16 November 2010

Crazy World of Koi

Crazy World of Koi - Then and Now 


Keeping Koi certainly is a crazy world to be in with so many ups and downs, trials and tribulations that it's any wonder we even bother to try. There's so many parameters that need to be met or exceeded not to mention the multitude of set-ups and pieces of equipment etc that are essential for us to achieve these goals. Then there's all the new products coming on to the market that are designed to aid us in our Koi keeping endeavours which are designed to make achieving the perfect habitat for our Koi that little bit easier for all hobbyists/professionals/nutters. That's right, i'm beginning to think that "crazy" actually refers to us, the ones that attempt this Koi keeping alchemy. Which is the main reason for starting this online diary or blog!

After keeping tropical fish for many years like so many of us do, things progressed to keeping a few goldfish in a half barrel. Following the purchase of our current house however, the decision was made to create a raised garden pond (to keep the dogs out ... right!) and to create as close to a natural habitat as possible for a variety of freshwater fish. Things went well for us and we were soon sitting back and enjoying the fruits of our labour. Additional fish were purchased and introduced to the pond over a period of time including some ghost carp, and of course Koi! This brought a whole new fish, now Koi keeping challenge for us. We were now in the realm of nitrite, nitrate & ammonia parameters as well as water hardness and pH and were definitely in need of some assistance. The saviour of the day was the East Yorkshire Koi Society (EYKS) as well as an adequate and balanced filtration system. Needless to say we recognised straight away the benefits of being in such a club or society and joined straight away.
Dazzle's Pond - May 2010

Since our initial problems and baptism of fire into the Koi keeping world we've enjoyed around 5 years of trouble free Koi keeping (excluding the run of the mill niggles that we all have to contend with from time to time). Until that is the start of this year 2010. Since the back end of April we've experienced nothing but problems .... and serious ones at that! The stress on the fish has been relentless (not to mention on us as well) having to contend with wave upon wave of parasite in one form or another. So much so that in a very short space of time, about a week, our collection of Koi diminished from 19 fish down to 12. To add insult to injury it was the better quality Koi we lost first! The problems continued over the next few weeks with more fish being lost until we were left with 7 fish - all of which were very weakened and suffering from various ailments, scars and soars etc. Obviously throughout the duration we tried everything possible to cure the primary symptoms first and then on to the secondary etc, but the onslaught really was relentless with one parasite or condition after another that in the end we were certain that if the problems didn't kill the fish, the medication etc would. We were therefore confronted with a decision that no Koi keeper wants to face ..... carry on subjecting the fish to their problems or call it a day. For the benefit of us as well as our fish, we made the decision to call it a day and on Saturday 13th November we switched off all the filtration and pumps, removed the remaining fish and put them to sleep, then drained the pond. A very, very sad day for us.


Unfortunately (some might say) we don't give in that easy and although we've experienced one of the worst scenarios that any Koi keeper can face, we remain positive and try to analyse everything that's happened in order to learn from any mistakes we made (none of us are perfect). We quickly came to realise that despite everything that nature's thrown at us this body of water was never just a pond, but an integral part of our garden. And because we spend so much time in our garden, the pond and fish were an integral part of our home and social life. It therefore transpires (and with a considerable amount of positive thinking) that there was some good that could come out of the position we find ourselves in???

With the pond now drained and no fish to maintain, we could now dismantle our first pond to make way for pond number 2! A pond that we've wanted to develop for some time which would incorporate all the features etc that we came to realise were missing from the first build, but have never been in a position to take any further due to the costs & logistics involved in building the new pond on the site of the old, whilst doing so as quickly as possible. The situation we now find ourselves in allows us the luxury of time to dismantle the old pond and build the new one, whilst not having to contend with the issues and problems etc of our fish being in temporary accommodation.

And then it suddenly occured to us .... why not take you along with us on this journey of discovery and sharing our new trials and tribulations along the way. So the "Crazy World of Koi" blog was formed.

We hope you enjoy sharing the ups and downs as we begin this new chapter in our Koi keeping (as i'm sure there's going to be plenty). Perhaps it will bring back memories of your own highs and lows from your own pond builds? Whatever the reason, we hope you enjoy and .......... wish us luck!