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We Visited 5 Koi Ponds in Los Angeles and Here’s What We Found.

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

Looking for some seriously-potent koi pond inspiration?

This past week, the Select Koi team made the trip across America to visit the city of angels, Los Angeles. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and we’re excited to share with you everything we saw and where we went!

We’re honored to have had the opportunity to drop in on 5 homes and properties. These homes had some of the most beautiful koi ponds in LA.

Ready to be inspired? Let’s jump right in on how 5 koi enthusiasts keep their ponds in tip-top condition while cultivating the most peaceful and serene atmosphere possible.

1. Filtration is a Priority

Every koi pond we visited had different types of filtration systems. The largest part of owning a koi water garden is ensuring there is proper filtration. If you, a human, can’t breathe nutrient-deficient, dirty air, then your koi certainly cannot swim in nutrient-deficient, dirty water!

Top Left: The settling chamber. This is full of media. As water flows into the chamber from below, solids like waste, algae, and leaves are caught on the media. Fresh water flows to the biological filter out of frame.

Top Right: Evolution Aqua's EVO 55 watt UV Clarifier and Sterilizer. Water flows through this device and past a high-intensity UV light that kills off algae that causes green water. This is a must have.

Bottom: From left to right you can see a ProfiDrum RDF, EVO 55 watt UV clarifier and Sterilizer (pictured in the top right photo, as well), Moving Media Bed, Shower Filter and much more. This is only part of this collector's filtration. Off screen you'll find more mechanical filtration, including a settling chamber. He also had a CMC clay reservoir to feed the pond.

2. Japanese Landscaping Accentuating the Ponds Beauty

One of the joining factors between all the ponds was their choice to include Japanese vegetation, like Japanese maples and ornamental grasses. This provides shade for the koi on hot Californian days, while accentuating the beauty and serenity of their outdoor koi ponds.

The pond above also features the iconic stone Japanese garden pagoda. Shade is provided by the home in the later hours of the day and an off-screen tree to the right in earlier hours.

A very nice byproduct of having a koi pond is the ability to water your garden as some keeps do.

On the right, those two grey containers are actually automatic koi feeders. You can find a great koi feeder here, the EvoFeed Automatic Fish Feeder.

3. Choosing a Skimmer

Every outdoor koi pond must have a skimmer to remove unsightly floating debris. This keeps the water healthy and the koi happy! This is a key piece of equipment for any koi pond; this was made evident as each pond we visited had a skimmer to keep debris from building up on the pond’s floor.

In this photo, you can see an in-pond skimmer, or a submersible skimmer. This is great for koi as the koi can actually swim through the skimmer unharmed! And we all know koi can be mischievous creatures, so this is great news for a koi collector.

This skimmer stacks and compacts debris. It's self-leveling, so you don't need to worry about it doing its job if the water level changes. There are other options, as well, so don't hesitate to give us a call if you need help choosing the right skimmer for your pond!

4. Bottom Drains are a Must

Combined with a great skimmer, bottom drains keep these ponds' water quality high. Anything that’s missed by the skimmer will fall to the bottom and exit the pond through the bottom drain.

It also helps to keep the koi’s waste and any food they missed from building up. Even with the best filter available on the market, a koi pond won’t stay clean and clear without a bottom drain.

Bottom drains can also help to aerate the pond, if you don't have a dedicated aeration system already.

The one pictured here is a pretty standard bottom drain in Japan featuring a grate. This drain does not feature an aeration elements because the pond had a water fall providing the fish with oxygen.

You can find a bottom drain that includes an aeration feature through by clicking this link.

5. Variety, Variety, Variety

If you ask a koi collector for a quick list of their favorite things about collecting koi, finding and welcoming new rare varieties into their ponds is probably somewhere at the top of the list! Every koi pond we went to had a wide variety of koi, although most are gosanke.

The koi on the left and right are mostly Nisai and range from 12" to 20".

The koi pictured in the middle are all jumbo koi, ranging from about 65 to 93 centimeters. Very impressive! These are grand champion level koi.

6. Pond Depth

In order to have strong, healthy koi, your pond must sport a depth capable of accommodating your Nishikigoi. This means they should be able to dive down at least 3 to 4 feet, (HINT:: 6 if you’re trying to grow Grand Champions!). And so each pond we visited was at least 3 to 4 feet deep!

7. Water Falls for Aeration, Beauty, and Feng Sui

According to ancient Feng Sui principles, water is believed to symbolize prosperity and abundance. So, having a flowing water element present in the correct area of your home will allow income to follow suit, flowing into the home with great ease.

Along with this element, we personally experienced the relaxation that came from our Los Angeles’ friends waterfalls! An absolutely spectacular feature, to be sure!

Waterfalls also promote aeration, bringing essential oxygen to the Nishikigoi.

8. Automatic Water Changes

Rather than manually pumping out old water and pumping in new, fresh water, most of the ponds we visited had automatic water changing systems that gradually “trickles” in fresh water and gradually removes old water.

They were looking at a 5-15% water change over the course of the week.

The more advanced pond was looking at manual water changes similar to the ones we do here at our koi ranch! That’s a complete water change where you drain the old water out until there is only a portion of the original water level and pump fresh water back in.

9. Perfect Balance of Shade and Sunlight

It’s well known that the California sun burns a different kind of hot, only rivaled by places like Arizona and New Mexico. It’s crucial to include some shade for the koi, protecting them from the hot sun. One of the ponds we visited had a tree overhang and lush vegetation around the edges, allowing for cool shade.

10. Ground Level Outdoor Ponds

4 out of the 5 ponds we visited were ground level outdoor ponds, allowing for easy viewing of the ponds. If any of us had neck problems, this is a major blessing! This relaxed vantage point perfectly compliments the serene, peaceful nature of the koi, allowing viewers to achieve total tranquility.

A Story of Survival and Revival

The summer of 2018, a series of wildfires swept across Southern California, burning tens of thousands of acres of land and destroying 1,600 properties-- including the home and studio of Jon Krawczyk (The Sculptor) in the Santa Monica mountains.

With entire homes wiped out in an instant, families were forced to evacuate and start their lives over entirely. Rebuilding their homes would prove to be a difficult challenge, with many now residing outside of their properties, or living in tiny homes like trailers.

When forced to evacuate, Jon knew he had to do something to save his koi. After returning to the property, he discovered his beautiful concrete koi pond had a large crack due to the sudden, intense heat of the fires. With water quickly escaping from the pond, he was forced to take action.

His koi’s new home would be his backyard pool; and no, of course he did not put them in chlorinated water! Draining the pool, leaving a few feet of water, his koi’s new home was modest and simple, but it was enough! This goes to show the love and care koi keepers have for their beloved pets.

Two years later, his home is in the process of being built and his koi happily swim in their pool-pond out back. He continues to craft beautiful metal sculptures; if you’d like to see some of his work, check it out here!

Take this as a lesson in resilience and survival; reaching forward towards a brighter future, despite dire circumstances, is worth the struggle.

Beautiful creations and new life always rise from the ashes.


Keep an Eye Out for New, Special Episodes on Our Youtube Channel!

While our koi ranch and Koi Ranching episodes are in the works, we’ve got some special content for you! We can’t wait for you to see what our media department is working on, so stay tuned!

You can find great new videos on our Youtube channel here!

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