Latest Updates



Click for seminar details


KOI logo (135)
Who are we?




Nishikigoi seminar02       (Koi Seminars)


Koi keeping isn’t complicated

nor is it a rich
man’s hobby


Morphman teacher
I am putting on a series of not-for-profit complete one day educational seminars.  Each is based on four separate PowerPoint presentations.  My time is given free of charge and the cost covers only the cost of hiring the venue plus lunch and refreshments.

The purpose of the day is to provide a comprehensive educational package covering all aspects of koi keeping that a hobbyist should understand. The emphasis is on explaining that the koi keeping hobby need not be too complicated to understand nor is it necessary to buy very expensive filtration equipment, much of what is required can easily and inexpensively be built by anyone reasonably competent at DIY.

Each presentation lasts around one hour and successive presentations build on what has been learned in the previous ones.  Overall they are designed to explain everything from the basic principles of pond and filtration equipment design, (including such additional equipment such as UVs and different types of heaters etc.), to an understanding of water quality and how these affect koi in terms of growth potential, skin development, colour, and general health.

See below for planned events, booking information or enquiries about future events

The final presentation explains, with the aid of simple diagrams, how koi function internally including respiration, osmoregulation and their two immune systems. It explains how these, and consequently their general health, are affected by their environment and goes on to cover common diseases and treatments.

Presentations assume no great degree of prior knowledge and will simplify what can often seem complicated so that everyone can understand. That said, if questions indicate that more detailed information is needed, I can go into any topic in any level of detail to suit the level of understanding of attendees on the day.

Presentation 1: Elements of good pond and filtration equipment design
Build a pond not a nuclear bomb shelter
Comparing my experiences from over thirty years in the swimming pool industry with the pond constructions I often see, it’s clear that many ponds are massively over engineered. What is necessary and what is a waste of time and materials when it comes to pond construction and the way equipment is selected and plumbed?

Morphman right or wrongWhat are good or poor flow patterns and how might they be improved?
Understand flow patterns and circulation in koi ponds. What are good flow patterns and what are bad? A discussion of how water actually flows in your pond, in the pipe work and in equipment.  You probably will be surprised to learn that many common practices do not give ideal flows within the pond nor do they achieve the expected turnover rate. A little understanding plus a few simple and inexpensive modifications can greatly improve the situation.

Explanation of how each piece of filtration equipment works
Simplified descriptions of how commonly used pieces of equipment work including pumps, all types of filters, heat pumps and the other various types of heaters, UVs - anything. If you understand the basics of how they work, you can get the best performance they are designed to give.  Do flow rates through biofilters and other equipment matter? Plus, is it really possible to have a top quality koi pond filtered by just a few baskets of cat litter? It is if you know the secret of how anoxic filtration works!

Q & A and discussion of all points covered in the first presentation plus any related subjects followed by a short break.


Presentation 2: How the correct choice of equipment affects water quality
Understanding water and water parameters
“We don’t keep fish, we keep water” is arguably the most important phrase that a koi keeper should understand; what does it mean? This part of the presentation will take you through a simplified explanation of the parameters we need to monitor in a well managed koi pond and how to either choose equipment that will achieve those objectives or how simple modifications to existing equipment might improve its performance.

Everyone can understand bugs and the nitrogen cycle
Morphman whiteboard1
Whether you prefer to think of what goes on in a biofilter as “something to do with bugs” or whether you want to go deeper and understand the nitrogen cycle or even deeper into the dimorphic metabolism of facultative anaerobes, this discussion will explain biological filtration with easy to understand diagrams that will leave no-one behind.

Is there an optimum filter system?
Following on from the explanation of bugs and how we can use them to remove ammonia and other pollution from koi ponds, this part of the presentation will describe how different types of biological filters work.  Do the same bugs live on different types of media?  Why do some filters create nitrate and others remove it? I will begin this subject by approaching these points in very basic detail and then go as deeply into it as required but I promise that the greater detail some may want will not go over anyone else’s head.

Q & A and discussion of all points covered in the second presentation plus any related subject.


Break for buffet lunch


Morphman questionsPresentation 3: Water quality and water testing explained
Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate indicate the present and predict the future.
Regular monitoring of these three parameters is always advised but how should the results be interpreted and how can readings taken today be used to predict and avoid a problem next week?

pH - the most important parameter?
The importance of pH cannot be over estimated. It not only dramatically affects the toxicity of ammonia but other parameters too. Why is that?

KH - more important than pH?
I have always referred to pH and KH as being two halves of the same parameter. Why is that? How does KH affect and control pH?  The importance of achieving the correct level of buffering and what this means to those koi keepers in soft water areas or users of Reverse Osmosis filters.

A review of other parameters and their impacts on koi health
There are many different water parameters that can be measured in a koi pond.  This section will explain which are important to koi health, which parameters give valuable information and those that just give additional information for the curious. Also can you believe your eyes when it comes to testing water?  Of course you can’t and this (guaranteed not faked) optical illusion/demonstration will not only show why but will give a greater understanding of how test kits can appear to give false results and how to ensure that they don’t fool you.

