Anyone who maintains a pond or water garden teaming with koi and other pond fish has to pay particular attention to the water condition. For most people, the water source to fill a pond comes directly from the tap and this is ordinary municipal supplied tap water. As we know, we drink this water, so the water supplied is first purified before it reaches our taps. Purification involves a series of rigorous physical and chemical treatments, and these include the addition of chlorine or chloramine as disinfectants. Chloramine is used extensively in the USA.
It is important to realize that both chlorine and chloramine are harmful to all pond fish. They need to be effectively neutralized so that tap water becomes safe for koi and other pond fish to thrive. When a pond is filled with tap water, the chlorine dissipates rather quickly. By spraying the water rather than running it as a stream, the dissipation process is more effective. Chloramine however is a more stable chemical compound and stays in the pond water rather than being dissipated, and this is harmful to pond life.
To ensure proper conditioning of your pond water, you need to test it. Testing is to ensure that the water quality is benchmarked against the desirable standard. The process of testing involves taking a sample of the water, analyzing it to gather basic data, and then comparing the data against what is desirable or recommended. Regular measurement of the water quality helps us to ensure that the water is maintained at least at the minimum standard.
If you keep an extensive collection of fish, it is recommended that a water conditioner be used whenever the water is changed. A good all purpose water conditioner will help to: (a) remove chlorine and destroy chloramines (b) detoxify heavy metals (c) add essential electrolytes (d) replace skin slime coat (fish population) (e) reduce fish stress (f) remove ammonia and nitrites (g) maintain alkalinity. Testing supplies and water treatments can be readily purchased at your local pond supply store, or found on the Internet. Just search for “testing supplies for ponds” using a search engine and you will get many results to browse.
Koi are very sensitive to water condition, so if you plan to keep koi in your pond, it is essential to maintain good water quality. Ignoring the testing and treatment of your pond’s water quality will be detrimental to the health and well-being of your koi. Like any other fish, koi require specific water conditions to survive. If these conditions are unfavorable, their physiology reacts negatively such that biochemical dysfunction results, causing them stress. The outcome of this is that a koi’s body will end up ‘rejecting’ this adverse environmental condition, causing the koi to change its behavior and make it more susceptible to disease. Therefore, to prevent such problems occurring and enabling koi to thrive, maintaining a suitable water quality is paramount.
In summary, the key to maintaining healthy koi is to pay particular attention to the water quality of the pond, and that can be achieved through an understanding of the processes involved in maintaining a healthy pond environment. When the water quality is good, the health of the koi will naturally follow.