Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pond Shape and Size

Shape and Size



   First, a prospective pond owner must have an idea of what pond style he wants. Does he want a fashionable and formal European pond, or a relaxing, natural-looking Japanese-style pond? A formal pond is defined as one that has a regular shape, e.g., circular, rectangular, hexagonal, etc. Once the owner has defined the general concept of his project, he can start looking at more specifics, like the size of the pond for example.

 
Location...Location...Location

 
   It's time to choose the location of your pond once you know how big it will be. By the way, if location is a bigger factor for you than pond size, then you should choose the location of your pond first and just define the size based on this. It's up to you.

 
   Choosing the location of the koi pond is not as easy as pointing to a spot and saying you want it there. When choosing a location, make sure that you are considering the following.

1) Accessibility. Your pond should be easily accessible to you. Otherwise, the extra effort you need to get to your pond might ebb away your desire to pay a visit to your fish. This is especially true during harsh weather conditions. Though not everyone can have a large indoor pond, you can try to have one that's close enough to your house that you can see and feed your koi even if you're indoors.

2) Proper Light and Shading. You don't want a completely shaded or completely lit pond 24 hours a day. Koi need sunlight a few hours a day, preferable in the morning and late afternoon. Direct noon sunlight can burn the skin of your koi, so you must provide your koi with refuge from such a condition. The issue of sunlight on the pond becomes even more important if the pond is shallow, which doesn't give the koi enough depth to escape the heat of the sun. Also, beware of inadvertently building your pond on a spot that's too glary, or one that reflects too much light. Doing so will prevent you from seeing your fish, because all you'll see is sunlight bouncing off the water.

    Decide if you want a raised pond or one that's below ground level. Raised ponds are more sensitive to temperature fluctuations and can be more difficult to landscape, but they offer the following benefits: 1) convenient cleaning and draining; 2) protection of the pond from wind-blown debris and litter on the ground; 3) protection of the pond from flooding.
When constructing the pond, bear in mind the following guidelines:

 
1) It is better to have vertical walls for smaller ponds in order to promote equal distribution of temperature in the water. Larger ponds can have sloping walls.

2) You may want to provide shelves at the edge of the pond if you're planning to have plants in your pond. Shelves are used for supporting aquatic baskets where the plants are planted. Shelves are usually placed 12 or more inches below the water level, and can be used as a step when cleaning your pond. They can also be used by animals accidentally falling into the water to escape. Unfortunately, they can also be used by predators for convenience when hunting your koi. Decide if you want shelves in your pond or not.

3) Be sure that the top surface of the outline of your pond are at the same level all around the pond. You need a level hose to make sure of this, since merely looking at the pond will not work. You don't want to see the water level visually dropping off from one end of the pond to the other just because the outline of the pond is sloping.

4) Install a center drain at the pond bottom and make the entire floor surface slope towards this drain. Your filtration system will extract pond water for filtration from this drain.

5) Make your pond cleaning-friendly. Check if you can easily net debris out of your pond from various points on the bottom.

 
Filtration

   The time to design your filter system is while you're designing your pond. Designing it as an after-thought can be expensive and may even limit the effectiveness of your filters. Filtration can be tricky, so try to get familiar with filtration basics before even starting the construction of your pond. For example, filters should be as large as possible in relation to the pond size, and should not be less than 10% of the pond in water volume. Also, the water transfer rate of the filter must be high enough to impel the entire pond volume within one hour. Furthermore, filters must consist of two or more stages, and should be capable of both mechanical and biological filtration. For more information on proper water filtration, see the article 'The Basics of Koi Pond Filtration'.

Conclusion

Building a koi pond is not easy, but the rewards of having a well-constructed koi pond are immeasurable. As in any endeavor, success in building a koi pond depends on careful planning and execution

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