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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Koi Setup Steps

Koi

Experience Level: Intermediate

Koi

Did you know? Koi will eat both plants and animal-origin foods. Over time, Koi will recognize their owners and may be trained to take food directly from your hand. Unlike tropical fish, Koi will live in a wide range of water temperatures. Koi are generally a peaceful species, but may pick on slower moving fish.

Step 1Choosing an Aquarium

Aquarium
(A) Young Koi can be kept in a large aquarium.
• Minimum aquarium size should be 29 gallons (110 L). (At least two gallons (8 L) of water for every 1" (3 cm) of fish).

• With their large size and fast growth rate, mature Koi should be kept in a large outdoor pond (at least 50 gallons (190 L) of water per Koi).

Lighting
(B) An appropriate aquarium stand will safely support the weight of your filled aquarium. Aquarium weigh as much as 10 lbs. per gallon capacity and require strong stands.
• Locate your aquarium in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Hood and light Fixture
(C) Place an aquarium hood with light fixtures on the aquarium to reduce water evaporation, splashing, and fish jumping out.
• The aquarium light should be on for 8-12 hours a day.

• Outdoor ponds should be situated where they have partial shade throughout the day.

 

Step 2Filtration and heating

Filtration (mechanical and biological)
(D) Koi require filtration to maintain water quality. Consult filter package for appropriate size.
• The filter should move the water in the aquarium through the filter media 3-5 times per hour. For large ponds, the filter should circulate the water volume at least once per hour.

• Add beneficial bacteria supplements to promote biological waste break down.

Thermometer and Water temperature

(E) Koi prefer a cool water environment with an ideal water temperature ranging between 65-75º F (18- 24º C), although, they can survive in temperatures outside this range. Heaters if necessary, may be used to maintain water temperatures.

• In ponds, Koi will lay dormant under ice during the winter; ponds should be at least three feet deep to prevent it from freezing solid.

 

Step 3Decor and Substrate

Aquarium Gravel
(F) Use 1.5 lbs. (680 g) of aquarium gravel for every gallon (4 L) of tank capacity to make a 2-3" (5-8 cm) layer on the bottom of the aquarium. Rinse the gravel in a clean container before adding it to the aquarium.
• Gravel is not necessary on the bottom of ponds, and bare ponds are easier to maintain.

Plants
• Koi have strong mouths and like to dig, so be sure to protect the roots of potted plants with a top layer of rocks in the pot.

Ornaments and rocks

(G) Use ornaments and rocks that are safe for aquariums.

Acclimation

acclimation
• Whether starting a new aquarium or adding new fish, don’t forget to add only 1-3 at a time, to avoid problems associated with water quality.

• Float the bag of new Koi in aquarium or pond for 10 minutes to equalize temperature.

• Add fish with a net, avoiding the addition of bag water to the aquarium or pond.

• Quarantine new Koi for 2-4 weeks before adding them to a pond with other Koi.

Koi habitat

Water Quality Testing
PetSmart offers free aquarium water testing. By bringing in a sample of your aquarium water, we can test the quality within minutes.
• Pets may transmit disease to humans; be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling your pet, their food or cleaning their home. Adults should assist children with hand washing.

• Persons at an increased risk for health concerns (children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, infirm or elderly), should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat.

• Do not clean aquariums in the kitchen or food preparation areas.

• Do not release pets into the wild as they most likely will not survive and may impact the native environment.

Safety & Cleanliness
Pets may transmit disease to humans; be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling your pet, their food or cleaning their home. Adults should assist children with hand washing.
• Persons at an increased risk for health concerns (children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, infirm or elderly), should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat.

• Do not clean aquariums in the kitchen or food preparation areas.

• Do not release pets into the wild as they most likely will not survive and may impact the native environment.
 

PetSmart Cares
Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program; a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets.
The program includes:
• Specific standards our vendors agree to meet in caring for and observing pets for common illnesses.

• Specific standards for in-store pet care.

• The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.