The simplest yet long-term solutions to keeping water ponds clean and clear flowing smoothly for Chinese New Year 😉
As we are already in our second month of 2021 and MCO is probably here to stay if the current Covid-19 numbers are anything to go by, we have all by now adapted to what we call “the new norm”. With Chinese New Year just round the corner and there’s nothing much left to keep us all entertained, it would be most beneficial to invest all our time and energy into an early spring cleaning to usher in the Year of the Ox (and hopefully to have better luck turned around!). And there is no time like the present to clean our water pond / aquarium to ensure a smooth new year and the fishes happily swimming to welcome in good Feng Shui for the home!
Pix: Koi fishes moving around comfortably in a clean water pond
Although having a water pond at home with fishes especially Kois symbolises wealth, positive energy and renewal for the household, maintaining and cleaning the pond water can be a huge struggle! Similar to how we need to live in a clean environment that makes us feel safe, loved, and comfortable, so do our aquatic friends who require clean and chemically-balanced water to survive and thrive. Now with MCO, having a maintenance person to come in to maintain the pond will be quite a hassle.
However, it is not to say that we are unable to achieve a good clean pond on our own! With these simple tips from our Koi fish and water pond experts, here are some of the easier ways on how you can maintain the living environment of your aquatic friends to ensure they thrive and have good Feng Shui to always flourish in the home.
- Don’t overpopulate
Firstly, the major rule is not to overpopulate the pond! When there are more fishes involved, there’s naturally more waste that would also clog the filters. Mr Andy Gan, a Koi specialist from Atarashi Koi said that overpopulation of a pond can lead to various hazardous effects such as sickness within the pond or deterioration.
“It is natural to fall in love with the gracefulness of the fishes when they are swimming and we love to see more of the colourful motions; however, it is just as common to have an overpopulated water pond. It is very important to not overpopulate Kois, or any fishes for that matter, as it can lead to decreased dissolved oxygen and a lowered oxygen-carrying capacity, as well as toxic ammonia and nitrite levels to rise to dangerous and even lethal levels,” said Mr. Andy.
If you have any prosperous aquatic animals such as goldfish or Kois in your home, keep to the essential Feng Shui principle of nine fishes in the pond: eight brightly coloured fishes and one black to neutralise negative energy. If we keep to this number, we not only ensure the balance of positive energy to come, but also maintain the happiness of the fishes in their space and environment.
- Feed your aquatic friends a balanced diet
As to how we need a balanced diet, so do our aquatic friends – but they only need to be fed once a day! Fishes generally have a very small appetite and if we feed them more than what they are able to stomach, the uneaten food will eventually be left to decay in the aquarium or pond. Apart from its appetite, the type of food that we feed them matters just as much too! Mr Mah Chin Chye, a Koi expert from Yamakoshi Koi expressed that the food we serve to our aquatic friends will eventually show in their growth rate and the way they look, especially for Kois.
“The colour and growth of your Kois are subjected to the quality of the food. In order for Kois to grow beautifully and healthily, it is important to invest in high quality koi food that provides essential nutrients and vitamins, as well as a balanced source of protein, carbohydrates and minerals. Not only does the type of food can directly influence the Koi’s health and growth rate, it also affects the water quality as a whole,” added Mr Mah.
Detailed research has to be done on the food that the specific breed of fish consumes, as some fishes may be carnivorous, omnivores, or herbivorous. For example, as Kois are omnivorous and they eat just about anything, good ingredients such as high-quality spirulina has to be included in the Kois’ diet for them to grow into the beautiful champions that they are meant to be!
- Have the right-size pump
Fun fact, did you know that the air we breathe contains about 21% oxygen, while our aquatic friends breathe less than one thousandth of 1% oxygen?
As every pump has its flow limitations, it is essential for us to choose the right size of pump to facilitate a proper circulation of water in the aquarium or pond through your filter in order to keep the water sufficiently clean for the fish to live and breathe comfortably. By not installing the right pump, this will prove very difficult for delicate fishes such as Kois to survive in the pond without proper circulation and aeration, as fishes like Koi require specific care and need near-to-perfect water quality to maintain and achieve a stunning and healthy Koi with minimal problems.
