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Thread: What could possibly cause the lower 1/3 of a fish to die and slough off?

  1. #1
    Tosai ..5..'s Avatar
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    What could possibly cause the lower 1/3 of a fish to die and slough off?

    The fish was euthanized this morning no hope for recovery.

    It is sort of a horror story and I would like to know what happened so it doesn't happen to the rest of the pond 3 koi and about 20 or so goldfish.

    Five days ago I noticed the koi (14" or so) had developed a white scale free band about 3 cm in width just overlapping the dorsal fin the remaining scales on the tail were lifted similar I think to what dropsy would look like. The fish was swimming like her back was injured I thought perhaps she had been injured by getting caught in rocks or something that constricted or abraded the scales off but that didn't seem right because it was a narrow part of the fish and fish don't back into places to get caught. (Pump inlet has a guard)

    The next day I didn’t notice much change fish was still eating with the rest good appetite, and swimming but aloof from the others staying on the bottom of the pond the pond is 3’-3’9” deep and about 9” the band looked tight and there were two small .5cm fluid filled blisters(it looked like the clear eye sacks on a bubble eye goldfish) on each upper side of her tail where the scales end and the fin begins the white band was paler and there was a covering which I thought was mucus or scab and the scales on the upper body part seemed to shift more when the fish swam the tail had movement but it seemed that it was just following the motion of the body I suspected a broken back my husband (The Tim) suspected the dog may have grabbed the fish while drinking and scraped off the scales I didn’t and still don’t think that was it but I don’t have any better ideas right now.

    Day three afternoon the white band was worse and I saw a goldfish eating the what I thought was scab so I netted the sick koi and put her into a temporary pond (a 50 gallon pre molded pond with foam under the lip for buoyancy and a hose from the filter for circulation the extra water just flows over the lip) I then noticed that just after the healthy scales she had deep cracks in her flesh downward from the spine to the belly on each side with the white band part looking rough and chewed on I had hoped she would heal without the other fish picking on her she still swam and ate (Sinking fish food, koi would not come up to eat )close up I noticed that it looked like the skin and vent fins had pulled away from the white tail like it was dead. Upon reflection it was.


    Day four the cracks were deeper and it looked like but there were still fibers from the main body to the tail section so I had assumed this was a healing process it wasn’t she ate well in the morning but in the afternoon not so much


    This morning I went to look and could see that the only thing holding the still swimming fish together was the spine the tail was dead and had obviously been for five days. The fish was netted and euthanized with clove oil on the spot

    I did take a single photograph(will try to post after work) after putting her to sleep and the sloughed off part had fallen back, it had been dead flesh for days and I for the life of me cannot figure out what could have happened. The only thing in my internet searching that I could find which causes the same sloughing off of flesh from bone while leaving the rest of the body functioning is an illegal Russian street drug called Krocodil I know everyone says “Not my fish! My fish would never use drugs.” but in this case I truly don’t think it is at all likely.


    The rest of the fish show no sign of the same thing and would like any help or speculation on what happened to the fish so I can prevent it from happening to the rest of the school

  2. #2
    Tategoi bobbysuzanna's Avatar
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    This sounds like an injury with resultant superimposed bacterial infection. I would carefully look for predators-- heron, otters, raccoons, etc. It certainly could be an injury from a rock that got infected, your picture might be helpful. I have seen herons that can't pick a fish up cause dorsal injuries by poking them with their sharp beaks. Sorry for your loss.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Koi can survive quite a long time with serious bacterial rot if it does not effect the internal organs. A month or two ago I related my observation of a koi which had its entire abdominal region rotted away, with the internal organs hanging on the underside, looking as if an egg mass was protruding when viewed from above. When bowled, the true situation was obvious.

    I suspect your koi had an injury which became infected and was not observed until the rot had so progressed that there was nothing to be done. You did the right thing by euthanizing.

  4. #4
    Sansai jimfish98's Avatar
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    If you see the injuries on another fish, head to this board fast with a photo and I am sure diagnostic help will be here.

