koi fish ponds

Combining Style and Function with Koi Fish Ponds

Thinking about diving into the colorful world of building and maintaining a pond? The building of Koi fish ponds for the purpose of breeding or personal enjoyment is a hobby that dates back hundreds of years in Japan. Japanese farmers originally built ponds to house carp imported from China as a source of food. Over time, the Japanese farmers began breeding colored mutations as a hobby. These colored Japanese carp are what we know today as Koi. To learn more about these special fish, take a look at our Koi fish information page.

koi fish pond
A Koi fish pond featuring a large waterfall.

Designing your Pond

The designing of a pond that will house your prized Koi is a very rewarding experience due to the opportunity to release your inner creativity. It is completely up to you what kind of design you'd like to build, whether that is a natural Japanese style, an expressive modern design, or something entirely different. The point is, whatever you decide to build, just be creative and let your imagination lead the way.

Building a Koi Pond

While the aesthetic design of Koi fish ponds may be quite subjective, when it comes to choosing equipment and building the pond, there are some rules that must be followed in order to maintain a healthy fish environment. For information on how to build a pond from start to finish, please see our guide entitled 'Building a Pond' (coming soon).

Features of Koi Ponds

Koi Fish Ponds differ from regular ponds (ponds not housing Koi) in a few key ways. Here are a couple of the many things that must be considered if you're planning on housing Koi in your pond:

koi pond oxygen

Dissolved Oxygen in Koi Ponds

Koi require a certain level of oxygen in the water to maintain optimal health, growth and reproduction. This minimum level is 6 mg of dissolved oxygen per liter of water. Although koi can survive for periods of time in water as low as 3 mg per liter of water, the fish will likely become more and more stressed with time. Stress should be avoided if at all possible since stress is a primary cause of disease.

Cold water will naturally have more dissolved oxygen than warm water. Therefore, it is especially important to keep an eye on the dissolved oxygen levels during the summer months since the water temperature will generally be higher. One sign that oxygen levels are low is that your fish may become lethargic and as a result may stop eating. If things get really bad, the Koi may come to surface and appear to be 'gasping' for breath. If this happens, you have a serious situation on your hands, and emergency water aeration must commence to keep your fish from dying. It is also possible for too much air to be trapped in the water, in which case fish can get 'gas bubble disease'. This is generally more likely to occur in the winter when water temperatures are low.

Ammonia Levels

To prevent a serious koi condition known as 'lamellare hyperplasia', ammonia levels in the pond water must be kept in check. Biological filtration and regular partial water changes are the best defense against rising ammonia levels. The toxicity of ammonia can also be reduced by adding pond or aquarium salt.

Other Issues

There are numerous other diseases or problems that Koi can experience due to improperly maintained water. Before buying any Koi, it is best to speak to a Koi professional to make sure your particular pond is ready for your new swimming friends.

koi pond plants


Plants are an important part of any Koi fish pond. Not only do they make a pond look more natural and pleasing, but they can have a very positive effect on water quality. For more information, please read our page on plants for ponds.

Equipment for Koi Fish Ponds

Koi ponds require some special attention with respect to the equipment needed to keep your pond water in tip top shape. Healthy water usually equals healthy fish. To learn more about the various pieces of equipment needed to run a successful koi pond, please take a look at our pages on Pond Pumps, Pond Filters, Pond Skimmers, Pond Liners and Pond Lighting.

Thanks for visiting our page on Koi Fish Ponds. We plan on expanding this page soon with more great information on Koi, so please check back soon!

Click Here to Return from Koi Fish Ponds to our Home Page