of a small white flower which blooms above the surface, they are fully submerged. This plant is great with using dissolved CO2 while providing koi with cover, especially smaller koi. There is time when the leafy stalks break and will float off, and take root in another area of the pond. They do well with a milder climate.

Water Purslane (Ludwigia) in a Koi Pond

The Ludwigia family has many species, but Red Ludwigia is a nice option for koi ponds, as it grow quickly and works as an oxygenator. Pond owners can plant it for a submerged plant or allow it to float on the surface. With reddish or purple leaves, they produce small flowers. Usually they do well with plenty of direct sun light.

Phoenix Valley Pond Plants For Sale

 

How To Build A Pond In Your Backyard

If you’re searching for “How to build a pond in your backyard” this article will help you understand what it will take.  The Backyard Pond offers pond design and installation services to take care of the project for you.  Ponds add color and life to your landscape and it is a project that adds beauty and value to your home.

Picking a location for your pond

  • Install your pond on well-drained, level ground.
  • Plan a direct line between the pond and your home for electrical wiring.
  • Ensure that the pond site isn’t over pipe, sewer lines, septic fields, or cables.
  • The more sunlight your pond has, the more choices for your water plants. If you add fish, balance the sun with shade during the hottest parts of the day by adding lotus pads, shrubs, plants, water lilies, or portable shade screen.
  • Small ponds will benefit by having partial shade because high water temperatures can cause excessive algae and water evaporation.
  • Avoid placing your pond near trees or in areas of high winds. Falling needles and leaves will contaminate the pond which can clog the pump and filtration system.
  • Pick at least 2 alternative sites in case the location your picked won’t work.

Caution – Before you begin digging, call 811 to check for any underground utilities.

Option 1: Using a flexible liner

Putting in a liner only takes 4 steps. Digging a hole, putting the liner down, filling the pond, and adding edging or stones around the pond.

Step 1:

Use flat shovels to remove strips or patches of sod in the pond area. Remove the grass about 6-12 inches away from the pond so you will have a flat surface.

Step 2:

Beginning at the edge, dig a trench for your edging of about 1 foot deep. Then remove the dirt in layers within the pond area by starting in the center. Dig 2 inches deeper than actual depth to allow for sand underlayment. Create an area for overwinter plants and fish. In colder areas, you will need to find an area that doesn’t freeze. It needs to be 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep. Do not add a pump or fountain in this area. Dig about a 12-inch shelf for plants that like shallow water. Position the shelf so that the plants will frame the water garden. Dig a ledge that is as deep as the edging minus 1 inch and less wide. Top off the edging with at least 1 inch above the terrain to prevent runoff from entering your pump. When you dig, ensure that you are angling the sides slightly, and ensure that the edges of the pond are level with the sides. If it isn’t level, then the liner will show. You can check this by placing a leveler on a board across the hole.

Step 3:

Inspect the hole for any sharp roots or stones carefully and remove them. Flexible liners are prone to punctures from gravel, rocks, broken roots and sharp objects. Cushion your liner with sand underlayment. Use about 2-3 inches of sand or newspaper. Many water garden suppliers will offer a tough underlayment material made just for pond liners. Put your material in the bottom of the hole and on the shelves on the pond. Pack damp sand into holes on the sides where rocks and roots were removed.

Step 4:

Pick a sunny, warm day to install the liner. You can make the liner flexible by laying it on warm pavement for half an hour. Don’t drag the liner to keep it from being punctured.Have help to drape the liner into the hole with an even overlap on the sides. Weigh down the edges with some smooth bricks or flat stones. Once you have the liner in place, start filling the pond. When it fills, adjust the liner to make it fit the sides of the pond, and smooth out creases and wrinkles. While it is filling, slowly ease the stones off the liner to prevent overstretching. When it is full, trim the excess off. Leave enough liner around your pond to extend under and a few inches behind the edging stones.

Step 5:

To keep your liner in place when adding your edging, use 20d nails through your line and into the ground every foot around the rim. If you are using natural stone, then experiment with different arrangements until you find the one that looks most natural. Although, flat stones can be placed directly over the liner, you need to position them so they won’t fall into the pond. To keep stones from moving simply mortar them in place. Mortar is premixed and is cheap.

Option 2: Using a Shell Liner

The ground for these liners need to be free of sharp objects, stable and firm. Keep in mind that the shell when filled can be more than 100 pounds. Any empty spaces or bumps can cause the shell to buckle or crack. In sandy or lose soil, ground water may cause erosion which create empty spaces and weaken the liner. Freezing and thawing during winter seasons can cause the shell to buckle. Backfilling helps to prevent these types of issues.

