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Thread: koi death dealing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    San Diego, CA

    koi death dealing

    Sorry for the morbid title-
    My girlfriend and I picked up 4 small koi (fry?) at the San Diego Koi Show a couple weekends ago, our first. Three $5 ones 3-4" long and one $25 one 6-7" long.
    Our backyard pond is very close to completion, in the meantime we put them in a ~70 gallon temporary/quarantine tub with an aquarium filter providing circulation and a couple big air stones for oxygen.
    A couple days ago we noticed one of the small guys swelling up a bit. We pulled him out and put together a separate tank, about 20 gallons with its own filter and air stone. We put in some Melafix and Pemafix.
    All water in both tanks was pre-treated with some pond start stuff in the right proportions. Ph around 7.5, nitrate near 0, ammonia around .5, but we'd put some stuff in that's supposed to neutralize it. Anything we maybe should have done differently with our treatment?

    The other three are thriving in their tank so I'm not so sure it's bad conditions that got this guy. I guess like plants, some of 'em just don't make it regardless of conditions. Psychologically this is a tough gear change for us, as cat people we're used to relatively long and stable lives in our animals, with treatable conditions.

    So we've got a little 3.5" koi in full-on dropsy listlessly fluttering around in his "sick bay" tank. Pretty sure he's blind now and beyond the point of possible return. What's the most humane thing to do? I've read freezing is not kosher if they're over 5cm. Is some sort of brain-killing/decapitation the only thing a non-veterinarian can do at home? Or just wait till he stops moving? Paging the aquatic Dr. Kevorkian...

    Thanks everyone!

  2. #2
    Meg is offline
    Oyagoi Meg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Florida Panhandle
    if the tanks were not cycled and did not have mature filters then introduction of so many at once was more than the water volume could handle and you had water quality troubles. smal daily water changes could have helped this.

    if you bought from different venders then the koi may have introduced minor health issues to each other. quarantine form different venders is suggested.

    salt to .3% may help you little failing one

    melafix may have added to the issues, it can coat the gills
    not sure what permafix does?
    the freezer works fine

    others here can give you a much more indepth explaination of things but this is a starter.
    Hang in there it wil get better as you learn. the people here will be very helpful and to the point. ask lots of questions
    thank goodness for all our pets the learning curve with cats and dogs is not so steep!

  3. #3
    Oyagoi kntry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Louisiana - KHA
    If the one with Dropsy is still alive, up the salt all at once to .3% and raise the water temp to 75-78 degrees if you can. It's going to be very hard to save a fish this small with Dropsy but this is about all you can do.

    Do small water changes everyday, about 10-15% till your filter catches up. Depending on the water temp, that could be a while since they don't kick in till about 60 degrees. It will take 4-6 weeks at that temp for them to begin working well.

    Dropsy is not contagious as it happens because the kidneys stop working and the fish cannot regulate the water in and out of its body.

    Do not use Melafix. It's not very good for the koi and doesn't really work. In any event, it won't do anything for Dropsy.
    The views expressed above are my own personal views and, as such, do not necessarily reflect the views of the AKCA or the KHA program.

  4. #4
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Orlando, Florida
    Tosai are inherently more fragile, particularly such small ones. Ones sold under 6 inches typically move in commerce as a bulk product. So, they likely experienced a good bit of rough handling and crowded conditions before arriving at the show. If imported, they had quite a stressful journey to get there. It is common for dealers in such tiny tosai to give them no more than a few weeks rest from arrival from overseas to being placed for sale. During that time, they are subjected to shotgun treatments for parasites. All of this is necessary to keep the price so low. Such little tosai need a good deal of tender loving care for a month to restore their strength. They may be energetic, but the stress reduces immunity, and as with a 5-week kitten, they are susceptible to every little thing that comes along. Domestically produced small tosai may not be exposed to so much, but still need stable, quiet conditions for at least a few weeks.

    The dropsy condition indicates an osmoregulatory system failure. This can be caused by internal organ problems, bacterial infection and other causes. The underlying cause may be more a result of handling before your purchase than after, although the temporary holding facility seems to have not had an established biofilter. Using an ammonia blocker is good, but may not provide all that is needed. The various medications added have no effect for dropsy, so they added stress for no gain. Dropsy is typically terminal. On rare occasion a course of treatment will save a koi, but it is rare with even large, strong koi.

    I would use the freezer for such a small one and focus on having clean, well-filtered water for the others. Feed no more than the filter can handle. The little things can survive hunger far better than compromised water quality. Hope the pond is done soon and your little ones give a lot of pleasure.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Snellville, Ga
    I read on many threads about using a freezer to euthanize a fish. There are much better, quicker, and less stressful ways for the fish than a slow death by freezing. There is clove oil that puts them to sleep before their death, there is a blow to the top of the head that is pretty much instantaneous or you can use a combination of the two. I know koi are cold blooded but they can not adjust to the cold as fast as a freezer will chill the water. I may be in the minority but freezing fish seems like a slow way to go about it....just my two cents worth...later..

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