Fairy tales and myths


Myth: This filter is suitable for 25 000 litres of pond water.

Reality: How so? How can the filter manufacturer possibly know this? How does the manufacturer know the number and the size of the fish in your pond? How do they know how much you feed? How do they know how often you maintain your filters? How do they know how much water is changed out weekly?

The answer is that they don't. The assumptions behind such a statement are wild at best and completely inaccurate at worst. Filters claiming these performance figures should never be trusted. There are inherently so many variables at play within a Koi pond that to make a performance claim as to the number of litres that a filter can 'treat' or 'handle' makes no sense whatsoever. If you have to use such figures as a guide our advice is to divide the claimed performance by at least 4 and preferably 6.


Myth: This pump delivers 10 000l/hr and is rated at 200W.

Reality: The biggest fallacy of the lot. Pumps are difficult to understand. This is generally the MAXIMUM flow rate that the pump could possibly hope to achieve and the simple act of screwing on a single fitting will reduce performance by 10% immediately. Performance achieved by the pump will depend on how the pump is installed, what piping is used, the length of the piping, the joins, angles, heights etc involved. It is not uncommon to see pumps that can only deliver 20 to 30% of the claimed flow rate once installed.

'rated at 200W'. This needs to be verified. Never, ever trust the power rating as issued by a pump manufacturer until such time as you can install it and verify the power draw on your plug point yourself. Pumps rated at 90W have been seen to be drawing as much as 360W. Swimming pool pumps rated at 0.75kW often pull well over 0.9kW and some cheap and cheerful versions will pull as much as 1.1kW. Remember you pay for the power used by the pump, not what it delivers. An inefficient pump will therefore cost you a lot more than you may think.

It is exceedingly rare for a pump to deliver on both its rated output and power consumption. Until you have checked it out for yourself it is good advice to remain sceptical of the claimed figures.


Fairy tale: This Koi pond is self maintaining.

Well, if you have your own army of imps and goblins to do the dirty work this may be true. However such a thing has only been built by Mother Nature, and then with considerable turmoil and drama of her own unique kind. No human has yet replicated it.


Myth: Koi are an investment.

Reality: Koi are living creatures that are viewed as living jewels. They are living forms of art work it is absolutely true. As an investment however they have zero value because the time frame over which their beauty is at it's peak is fleeting - at best a few years. Once a Koi has 'peaked' it's value plummets dramatically. The only investment value a Koi has is in your enjoyment of the animal over the time frame you keep it for. Generally smaller fish that show potential have considerably more value than much older much larger specimens that are on the decline. Never invest money you cannot afford to burn in Koi.


Fairy tale: This sand filter system has worked flawlessly for years...

Reality: Yes, right up until the point where it doesn't. And when it kills off the entire collection of Koi after the many years of fighting with it to keep it clean it is too late to change your mind. Sand filters have no place on the modern Koi pond. For the sake of clarification... Sand filters have no place on the modern Koi pond.


Myth: Sand filters are easy to maintain. Just switch to back wash and rinse once a week....

William's personal favourite. Demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the role a sand filter plays in the Koi pond filtration setup. Sand filters are the Devil. They require an open backwash two to three times in summer - an open backwash means opening the lid, running the thing on backwash mode and stirring the sand manually with your hands to free up all the solid goop and gunk entrapped within the sand bed.At least you only need to do this once a week in winter, whilst you snap your frozen fingers off in the process.


Fairy tale: I  can build the pond myself and save a fortune

Reality: Of course you can. Some people are also able to build sports cars from kits. Building a Ferrari from sheet metal and welding the aluminium frame yourself can also be done - Parineo in Johannesburg has done exactly that. But in a Koi pond every mistake is literally cast in concrete and cannot be undone. You cannot take off a panel and adjust it with a hammer and then put it back. You have to hire a jack hammer and in the process needlessly redo 80% of the work you have already successfully concluded.