Step 1:

Flip the shell upside down in your pond area and mark the outline on the ground. You can also have it upright and use stakes to outline the shape of the shell. Outline the shell with a garden hose, flour or paint. Use stakes about 12 inches apart to keep the rope or hose in place.

Step 2:

Dig your hole to fit the shell, and allow an extra 2 inches around the pond and about 3 inches in the bottom of the hole. If the shell has any shelves, then ensure to cut ledges at the right areas to support the shell. The shell needs to be supported everywhere. Remove any sharp objects and rocks then add 3 inches of damp sand to the bottom of the hole. Smooth the sand using a board and pack the soil firmly to provide a strong base for the shell. Ensure that the bottom of the hole is level in all directions by using a level on a board on the sand.

Step 3:

Using help, set your shell into the hole and check the height of your rim. It needs to be 1 inch above the ground to prevent runoff from going into the pond. Remove or add soil. From the bottom of the hole to get the right height. Place wood on the rim and check with a level in different areas, and pull the shell out to relevel as needed.

Step 4:

Ensure that the pond is level before you begin to fill it. When the water rises, begin to backfill using damp sand and pack it gently with the end of your shovel. Ensure that you are filling the empty spaces, especially around the shelves. Ensure it stays level as you fill. Don’t allow the water to go above the backfilled area outside of the rim or it will bulge outwards. Try to make the pressure equal while you backfill it.

Step 5:

When the shell is full, you can conceal the rim with rocks, or overhanging plants. If you are using flagstone, allow them to overhang the edges by about 2 inches. The weight of the edging could damage or deform the walls, so don’t add the full weight on the rim.

Maintaining your Pond

There are a lot of treatment products to keep the pond clean for your animals and plants including:

  • Pond tint
  • Lime scale remover
  • Sludge remover
  • Chlorine remover
  • Barley pond cleaner
  • Algaecide

Maintaining the pond fountain

  • If you have green water, use a UV sterilizer or algaecide. If there aren’t animals in the water, treat it aggressively. UV sterilizers work to stop algae growth and prevent green water.
  • If you have string algae, remove as much of it as possible before your treat it. This keeps the string algae from decomposing and clogging the pump.
  • Lime scale remover will be able to remove lime scale deposits. Read the instructions that are with your fountain to make sure that there isn’t a special coating or treatment that can be harmed during treatment.
  • Maintain the pump by making sure that your fountain has plenty of water. Sometimes when the pump isn’t submerged, the motor will keep spinning and this causes the motor to burn out.
  • Pond tint (blue dye) may be used, but it could stain fountains. Test in an unnoticeable area before using. Pond tint is great for keeping algae away from the sunlight.

Backyard Pond Design & Installation

If you live in Arizona in the Valley of the Sun The Backyard Pond is your source for high quality ponds, pond accessories, and Koi fish.  We can help with your backyard pond design including the size, layout, and look of your backyard pond and help you with installation.  We also can help maintain your pond and care for the health of your Koi. If you have questions about how to get your backyard pond project started or would like to schedule an appointment please call us today 623-878-6695.

Why Is My Pond Green?

Why Is My Pond Green?

If you are searching “why is my pond green?” you are most likely looking for information about why it happened and how to fix it. This post covers

The only reason that a pond would turn green is because of algae that is growing in it. Firstly, algae in a pond isn’t always a bad thing. A thin, healthy algae layer on the surface is a vital part of having a good pond. It can prevent high levels of nitrates by consuming nitrates as food and putting off oxygen.

When Algae Is A Problem

  • Whenever the healthy algae blooms, it will turn the water cloudy to green to where the water is so green that you can’t see into the water.
  • Whenever you have the bad type of algae, called filamentous algae, it doesn’t always affect the color of the water, but it can grow in stringy masses or clumps to where it can overtake the pond.

In the situation where healthy algae has bloomed and turned your clear water green, here is what happened. The healthy algae that collects on the sides of the pond and never grows more than a fourth of an inch has decided to reproduce. Similar to a flower giving pollen, this algae will release millions of single cell algae. These cells are too small for a filter to pick up.

Controlling Algae Reproduction

So, how can you control the reproduction of algae? The best and efficient way is to install an UV light on the filtration system. The way that a UV light works is easy. As the water goes through the UV light it will be exposed to the light inside of the unit. The light waves are harsh enough that is destroys algae DNA, and kills it. Once the algae have died and starts to decompose it will begin to stick to each other. After the algae collects together, the mass becomes large enough for the filter to collect them or they go to the pond bottom. Once you have installed a UV light, the process takes about a week before the water is clear.

