You will note that costs have been included separately and above the actual construction costs in our menu system on the left. This has been done deliberately.
There are several areas of cost on keeping your Koi pond up and running. These are:
Running costs are things like electricity and water.
This is your time cost - time spent maintaining filters, watching your fish etc etc.
Food and medication costs
Fish need to be fed. And as with all living animals from time to time they are going to get sick and require treatment, most of which you can do yourself.
There are the costs of the fish themselves to explore. Ancillary equipment such as medicine ponds, microscopes, test kits, numerous toys and gadgets, trips to Japan, commission costs on selling the Ferrari to buy more Koi, etc etc.
We'll go through these costs quickly to give you an idea as to where you are with your Koi pond.
The chief of these is electricity. In 2013 with the new rates announced by Eskom the harsh reality of hitting R1.20 per kWhr is coming up very fast and some may already be there. R1.20 is significant because at this rate the maths works out to a very interesting point. At R1.20 per kWhr it will cost you one rand to run 1 watt for one month.
In other words, if your pump is a .75 kW pump, i.e. 750W, it will cost you R750 per month to run this pump.
Forget about being 'green', it is simply too expensive not to be green these days!
This is the reason why we adopt ULP (Ultra Low Power) filtration systems on our Koi ponds. Yes, they are technically more sophisticated and more difficult to install which is why we are the only ones doing them and they might cost slightly more as a result (and it really is only slightly), but the cost reductions are simply staggering. Consider our pumps - carefully installed and with the correct design in place you can use pumps that pull as little as 60W and deliver 6kl/hr. In other words, for 180W you can get the same effective flow rate through your filter system as your 750W swimming pool pump (which, we might add, you will find is actually pulling closer to 900W out of your plug socket). Call it R600 a month in savings. Over the next 20 years on your Koi pond, that's a lot of cash, especially as the price of electricity continues to increase.
Just by being smart on the choice of pumps you use, you can save the entire cost of the Koi pond several times over.
Currently a distant second but catching up fast water costs are also significant and likely to become more or over time as increased stress on our water supplies becomes the norm. Water is around R5 per kl and increases up to R16 depending on usage. Chucking away 10% of your Koi pond water once a week is the suggested normal average - and this water is excellent for irrigating your garden with if you make provision for it now. Rain water harvesting is also an excellent idea.
Koi keeping is a serious hobby. All living creatures in our care require attention. They require feeding and nurturing and Koi are no different. You need to be aware that you are going to be spending time with your fish, whether this be in terms of just watching and enjoying them, or feeding them, or maintaining their filter systems. Your time expended in this hobby is significant and you need half an hour or so a day for it. Do not be fooled into thinking the Koi pond maintenance regimen is someone else's responsiility. It is not. It is yours and yours alone, delegation notwithstanding!
Food and medication costs
Koi require food. As you will come to learn over time the cost of these fish is not insignificant and as they become large they do become quite valuable if only for their size. It takes time, effort and skill to keep Koi and to grow them to 80cm+.
Hence feeding a good quality food makes considerable sense. Koi food can range from a few rand a kg for the cheap 'cardboard and glue' stuff to well over R150 a kg for the premium quality Koi foods that are used for Champion Koi. As a Koi keeper you will find a happy medium as what food works best for you.
Koi will feed much more heavily in summer than in winter and feeding smaller meals up to 6 times a day in summer is not uncommon. In winter when the water temperatures drop below 10C you can quite safely cease all feeding.
We include additives here. There are all sorts of additives that one can add to the Koi pond in the name of keeping the best quality water. Most are superfluous and un-necessary but a few, such as montmorillonite clay are useful. Bacteria additives should be viewed with caution but can be valuable when it comes to restarting filetrs, or giving filters a boost after a medication that may have knocked them back a bit.
Medication is a term that encompasses a broad spectrum of different treatments that from time to time will be necessary in your Koi pond. Koi, being living creatures are as prone to disease and infection as we are and as their keepers it is our responsibility to treat them accordingly.
Simple treatments typically dose the entire pond - this does not mean that they are cheap. A pond wide dosage, depending on what it it is you are treating, can cost from a few rand per thousand litres to several hundred per thousand litres.
In some cases it is more cost effective to buy a small portable pond that is used as a medicine pond to treat afflicted individuals than to dose an entire pond.
It goes without saying that it is important to know the volume of your pond as accurately as possible so that when it comes time for treatment the correct dosages are used. All too often medications fail when they are under dosed even by as little as 10% and in in cases of over dose the results can be catastrophic.
There are all manner of books about the Koi hobby - most are excellent and written by passionate Koi keepers who have been well and truly bitten by the bug. The hobby lends itself to grand pictures and photos and most of these books have plenty of those - which makes them expensive.
Often the cost of a quarantine pond is substantially less than the cost of the Koi going into it. Quarantine ponds are essential tools to prevent the introduction of disease into your Koi collections. Simple portable ponds are the way forward - they are robust, can be packed away when not needed, and easy and simple to set up. They double up as convenient medicine ponds too.
Most experienced Koi hobbyists will own their own microscopes. Excellent quality second hand microscopes are not expensive and it is a valuable tool to have to diagnose any parasitic issues on your Koi. Not an essential tool but a useful one nonetheless.
There are any number of toys available to the Koi hobbyist. Hand held salt meters, oxygen meters, sophisticated test kits, customised Japanese Koi nets, ornaments - you name it. In filtration devices alone there are thousands of different systems, add ons and the like which can keep you entertained for hours. The Koi hobby is far from a static one and new devices come onto the market all the time - most of them leave just as quickly!
Our advice is to ask the experts what they use, and how long they have been using it for. Fads can be expensive and un-necessary distractions, but there are some that catch on and serve a very real need and purpose in the hobby.
The one thing you will learn is that you will never stop learning about Koi. You can take the hobby to whatever level youl ike, from casual Koi keeper to serious Koi enthusiast. It is entirely up to you.