Carter’s Garden Blog

Hump Day Koi Fix | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, Tennessee

We are selling Koi again! And with selling comes questions. Some of the most basic questions I get time and time again, so here is a repost of some basic “Koi Myths” that I hear all the time… Have a Great Hump Day!

“It’s Wednesday, aka “Hump Day” and as usual the subject is Koi & Koi Pond’s 😊 We were discussing erroneous information & myths about Koi keeping that are out there, so I thought why not make a blog post about it… Here’s a quick “Top 5”…

#1 – You Can’t Be A Koi Keeper & A Water Gardener.

Not true! You can raise healthy koi In your beautiful water garden! The koi can grow up to be just as beautiful and healthy as they are in traditional koi ponds. Proper design is key! You will LOVE how they compliment each other 😊 I have installed Hundreds of beautiful Water Gardens with healthy happy Koi.

Koi and Water Gardens go together like peas and carrots 😊 | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, Tennessee

#2 – Predators Will Eat All Your Fish.

Again, Proper Design is key! Raccoons generally won’t swim. That’s not to say they never swim, or couldn’t stand on the side of your pond and take a paw swipe or two at your fish… Fortunately, most fish will swim to a deeper, more protected part of the pond when a predator is threatening them. The one predator with legitimate credentials is the blue heron. Plenty of lily pads give them some protection and will work to minimize attracting a heron in the first place. Other protection measures include a motion activated water sprayer called a “Scarecrow” or even better a “Koi-cave” structure that can be built in during the pond’s construction. IF you already have a pond, they can be added with minimum remodeling during a clean out service.

A Blue Heron is a major Predator of our Koi and pond fish! BUT, we can stop them from harming our ‘finned friends’! Tools like a “Scarecrow”, or a fish cave really help! In the Fall a leaf net helps with more than 1 task 😊

#3 – Your Pond Must Be (3) Three Feet Deep to Keep Koi. 

There are literally tens of thousands of two-foot deep ponds all around this country, full of happy and healthy koi. The water in a two-foot deep pond will generally only freeze eight inches down in the coldest of climates, because of the insulating qualities of the earth that surrounds the pond – Here in West Tennessee usually not at all. Another Plus – a properly designed 2’ deep pond is easy to get in and out of 😉 Most of the ponds I have designed & built for the last 30 + years are 2’ deep and doing great! We can & do go deeper if the design calls for it of course, but don’t believe everything you read online! 

#4 – Koi Can’t Be Kept With Plants.

In a naturally balanced ecosystem, koi and plants complement and need one another. In nature, fish feed on plants. As a result, the fish produce waste, which is broken down by aerobic bacteria on the bottom of your pond, which, in turn, is used as fertilizer by the plants to grow and produce more natural fish food. One tip I have learned from experience- start with small Koi, they will grow up with the plants and won’t bother them at all – like in nature.

This is one of my Display Water Gardens at Carters Nursery Pond & Patio – The Aquatic Plants & Koi have been doing great here for almost 30 years!

#5 – If You Forget To Feed Your Koi They Will All Die. 

Totally False! In a properly designed & stocked pond, the ecological balance will amaze you! Crystal clear water, thriving aquatic plants & a healthy eco-system are your reward! We all Love to feed our babies, but if you miss a few days they will get busy doing some “pond keeping” of their own! 😊 They will ‘Thrive’, not simply survive! The key is  to “Stay in Balance”!

I hope this helps!

– Happy Pondering! 


Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd. 
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph.# 731-424-2206
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Common Pond Myth’s and Misconceptions
January 11, 2009, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Articles | Tags: , , , , ,

So many people are wanting a Water Feature of there own now! Backyard Water Gardens are truly HOT!!! BUT, with all new things comes Misinformation or just plain lack of info. So I put together a simple list of common Myth’s or Misconceptions about Water Features that I hope will be helpful! Enjoy….