Stringy Algae

In the other situation, the pond water is clear but there are stringy algae all over and is rapidly growing throughout the pond. Algae becomes a problem when it breaks loose and floats around. Additionally, these algae will fill the basket and it will need to be cleaned constantly or it will stop the filter. This is due to filamentous algae. These algae introduced to a pond whenever you add plants. If a single spore is on a plant, it will create a problem.

The stringy algae can come in many forms. Some will grow slowly but some are fast growing and invasive. Some may not be obvious at first, but it will grow about 3 inches long on the pond walls. This type of algae will line your basket quickly to where it will affect the water flow but the basket has little debris in it. It is impossible for good algae to plug a basket as it is so small.

How can you control filamentous algae?

UV lights will have little effect on it because the algae grows on pond walls and never reaches the light. In mild cases, you can get the algae off the walls by hand when it gets ugly looking. In severe cases, it is best to use an algae control liquid. Algae Control is a great product that works well. It is a herbicide or weed killer. When dosed right, it is effective but you have to know how many gallons your pond is to use it properly. If you overdose the pond by 20% can kill your fish. It is suggested that you under dose the first couple of times that you use it, if you are unsure of how many gallons your pond is. 1-2 doses will normally kill the algae. It is recommended to use the half the dose every 2 weeks, instead of once a week as a maintenance. Keep your filter running to provide oxygen to your pond while treating because as the algae begins to decompose, it will take a lot of the oxygen out of the water. You have to pay attention when you use this product, but it is the most effective and easiest way to remove filamentous algae.

Tips about UV Lights

  • Ensure that you have plenty of circulation in your pond. Is it circulating together? If you have dead areas in the pond where the water doesn’t move, then those areas will grow algae and as the water moves in the pond, it will cloud the water.
  • Ensure that the UV light is sized for your pond. A light that is too small will not clear your water.
  • Ensure that your filter system is going 24/7. If you are only using it part of the time, you could see that keeping the water clear is hard.
  • The right sizes UV light with a good filter will clear your water all year without any real effort besides changing the lamp yearly. They work so well that it is recommended to never have a pond unless you have a UV light.
  • Ensure that you don’t exceed the recommended water flow through the unit. If you send fast moving pond water through it, it shortens exposure time, which reduces the ability to kill algae. You may need to install a bypass for the lamp. This allows you to control how much water goes through the unit. Proper water flow is
  • Ensure that you are changing the UV lamp yearly. After a year, many lamps are only work about 60% of capacity. The lamp could be on, but it may not have the ability to kill algae.

Pond Maintenance & Supply in Phoenix

If you have a green pond and need to get it under control we can do it for you, or help you choose the right products and tools to get the job done. We are a full service pond and koi pond company serving the entire Phoenix valley.  We will help you maintain your pond, get rid of unhealthy levels of algae, and promote the overall health and beauty of your pond.

Call Today – 623-878-6695

What Do Koi Fish Eat?

What Do Koi Fish Eat?

If you’re searching “What Do Koi Fish Eat?” you are either starting a new pond or taking over a pond.  This guide is meant to help you understand what they eat and how you can develop a successful and well balanced diet for your prized Koi.

Goldfish and koi (carp) are considered non-aggressive omnivores. They will eat just about anything that won’t eat it first such as algae, worms, snails, insects, plants, etc. This is because they get their nutrition from various food sources, and it isn’t surprising that Koi and goldfish in the wild will rarely have nutrition related issues. Their natural environment has a lot of food sources to meet their dietary needs for growth, reproduction, and developmental maintenance.

A Micro Ecosystem

It is in respect that the regular ornamental pond fish will fail to reproduce nature. The fish load of these ponds or the weight of fish when related to the volume of water is 100% greater than in the wild. It is the diversity and quantity of the aquatic flora and fauna in these ponds, especially a koi pond, that is limited and never balanced with the fish population except where the pond is devoted to plants instead of fish. The average hobbyist can’t expect fish in an ornamental pond to be able to satisfy their needs with pond food alone.

Koi Pond Keeping

This is where pond-keeping comes into play. As a pond-keeper, you are standing in for mother nature to provide the basic diet for animals through daily feeding. It is vital that the daily ration of food will meet the nutritional needs in both ingredients and quantity. At the same time, proper nutrition and diet depends on how your fish feed themselves. The correct feeding process is very important for goldfish and koi.

Although, it is easy to list what may be considered the best foods for your fish, and how they need to be fed, but that advice would have little effect without giving you the background about this process. There are so many alternatives and options out there, and there is more coming.

