You’ve decided to take the plunge and have your local pond installation service get you set up with a brand new koi pond. You’re enjoying your backyard water feature, letting the soothing sounds of the water relax you, when you’re hit with a wave of inspiration: a turtle would be a great addition to this private oasis!
You probably have some questions about turtles and koi fish living together, and if it’s even possible. Luckily for you, we’ve put together all the facts to help you create an environment that both your koi fish and your new turtle can enjoy.
What kind of turtle is best for my koi pond?
The best bet for a healthy and happy turtle is to find one that is native in your area. This will ensure its longevity. There are many species of turtles that are found in Georgia, so you have a wide variety to choose from. For the safety of your koi, avoid breeds that like to hunt and eat fish. Here are a few local turtles that can live happily with your koi fish:
Spotted Turtles. These guys grow on the small side (up to 3.5 – 4 inches) and are easily recognizable by their black color and contrasting yellow spots. They can be found in the southern half of Georgia, and like to eat worms and crickets. The population for spotted turtles has seen a decline over the years, so this might be a species that you have trouble getting a hold of.
River Cooter Turtle. This is a very common species in Georgia that can grow to a pretty decent size (up to 12 inches). They are a basking breed, and love to catch the sun on top of rocks and logs. The adults primarily have an herbivore’s diet, while the growing kids find their much-needed protein through crustaceans and fish. If you keep your mature river cooter turtle well-fed, you won’t have to worry about it terrorizing your koi.
Eastern Box Turtle. These guys are considered medium sized, measuring between 4.5 – 6 inches. They are easily recognizable by their high round shell with yellow/orange splotches. They love wetlands, and will mostly hang out around the edge of your pond. Their diet can consist of fruits, mushrooms, worms, and bugs.
How to Maintain Your Pond’s Habitat
After getting a turtle, it’s a good idea to invest in regularly-scheduled pond maintenance. A turtle can greatly affect the water’s ecosystem through defecation, as well as bone and tail loss. Most turtles will have sharp claws that can damage your pond’s liners and base. If you have a beautiful water garden that you don’t want your turtle to munch on, make sure that you keep the reptile well-fed.
Despite all of this, it is still possible to have both koi and turtles in your backyard oasis. Koi fish are very easy to maintain, so the only thing you need to worry about is staying on top of your pond’s maintenance after introducing a turtle into the habitat. Your local pond installation service will also be able to give you advice about turtles living with your koi fish.
Universal Aquatics has a team of experienced individuals that can create the custom pond of your dreams. If you’re thinking about getting a pond for your backyard, or are wanting to add koi to your current water garden, ask the professionals! 404-680-2150