Koi pond

Looking for a self-sustaining koi pond that is ecologically balanced without the use of pond pumps, filters or chemicals?

Discover how easy it is to set up your own koi pond with Simon's 6-step plan.

Avoid common mistakes and save at least $1,000 with Simon's expert Pond Advice Book.

You can easily order all essential aquatic plants and products for natural water purification through our webshop and have them delivered quickly to your home.

Koi carp among pond plants
Simons pond advice book
Koi pond with plant filter
Simon van der Velde

Putting plants in a Koi pond is quite tricky because the Koi tend to destroy them right away. But with a little smart thinking and creativity, it's definitely doable.


Simon van der VeldePond specialist and aquatic plant breeder

Others bought this for their koi pond

Koi pond plants

Natural pond with koi carp

Constructing a natural Koi pond without the use of pumps and filters can be quite a challenge. Vibrant Koi are known to be able to handle plants rather roughly, often damaging them quickly. But with some clever strategies and a little creativity, it is certainly possible to create a healthy, plant-rich Koi pond.

An effective way to protect your plants is to use a plant filter. This is a separate area in the pond where the Koi cannot reach, but where the plants can still do their purifying work. Another option is to choose certain types of plants that are more resistant to the curious Koi. Consider oxygen plants such as hornwort, which are naturally fast growing and have a stiff structure, making them less likely to break down.

In addition, you can consider floating plant islands. These floating islands of plants are a smart solution to keep your plants safe because the Koi cannot reach them. You can also create your own island of plants in the middle of the pond. You can do this by stacking pond crates and putting plants in them. This way you create a safe place for the plants that the Koi cannot reach.

When designing your Koi pond, it is important to consider the needs of both fish and plants. Choose different types of plants that collectively help maintain a healthy pond ecosystem.

By being creative, you can create a beautiful, natural Koi pond that benefits both fish and plants. We take you through our step-by-step plan below on how to go about this.

Traditional koi pond vs natural plant koi pond

Traditional Koi Pond Natural Plants Koi Pond

Traditional Koi Pond

Natural Plants Koi Pond

❌ Regularly ✅ Minimum
❌ UV Lamp & Pump ✅ Plant filter
❌ Higher in Maintenance ✅ Lower long-term costs
❌ Clinical ✅ Natural & Harmonious
❌ Often needed ✅ Rarely to never
❌ Limited ✅ Promotes
❌ Higher (Pump & UV) ✅ Bearing
❌ Less Natural Living ✅ Vibrant with Life
Koi pond with koi and aquatic plants

Build your own koi pond in 5 steps

Constructing a natural koi pond aimed at creating a balanced environment for koi is all about cleverly combining natural elements. Unlike traditional koi ponds that often rely on external pumps and filters to keep the water clean, the focus here is on using plants and natural processes. A natural koi pond is usually spacious and deep enough for koi to swim comfortably in, while also focusing on incorporating underwater plants, floating plant islands and possibly a separate plant filter.

1. Planning and design

Decide if you want your aquatic plants directly in the koi pond or if you prefer to risk as little as possible and place them separately in a plant filter or island. Based on this you are going to determine your pond design. If you opt for a plant filter, make sure this filter covers 1:3 of the pond.

2. Digging the pond

  • Dig according to your design. For depth, we recommend -1.5m. This will give the Koi fish enough room to move around. Moreover, this depth helps to keep the water temperature stable during cold winter months.
  • Provide solid walls to prevent collapse and groundwater problems.

3. Pond liner installation

  • Choose quality long-lasting foil, such as black EPDM, for the most tranquil and authentic effect. This film is strong and elastic, preventing leaks.
  • Finish the edges neatly with boulders and creeping plants such as Penninger for a natural look.

4. furnishings and plant selection

  • Place a layer of 8 to 10 cm of pond substrate on the bottom of your pond.
  • If you plant aquatic plants with the Koi in the pond, make sure you choose ample and fast-growing plants that have a stiff structure such as hornwort and crabgrass, for example

5. Maintenance

  • Keep the water surface clean and free of leaves and other debris to maintain water clarity.
  • If you place ample oxygen plants you will have virtually no maintenance on the koi pond.
Koi carp in pond pond fish

Koi pond planting plan

We guide you through the best ways to build a natural koi pond without relying on pumps, filters or other technical aids. Discover how to create a balanced, healthy environment for your koi using natural purification methods such as plants and floating islands. With our simple step-by-step plan, you can create a beautiful, low-maintenance koi pond that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also contributes to local biodiversity.

