Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a pro koi fish caretaker? Feeding them is easy, but koi fish do have special characteristics that, combined with their expensive price tags, make them require a bit more skill than the average home fish owner to care for. Level up your koi fish care skills and equip yourself with greater knowledge on how to care for your colorful pond gems.
Basic Koi Fish Information
Koi fish can grow up to 36 inches (91 centimeters) long. They can live for more than 50 years, and they also thrive in a range of different water temperatures, making them possible to care for in different weather climates. A type of carp native to Japan, the most special and prized koi fish have been bred by highly specialized breeders in their origin country, and are often exported to America and other parts of the world. The fish themselves are generally of a peaceful temperament, but they may sometimes pick on other fish which may be slow moving, for example grabbing food before the slower fish do. Koi are also able to recognize patterns, and as such will remember their feeding times, as well as who usually comes to feed them.
Safe Water Temperatures
Koi are able to thrive in different temperatures, as they adjust to temperatures well. If outdoors, koi are even able to withstand the winter and your pond water freezing over, as they will stay beneath the ice and will usually stop eating at water temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. (Make sure your pond is at least 2 feet deep otherwise your entire pond might freeze through!) If indoors, koi prefer a temperature of between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It would be good to install a light in an indoor aquarium for 8 to 12 hours a day.
Koi Fish Specifications
Mature koi should be kept in an outdoor pond at least 2 feet deep, ensuring there is a ratio of 50 gallons of water per single fish in the pond. Young koi may be kept indoors, with a ratio of at least 29 gallons of water per fish. Avoid letting the aquarium receive direct sunlight and cold drafts so that the water temperature does not become too extreme or fluctuate too much within a season. The aquarium should ideally be covered with a hood, which will prevent evaporation and also stop fish from jumping out of the water.
To transfer new koi to an existing aquarium, float them in the water inside their bag for about 10 minutes. This allows them to acclimatize to the new water temperature. However if the aquarium already contains other fish, be sure to quarantine the koi for 2 to 4 weeks to ensure they are healthy and did not contract any sickness or diseases on the way to your abode. Use a net to transfer the koi so as not to mix different types of water. It is best to not add more than 3 koi at a time. Your aquarium filter should be able to process all of the water 3 to 5 times per hour. Taking a 20-gallon tank as an example, your filter must be able to process at least 60 gallons of water every hour, if not more. Adding beneficial bacteria to your pond helps in the breaking down of waste in the tank.