Koi Pond Care For Beginners {What Do I Need To Know?}

Do you want a Koi Pond? Do you think it’s going to be too daunting and difficult?

Let’s make it easier for you. In this article, we’ll get into the details of koi pond care.

Koi Pond Care For Beginners

Koi fish need at least 3 feet of water in the pond and room to swim around. Give your koi fish filtration, aeration, food and seasonal preparations to keep these hardy fish happy and healthy.

Fun Facts About Koi Fish

Koi fish grow up to 35-37 inches. The toughest koi fish can live up to 50 years. They can survive in different water temperatures. Koi fish are from the carp family native to Japan. They are intelligent and able to recognize their own parents.

Taking care of koi fish involves preparation and gets easier over time. Beginners must follow directions to slowly become intermediate koi pond caregivers in order for these fish to survive for a very long time.

How Do I Place Koi Fish In A Pond?

The simple act of dumping them in the pond should be avoided. It isn’t that easy.

  1. Stabilize the koi by letting them get acclimated.
  2. Place them in a quarantine tank.
  3. Three koi can fit in a 50 gallon quarantine tank.
  4. Start adding pond water into the tank in small increments.
  5. Continue filtering the tank.
  6. Keep adding pond water up to 50% of the tank’s water capacity.
  7. Place each koi in plastic fish bags with this tank water for up to half an hour.
  8. Begin releasing them into the pond.

How Do I Feed Koi?

Once your koi fish are in their new habitat, they may not want to eat right away. It’s fine to take the first day off before starting a feeding schedule. Feed them once a day and watch them for five minutes. If they haven’t finished all the food, pick up the remaining food and discard it. Leftovers cause a buildup of ammonia and debris.

Koi fish can eat large varieties of food or simple pellets. They do not need foods high in carbohydrates so avoid tossing in bread and wheat based foods. They have large teeth in the back of their throats to break down larger chunks of food.

What Are The Water Parameters For A Koi Pond?

The water quality has to be ideal for your koi to thrive. They can tolerate fluctuations a little better than most fish.

Water Temperature

Koi fish can live in temperatures between 35-85°F, but they may get stressed with this large range of fluctuation. It’s best to keep the pond temperature between 65-75°F.


Ammonia should always be eliminated as best as possible. We’re looking to keep ammonia levels at 0. 0.5 ppm is tolerable because koi fish are hardy, but continue to test the water and get that number down to nought.

Nitrites and Nitrates

  • Nitrites: Less than 0.25 ppm, but aim to get this number down to zero.
  • Nitrates: Koi can handle nitrates at 20-60 ppm.


The pH or power of hydrogen should remain between 6.8-8.2. Your aim is to keep the pH stable even though koi can handle this large of a range.


Carbonate hardness (KH) can remain around 105-110 ppm. You can give or take 10 ppm, but try to keep stable as you would with pH.


General hardness has a lot more room and a lot less critical for koi fish. Keep the range between 60-160 ppm.

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What Kind Of Decorations Should I Get For My Koi Pond?

You can search images of koi ponds and find elaborate designs. You’re free to set up your pond as beautiful or as simple as you like. Keep in mind that koi fish like to dig and rub themselves against surfaces and enclosures.

The objects or rocks you place in the pond must be smooth to prevent your koi from getting injured. Once they have an open wound, they are much more susceptible to catch an infection and spread it to other koi neighbors. Check your pond regularly to see if any sharp pieces are present and remove them.

How Often Do I Need To Change Koi Pond Water?

It’s ideal to place a koi pond in a spot that gets enough shade. Koi are hardy fish that enjoy shade as much as possible. The shade also helps to reduce pond water evaporation. Once the water rescinds, the remaining water carries more minerals and debris. This is why 10-15% of the remaining water should be removed.

Now it’s time to top up with fresh water. Try to do this at least once a week. Tap water from a hose is fine, but using a dechlorinator or conditioner to remove excess chlorine would be advised.

Make sure to backwash the filter once every 2 weeks and remove any debris that is trapped every couple of days.

  • Remove 10-15% pond water = Once a week
  • Top up with tap water = Once a week
  • Dechlorinate pond water = Once every week or two
  • Backwash filter = Once every two weeks
  • Remove trapped debris from filter = Every two days

How Do I Control Algae In A Koi Pond?

Algae will grow in a pond with koi fish. Use algaecides, but consult with the information on the bottle or research for the best choice for your pond. If you can talk to a professional at the shop, that would be a great step to ensure you have purchased the right algaecide.

You can also use UV lamps to control algae buildup. The untraviolet light is a proactive method to kill algae before they get a chance to expand and populate much of your koi pond.

How Do Seasons Affect Koi Ponds?

Spring And Summer

In the spring and summer, carefully use this time to manage debris more often that fall or winter. A full pond cleaning by removing the koi fish and placing them in quarantine tanks is advised. You can also use buckets filled with fresh water.

This is the time to empty the pond and scrub it out. Fill it up with dechlorinated water, but save one or two buckets of the original pond water to mix in with the new water. This is also a good time to assess if there are any leaks in the pond causing it to lose water too quickly.

Keep in mind that after the winter, your koi will be hungry. They will demand more food and you can increase feedings or add more food. Make sure to monitor leftovers and remove them after five minutes.


This is when leaves change color and can easily drop into the pond. The parameters of the water may get altered with too many leaves dropping in. Make sure to remove the leaves to maintain optimal water quality. Trim any branches above the pond to make it easier.


If you live in climates that cause the pond to freeze over, you should invest in a deicer. It should float and promote aeration despite the freezing temperatures. Once the water drops under 50°F, stop feedings. You can stop filtering and pumping water under 40°F.


Remember not to overstock your pond. Each koi fish needs about 10 gallons of water to thrive. The more water the merrier. Maintain water parameters and eliminate chlorine and ammonia from the pond. Let them hibernate in the winter and don’t try breaking the ice above them. Use the deicer or hot water if necessary. Koi love to eat, but remove leftovers after five minutes. We hope you enjoy years of pleasure from taking care of your koi pond.

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.