How to Keep Koi Fish Alive: The Ultimate Guide to Koi Fish Care Basics

How to Keep Koi Fish Alive: The Ultimate Guide to Koi Fish Care Basics

For many people, koi fish are a dream pet. 

Having a koi pond is no cheap venture and takes a lot of investment in the form of time and money. 

Koi can be costly and time consuming so to those who take them on, there is obviously a sense of urgency in keeping them alive. 

Plus, losing a pet can be an incredibly painful experience. 

Fortunately, these hardy little fish typically do well and thrive under most conditions as long as you provide proper care. 

Let’s take a look at how to keep koi fish alive and see if we can understand their basic needs.

How to Keep Koi Fish Alive

Koi fish are very hardy. 

They are descendants of the koi carp and, generally, they do well in a wide range of different settings and can handle a lot of environmental changes. 

Due to this, they are generally regarded as rather easy pets. 

There are, however, a few things that all koi fish need in order to stay alive and thrive.

How to Keep Koi Fish Alive

1. Koi Pond Temperature

There are some very basic care parameters that koi fish need in order to be okay. 

For starters, a temperature between 74 and 86 degrees fahrenheit is ideal. 

During the winter, especially, maintaining a balanced temperature is key. 

If you live in a colder area, a heater is necessary to prevent the water from freezing, as this can harm or even kill your koi fish if it happens to freeze solid or to a significant depth.

2. Aeration and Filtration For Your Koi Pond

Filtration is a must for any fish species. 

When looking at how to keep koi fish alive, this is one of the biggest concerns that you should focus on. 

Koi fish are big, beautiful giants, but they are also messy and make a lot of waste, especially as they get older and bigger in size. 

If this waste builds up, it can create a rather toxic water situation where the quality drops and your fish could become exposed to chemicals that may make them sick. 

Having a properly set up and maintained filter will help to prevent this and ensure your fish have access to clean, fresh water.

Aeration is also very important. 

Koi fish do not need a bunch of air stones but having a waterfall or water feature that works to add extra air back into the pond is certainly a good idea and will help to provide a little more oxygen to your koi, supporting their overall health and growth. 

Plus, it creates a more dynamic appearance to your pond as a whole.

3. Koi Pond pH Level

Ideally, the pH of your pond will sit between a 6 and a 9. 

The best is somewhere around 7, though a bit of fluctuation will not do much damage. 

That being said, you do need to make an effort to maintain the pH. 

If the pH is too high, fish can experience a disorder known as alkadosis. 

If it is too low, acidosis can occur. Both of these are often fatal if not corrected, especially acidosis. 

Adding crushed limestone can assist you in regulating the pH of your pond, as can having testing strips on hand and neutralizers.


4. Appropriate Koi Pond Size For Your Koi Fish

Your koi fish need a lot of room. 

They are big fish and need a spatial allowance that accommodates big fish. 

The rule of thumb is one inch of fish per ten gallons. 

A single adult koi can be between twelve and fifteen inches, so it makes sense that a large koi pond is certainly a good idea if you want to have more than a few fish.

Additionally, you want the pond to be three feet deep at its shallowest point and have a gap between the lip of the pond and the top of the water of several inches. This is to prevent predators like raccoos, herons, and hawks from making a meal of your koi fish.

Providing cover plants is a good idea too, to further prevent predators from attacking and accessing your fish. 

Plants like duckweed, water lilies, cattails, and water hyacinth can all be great cover, along with other common freshwater aquatic plants. 

They also provide enrichment for your koi fish, making them a welcome addition as a whole.

5. Koi Fish Thrive On A Proper Diet

Koi fish eat a lot. 

When looking at how to keep koi fish alive, you have to recognize that their diet plays a crucial role in their overall health

This is a critical facet of their care, as if they do not have access to healthy food sources then they cannot grow, thrive, or be the big, vibrant beauties we know and love.

Koi fish are omnivores and need both meat and vegetation. 

You should avoid carbs when possible since these types of food can cause fatty tumors and provide little more than empty calories. 

Instead, opt for mealworms, brine shrimp, and tons of veggies to ensure they are getting everything they need. 

A high-quality koi food product will work well too!

Sometimes, you do need to supplement your koi’s diet with additional food items. 

Things like cold weather foods to accommodate for loss of appetite during the metabolism drop that comes with cold weather or to target specific concerns like immune health and coloration. 

There are plenty of available food products out there for these specific concerns, too.


How To Keep Koi Fish Alive, Hardy And Healthy

Koi fish are relatively easy fish to care for, as a whole. 

They are hardy and healthy and there is not much to say about how to keep koi fish alive, as aside from basic, safe parameters, they are generally happy to be left to their own devices aside from maintenance and feedings. 

Just be sure the water quality and parameters are correct and that your koi fish have enough space and they should be just fine! 

Due to their long lifespan, these fish will probably be a fascinating and wonderful part of your life for years to come if you put in the effort to provide proper care.