Caring for fish is harder than most people think, especially when it comes to one of the most popular domestic fish species of all: koi fish.
Do you plan to keep a group of these resplendent carps as pets? If so, keep these five tips in mind before you move them into their new watery abode.
- Cultivate Your Plants
Koi fish thrive in habitats with live plants. A living ecosystem requires more maintenance than an artificial ecosystem. Curate your plant selection carefully, and employ aquatic weed control to eliminate undesirable weed and algae growth. If you house your koi fish in an outdoor pond, make sure to include a few large surface plants – such as lily pads – that can shelter your koi fish from the hot sun and airborne predators.
- Know Your Dimensions
An average koi fish can grow to be about 100 centimeters – or 39 inches – in length. However, under the right conditions, koi fish can get even bigger. Because of their large growth, you need to plan ahead and make sure that your enclosure can accommodate adult koi fish. Experts recommend that koi ponds be – at minimum – 8 feet long by 6 feet wide and 4 feet deep. Indoor aquariums should hold at least 1,000 gallons of water.
- Do Not Overpopulate
It can be tempting to place many baby koi fish into a single enclosure, but remember – koi fish will grow as they age, and overpopulating your enclosure now will lead to overcrowding later. Koi fish are social creatures and should not be kept alone, but you should try to limit your koi fish population to 15 individuals at maximum.
- Provide Aeration
Koi fish need plenty of oxygen to stay healthy. Make sure to aerate your aquarium or pond. You can do this by installing a bubbler, fountain, or waterfall in your enclosure. You can also add submerged oxygenating plants to your pond; along with providing oxygenation, these types of plants also act as natural water filters.
- Be Wary of Mixing Sexes
Unless you intend to breed your koi fish, you should not house specimens of the opposite sex together. To accurately identify the sexes of your koi fish, take their fin shape, coloration, and overall body size into consideration. If you still are not sure, consult a local expert.
Koi fish make wonderful pets. They are social animals and often directly interact with their keepers. Plus, they are an absolute delight to look at. However, koi fish require special care and attention. Make sure to think about five tips as you decide whether koi fish are the right fit for you.