What is a Koi Pond: Everything You Need to Know

It is a dream of nearly every fish keeper or koi fish enthusiast to one day own their own koi pond. After all, koi ponds are well known for the peace and tranquility that they create, making them among the best fish ponds that one can have in their backyard. So whether you are an amateur koi collector who’s just starting or a seasoned koi fish owner looking to add to your extensive knowledge, Koi Fish USA is here to answer all your questions about koi fish ponds.

Today, we’ll be discussing what koi fish ponds are, how much maintenance these ponds require, where they can be installed, what types of fish can live in a koi pond, and we’ll even add in a few tips for starting your first koi pond. These are some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive here at Koi Fish USA, and we hope that you’ll feel prepared to set up your own after reading this article. So with that, let’s get started!

What is a Koi Pond?

Koi ponds are essentially large fish tanks for your koi to swim in. That being said, they’re also an attractive landscape feature to have in your backyard. High-quality koi ponds are carefully constructed, and the walls are meant to go straight down. This prevents any predators from gaining access to your koi fish. Koi ponds are also traditionally designed to create a peaceful atmosphere closely associated with the koi fish themselves.

One of the best things about koi ponds is that they can be designed according to your preferences. While some koi fish enthusiasts prefer for their koi ponds to be free of rocks, gravel, and aquatic plants to give them an unobstructed view of their koi fish, others take the opportunity to design their koi pond to be a center point of their landscaping. Either way, your koi can be raised successfully regardless of which avenue you take.

Koi ponds have a minimum depth of 3’ but are often between 5’ and 6’ feet in depth. That being said, some koi ponds are much deeper than that. A koi pond can also feature Bubble-Less external aeration technology, making it easy to gain an unobstructed view of your koi fish any time of the day. A koi pond may also feature a waterfall. However, in most cases, this waterfall feature is not a part of the pond’s filtration system itself, as is the case in Water Garden Ponds, Crossover Ponds, or Hybrid Ponds.

5 Principles to Follow For a High-Quality Koi Fish Pond

Whether you are a casual keeper of koi fish who wants a unique water feature for your home or are a passionate koi fish hobbyist who wants your koi fish pond to be the highest quality possible, there are five principles you should follow for a high-quality koi fish pond. Here are the guidelines you should keep in mind as you seek out to build your koi fish pond:


  1. An efficient filter system: A sound filter system is essential to the health and development of your koi fish. While a koi pond and its filtration system can be separate structurally, the two work as one. While some filter system manufacturers claim to offer filter systems that require little to no maintenance, your koi fish will thrive if you select a filter system that features the following:
  1. Pump: For water to move from the pond via the bottom drains to the filter system’s series of chambers before driving it back into the pond through a simple water pipe or waterfall feature, a pump that efficiently works around the clock should be used.
  1. Ultraviolet light: Ultraviolet lamps that are submerged work to clarify pond water. This is done by breaking down microscopic algae that would otherwise turn the pond’s water into an unattractive green color. Additionally, ultraviolet light helps to control the proliferation of bacteria that can be harmful to your fish.
  1. Temperature control: It is well-known that koi tend to thrive in water temperatures of 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius). Either way, you don’t want your koi fish to freeze or overheat. For this reason, it’s a good idea to place your pond thoughtfully, preferably in an area that provides some shade from direct sunlight. To cool things further, you may consider installing a chiller. While not every koi fish hobbyist will go to these lengths, expensive koi fish ponds sometimes contain a chiller.
  1. Aeration: Finally, it is vital to consider that since fish breathe by extracting oxygen from the water, pumps that blow air into either diffusers or porous stones at the bottom of the koi pond are essential.

How Much Maintenance Do Koi Ponds Require?

Another frequently asked question that we receive here at Koi Fish USA is how much maintenance a koi pond requires. You’ll be happy to know that while koi ponds require attention to maintenance to keep your koi happy and healthy, maintaining a properly constructed koi pond takes no more than a few minutes each week. That is, as long as you pay attention to the critical principles outlined in the previous section of this article.

With an aeration system installed in your koi pond, all of the oxygen your koi fish require is supplied. Thanks to underwater lighting provided by ultraviolet lamps, your koi pond will be lit even at night, allowing you plenty of opportunities to view your beautiful koi fish. With a filtration system containing a bottom drain and pond skimmer, waste and debris are constantly removed from the pond, not to have to be drained entirely very often. During backwash cycles, nitrates are removed from the water efficiently. Thanks to all of these components, there is very little maintenance that will have to be performed by you every week. For a complete guide to koi pond maintenance, be sure to read our article “Definitive Guide to Koi Fish Pond Maintenance” for helpful tips!

Where Can They Be Installed?

One of the best things about koi ponds is that it is possible to add a koi pond to a wide variety of outdoor living spaces. That being said, there are a few essential factors you should consider when choosing the perfect outdoor area for your koi pond. First, the location you choose should offer enough room to install an adequately-sized pond. For this reason, some small backyard areas may not be ideal.

Secondly, you should also consider visibility. Suppose you want to incorporate your koi pond into larger outdoor designs, for example. In that case, your pond should be in a location that is easily visible and accessible. An ideal location for your koi pond is an area that is already level and isn’t wholly shaded.

What Types of Fish Can Live in a Koi Pond?

Another common question we receive at Koi Fish USA is whether or not other types of fish can also thrive in a koi pond. One of the best things about installing a koi pond is that a well-designed pond can become a home for many aquatic creatures. In addition, your koi can live harmoniously with some other types of fish, including goldfish. Still, it is crucial to consider that not every kind of backyard fish is suitable.

