By: Susan Albert, Freelance Garden Writer
First-time koi pond enthusiasts may have learned the hardway that koi love to browse the plants and roots of pond vegetation. Whenintroducing koi into a pond already established with plants, the browsing maybe manageable. But plants added to a pond already filled with koi can beproblematic. Koi cannot resist the temptation to eat newly arrived plantdelicacies.
What’s a pond owner to do? Keep reading to learn more abouthow to keep plants safe from koi fish.
Koi Proofing Pond Plants
Koi pond owners do have options regarding the plantdecimation. Some enthusiasts simply eliminate plants from the pond, optinginstead to landscape the perimeter of the pond only. However, in locations withwarm summers, plant cover is essential in keeping water temperature lower and koicomfortable. Plants also provide hiding and spawning areas and assist withfiltration.
Maintaining a number of diverse plants in the pond,including surface,emerging,and submergedplants, may prevent widespread foraging damage by koi. Consider plants suchas coontail and waterweed planted at the bottom of the pond and roots coveredwith rocks for protection. For plants with roots below water level and foliageabove water, such as waterlilies, koi may nibble the roots. Plant them in oversized containers toppedoff with gravel.
If you add plants to a koi pond when the fish are alreadypresent, it is best to add a group of plants at once, rather than one or two ata time. That way, no one plant is quickly consumed by curious koi.
Some pond enthusiasts keep plants safe from koi by enclosingpond plants in a cage-like structure. Materials such as PVC coated wire,plastic mesh or net are ideal. For floating plants, make a cage that floats. Youcould even try a floatingwetland if your backyard pond is large enough.
Another option is to research plants koi won’t eat.Suggestions include the floating-plant waterlettuce, the large-leaved lotusplant, the yellow-flowered water poppy, and the eye-catching umbrellaplant. Koi tend to ignore these plants in favor of more palatable choices.
Another tip: Try feedingthe fish several small meals a day to help divert their penchant forvegetation.
Taking care to choose the right kind of plants, protectingits roots with gravel, maintaining ample vegetation and enclosing plants withcages can help your koi coexist with greenery.
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Read more about General Water Plant Care
How to Care for Lilies in a Koi Pond
Water lilies (Nymphaea) come in tropical and hardy varieties. Both will grow in any U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone -- tropicals as annuals and hardy lilies as perennials. In USDA zones 9 through 11, both types will live outdoors all year long. When keeping lilies in a pond with koi, you need to protect the roots from nibbling fish. To keep fish from eating the leaves, give them other pond plants such as hyacinths to snack on instead.
Plant lilies in a fabric pot or basket with a 15- to 20-quart capacity. The pot needs to be wider than it is deep. Fill the pot two-thirds full with heavy topsoil. The soil should not contain any amendments as these could contaminate the water. Do not use soil containing perlite, vermiculite or peat, which are lighter substances that could float in the water. Cover the topsoil with a 1- or 2-inch layer of gravel to hold it in place. Keep the gravel away from the plant base.
Remove old leaves and roots from the lily. Plant the lily on one side of the pot with the tip of the tuber or rhizome pointed toward the center of the pot. Keep the top of the tuber or rhizome above the soil surface where sunlight can reach it.
Fertilize the lilies at the time of planting and subsequently each month with fertilizer tablets. Press them into the soil near the base of the plant at a rate directed by the package instructions. Stop fertilizing in the winter if it is cool enough that the plants go dormant.
Place a piece of fabric mesh over the top of the pot. The mesh will protect any exposed roots from being eaten by fish.
Position the lily 6 to 8 inches below the surface of the water in a spot that gets eight hours of sun a day. As the lily grows, you can lower it farther until it reaches a depth of about 18 inches. Do not place the lily near features such as waterfalls or filters. Tropical lilies can be placed when the water reaches 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Hardy lilies can be placed after frost danger has passed.
Cut off yellowed leaves as they appear. In areas that get frost in the winter, cut off all old leaves and stalks down to the tuber after the first frost to ready the plant for the cold dormant period. The lily can be left in the pond over the winter.
Jill Kokemuller has been writing since 2010, with work published in the "Daily Gate City." She spent six years working in a private boarding school, where her focus was English, algebra and geometry. Kokemuller is an authorized substitute teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa.
How to get rid of string algae in koi pond people ask
Is string algae bad for koi?The bad of string algae is it grows on everything blocking pump intakes, clogging filter pads, and obstructing open water swimming for the fish. … There are chemical based and bacteria based treatments that clear string algae in your koi pond and water garden pretty quickly in most cases
How do I get rid of green hair algae in my pond?
