Water changes are simply the removal of some old pond water, and the replacement of that old pond water with new water. It sounds so simple but there are problems, nationwide.
First, tap water can be chlorinated.
Second, a lot of pond keepers don’t do water changes, at all.
Thirdly, failure to do pond water changes allows the accumulation of background pollution such as phosphates and proteins which inhibit koi fish health and growth.
Finally, water changes need to replenish trace elements and minerals in your pond water which your koi fish need.
Chlorinated and chloraminated water is usually supplied to pond keepers “at the tap” from municipal water supplies. The water company adds these two chemicals to disinfect the water.
Each day, municipal source-water is tested for eggs, spores, ova and cysts of various pathogens. If any are found, it may be that the municipal water authority will double or triple the chlorine or chloramine concentration.
Spritzing the water into the pond slowly will dissipate a lot of chlorine, but will it dissipate all of it? Dechlorinate. By de-chlorinating your tap water, you can be 100% sure the chlorine is gone and will not harm your koi fish.
Many municipal water departments use chloramine for treating your drinking water. Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. When your municipal water supply uses Chloramine, you want to use a water conditioner which removes both chlorine and ammonia.
Note: Recently FDA has changed it’s regulations in order to improve municipal water quality.
Many utilities that have used chlorine as their disinfectant in recent years, have changed their disinfectant to chloramines to meet new disinfection byproduct regulations. You never know when your water department will make that change, if they haven’t already?
Many of the water conditioners on the market ONLY remove the chlorine from your tap water leaving the harmful ammonia in your pond water.
When purchasing a water conditioner, make sure the directions state, “removes chlorine and ammonia“. Many water conditioners state “removes chlorine and destroys chloramines”. Sure it destroys chloromines because it removes the chlorine from the chloramines however, it leaves all the deadly ammonia behind.
Some say that the amount of ammonia left behind in your pond water will not harm you koi fish. Why leave any ammonia behind in your pond water? No matter the amount, the ammonia left behind just adds to a bigger work load on you pond filter to remove. Your pond filter has enough work to do just removing the toxic ammonia produced by your koi fish.
Our Aqua Meds DeChlor & More removes both the chlorine and the ammonia from your tap water. Plus, it’s very economical.
In speaking to pond keepers from across the country, I found that about forty percent of the hobby is not doing ANY water changes at all. This accounts for recurring illness among their fish, slow growth, and poor color. This is the most common cause of seven year old Koi that are only seven inches long.
A koi in good pond water with plenty of water changes should grow at least 3-4 inches per year. I encourage you to follow a water change regimen as outlined in the chart below.
“Topping Off” your pond is not a water change. You should know this about water: The solids in pond water do NOT evaporate, nor do many of the chemicals in the water. This means that the nitrates, phosphates, a good bit of the carbon dioxide, all the salt, minerals, etc. never leave the pond and accumulate over time.
As the pond water level goes down by evaporation, you may notice that your fish perk up as you add water back.
There is a transient increase in water quality after the addition of “new” water but it’s rapidly offset by the dissolution of the existing background pollution. So, “topping off” actually concentrates solids and organic chemicals in the water over time. Real water changes are a must.
Ideal Pond Water Change Regimens
Every week 10 percent water change
OR: Every two weeks 20 percent water change
OR: Every three weeks 30 percent water change
Note: Smaller water changes more often are much healthier for your koi fish than larger pond water changes not as often.
No matter which of the above regimens you choose from above, I highly recommend that two to three times per year you should perform a 60-70% pond water change to really refresh your pond water. You will notice a real boost to your koi fish’s health and growth.
Major water change: Simply drain the pond down 60-70% and add dechlorinator. Then refill your pond. Don’t do this in the PEAK of the summer as you might chill your fish. But surely in the early summer and late summer you’ll see how happy your fish are for this major water change.
Note: with a large water change of 50% or more it’s very important to use a dechlorinator which removes chlorine and AMMONIA.
If you are performing the recommended water changes, you should have robust, hungry and healthy fish. Koi fish may still become ill, of course, however, it is much less common if your adding lots of fresh water to your koi pond on a regular schedule. Fact is, if you wouldn’t swim in the pond, your fish shouldn’t be.