So you have a spot picked out and you know you want to have some fish in your pond. Do you know what kind you are looking for? Most fish will grow until they fill the space available for them. If you have a couple of gold fish in a gallon bowl, they will stay pretty much the same size for as long as you have them. If you put the same two gold fish in a smallish pond, they’ll grow quickly. Koi will grow even larger given half a chance and plenty of food.

My fish started out as scrawny little feeders from Wal-Mart last spring. I didn’t think they had grown much, but when I added new fish to the pond a couple of weeks ago, there was a huge size difference.

Depending on where you live, you’ll need anywhere from one to three feet of depth in your pond. If the water is going to freeze where you live, the fish need eighteen to twenty-four inches of depth, or at least one spot in the pond that is that deep. If you live in really cold areas, you’ll want to go deeper. There are other option to keep a bit of the ice open so you have an oxygen exchange, but we’ll discuss winterizing the pond in another post.

Koi are a great addition to a larger pond, and winter over just fine if the water is deep enough.

If you love koi ponds, two feet is not going to cut it. Experts agree that koi need a pond that is at least four feet deep because they need to be able swim vertically. Koi can also be purchased in most pet stores in varying sizes, but most people suggest putting a little more money into your fish and buying larger varieties. The fact that koi can grow to a very large size is one reason many people want to grow them. Other reasons include the large variety of colors and patterns available with koi to dress up your pond.

A couple of things to be aware of before planning your koi pond: first, I only have to feed my goldfish in the cold parts of the year when there are no plants or algae in the water. Koi need to be fed year round because of the different needs of their diets. They require a diet with about forty percent protein. Also, Koi ponds tend to require a bit more maintenance and clean up than gold fish.

Either way, you can’t go wrong. My friends’ little girl loves to come watch the fish every time they are at our house. There’s just something mesmerizing about that flash of color as they flit from the cover of one plant to another.