Guest Author - D. J. Herda
Pond pumps come in one of two basic types: submersible and non-submersible. That means you’ll need to decide whether you want your pump to be underwater (inside the pond) or not (outside the pond). Submersible pumps are probably the most popular simply because of their placement: out of sight means out of mind. With your pump sitting inside a skimmer box or at the bottom of the pond, there’s no need to disguise it or hide it from view.
The purpose of the pump is simple. It moves water from here to there. That’s necessary in order to keep the water clean (by running it through a filter) and to create oxygen (by fracturing the water molecules and stirring the water’s surface). A pump can move water from a pond to a stream bed or it can power a fountain, which in turn provides additional aeration for the pond.
The most important thing to remember when buying a pump is that it should be capable of turning your pond’s water over two to three times an hour. That means that, if you have a 1,000-gallon pond, your pump should be rated to deliver at least 2,000 to 3,000 gallons an hour. For a 500-gallon pond, you’ll need a 1,000- to 1,500-gallon-an-hour pump.
Here, as in few other things in life, bigger actually is better; for, the more water you funnel through your pond’s filtration system, the better off your pond will be. And your fish—including those koi—will thank you for it!
One thing to remember about koi is that, while they’re one of the most popular fish for outdoor ponds, they take special consideration. Koi eat a lot, and they can get quite large. They also grow extremely quickly. Remember that this is a fish that can get as large as a salmon! The more a koi eats, the more waste he generates. The more waste he generates, the more toxic ammonia he creates.
Sound like a losing proposition? Not really. After all, koi are such fun! They respond well to people. They’re extremely colorful. And they never hesitate to beg for a handout! So, what do you do? Why, you feed them, of course.
We’ve read a lot over the years about how overfeeding is the primary killer of koi. That’s simply not true. Koi do not overeat. They eat just exactly as much as they need in order to grow just as fast as they possibly can. You can feed them all day long, if you want, and they’ll thank you for it. In fact, some breeders feed their koi seven or eight times a day! But, these breeders have the gigantic filtration systems necessary for keeping their ponds clean.
So, it’s not overfeeding that is deadly to koi, but rather the ammonia they produce as a result of frequent feeding. Take special care to remove the ammonia from the water, holding the production of nitrites and nitrates to a minimum, and you’ll be way ahead of the pack!
Pumps and Filters Quick Check List
1. Choose the method of filtration you’re going to use—mechanical, biological, chemical, UV, or—better still—a combination of all four.
2. Decide on what type of pump you're going to use, submersible or non-submersible.
3. Try to build into your pond a vegetative filtration system by planting part of the area with water plants.
4. Determine how much water you’ll need to pump in order to turn your pond’s contents over 2 – 3 times an hour.
5. Purchase the largest pump (with the greatest flow rate) you can afford.
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