Luckily, there are several great ways to get rid of green hair algae in a backyard pond.
Use a long stick or net to remove as much green hair algae as you can from your pond mechanically. …
Adjust the pH of your pond water so it is between 7.0 and 8.0. …
Remove excess organic material from the bottom of you backyard pond
Learn more about koi pond
How to choose Pond plants in your garden ponds landscaping
koi pond plants As well as enhancing the look of a pond, pond plants help to maintain water
quality, providing a healthy environment for the fish.
The choice of plants will partly depend on the style of pond—a naturalistic pond looks best when heavily planted
around the edges so that it blends seamlessly into its environment, while a contemporary look may be best achieved with more minimalist planting.
A well-balanced, healthy koi pond must contain two types of plant: oxygenators , which release oxygen into the water, and floating plants , which provide shelter from sunlight.
Without these, or an efficient filtration system, the water in the koi pond can become overgrown with algae, which not only turns the water green, but can also affect the health of some fish species, such as Sterlets
Plants in the body of the pond also absorb nitrate— the product of the breakdown of fish waste—which lessens the burden on the filtration system.
Incorporating plants into a koi pond is not Incorporating plants into a koi pond is not straightforward,partly because of the depth of water, and also because koi have a habit of digging up plants and browsing on the growing shoots.
Most koi ponds, therefore, simply incorporate a few tall marginals, and perhaps some water lilies, whose leaves help to protect the fish from sunburn in the clear water.
Planting In a new pond, wait several days after filling before putting the plants in place, to allow the water temperature to rise to that of the environment.
Pot plants as necessary (see opposite), having first inspected them closely for any signs of disease or pests.
In temperate areas, spring is the best time to introduce new pond plants into an existing pond, because aquatic
plants start to grow rapidly at this time.
If the pond is large, you may need waders to put plants in place, and special pond gloves should always be worn.
These reach up to your shoulders and provide protection against waterborne diseases, such as Weil’s disease a potentially serious condition, spread by rodents, which causes jaundice.
TYPES OF KOI POND PLANTS
Plants for the pond can be divided into four categories, based on their growing habits and where in the pond they are to be found.
Oxygenating pond plants, water lilies,and floating pond plants are truly aquatic, growing in or under the water.
Marginal plants are a useful addition to the pond, not only as a decorative element,but also to provide an excellent habitat for insects.
The plants in and around a pond have a great effect on the overall impression created.
Traditional, formal ponds often incorporate lowgrowing plants, such as water lilies, which do not mask the crisp, neat edges of the pond.
Small ponds often benefit from the inclusion of taller, more architectural plants, such as reeds and grasses, which lift the eye, making the pond appear larger.
Three varieties of water lily (Nymphaea ‘Escarboucle’, ‘William Falconer’, and Marliacea Albida’) adorn this large, formal pond, which is bordered by the tall, elegant spikes of Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’, Canna flaccida, and Schoenoplectus lacustris.
Myriophyllum verticillatum covers one corner of the pond.
The vertical emphasis of the planting in this courtyard pond, achieved through the use of tall marginals, such as irises and rushes, enhances
the geometric lines of this modern style, while a single water lily (Nymphaea ‘Gladstoneana’) softens the look and provides cover for the fish.
Creative landscaping Edging around a pond strengthens its perimeter and helps to disguise the edge of the pond liner.
It can also prolong the life of the liner by shielding it from sunlight.
Hard construction materials, such as paving slabs or bricks, laid around the edge of a pond give a more formal look,
while natural stone or sod are ideal for a more informal pond. Another possibility is a wooden deck raised above water level,
but the wood must first be treated with a nontoxic preservative to keep it from warping or rotting.
Consider the access to the pond: if this is across a lawn, regular foot traffic can quickly result in an unsightly muddy
If you do not want to construct a path, set paving slabs into the grass as an informal solution.
The planting and landscaping around the pond can be used to disguise pond equipment. An external filter, for example,
can be hidden in vegetation in a flowerbed, although it must still be easily accessible for routine maintenance and servicing.
A fountain is an attractive addition to any pond, and also creates a healthier environment for the fish by improving
the water’s oxygen content.
Water lilies prefer calm water, however, and will not thrive under the jet of a fountain, so they need to be located at the opposite end of the pond.
Water currents created by the fountain can waft floating plants to one side of the pond before adding plants, test
the flow by floating a light plastic ball on the surface of the water while the koi pond fountain is operating.
