The Concept of Living Water

The Concept of Living Water

The Concept of Living Water

Ben Plonski

Ben Plonski

Ben Plonski, a real lover of koi, has been in the koi business for 43 years. He has been traveling to Japan for 25 years to handpick koi for sale in the U.S. market. He is a member of the Shinkokai All Japan Nishikigoi Promotion Association (U.S. District) and president and owner of Laguna Koi Ponds
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The Concept of Living Water

When we sit back and enjoy our ponds we focus on the obvious fish and plants.  However, what we are really looking at is a tremendous soup of various organisms all striving for a harmonious existence.  We test the water, and it checks out good.  But what is really happening is a complex dynamic chain of interdependent relationships, from ions and molecules to microorganisms, plants and fish?

Each ingredient plays a role in the individual characteristics of your pond.  No two ponds are ever alike.  When water is confined, its components begin to reconfigure themselves, developing a unique condition and difference from its original state.  Every water change or manipulation by us will affect the water chemistry and organisms, good or bad, depending on the degree of change.  Every action we take or do not take has a consequence.  You have heard it said that to be a successful koi keeper you must be a good water culturist.  Or “Take care of the water and the water will take care of the fish.” I am sure you have also heard that “Clear water is not always healthy water”.  I would like to extend this idea to: “Water which tests good does not always have healthy koi”.  I often hear this complaint; “My koi are all sick but my water tests perfect”.

Living Water is the caretaker of our fish.   Living water is the bacterial and planktonic soup which supports our koi at the top of the food chain.  Actually, a tremendous part of the pond’s biofilter are the organisms in the water itself.  I have an old Nichi-Rin magazine which states that nitrifying bacteria are free floating in the water.  Yes they also exist in the filter, however, many types of bacteria exist in the filter which do other jobs at conditioning the water.   Remember the beer commercial, “It’s the Water”.  Consider this, if your filter makes up 10% of your pond volume, that leaves 90% Living Water. 

I want to mention one of the ponds we have maintained for over 15 years, this pond has no biofilter; only a sump with a screen in it to extract solids.  It is approximately 3000 gallons and holds 15 large koi.  This pond is totally under filtered and yet tests zero ammonia and nitrites.  The bacteria and algae in the water and on the walls of the pond are doing the job.  Now this is where I say, “Don’t try this at home folks.”.  This pond did not achieve this condition overnight.  It is over 25 years old and it does have a continuous 5% daily water change.

Happy balanced Living Water acts as a natural probiotic. Probiotic bacteria is nothing new.  In nature it is called biodiversity.  Natural ponds have such a tremendous diversity of organisms that no one pathogenic organism can take over.  It is only when we subject our koi into crowded unstable conditions that they break down and the pathogens can take over.

Living Water is the concept we are using when we add probiotic bacteria like Microbe-Lift PL to prevent infection.

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