1. Pond substrate

Pond substrate

A layer of pond substrate of 8 to 10 cm in the pond actually offers a warm welcome to the right pond bacteria, which attach themselves to the stone grains or lava rocks. These bacteria have a water-purifying effect, keeping the water naturally clear. A filter or pump is therefore not necessary, which saves costs. Immediately after construction, you can add these good bacteria. In addition, a layer of pond substrate at the bottom gives plant roots of pond plants the opportunity to firmly establish themselves without rotting. So if you are in doubt about whether to use pond substrate or not; for a natural filter it is indispensable.

Simon's advice for a pond substrate

Use 40 liters of substrate (2 bags) per m2, leaving a layer of 8-10 cm of substrate on the pond bottom

Pond substrate - 40 liters

- 40 L covers 1 m² ↥ 10 cm
- Heavy duty quality for the best filtration
- Extra porous: optimal plant growth


In stock

2. Plant filter as a natural filter

plant filter

A plant filter is a smart choice for any pond, especially if you have koi carp. These fish are known to like to nibble on aquatic plants. With a plant filter, you clean the water naturally and protect your plants so they can grow undisturbed. In your plant filter, you combine the best of both worlds: oxygen plants that purify the water and Sumpfpflanzen that filter it. This is how you keep the water of your koi pond clear and rich in oxygen, without mechanical aids such as pumps and filters. Do you also want plants in the pond itself? Then choose plenty of, fast-growing oxygen plants that are robust. That way they grow faster than the koi can eat them, and they stay beautiful even if the fish nibble on them.

Simon's advice for a plant filter

Use a minimum of 32 purifying aquatic plants for a pond filter of 1m2 - 2m2

Plant Filter Package - Medium

- For 3 - 4 m²
- 64 plants
- Placement: -1 to -80 cm


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3. Pond Crates

Pond Crate

Do you have a koi pond and would like to add pond plants without creating a plant filter or risking your koi destroying the plants? Then try something creative with our pond crates. You can easily click these crates together until the desired height is reached. Make sure the top crate is just slightly above the surface of the water. Fill the top crate with baskets full of marsh and oxygen plants. Because the plants have their roots in the water, but the edge of the crate is just above the surface of the water, the koi cannot reach them. This creates a beautiful, green plant island in your koi pond! Fill all but the top of the crates with an 8-10 centimeter layer of substrate for strength.

Simons advice for pond crates with pond plants

By stacking three pond crates on top of each other, you create an elevation of 60 cm. In the top crate, for example, place three baskets of needleweed and three baskets of irises. This will give you a crate full of water-purifying and oxygen-enriching plants for your koi pond. Fill the bottom crates with a layer of substrate for strength.

Pond crate - 3 pieces

- Dimensions: 60x40x20 cm
- For deep ponds
- Sturdy stackable


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4. Floating islands loose

Floating plant island

Floating plant islands are a smart addition to increase the filtration capacity of your pond. These islands, planted with Sumpfpflanzen or oxygen plants, are very effective in purifying the water by filtering waste products and releasing oxygen to the water. The fish cannot reach these plants as they float safely on the water in a pond basket. Moreover, blooming Sumpfpflanzen with their colorful flowers provide a cheerful look in the pond. However, remember that oxygen plants are essential for any pond, so make sure you add these plants as well.

Simon's advice for a floating plant island

1 floating island (with 4 plants) to 4 floating islands (with 16 plants) per 1,000 gallons of water.

Floating Plant Island - Aquatic Plants

- Floating aquatic plant
- Full grown height: 80 cm
- Placement: loose in the water


In stock

5. Loose oxygen plants

Loose oxygen plants pond

Besides using plants in your plant filter and on floating islands or homemade islands made from pond crates, you can also choose to add additional loose oxygen plants in the pond between the koi. If you choose to do this, it is important to add enough fast-growing oxygen plants. This way the plants grow faster than the koi can nibble. Keep in mind that there is a chance that the koi will still damage the plants, depending on how much space they have, how many plants there are and how fast they grow. Another option is to add extra oxygen plants only during the winter. During this time, the koi go into hibernation, so they will not damage the plants. This way, you provide extra oxygen in the water, which is especially important in winter.

Simon's advice for loose oxygen plants

Per 1000 gallons of water: a minimum of 4 baskets (16 plants total) and 24 individual oxygen plants.

Loose Oxygen Plants Set

- For 500 - 1,000 liters of water
- 16 plants
- Placement: loose in the water


In stock

6. Universal fish food: Aquabites

Universal fish food for pond fish

Fish food is crucial for the health and growth of your pond fish because it contains all the necessary nutrients. With our specially formulated fish food, your koi will get all the essential vitamins and minerals they need. By giving the koi a few handfuls of our food several times a day, you reduce the chances of them nibbling on your aquatic plants. Note: If the temperature drops below 10 degrees, stop feeding. The fish then go into almost hibernation and cannot digest the food properly.

