Paradox ponds

I often wonder if every industry runs the way ours does. Ponds became trendy and so many upstarts became pond experts overnight. But the fact is, you need decades of study, passion and experience to become an expert at anything. The truth is there are not a lot of real koi pond experts out there, despite what the websites claim

And of course, expertise just part of the equation. Being able to do the work physically, being honest, having the right tools and equipment, creative talent and pride are required to create a technically proficient and beautiful pond. This is really a tall order and why we see so many inept jobs in our travels

The scenarios we encounter are sometimes literally beyond belief but in fact true - right in front of us - hence the impetus for this page. Sadly it is often the fish that pay the ultimate price when the client receives poor advice and an improperly constructed pond
poor pond stonework
  • This liner was overlapped with no sealing - and leaking profusely
  • Landscapers may not know ponds, but they should know stone work. Not the case here. Even with the pond full, the stone is not in the water
  • The waterfall stream return hose is actually visible right at the focal point of this pond - unbelievable
  • This "waterfalls" is actually built by a self proclaimed master pond builder - I don't think he is still in business. We did work on some of his other jobs which also had negative feedback

Common Bad Ponding Advice

Don't feed your fish
Your fish will find enough natural food and don't need to be fed. Actually what will happen is they will suffer to hang on, become stunted and in the worst case scenario, perish

UV's Shouldn't be Used
We have had clients tell us that their pond expert told them not to use UV's. Of course, you don't have to use a UV, it is not essential. Be prepared though for your pond to go through a green spell or two, generally in the Spring and there are some negatives to this

I believe this poor advice is rooted in the natural approach and the misguided want for this trophic level. Again, your backyard pond is not natural due to the abundance of apex predators - your fish [mink and herons ignored]. It is much better to be able to see your fish, particularly in the Spring and limit overnight anoxic conditions that an algae bloom can create

Pond Depth
Sure fish can survive in water 2 feet deep - for awhile. This is a testament to their hardiness, not proof that this is all they need. Shallow ponds can overheat and don't provide much Winter protection. Fish do not feel safe either in these smaller environments

I remember doing a consult and seeing a pond that was about 15" deep. Surprisingly the fish were close to 18" and couldn't even go vertical in the water. All the time the lady was insisting that the people who built the pond were experts


  • During a rebuild this small bottom drain was replaced. The underlayment was not trimmed away, preventing a water tight seal
  • A competitors "jumbo hyacinths". I'm sure there were bigger ones, but our jumbos are only $5
  • Another rebuild. 16" deep, regrading done to the house and a waterfalls and skimmer on 1 side of the pond

paradox ponds

poor pond pvc plumbing


Sadly, these examples of poor workmanship are not the exception. We see so called "professional" work all the time that is just awful. As mentioned, 80% of our work is rebuilds and these are just some of the reasons why

A common sight is undersized plumbing - even by pool companies who do not seem to refer to pipe friction loss charts at all

The picture left illustrates some "professional plumbing" done by a well known koi dealer and pond installer in New York. To me, this is pretty embarrassing