Why chemical engineers pretend to know so much (about everything it would seem)

A Koi pond is really a small manufacturing plant.

Engineers love building things and understanding how they work. So does Happy Koi.

Why chemical engineers think they know everything about Koi ponds

It is fact that the field of chemical engineering is an application of exact science to principles that cannot be scientifically measured, documented or accurately mathematically modelled. In other words chemical engineers try and predict the unpredictable and perhaps more than other engineering disciplines are taught to think outside of the box for trying to figure out how things actually work.

Chemical engineers are massively strong mathematicians because we try and model something on a theoretical basis often on nothing more than empirical evidence and data.

The word chemical is misleading. Most chemical engineers require a fairly basic understanding of chemistry but actually spend considerably more time with mathematics that surround this chemistry. Whereas in other engineering disciplines the laws of operation are largely rigorously defined - for instance a mechanical engineer knows that gravity is a definite constant, the density of steel can be exactly determined and the only question is how much unforeseen load a structure can take before collapsing.

Chemical engineers snort at such simple parlour tricks! OK, OK these are the same guys who figure out why and more importantly how an aeroplane wing can bend in half without breaking or without the plane falling out the sky. And the guys who figure out how to make a computer processor faster. Etc. So really, all engineers are actually great people. Find one, hug them and be nice to us. And after all, most engineers utterly loathe politicians.

Chemical engineers have to try and model what happens in the middle of a heated reactor unit that is fed differing quantities of different reagents in different forms at different times and to try and predict the processes that happen at different points in the reactor depending on what is there at the time or not.

This is actually impossible, yet chemical engineers are trained to derive a mathematical model that can simulate the environment with something approximating a degree of accuracy.

This is why chemical engineers are never precise. Even when they can be, they're sceptical. A good chemical engineer, in fact any engineer for that matter, knows that common sense is as valuable a skill as any in the discipline and a good engineering degree will ensure that its graduates emerge with common sense thinking firmly thumped into them.

Application of chemical engineering theory to Koi ponds is considerably closer to the mark than you may think. If the basis of comparison for a Koi pond is made with a natural situation providing the benchmark, there is considerable benefit in application of this theory. You, as a Koi keeper, have already done so without realising it. You are in fact, a trainer chemical engineer in the making!

Assuming that one would want to simulate a Koi's natural habitat in a Koi pond - which is not an unreasonable basis on which to start a Koi keeping career - there is in fact an entire can of worms in that assumption. For instance:

1. We have assumed that a natural Koi environment is best for Koi. Who's to say that a good Koi pond won't outperform Mother Nature? Disease can be cured that might otherwise have killed the Koi in its natural environment. The Koi is far more protected from predators, it's food supply is stable and constant etc.

2. However, the waste levels and toxin levels - are these the same as found in Nature? How do we know what effect the speed of removal of these wastes plays in the development and life cycle of these Koi? What about live natural food - how much of a role does this play in a Koi's development? What about the fact that the Koi has to work much harder for it's food in a natural environment - does this influence its muscle and skeletal development positively or negatively from our point of view?

Assumptions can drive you crazy. There are thousands that Koi keepers make every day as a result of the fact that we simply don't know otherwise. This is one of the thrills of the hobby - as Koi keepers we will never stop learning about the hobby.

The point is this. No matter what it is you may think you know about Koi ponds, even as a chemical engineer, the best we can do is model Koi ponds from the basis of providing the best possible Koi Quality Water that we can. It is not easy and it goes hand in hand with the Koi pond itself. Make no mistake about it - a successful Koi pond is a highly sophisticated sum of very important parts, of which filtration is but one (very important) part.

Without these parts all operating in perfect harmony it doesn't matter what you do, your Koi pond will not be a successful one.

Koi Pond particle dynamics - William Kelly's Soapbox! Read About it All here...