Monday, March 22, 2010

Koi and Koi Ponds ( Oy Vey)

I must credit my sister for the topic of this Blog. The moment she mentioned it I knew it was perfect.

Here, At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn, as the name Falls implies we have both man made waterfalls and Koi ponds. Many of our guests have asked questions regarding Koi fish largely generated by their love of our mascot "Bubba." "Bubba" is our Southern Gentleman Koi fish. We have owned this inn for nearly 11 years and Bubba is substantially older than that.
He is and has always been part of the welcoming committee here at the inn. Bubba is so socialized from the constancy of people contact here at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast that he believes himself a dog. So, the following facts are an ode to Bubba and those of his kind.

Koi are ornamental domesticated varieties of the common carp. Koi are also called Japanese Carp.

They are a symbol of love and friendship.

Common colors include white, black, red, yellow, blue and cream.

It is their natural ability to adapt to many climates and water conditions that have allowed them to survive and thrive in many locations.

Carp were first bred for color mutations in China more than a thousand years ago where selective breeding of the Prussian carp resulted in the beloved childhood pet: the goldfish.

The Common Carp were first introduced to Japan by way of China between 400-600 years ago. The hobby of keeping koi eventually spread worldwide.

Koi are omnivorous fish and will often eat a wide variety of foods including peas, lettuce and watermelon. Commercial pellet food is actually designed to float on top of the water so that in order to feed the Koi has to surface enabling them to be viewed. Almost all the Koi at the inn can be hand fed as they are socialized by years of human contact.

The feeding regimen is customarily nearly halted through the winter months as their digestive system slows and they nibble only a bit of algae from the pond's bottom. When this slowing occurs protein or any food can go rancid in their stomachs, causing illness. They do not generally feed again until the spring when water temperatures in the pond become warmer.

Koi are capable of living for centuries. One famous scarlett koi, was owned by many individuals and was reported to be 226 years old upon her death.

Koi reproduce through spawning. The female lays a vast number of eggs and one, or more than one, male fertilizes them. Their offspring are called, "Fry". They can produce thousands of offspring from a single spawning.

Koi have either purposely or inadvertently been released into the wild in every continent except Antarctica. In some areas they are considered pests or at the very least an invasive species. Due to their constancy in stirring up the substrate in the water often creating turbidity making the waterways unattractive, unsuitable for swimming and not conducive for aquatic plants vast money and efforts are sometimes expended to eradicate them. Largely, these efforts are not successful.

A well designed outdoor pond will have areas too deep for herons to stand in and overhangs high enough above the water that animals can't reach in gaining their own dinner. Shade trees overhanging ponds helps shield the fish from overhead predators and failing that, rubber snakes are the next best thing.
Proper filtration and good water movement are high priorities for good success with koi. Ideally, the pond should be drained yearly, the decorative rocks cleaned and organic waste matter removed from bottom liner before refilling.
Beware of herons,raccoons, cats, foxes, hedgehogs or badgers all of which are capable of emptying your pond given the right opportunity. Bubba wanted you to know.



Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

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