How to Start a Koi Pond

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As a novice Koi pond keeper, I’ve made plenty of mistakes this summer. Luckily, my fish and plants are very forgiving. The biggest mistake to date was not allowing enough room for my tiny friends (who aren’t so tiny any more) to grow and thrive. I realized, after six months of pond care, that I needed a bigger pond. So, if you’re in the same boat as I was, here’s a quick reference guide on how to expand your existing pond.

First of all, make a plan. If you’re like me, you dug your first pond without much thought to the natural lay of the land and hours of sun, etc. Here is your chance to correct those mistakes. Start by understanding how rainwater runs off your yard. If you continually get algae blooms and muddy water, you are getting too much run off. You should take this into consideration when expanding your pond so that you can avoid this going forward. You may actually need to grade your yard in such a manner that you actually build up the area around your pond to reduce the amount of runoff you are getting, or install a drain to divert excess runoff.

Secondly, make sure that your Koi pond is deep enough. When I dug my first pond, I used a preformed hard plastic pond liner that limited my pond depth to 18″. It made it very difficult for my fish to hide as they grew, causing all sorts of ruckus with the neighborhood cats and assorted wildlife. I ended up installing a cave feature for them to hide in, but they stayed in it so much that I never saw them.

Water depth is also important for wintering your fish. After reading many well-written articles on the Web, I realized that my pond was simply not deep enough for my fish to be able to survive through the winter and it really isn’t a good idea to try and re-house them into an aquarium.

Ok, so now you know why you should expand your pond, but the question now is, how. My first suggestion is to go to your local pond supply store and purchase a flexible rubber pond liner. Buy it larger than you need. This will ensure that you are able to make your pond fit your yard and not the other way around. Secondly, get a bigger pump. Regardless of what size you purchased before, you’ll need a bigger one to move the additional water. This is also a good time to mention filtration. If you either didn’t install a water filter in your first attempt, or you want to install a larger one, now is the time to address that. After your pond has been expanded, you’ll be less likely to drain it and install these items later, which will ultimately be the death of your Koi.

Next, drain your pond and place your fish and plants into a container large enough to house them for the next 24-48 hours. When transferring these animals into their temporary new quarters, make sure that the water you drop them into came from your old pond. This will lessen the amount of stress they undergo during the transition.

Finally, grab a shovel and start digging. As you dig your pond, keep in mind that it is a good idea to have deep areas as well as shallower ones. The fish like to bask in the shallow areas, it helps them to regulate their body temperatures, plus some of your aquatic plants will benefit from the warmer water nearer the surface. The deeper areas offer a place for your Koi to hide and cool off.

Install your new liner, set up the pump and filtration and fill with water that has been treated to remove chlorine, chloramines, etc. Let the pond run for 24 hours before reintroducing your plants and fish. This should allow for water temperature stabilization and reduce the stress on your fish.

For more information, please visit There is a wealth of knowledge contained in the articles presented here that will help you with every aspect of pond care and Koi keeping. is also a great site.

Enjoy your new Koi Pond!


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