“In this new technology-rich world, we are more likely to be stressed out, anxious, depressed, and less inclined than ever before to embrace benefit-rich natural environments” (Selhub and Logan, 2012).
While Koi ponds are intrinsically fascinating for the colorful pets that fill them, there are also many hidden benefits that come when you buy koi fish.
These range from the health benefits of their calming and relaxing nature, to creating a purposeful responsibility in re-charging our natural love for the outdoors.
Many Koi owners also find meaning and purpose in the weekly tasks associated with maintenance of the pond. To show examples of pond ownership, we have included images from our team and our customers representing each benefit along with beautiful koi.
In this research article by Travis Burroughs, University of Denver, you will learn why Koi pond ownership is a gift that just keeps on giving!
8 Ways Owning a Koi Pond is Good for your Health
We researched the subject and reference these three sources to support our 8 reasons for owning a koi pond.
- Your brain on nature: the science of nature’s influence on your health, happiness, and vitality
- Blue mind: the surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do
- Fishy Tales: Experiences of the Occupation of Keeping Fish as Pets
Let’s start with the first and maybe most important reason, our relationship with pets…
1. Symbiotic Relationship with Pond Inhabitants
The benefits of keeping Koi are not limited to the real physical and mental benefits of maintaining a Koi pond, but also the symbiotic connections you develop with the koi.
Skeptics might believe that Koi would never offer as much attachment as a dog or cat, but this is not the case. “In a study undertaken with multiple participants by Zasloff (1996), it was found that attachment to different types of pets is not based on emotional feelings, but rather the specific interactive behaviors that the owners perform with their pets.” (Langfield and James, 2009)
In other words, when Koi owners develop a passion for their pets and make a point of developing routines that revolve around being near the pond, they can build just as strong of a relationships with the Koi as with a dog or cat. This is evident in Koi fish recognizing their owners, and having the ability to hand feed your Koi fish.
2. Relaxing with your Koi
While a Koi pond can be mentally benefitting, there are also physical reasons to own Koi.
All participants in the Langfield and James (2009) study “stated that they felt physically more relaxed when watching their fish.” People are attracted to the sound of running water, as it is something naturally instilled in us. Running water in a fish tank or pond is no different, as seen in a study by Jacobson et al. (2000) where participants stated that the sound of running water from their fish tank relaxed them. With this compounding visual and auditory effect, Koi ponds are a great place to unwind and relax after a long day at work.
3. Great Party Favor / Social Benefits
Everyone knows that a good host always has a few tricks up their sleeve. One great benefit of owning a Koi pond is that you do not have to enjoy it by yourself.
There is a big social benefit to Koi ponds, as they are a great talking point when having people over or finding others with similar interest. Guests will love to get outside and enjoy the nice pond setting, and it will give you a chance to tell them some fun or interesting facts about your favorite Koi! There are many koi clubs across the United States with other koi enthusiasts who throw pond parties.
4. Improve Your Family Relationships
Koi ponds are not only the perfect opportunity to host your friends, but they have also served as a gathering spot for family members for decades.
Koi ponds provide an ideal setting for families to gather around and spend quality time with each other. With Koi’s incredible ability to live for more than a century, they have become a sense of honor in certain families providing a wonderful gathering point for families throughout multiple generations.
For younger family members, Koi ponds also offer an ideal opportunity to learn about an ecosystem for the first time in their life. There are multiple important elements in a Koi ecosystem that comprise the natural environment that allows the Koi fish to thrive. There is no better way to educate your kids about the web of nature, than having a great example in your backyard.
Koi can be considered such a great family pet due to their ease of urgency. Unlike other pets such as a dog or cat, there is no problem leaving your Koi at home alone. It is OK to go on vacation and not worry about your Koi, as they are able to feed on algae and bugs in the pond for months at a time.
“My clients are on the water in their vessels, during the day and when they come home, have told me they appreciate having a pond as well since they are marine life fanatics!”
– Zachary Zisser of Zisser Marine Service.
5. Pond Maintenance Routine & Care Taking
As many in the Koi community already know, building and then taking care of the pond creates a deep sense of tranquility, which owners love.
