KOI AND PLANTS:
There is always going to be controversy about whether a Koi
pond should, or should not have Plants and we are
often asked 'Why we don't have plants in our Koi ponds ?'
First of all .. Koi are bottom feeders, that means that they
feed from the bottom of the pond - scratching around, digging
where they can in so created natural ponds, and they are known
for eating vegetation of all sorts .. this includes plants .. so
Koi and plants do not really mix ... but it has to be said that
many Koi keepers have kept plants and Koi together for a great
many years without any real problems being created ...
|By all means if you wish to have plants
with your pond, and we certainly are not going to argue
the point that plants, Lilies, Iris's, and other water
marginal plants do not enhance the pond ... it does .. and
nobody can argue against that fact ...
there are ways for you to have such plants - providing
that the Koi cannot get at them .. If they do then there
is no doubt that they will eventually tear them to pieces
as fast as they can grow.
So how can you keep the Koi
away from the plants ... well firstly decide that
the plants that you are wishing to keep are of the
marginal variety .. and this can of course include those
beautiful, even if short lived, Iris ... and then at the
time of the construction you must make provision for these
One way whilst you are constructing your pond is to build a 'shelf' which steps back and which
is wide enough to place rocks along the edge of this shelf which
will then allow you to fill the back area with soil in which you
would place your plants .... These rocks will not only hold the
soil back and prevent the water washing it all away and into the
pond, but they will also act as a barrier for the plants and
make it impossible for your Koi to be able to get at them and
totally destroy them ...
We hear a lot about some of the lesser Koi dealers and
especially Garden Centres advising customers to place plenty of
oxygenating plants into their ponds ... but of course they would
say this .. they are selling the plants ... But this advise in
our opinion is totally inaccurate as we believe that so-called
'oxygenating plants' have far too many drawbacks in Koi and
other fish ponds .. OK yes they do generate oxygen ... but at
the time that your Koi and your other pond fish don't need it
... when they are desperately gasping at the surface for air, as
they will do, that is the time when they need the oxygen .. but
this is also the time that the plants themselves are using up
all the oxygen that they can make ....
However: If you have decided to have plants within your
Koi Pond - let's look at
the facts so far...
1. The appearance of the
As we have said and admitted... a nicely designed and well
planted pond is always going to be attractive and create
interest for the owners - as opposed to having a completely
sterile looking pond without any plants ... But you should
also bear in mind that if you are going to have plants,
especially deep growing Lilies, then these can cause you
problems when it comes to catching up your Koi for inspection or
for treatment of a wound etc .... they will run rings round you
swimming in and out of the plants where it is almost impossible
for your your net to get near them ...
2. Koi eating Plants--
Yes ! there is always going to be a strong possibility that
the Koi will eat your plants, and in many cases, as fast as
those plants can grow ... so you do have to be careful and
selective of where you have the plants within your pond, and
certainly, as we have mentioned above, a carefully planned
planting area such as building a special wide shelf with Rocks
placed in front of the Plants to prevent the Koi from getting at
them, is a very worth while consideration ..
In many cases Koi will not attack plants quite as often
as they may do if they are fed fresh greens, such as lettuce, or
vegetables on a weekly basis - after all please try to bear in
mind that Koi are generally and naturally vegetation eaters ..
Another point to bear in mind is Feeding ... One of the mistakes a pond keeper
can make, is to simply throw the food
into the pond and walk away and not observe just how much the
Koi eat at any one time, and some of this excess food can end up
amongst the plants. Koi have a great sense of smell and will use
any means to get at the food, destroying some of the plants in
the process of trying to get at those food particles .. so this
is a point that you should bear in mind ... also bear in mind
that if you are wishing to have your Koi come to take food from
your fingers, then simply throwing food on the surface and
walking away will never achieve that ... sit with the koi and be
very patient in those early days ...
3. Pond Plant Maintenance--
Pond plants have to be maintained and looked after just like
the rest of your garden.
Any dead leaves and dead flowers should be removed to prevent
sinking to the bottom of the pond when they can create more anaerobic sediment
with a great possibility of Methane Gas which without doubt is
not good for anything within the pond including of course your
Koi and other pond fish ..
4. Marginal plants --
Apart from adding additional colour to the pond, plants do help to maintain a better
balance and can improve water quality by means of
their roots absorbing some of the nitrates. Their main
benefit is being able to shade the water surface, as their
leaves spread out, providing sometimes much needed shade for our
Koi on very warm summer days... (no matter how rare those days