How to Build a Koi Pond: Step-by-step 0 496

A good koi pond design will consider a variety of different factors, including aesthetic appearance, good filtration, ease of maintenance and of course, ensuring that your pond is fit to support life and keep your koi healthy.

The exact design of your pond is a matter of personal choice, but ensuring that you account for all of these factors should be your main priority. Before thinking about how to build a koi pond, first check out our article on koi carp pond design for guidance on planning your pond.

Once you know what you want from your design then you can get started with the fun part: building your pond! Below, we explain the step-by-step process of building a koi pond…

How to build a koi pond:
  1. Use string and sticks to lay out the perimeter of your pond and to give you a pattern for digging your hole.
  2. Get digging! While you can of course dig your koi pond by hand, your pond will almost certainly be large, and in places, deep, so you might want to hire a machine to help you to excavate your hole.
  3. Smooth off the design, making slopes steady and smooth, and ensuring that the earth is compact and stable.
  4. Remove any rocks or sharp implements that might damage your pond liner.
  5. Place and install any piping, drains or filters that you might want in the base of your pond, ensuring that the ground tapers to allow the pond to drain or cycle through any fittings you put in.
  6. How to build a koi pondCover the base of the pond with a protective layer, such as old carpet, to provide an extra layer of strength and security for your liner and avoid leaks.
  7. Measure the pond for the liner, ensuring that you allow a generous margin of at least two feet on the edges, plus extra for any mistakes!
  8. When you are ready to place your liner, lay it out next to the pond while folded up, and unfold it into the hole carefully and gradually, ensuring that it is firmly pressed into crevices and graduations to make a good fit.
  9. Smooth the liner out within the hole, enduring plenty of slack and a generous border over all sides of the pond. Remember that the water will push the liner firmly into any gaps, and shrink your margins, so never trim the liner until your pond is full of water!
  10. Once you are confident in the position of your liner, cut out holes for the filters, drains and skimmers in the base of the pond. Seal over the holes once you have pulled all of the equipment through, ensure they are watertight, and leave them time to cure.
  11. When you are ready to fill your pond with water, try to use a metered source so that you know exactly what volume of water your pond holds. This will help you with later calculations on fish stock and water levels.
  12. Manually work out any creases in the liner as the pond fills.
  13. Once the pond is full and has had time to settle, you can now trim down your liner (if needed) and bury the edges. Alternatively, build over the edges to provide a border to the pond.
  14. Complete the installation of your pumps, aeration, filters and piping, and check that they are all working.
  15. Check for leaks, problems and soft spots in the pond’s liner, and keep the pond watered and all of the equipment running for several days to ensure that everything is working as it should.
  16. Add any water treatment agents you might need to your pond, and allow at least 2-4 weeks for the pond to fully settle in and reach ambient temperature before you consider adding your first plants and fish.
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5 reasons a tortoise is the perfect pet 0 386

Tortoises are adorable animals and they are great pets to keep in your home. Here we explore the top five reasons why you should consider getting a tortoise as a pet.

1. Low maintenance

With some space to enjoy and some lettuce to chomp on, a tortoise will be pretty happy. This low maintenance pet won’t need walking twice a day and will keep themselves entertained.

2. Tortoises are very affordable

Tortoises are very affordable to keep in your home. Once they are set up with a comfortable space to enjoy, there will be very little cost to upkeep them. Their food is cheap and their space remains clean for long periods without needing to be changed.

3. Tortoises live long lives

Tortoises will also be around for a long time. They can live from 14 to 30 years or more depending on the species, which means you will have a friend for years to come. Unlike most other pets, you will be able to enjoy your tortoise for vast periods of your life.

4. They’re harmless

Tortoises are far more harmless than cats and dogs. While they may bite your finger if you put it in their mouth, little damage will be done. A tortoise is a very safe pet to have in the home and is great when you have children too.

5. Tortoises are loyal

Tortoises are unlike most pets in that they are happy in the space you give them. With room to wander around, food to eat and occasional trips into the garden to play and eat grass, the tortoise will be happy. Tortoises will not try to run away from you like dogs, hamsters or guinea pigs.

Tortoises are adorable creatures to keep as pets and they are a very practical and affordable animal to have in your home. Unlike many pets, it is easy to keep a tortoise and to keep them happy for a long time. With a tortoise, you will have a friend for years and years to come.

Photo: Tortoise by snowmentality licensed under Creative commons 2

Keeping exotic fish as pets 0 530

Exotic fish

There’s something mesmerising about watching a tank full of brightly coloured fish swim around. Do they make good pets though? Is it hard to keep exotic fish? With the right pet care and pet advice, exotic fish make great, if unusual pets.

Tank size

Go for the biggest sized tank you can afford and have room for. The bigger your tank, the easier you’ll find keeping the balance of the water right. Your fish need plenty of room to swim too. Aim for at least a 20-gallon tank.

Tank set-up

You’re going to need a heater to warm the water. You’ll also need a filter to ensure clean, healthy water, which is crucial for fish to thrive. It’s advisable to add an air pump to boost the oxygen levels.

You’ll also need a light for the tank, and a timer for the light, so it’s not on all the time. Bear in mind a fish tank should be placed out of direct sunlight, away from draughts and heating sources.

On top of the things that make your tank work you’re going to need everything that goes into your tank; gravel for the bottom, plants, and decorative caves and tunnels so your fish can hide if they want to.

You can usually buy aquarium starter kits at pet food stores if you want help in pulling everything together.

Getting the water right

The filter will cycle your water to make it suitable for fish to live in, never add tap water directly to the tank. You need to de-chlorinate it first. You can also add a water treatment to help keep the water healthy between changes.

You should change about 10-15% of the water each week to keep it clean and healthy for the fish. Never do a full tank change once your fish are in the tank.

Choosing your fish

When you choose your fish, make sure you start introducing them slowly – this will help you identify if you’ve got the water balance right, and at this point, your tanks eco-system is still developing, so adding lots of fish can damage it.

There’s a wide range of tropical fish to choose from – Cichlids, Betta and Swordtails are good starter fish, and are nice to look at. Never mix goldfish and tropical fish together.