Simon's advice for amount of fish food

At a water temperature above 10 degrees, feed the koi about 2% of their body weight. Here it is important that you do not give this all at once, but that you choose to divide it over several feedings per day.

AQUA BITES - 5 liters

- Universal fish food
- For koi to goldfish
- Boost health


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7. Pond bacteria

Pond bacteria

To keep the pond clean and clear, use pond bacteria in addition to aquatic plants. Our uniquely formulated formula "Bacta Clear" consists of two types of beneficial pond bacteria developed by pond specialist Simon. Our product helps break down drab residues that form on the bottom of the pond due to excess, for example, fish food, decaying leaves and dead algae. The recommended dosage is 1 liter of Bacta Clear per 1000 to 20,000 liters of pond water, because our formula is composed 100% natural it is not harmful to humans, plants and animals.

Simon's advice for a pond bacteria

1 bottle of Bacta Clear from 1 to 20 m³ (1,000 to 20,000 liters of water).


- Pond bacteria for 1,000 to 20,000 L
- 100% eco: clear water fast
- Safe for humans, plants & animals


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8. Optional: Water lily

Natural pond water lilies

If you want to add some extra color to your koi pond without having your water lilies damaged by the koi, consider placing them in the plant filter. You can also choose to plant water lilies directly in the pond, but keep in mind that the koi may damage or attack them. White and red water lilies are very popular and can be planted up to 100 cm deep.

Simon's advice for water lilies

Minimum of 1 water lily per 500 to 3,000 gallons of water.

White Water Lily - Nymphaea Albatross

- Large water lily
- Full-grown height: 10 cm
- Placement: -10 to -100 cm


In stock

3 tips from Simon for implementing the roadmap

Planting plan for a pond without pump and filter
  1. Unfortunately, a common mistake: the pond is already filled with water while the pond plants have yet to be placed. This makes it difficult or even impossible to place all the plants in a good, sturdy spot. Simon therefore recommends starting first with a thin layer of pond substrate in an empty pond, after which you only allow a small layer of water into the pond. You can now step through the pond with boots on to place the aquatic plants in place in the substrate. Then top up with substrate. Is everything set and firm? Only then fill the entire pond with water.
  2. If you have a somewhat larger pond, it is smart to work from the inside out. So you start in the lowest zone and work outward step-by-step. You end in the shallowest zone (swamp zone).
  3. When placing the aquatic plants, also pay attention to what depth is best for optimal growth. This is indicated on the packaging of our pond plants. Do you like a lot of plants? Then place the baskets or crates against each other.
pond advice book

Want more helpful tips?

Learn about common mistakes and get a handy planting plan, along with plenty of valuable tips in Simon's Pond Advice Book.

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Simon van der Velde

Simon van der Velde: Expert on ponds and an advocate of biodiversity and sustainability

Simon van der Velde is an expert in ponds with more than 35 years of experience in designing dream ponds. He is the founder of "Van der Velde Aquatic Plants," a company focused on creating biodiverse and natural ponds without the use of pumping systems and filters. Simon's vision goes beyond creating beautiful ponds; he also wants to contribute to the restoration of biodiversity in the Netherlands, Europe and the rest of the world. In addition to his work as a pond specialist, Simon is a passionate nature lover and is committed to preserving nature and the environment. He inspires people to take a sustainable approach to their gardens and the natural environment. Simon's passion for biodiversity and natural lifestyle makes him an advocate for sustainability and a key player in restoring the natural balance in our world.

Pond advice and tips

Frequently asked questions about Koi ponds

Pond Advice

A koi carp, also known as Cyprinus Carpio, is related to the carp. A koi carp is native to Japan. They are often kept in ponds specially designed for koi such as a koi pond. People who keep koi carp often do so because of the special appearance of the fish. This is because they often have beautiful drawings and bright colors on their bodies. The more beautiful the drawing and the color, the more expensive the koi carp will be. However, this often does not stop many people from purchasing a koi.

Koi carp can certainly be placed in a pond with pond plants. Many people do not purchase aquatic plants for their koi pond because they think koi will eat them, as they are known to do. But with some creative solutions such as a plant filter or a plant island you can add aquatic plants to the pond without the Koi being able to destroy them.