    If it is bacterial or fungal, you may want to treat the whole pond to avoid any other infections. I think most people use Metafix and Pimafix as they show good results.

  5. #5
    Tosai ..5..'s Avatar
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    Here is the picture, he didn't look this bad in the pond, but a big chunk came loose when we netted him.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What could possibly cause the lower 1/3 of a fish to die and slough off?-img_1038.jpg  

  6. #6
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    I think if you look past the immediate calamity, and look to the health of the pond and water you would find the culprit. what good would 50 goldfish do? the same number of them as koi could make just as nice a mix. My gut reaction
    is that your pond/system is anarobic. A good cleaning and an empahsis on air to create an aroebic environment would help your situation along with the lowered bio load from less fish.

    If you have a club in your area please consider getting a KHA advisor over for a look see. By seeing other's ponds as a new member it may help you to realize what needs to be done to avoid this in the future.
    Dick Benbow

  7. #7
    Jumbo jnorth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ..5.. View Post
    The only thing in my internet searching that I could find which causes the same sloughing off of flesh from bone while leaving the rest of the body functioning is an illegal Russian street drug called Krocodil I know everyone says “Not my fish! My fish would never use drugs.” but in this case I truly don’t think it is at all likely.
    Now thats funny .

    On a more serious note I'm sorry your koi died and I would have to agree with Dick. Either go all koi or all goldfish (personally I'd pick koi since goldfish are known drug abusers and could be a bad example to your koi ).
    Koi-Unit
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  8. #8
    Tosai ..5..'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnorth View Post
    Now thats funny .

    On a more serious note I'm sorry your koi died and I would have to agree with Dick. Either go all koi or all goldfish (personally I'd pick koi since goldfish are known drug abusers and could be a bad example to your koi ).
    I don't think it was drugs. She/he attended a good school.
    The common goldfish do tend to be low class as a rule (they act well...common) but the shubunkins and the sarasas are teaching them manners.

    The koi are the rowdies the biggest and baddest, power corrupts you know. Sometimes when they look like they are getting too full of themselves I take them out and beat them and put them back. They know they deserve it, otherwise they would leave.

    ***
    Back to the health issue.

    I was going to do a 50% water change and thorough* vacuum this weekend and thin out the school.

    I'm in the Downey calif area any suggestions for homes (that won't get me arrested by fish and game) for 10-18 friendly common goldfish of various sizes? I think they would do fine for an outdoor/indoor waterscape for an office complex. I think they are preditor wise but if not they were only .12 cents.

    This particular fish(See picture) injured herself last fall during transport from one pond to another. in the winter I treated the pond with pimafix (not my favorite treatment it hits the little fish hard and you lose them if they are under 3"and the 6" fish if they are not the stongest) for a fungus is it possible that this fish was fighting an infection for almost a year?

    *Scuba/snorkle hand vac and brush thorough.

  9. #9
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    Your sense of humor is greatly appreciated

    Now, on to the serious side of the question

    The basic information you provide leaves the impression that Dick's suspicions are likely correct. An anaerobic environment that is encouraged by a pond with rocks, etc... included in the design. Never a good idea, no matter how "pretty" it may look in the sales brochures

    While Melafix and Pimafix are popular remedies, they are of little value for treating any type of serious issue. The fact that they provide a mild topical "soothing" to a wound doesn't mean they have any healing properties, and all of the serious testing I've ever seen pretty thoroughly debunks the "healing hype" used to promote them. Serious problems demand serious solutions, and fixing the source of the problem (the water quality) is the only fix for the future.
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  10. #10
    Tategoi
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    I agree with Larry that the ''fixes'' would be all but useless for anything other than a very minor scrape....good clean water would work as well.


    That fish looked to have had a major bacterial infection that rotted all the flesh away under the skin, whether this was due to water condition or physical damage or a combination I don't know. The odds are that the injury last fall was the start of it.

    I've seen something minor like this in another fish a few years ago, that when the scales and skin were disturbed on a minoe bacterial infection, it left a gapping hole, not a de-boned fish. I've also seen it in lizards quite a few times

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