Archives for April 2008

Koi Treats – What You Should And Shouldn’t Feed Your Koi

There is a variety of foods available for Koi on the market today.  Generally speaking if you read the packaging of the food you plan to purchase it is almost like reading the back of a can of soup.  You will get to know what makes up the stuff you’re about to feed your Koi.

But what about other types of food or treats?  Do Koi even care for a treat or are they willing to taste test just about anything you throw in the water to them.  Here’s a reality check.  Would a Koi know the difference between a piece of brown bread and a piece of white bread?  I doubt it and guess what?

The white bread contains bleached flour that can cause the fish harm.  So the point is that just because the food is acceptable to you, and you have no trouble eating it, does not mean your fish can.

You will probably want to avoid any type of treat with a hard outer casing like corn or beans too.  Your fish will not be able to digest the outer layer and this can also cause them problems.  You can feed them lettuce or leafy vegetables like duckweed (as long as they are clean of pesticides) and your Koi will enjoy them.

I have heard that citrus is somewhat of a treat for Koi too.  But it has been said that you should only treat them to this once per week, if you do at all.

How about live food?  Yeah I know the thought of holding a squirmy earthworm above the water for a frenzied Koi isn’t the best picture I could place in your head, but people do feed them to their fish.  Just clean any dirt off of them first.

Ok here’s an appetizing choice for your Koi.  Young tadpoles.  Yeah this is even worse to think about than earthworms for me.  But apparently Koi love them, so a treat of these seems to be in order too.  You can probably find all sorts of freeze dried yummies at the local pond shop too that the fish will like.

Just remember to pick a treat that is actually big enough for the size Koi you have.  Daphnia fleas for instance, are great for fry, but way too small for larger adult fish.  Silkworm pupae are another great treat for Koi, but should only be a very rare treat and the high fat content can cause problems with Koi and diabetes later.

The best way to think about all of this is, to feed your Koi properly.  A good balanced diet with the proper amounts of protein, and vitamins is the best way to feed your fish and treats should be just that – treats.  Pick the treats carefully and make sure you are giving them something that they like and will not harm them.

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Going Green – Efficient, Sustainable Pond Techniques

With all that is happening in the world today, the last thing you might think about while enjoying your pond is how efficient it might be.  There are statistics being thrown around today that talk about the ever looming global warming, greenhouse gasses, CO2 emissions and all sorts of stuff.

I bet you did not know, but even when it comes to your pond there are a few things you can do that will make it more efficient and thereby waste far fewer resources like energy and water.  Let me throw this little fact at you.  If your pond is 10 feet by 20 feet and leaks just one inch of water, you are loosing 119 gallons of water.

If that water is left to flow down any of the local sewer drains, it is not doing anyone any good.  Even if the waste water in your area goes through a treatment facility and is brought back to be used in some way or another, your leak is causing the treatment facility to waste energy on that water too.

Now of course you might be sitting there thinking I am some sort of conspiracy theory nut or something, but it’s not true.  I just think that if it is important to you to separate your recyclables from your trash each week, then you might find this information useful too.

By the way here is my shameless plug in this article.  Pond Shield epoxy is a water proofing coating that will seal up leaks in your pond.  Using it will help you not to contribute to a waste of water in the long run.

Ok going back to water issues.  How often do you back flush your filtration system?  Once per week?  Twice per month?  Ok, what do you do with it?  Let it go down a drain somewhere?  Bad pond owner!  Bad!  You should set up a way to irrigate existing plant life in your yard.  That would mean less watering with your normal irrigations system and then eventually, less waste.

What about the chemicals you use in your pond?  Are they eco friendly chemicals?  If not, they all have to be processed out of the water eventually you know.  Again, that means more energy exerted in the actual processing.

When you purchased your electric motor for your pump, did you make sure you bought one that would do the job efficiently?  You know over working or under working the electric motor will waste electricity too.  These resources come from somewhere and at the source if it means the exertion to create the energy is more than being used efficiently, then that too is considered a waste.