Q & A and discussion of water parameters and testing followed by a short break


Presentation 4: Koi physiology, koi health, koi diseases and treatments
A simplified overview of koi physiology
Morphman doctor02
What goes on inside koi; how do they “work”? This will include simple diagrams of functions such as breathing underwater and how oxygen is circulated and used throughout the body. Understanding the basics of koi physiology will go a long way towards understanding how the koi environment affects koi health and development.

Keeping koi healthy
Drawing together what has been learned from the discussion of water parameters in the previous presentation and this presentation’s overview of koi physiology. What is it that causes koi to be coloured?  Are colours and skin quality purely dictated by genetics or do water parameters and general health play a part in their development? Why and how do water parameters affect colour pigments? We often refer to “stress” but what does stress actually mean in relation to koi health and development? Why is it that stress can be fatal?

Koi parasites, diseases and KHV
How to identify some of the common parasites and ailments that affect koi including how to avoid becoming ill or being killed by your koi pond, (seriously). This is not just an overview of koi diseases but also of zoonoses (aquatic diseases that can affect humans).  Also covered will be an understanding of KHV that demystifies the facts and the misunderstandings of the three Herpesviruses CyHV-1, CyHV-2 and CyHV-3 plus the most reliable of quarantine procedures so far developed that will betray the existence of common diseases including latent KHV.

A first approach to koi diagnosis and treatments
If your child was ill would you go to the pharmacy and choose a treatment that seemed to best fit the symptoms then, if that didn’t effect a cure, would you go back to the pharmacy, choose another product and double the dose? Of course not but that is how some koi keepers treat koi that are looking unwell; they choose a treatment from a koi dealer’s shelves and if it doesn’t cure the problem they simply keep trying different medications. This section will detail the correct approach to diagnosis and treatment.

Morphman forumOpen forum Q & A - questions on the fourth presentation or any subject covered during the day plus general questions.

There is no time limit for the open forum. Subject to time constraints on the venue, I will stay to answer questions for as long as there is anyone left to ask them.



Additional information

The contents of each presentation are not fixed.   They are interactive and I have built flexibility into each of them.  Whenever I give talks, and especially in these seminars, I encourage questions as I go along and take my cues as to the level of detail required from the way the questions are asked.

As I am answering any particular point, if there are further questions, I can either include, or step over, additional material so as to add more and more detail until that line of questioning stops and then I know I have given all the information that was required and I can move on. In this way I can vary the actual contents or level of detail on the day to suit the level of understanding of the attendees.

One feature that has given good feedback so far are the simple and inexpensive DIY projects that I have included at appropriate points in the presentations. These include designs for two types of protein skimmers, various airlift designs, nitrate reducing trickle towers, some inexpensive and novel equivalents of Bakki Showers, various types of solar heaters plus anoxic filters.

Seminars at the Kent Science Centre; Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 8GU
This purpose-built science centre has excellent science facilities.  In addition to fully equipped lecture rooms there is a well equipped wet lab. This wet lab and its attached microscopy lab, with sufficient top quality microscopes for one each for all attendees, is ideal for hands-on demonstrations. With all these facilities the centre is an ideal venue for seminars with 15 to 20 attendees at a time.

I don’t seek to make a profit from these seminars and I have been able to generate a small fund from writing magazine articles.  This fund allows me to give my time for free and also cover my own expenses but there will be a £25 charge to the attendees to cover the costs of hiring the venue and the catering.  However, a point I emphasise is that, just by building any one of these DIY projects rather than buying a proprietary equivalent, attendees will save themselves well in excess of their admission cost and their travelling expenses for the day as well.

Seminars at local venues
For hobbyists who cannot travel to Kent, an alternate possibility is that a koi club or similar organisation can hire a venue for a day and supply their own catering for the morning break, buffet lunch and afternoon break. This is ideally suited for clubs that hire a hall for Sunday afternoon club meetings.  If the hall is hired for the whole day, and the normal catering people make appropriate arrangements, one possible scenario is that the club can admit non-club members at a token charge to recover the day’s costs and their own club members can attend ether FOC or at a reduced cost.  There will also be time for a raffle during the lunch break if raffles are usually held at club meetings.

This would be excellent publicity for the club at zero cost and with the possibility of signing up a few extra members.

I will assist with advertising and publicity for the day and again, I don’t seek to make a profit from these seminars. The small fund I have generated from writing magazine articles that allows me give my time for free and cover my own expenses for seminars means that the only cost to attendees will be those appropriate to the costs of the venue and catering.  Again just by building any one of the DIY projects rather than buying a proprietary equivalent, attendees will save themselves far more than the admission cost and their travelling expenses for the day as well.

On-line seminars (webinars)
This is the next logical development in seminars.  The format of four separate but linked presentations with breaks in between will remain the same but attendees can simply Skype, from home, into the seminars for the whole day or for any of the presentations.

Enquire below for information on how to attend via Skype.

Enquiries and booking:

Click below to book your place or for enquiries about future events.

Sorry. Your computer either does not currently support JavaScript or your anti-virus software has turned it off. Without it mail cannot be sent to my usual email address.

Click here to send via my alternate email address