Almost every fish keeper’s dream is to one day have a pond or water garden at their home. Koi ponds are the best of all ponds, with some displaying the most tranquil and peaceful sceneries in the world.

Young Koi are sometimes kept in large aquariums until they outgrow them, at this point they can be moved over to a garden pond.

These fish have a long and extremely colorful history in the fish keeping industry!

In this article we are going to discuss everything you need to know about Koi ponds from both indoor and outdoor kits, to DIY ideas, as well as a step by step guide on how to build your own Koi pond.

What is a Koi Fish Pond?

Koi Pond

Koi fish are Japanese color variations of the Amur Carp (Cyprinus rubrofuscus), an Asian relative of the European Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) which come from the same family (Cyprinidae) as Goldfish.

When they started showing different color mutations, farmers began to selectively breed them which resulted in the production of Narumi Asagi Koi, the first known variety of Koi in the early 1800s.

A couple of centuries later, there are now dozens of known color varieties of Koi. Across Europe and America, keeping Koi in outdoor ponds and water gardens has exploded in popularity.

Koi are hugely popular all around the world for the different color forms they can produce.

A Koi pond is a pond which has been designed and built specifically to keep these colorful carp. They are usually designed in a way that gives the pond a harmonious feel to maximize the health of the fish to help them reach their full size and best color.

Kits vs DIY Koi Ponds

Kits provide people who are relatively new to the hobby with a complete setup that is simple to put together.

The main benefit of kits is that it saves people a lot of time, which would otherwise be spent researching all of the different parts and components that are needed to build your own pond.

Whereas, DIY Ponds provide you with the opportunity to build the pond you have been dreaming of.

A lot of time will need to go into research, planning and designing the pond. But you will end up with the exact pond you want.

How to Build a Koi Pond

Step 1: Design the Pond

Before getting to the actual building of the pond, it is essential that you first put your ideas down on paper.

This lets you create your dream Koi pond, it will also mean you can calculate the amount of materials you will need for the specific dimensions and layout of the pond.

Step 2: Ground Work

Outline the Pond

Outline the Pond

Once you have your idea on paper, you can then outline the area of the pond. You should also outline the places where key elements like the filtration system, skimmer and waterfall or other key features will be placed.

Dig the Pond

Dig The Pond

With everything outlined, you can now start excavating the pond.

It is very important that you add different tiers and shelves to the pond (shown in the picture) as different plants will occupy different regions and depths of the pond. The lowest point of the pond should at least 5 feet deep (150CM).

Dig the Trenches

A trench will need to be dug for the plumbing from the pond to the external filter and/or waterfall. Pond skimmers will need burying at the correct level beside the pond.

Should you choose to use a skimmer, dig a trench to the external pond pump and from the pump to the external pond filter and/or waterfall. If you use a submersible pump for the skimmer then the trench will go from the skimmer to the waterfall/filter.

Install Bottom Drainage

Bottom drainage is used to remove fish waste from the bottom of the pond – having one will save you time as there will be less maintenance needed.

Dig a hole in the center of the deepest section of the pond where the drain will sit. The bottom section should be rounded and bowled to allow gravity to do the work of moving the waste towards the drain.

Then dig a trench to house the flex pipe that connects the drain to the vortex and settlement tank. After inserting these components, back fill the hole and trench with dirt leaving only the intake exposed.

Step 3: Lining and Edging Pond

Underlaying the Pond

Underlaying the Pond

Now you need to fit underlay to the pond.

Cut some pond underlay to the correct size using either sharp scissors or a box cutter and lay it flat across the bottom and sides of the pond. Make sure to cut an “X” into the underlay where the bottom drainage is.

Lining the Pond

Lining the Pond

Once the underlay has been fitted, you need to line the pond.

Place the liner in the middle of the pond and carefully unfold it, being sure not to damage it.

Unfold it all the way out to cover the pond (as shown in the picture).

Connecting the Bottom Drain and Skimmer

After making sure that you have enough liner to cover the bottom and side of the pond, cut an “X” into the bottom of the liner above where the bottom drain is.

Once this is done, make sure the drain and the liner are clean and dry before gluing them together and removing any wrinkles. Then you will need to screw the top section of the drain to the bottom half which is protruding from the pond in order to form a tight seal and prevent any leaks.

After this is complete there will be four small triangles of excess liner inside of the drain where the “X” has been cut, these will need cutting off to allow water and debris to pass smoothly through the bottom drain.

For the skimmer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and place the piping in the correct position, making sure to leave a couple of additional inches to allow for the connection to be made.

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