Is laissez faire care system better? I sometimes think so….
Last year we lost one koi and almost lost a second in the winter pond. We also did very little to the winter pond – no water changes, no filtering – pretty much left an aerator on and took our chances. In preparation for this winter, we made the pond larger, hooked up filtration, put in two aerators, threw in some insulation and created the weird pyramid. Regular puttering around, making sure the koi were doing okay, significantly more effort than last year. In the last two weeks I have lost two koi – Verdell, the new midorgoi and Pepper, a pretty kohaku (sorry Michael C.). Verdell was swimming around but had a tiny white spot on his back tail fin when he was pulled out. Pepper was swimming around two days ago and then keeled over. We could find nothing on his skin to indicate he was sick.
We believe the warming temperatures might be allowing little windows of time where parasites can flourish. So we weighed some options and decided to create indoor koi land in the third bay of the garage. Should any of the bigger koi get sick, we should be able to catch it early and save them. Building an indoor koi home was not how the pond digger wanted to spend his weekend but he went to work.
Our ingredients included two 300 gallon watering tanks, two recycling containers each filled with bio balls and a pump, two waterfall systems with bio balls, two aerators and assorted PVC piping, valves and fittings. The first day we pulled the large koi out while we did a major water change in the outdoor winter pond.
Yesterday, Tony created the filter systems and hooked everything together. The koi seem happy enough gliding lazily in 45 degree water. I’m pretty sure the water may drop a few more degrees with some of the really cold air that has moved into our area. (Instead of the high 30s, low 40s we are going to be treated to single digits and below zero weather).
Outdoors, we decided to put the pyramid over an aerator in the large pond (no one lives there except for the summer babies that we couldn’t catch). We’ve left the winter pond covered with insulation pieces and the smaller koi will remain. I think the smaller koi tend to be hardier. No hard facts to support this, just an irrational belief. It was tempting to pull all of them out of the pond but I’d like to see how these koi fare under the return to the laissez faire care system. So now we have koi in the garage and I must admit it is nice to see the koi up close each day. I need to trek through the snow to get the nets out of the shed. No one wants koi flapping around the concrete floor…