Pond plants are an essential element in any aquatic environment, including your pond. Not only do they add visual interest and charisma to the landscape, they also can supply food and shelter. Many plants also help to act like an organic filter soaking up pollutants, while oxygenating the water. The struggle most gardeners face is how to keep their Koi from turning their precious pond plants into an afternoon appetizer.
We know most pond owners love their Koi just as much as their pond plants. What’s not to love? Their beautiful, playful and even a little magical. Just having a koi pond in your yard, brings a sense of calm and peace. So, of course we want them to be happy, but not at the cost of destroying those lovely lilies. What’s the solution?
Three’s a Crowd...
Well not exactly, but for starters, having the proper koi-stocking density for your pond is crucial. If you have too many Koi in one area, they will compete for everything- especially food. A good rule of thumb when it comes to stocking koi is to have no more than one inch of fish per 10 gallons of water.
For example, you can have 150 inches of fish in 1,500 gallons of water, which is about five koi. But please keep in mind, they will grow over time. You should base your formula on their expected adult size, not the size when purchased. If you do not provide your koi with adequate room, not only will they live a more stressful life, but your plant health and water clarity will also suffer.
Understanding your Koi
The most important part in striking a harmonious balance in your pond, between your koi and aquatic plants, is simply understanding koi behavior. Keep in mind, Koi are very curious creatures and they explore their surroundings with their mouth. If you notice that your Koi are rooting around the base of your plants, simply block them from doing so, by moving larger rocks around the base of the plant. Making sure the rocks are heavy enough that the fish cannot move or shift them.
Oftentimes, fish will browse on plants if they’re hungry or if they have nutrient deficiencies from something they may be lacking in their normal diets. To address this, feed your fish more regularly. If your koi are well fed, they won’t eat as many plants. The good news, given the choice between a tasty, high energy pelleted food, or green vegetation, your koi will opt in for the tastier treat, every time. We suggest feeding your fish once or twice a day, for about 5-7 minutes at a time to fulfill their appetite.
When choosing your food, the pellet size should be the size of the pupil, (the black part). Start by tossing in a few pellets, gradually adding in more over the course of the next 5-7 minutes. The idea is to create as little excess waste as possible, which is why the ‘slow and steady’ technique is preferred for feeding, as opposed to throwing in large handfuls.
Without question, plants in your pond add to the beauty and interest to the space. And in all actuality, fish and plants have a mutually beneficial relationship, that happens quite naturally. When the two elements are combined, it makes for a calmer, cleaner and healthier pond environment. With just implementing a few simple techniques and keeping to a regular feeding schedule, you’ll find that harmony is possible. Contact us for more information