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  • Site for beginners?

    Hello all,

    I have been reading some of your post and it is all really far over my head. I was wondering if you knew of a site for people new to the hobby? I built a small pond last spring after having a tree removal company leave me a big hole in my yard and my wife talked me into making it into a pond. I spent most of the summer just trying to keep fish alive and this spring I am building an above ground portion to increase the total water mass and with it more fish I don't know what the fancy names stand for and at this point I just buy 10 inch long koi that look neat, but I am quickly wanting to get more involved.(found a site that had a picture next to each name and I went through trying to name my mutts since they are all very poor specimens I am sure)
    I am trying to get things running well before I start buying expensive ones and there seems to be a large information gap between me, the guy that bought some random colored fish from a pond store, and you guys that breed fish and have owned some of your fish for 20 years.
    I appologise for taking up your time since I have no input to benefit you all I am just a new guy that doesn't really know how to get to where you all are, but wants to.
    Thank you
  • #2

    You sound like me from only a few years back... well, maybe six years ago.

    Advice: join your local koi club. I thought I should know everything before joining the club. Boy was I wrong!

    Join a club. See what others have done. Choose your path and learn from others mistakes.

    Wish I'd joined my club earlier!


    • #3

      I checked into that and the town I live in is very small Ardmore, OK and the pond and garden club that was in existance closed up shop because as I am told was only a few people that had been friends for years and didn't see the reason to keep a club going when it was just them. The store I bought the fish from is more of a pet store with a couple pond things since the lady that was running it has since moved on to other things. I go to that store and they just want to sell me something and when it becomes apparent that they aren't going to make a sale I become a nuisance. I got in touch with a couple of the people that made up the garden and pond club and they were very old and home bound. I have been told that stressing out your fish is a bad thing so I don't assume that bagging up a sick fish and driving him accross town to show one of them is a good idea.
      It doesn't seem like this would be to place to ask about my ignorant questions since I don't even know enough to give enough information to be helpfull in getting a question answered. For instance I have a butterfly koi that has been laying on his side for the last 3 days when I fed the fish he swam up with the rest and ate, but when nothing is going on he lays on his side. I can't see anything apparantly wrong with him and if I make a move to try and catch him he takes off quickly. I would hate to drag him out of the water to check on him, but laying on his side is a indicator that something is wrong since none of the others are behaving as such and they all were introduced at the same time. As you can see I don't know and to you experienced people a 10 inch long 20 dollar fish is less than you folks probly pay in food, but without knowledge there is no way I can convince my wife that I can go buy more and more stuff


      • #4

        Just ask any question and I am sure this board can answer it, remember we were all just like you in the beginning...We are all still learning til this day.. So shot the first question...........Remember, at some point we like to get stumped once and awhile.
        The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.


        • #5

          Tamus we usually have to travel an hour or two (or more) to attend meetings. Just depends on how much you want to learn. When we started out we didn't have the internet so you have an advantage by being able to post questions. There is nothing like being able to see other peoples' ponds and filters though. Most fish health problems are caused by bad water quality.
          Do you have test kits and can you tell us more about your pond? Is there mulm or leaves on the bottom of the pond?


          • #6


            Akai San started on this board about 6 months ago... he's asked almost every question about pond construction and raising koi, he's gone from "How thick should the bottom of a pond be" to "How best to breed Koi" and everything in between, including "Moving to Japan"...

            I would think he's quite knowledgeable on theory and he's gotten most if not all his information from this board... Someday he may even build a pond, and buy a fish or two... When he does, he'll do it right, because of what he's learned here...

            If you have pressing health questions, is a good source of information...

            Stick around, review some of the older threads and you should do OK... some very good people frequent this site...

            Aloha! Mike


            • #7

              A good place to start is to read a couple of koi-keeping books (not water garden books). Right now, you should probably concentrate on the environmental aspects (pond design, filtration, water quality, etc) and worry about the koi aspects (varieties, selection, appreciation, etc) later. The fish you have are probably perfect for teaching you how to keep them alive.

              As Ruth says, you should get some test kits and check your water quality. Start with temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and alkalinity. With that information, and a detailed description of your pond, the people here can evaluate your situation and make suggestions.

              Listen to your wife and do some serious research before making any significant investments. It is said that koi keeping is an expensive hobby. Well, that's true to some extent, but the only really expensive part is the mistakes. Investments which bring enjoyment for many years into the future turn out to be very cost effective.

              You are going to be surprised at how fast you can catch on to the basics of koi if you are willing to invest some time. People here will gladly respond to any question as long as it is specific enough that it can be answered in a paragraphs, not pages. Asking "how do you keep koi" won't work because the answer requires a book. Your task is to figure out to best utilize this place as a resource. Welcome.

              -steve hopkins


              • #8

                Thank you all for your replies. The basics I can give so are these, but I don't know all the amonia parts because the people at the store test that for me once a month based on a sample I bring in to them ( should I check it more than that?)
                I currently have a 400 gallon pond made with a liner set in the ground (depth between 14 land 20 inches) with a two 400 gallon/per hour pumps one gores through a filter box and comes down a lilttle 5 inch waterfall the other is split between a spitting frog and ceramic planting pot with rocks and sand that I was told would somewhat act as a filter of course now most of my plants are still dead from winter but I have to lilly pads a bunch of parrot feather, another underwater leafy tube shapped stalks which survived the winter whos name escapes me at the moment, an aquatic elephant ear, a white globe, and a texas star. Wife likes that plants so we get a lot and I was told that aslong as it isn't completely covered more plants is a good thing. I have 6 koi around 10 inches long and two 2 inch gold fish that made it through the worst of times and I haven't been able to take them out yet. I did get a lot of leaves in the pond because there are a lot of trees but I get most of them out on my weekends. I will go get a test kit today for the ammonia and nitrates I have a PH tester and it stays in the lower 7s area. But now I have to get to work hopefully I will be ale to give you more information when I get back.


