Koi Pond Equipment: Wants Vs. Needs
With Koi pond equipment, as with everything there are both wants and needs. You must be able to determine which are which. There are also some types of equipment that, while not necessities, make caring for your pond so much easier that you should acquire them if you are able to.
Remember also that you will need to make decisions on some of these things during the initial stages of your Koi pond design and construction. If you leave out the necessities at the begining it will cost you many times over to add them later.
Pond Filter: This piece of equipment is the “heart” of your Koi pond. It keeps the water clean and healthy for your fish. The filter plays two very important roles. First, it mechanically removes fish waste and anything else that causes cloudiness in your pond. Second, biological filtering changes the ammonia in your pond into nitrites and then to nitrates which renders them less toxic to your fish.
Bottom Drain: Bottom drains are of the utmost importance in order to have a successful Koi pond. Some ponds even need several bottom drains. Without a bottom drain your filter can’t do it’s job correctly.
Pump: The last piece of necessary Koi pond equipment is your pump. You will want a large enough pump to send all your pond water through your filter every two to three hours. There are several factors to consider when choosing a pump. Make sure you choose an efficient pump designed specifically for Koi ponds.
VERY HELPFUL BUT NOT A “NEED”:
Skimmer: Your skimmer draws in surface debris. It is possible to do this manually with a net and by using a pond vacuum to get any debris that makes it’s way to the bottom of your pond. If you can afford to get one it greatly cuts down on your labor!
UV Light: A UV light is especially helpful in newer ponds until beneficial bacteria is established as your pond matures. This piece of Koi pond equipment kills algal blooms that float about suspended in your pond water. Two things to note; you need the proper size for your pond or it won’t be effective and UV lights don’t kill string algae as it’s attached and doesn’t float about in your pond.
Jets: People that have jets in their ponds say that they would never want to do without them. While not a necessity they do provide exercises for your Koi who are river fish and enjoy swimming in a current. If you install them in the right places you can move water out of “dead” areas of your pond and direct it towards the skimmer where debris can be collected. Also if they are installed so the water breaks the surface they can help to oxygenate your pond! As you can see they provide many benefits.
Auto-fills: While far from being a necessity an auto-fill makes maintaining your pond easier. As it’s name implies it always keeps your water at a pre-determined level. As water evaporates it is automatically replaced. This reduces the risk of forgetting to turn off the hose and inadvertently killing your fish by chlorination.
I consider pre-filters, underwater lights and automatic feeders to be in the “wants” category. They may be nice to have but definitely not necessities.
These are the basics, although there are definitely more details to consider when you choose specific pieces of Koi pond equipment.