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Outdoor Koi Pond

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An Outdoor Koi Pond can be affected by their Geographical locations-and their climatic pluses and minuses.

~In the South: Outdoor Koi Ponds in the South probably never need to be heated; outdoor koi ponds stay warm enough in colder weather with a simple cover. However, during the summer these same koi-keepers may need to add a waterfall or fountin feature to cool the pond water.

~In the Desert: Outdoor Koi Pond owners in arid areas like southern Arizona need to top off their backyard Koi ponds with fresh water to replace water lost through evaporation. They also need a protein skimmer to filter off that scummy layer of pollen that settles after the summer monsoons.

~In the North: Outdoor Koi Pond owners in the North bear the brunt of expenses (like heating costs during the winter). Most outdoor Koi pond need to cover their the pond when water temperatures dip below 52 degree F the point at which Koi become relatively inactive. The cover can be Pilofilm stapled to a 2-x4-foot frame just a few feet above the water. For northern Koi-keepers, the big difference in cost is electricity and nautral gas costs during the winter.

Outdoor Koi Pond Fall Checklist

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Photo courtesy of Veggie Might Blog

  • Before the leaves begin to fall, cover your pond with one of several sizes of leaf netting (It is much easier to keep the leaves out than to remove them after they have fallen into the pond).
  • Fall is a good time to divide some of your aquatic plants (waterlilies and iris)
  • Remove dying plant foliage from the pond as it will decay and pollute the water.
  • After your hardy plants have stopped growing, cut back the foliage and lower the pot to the bottom of the pond.
  • Stop feeding your fish after the water temperature has dropped to the lower fifties.
  • Also when the water temperature has dropped into the forties, reduce the circulation of the pond water by either turning off the pump for the winter and draining of all the plumbing or preferably by placing the pump or the intake to the pump closer to the water outlet (backyard waterfalls etc.) and pick up water from mid-level of the pond. Also turn down the water flow. Keeping the water flowing through your biological filter allows the bacteria to live therefore giving good water quality early in the spring.
  • If you keep your filter running through the winter, you must take precautions against the freezing of water in your plumbing should there be a power outage.
  • You can add a floating de-icer to keep an area free of ice. This opening is necessary during periods of ice cover to allow an exchange of gases.

To check your Hardiness Zone click here.

Should you use a Dechlorinator?

koi fish pondWater from public supplies (i.e. city, county) will contain one of two chemicals to prevent water-born diseases. The first chemical commonly used is a small amount of chlorine. Chlorine will evaporate out of water within days to hours depending on the concentration level and amount of aeration. To lengthen the time chlorine stays in the water, some suppliers will use chloramine which is a compound of chlorine and ammonia. Of course we do not want either chlorine or chloramine to enter our ponds. All of us should be using a dechlorinator when doing our weekly 10% or more water change. The most basic, least expensive, and safest dechlorinator is the compound sodium thiosulphate (ST). Sodium Yhiosulphate comes in milky crystals that look like oily rock salt. Sodium Thiosulphate will neutralize chlorine on contact. If the water contains chloramine, sodium thiosulphate will break the chlorine-ammonia bond. Sodium Thiosulphate will then neutralize the chlorine. What happens to the remaining trace of ammonia? It is handled by the pond’s filter the same as the ammonia being produced by the Koi. When should we use Sodium Thiosulphate? Anytime we do a water change where there is a working filter and the source water contains chlorine or chloramine (i.e., virtually all public water supplies). Note we said where there is a working filter. Something has to eat the ammonia!!!! If you are setting up a new outdoor koi pond or a quarantine tank you may not have a working filter with bacteria ready to eat ammonia. In such a case, consider using a commercial dechlorinator product such as a Pond Keeper Pro Beneficial Bacteria or Pond Keeper Pro Nitrifying Bacteria that will breakdown or bind the ammonia. Sodium Thiosulphate will do nothing about ammonia.

Ingredients for sodium thiosulphate dechlorinator:

  • An electronic scale such as used for cooking to measure sodium thiosulphate crystals by weight
  • One plastic container (1 quart or one gallon) for making and storing dechlorinator (don't use glass around pond!)
  • One quart or 1 gallon of distilled water or tap water (depends on how much dechlor you want to prepare)
  • 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of ST crystals to make 1 quart of dechlor or, 500 grams (17.6 ounces) of ST crystals to make 1 gallon of dechlor

To Make and Use Dechlorinator:

  • measure 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of sodium thiosulphate and place it in a 1 quart plastic container or, measure 500 grams (17.6 ounces) of ST into a 1 gallon plastic container
  • add distilled or tap water to fill the container (1 quart or 1 gallon)
  • mix the crystals into the water; they should readily dissolve
  • use one liquid ounce of the dechlor for each 295 gallons of tap water to be dechlorinated

Your quart of dechlorinator should handle ~ 9,463 gallons of tap water.

A gallon of the dechlorinator should handle ~37,850 gallons of tap water.

Store any unused sodium thiosulphate crystals or dechlorinator solution in a cool dark spot. Neither the crystals nor solution needs refrigeration. The shelf life of the crystals is many years.

Naturally keep the sodium thiosulphate crystals and dechlorinator solution out of the reach of children and dry pets.

To learn to build your own Rainwater Collection Click Here

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