While upkeep can be large or minimal depending on your setup, the routine is a piece of the harmony which the Koi fish bring. A key aspect to Koi maintenance is ensuring a clean and aerated environment for the Koi fish to thrive in, but that sounds easier than it is. While pond maintenance can be a lot to learn, compared to the consistent care required for many other pets, the minimal day to day activities that are required for Koi pond maintenance, are one of the many reasons why hobbyists are drawn to their pond.
Family members often enjoy being part of this routine, actively participating in preparing pond for spring, checking temperature levels, feeding the Koi, measuring the water parameters, and simply checking in on their pets.
For Koi lovers, the pond is not simply a decoration in the backyard, but rather a part of the family’s lifestyle. We recommend you learn more about our BioClean Koi Pond Filter to maintain the highest pond water quality and reduce your overall maintenance with a biological filter.
6. Strong Connection with Outdoor Environment
Humans have innate tendencies to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.
“Our preference for nature is a universal phenomenon – we are all drawn to a landscape full of trees, fresh water, and a variety of plants and animals” (Selhub and Logan, 2012). For those of us that live in large urban environments, our natural love for the outdoors can sometimes be sidetracked, as life becomes consumed by the cities we live in. The desire to be a part of the city life has somehow become the gold standard for what many Americans believe to be the perfect life, but it comes with consequences.
Koi ponds allow us to return to our natural love for the outdoors.
While one may not think their backyard is a place to enjoy nature, a backyard pond offers a perfect opportunity to take a few meaningful steps towards this goal.
7. Fish Maintenance & Knowledge of Biology
Koi are able to give off subtle tips that something could be extremely wrong with the pond. Your biological expertise will be required and there are many people ready to teach you.
Please look to our Koi Health Management article for a free health checklist to diagnose symptoms on your Koi. Maintaining Koi health can be seen not only as a positive for the fish, but also for the owners. In a study done by Allen et al. (2000), “A sense of responsibility felt by pet owners provided motivation to make pet care a priority, which contributes to the structure and routine of daily living.”
8. Blue Minded Emotional Ties
Humans have been intrinsically linked to water since the beginning of mankind, beginning with its central role as a place to quench thirst, search for food, cleanse oneself and find cold relief from a hot day.
The evolutionary link has developed into a deep emotional tie for humans and water. The mind is considered at its most relaxed state when around a body of water.
Some people seem to have forgotten their instinctual ties to water, and how much happiness it can bring you. With a simple habit change of being around your backyard pond more often, increased happiness can show many different types of benefits.
“Increased happiness is linked to better relationships, more creativity, and better productivity at work. It makes us more charitable, cooperative, and empathetic, boosts our immune and cardiovascular systems, decreases inflammation, slows disease progression, and increases longevity” (Nichols, 2014).
How Koi Ponds Improve Your Health – Is it Right for You?
Past and current Koi owners should relate to most of the benefits mentioned here whether they realized it prior or not.
Koi ownership has been celebrated for generations, even if some owners do not know exactly what it is that makes them feel good. It is worth considering the many background factors as to why they love this hobby and why it might be the right hobby for you.
Adding a Koi to a new environment can become a challenge if not done correctly. So make sure you do your research! Read our blog and ask us any questions on this post so we can help get your pond hobby thriving to reach all of these positive benefits of owning a pond.
Be sure to read Kodama’s How To Care For Your Koi Fish After Receiving It article. Visit our live koi auction page if you are interested in adding to or starting your first Koi pond. Kodama offers the highest quality Koi fish sold around the world, as noted by its multiple awards and longtime connections to countless different Koi breeders. As always, happy Koi caring.
Langfield, J., & James, C. (2009). Fishy Tales: Experiences of the Occupation of Keeping Fish as Pets. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(8), 349–356. doi: 10.1177/030802260907200805 – https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-206790283/fishy-tales-experiences-of-the-occupation-of-keeping
Nichols, W. J., & Cousteau, C. (2015). Blue mind: the surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do. New York: Little, Brown Spark. – https://www.wallacejnichols.org/122/bluemind.html
Selhub, E. M., & Logan, A. C. (2014). Your brain on nature: the science of natures influence on your health, happiness, and vitality. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, Ltd. – http://www.yourbrainonnature.com/