Before introducing a new fish species to your koi pond, you must conduct the appropriate research to see how the species will interact with your existing koi fish. Additionally, you’ll want to identify what kinds of demands the introduction of a new species will put on the maintenance of the pond itself.

Tips For Starting Your Own Koi Pond

When starting your koi pond, it is helpful to remember some of the most common mistakes made when building a koi pond. Some of these common errors are easily managed. Still, others can make maintenance and guaranteeing the best life possible for your koi fish difficult. Here are a few things to consider when starting your koi pond:

  • Avoid a pond that is too shallow or too small: It is always better to make a reservoir of a sufficient size once rather than digging the hole too shallow or too small and having to re-do it. Take the time to ensure that your pond is of the appropriate size and depth the first time. It will save you a lot of time in the long run!
  • Ensure that your inflow and outflow of water isn’t open to wastewater: This is an important consideration to make as leaving your inflow and outflow open to wastewater makes it easy for insecticides and acidic rainwater to get in.
  • Take the consequences of lining your pond with boulders or large pebbles into consideration: Before outfitting your koi pond with boulders or large stones, keep in mind that while this may be an attractive choice aesthetically, this makes it nearly impossible to clean the bottom of your pond adequately.
  • No bottom water intake: Having a bottom water intake is essential as the bottom fence dramatically simplifies the maintenance of the reservoir.
  • Not choosing the location of the filter in advance: Filtration location needs to be carefully considered as proper filtration is the basis of an environment where fish as big as koi fish can thrive.
  • Placing the waterfall too high: If your waterfall is too high up, the wind can easily carry falling water away from the reservoir.
  • Choosing too complex of a shape for the koi pond: If your koi pond is oddly shaped, water can quickly stagnate in the corners of the pond, and the current will be unable to wipe away dirt.

For tips on how to build your own koi pond step-by-step, check out this article. It’s packed with plenty of valuable instructions regarding every step involved in designing and building your pond.

Should You Buy a Koi Fish Pond Kit or DIY Your Koi Pond?

When building your koi pond, there are two options at your disposal to set it up: a koi fish pond kit or a DIY koi pond. For those relatively new to the hobby of koi fish collecting, kits provide a method of easy setup by providing all needed materials for a simple process. The main benefit of using a koi fish pond kit is that it saves a lot of time. Otherwise, you’d have to spend a lot of time researching the various parts and components needed to build your pond.

DIY ponds, however, provide you with the perfect opportunity to build the pond following your unique preferences for the space. While a lot of time will be required to do the necessary research and planning, and designing the pond, you will end up with precisely the pond you want. If you have dreams of building a koi fish pond to your exact specifications, the DIY route is likely best for you. On the other hand, if you want an easy setup with as little time required as possible, a koi fish pond kit is the preferable option for you.

Koi Pond Ideas to Consider

Indoor Pond Vs. Outdoor Pond

One of the first considerations you should make when designing your koi pond is whether you want it indoors or outdoors. Indoor ponds are typically less expensive than outdoor ponds because they are smaller. Typically, indoor ponds can be purchased as koi fish pond kits and come as raised and durable plastic containers that may feature viewing windows and a wooden or plastic shell.

Outdoor ponds offer more room for creativity because of the space allowed to work with. Depending on the size of your garden, you could choose to add a stream or waterfalls, as well as rocks and stones around the edge of the pond. If you want as much room as possible to make your koi pond the oasis you want it to be, an outdoor pond will be the best option.

Koi Pond Plants

Koi fish are notorious for eating aquatic plants placed in their ponds. For this reason, you’ll want to ensure that your fish are kept well fed to increase the livelihood of the plants in your pond. In this way, choosing the right koi pond plants is essential.

As a general rule of thumb when it comes to koi pond plants, the best plants generally grow faster than others. It should also be noted that different plants require varying amounts of light for photosynthesis and growth. Here are a few ideas of the best types of koi pond plants to consider for your pond:

  • Floating plants: Water lettuce, water lily, etc.
  • Submerged plants: Fanwort, American Waterweed, etc.

Use Gadgets to Make Your Pond Predator-Proof

There are a variety of gadgets that you can use to make your koi pond predator-proof. For example, you can use ultrasonic devices that make noise whenever a predatory bird or land animal approaches your pond. The noise emitted can only be heard by animals so that the gadget won’t disturb anyone else. Additionally, you may want to consider installing automatic water squirts to scare away cats or dogs that might have their eye on your koi fish. These are excellent koi pond ideas to protect your koi fish from predators!

Choose the Right Rocks For Your Pond

When adding rocks to your koi fish pond, you’ll want to make sure they are safe for your fish. Avoid using decorative, colored stones used for other purposes, as these can kill your fish over time. You’ll also want to choose rocks that are smoother on the sides and bottoms as koi fish are naturally curious. If the stones in your pond are sharp or pointy, these types can harm your fish when they curiously check them out.

Koi Fish USA For All Your Koi Fish Pond Needs!

Now that you know how to create the koi pond of your dreams, you deserve an online koi fish supplier that you can depend on to meet and exceed your expectations every time. While following the tips outlined in this article will be extremely helpful as you set up your koi pond, selecting high-quality koi fish is just as important! At Koi Fish USA, we offer only the most beautiful and healthy koi fish.

With over 25 years of combined experience in the online koi and goldfish industry, we are the experts you can rely on. We have a passion for providing the safest, most high-quality koi fish on the market, all at a price to suit your budget. So check out our selection of butterfly koi, standard koi, and goldfish today!

We look forward to helping you achieve your dreams of owning a koi pond that you can enjoy for years to come. With the best koi fish on the market, your koi fish pond will be sure to be a success! That’s the power of working with Koi Fish USA!