A koi carp is not a difficult eater, in fact, the fish will eat just about anything. Mainly they eat small insects or small aquatic animals that live in the pond, also algae are on the menu of the koi carp. It is recommended to combine this with our universal fish food to keep your carp beautiful and healthy!

Make sure the pond is at least 1.5 meters deep. For size, you should keep about 1,000 liters of water per fish, since Koi carp can grow very large and they need space.

With a koi pond, it is imperative that it not freeze over during the winter. This is bad for oxygen levels in the pond. One option is to cover the pond with a winter cover, but you can also use a ball. If you let this float and move on the surface of the water, it will prevent the water from freezing over. Also, make sure that the koi carp get enough fish food before winter sets in. During the winter months, fish have a lower metabolism and need less food. Overfeeding can lead to water pollution and health problems in the fish.

Koi pond or fish pond

A koi pond is a specially designed pond for keeping koi carp, these ornamental fish native to Japan are highly valued for their colorful patterns and soothing swimming behavior. A koi pond usually has a depth of at least 1.5 meters and is designed to provide a suitable habitat for koi. A good koi pond should be able to maintain water quality through filtration, aeration and water circulation. The water in the pond should be free of toxins such as ammonia and nitrite, and the pH level should be within an appropriate range to maintain koi health. A koi pond can vary in size depending on the quantity and size of the koi fish kept in it. Some koi ponds are constructed in a natural setting, while others have more stylized designs with waterfalls, streams and decorative elements to create a soothing and visually appealing environment. Unlike other ponds, a koi pond is all about the pond fish. Thus, a koi pond is a pond specifically for your koi carp. Many keepers of such a pond opt for a pump and filter system to keep the pond clean because the fish love nibbling on aquatic plants. Nevertheless, it is possible to set up your koi pond in a completely natural way, for example by choosing the right and sufficient and different types of aquatic plants or by installing a plant filter in the pond.

Koi fishing

Koi fish, known for their vibrant colors and elegant movements, are a popular choice for ponds and in many cultures symbolize good fortune, prosperity and long life. These graceful fish require specific care, including a well-maintained pond with adequate space, clean water and a balanced diet, in order to thrive.

Supplies for properly setting up a Koi pond

Before you begin constructing a koi pond, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the various options. If you want a natural habitat for your koi without the use of a pond pump and filter, make sure you have an adequate amount of suitable aquatic plants. In addition, it is advisable to add a layer of pond substrate of 8 to 10 centimeters, so that the plants can root well in the bottom of the pond. Also, do not forget to add beneficial pond bacteria to the water. These bacteria settle in the porous material of the substrate and, along with the plants and pond substrate, help keep the pond in balance.

Costs for the construction of a koi pond

The price for constructing a koi pond can fluctuate considerably, based on factors such as size and materials used. For a 10 m3 koi pond equipped with EPDM foil, a bottom drain and a 3 m3 plant filter, you can expect a cost that moves between €5500 and €7500. Note that these costs do not include the purchase price of the koi carp. Be sure to inform yourself thoroughly in advance about both pond construction and setup.

Protecting koi from herons

Protecting koi carp from herons is a familiar concern for any koi pond owner, as the heron is a natural predator of fish. While some consider drastic defense mechanisms, a simple PVC pipe on the pond floor can often be an effective protection. When approaching danger, the fish shoot into the tube to hide. In addition, a floating island of plants, such as crabweed and water lilies, can also provide a good hiding place for your koi. If this floating plant island has a permanent place in the pond, the fish will quickly feel safe there.

Koi pond and koi fish maintenance

To maintain an ideal habitat for your koi, it is essential to regularly maintain the koi pond. During the fall season, it is important to remove fallen leaves to combat both acidification and algae problems; a scoop net is a useful tool for this purpose. Completely emptying the pond to clean the bottom is not recommended, as this can be detrimental to the bacterial balance and stressful for the fish. If the pond is properly set up and the plant filter has adequate planting, water tests or additional devices such as pond pumps are unnecessary.
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Tips, advice and substantial savings
I would like to share my experience with you, and advise you to solve any pond problems and reduce pond maintenance. As a result, you can easily save hundreds of dollars.
Tips, advice and substantial savings
I would like to share my experience with you, and advise you to solve any pond problems and reduce pond maintenance. As a result, you can easily save hundreds of dollars.
Tips, advice and substantial savings
I would like to share my experience with you, and advise you to solve any pond problems and reduce pond maintenance. As a result, you can easily save hundreds of dollars.
Tips, advice and substantial savings
I would like to share my experience with you, and advise you to solve any pond problems and reduce pond maintenance. As a result, you can easily save hundreds of dollars.