Old Man Koi
JAPAN IS THE MECCA for Koi. They are part of the culture, much like dogs and cats are here in America. One big difference,
however, is that most of these wet pets outlive their owners. In fact, fish are often passed down from generation to generation, as the valuable heirlooms they are.
In one village, the fish in a family's pond had been passed down through so many generations , that the original ancestors
who'd kept these prized fish could not even be recalled. Knowing, though, that these were some old fish, it was decided that someone should find out just how old they were.
Working with a local university, a few of the fish gave up some scales for the sake of science. When the scientists tested
the scales, even they were amazed at the results. The older fish alive in that pond had been around for an amazing 226 years! Two of his fellow pond dwellers
were 180 and 156 years old, respectively.
The moral of the story? Take good care of your Koi, because maybe some day your great, great, great, great, great grandchildren's
grandchildren will enjoy gazing at these truly amazing creatures.
Four Fallacious Factors in the Phenomena of Fish Fear...
ONE PHENOMENA WE RUN INTO is people with, what we
call, "Fish Fear". This occurs with the new pond owner who's afraid that somehow they're
going to harm their fish. You know, things like...
- They'll freeze over the winter (a winterization).
- Or, the pond will spring a leak (a maintenance problem), run out of water, all
while they're away at work, land locking and eventually killing their fish.
- Or, they'll forget to feed their fish one day (a feeding problem) and suddenly
they're on the brink of extinction.
The problem with fish fear is that fish are one of
the 5 absolutely necessary, unequivocally required, parts of the balanced ecosystem recipe.
Without the fish you're only 0% complete. Without fish you can't have a balanced ecosystem -
which is the reason you chose an Aquascape water feature in the first place. And without fish,
you'll be missing out on at least 20% of the fun.
The Antidote to Fish Fear...
Now the antidote to fish fear is the knowledge that the
kinds of fish most people put in their water garden are very hardy varieties, that have evolved
in the bowels of Mother Nature herself. They're extremely adept in finding their own food,
(believe it or not) with or without you! They'll survive right nicely over the winter, just
as long as you keep a hole in the ice and allow gasses to be exchanges. And so long as you
steer clear of bottom drains, and Aquascape pond is physically incapable of draining completely
and land locking your fish.
It's important to recognize that the presence of fish
actually reduces your maintenance time since they consume plants/nutrients, and excrete
waste/nutrients, both of which play a significant role in your pond's circle of life.
What About Predators?
Now there's one other factor in the phenomena of fish
fear...things like raccoons, muskrats, herons, and snakes. Categorically, I'm referring to
predators. Lets check these out one at a time. Raccoons for example are not swimmers, and
if you build your pond correctly, that is to say 2 feet deep at the lowest shelf, these bushy
little varmints will be no problem for you. Muskrats only show up if your pond is close to
some other natural water source - a lake or a creek, etc. If they do show up, however, they
swim well, and they love the taste of your succulent aquatic plants.
Herons are occasionally very adept at spotting a
meal from 200 feet in the air, swooping down, and helping themselves to your favorite friend.
Heron problems are generally discouraged with a "motion controlled sprinkling system."
And then there are snakes. Many people think that a
new water source will draw a reptile population into the yard. And if you live in certain
areas of the Southern United States, this can be the case. But in 99% of our installations,
snakes just never show up.
The Moral to This Story
The moral to the story, forget your fish fear. Put 'em
in your pond. They'll do just fine. I promise. And I guarantee you this much. Once you
introduce those little critters to your pond, you'll never - I mean never regret it. That
ain't no fish story either!