Granted, these are not pedigree koi. They're Petco koi, the kind of inbred scanky koi that are sneered at and made fun of by their expensive cousins at Pondscapes. But, they deserve a life and to that end, we've undertaken a project to educate ourselves on how to keep them and the hole in the ground healthy. It quickly became clear (not the water, that comes later) that we needed to get them out of the pea soup. Wayne put them in the 30 gallon aquarium that didn't sell at the last yard sale and emptied the pond, cleaning out all of the algae and goop on the bottom. The pond was refilled with water straight from our well (bypassing the softener system). We ran the filter for a few days, then took a water sample and drove to South Tampa to visit Pondscapes. Our little 20 dollar pump and homemade filter system (paint bucket, filter material and lid with holes punched in it) was replaced by a "real" pond pump (500 gal. per hour) and filter system.
We also repotted the water lily, according to instructions from Kevin at Pondscapes. Lifting the winter burned, smelly mess of roots out of the pot, we cut off about 70% of the roots. I put plain clay cat litter in the bottom, then a layer of top soil (no fertilizer!), nestled the water lily roots on that and filled in the top 1/3rd with pea gravel. I found some larger rocks to set over the pea gravel to weight the pot and keep the koi from digging in it, then flushed it with well water and put it in the bottom of the pond.
Meanwhile, back at the aquarium, our koi were a bit listless, probably because we'd almost killed them by overfeeding all winter and the aquarium water was cloudy and tested too acidic.
|From Koi out of pond for cleaning march 2010|