Help I'm new at all this. How do I / where do I begin with Koi keeping?

Koi keeping is a hobby. It's even supposed to be an enjoyable one. But common sense is all too often ignored it seems.

Why then is there such a high 'failure' rate?

You have to know what you are doing BEFORE you start.

Koi keeping is something of an enigma amongst hobbies. This is because you have to know exactly what you are doing and why before you start.

I found that when I embarked on my pond building exercise that I didn't know enough about building a Koi pond. So I did some research on it. I bought a few books from the local Koi dealer shops and I started to read.

I know a fair bit about keeping aquariums - I have done so for the last 20 years. I decided to graduate to Koi and I initially thought that a Koi pond would be similar to a large aquarium.

To some extent that's true. But the scale of Koi ponds are such that although the theories may be similar the application is vastly different.

I got hopelessly confused the more I read. Then I started surfing the Internet and I have to say that there are some excellent Koi keeping, Koi pond construction and Koi Filtration websites out there. There is also a lot of outdated thinking and a lot of plain nonsense. You have to sift through what is relevant and what is not.

Sorting out the valuable information from the nonsense is a daunting affair. The Internet can often be as much of a hindrance as it is a help. All too often, manufacturers will dominate searches with their views on why their Koi pond filters, equipment, vortexes, small blue Koi-eating-pixie killer devices and such like and so forth are the best thing for Koi since sliced bread.

I realise that I too, am on the Internet! But I hope that this site is useful and is at least based on scientific fact combined with common sense.

Where to start

Where do you start then? Firstly, and if I say so myself, the team and I have worked really hard to make this site as comprehensive as possible. You should manage to find out enough on the hobby to guide you on your way.

Yes, we do sell equipment. We need to eat. More importantly we need to feed our Koi! But we sell equipment that we firmly believe offers the best combination of application of scientific principles combined with years of experience of Koi keeping, and dare we add, a good dose of that old fashioned common sense!

Science is of no use without common sense practicality. Common sense practicality might sound useful in certain instances, but without scientific facts it can be extremely dangerous. Just ask any sand filter salesman why he sells sand filters - and then read a 'scientific common sense' based article to see what I mean.

Happy Koi could sell any equipment it chooses to. We don't because we don't believe in selling anything less than the very best in Koi pond filtration equipment. We're Koi kichi - the value placed on Koi is more about joy of ownership over the next 5 to 30 years - in other words the hobby as opposed to a investment.

As an individual I like value for money - I buy one filter to do the job once. My outlay is fixed, and the equipment is designed to outlast the Koi. I do not believe in continuous replacements or ongoing labour intensive maintenance. A Koi pond system that requires as little intervention as possible is one that I personally believe offers the most value, both for the Koi and me.

My advice is thus to equip yourself with the knowledge you will need to have a healthy low maintenance pond. Start planning now for your pond in 5 or even better, in 10 years time. There is NO reason why Koi that you buy tomorrow will not live that long provided you have made adequate provision NOW for them. Koi keeping is not a once off short term hobby. It is an engaging hobby that spans many years and it can be an expensive frustrating one if you don't start off properly.

The First Step in Koi keeping

This then is the first step. Understand that you need to plan ahead. You need to know exactly what you are doing and why if you want to achieve success.

The second step is to learn what you need to know about.

I have summarised the sections that the website covers below. You can visit them in any order but they are logically arranged in a common sense fashion.

1. Know your Koi. You have to know your Koi in order to understand what their needs are and what you have to do so meet these needs. You must know this information backwards before even THINKING about building a pond or you are going to make serious mistakes. This is documented under water quality.

2. Understand the limitations of a Koi pond. It's relatively tiny size is your biggest challenge.

3. Know the theory. There is a surprisingly large volume of theory that is applicable to Koi ponds. This is part of the attraction of the hobby - it's typically an application of chemical engineering. A Koi pond is a small chemical factory operating in a continuous steady state mode. Chemical engineering is perhaps the most abstract of all engineering disciplines in that chemical engineers attempt to model or predict the most complex processes that take place within reactors, mass balances, energy balances, fluid and particle dynamics, turbulent flow processes and so forth. As one myself I have to admit that I think we make the best Koi pond keepers since we understand much of the theory about the filtration and biological actions that take place.

4. Never, ever underestimate the value of common sense.

5. You can never over engineer or over specify your pond when it comes to filtration.

6. All Koi ponds require maintenance. This means you and you alone are responsible for it.

7. You are dealing with many differing living organisms. Koi are just one of them. You WILL experience unpredictable situations and you have to be ready to deal with them.