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Thread: OMG! My doitsu sanke is bent! What do I do?

  1. #1
    Sansai KoiKisses's Avatar
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    OMG! My doitsu sanke is bent! What do I do?

    Last evening when I went out to feed the koi, I noticed that "Jack", a 15" doitsu sanke, was "bent" as he swam to eat. At first I thought it was the water playing a trick on my eyes, but that's not the case. As he swims to his left, his body bends into an "L" shape and his movements are not fluid and smooth.

    He ate this morning, but he still "hooks" when turning to his left. If he swims straight forward with any speed, it appears he struggles.

    From what I've learned, these symptons are usually the result of and electrical leak; be it from an electrical issue within the pond, or the result of severe thunderstorms. It is my understanding that there is nothing that can be done to help the koi once stricken.

    I believe the severe thunderstorms we've had all week are to blame. He is the only koi showing this sympton.

    Has anyone ever experienced this with one of their koi? What did you do? Is the koi suffering? Will he be able to eat enough to maintian his health?

    Any comments as to what I should do would be greatly appreciated.
    "...no matter how you look at it, Mother Nature still makes the rules."

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    From what I've read of others' experiences, there is a chance of recovery over a period of several months if the cause was electrical. Some do not recover. Many seem to recover somewhat, but never swim as well as before. Be sure to check for stray voltage.

    As long as it is eating, it will likely live. The awkward movements may disturb your other fish.

  3. #3
    Sansai KoiKisses's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    From what I've read of others' experiences, there is a chance of recovery over a period of several months if the cause was electrical. Some do not recover. Many seem to recover somewhat, but never swim as well as before. Be sure to check for stray voltage. As long as it is eating, it will likely live. The awkward movements may disturb your other fish.

    How can I check for stray voltage?

    The other koi do not seem disturbed by Jack's condition. On the contrary, they are being very attentive and gentle around him. They seem to know he's not himself.

  4. #4
    Tosai angelkoimd's Avatar
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    wow I never heard of this? How often can this happen? Anything we can do to prevent this? This week in MD has been so so horible wth the severe thunderstorms...the lighting and power outages have been aweful.
    I just been running out to make sure everything turns back on properly...

  5. #5
    Daihonmei
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    Hi, sorry to hear you have a bent koi -- it's always a shock to discover. Unfortunately there is no chance of recovery although your fish will learn to compensate. The number one cause of bent fish used to be insecticide poisoning followed by 'leaky' inpond motors. Today those causes aren't seen too often in state of the art ponds. But still common in water gardens where motors are still routinely placed in the water among the fish. One sure sign of that is oil ( actual leakage of the coolant oil) on the pond surface or tiny 'pins and needles' on your arm when you are working in the pond.
    Electrical storms are the next and now most common cause with barometric pressure playing a role.
    And sometimes koi were always bent but time and expansion of boady mass makes the condition worse or more noticeable.
    And of course there are a percentage of 'bent fish' that are bent due to disease of the swim bladder or tumors.
    One of the keys to isolating a diagnosis is to identify if the fish is paralyzed or not. If the tail can move but there is a buldge in the side it more likely an organic problem. If the back half of the fish or one side of the fish is frozen then usually that is a pretty good indication of physical damage cause by electric or insecticides ( nerve killing materials that we sometimes use on parasites). - JR

  6. #6
    Oyagoi
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    Another common cause of bent backs in koi is scoliosis. Usually the result of inferior or old feed. It is not as common since the introduction of "Sta-C" by Rangen about fifteen years ago. Now that ingredient is in just about every koi food (especially the ones coming from Japan). But some less expensive types, as well as some low end catfish diets, do not have it.

    I have seen improvement in bent backs with the feeding of high quality diets and the addition of fresh citrus to the diet.

    Long ago (prior to Japanese breeders visiting Texas) bent backs in koi were fairly common from the use of insecticides in fry rearing ponds to control fish eating insects. Nowadays most Japanese breeders use kerosene (or light diesel oil) for that purpose.

    Constant exposure to stray voltage might be a cause, as possibly a lightening strike, however, I have zapped many a koi with 600 pulsed DC volts at 15 amps with no bent backs (electrofishing). I have, however, killed many a large blue cat (80 pounds plus) electrofishing by breaking thier spines.

    Worth a try to feed some oranges or grapefruits and see what happens.

    If bent beyond help, and it causes the fish to not function well as a fish, I will euthanize such fish.

