You’ve exchanged and completed on your new home. The moving in date is set and everything is new and exciting. Now all that’s left is to move your furniture, yourselves – oh… and a koi!
So what really is the best way to house your koi whilst their pond is temporarily out of action? Be it due to pond repairs, moving house or any other reason, sometimes it has to be done. With all the options available nowadays though it doesn’t have to be stressful. Read on to find out some options available so everything goes as smooth as silk.
Potentially one of the most awkward and stressful aspects of koi keeping can be having to house your koi fish in a temporary holding system. This situation can arise for many reasons. It may be that you need to carry out some work on your pond or maybe you are moving house, which along with an emergency with your pond can be two of the most worrying scenarios.
Unlike many pets, koi present many unique problems to say the least. However there are ways around most of them, particularly if a little forethought can be given.
The old ways are sometimes the best
In the past it was definitely more difficult to house koi on a temporary basis. If you could not find a friend who could house them in their pond, then you had to come up with something of your own. This could range from small pre-formed ponds dug in to the ground on a temporary basis to hay bales arranged in a square with some form of liner placed within – not ideal but sometimes very effective.
Even today some people have great success by devising a pond from timber framework with a liner inside.
More recently though it has become much easier to obtain, sometimes at a very reasonable cost, very well made and easy to use flexible pools. These can range from a type of thing advertised in a koi magazines which are made expressly for a job, to flexible swimming pools which are equally as effective. I know numerous people who, having moved house, used very cheap children’s paddling pools which, once netted over to avoid koi jumping out, have been used to great effect. A few airstones and a small pump fed box filter kept the koi very happy and content whilst their new home was being prepared. Obviously once you begin to deal with larger koi it becomes more difficult to accommodate them in such a facility, but it can be done.
When my own pond was rebuilt the koi were held in a 17ft diameter flexible swimming pool with airstones and a very small pump fed box filter employed, which kept them very happy, this was during some particularly hot and sunny weather as well. A second, similar pool was used as a water reservoir. It was filled slowly with purified tap water which was then pumped into the pond to speed up a filling of it.
Very common these days for such a task are the fibreglass quarantine tanks which normally have built in filter systems and discharge valves.
I have known many people who, after having finished with one of these systems for its initial task, have then gone on to use them to great effect
These are ideal for the job as they can be stood pretty much anywhere so long as you have a smooth, strong and level base area. They are often placed out of the way in the corner of a garage where it is easy to look after the inhabitants.
While it may be considered an outlay for such a piece of equipment, it can of course be used at a later date as a hospital tank or quarantine system. I have known many people who, after having finished with one of these systems for its initial task have then gone on to use them to great effect as growing on tanks for smaller koi which can be moved out to the pond with their larger pond mates.
Beg and borrow
Another means to an end is the use of a vats often seen at koi shows. These can very often be rented or borrowed from koi clubs, a small fee or sometimes even a donation to club funds is normally sufficient.
Another possibility is to hire one from a many pond builders who use them on a professional basis. So long as they are not using them they may well be able to assist you. While obviously only being suitable for smaller koi, if they are to be present for any length of time they can be most useful.
Don’t be offended
One thing I would point out is that you should not be offended if someone refuses to lend you a vat for such use. Remember that they may be worried about it being returned in ‘a state’. It may be that they are concerned about the spread of parasite or disease problems if they do not know you and your koi.
It may even be that they have loaned equipment in the past and had it returned damaged or not returned at all! So please bear this sort of thing in mind. Generally however, most people are only too keen to help may well have been in a similar situation themselves in the past. Maybe they think that in the future it may be themselves in your position!
When planning a period of time during which your koi are to be placed in temporary home few pointers are worth bearing in mind
When planning a period of time during which your koi are to be placed in a temporary home a few pointers are worth bearing in mind. If it is to be a short duration (a week or so, for example) and the system is a little on the small side then it is probably best to suspend feeding for around five days before the koi are placed into their temporary lodgings. This naturally eases a load on the system and its filter if fitted.
If possible, place some of your mature filter media into a filter being utilised on a vat or tank. This obviously gives the filter a big head start in maintaining water quality. If the koi are to be held in such a way for any length of time then it would be better to get a filter mature and be able to feed the fish, albeit at a reduced level. You can do without them becoming weak due to lack of food is essential.
Check your water
Keep a very sharp eye on water quality at all times when housing koi in this way. Remember that a small body of water is a balancing act when koi are present. Things can go awry very quickly indeed, so do not be tempted to relax your water testing.
To have to resolve water quality problems in your temporary system is the last thing that you need.
If you have no option but to place such a vat or pool out of doors and the weather is particularly hot, it may be an idea to shade a koi. This will avoid temperatures rising too much or too quickly. Conversely if it is cold then placing a vat on anything that will safely insulate it from the ground will help. Also wrapping something such as bubble wrap around the sides will help to prevent the water from chilling if you cannot employ a form of heating. Wherever a soft vat or flexible type pool is placed it should be protected from anything sharp or rough on the ground, so bear this in mind before adding the water.
I know that may sound obvious, but remember this could all be done in a very successful situation. A tarpaulin or similar may serve as a ground sheet so to speak or anything that will offer protection.
With a little thought you really should not have too many problems. A little common sense and if possible assistance from someone who has done this before and you should be okay.