Moving house with koi or goldfish? Step by step guide

House prices are rising, interest rates are low and apparently on average, there are 5 people wanting to buy each house that comes on the market. There has never been a better time for you to sell, but for your koi, there is never a good time to move.

With a little forward planning, improvisation, a little expense and some help from a friend, what could be a very stressful operation for you and your koi, can become a successful operation carried out with military precision.

It’s all in the timing

A house sale or purchase can take from 3 weeks to over 3 months and is open to last minute hitches and delays, especially when involved in a considerable chain. Because of this unpredictability, your first priority should be to find a friend who will ‘put up’ your fish while you pack, move, unpack and settle in. You also have to allow time for a new permanent pond to be installed at the new house which in itself could be well down the list of jobs to do in the new house and take months to complete.

You need someone who, if the worst came to the worst, could care for your koi on a put-me-up basis for several months. Consequently, someone who has experience and the patience. They may even already have koi of their own and be willing to take yours in on a temporary basis in their own pond.

If a temporary holding set-up is required then first of all it must be sourced. Show vats work very well as do pre-formed, self-supporting GRP ponds or vats, all of which can be fitted with a suitable sized filter well in advance of the first relocation of koi. These can be hired from some aquatic shops or a local koi keeping society. Depending on the length of the move, you may have no option but to buy a temporary vat.

Step by step guide to ensuring healthy water quality is provided for koi during a move.

As early as possible, locate a willing (and experienced if possible) friend who is capable of keeping your fish in good condition for several months. Ideally they should be able to look after koi on their own (as you will be too busy) and they should be able to offer sufficient security. If necessary, leave a checklist or set of instructions with the ‘foster parent’ while you carry out the move.

Locate a suitable holding tank large enough for the whole collection of koi.

Install an appropriately sized filter and pump into the holding tank and seed with ‘filter extract’ from your existing mature pond.

Allow the new filter to run-in and mature for a week or so before introducing the first fish. Make sure that the tank has a secure lid or net fitted to prevent new arrivals from jumping out.

Get hold of some large plastic bags and cardboard boxes for transportation, and if the journey is long, see if you can borrow a cylinder of oxygen while bagging the koi up. Transportation of koi is very stressful and if too stressful, could be the start of further problems in the new temporary pond.

At each stage of introducing new fish, check water quality parameters. Pay particular attention to nitrite levels, preventing stocking if problems persist and carry out a partial water change until the nitrite returns to zero. Also, satisfy yourself that the holding tank is comfortably stocked and will easily accommodate new fish on your next visit.

Ensure that the tank is adequately aerated as the holding tank will invariably be of a smaller volume and surface area than that of the original pond. A well sized diaphragm pump and several large air-stones are essential.

When ready, install the new pond and mature a filter system with filter extract from the holding system filter. Then stock the new pond using the same procedure as in step 4.

Kill blanketweed and string algae.