That said, having the right-sized pump is not enough. To ensure good flow for the year, we ourselves need to make sure we enable good flow, and by that we mean to ensure that our pump’s flow isn’t restricted by debris in the skimmer and to be careful with the pressure of the pump (don’t want our fishes to think they are in a whirlpool!). This brings us to our next point:
- Clean debris before it decays!
The combination of decaying debris, fish waste and uneaten fish food can all lead to the ammonia levels to spike in the fish’s living space. Although the skimmer would remove most of the debris, it is also better to use a pond or aquarium net to skim the leftover debris out before they have a chance to descend to the bottom where they’ll decay. In a balanced natural ecosystem, Nitrogen Cycle is one of the processes that holds all these in check.
To put it in layman terms, Nitrogen is essential to all living cells, and the nitrogen cycle in a Koi pond is responsible for biological filtration to keep the water at safe levels to support aquatic life including fish and plants. By recreating the Nitrogen Cycle – be it in the aquarium or the water pond – using the proper filter, the water will remain clean and healthy at a certain standard enough for the fish to live in.
- Grow more pond plants
More than just a beautiful aesthetic to any pond, in order for the pond to be a successful habitat for the fishes, aquatic plants are needed to be introduced in order to maintain a balanced aquatic ecosystem. There are many different types of plants that you can use in your pond: floating plants, deep-water emergent plants, or submerged plants — all of which serve a large role in providing oxygen, food and shelter for our aquatic friends.
- Pre-filtration and proper filtration are a must to regulate Nitrogen Cycle!
Are you thinking of rearing Koi fishes in your home but do not have a pond? Good news all, as rearing Kois is not limited to only in Koi ponds, you can still keep your aqua friends in a properly-built pool (yes, we mean the pool that you swim in)! Although both swimming pool and koi pond filtrations are very dissimilar as they are used in two very different environments for different purposes, eventually what both these two needs are pre-filtration and biological filters.
The larger the pond, the more debris will be produced. Pre-filters are not only a cost-effective way to protect pond pumps and to prevent clogs, it also helps to prevent pond fish and other inhabitants such as our stunning aquatic plants being drawn into the pump. For additional safeguarding on the pumps, fish owners can build an extra mesh net to deter the particles from going into the plumbing system – otherwise, there are pumps available that are built-in with a strainer basket to take out large and stringy matters too!
Filtration, on the other hand, is also essential for fishes no matter which living space we put them in – whether it is an aquarium, pond or a specially-built pool. Especially for delicate fishes such as Kois, if home-owners or builders do not understand the technicalities involved in maintaining the pond, the consequences can be enormous and, at worst, resulting in fish deaths and / or infections.
Mr Koo Zao Cheong, Regional Business Development Manager of Waterco (leading one-stop solution provider for safe and healthy water environment company) said that after numerous times developing water ponds for their customers, proper research has to be done by home-owners before they embark on using just any products for their Koi pond.
“A koi pond’s main aim is to create and maintain a large volume of water which is well-oxygenated and filtered. Therefore, choosing the right filters such as biofilters are the most crucial for Koi ponds as it functions to remove bad Nitrogen compound, i.e. Ammonia and Nitrite,” opined Mr Koo.
“Biofilters provides suitable bed surface for beneficial bacteria to grow which provides assistance to the Nitrogen Cycle. If research is not done correctly and sand filters are being utilised instead, they will not be able to remove the build-up nutrients from faeces and uneaten fish food which can cause the Kois to be unhealthy or worse.”
To put it in the simplest terms, for any types of (home-reared) fish(es) to be at their happiest and healthiest, they need to be living in clean and well-oxygenated water. Just like how a house requires proper plumbing and electricity to provide great comfort for its tenants to rest in, the same logic can be said for a water pond. More so, filtration devices also help us to efficiently maximise the water flow and filtration, while saving time and water which us Malaysians should start practicing too!
By following these few simple tips and getting the proper devices to work, there is no doubt that the water pond will flourish and the aquatic beings will thrive in a home pond. Now we can all attend to our spring-cleaning tasks with ease, bringing in all the good for a prosperous Chinese New Year by providing our beloved aqua friends the best, the healthiest, cleanest and safest living environment they truly deserve! 😉