Keeping Koi ou of the skimmer??

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by STL Ponds and Waterfalls, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,174

    I have a customer that his Koi (about 7"-8") keeps getting into his skimmer. Luckily I show up when it is about to bite the dust. I can see little ones getting caught but what can I do to keep the bigger (stronger) koi out of the skimmers harm.
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    They are most likely chasing the food that has been sucked in there.
    Tell them to feed the fish in a hoolahoop so that all of the food stays inside the hollahoop.
    They have a great sense of smell and will chase food anywhere, even down the bottom drain and into the settlement chamber.
    Fish are not dumb either they will learn not to go in there, hopefully before their toast
  3. Grubbworm

    Grubbworm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    I put some 'chicken wire' in front of my skimmer for about a month. Took the wire away and the fish seldom ever get into skimmer. I guess they somehow do learn!
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    This is why I don't like installing koi ponds. I'd much rather install a shallow pond/waterfall combo or a pondless waterfall. So much less worry.

    But I do feel your pain. I have a customer who has this same problem. (I didn't install the pond, I just maintain it and repair it from time to time.) I've noticed the fish kind of getting sucked into the skimmer area.

    I like the chicken wire idea. But you'd have to find a clever way to hide that.

    If I were installing a new water feature for koi or goldfish, I would create a series of rock boulders together in front of the skimmer area. They would have to be just barely below the water line. Because the point of the skimmer is to skim stuff off the top of the water, right. So we wouldn't want the rocks to block the stuff on top of the water from getting to the skimmer. But we'd want them to block the fish from being able to get to the skimmer.

    Depending on how much room there is, and how it's configured, you could do this on an existing water feature as well. You'd just need a couple dozen small rock boulders and just keep playing with them until you found the right combination of 5 or so rocks that worked in this manner.
  5. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    The real issue is not designing the pond properly and fish like to follow the food that is in there left over from feeding, they have a very good sense of smell
    Ponds should not be equipped with only a skimmer, I believe no pond should be built without a bottom drain. I am talking about ponds for fish not water features or lily ponds
    Ponds (for fish) should be equipped with bottom drains and mid level pick ups without them you are trying to circulate the entire pond, typically, through the skimmer. Of course the fish get sucked in there if you are cranking 1000 or 2000 gallons per hour through there. Its like a black hole (OK that was a bit much).
    With mid level pick ups and returns you can shut down bottom drains and waterfalls in the winter and provide less stress for the fish.
    I think that ponds (that fish live in) should always have, bottom drains, mid level pick ups and returns, skimmers and external pumps (lower power usage)

    I am not a believer in ponds built in day
    I see a lot of installers that make good money on redoing and fixing "ponds in a day".
  6. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I agree with Bill. We have lots of Koi ponds and we have never had a problem with fish in the skimmer. I was going to suggest you had stupid fish but I think that you have a plumbing design problem. If the food is getting sucked in there they are feeding too much to.
  7. koiman

    koiman LawnSite Member
    from So.Cal
    Messages: 14

    Yes I agree food is the number 1 item of attention with Koi. There is a company that has a Gatekeeper brush panel allows leaves and debris to pass while restricting fish and frogs from entering the skimmer. Saw it on display at San Diego IA event.:)
  8. cindyb

    cindyb LawnSite Senior Member
    from KY
    Messages: 354

    I use a simple piece of eggcrate lighting over my savio skimmer. It lifts up for cleaning. My pond, due to heron, stays netted.

  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Ok. That probably works for keeping fish out. But doesn't it also keep leaves and other debris out of the skimmer?

    I thought that was the point of a skimmer - to skim leaves & debris off of the top of the water.

    If you're going to place something like that in front of the skimmer, then I start to wonder if you really need to install a skimmer at all.
  10. n2h20

    n2h20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    I must say i am one of those guys who have made some nice money off fixing a day pond.
    I agree with the things you have said.,., I hate ponds without bottom drains.., impossible to keep the muck off the bottom

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