Moving to the Farm

Almost one year after purchasing our farm, some of our koi have relocated. They will enjoy softer water and a more temperate climate than Little Siberia. It was quite a production to move the koi. Thankfully the Pond Builder is always up for a challenge.

A few days before moving day we stopped feeding the koi. This cuts down on the amount of waste while in transport in a plastic bag. We purchased a few extra coolers and lined some boxes with polystyrene. Since the boxes and coolers were riding in the back of a truck in summer weather, we wanted to ensure cooler temperatures. We also purchased a castrator and bands to seal the plastic bags. All the plastic bags are doubled ahead of time and the oxygen tank is fully charged. Every container was labeled with the koi ID so that each koi was in a properly sized container.

On moving morning, our good friend, Michelle G., came over to help us pack our koi. She arrived around six in the morning and was a great deal of help. It took us about two hours to pack up the koi. Each koi needed to be caught, placed in the bag and positioned with extra padding as needed with water covering the body. Extra air was patted out of the bag and fresh oxygen pumped in. The water was treated with ammonia binder to mitigate some of the waste. Some koi keepers transport with a light sedative or antiseptic powder – we just went with the ammonia binder. The bags are secured with the bands and we’re done. This was our first time using the castrator and bands. Seems a little tricky. Another koi friend told me he practiced for about an hour and got it down to 18 seconds to secure the bags. Before closing the cooler or box, an ice blanket wrapped up in some material was placed on top of the bags for cooling.

One koi was a little unhappy and bled out during packing. Some koi get stressed and break a blood vessel during handling. It looks scary and more stressful for the koi keeper. We had to re-bag the koi in fresh water and crossed our fingers. It was the only koi I heard struggling a bit in the cooler.

All of the koi were placed in the truck sideways so that they would not hit their noses when the vehicle braked. We then finished loading wood and all sorts of odd shaped large items that didn’t make the first three moving pods. The pond builder set off on the drive and I flew back to the farm.

The pond builder drove over 1100 miles, stopping for a few hours of sleep along the way and we started unpacking the koi after 30 hours in a bag. The water in the transport bag stinks and has a high level of ammonia so you want as little of that water to get into your pond. We sliced open the outer bag, opened the inner bag and drained most of the water into the cooler and then transferred the koi into the clean pond. Our koi looked a little stressed, some prominent red veining on the skin, but they bounced back very quickly. One koi must have eaten a lot of pond algae when we stopped feeding because the bag water was very dirty. Our koi that had a rocky bagging experience came out just fine.

The koi were ready to eat so I fed them some JPD Fujizakura. They have spent four days in the new pond and we have a clarity issue. It’s a combination of algae starting up and the bio system becoming established. We need the little bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrites and nitrates to catch up with the pond. In the mean time, I’m going to cut back on feeding and we’ll do some additional water changes and possibly increase the water flow through for a few weeks. The pond builder put a small small bead filter in addition to the combo bio Profi filter to help with the waste load. He might take some time to make a DIY bakki shower for additional bio filtering. The water parameters are checked every day to measure progress.

The koi will be here for a few months while we start on the outdoor, permanent pond. We’ll need a design, order materials and look for labor. The last element can be the most difficult to find.

I’m just very pleased to have the koi home. It will be exciting to see if there is a difference in growth with the warmer temperatures, longer growing season and softer water conditions. I have one koi who is living with local koi friends. Steve and Sandy are exceptional koi keepers and are growing some very large koi. I’m sure my little koi will not want to leave their feeding regimen which includes sweet potato, tofu and other interesting food. Maybe I’ll let Akemi hang out with them a few extra weeks until our indoor pond is balanced….