top of page

Expansion: A Fish Story

August 9, 2021

For about 10 years or so, I’ve had a koi pond in my yard. It is smallish, about the size of a hot tub, but not as deep. It was created by my son Ben when he first arrived on Maui and needed a project. It’s been the source of much joy.

A couple of years ago, we began to realize that the koi (there are 7) were becoming too big for the pond. Each koi are about 2 feet long and a couple of them weigh in at around 15 pounds. These are large fish. And now, because there are so many in such a small pond, all they had room to do was shift positions and kind of just float there. It wasn’t a good situation.

So for the last several weeks, Ben has been building them a new pond. This new waterworks is massive compared to the hot tub-sized one. It’s 16 by 20 feet and almost 4 feet deep in the deepest end. It’s been a work in progress for several months as we waited out the rainy season. I got an electrician to upgrade in order to manage the heavy power needs of a bigger pump. Ben researched and bought parts and a huge black liner to hold all the water.

Finally, on July 8, a man with a digger came and dug out a very large hole. Then for days and days, Ben and a couple of helpers rigged the several tanks that make up the filter system. They plumbed and piped, they stretched the liner and anchored it. They used laser levelers to make sure the water would go where we wanted and not where we didn’t.

And then today: The Big Day. Today we moved the koi. The small pond got rather muddy as Ben and our helpers Dusty and Marcus captured each koi in a fish net and placed them into a plastic bin filled with water from the new home. First Frannie, the matriarch and the biggest of them all. White with orange splotches and a kink in her tail fin, she reached the new home first. She swished out of the carrier box and into the water with ease. One by one we moved each fish into the box, took a good look at the state of their fins and scales and moved them into the new water. Finally at the end, Fred the patriarch, orange and black and slender, joined the others in the new pond.

For a little while, they stayed in their same close cluster they’d had for years, circling each other. Then little by little, they began to explore. I came outside to watch them, over and over all day long and into the evening. Their curiosity is a delight. (We’ve often called them the Labradors of the fish world.) They circled around exploring the floating hyacinths, the shallow end, the stack of rocks where the guppies hide, the fizzy air bubbler! At one point, 5 of them poked their noses out from under the floating plants to investigate the strong current near the skimmer. Like ballet dancers they eased forward and eased back, choreographed to their own inner music.

This was a big deal, moving 7 large animals from the home they’d always known to a completely new environment. So I called upon some helpers. I worked closely with Nature during the entire process, beginning early in the morning to set the stage for success. Using flower essences and processes developed by Perelandra Nature Research Center ( I called upon the Overlighting Intelligence of the Fish, Water and Soil. Using also the Essence of Perelandra, we worked as a team to balance and stabilize at each step of the way, Nature lent her guidance and assistance to us as human helpers and to the fish as they swam into their new world.

What must they be feeling in their fish-hearts and thinking in their fish-minds as they explore this new reality? There they were, crowded and too close in a too small world. They seemed to accept this as “the way things are” because that was the truth of things. They had no way to know a new world was being prepared for them. Just steps away from their old, cramped reality, we were working steadily to prepare for their expansion. Like avatars with magical powers, yet just ordinary humans pooling their skills with care and love for the fish.

As evening falls I sit with my back against a giant Royal Palm, watching the sunset sky and feeling so much peace and joy. A soft rainbow appears. I recognize it as a gift from Nature after our successful collaboration. The sky turns pink. The mist glistens.

The transfer bin at the old pond, Ben on the left with Marcus and Dusty

Free to Swim! Marcus and Dusty release the koi!

They cluster at first and later swim away to explore

Soft rainbow sky


bottom of page