How to Properly Care for Koi Fish

One of the most beautiful things to see in a backyard is a group of happy koi swimming in a pond. However, koi, like any fish, have certain care requirements that must be met in order to ensure that they live healthy lives. Koi fish can generally live for 30-60 years, so making sure they’ll be comfortable and safe in their new home for a long time is essential.

For locals and visitors in Las Vegas Koi fish are on display and for sale in many varieties at Stonewall Creek.

Pond Requirements for Koi Fish

Koi may start life as small fish, but, depending on the variety, they can grow to be between 1 and 3 feet long. This means they’ll need plenty of space to swim freely. Five koi can generally live peacefully and comfortably in a pond that has 1,000 gallons of water; however, many prefer to keep the number of koi to less than 4. Keeping more koi fish means a larger pond will be required.

Beautiful array of multicolored koi fish in newly built pond.
Beautiful array of multicolored koi fish in a newly built pond. © Stonewall Creek 2021.

It’s also very important to consider the shape of the koi pond. Koi spend a good amount of time at the bottom of the pond. At the lowest parts of a pond, koi can find warmer water during cold months and cooler water during warm months. For this reason, every koi pond should be at least 3 feet deep to accommodate enough space to keep your koi fish comfortable year-round. The bottom of the pond should also be smooth or covered in fine gravel. Avoid any sharp substrates for lining the pond, such as rocks.

Koi fish are known as great jumpers. Although this can be fun to watch, any koi that jumps too far can be stranded outside of the pond. For our fellow Vegas locals, you can imagine this being a terrible thing in the scorching hot summer months.

Many koi keepers find that it’s best to create natural barriers around the perimeter. You can do this either by planting plants such as bamboo or piling smooth rocks or driftwood. This way, when a fish jumps, it will be less likely to escape the pond.

Koi ponds should also be placed in a fenced-in area. Many predators, such as coyotes, will attack koi. Some large birds, such as eagles, will also eat koi. If there is any risk of birds attacking the koi, bird netting will need to be placed above the pond.

Water Quality and Temperature

When it comes to koi fish, how clean the water is matters a good deal more than what temperature it is. As long as the pond doesn’t completely freeze over in the winter, and as long as the koi have some kind of shady area during the summer, they can adapt to nearly any water temperature. Also, these fish can live under the ice without any issues if the top of the koi pond is frozen for the winter.

Pond water must always be well aerated and very clean in order for koi fish to remain healthy. A waterfall feature often works well to keep the water moving and draw in more air. A powerful air pump or fountain can also help to aerate the water.

A strong filter, paired with a bottom drain, can help to keep the pond as clean as possible. The pond’s filtration system should be able to handle a large volume of water. The drain feature can aid in clearing away waste; Accumulated waste is the number one cause of illnesses in koi fish.

If you’re unsure whether the quality of water in your koi pond is up to par, reach out to us here and we’ll be able to check it for you.

How to Feed Koi Fish

It’s important to offer koi fish a varied diet of high-quality foods. Not only will this help to ensure that the koi are receiving all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, but it will also keep their colors vibrant.

Pellets or sticks are a good choice for a daily koi diet. Koi keepers can offer either floating or sinking pellets, or a balance of both. Koi should also be offered protein-rich delicacies such as live shrimp or bloodworms. Aside from adding protein to the koi’s diet, offering live food will also help to keep koi fish active and engage their natural instincts.

Koi can also be fed a range of different fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, peas, and squash. Koi are naturally omnivorous, so it’s a good idea to offer as many different foods as possible to help the koi receive the vitamins they need to thrive.

Koi fish should not be overfed, as this can dirty the water rapidly. They can also grow to be overweight if offered too much food. As a general rule, it’s best to only feed what the koi can eat within about five minutes. Koi will eat more when the water temperature is higher, so keepers may need to offer less food during the colder months. Excess food should be cleaned away as soon as possible.

Many koi keepers also add koi clay to their ponds. Although this clay looks very much like mud, it actually contains many essential minerals. These minerals, which dissolve in the water, help to keep koi fish healthy.

Caring, handling, and feeding koi fish isn’t always for everyone. If you own a koi pond in Las Vegas and want an expert to maintain your fish for you, our services will be of great help to you. We offer a wide range of pond services – from koi fish emergency life support, to aquatic plant maintenance, to even building a custom-designed beach front koi pond in your backyard. Caring for koi fish is a passion we’ve been enjoying for years; if we can help out in any way, our team is always ready to roll up their sleeves.