Aquatic plants provide oxygen for fish such as koi, so that the fish aren’t as dependent on air pumps to provide oxygen to the tank. They also help fight algae growth by limiting algae’s photosynthesis via their own photosynthesis. Pond plants also create shade for koi, which helps keep them cool when it’s sunny. And pond plants help to filter pond water, removing any nitrites or any other chemicals that might be poisonous for the fish.
Some examples of pond plants that are great at oxygenation include water lettuce, parrot’s feather, and cabomba.
Another kind of aquatic plant for koi is marginal pond plants. Marginal pond plants are plants that are potted and submerged a few inches in the water. These plants add greenery and beauty to the aquaponics system. They too help filter the water in the tanks, but they need a shelf to be placed on.
To prevent the koi from eating all your pond plants, you have a few different options. One is to build a shelf into the edge of the pond or fish tank. Put a potted plant on the submerge board to create the appearance of a natural pond plant, and then put stones over the soil to protect from rooting koi. But you will still need a barrier between the koi and the plant. You may need to stack stones or rust-proof wire around the pot.
Smaller plants you can float in the water simply by putting a flotation ring around their pot. But for plants like water lilies that have long, extended roots, consider putting wire mesh around the stems to protect against hungry koi.
In our experience, happy koi also need to receive immune boosters to help their overall health. We provide our fish with vitamin C and garlic to keep them healthy and prevent disease. Another step we take to ensure the health of our fish is to get to know their habits and behaviors and to treat any problems from the start. We enjoy our koi and hope that if you venture into aquaponics, you will too!