Hybrid Ponds

Hybrid Pond design concept invented by Russell Watergardens

What is a Hybrid Pond™?


A Hybrid Pond™ is a design concept created by Russell Watergardens to “bridge the gap” between Water Garden Ponds and Koi Ponds. A Water Garden Pond is not the safest pond for koi, and Koi Ponds don’t have the natural look of a Water Garden Pond.

Thousands of Water Garden Ponds are constructed every year because of their unparalleled beauty in the landscape, but usually result in disastrous living conditions for the koi that the water gardener places in them.

Koi Ponds are not constructed anywhere near to the volumes of Water Garden Ponds because of their specific needs and higher cost. A Koi Pond can be considered more of a “tank” or “pool” in which to grow and raise koi. A Koi Pond really isn’t a “pond”. But, a Koi Pond is the safest type of pond for the raising of koi.

A Water Garden Pond looks like a natural pond and is not ideal for raising koi. A Koi Pond looks like a pool or tank and is ideal for raising koi. A Hybrid Pond™ is a little of both. A Hybrid Pond™ is safer for koi than a water garden pond and is more natural looking than a Koi Pond.

Hybrid Pond Koi love Hybrid Ponds

What’s in a Hybrid Pond™?

  • Perimeter marginal plant shelf no wider than 12″, the rest of the pond is the “deep area” with a minimum shallow end depth of 3 feet tapered down to a bottom drain at the deeper end.
  • Can be lined with pond liner, concrete, or polyurea.
  • One and Two-man boulders used as submerged retaining walls – foamed together for strength.
  • Smooth bare liner on all horizontal surfaces – including plant shelf and pond bottom.
  • Bottom of pond tapered towards the HydroDrain™ at least 1″ down per 12″ across.
  • Filtration system consists of a HydroDrain™, a remotely installed HydroClean™ pond skimmer, HydroSieve™ bottom drain pre-filter, and a patented backwashable Hydro Vortex™ waterfall filter.
  • Pump can be submersible but an external pumps is best.
  • Modular UV system.
  • Optional secondary magnetic pump for the UV system.
  • UV return pipe submerged on shallower end pushes water across the bottom of the pond towards the bottom drain.
  • Deepest area underneath the waterfalls.
  • An air stone placed behind the HydroDrain™ – and underneath the waterfalls for submerged oxygenation and water current towards the bottom drain while concealing the bubbles in the waterfall splash.
  • Aquatic plants planted in aquatic baskets on the marginal plant shelves.
  • Safer pond style for Koi than the water garden type ponds.
  • Less safe for children than water garden ponds, but safer than Koi ponds.
  • Easier to protect fish from predators than water garden ponds.
  • Blends into the landscape similar in appearance to a water garden pond.
  • Fully backwashable, easy to clean RWG (Russell WaterGardens) Hybrid Pond™ System allows for routine maintenance that eliminates annual draining and harsh cleaning.

  • The Hybrid Pond is a cross between a Water Garden Pond and a Koi Pond

    While Koi ponds are the best type of pond for maintaining the healthiest living conditions for Koi, a Koi pond typically isn’t as attractive as a “landscape feature” within the landscape as much as a Water Garden Pond. So Russell Watergardens and Koi created a blending of the two concepts …..the Hybrid Pond™.


    Russell’s Hybrid Pond™ has the physical appearance and beauty of a Water Garden Pond, but has the complete backwash, debris removal capabilities, and relative depths of Koi Ponds.

    All ponds built into the ground must have the earth retained to maintain the “shape” of the pond. If you dig any type of hole in the ground, the sides must be retained or the soil will eventually cave in. A water garden pond uses rock boulders “inside” the pond liner as retaining walls. Koi Ponds use concrete, concrete blocks, or timbers “outside” the pond liner as retaining walls. The Hybrid Pond™, like Water Garden Ponds, use boulders “inside” the pond liner as retaining walls to prevent the earth from “caving in”.

    A Hybrid Pond looks more natural in the landscape then an Koi Pond

    A Koi Pond uses smooth horizontal surfaces sloped toward a bottom drain to facilitate the easy removal of debris from the pond bottom. A Water Garden Pond has gravel covering the horizontal surfaces with no bottom drain and must be manually cleaned to avoid unhealthful conditions for koi.

    The Hybrid Pond™, like Koi Ponds, uses a smooth bare liner horizontal surface sloped towards a bottom drain to continually remove debris from the pond bottom. The continual removal of debris from the pond bottom helps prevent possible unhealthy conditions.


    Like the deeper depths of Koi Ponds, the Hybrid Pond™ is constructed 3′ – 5′ deep or deeper. Deep water is healthier for koi as it reduces stress, and the added water pressure increases the koi’s strength and internal organs. Deep water requires supplemental aeration to maintain dissolved oxygen levels at the bottom of the pond.

    So, like Koi Ponds, the Hybrid Pond™ uses aeration systems to blow millions of tiny air bubbles into the water to maintain high levels of dissolved oxygen in the water. Water Garden Ponds are relatively shallow at 24″ or less, and thus, don’t require the additional oxygen that Koi Ponds and Hybrid Ponds™ do.