If the ball drifts away from where you want the plants to be, adjust the positioning of the fountain.
Oriental-style koi ponds often incorporate bridges and decorative features of Japanese life, such as bonsai trees and
this popular style of bamboo water fountain (left). Japanese maples create a striking backdrop to the pond, and can be grown in pots or in the ground.
Reference from Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish D Aldeton DK 2008
9 Steps On How To Clean A Koi Pond Back To Beautiful
Keep Your Backyard Beautiful And Your Fish Happy And Healthy In Maryland, DC, And Northern Virginia
Would you agree that your pond is one of the most beautiful parts of your home?
The water can be so crystal clear you can count the rocks on the bottom. Aquatic plants can bring splashes of color, like with green lily pads and pink lotus flowers.
But something this beautiful has to have a catch. The catch for koi ponds is that, if left unattended for too long, they can get mucky:
- Algae take over the pond
- Water becomes cloudy
- Plants overgrow
- Debris clogs the filters
- Organic matter (muck) gathers on the bottom
Ponds with even one of these symptoms can quickly become an eyesore.
You can stop these from happening to your koi pond with regular cleaning.
Nobody deserves to feel embarrassed when they think of their pond. The good news is you don’t have to ever feel that way again.
You can download our ultimate guide to spring pond cleaning for more information >>
There is a great pond cleaning process that even us professional pond people follow. It works so well that we felt as though we needed to share it with you.
Whether you choose to follow this process or have a pro do it, you are only 9 steps away from a beautifully clean koi pond.
Let’s explore these 9 steps and see how they can help your pond go from mucky to magnificent:
Tools For Cleaning Your Koi Pond
- 200+ gallon tub for any fish
- Sump pump
- Vacuum pump
- Pressure washer
- Hose and spigot
- Planting supplies
- Plant fertilizer
- 1-3? gravel
Want To Learn More About Pond Maintenance?
Download Our Free Guide!
Want To Learn More About Pond Maintenance?
Download Our Free Guide!
1. Remove Any Fish And Drain Your Koi Pond
Now there are certain cleaning methods that allow the pond to still have water in it. We like to drain the pond instead so we can do a more detailed clean.
There are some worries that this method can hurt your pond’s ecosystem, specifically the beneficial bacteria. Don’t worry, if done correctly the draining will not have any lasting negative impact on your koi pond.
Here is how to drain your koi pond:
- If you have fish, use the sump pump to drain 1’ of water
- Put some of the pond water into the tub for the fish (it puts less stress on them)
- Now move your fish to the tub
- Finally, drain the rest of the water out
But don’t start cleaning it just yet.
2. Check Your Koi Pond For Problems
Sometimes small problems can become more recognizable when the water is gone. That makes this is an excellent chance to look for any problems with your pond:
- Overgrown plants
- Broken materials
- Liner damage
- Non-organic debris
- Shifted rocks
It’s better to fix these issues now rather than let them become major complications later.
3. Clean The Pond Shelves And Walls
Plant matter and muck, in general, can worm its way between the rocks. It gunks up your pond and makes it look…messy.
You can flush that muck out using the sump pump and your pond water. It’s both convenient and environmentally friendly.
Now you just have to use the vacuum pump to remove the waste.
4. Power Wash Your Koi Pond
Scale, algae, and debris are still left clinging to your pond. Left alone it can build up and hurt your pond’s look and ecosystem.
But you have a pressure washer.
Holding it too close to the rocks can damage them, the beneficial bacteria, and the liner, so take care! 8” or more is enough room to clean the rocks with damaging anything.
The pond part of the pond is now clean, but the rest isn’t.
5. Care For Any Aquatic Plants
Left uncheck, aquatic plants can be just as bad as algae. They can clog your pond and make it look disorganized and untidy.
This is where you grab your shears and any repotting materials. Trim back any plants that are overgrowing their area and any dead plant matter.
If your plants are growing out of their pots:
- First, put plant fertilizer into a plant pot
- Next, put in a few inches of dirt
- Then, cut a bulb from the existing plant
- it should be the diameter of a cantaloupe and trimmed at the top
- Plant the bulb
- Cover the bulb with a thin layer of dirt
- gently pack the dirt so it isn’t loose
- Finish it off with a thin layer of gravel
Your plants should now be under control and ready to grow. Check out the video to see this process as it happens.
You can also discover some of the best aquatic plants for koi ponds >>