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In the 2008 season my koi keeping took a new direction, I was fed up with struggling to maintain good condition on my koi, trying all kinds of clays, and additives which reportedly magically changed your water, or reconditioned it to favour koi, all costing a small fortune and none working.

So having long discussions with a couple of my koi buddies, who were also experiencing the same, and doing lots of research into water chemistry and also water quality and getting an understanding as to what a filter needs and what a koi needs, I started to look at changes to my system.

I have a pond of 5700gallons, one bottom drain to a Vortex and three chamber multibay, which is converted to K1 fluidised media, in 2007 I fitted a small bead filter on my skimmer line for fine polishing, and although my water was clean my koi suffered from poor water chemistry, a PH 8.7 and a TDS of nearly 300, I was also running 3 airtech 120 pumps to air membranes on stainless steel plates, the vibration of which could be heard through the pond walls!

So the refit began, I started off going down the Reverse Osmosis route, after much research and discussion with fellow users, this did two things for me, Firstly it changed my water from hard to soft, my Ph is now 7.3 and my TDS is steady at 120 when feeding heavy and as low as 70 in winter. My koi seamed less stressed and the lustre returned on most, but I still hadn’t got to where I wanted to be. And secondly it increased the amount of new water into the pond which helped in keeping parameters down.

I did however feel I was missing a vital ingredient, a way of really conditioning the water which was circulating in the pond and also a way of getting rid of the air diffusers vibrating away in the pond, but still get high levels of Oxygen into the pond.

More discussion and research led me to showers, and the BHM (Bakki House Media) used in them.

Now I have a couple of logistical problems when it comes to showers, the wife hated the look of them, and I couldn’t find a place near to the pond where I could stand a set of showers and conceal them, so the only place they could go would be inside my filter house, but the roof was too low to get a set in, I could only fit a two tier unit in which wasn’t going to be any use.

So more investigation, and I discovered that Momotaro uses on some ponds one large box, instead of a multi tiered shower, filled from top to bottom with BHM and he then sends large quantities of water straight through them.

This got me thinking, so I had a box made which fitted full width of my filter house, and as high as I could get it between water level and roof. I then sourced the BHM through Darren at A4koi, and diverted the return pipe work from the vortex and multibay over it ( sequence 10,000) plus the return pipe work from my bead ( another sequence 10,000) and then added another aquamax 10,000 just for good measure. I added the third pump as I believed the BHM works more effectively with high water delivery.

Before firing up this setup, I took oxygen level readings, PH readings and TDS readings  plus the usual parameter readings, then removed the air diffusers and started up the ‘shower box’.

I left it to run for two weeks and re-tested my water. Oxygen levels had increased, PH had come down by 0.2, TDS had reduced slightly, as for any sign of the usual stuff like Ammonia or Nitrite...not a reading, and Nitrates had lowered also.

As for my koi, well their appetite had increased tenfold, their skin looked amazing and my water took on a whole new ‘fresh’ look to it.

I am now looking at ways of firstly talking my wife around in her view of the appearance of showers, and secondly how easily it would be to take the roof off the filter house and raise it so I can get a bigger set of showers in, as the benefits of high water flow falling over this media is amazing, and you don’t have to have a set of traditional showers to use it, although in an ideal world they would be better.

I would recommend anyone with koi to look into the use of BHM, as it really does help condition the water and give the koi ideal conditions to thrive in.


Myles Sharman - 2010