So many of you who read my blog faithfully have asked for an update on my Koi pond and so, here it is. The pond is now 6 years old. In the beginning as a newbie, there were certainly a series of mistakes made.

When I saw my first algae in the pond I freaked out and added chemicals by the truck load. I created a toxic waste dump and all of the fish died. Disgustedly I vowed no more fish, drained the pond completely and let the pond rebalance itself for a year.

Feeling confident, I reintroduced Koi into the pond and they thrived. They are now quite big, sassy and very healthy. We now have about 30 Koi and as they continue to grow and thrive I imagine I will have to thin out the population. That is no mean feat as we know each fish. Some are very curious and brave while others are timid and shy. Even though they eat the same fare, some have certainly grown more quickly than others. The big guys and gals are the algae grazers. You can see them grazing among the rocks all the time.

Gone are all chemicals. Realizing that the original filter system was inadequate to deal with algae growth we researched and ultimately built an external, 4 barrel filter system. The pond water recirculates through the barrels each filled with different kinds of filter media. For example, one barrel has carbon pellets, another has fluffy polyester batting and yet another has sponges and the last has filter pads. The water remains crystal clear and when some algae does emerge during the hottest part of the year the easiest solution is simply to take it out by hand. There is never so much that the task is overwhelming.

We usually clean the external system once a year and will be doing that this coming January or February. It’s an all day job as the barrels must be drained and cleaned and new filter media placed into each barrel.

Over the years we have learned a great deal about plants in and around the pond. The lilies die back during the winter but come back with a vengeance in the spring. I would love to have some lotus. I have tried several times and in each instance I failed and they died. 

I have learned that a pond plant called ‘Snowflake’ replicates itself like crazy. Every time I think I have removed all of it I discover another new crop. The same can be said for some plants surrounding the pond. Yerba Manza, Taros and Ruella grow and spread prodigiously. I’ve managed to get rid of the Yerba Manza completely. There is still one clump of Taro that will be removed this spring and all of the Ruella ‘babies’ will be removed as well.

If I had it to do all over again, would I have installed the pond? Yes, most definitely. There is something special about hearing the waterfalls splash downward. I have discovered when the pumps have been turned off for an electrical outage, the absolute silence is disconcerting. We watch the fish whenever we have time (as a councilmember my time is now very constrained) and we still take joy in watching them. I read somewhere, sometime, that watching fish in an aquarium or pond lowers one’s blood pressure. I think it’s probably true as there is a calming effect in just sitting and watching, really watching the fish. Is there maintenance work? Yes but nothing so intense that it consumes all of your time after the pond and plantings have become established.

Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you enjoy the photos I have included in this blog.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 


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