Do Koi Need Air Pump? {Do Koi Fish Need Oxygen?}

Are you wondering what will happen to your koi if you don’t have an air pump or if yours breaks? Do Koi Ponds Need Air Pumps?

A Koi pond will need an air pump.  Koi need oxygen to survive and an air pump is the best way to oxygenize a koi pond.

It is recommended to use an air pump (available to buy on Amazon) in your pond, But there are also other things that you can do to oxygenize a koi pond which I will go through below.

Do Koi Fish Need an Air Pump?

Like we said, your fish will need oxygen, The best way to add oxygen to water is an air pump, but there are other things which you can do which I will cover below.

Do Koi Ponds Need An Air Pump

that doesn’t have to come from an air pump. If your pond does not have enough air to support the flora and fauna of your pond, everything will likely suffocate and die.

Even with other methods, oxygen depletion in your pond can happen quickly and is dangerous for the whole pond.

What Causes Oxygen Depletion?

The following conditions can cause oxygen depletion in your koi pond

  • Over Population:
  • Algae
  • Bacteria
  • Warmer Water

The more fish you have in your pond, the more oxygen you’ll need. This means that a pond with too many fish will quickly run out of oxygen if there isn’t more pressure.

While algae does go through air-producing photosynthesize, it’s full of bacteria that take up a great deal of oxygen. Algae is also an organism, which uses up its own oxygen as well.

The bacteria that break down decaying matter like fish waste, dead plants, and other things take up a lot of oxygen, which may deplete the overall levels in your pond.

Ponds with higher temperatures are more prone to algae and will generally need more oxygen. It’s well known that cooler temperatures reduce the metabolism of the living things in the water like your fish, which means they won’t need to use as much oxygen. That’s why some fish go dormant in the winter.

Do Koi Fish Need Oxygen?

Yes, your koi fish need oxygen just as much as every other pond fish or even more than most of them. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Koi fish are sensitive to low oxygen levels.
  • You can measure oxygen at 8 ppm or higher for the greatest benefit of koi fish housed in a pond.
  • Most fish are usually fine at about 6 parts per million of dissolved oxygen
  • Koi fish benefit from a little higher amount at about 8 parts per million.

If your oxygen levels are too low,  you will find that your koi fish are routinely coming up to the surface and gasping for air. Their appetites may be reduced as well and you may never see them spawn during spawning season

If you notice your koi fish gasping for air,  you definitely know that the oxygen levels are low. It’s always best to measure and test your oxygen levels weekly

How to Add Oxygen to Koi Pond?

Adding oxygen to a koi pond could be as easy as adding more plants inside. This is a simple way to add oxygen. The better way would be to add an air pump. You place the air pump at the side of the pond and it’ll pump air through a small hose.

Air stones create bubbles in the water. The bubbles break at the water’s surface and then oxygen gets dispersed this way. Oxygen stones help,  but also increasing the water movement at the top of the surface helps as well.

Aeration and oxygenation go hand-in-hand and increasing the levels of breathable oxygen in the pond prevents your koi fish from constantly swimming up to the surface and gasping for air.

Can Koi Fish Survive Without an Air Pump?

There are many ways to oxygenate your pond without using an air pump (available to buy on Amazon), but the water still needs at least 8ppm of oxygen for your fish to survive.

Depending on the size of your pond, you have many options. What you’ll also need to consider is the amount of fish you have to provide oxygen for. Common pond aeration methods include circulation, using natural elements like plants, and even air stones to supplement the oxygen levels.

How Long Can Koi Live in A Pond Without A Pump?

If your pump stops working, your fish will live, but not for long. You will need to either replace the pump or find another way to add air to the water.

Koi, like many other fish, need at least 8ppm of oxygen in the water to remain healthy and active. Without a pump or any of the aeration methods stated above, your fish will be in danger if the oxygen levels start to drop.

If the pressure falls below 6ppm, your fish will live for a couple of hours before they suffocate, and essentially drown. However, when the pressure reduces to 3ppm, your fish will not live long at all.

How to Aerate A Koi Pond Without Pump:

There are many ways to aerate your pond without using an air pump. Of course, your fish still need to breathe, so there still needs to be aeration.

Here are some ways you can aerate your pond without an air pump:

  • Use A Waterfall or Fountain
  • Having Underwater Plants
  • Colder Water Temperatures
  • Air Stones

Having underwater plants has a list of benefits to your pond. The process of photosynthesis increases the oxygen levels, but it’s not enough to sustain the koi’s’ collective need for oxygen.

Having a water fountain or a waterfall is the best way to add oxygen to your pond. The churning of the water creates enough oxygen for a healthy population of fish. Plus, it’s a beautiful addition to the aesthetic of your pond. Who doesn’t love hearing the trickle of a small waterfall?

pond water fountain

Earlier, we stated that colder water will reduce your fish’s need for oxygen. Reducing the temperature in your pond can limit the amount of needed oxygen in the long term.

Adding air stones is a good way to supplement a small amount of oxygen, but like plants, it’s not enough to keep your fish alive. Air stones push oxygen bubbles from the bottom of your pond to the water’s surface until they burst and emit oxygen.

Can You Aerate A Koi Pond Too Much?

While you may not think too much oxygen could be a problem, it’s subject to the amount of fish and the size of the pond in question.

In a small pond, over aeration can cause something called “over-saturation”, which is when the air pressure becomes so high that it becomes a hindrance to the gills and lungs. But a larger pond can sustain a higher amount of oxygen with minimal effects.

Does Rain Add Oxygen to A Koi Pond?

While rain is a great natural way to stirrup the water to create some dissolved oxygen, it’s not going to be enough to keep your fish alive in the long term.

When rain falls on top of the surface of your pond, it churns up the water, creating air bubbles and eventually, dissolved oxygen. This will indeed increase the water’s oxygen levels, but not as much as you may think.

Heavy rain will add some oxygen to your pond, but it will also likely warm up the water This will decrease most of the oxygen it provides, so it’s a bit of a wasted effort.

Why Do Koi Jump Out of The Pond?

From time to time, you may see your koi popping or even jumping right out of the water. This is common in most carp species, but it can be quite dangerous for your koi.

There is a list of reasons why your koi could be jumping, including:

  • Low oxygen levels
  • Feeding on bugs that near or cross the water’s surface.
  • When exploring a new pond
  • Being chased by a bigger fish or a turtle.
  • Feeding time: (for pellet fed fish)

Every fish needs oxygen, it’s the lifeforce of all living things. But, subject to the size of your pond, you really won’t need an air pump, though you still need to provide oxygen for your fish.



Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.

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