    Brett
    Brett

  7. #7
    Sansai KoiKisses's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    Hi, sorry to hear you have a bent koi -- it's always a shock to discover. Unfortunately there is no chance of recovery although your fish will learn to compensate. The number one cause of bent fish used to be insecticide poisoning followed by 'leaky' inpond motors. Today those causes aren't seen too often in state of the art ponds. But still common in water gardens where motors are still routinely placed in the water among the fish. One sure sign of that is oil ( actual leakage of the coolant oil) on the pond surface or tiny 'pins and needles' on your arm when you are working in the pond.
    Electrical storms are the next and now most common cause with barometric pressure playing a role.
    And sometimes koi were always bent but time and expansion of boady mass makes the condition worse or more noticeable.
    And of course there are a percentage of 'bent fish' that are bent due to disease of the swim bladder or tumors.
    One of the keys to isolating a diagnosis is to identify if the fish is paralyzed or not. If the tail can move but there is a buldge in the side it more likely an organic problem. If the back half of the fish or one side of the fish is frozen then usually that is a pretty good indication of physical damage cause by electric or insecticides ( nerve killing materials that we sometimes use on parasites). - JR

    Thanks JR for your time and the value of the information you provided.

    I can easily rule out pesticides; I never use them anywhere in or around my pond or garden. I let Mother Nature rule in that respect.

    No oil films on the water surface; and as often as my hands are in the water , if I felt "pins and needles" I would freak --- no, I haven't felt any "pins and needles".

    There doesn't seem to be any paralysis in the tail area. His swimming ability still seems strong, even though awkward. His right side is FROZEN. When he's not swimming, his "bentness" is not really noticeable. (Not like pictures I've seen where there is an obvious spinal deformity). But when he wants to swim to the left, his body "hooks" into an L shape, starting mid-dorsal area.

    I'll keep an eye on him and see what happens.

    Thanks again JR.

    Rita

  8. #8
    Sansai KoiKisses's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishbreeder View Post
    Another common cause of bent backs in koi is scoliosis. Usually the result of inferior or old feed. It is not as common since the introduction of "Sta-C" by Rangen about fifteen years ago. Now that ingredient is in just about every koi food (especially the ones coming from Japan). But some less expensive types, as well as some low end catfish diets, do not have it.

    I have seen improvement in bent backs with the feeding of high quality diets and the addition of fresh citrus to the diet.

    Long ago (prior to Japanese breeders visiting Texas) bent backs in koi were fairly common from the use of insecticides in fry rearing ponds to control fish eating insects. Nowadays most Japanese breeders use kerosene (or light diesel oil) for that purpose.

    Constant exposure to stray voltage might be a cause, as possibly a lightening strike, however, I have zapped many a koi with 600 pulsed DC volts at 15 amps with no bent backs (electrofishing). I have, however, killed many a large blue cat (80 pounds plus) electrofishing by breaking thier spines.

    Worth a try to feed some oranges or grapefruits and see what happens.

    If bent beyond help, and it causes the fish to not function well as a fish, I will euthanize such fish.

    Brett
    Scoliosis caused by inferior or old food. Interesting......thanks.

    I feed only Hikari and this is replaced every couple of months when I'm out. So I would have to rule this one out.

    I may have to try oranges or grapefruits again and see what happens.

    As I stated to JR, his body is not "bent" when he is not swimming. Quite puzzling it is.

    I'll keep an eye on him and see what happens.

    Thanks Brett,

    Rita

  9. #9
    Tategoi lypope's Avatar
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    I have no electrical devices in my pond, as well as gfi outlets for the pond equipment. We had a severe electrical storm and took a direct lightning hit here a few years ago that caused a tremendous amount of damage - fried the phone and cable lines both at the pole and the house, took out our alarm system and melted all the wires, took out our irrigation controls, and some other stuff. Three koi were affected as evidently the power surge ran through the buried cable line about 10 feet from the pond and stray voltage must have passed through the ground and hit the side of the pond. My guess is that those three koi were the only ones close to that side of the pond at the exact time of the strike. All three have improved greatly; although they still swim awkwardly when feeding they manage to get their fair share of food. Any koi hobbiest that would visit my pond would immediately see the problem, but the average visitor wouldn't see anything different about them.
    Lynda

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
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    Hi Lynda! Well that may very well be the same form of bend that Rita is seeing ( especially since there are chronic thunder storms in the area. The only reason I hesitate at all with the likely diagnosis is because there is only one fish fish showing this and usually with lightening hitting nearby a few of a collection will shows the effect.
    I'd not rule out swim bladder problems? JR

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