FAQ on the NKE Arboretum Pond, Part I

Matt Seeliger NKE pond liner

Matt Seeliger works on pond construction in August 2013.

We’ve been fielding tons of questions about the new pond in the NKE Arboretum, so we asked our contractor, Matt Seeliger of Copper Koi Designs LLC, for some answers to our FAQ. Here they are:

Q: How deep is the pond?
A: The deepest point of the pond is slightly less than 3 feet. There are various plant shelves that run around the pond at alternating depths between 3 inches to 24 inches deep. The varying depths of the shelves are designed to accommodate a variety of plant species. For example, water lilies grow up from the very bottom of the pond, while other plants, such as irises, like to just get their feet wet.

Q: Can we have fish?
A: Absolutely. Many varieties of fresh water fish could live in this pond. Japanese koi and fancy goldfish are popular choices with many homeowners who have backyard ponds. Our plan is to put around a dozen small common goldfish in this year. Once the pond habitat has been established, it will be more suitable for larger and more attractive fish.

Q: Will fish die in the pond in winter?
A: With proper care the fish can live in the pond all winter. Because fish are poikilotherms, their metabolic rate is based on the temperature of the water. Therefore, they will require less food and oxygen during the coldest winter months and can survive without the pumps circulating the water. Also, the pond is unlikely to freeze more than 14 inches thick, so there will be plenty of water for the fish to survive beneath the ice.


NKE Pond completed

Q: Do we have to feed them?
A: No. Adding fish slowly to the pond allows the microcosmic ecosystem to develop and will provide naturally occurring food sources such as zooplankton, phytoplankton and benthic invertebrates. Hand feeding the fish can be detrimental to the pond system and to the fish themselves and is therefore not advised. Excess food can cause an overload of nitrogen, which will result in fish death and excess fish waste, which can cause unnecessary algae growth.

Q: Will we have other animals?
A: Yes, I plan to bring in frog eggs next spring so that the kids can watch them develop into tadpoles! Ponds naturally attract a wide variety of birds and insect species, too.

(Look for Part II of the Q&A soon)

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