I hear all of these commercials every day where they say is X number of people replaced their dish washer with a brand new energy efficient one, it would be like removing X amount of cars from the road.  Yeah that sounds weird, but if you always think about the source that produces the energy and how it has to work more in order to do a less efficient job, then you can see the waste.

Anyway, just a little food for thought.  If you were planning to replace something in your pond because it is worn out, now you can applied these concepts to that new purchase.

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How To Purchase Quality Koi

You know, purchasing Koi or any other pet is a pretty fun experience, but you have to remember that it or they are living beings and will need proper care.  Because of this you should make sure that your pond will be able to accommodate the Koi your purchase without breeching the limitations of your pond and its mechanical systems.

One of the things you may also want to consider is watching a particular Koi before actually purchasing it.  Of course this comes with the risk of someone else actually purchasing it before you get to, but if you keep notes on several Koi at your local dealer, you may find yourself with a better quality and better looking Koi than if you had just pulled one out of a batch of fry.

You will also have to decide where you will purchase.  They are Koi farms where they Koi are either bred or imported several times per year and there are retail locations that purchase from the farms on a more regular basis.  Where you might have more a selection at a farm, you will have multiple selections per year from a retailer.

They say that the best quality Koi are imported from Japan in November and December.  Typically, water temperatures are lower and can contain more oxygen for transport at this time and harvesting actually ends in October there.  Typically stateside Koi farms keep the same sort of breeding cycle if they breed their own.

When you choose a place to purchase from, make sure that the staff is knowledgeable about their stock.  They should be willing to answer and questions you have about the fish.  Take a look at the state of their ponds.  The ponds or holding tanks should be well filtered and clean.

Being a Koi enthusiast, you should remember though, that clean looking water is not necessarily clean.  Smell the water too.  Though this method is not a perfect science either, sometimes you can determine if there might be a problem.  Watch the fish for any signs of stress too.

When you decide on a fish that you like, watch it for a while.  Pay attention to how it swims and moves.  Make sure it is not bumping into things and that its movements are not sporadic.  Koi swim in a very fluid motion and look very graceful as they move.

Look at the way the fish breathes.  A Koi breathes slow and regular and you should see this in both gills.  Gills that are flared out are a sign of sickness.  Check the fish for any appearance of white blooms on the skin of the Koi, or raised scales, holes, cloudy eyes.  These are also signs of problems with the fish.

You should ask a staff member to separate the fish you like from the rest.  Usually they will put the Koi into a tub for this purpose and allow you to view the fish more closely.  Watch the way the person handles the Koi.  This will also tell you how capable they might be.

When catching a Koi for close inspection, a flat pan net is usually used and the fish is encouraged to swim into the tub by itself.  This method is less stressful to the fish and causes virtually now physical damage.

In the tub, you can look more closely at the fish for the things mentioned above.  Here you can also get a closer look at the fins for parasites and such too.  You do not want to bring an infested Koi back to your healthy pond and risk the infection of all of your stock.

Once you have decided upon a Koi, you’ll want to make sure you transport it properly.  It is recommended that you use a large bag for the fish and that the dealer oxygenate the bag as well.  I would also ask for a box to contain the bag and maybe even call ahead to make sure one is available.

You do not want to let the fish in its bag roll around the inside of your car on the way home.  This can seriously stress the Koi.  I would further suggest that you bring a blanket to cover the box with too.  Being in a dark environment will calm the Koi and it will be less likely to thrash about and possibly injure itself.

There are two schools of thought here in regards to quarantining fish.  Some say that this causes undo stress in the fish in that you end up having to move it twice and that the repercussions of these actions might not actually be seen until a lot later, months and maybe even years.

Others say that it is best not to introduce new fish into your pond because there may be a risk of contaminating the entire stock you already have.  While this is a possibility, you should consider that typically fish that are imported in, they are quarantined at that time.  Though this does not guarantee that you would not experience problems, it just gives you something to consider.

Ultimately, it is best to use your head when choosing and purchasing a new Koi.  This fish will be with you for a long time, so you want to give it the best chances it can get for survival.

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