In December 2011 I succeeded in convincing hubby that a 'goldfish pond' would look good in the garden. I proceeded to buy a pump (normal fountain type), a pond ornament (angel spouting water), and a plastic bucket. I had no clue what to do, or what I wanted.
January 2012 saw me hiring a gardener, buying plastic lining at Builders' Warehouse and commencing the dig. After the gardener had dug for 2 days, I had a roughly semi-circular pond about 40cm deep in the middle, and 8cm deep around the edges. The following week we proceeded to line (by we, I mean I gave instructions, gardener did the work! hehe) this pond with a double layer of the 250micron plastic sheeting which I thought would do the trick. Despite yells of 'you're going to be sorry' from my brother-in-law, 'we should concrete the thing' from hubby, and 'are you sure you're doing this right' from the kids - we batted on regardless. A visit to my local garden centre saw me hauling small boulders (things were heavy) and some plant matter (a water lily) in my poor IX35 to the house. The rocks and boulders were to hold the plastic lining in place until it got filled. We then proceeded to run water into the pond. Week 3 saw us filling the pond with water, and adding 'muti' which I obtained from the petshop, as well as 2 fish (comets I think).
24 hours later the fish were alive and well, but, by the Sunday George (yes, I named them) had died. We had had a massive storm the night before, so I blamed his death on the lightning/mud/whatever.
Monday I decided to replace George with another 13 comets (or so I thought). Tuesday I bought more plants and by Wednesday couldnt see the fish for mud!!! I hastened to the petshop and ordered a UV filter, which, when the installer arrived, didn't have a pump with sufficient capacity to run it, so he went and brought a larger pump and installed the whole shebang the following day. By the weekend, the pond was doing fine, fish were thriving, it looked fabulous! On the Sunday I proudly showed the family my 'goldfish' photos - my sister-in-law exclaimed 'some of those are koi!' how she knew the difference I couldn't tell.
After my purchase of another 8 comets (2 of which fantails) I decided to leave things be.
The pond flourished for about 2 weeks, then I went to Durban for a week, and I lost 21 of 27 fish! I was absolutely devastated. On my return, I promptly removed the remaining 6 fish, plants, rocks etc to another small pond which I have (more of a water feature really, but it has a lovely coating of algae); and we then decided to concrete the goldfish pond, and line it with the special paint.
We returned from holiday on 22 April, and our pond was finished! We drained the first water and refilled. Put in the special medicine and left it for a few days. On 29 April we moved the 5 comets and 1 koi to the new dam, and went to purchase some more babies. We ended up with 9 koi of approx 5-6in in length (3 of which i'm 'koi-sitting' for daughter), 2 lionheads, and a batch of tiddlers. Of course, when I saw a butterfly koi at the petshop yesterday, I couldn't resist!
Hubby, who said he didn't want koi, is enjoying them almost as much as I am. In just 3 days, one of the baby koi is coming within an inch or two of my hand, and the others are no longer so frightened when I go to the pond.
Learning is half the fun! I would be very happy to hear from anyone who has any advice for me, a brand-new koi keeper - I don't want to show them, they are my 'peace garden' - beautiful, graceful, and I enjoy just sitting watching them!