Friday, February 24, 2012

Transferring Baby Koi to Another Pond In the Winter

 Last fall my friend Naomi gave me two baby koi. I was not really certain about taking the baby koi because at the time my only pond was a 50 gallon cast iron bathtub. The bathtub pond has served me well for nearly eight years and is the home of one six inch goldfish. I have loved this little bathtub so much that it gave me the courage to give a big pond a try which brings us back to the baby koi. I told Naomi all I had was the bathtub pond and I wasn't sure if the koi would survive there. Supposedly koi need a large pond and very clean water. While my bathtub pond has its own ecosystem and clean water it certainly is not a big pond.  Nonetheless I put the small black koi into the bathtub pond about six months ago and did not expect much from them. I do not feed my fish and paid little attention to the now three fish in the bathtub pond. I would occasionally check the bathtub to make sure there weren't any floating fish but that was about it. Wonders of wonders the koi not only lived but even grew a few inches. They are even slowly beginning to get their colors as they grow. Naomi is very unhappy that these koi have taken so long to get their color but perhaps that is common? Maybe these koi won't get pretty colors at all but they are indeed koi as Naomi has no goldfish in her pond-only koi. Enter the new large pond and the need for a new home for the two baby koi.

Once I finished digging my big pond and found the leaky area (a low spot in the liner) in the pond I let the pond sit for a few days in order to give it time to clear up and to begin establishing itself. An important part of my large pond (and small pond too) is the fact that I have some plants growing in the ponds. I find these are the best filters for any pond and simply love the ease of care of these plants. So, before moving the baby koi into my front pond I planted some horsetail rush and native irises in mesh pots. I believe these helped to clear up the new pond just as much as the mechanical filter did. I swear by plants in a pond when, after a couple of years of pea green water I finally added some plants to my bathtub pond. After I added the plants I never had pea soup ever and have not had to add an additives to the water either. After a few more days with the plants in place it seemed like the pond was ready for the baby koi to be moved into it from the bathtub pond. 

I was able to move my baby koi from the bathtub pond to the big pond mainly because the koi are already acclimated to the temperatures in both ponds; which should be the same since they are both outside. Since I do not feed my fish I knew there was no danger of the koi being full of food and being placed in cold water where the food could slowly harm the koi. If I purchased koi from a store during this time of the year the fact that the store would feed their koi and the water in the store would be warm could cause a major problem with any koi I purchased and put into my pond. You are not supposed to feed fish when the water temperatures drop to a certain level because the fish slow down their metabolism and kind of hibernate when the water is very cold. Going from a high metabolic rate in the store to a cold outside pond in the wintertime would mean the food the fish had eaten would just kind of sit in the stomachs of the koi and that would not be a good thing. Fish do not need food in the wintertime at all and in fact I usually don't feed my fish at all-winter or summer. I do plan to start feeding these koi come spring though because I'd like to be able to interact with them. The goldfish in the back is easy to see in the small pond but in the large pond I can barely see these baby koi. Coming up to feed will be essential if I wish to see them up close. 

After catching the baby koi in the bathtub pond I was able to see them up close. Something I relished. In fact, I took a great opportunity to snap some photos of my baby koi up close and I also held both of them in my hands. Fish are so cool and these two are no exception. Up close I was able to see that these koi appear to be changing colors and I do hope they get some great koi colors but if not, that is okay as well. They are great additions to my big pond....

in the garden....

I have not yet named these koi and would like some suggestions. Any suggestions for names for these two koi will be considered. Thanks.

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. I didn't realize that koi didn't eat during the winter; I always wondered how they could survive the colder temperatures. I'm sure your koi are going to be happy in their new home--maybe they'll start changing colors even sooner to show their happiness!

  2. Will comment later, Tornado Watches in our area so I must turn off the computer....

  3. Skeeter, we have a tornado watch too. Interesting post Tina, didn't know all that about the Koi. Will have to think about a name for them...nothing comes to mind right now.

  4. Glad you got them moved okay. I bet they will be happy out there and will get more color quickly. I wonder if they have special fish food for color like they do for birds. As for names, I had a friend that had parrots named Frick and Frack that I always liked. Also well know pairs like Roy and Dale or Bonnie and Clyde come to mind. There are so many but that is all I can come up with right now.

  5. Tornado watches all around us but so far, not on us. Yippeeeeeee....

    Are they male and female or both male or both female? I looked up some Japanese names and found a couple that would be easy to remember and to pronounce. LOL....

    Ren: means Lotus
    Moe: means Bud or Sprout
    Hina: means Sunshine and Vegetables....

    Any of these float your boat???
    Cant wait to see the progress of your fish whatever you name them….

    Hint: as they grown, hide Mr Fixit’s Fishing Pole… hee hee…

  6. They're so cute! How about Koy-Toy and Wanderer? :-)

    Greetings from London

  7. Hi all,
    Rose, Yes indeed you must stop feeding fish in the winter (koi and goldfish as far as I know). Honestly though they are algae eaters and seem to do okay with no feeding. Makes it easier on the owner-think less work for me.

    Janet, I wouldn't know about not feeding the fish either if I didn't have some of my own here. It's good to know info. Stay safe.

    Mom, Great names! I'm not sure what we'll go with if anything but will consider those couple names for sure. I hope they get some color soon. They are hard to see in the grayish pond water. I did take some photos so will display them soon.

    Skeeter, Glad that is over! Great names for us to consider. I do like the flower or Japanese style names. Mr. Fix-it promises me IF he fishes it will be barbless:)

    ACIL, Koy-Toy-cute!

  8. You might need to see their personalities before you name them. So glad they did fine in the tub for you. Your pond is going to be heaven for them.

  9. You will have such fun with your koi! I feed my goldfish in the summer - I rap on the side of the pond, as a signal, and they come swimming up to me with their mouths open! I love it! I hope you enjoy yours as much!

  10. good luck with the fish...our pond is fishless...if we put fish in it they wouldn't survive long...too many predators and I don't want to have to net the pond...looking forward to hearing more about the koi

  11. I didn't know that koi don't eat in the winter, how unusual. I hope they turn colors, but I'm sure you'll love them either way. I've even heard they can be quite playful.

  12. That's great that your koi are doing so well! I didn't realize that koi changed colors as they grew.

  13. So glad they are doing good in their new home. I like koi but afraid they would cook in this heat.

  14. Tina- What a wonderful addition to your pond I'm sure the koi will be very happy. A friend of mine had koi. He brought them inside to live in a large cattle tank all winter since his pond froze solid in November and didn't thaw until May.

  15. fun Tina! I bet your new pond is great. I have a small (125 gal) preformed pond and have four koi & two goldfish. I used to have five koi ~ but one got caught in the mesh around my water iris and died. It was so upsetting ~ so i know what you mean about interacting. I don't use chemicals either but in the winter (when I have the heater plugged in) it gets a lot of algae built up. So far, they've managed to survive it. It sounds like your fish have more "deluxe" quarters so I'm sure they'll do well and thrive under your excellent care

  16. Hi Tina, enjoy your koi (it's a poem!). Good luck to all you guys in the path of tornados, must be very alarming, I've never had to experience it. Re the name suggestions, I've just finished a book where the names of a mother and son and Nutmeg and Cinnamon, if you think that might suit them. cheers, catmint

  17. My experience is that they will do fine outside... unless you have a lot of marauding racoons or neighborhood cats....