At Home With
Anaheim, California USA
by Pam Spindola
Images by Larry Falke
Click to enlarge
I met Raydell Bobst, an energetic senior citizen, at a monthly
Nishiki Koi Club meeting in southern California. Upon hearing
my name, he mentioned that during his daily one-hour treadmill
workout he watches my late husband's video on koi classification.
First, I can hardly complete 20 minutes on a treadmill. An
hour there is definitely noteworthy to me. Second, to watch repeatedly
the same 32-minute video seems a bit tiresome. Nevertheless,
such is Raydell's enthusiasm to learn about koi. Exercising on
a treadmill an hour every morning while watching the same video
impresses me as a man driven! This ardent habit gives a clue
to Raydell's approach to life - enthusiastic and tireless.
Is he new to the hobby? No, he had installed his beautiful pond
25 years earlier (built correctly, I hasten to add). Moreover,
he had constructed two other ponds before this one. His pond
features effective filtration, plenty of aeration, bottom drains,
ample swimming depth, and shade. When I learned that this was
his third pond, I assumed that he must be one of the pioneer
koi hobbyists of southern California.
His collection of koi and long fin koi exhibits exceptionally
good quality. The fish are very healthy, colorful, and mostly
of show quality. Raydell definitely has an artistic eye. However,
when questioned about any of the marvelous features of his pond
or koi collection, Raydell assumes a very modest position claiming
he didn't know anything about koi nor pond construction. It was
all by chance!
The concrete pond measures 24 feet (7.3 meters) long, 4 feet
(1.2 meters) deep and holds 2600 (9842 liters) gallons and features
three bottom drains. Three venturi jets create a steady current
that directs the waste to the filter while providing fun and
exercise for the koi. Eight air stones continuously aerate the
pond. The 400-gallon (1514-liter) biological/mechanical filter
of the up-flow gravel type maintains the clear and healthy water.
Waterlily containers rest on concrete blocks that provide appropriate
water depth for them. Because the tubs are wrapped, the koi do
not bother the plants. Raydell does say that sometimes koi eat
the azure pickerel plants that grow in the pond.
His koi collection totals about thirty fish, one measuring
over 2.5 feet (0.8 meters) long. The outstanding assortment includes
many varieties, all very healthy and of excellent quality. His
favorite koi varieties are kohaku (white with bright red markings)
and yamabuki ogon (metallic yellow).
Raydell's favorite fish, however, are his long fin koi. A
relatively new development, these attention grabbers combine
the long graceful fins of goldfish with the beautiful colors
and patterns of koi.
from Raydell Bobst's Garden >
hobbyist related a few stories that prove we learn from our mistakes.
Once, above the pond, he hung beautiful flower baskets and then
fertilized them. Runoff from these baskets fell into the pond
and killed his beloved fish collection. This experience warns
that we must keep our koi ponds free from any runoff that contains
toxic-to-koi fertilizers (and other toxins, too). On the other
hand, if desirable aquatic plants grow in the koi pond, we must
be careful that koi treatments do not endanger the plants. Some
chemicals that benefit fish can harm plants.
Another lesson Raydell learned is to construct the pond for
ease of maintenance. He once spent four days shoveling gravel
in and out of a filter in order to clean it. Nowadays, many hobbyists
use an air blower to help with waste removal. In addition, many
other filtration materials weigh much less (per given volume)
It is an inspiration to find a person so enthusiastic about
his hobby. The koi and waterlilies, along with the wonderful
sound of the waterfall, and the fragrance of many beautiful flowers
all contribute to Raydell's wholehearted enjoyment and appreciation
of water gardening.