Caring for fish can be an extremely rewarding experience and a key feature in any garden. If you are thinking of filling in your pond with some aquatic life but are not sure of what exact type of fish to go for, there are certain things to consider before committing. Those with large outdoor ponds may opt to go for the ornamental beauty of the Koi carp – and with good reason.
Don’t be ‘Koi’
Koi carp or just ‘koi’ are one of the most popular breeds of domestic fish in the world, largely because of their pleasing aesthetic value. Koi are associated with love and honour the world over and their soothing beauty makes them extremely popular to keep as outdoor pets. While many keep them for ornamental purposes in their ponds, you should obviously remember that these are living creatures and hence will need your assistance from time to time in order to occupy a decent standard of life.
Koi are generally regarded as one of the most beautiful fish available to be raised domestically, with a wide range of colours available across the different breeds. Whether you are looking for a red, white, gold, yellow or blue variety, Koi are bred by specialists in order to develop specific skin colouration and patterns. The choices are near endless, making a type of Koi available for all fish lovers.
Although Koi are a cold-water breed of fish, they suffer in temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius. Because of the colourful nature of their skin colour, Koi carp are at risk of becoming easy targets from predators. Ensuring it is hard for pesky wild animals such as a badger or fox to gain access to your pond is imperative to providing your Koi with a long and happy life. Herons can swoop in and stand in shallow ponds, making deeper areas ideal for keeping birds well at bay. Deeper ponds can also help to stave off the freezing conditions in the winter months, making it much less likely for such a large volume of water to freeze over and hurt your carp. Unfortunately, the phrase “like shooting fish in a barrel” does have some basis in reality, with your carp at risk to outside influences. Some people go to the extreme lengths of building a wired netting system across the top of the bond in order to keep out any unwanted predators, although the visual aspect of this does alter the pond’s aesthetic value, meaning many choose to avoid installing an ungainly feature.
Three’s a Crowd!
As you may already be aware, Koi can grow to significantly large sizes, in a relatively short amount of time. It is advised not to purchase too many Koi at one time, instead allowing your few to grow into the pond before assessing on any further available room. Overcrowding a pond is one of the most dangerous things you can do, as the waste excreted by the fish can prove to be deadly in large, unregulated doses. Overcrowding can cramp your Koi, especially as they continue to grow in size, making them suffer from a poor quality of life. Although Koi can quite happily mix with other types of fish, it is worth remembering that they are omnivores who can devour smaller fish.
As with any pet, you should put considerable amount of thought and research into the lifelong commitment before purchasing. Koi can live for up to 50 years and are a very robust and sturdy fish for a breed so ornamental. If you have decided to make the jump into Koi ownership, it is well-worth consulting your local fish specialists at the aquarium you are purchasing the carp from.
Sally Dimmock is a writer and fish enthusiast who loves visiting her friends carp pond. She understands that pond maintenance is essential when keeping carp, with garden pond liners acting as a vital tool for any aquatic gardener.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/billca/71898253/