Jacketsodaly, welcome.

I also live in the ATL metro. You started the same time I did, just different year with same or similar setup. Do yourself a favor and dump the Lowes preform pond. I did that and moved to swimming pools. Best way to learn is to lose/spend money. If you want to go cheap, a intex swimming pool works way better then that preform pond and it's cheaper. I think $75 bucks gets you 700 gallon already. I want to upgrade to a 1500 or 2000+ pool but don't think I will as I think I'm now ready for a real pond. But my real pond will be under 2000 gallon. This is the best place for koi, have fun.

I think the best thing I did was to not buy lots of pond equipments. I only have a 45lmp air pump and a 5000gph water pump. Everything else such as filter and ponds are cheap or free stuff. I want to wait until i'm ready.