advice on garden ponds please for a complete beginner.?

Janet W asks: advice on garden ponds please for a complete beginner.?
hi there , we have moved into a house that has a very large pond in the garden (15ft wide 4and a half foot deep) we have drained the pond which was absolutely filthy ,cleaned it,installed brand new pumps and filters etc which we know are the right size for the volume of water.and filled it up again with clean water. its definitely watertight. we have been watching the water level for the past three weeks and it hasn’t fallen at all. my question is… now what? how long do we need to leave it before we add any fish?and do we need to add anything to the water before we add the fish.? my husband is particularly keen to have koi carp so we’ve been told not to put any plants in there as they will eat them. can anyone please offer us any sound advice.
all sensible answers greatly appreciated. x

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Answer by thegubmint
That’s a pretty deep pond. Not that it’s a bad thing to be that deep, but it makes maintenance tougher and is kind of deep for plants. The fish will like it.

Koi will root around and eat some plants, especially soft one like anacharis. You do need plants in there though. You have plenty of room for water lilies, lotus, cattails, pickerel rush, and any number of others. The trick is to put them in pots and cover the surface of the pot with gravel after you put the plants in, that will help keep the koi out until the plants get well-rooted. Put water hyacinth and/or water lettuce in the pond. They will rapidly increase and have long, trailing roots that will both filter the water and keep the koi’s attention from the other plants. Just be sure to not put them in any natural water sources as they are invasive and actually outlawed in some places. They make excellent compost when they get to be too much.

You should be able to put fish and plants in now. Three weeks is plenty. You don’t need to add anything to the water. You can go with testing and everything, but after 20 years of having ponds, I’ve pretty much given that up unless something bad manifests. I’ve found that fish do just fine in just about any water I’ve given them. Currently, I have koi, shubunkins, sarassa comets, comets, and golden orfes in my pond that I’ve never tested. The plants I have in right now are a couple of water lilies, one lotus, a couple of pots of taro, an acorus, some bog bean, one louisiana iris, and some water hyacinth.

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  1. Koi require lots of filtration and lots of work. Think hard before you buy koi. Goldfish are just as pretty and don’t require as much money or work.
    You should be able to add fish now, but in the future, add a dechlorinator after you add water. There are heavy metals in the water and the dechlor removes them.
    For much more info, see my website at:
    Good luck. You will love your pond.

  2. you drained and cleaned the pond, got new pump and filter…. so you are starting from the beginning…… now, don’t do that again or you’ll be starting over all over again……. . the smartest move is to no do fish yet…. let the pond get ‘balanced’ …. that means a year or so before fish… it’s going to go thru an algae bloom as soon as the hot sun and warm temperature get the water in good shape to grow the algae…. you’ll not want fish in there when that happens, cuz if you plan to use chemicals to clear it, the fish will not like it at all…. once you get plants in there to shade at least 60% of the surface, maybe a bit of dye in the early stages to help starve the algae of sunlight, too… after you learn to keep the water’s pH right and how to declorinate, change a percentage of water to refresh the pond and all that other stuff that you need to know, like netting, scooping, cleaning filters, clearing pumps, etc etc…. THEN you’ll be ready for fish….
    koi?… not until you’re GOOD at this pond stuff… not until you learn what wildlife comes to your pond…. a heron can have thirty dollar fish for lunch and not bat an eyelash or say thanks….. racoons, too…. use this first year to learn ponding…. get that water sparkling and enjoy the waterfall or fountain…. fish later….

    there’s lots of good info here… it got me going with my first pond…

    Pondlady has good info on her site, too…

  3. Yes great advice about plants first, fish later. The pond is most likely in the sun and the fish need plenty of shade. Get a few pots of lillies. They will spread out and cover the whole pond if you
    let them. You can just buy little cheap goldfish at the pet store or wal mart and they will grow big in a pond. They are usually comets and are prettier than koi in my opinion and are dirt cheap.

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