What’s the Difference Between a Koi Fish Pond and a Water Garden?

There comes a time in every backyard enthusiast’s life where they have to ask themselves a serious question. When electing to add a pond to your backyard, it’s important to think about whether or not you will ever want fish in your pond. This is because, at the end of the day, there is a huge difference between how a koi fish pond and a water garden are built. For one, fish need an adequate amount of filtration to stay healthy. On the other hand, a water garden needs nothing other than plants depending on how clear you want the water to be. It should also be noted that a koi fish pond requires far more maintenance and time than a water garden. 

Today, Koi Fish USA will be explaining the key differences between a koi fish pond and a water garden. We will tell you what each requires, as well as some critical decisions you need to make when building each in your backyard. With this guide, you’ll be given a basic understanding of how to build either depending on your preference. With that, let’s get started!

What Do You Need For a Water Garden?

Each water garden, even basic water ponds, have some essential components that you will need. A basic water garden, for example, will contain a high-efficiency pump, a good quality liner, and plenty of stone and gravel. If you have a little more money to spend on your water garden, you have the option of adding a filtration system. Still, unlike a koi fish pond, this is not required for a water garden. Another bonus of building a water garden in your backyard is the fact that larger ponds don’t necessarily cost much more than smaller ones.

When building a water garden, there are a few basic steps to follow. First, you’ll want to plan how large you want your pond to be and pick a good location for it. Once you have done this prep work, simply dig a hole at the adequate width, length, and depth, and add a quality liner. You can then hide the liner by decorating the edges of the pond. Next, install a pump to circulate the water. Depending on your own personal vision, you can add a waterfall feature or decorative fountain based on your aesthetic preferences. Lastly, add your favorite water plants and- bingo- you’ve built your own personal water garden!

The biggest difference you need to keep in mind between water gardens and koi fish ponds is that, because a water garden will not have to support the lives of fish, no filtration system is needed. In fact, an abundance of water plants is often enough to keep your pond’s water fairly clear- with the exception of algae blooms which are likely to spring up.

What Do You Need for a Koi Fish Pond?

Unlike water gardens, there are far more components required for a koi fish pond due to the fact that they have to be able to support your fish and keep them healthy throughout the span of their lives. Koi fish are dependent on their koi fish pond as their home and it must have proper filtration and aeration, among other things, to keep them happy and healthy. For this reason, there are far more precautions to take when building a koi fish pond as opposed to a water garden. Here are the most important things to keep in mind as you purchase the items needed for your future koi fish pond and build it in your backyard:

  • Digging the hole for your koi fish pond: When digging a hole for a water garden, most pond owners like to include a plant shelf around the perimeter of the pond to be used not only for plants but also as a safety precaution. While this is both helpful and decorative in the case of a water garden, a plant shelf can also be used by predators to stand on while trying to catch fish out of your koi pond. When digging a hole for your new koi fish pond, we suggest leaving a plant shelf out.
  • Installing a liner and decorating the edges of the pond: There isn’t much of a difference between a koi fish pond and a water garden in terms of installing a liner. That being said, you’ll want to be careful about what edges stick out onto the water’s edge. Koi fish, especially when spawning, may jump up from the water and protruding edges could injure and even kill them. Be proactive about this when installing a liner in your koi fish pond.
  • Installing a pump to circulate the water: For a koi fish pond, not just any pump will be sufficient. We recommend turning the water on at least once per hour. If you have a 700 gallon koi fish pond, for example, you should install a pump that will circulate 700 gallons per hour for the best results.
  • Adding plants to your koi fish pond: Unlike a water garden, a koi fish pond will require very specific plant species. For example, koi fish favor the tender roots of plants such as Water Hyacinths. Koi fish also love lily pads. Though your koi fish will likely feast upon the plants you put in your koi fish pond, plants are naturally beneficial to your fish pond and should most certainly be added during the building process.
  • Filtration for your koi fish pond: Last but certainly not least, proper filtration is fundamental when it comes to a koi fish pond, even if this is less important for a water garden. There are 3 main reasons to include a proper filtration system in your koi fish pond: 1) Your filtration system will be responsible for removing ammonia from the pond. Koi fish create waste which introduces ammonia which can be lethal in nearly any concentration. 2) Your filtration system will remove large debris from the pond. It should be noted that large debris, such as leaves, will not go through the filtration material, but will be removed from the pond when you clean the filter media. 3) Proper filtration prevents algae growth. While some algae is natural in any pond, too much can be harmful. Proper filtration will keep your algae levels at a healthy level for your fish.

Koi Fish USA For All of Your Koi Fish Pond Needs!

Now that you know the fundamental differences between a koi fish pond and a water garden, you have all of the necessary information to make the best choice for your backyard. If you are planning to add a koi fish pond to your yard, Koi Fish USA has everything you’ll need to get started!

At Koi Fish USA, we pride ourselves on being the most reliable online seller of beautiful standard koi, butterfly koi, and goldfish. Our fish have been fully quarantined, meaning that they are healthy and safe to be added to your fish pond. Best of all, we offer a 14-day guarantee on every fish sold by Koi Fish USA. Browse our selection of gorgeous fish today and stock your pond new koi fish pond!

If you have any questions along the way, feel free to contact us. To stay up to date on everything koi fish and goldfish-related, visit our blog where we offer helpful tips surrounding everything about koi fish ownership. As always, thanks for reading and we hope to help you supply your koi fish pond with gorgeous koi fish and goldfish that you can enjoy for years to come!