    Hybrid Ponds™, like Koi Ponds, are relatively deep. Deep water requires submerged circulation to maintain even distribution of dissolved oxygen and to “push” debris towards the bottom drain for removal from the pond.

    In a Hybrid Pond™, submerged circulation is achieved by two methods:

  • The aeration system’s air stone is placed just above the bottom drain. As the air bubbles rise upward, the rising bubbles “pull” water upward with them. The water moves from the bottom of the pond to the surface. The rising water from the top of the Bottom Drain “pulls” water towards the rising column of air and water – this results in “pulling” water and debris towards the bottom drain
  • The water exiting the UV clarifier is plumbed to the bottom of the pond opposite the bottom drain to “push” water and debris towards the bottom drain. This makes the bottom drain more efficient.

  • A Hybrid Pond is more safe for koi than a Water Garden Pond

    The Hybrid Pond™ Design consists of a HydroClean™ pond skimmer and HydroSieve™ bottom drain pre-filter at one end of the pond, one or more Hydro Vortex™ waterfall filters with the HydroFlush™ Backwash Systems placed at the other end of the pond. A bottom drain and an aeration system are placed at the bottom of the pond underneath the waterfalls.

    The water return from the HydroUV™ ultraviolet light clarifier is positioned at the bottom of the pond underneath the pond skimmer – opposite the waterfalls and bottom drain. The precise placement of the filtration components is critical in the Hybrid Pond™ Design for the efficient removal of waste and debris from the pond for the health of the koi.


    Like Water Garden Ponds, and Koi Ponds, the Hybrid Pond™ utilizes a pond skimmer to remove floating debris. The Hybrid Pond™ also uses the air bubbles from the aeration system to aid in the efficiency of the HydroClean™ pond skimmer. Similar to a Water Garden Pond, a Hybrid Pond™ has a HydroClean™ pond skimmer pulling water out of the pond at one end of the pond, and a Hydro Vortex™ waterfall filter pushing water into the pond on the other side of the pond.

    This draws water from one side of the pond to the other – creating a surface current.

    A Hybrid Pond uses a pond skimmer and bottom drain like a Koi Pond

    The Hybrid Pond™ takes the surface circulation one step further. Since the Hybrid Pond™ has a bottom drain and the aeration system placed under the water falls at one end of the pond – when the air bubbles and rising water current reach the surface – they can only spread out in a direction towards the HydroClean™ skimmer. This “boosts” the surface current so that it draws debris into the HydroClean™ skimmer faster than a HydroClean™ skimmer and pump could do on their own.

    In a Hybrid Pond™, having the air bubbles rise underneath the waterfalls has the cosmetic effect of “hiding” the air bubbles and the bottom drain from view. With the air bubbles reaching the pond’s surface at the same area as the waterfalls, the waterfall’s “splash” hides the rising bubbles from view. Thus, making the submerged aeration system and bottom drain “invisible”, unlike the “visible” bottom drain and aeration system of a Koi Pond.

    Like a water garden pond, the Hybrid Pond™ is planted with aquatic plants that metabolize algae causing nitrates from the water. Unlike a Water Garden Pond, the aquatic plants are not planted in gravel (because there isn’t any inside a Hybrid Pond™ – only outside the pond to hide the pond liner), the aquatic plants are planted in aquatic plant baskets. The baskets allow for the plant’s roots to pull nutrients and nitrates directly out of the pond water.

    The Hybrid Pond™ has only one plant shelf, and it’s depth ranges from 6″ – 15″ to accommodate virtually all marginal water plants and lilies. The plant shelf is relatively small compared to the Hybrid Pond’s™ total size – usually only 12″ wide. This is to maximize the size of the “deep area” within the Hybrid Pond™. After the single plant shelf, the sides of the pond are designed “straight down” with smooth boulders to the bottom. The bottom is no less than 3′ down. This is to prevent predators like raccoons and herons from “walking into” the pond.

    This reduce Koi stress and allows them to escape down to the depths of the pond.

    A Hybrid Pond is no less that three feet deep

    Like a Water Garden Pond, the Hybrid Pond™ uses boulders as retaining walls within the pond. In the Hybrid Pond™, the boulders are loosely stacked to create underwater “fish-condos” for koi to hide in if they choose to. The boulders must be relatively smooth in order to avoid damage to the koi.


    Beautiful Hybrid Pond is safer for koi than a water garden and prettier than a koi pond

    A Koi Pond does not have any boulders in them, so they are much safer for the raising of Koi. The Hybrid Pond™ utilizes boulders as part of the structural, and cosmetic appearance of the pond, but the boulders could cause physical harm to a Koi.

    So care should be taken to make sure the pond is free of parasites that would cause the koi to scrape up against the boulders. (Parasites can come in on birds, frogs, snakes, and even water plants – so always have an anti parasite medication on hand. Anti parasite medications are available in the Russell Watergardens Store Fish Pharmacy)

    The Hybrid Pond™ has a specific RWG (Russell WaterGardens) filtration system consisting of specific RWG components. The components are then placed in specific locations within the pond’s design. The Hybrid Pond™ is constructed to specific depths, and has specific submerged and surface circulation. A Hybrid Pond™ never has gravel inside the pond, and always has a smooth, bare liner pond bottom sloped towards a bottom drain.


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