                • #9

                  The advice about joining a local koi clubs is good, as in addition to advice you can also get hands-on assistance for any project you undertake.

                  But if there isn't one close then there is nothing you can do about it, except maybe start one sometime in the future.

                  In the meantime the web is your oyster. I can't comment on US sites, but if you are prepared to make allowances (and adjustments to gallonage) then I can recommend the following two UK ones.

                  2. The YKS (Yorkshire Koi Society) one.

                  rgds Bern
                  South East Koi Club


                  • #10


                    How far from OKC are you? There is a very active club there. Also, Tulsa has the AKCA seminar this June. Both are good possibilities for you it seems.

                    I may have missed it in your posts, but what is the temp of the pond? and is it covered?
                    Best regards,

                    Bob Winkler

                    My opinions are my best interpretation of my experiences. They are not set in stone as I intend to always be a student of life. And Koi.



                    • #11

                      You have found the best forum. Talking about experience, well its here. I would not leave this forum to go to another as their are many helpful people on this forum that will be glad to help you. The more experienced the better.

                      Learn all you can about water quality as this is what keeps the fish healthy. After you have learned about this, then you can move to the next step of koi keeping.
                      The Interpet Encyclopedia of Koi is a very good book it gives alot of good information, like koi anatomy,Pond and filterconstruction, Water quality and filteration, Buying Koi, Feeding Koi, Seasonal care, Landscaping and water gardens, Breeding Koi, Health care, Showing Koi, Koi types. I dont think you would go wrong buying this book as it has help me with area like the koi health.

                      I can understand where you are coming from when I first started this forum, I thought they are just going to think I am a waste of their time. There are a bunch of very smart guys on this forum and they can take you to the top of koi keeping so stick around and dont waste your time looking for another forum when you have found the best. I just wish i had found this one first. Sometime these guys can go over you head a little, Yes bekko I am going to talk about you a little, then Steve jumps in and then its all down to earth. He is just one of my favorites, and I have only been on this forum for a short time. I hope you stick around because the good people on this forum can take you from A to Z


                      • #12

                        Hi Tamus,

                        Welcome to this board! I am also somewhat of a newbie as well. I have joined this board and subscribed to the magazine since its' conception two years ago. Both are excellent source of information for koi. I am on this board daily. There's a whole range of knowledge level on here starting from newbies like you and I to very experienced hobbyists(some even breed their owe koi). Everyone on here are very friendly and helpful as long as you do not keep koi in a water garden pond. :-) Just kidding.

                        Sounds like you have a water garden feature instead of a koi pond. Your water quality might not be suitable for koi. Maintaining water quality in a water garden feature is very difficult due the accumulation of mums in the bottom of the pond from dead plants and dirt. That could explain why you are having koi health issues. Most people start with water garden pond like you and gradually move to a "true" koi pond which should be deep(at least 4') with bottom drain(s), good filtration and no plants.

                        If you like koi and want to further your knowledge, I would definitely recommend joining clubs. There are two koi clubs(Oklahoma Koi Society and Dallas Koi Kichi) which are within two hours drive from Ardmore, Ok. I live in Dallas and I am a member of the Dallas Koi Kichi club. We have at least 3 KHV(Koi Health Advisor) among our members who are more than willing to help educate you on koi health issues.

                        Best Wishes,


                        • #13

                          My pond is not covered and I am not sure on the water temp it has been in the 70s and 80s here for the last 5 days but it is still droppin into the 40s at night.
                          Bought a nitrate and amonnia test kits and my nitrates were on the lowest level (bright yellow) and ammonia was yellow two with maybe a hint of green in it should I go get ammonia chips or is there some other option for it when its that slight?

                          I am about an hour and a half from OKC so I will look into that. Thanks again for the help everyone.

                          Ok Sunny just posted while I was and it seems that I should look into building a bigger pond before looking more into Koi? Would you suggest me keeping the ones I have until then or should I see if I can find a better home for them? Or should I pull the plants out and just leave it with a liner on the bottom?


                          • #14


                            I agree with Sunny, however alls not lost...If you have the space keep the original pond and build another "proper koi pond"... As long as you don't take too long you can keep your koi and transfer them to the new pond and swap um out as you upgrade the koi...

                            Old pond can be kept as a water feature, or better yet as a Q pond for when you start bring in new koi...beleive me you'll be getting new koi...

                            Aloha! Mike


                            • #15

                              I saw your post Tamus this morning but didn't have time to respond before dashing off to work. I knew "sooner" or later we'd get a representative from OK

                              and you are welcome!

                              One of the enemies your facing with a tiny pond is water temperature fluxuations. A covering ( it still has to breath to degas) or ability to heat will help your immediate position.

                              another good quick effort is to run a trickle of fresh water in 24/7. this will change the water enough to help with the readings. Always remember you can cut back on feeding koi. Most people kill them with kindness and over feed. a trickle from a well is fine, a trickle from city water with clorine needs to run thru charcoal to be elimnated. A spray from a nozzel will help dissipate

                              proper filtration is the key. the olde expression of learn to keep water and the koi will keep themselves has a lot of truth to it.

                              always keep in mind that no one here started as an expert. It's a learning hobby, and I can tell you after 25 years, I'm still learning! I hope you'll continue to ask away. It's fun to share knowledge and i find from teaching I';m reminded of certain truths, one needs to keep in mind!
                              Dick Benbow


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