Destinations Magazine

The Pond That Spawned the Big One

By Alternativeeden @markngaz
Fondness... that's how I will always view the 'Prequel' pond, with fondness. Not only did it lead to us to building a much bigger one but the lessons we have learned from maintaining it have been invaluable.
The Pond that Spawned the Big One

Yes lessons, so many lessons learned and they are all valuable, like a string of real pearls (how aquatic appropriate!).


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

It took awhile to stabilise our system, mainly because of our previous inexperience with the hobby but the more knowledge and hands on experience we acquired the better we became and now our system is running smoothly and the problems we encountered then rarely make an appearance nowadays. And even if any did, we would now know how to deal with them much better (or at least not panic!). Experience is indeed the best teacher.

Small pond to big pond, the care principles are nearly identical, modified only by the difference in size. But the lessons learned from the small pond will make it much easier to maintain the big pond, spot signs of potential problems and not let them get any further, and most important of all is to further gain pleasure and enjoyment out of the hobby. 

When I was writing my previous post about the 'prequel' pond I had to go through plenty of old photos, from the early years when we first started dabbling into koi keeping and keeping a well filtered pond. Looking at the photos has certainly made me smile, it was nice to look back. And also nice to remember some of the 'pearls of wisdom' and knowledge we have gained since. Each photo has its own story, and although there were hundreds I narrowed down and selected a few and here are some of them, each with a story and lesson behind them.


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

Each fish is a new pet and we find as much excitement bringing home a new pet as much as we buy and bring home a new plant. But as pets they do come with responsibilities and taking care of them starts the moment you leave the shop and start the process of introducing them to their new home. 

The Pond that Spawned the Big One

A tangle of pipes

The original filter for this pond was the small canister to the right hand side corner of this photo, good enough for goldfish but not good enough for koi. So we had to install a new filter system more suitable to koi that is able to handle the waste they produce. And because keeping koi was an afterthought rather than forethought when we built this pond, it became a case of retro fitting.. 
The Pond that Spawned the Big One

And retro fitting it was, just look at all those unsightly pipes over the edge of the pond. The original pipework was all hidden but it's more difficult with retro fitting hence these pipes had to go over the edges. Nevermind, the health of the fish takes priority and they do need that filter.


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

A vat of fish poo...yuck I almost hear most of you say. The filter system we installed, despite its size is actually basic and high maintenance and we had to contend manually with cleaning the sponges quite regularly to keep the water clear and discourage parasites that can harm the fish. This filter is fine if you have lots of spare time to maintain it and not squeamish, it does filter very well but we can't be doing this sort of maintenance in the big pond. So a better, more convenient system was installed with the new build, knowing how high maintenance this old pond can be. And when this pond gets redone later on, the filter will be changed too...


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

Ugly ugly nets, they are awful aren't they? But we have had heron visits in the past and the safety of the fish comes first. But we can't carry on having a plastic mesh over the pond held in place with stone block and bamboo canes...


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

So wooden panels with rigid mesh were constructed and reed screening at one panel to provide some shade to the fish. To be honest I still didn't like them but they are much better than those plastic mesh. On days we can be bothered we actually remove the panels but most of the time we leave them on, it protects the fish and keeps debris away. But oh to have pond without any mesh, net, cages on top of it would be a delight....


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

Living jewels behind bars...


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

They don't mind really but the human owners prefer not to have any obstruction to their view. So the new pond will not have any netting on it but still shelter them from potential harm and predators...


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

Koi tolerate cold temperatures, yes but they're not exactly happy with it. So insulation and providing cover in the winter is a consideration...


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

A nice raised pond but where are the plants? The ones in the vegetable filter don't count...


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

A concrete slab just won't do, landscape the area too...


The Pond that Spawned the Big One

Gardening, ponds, and koi keeping can complement each other. 

Looking back at the photos has certainly made me smile, it has been an adventure and a journey of discovery during the early years. The experience we have gained and the lessons we have learned, from both the pleasures and the problems we have encountered before has made us more confident to take on a bigger responsibility of maintaining a much larger pond and to move on much further with the hobby.

Mark :-)

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