Cost Of Koi Food

Not to mention, your finances are important too. Food costs can really increase over time, and you may end up spending more than needed to provide for their diets. That is why this article starts with looking at the basic needs of the goldfish and koi. It will also look into the physiological characteristics of digestion and ingestion that are part of the feeding process of goldfish and koi, which will affect the food and feeding. With this information, you can then get suggestions on feeding.

Nutrition and Diet

The basic requirements for goldfish and koi are not much different from other fish. They need protein for growth, maintenance and development. Fats such as lipids are the major energy source. Vitamins and minerals are essential for their metabolic performance. Read more below for details on Koi fish food.

The dietary proteins will provide essential amino acids that fish need by can’t synthesize. The natural diet for fish is rich in proteins. So as a pond-keeper, you have to make sure that protein requirements are met. Failure to do this is obvious. A deficiency in just one amino acid can stop growth, and then the fish will begin to waste away.

Feeding Factors & Variables

There are many factors that will influence protein needs for goldfish and koi. Age is important, as a young fish needs more protein than older fish due to the fact that growth demands amino acids than maintenance of the fish body.

Temperature

Water temperatures will affect protein requirements. When the temperatures are below 60 degrees Fahrenheit the growth will be slow and protein demands are lower. Protein makes up about 25% of all fish in cooler waters.

Protein Content

The feeding rate will also affect the need for protein. If the food quantity is less than the fish’s appetite, then higher protein will be needed. If the food has a lot of starch or fiber, net protein intake will be reduced. Again a high protein content will be needed.

Amino Acids

The content of amino acids and the ability to digest other proteins and sources of protein will vary. So the exact protein source is vital. Fish meal and soybean meal do provide easy to digest proteins while animal meats and corn meal have a lot of hard to digest proteins.

Dietary Fat

Dietary fat will be the main source of energy for a fish. In the wild, the lipid percentage in the diet varies between 10% to 40% dry weight. Energy requirements depend on the activity level of the fish and in general koi are more active in the wild than in a pond. So 5% to 10% of the diet for goldfish and koi needs to be fatty acids.

Linolenic Acids & Oils

Koi in particular need linolenic and fatty acids. Fish oils such as cod liver oil will be the best sources of essential fatty acids which make up about 25% of the fatty acids but only 2.5% are linoleic acids. In contrast, vegetable oils are low in fatty acids but high in linoleic acids. A proper diet for goldfish and koi need to contain about 1% of both types of oil. Linseed oil is a good source which provides both types of fatty acids.

Koi Vitamins

Vitamins, in small quantities, are great for fish health. For instance, thiamin deficienciescan be confused with insecticide poisoning, which cause body curvatures, instability, equilibrium loss, and eventually death. Biotin deficiencies can look like a parasite infection which causes blue slime, convulsions, poor growth and skin lesions.

Koi can synthesize some vitamins like B12 which reduces the need for dietary foods, but many vitamins need to come through its diet. Minerals are also a big part of fish health. They help to form tissue and basic metabolic functions especially osmotic balance between water and the fluids in a fish’s body. Osmotic diffusion helps fish to satisfy their mineral needs if the water contains minerals such as iodine, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, sulfate, carbonate, and chloride can be gained from diffusion. But zinc, iron, magnesium and copper need to come from their diet.

Koi & Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are not an important part of the diet for goldfish and koi. Most ornamental fish suffer from diets that are rich in carbs. Liver enlargements, heart and kidney failure, severe liver degeneration, and excessive glycogen deposits on the liver can be caused from overfeeding of carbs. A safe practice is to make sure that the carb consumption is below 10% daily.

Fiber

Fish also do not need fiber. When fiber is more than 10% daily, food evacuation from the digestive system is sped up. This reduces the absorption of nutrients in the intestinal tract.

Feeding Options

Goldfish and koi evolution has seen that the proper running digestive systems need dietary more in the long run. A single food diet is fine where the fish are removed early in life, but ornamental fish need natural lifespans which need various foods.

There isn’t a single food type, no matter how nutritious is right for a long term diet for goldfish or koi. There aren’t any manufacturers of premium food that would claim that their products need to be the only thing in your fish’s diet. So you need to make the effort to give your fish a varied diet which doesn’t mean switching from flakes to pellets but various types of food like insects, vegetables and more.

It is important to think in terms of a supplemental and base diet for fish. The base diet gives the needed proteins, fats, and vitamins while the supplementary diet gives additional minerals and vitamins plus fats proteins, and variety.