Koi pond design requires considering many factors and planning accordingly. Good planning makes for good, healthy, trouble-free ponds.
Koi Pond Design And Why Size Matters
Pond size is a very important consideration when building a koi pond.
So just how big should you build a koi fish pond? I realize for some space will be a big factor. Some folks have lots of room others will have space limitations. But the simple answer is make your koi pond large as you can.
Plan Ahead With Your Koi Pond Design
First, koi keeping is an infectious hobby. You will definitely want more koi as you go along.
Also, I never heard of anyone that complained their pond was too large, but a lot of people wish they had built a bigger koi fish pond.
So consider and factor your future needs into your koi pond design. Also, be aware that your overall cost per square foot of pond is actually lower with a larger pond and larger ponds are more stable being better able to handle temperature and pH swings.
I think 4,000 gallons should be the minimum size in a koi pond design.
Koi can eventually grow 36 inches long and can easily live 25 to 35 years if well cared for.
Because of their size, they need water at least 4 feet deep because they are active swimmers.
To properly develop their muscle structure they must be able to swim both horizontally and vertically.
Consider Stocking Rates In Your Koi Pond Design
They may seem small when you first get them but they won’t stay that way.
Under ideal conditions, you might be able to get away with eight mature fish in a 4,000-gallon pond but four to six is better. So think ahead!
There are a lot of complicated formulas to determine how many koi you can keep.
But the efficiency of your filtration system and the surface area of your koi pond will be the biggest factors.
A good rule of thumb is one fish per 1000 gallons. If you have great filtration and a large surface area you may be able to get away with 2 koi fish per thousand gallons.
So now you can see why I say build it as large as you can.
When you design a koi pond these things must be considered from the start.
Although it’s not complicated to get it right you can’t just dig a hole, throw a liner in, fill it with water and expect everything to be OK.
Koi Pond Design And Water Garden Designs Are Different
If you have been reading garden pond books for information most of what you read will be about goldfish, and many people think koi require the same type of care.
Koi and goldfish are related but that’s where the similarity ends. Please be aware they have totally different requirements and that most of what you read is just plain dead wrong for koi keeping.
One thing to avoid at all costs is the use of planting shelves. These make great perches for herons and raccoons who find koi quite tasty.
Goldfish are small and can hide but koi are large and can not and their size makes them irresistible to predators.
Figuring Out The Volume Of Your Koi Pond
The simplest way to calculate gallons is Length X Width X Depth = Total Cubic Feet X 7.48 = Total Gallons.
So a 10′ x 10′ x 4′ pond would have 400 cubic feet or 2992 gallons and if we took the same pond and made it 6 feet deep we would have 4488 gallons.
So if your allotted space is small you can make up for it by going deeper. Even 8 feet would work fine.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to dig that far because part of your pond can be above ground.
But it is better if your koi fish pond has more surface area in addition to the depth.
It’s a good idea to go out and measure your site. Sometimes we think there’s more room than we really have. So drag a tape measure around. Then go play around with the numbers.
And keep in mind you will need space for your filtration system as well. Think about how many fish you want.
You don’t want to overstock your koi pond because it’s unhealthy for the fish.
Also aesthetically instead of building a koi pond, it will look more like a bunch of fish in a barrel.
Take Your Time And Get Your Koi Pond Design Right
Take your time and plan things out. You can only dig a koi pond once. There is no such thing as a second chance so you want to start building your koi pond with a solid koi pond design.
Buying a koi pond kit can help get you started on the right foot because the engineering for whatever size pond you buy is already taken care of.
Get Started With A Koi Pond Kit
Savio makes great stuff. I use their skimmer and waterfall in my pond. This kit is good for 1000-1800 gallon koi fish ponds. More sizes are available on Amazon.