Koi can make great pets whether you house them in an aquarium or give them the room they need by adding them to your pond. Caring for your Koi, however, is not always simple. This beautiful and popular fish requires some special care and attention to maintain their health and vitality.
Here are some steps to follow when caring for your Koi.
Give them space. Koi can be picked up when they are small but they have a tendency to grow to a decent size so that needs to be taken into consideration if you have more than one. If Koi become overcrowded it can stress them out, which can lead to death or poor health.
Provide adequate filtration for your prized Koi. Koi are heavy producers of waste. That fact topped with the other potential water pollutants makes it necessary for your chosen filtration system to be adequate and well maintained.
When choosing a filtration system you need to take into account the size of the area in which the fish are kept as well as how many are kept in that area. Biological filtration systems are typically the best choice unless you are dealing with a small pond which then you could use something simpler such as a chemical filtration system.
Feeding them a proper 3 to 5 times a day (only when the water temp. is above 50*F) can help keep your Koi healthy. However, the actual amount can vary and you will need to find what best fits your fish. You also need to be careful not to over feed which can have a negative impact on your water source and fish. Those effects can include: death, obesity, excessive waste, and higher and more frequent maintenance for your filtering system.
Spring and Summer - High Protein Diet
Fall - Diet Rich in Wheat germ
Winter - If the water temp drops to 50 degrees or below refrain from feeding them until the temperature is above 50 degrees regularly. They will have fat and other nutrients built up from previous months to get them through.
Give them their comfort zone temperatures. Koi thrive in water that is between 61* and 75* F. If you can afford to then invest in a good regulated water heating system to maintain the temperature of the water. They also have on the market covers that can be used to warm ponds.
This is especially important in the winter if you live in an area where temperatures drop near or below the 40s. 40* F is a danger level for these sometimes fragile water dwellers.
Test the water source often. To thrive your Koi's water should be heavy metal free (zinc, lead & copper)and levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, oxygen and the alkalinity should be monitored and maintained at their proper levels based on your particular Koi housing (aquarium, pond etc)
Provide adequate protection and shade. During spring and summer months if your Koi are housed outdoors they are open and fair game to predators who fancy themselves some pricey sushi. Not to mention in the summer when temperatures can sky rocket and also make short work of your prized pets if proper measures are not taken.
A good start is to look into plants and other items that can provide protection from the hot sun and preying foe. Be sure to research the plants to ensure they are not toxic to the Koi or other fish that call your pond home. Thicker more dense plants will provide better shade and cover for your favored swimmers.