INTRODUCTIONS IN LIGHTING AND KOI FEEDING
There are several developments in foods for pond fish. Sera recently
introduced probiotic food for koi, said Claus Frenken, sales manager
for Sera North America in Montgomeryville, Pa. The food is available
in two versions: Sera Koi All Seasons Probiotic and Sera Koi Junior All
The All Seasons formulation is a granule for koi larger than 6 inches,
while the Junior formulation is a floating pellet food for all juvenile koi up
to 6 inches. Both foods are formulated to be fed throughout the year at
water temperatures above 46 degrees Fahrenheit, Frenken said.
“Many people do not just want to feed the same food all the time,”
he added. “They want to feed some variety. Special treats or snacks are
always an appreciated diversion.”
In terms of new tech, lighting features for around the pond are
“Customers want the option to add lights everywhere,” said Sean
Raines, director of aquatic marketing product development for Tetra of
Spectrum Brands—Pet, Home & Garden division in Blacksburg, Va.
The company has designed its Tetra Pond Triple Light Set, LED
Fountain Light and Waterfall Light Set for use around the edge of a
waterfall, the perimeter of the pond and above the surface, Raines added.
Increasingly, koi and fish breeders, some with retail locations, are
formulating and introducing their own foods to the market.
“Everybody and their brother wants to put out a koi food,” said John
Ohling, owner of Suncoast Water Gardens in Spring Hill, Fla. “Usually,
some of the best food is going to come out of the large breeders of koi
One such operation, Kodama Koi Farm in Mililani, Hawaii, has
reportedly had success and growing interest in its koi food formulation,
featuring high protein content meant to support koi growth and
“We have our own brand of koi food,” said TK Nishino, manager of
Kodama Koi Garden in Davie, Fla., one of the company’s retail locations.
“Our farm fish business is really growing well. Before we established our
own brand, we used the food for our own fish.”
Generally, those that have success with their own formulations can also compete on price with larger pond fish food
“Kodama come out with their new food product, which people seem to like,” said Miguel Cruz, owner of Redland Koi & Pond
Co. in Homestead, Fla. “That tends to be more what some of the larger commercial operations are doing. That’s because what’s
available [commercial foods] are a little pricey.”
MAKE A NAME FOR YOURSELF
Being involved in the pond industry requires marketing
on multiple levels. Building a customer base still means
relying on traditional word-of-mouth and reputation to
“It’s a very niche market,” said David Gute, manager
of Barracuda Watergardens in Auburn, Calif. “Expertise
drives sales. Customers like to visit a store where
someone has some knowledge of what they’re talking
about—it’s just a different experience.”
Having a presence on the internet is helpful, industry
experts said, but building beautiful ponds and raising
attractive livestock does more to drive business than
most other forms of marketing.
“Livestock is a critical component of inspiring
consumers to build or expand a koi pond,” said
Sean Raines, director of aquatic marketing product
development for Tetra of Spectrum Brands—Pet, Home
& Garden division in Blacksburg, Va. “Livestock is also
critical in returning business with food and water care to
keep your koi healthy and beautiful.”
Carrying livestock provides retailers with a source of
margin and also acts as a method of advertising via word
of mouth for a particular breeding operation or retail
“It’s a major component to what we do,” said Miguel
Cruz, owner of Redland Koi & Pond Co. in Homestead, Fla.
“Because of the fact that we specialize in Japanese koi,
we have a more intelligent buyer coming in to look for koi,
versus someone that just wants livestock to stock a pond.
I would say it’s at least 75 percent of our business.”
For some builders, it’s assumed that fish and plants
will come as part of the package.
“With every water feature, we include an optional fish
package for the client,” said Sean Gallaway, service and
retail manager for Aquatica Water Garden Shop in Wales,
Wis. “We also have a large water garden plant section,
and we sell tons of plants every year. Fish and plants
sales have always been very steady.”