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Koi Fish Ponds Expert Interview

Cecil (the Pond Doc) and his wife Peggy from PondDoc.com

Cecil Ferguson nicknamed the Pond Doc is the person to call if your Koi is sick. He is "The Man" to know when it comes to a problem with your Koi or goldfish or a problem with equipment and water quality. He and his wife Peggy owned a Koi supply store in Georgia. They recently closed the shop and now work fully from their home. Peggy is in charge of the website Pond Doc .

Thank you Peggy for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us. You and your husband have been in the Koi and Pond business for many years.

Will you tell me how it first got started?

Cecil and I were avid gardeners. We lived in Norcross, Georgia and had every type of garden you could imagine. I wanted a water garden but Cecil said "What do you need with a water garden when you have a swimming pool?" I grumbled to deaf ears about it but when we moved into a new house that didn't have a pool I immediately said I wanted a water garden and he had no recourse. We built our first water garden together and it was love at first sight - FOR HIM. He wanted to put fish in it, went out and purchased a few. The water garden that was "mine" instantly turned into his fish pond. That's how it all started.

On your website you have an emergency center for Koi. What is the most common problem you see with the callers fish or Koi?

That one's easy - PARASITES. The majority of all fish health problems begin with parasites. The pond owner might not even be aware that parasites were even introduced into the pond - but we most often find the fish having problems with secondary infections and fungus growth stemming from a parasitic infestation.

What advice would you give to a new Koi owner to keep their fish healthy?

Quarantine and treat ALL NEW FISH. If they do not have quarantine tanks then they should place the new fish into the pond and treat the whole pond as if it had both Ich and Flukes. Still - quarantining them separately is the best thing to do.

Can you tell me your thoughts on a UV Clarifier are they worth the money or a waste of money?

We LOVE UVs! If a pond owner is having problems with green water the UV will work better than anything else you can use. The problem with purchasing a UV, however, is knowing what size UV to buy and how to install it correctly. Don't go by what the manufacturers say - they DO exaggerate with their claims of how many gallons their UV will clear. We know through experience what these UVs really can do and we help our customers install them to get 100% efficiency from the them.

As far as the cost of the UV is concerned ---- yes, they are not cheap but if you account for all those chemicals you use to try and clear up the water (and most the time unsuccessfully) it really doesn't cost that much to keep your water clear by installing a UV. In some cases, it may even be cheaper. Yes - they are worth the money. We swear by them.

Oh, and an added benefit to a UV - it can also cut down on the amount of bacteria in the pond.

Cecil (the Pond Doc) invented the ProBead filter can you tell us how he came up with this and what are the benefits of having a Bead filter instead of a regular filter?

Bead filters allow you to enjoy the pond and not have to spend your weekend cleaning the filter pads. All you have to do is turn a few valves - you don't even get your hands wet - and it only takes about 5 minutes or so. When we had the water garden center in Alpharetta, GA we had several display ponds and lots of tanks of fish and we knew we couldn't afford the labor to keep all these filter pads clean. Cecil purchased several different types of bead filters and tried them out. He didn't like something about each one so he eventually did his own and included the best features out of each type. This is why we have 2" plumbing inside our units (for better flow) and anti-loss screens on our drains (so you can drain the unit without losing beads) for just a few examples.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of building their first Koi Pond?

Now THAT'S a loaded question. :) There is a lot of advice we can give to the beginner koi pond builder! Got an hour?

To put it in as few words as possible, we suggest building a pond that is as big as you can afford. A nice size is somewhere between 1500 and 2000 gallons but if you can afford bigger then I'd go bigger. The reason is that the more water you have the less the elements will affect the pond. pH is more stable - you can have more fish and they will remain healthier as a general rule. You do want it to be at least 3 feet deep to keep the fish safer from predators.

Another thing we really stress, especially if you are planning to have koi, is a bottom drain and external pump to recirculate the water. It makes life easier for you and keeps a cleaner pond environment plus external pumps tend to be more energy efficient and last longer.

Also - a Koi pond needs GOOD filtration and the more filtration you have the better. Of course - we like a bead filter.

Peggy you and your husband seem to have such a love, not only for your customers but their fish as well. Do you think this is what has made your business so successful?

Absolutely! If you don't care about what you are doing how can you spend the majority of your life doing it? We live and breathe koi ponds and water gardens. It thrills us to know that we can help others enjoy the hobby and if we can help save the lives of a fish (or a pond full of fish) then we feel we've done something other than take up space. :)

And one last question, what advice would you give our readers for keeping their pond in the best condition to keep Koi?

If you build the pond with Koi in mind then you'll be giving them the basics to keep them happy. You can retrofit an existing pond with fish safe skimmers, etc. to make it more koi friendly. Basically, to keep a koi pond healthy a few necessary items must be in place. #1 - Cleanliness - don't put rocks in the bottom of the pond to collect dirt - you end up with a sewer, not a healthy environment for life. #2 - Biological filtration - just like in an aquarium you must have that nitrifying cycle built up. Filtration, filtration, filtration! #3 - Quarantining and treating all new arrivals will make the difference between enjoying the playfullness of your healthy pets or watching them die off and feeling helpless. No one should ever have to go through that!

We at the Koi Pond Guide agree!

Peggy, thanks again for this interview.

Please take a visit over to PondDoc.com say Hello and Thanks for all the great information she shared with us today.

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