Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The 10 most common mistakes people make with koi

Making mistakes is often a helpful method of learning, but when you are dealing with the care of animals such as koi, it can be a very upsetting experience for people and potentially life threatening for the koi. With the increase in experience and information available now, beginners to the hobby should be able to avoid the major pitfalls. There will always be problems from time to time but knowing how to deal with these comes with experience.

There's a business technique, also used in personal development, that says if you want to do something or get somewhere you study someone that's done it. This is probably why we are so fascinated with the Japanese mastery of koi. This brings me to the title of this post as it was a question from a beginner on one of the koi forums. I wouldn't call myself an expert but I answered it the best I could from my experience and as no-one disagreed or added any further suggestions, I thought I would share it with you.

The 10 most common mistakes people make with koi in no particular order but from what I have heard, seen and early on did myself are:
  1. Building the pond too small, only to regret it later.
  2. Rushing to put the koi in the pond before everything is ready. eg; the water and filter need time to mature.
  3. Trying to save too much money on construction and equipment.
  4. Over feeding.
  5. Not changing the water often enough or cleaning out waste.
  6. Buying too many koi and over stocking.
  7. Building your own koi pond filter that doesn't work well enough.
  8. Using too many treatments or the wrong ones.
  9. Not quarantining new koi.
  10. Thinking you know everything and not asking for help.(One of my biggest mistakes)

I think I have been guilty of most of these at one time or another but most are easily avoidable. When I first started I went through a catalogue of errors even though I thought I was doing the right thing. I first bought a liner advertised for fish farming in an effort to save money, which turned out to be not dissimilar to a shopping bag. In fact it was the same stuff you get as tent ground sheets. Not put off I proceeded with help from my dad to box weld it into place by hot glue gun. When finished it looked great in its dark green with all the corners nice and neat and the bottom drain expertly installed. When time came to fill it with water though it leaked like a sieve with the sides ballooning out. It turned out that the hot glue had melted thousands of tiny holes through the plastic liner. This went straight in the bin with my next plan to seal the concrete but this led to more disasters...

To cut a short story even shorter the moral is not to cut corners and learn from tried and trusted products and methods used successfully by koi experts. This is not to say you cannot save money or experiment, as I have built my own filters that worked well in the past, but to do so you should know the risks.


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