10 Common Water Feature/Pond Misconceptions Resolved

Myth #1: A water garden costs a lot of money.

Fact: A Professionally installed Water Garden is comparable to the cost of a hot tub. If your a Do-It-Yourself person, kits with everything you need to get started in the hobby start at around $600 and up.

Myth #2: Small water features are less work than big ones.

Fact: As water features get larger, they become easier to maintain. Any aquarium hobbyist knows, it’s much easier to achieve a healthy, stable tank with more water, not less…It’s the same concept with Water Gardens! Small water features rarely have the flow or capacity necessary for long-term stability, and soon need lots of maintenance. And so with Ponds, bigger is Always better.

Myth #3: Maintaining a water garden is a constant headache.

Fact: When properly designed, an ecologically-balanced water garden will let Mother Nature do the heavy lifting. Make sure to Include mechanical and biological filtration, lots of aquatic plants and a balanced fish load. If you do it right, you will enjoy a LOW maintenance water feature that will bring you many hours of enjoyment.

Myth #4: Ponds need daily water testing and chemical treatment.

Fact: Not If the pond isn’t already chemically dependent! When properly designed and Eco-Logically balanced, there’s no need to test!

Myth #5: Water features are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Fact: Mosquitoes breed in still, stagnant water. A properly designed backyard water garden has moving, flowing water, in which mosquitoes don’t like to lay their larvae. As a mater of fact, IF you install a SKIMMER FILTER on your pond, the skimming action will help to destroy any that may attempt it anyway.

Myth #6: To have Koi, water gardens need to be real deep.

Fact: Two feet deep is as good as a mile. Fish, including Koi, Shubunkin and Comets hibernate in ponds just two-feet deep through winters as cold as zone 4 in Minnesota . Here in Tennessee we let our Water Gardens run year round with no need of extra winter care, but in colder areas of the country a small, circulating pump and a pond heater are all you need to keep a “breathing hole” in the ice and oxygenate the water for your fish.

Myth #7: Predators will eat all your Koi and other pond fish.

Fact: Most pond hobbyists will never have to deal with predators. If you are attacked by a pond predator, there are things you can do to protect your fish. An inexpensive, motion-activated water spraying system like a Scarecrow, will deter heron with a timely jet of water. You can also use a Heron or Alligator Decoy. Many say they work well and that they look very attractive by the pond. A pond that’s at least eight-feet wide will deprive varmints like raccoons or cats of dry access to the deepest part of the water garden. Even better, when the pond is being designed, put in a “Fish Cave” for them to hide in when needed.

Myth #8: You should never have algae in your pond

Fact: Green algae, in proper proportion, is beneficial plant life and is a sign that your pond is healthy! Fish eat it and it’s part of the ecology of any living, healthy pond. Too much algae is a sign that your pond is out of balance and needs some help getting it back. If your experiencing uncontrollable algae in your water garden you may need to add some more plants, up your Bacteria and Enzyme treatments or asses your Biological filtration capacity. Once the balance is restored, Clean, Clear Water will return.

Myth #9: I won’t get much return from my investment.

Fact: Not only will you get the daily enjoyment of interacting with family and friends around your new water feature, you will get a monetary bonus to boot… A properly designed Water Feature can increase your property value by as much as 7 to 15 % , more than any other Landscape improvement .

Myth #10: Any Contractor or Landscaper can build a Water Feature.

Fact: False! Building ponds is a relatively new specialty. A good landscaper or construction guy isn’t necessarily knowledgeable in the concept, design, or construction that makes an organic water garden system work. Much of the literature and information on the subject of Low Maintenance Water Features in circulation is outdated and doesn’t even include information on ecosystem water gardening. Make sure that you hire a professionally trained and experienced Water Garden Expert like a Certified Aquascape Contractor ( C.A.C.).

I hope this will help you make an informed decision about creating your own Water Garden! Once you have one of your own, you will wonder how you were ever happy without it…