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Thread: NatGeo's Pond Stars episode.

  1. #1
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    NatGeo's Pond Stars episode.

    Recently I found myself watching a full episode of NatGeo's Pond Stars wherein the episodes was about two garden pond builds. One build was a garden pond for the neighbor of one of the host of the show while the other build was a rebuild of a newly built aquascape pond. As both involved koi, I sticked around to see the principles of their build.

    To tell you the truth, it is quite rare for me to see nowadays koi pond in Japan or Southeast Asia countries being built using a rubber liner and one lined with lots of pebbles and gravels. There are mudponds for koi but these hold volumous water to do away with any filtration. Most hobbyist ponds even the most cheaper simple or small ones are built using concrete blocks. Nobody builds a permanent pond using an EPDM liner but instead some koi enthusiast who dont have the space would want to grow koi just use plastic, pvc or temporary holding tanks( without the stone and gravels) with external pumps. Some concrete koi pond built by inexperience contractors usually fail in a few months due to leaks or lack of bottom drains and inadequate filtrations. The few people who rely on landscapers and go for pebbles and rocks would find themselves in lot of trouble after just a few months as the tropical warmer water will make them water quality spoil easier.

    Anyway, going back to the episode I watched. I was amused on the aquascape rebuild part. Basically a new aquascape pond (small one) was built using an aquascape "biofalls" but owner then was uncomfortable using it because the pond was build at just 18" in depth and when they were told it should be at least 3 feet deep to hold koi and at least protect from cold winters. When the host(I suppose owner of Aquascape) saw the uninspired build by one of their local contractor, he was alarmed because their company's reputation was at stake, he commented he would transform the "ugly" shallow build into a better one. Basically, what was done was dispose of the uninspiring cheap rocks that lined the liner, make it deeper by adding another 6" to 24", increase the surface by 2 to 3x, and make sure all the liner was properly covered with rocks and pebbles to make it more "natural". Lastly with the addition of some water plants, schrubs and flowers, the pond rebuild was magically transformed in just one day. Wow! The owner of the house were then allowed to choose some cheap pond grade koi from Aquascape to immediately fill up their pond.

    When I finished the episode, I was wondering at how these kinds of koi pond(I think the host mentioned that) built which were a throwback from the 70's was very much still popular in the US and will probably become the mainstream "correct way" how a pond should now be made once ratings of this show picks up.

    In one of the popular thread here at koi bito, there was a topic of "bead filter: an American Curse". Personally, I do think a more popular title would have been "Shallow pebble and rock lined koi pond without bottom drains: A continuing American Curse."

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Orlando, Florida
    You are so right!

    The only thing an Aquascape-style pond has going for it is the profit margin for the pondbuilder. And, that explains the success it has had. The cost of a true koi pond is such that the builder has to squeeze the profit margin down. It's a lot of work to build a koi pond and it takes multiple days and weeks. The market is not so large as to allow individual pondbuilders to develop economies of scale. Each pond becomes a custom construction project, pricing folks out of the market. An Aquascape-style pond can be built quickly with relatively inexpensive materials, with the same basic work being done on each pond. A work crew with just a couple of months experience can get one done in two days without a problem and minimal supervision. It is not uncommon for a senior supervisor to have two or more crews doing multiple ponds at the same time at the height of the season. They look beautiful when complete. And, all the things that then happen give opportunities for further sales of bacterial additives and such, plus annual (or twice yearly) clean-out services. A koi pond that cleans itself does not give those opportunities. So, the Aquascape-style pondbuilder can advertise more, have booths at tradeshows, etc. Besides, most people do not want a koi pond. They want a garden pond with colorful fish. Any fish over 30cm (12") is really getting too big for what they enjoy. The waterlillies and sound of the waterfall are as much the source of pleasure as the fish. The koi pond bare of plants is not what they want. ....If only Aquascape would get rid of the rocks and use bottom drains, then the ponds would at least be low maintenance for the garden pond owner.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    seattle, wa
    This type of thing is NOT exclusive to our hobby. In my "other" hobby there are roadside displays of bonsai for sale. Recently one was purchased as an office gift for an employee. Two weeks later I was looking at a pot with one drainage hole instead of two, and it was blocked because of a rock (here we go again) blocking the drainage.It was alledged to be a beautiful mountain in the landscape! The roots were rotted because the 100% organic soil had no drainage. The tree was not even wired in, so it had no chance of surviving.
    I quess what annoys me is that in both cases the people responsible should Know better. In the long view of things people who spend good money
    and are taken advantage of will bad mouth the company and or the hobby for their failure. In which case both loose. are people too trusting? Too busy to do some investigation before purchasing? Or as a hobby group, do we need to up our efforts to inform?
    Dick Benbow

  4. #4
    Tategoi mtsklar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Wisconsin, USA
    1. yes I have friends that own landscape style ponds
    2. yes the ponds look very natural and are pleasing to be around
    3. yes it is true they do not have premium koi collections
    4. yes they do have more health problems with their koi
    4. yes it is true that I would not want the task of cleaning one
    5. yes my friends are amazed at the water quality in my proper koi pond
    6. yes my friends are amazed at the size and quality of my koi

  5. #5
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Southern California
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    most people do not want a koi pond. They want a garden pond with colorful fish
    Worth repeating:

    Most people do not want a Koi pond. They want a garden pond with colorful fish.

  6. #6
    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Pensacola, FL
    From small acorns grow mighty oaks. Many good koi keepers started off with a garden pond. If the hobby is lucky, someone will have seen the show and is interested enough to start a pond. From there maybe the interest will blossom.

  7. #7
    Nisai Scrmnkg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Santa Rosa, Ca.
    The cost of a true koi pond is such that the builder has to squeeze the profit margin down.
    This is so true Mike. If you can get in and out in a couple days the margins are good but when doing a "true koi pond", when you're running BD's, multiple returns, proper overflows and autofills, proper mechanical and biological filtration, concrete construction, and waterproofing it can take weeks even months.

    Plus the residuals from the sevice work is even better.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Filtration issues aside. I think Aquascapes (at least the ponds they put in magazines and on TV) are some of the most beautiful ponds I've ever seen.
    Aesthetically more pleasing to me than the Koi "pools" I see on here and another forum.
    I love the whole tie in with nature and other wildlife that fits what I've tried to create in my own backyard.

    Even with the proper koi filtration that I have, maintenance can be a headache. I've gone swimming many times to unclog a bottom drain 4 inch pipe that gets clogged with debris.
    Yes, I could net the pond and cut down all the trees in my yard but what's the point?

    I look forward to more episodes with people who share my passion as it can only help the hobby which has been dying for the last several years IMHO.

  9. #9
    Nisai creekds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Kissimme Fl
    I think the program gives exposure to the Koi pond "hobby". Good or bad it opens up more people to at least Google for answers. How they apply the information is up to them. With the dwindling participation in last six years of the economy, it is at least a gleam of hope that more people will become interested in the journey.

  10. #10
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    NorCal Biotch!!!
    Does the koi hobby's existance need this show to survey? no....The koi hobby has been around almost a century....The show itself is interesting for "pond" hobbyist, now if it was a "Nishikigoi" show I would probably watch.

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