When it comes to fountain water features, few can argue the aesthetic beauty. The sight, sound, and smell of moving water are enchanting. Whether you’re decorating a garden at home or adding a sense of sophistication at the office, fountains are useful in practically all landscaping designs, but can you put a fountain in a koi pond?
Fountains add a lovely aesthetic to koi ponds while simultaneously serving the practical function of aerating your koi’s water. Fountains also assist in circulating the pond water. Adding a fountain to your koi pond is a superb idea, provided your pond meets the requirements to facilitate one.
Not only could you add a fountain to your koi pond, but you should add one. With all of the fantastic benefits, it’s hard to imagine that there would be any drawbacks to a fountain, but drawbacks there are. Aside from the drawbacks, are there ponds that cannot support a fountain? And how do fountains create these benefits?
Why You Should Install A Fountain In A Koi Pond
Keeping koi (Cyprinus rubrofuscus) is a mixture of complicated husbandry and simple hobbyist work. Koi fish (Amur carp) are part of the Cyprinidae (carp family), a hardy type of fish. Although koi are tough, they have some particular requirements that you need to meet to ensure their longevity and overall quality of life.
These requirements include:
- There is enough space within their pond (i.e., a pond that is big enough for all the koi). Experts recommend a minimum pond size of 50 gallons per fish (6 feet x 8 feet x 3 feet deep).
- Clean water, free of algae and other particles.
- An appropriate amount of food. Overfeeding causes a buildup in the pond, leading to algal blooms.
- Water temperatures should be between 65 and 75 °F for indoor koi, while outdoor koi hibernate beneath an ice layer, provided the pond is at least 3 feet deep.
- A well-oxygenated pond. Koi, like all fish, need oxygen to survive.
A fountain meets many more needs than simple aesthetics. It circulates water, assists with filtration, and, most importantly, oxygenates the pond. Fountains are usually added to “ecosystem” type koi ponds, as they benefit most of the organisms found in and around the pond.
These added benefits improve the quality of life your koi experience and therefore improve their longevity.
What Are The Benefits Of A Fountain In A Koi Pond?
Aside from the additional aesthetics a fountain adds to your koi pond, there are several beneficial reasons that the addition of a fountain brings. These benefits include:
- Fountains provide aeration; as the pump forces water into the air, the droplets bond with oxygen molecules. As the droplets fall into the pond, they introduce the oxygen molecules to the water. This process acts as an oxygenation mechanism, replacing the oxygen levels in your pond.
The water movement also facilitates ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, and other gasses’ removal from your pond, which, if left, becomes hazardous for koi.
- As the water is sucked from the pond into the fountain pump, it usually goes through a net/filter, which needs to be cleaned. This net/filter assists in keeping your pond cleaner by removing larger organic and inorganic particles from the water.
Fountain water landing in the pond also creates ripples, which push leaves and other floating debris to the pond’s edges, where they are easier to scoop out.
- The sound of water gently gurgling/splashing is often pleasant, tranquil, and desirable, especially if you live in an area with a great deal of ambient noise from traffic/construction. By installing a fountain, you drown out some of the noise pollution.
- A current in the pond is produced by the action of the fountain pump and the sprayed water returning to the pond (circulation), which prevents your water from stagnating.
Stagnant water is ripe for parasites’ eggs/larvae, algae, and disease. Fountains, therefore, reduce the number of algae and mosquitoes in your koi pond. They also help decompose organic matter by shifting the sediment/the entire water column up to 6 feet in depth.
Organic matter that sinks to the pond’s bottom does not remain on the bottom but is circulated, allowing for fragmentation and quicker decomposition.
- With fewer algae and organic material buildup, fountains indirectly help reduce foul odors, which usually develop from stagnant water.
What Are The Cons Of A Fountain In A Koi Pond?
Although fountains add a wealth of positives to your koi pond, there are several drawbacks to installing one. Some of these drawbacks include:
Fountains Require Electricity To Operate
Electricity is required whether the pump is in-line or a submersible one. So, if there are no power points close by, you’ll either need to run a long cable or forgo the fountain.
If you run the fountain continuously, your electricity bill will show it, as they increase the demand significantly.
Fountains Can Become Expensive Pond Additions
Factors that influence the cost of a koi pond fountain include:
- The size
- The design
- The materials used to make the fountain
- The pump (submersible/in-line, horsepower, etc.)
- An adequate filtration system
- Installation costs
These factors combine to create a costly endeavor often. On average, most larger pond fountains cost over $1000. Smaller fountains are generally cheaper but may not be sufficient in aerating your pond.
Fountains Require Routine Maintenance And Monitoring
If you want your fountain to work effectively and last for long enough to “pay its way,” then proper monitoring and maintenance are critical. You should check your filters and pump roughly every two weeks.
When submersible pumps are used, you’ll need to place a cable under the water to the pump. If this cable becomes damaged and exposed to the pond water, the pump will stop working, and certain components may break.
Fortnightly cleaning the filters, checking to make sure there are no blockages in as many pipes as possible, and making sure the system works properly are all important ways to prevent small issues before becoming replacement parts/the entire system-level issues.
Fountains Have Limits To Their Aerating Benefits
Although fountains help in aerating and circulating the top layer of water, ponds deeper than 6 feet do not benefit from fountain circulation. To properly aerate, the entire water body needs to move roughly simultaneously.
Only the top 6 feet move with deeper ponds, while the water below remains stagnant, providing a site for anaerobic decomposition, algal development, and oxygen depletion.
You’ll need to install a designated aeration system to ensure your pond remains healthy in these deeper pond situations.
Can All Koi Ponds Have Fountains?
The majority of koi ponds should (in theory) be able to support a fountain addition. There are some factors to consider which may result in a pond not being able to support a fountain.
Which Ponds Can Accommodate A Fountain?
Three feet is the minimum depth for a Koi pond, especially in colder areas that experience snow and freezing conditions. When using a submersible pump, the pump needs to be underwater.
A pond, therefore, needs to be deep enough to accommodate the minimum depth for your koi and for a submersible pump (when you use it).
Which Ponds Cannot Accommodate A Fountain?
Although most ponds that can support koi should be suitable for fountains, some limiting factors prevent certain ponds from getting fountains.
- Smaller ponds won’t be able to house a fountain.
- Ponds in areas where water splashing onto the floor are not ideal for fountains.
The reality is that most ponds could be adjusted to accommodate a small fountain of sorts, although the fountain may only be for decoration.
Do Koi Ponds Need A Particular Type Of Fountain?
Although a particular “brand” may not be necessary, some things to consider before you install a fountain in your pond are:
- The recommended horsepower of the fountain pump is 1.5hp per acre of water in the pond.
- You should select fountains according to pond size, i.e., a large pond can support a large fountain, while a smaller pond may not be sufficient.
- The fountain style is not critical, but a suitable nozzle is important. Most koi ponds use a V-shaped nozzle for aeration.
- The shape of your pond may inhibit sufficient aeration. Even if your pond is less than 6 feet deep, sharp angles or corners may prevent adequate oxygenation of the pond and may trap stagnant water.
- You may need to remove your fountain during the winter to prevent damage to the system, especially in areas that experience frost/snow.
- Fountains should be located in easy-to-access areas for maintenance and repair.
A fountain is a perfect addition to your koi pond. Fountains add aesthetic value and help oxygenate and circulate the pond water, preventing algal buildup, anaerobic decomposition, mosquito eggs, and helping to fragment organic matter. Fountains can become quite expensive and need routine maintenance, and if your pond is too big, deep, or uniquely shaped, you’ll need additional aerators.