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Thread: Sick Koi

  1. #1
    Fry
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Sick Koi

    I am a novice to Koi care. I have 2 Koi in a 3,000 gallon pond. One of them has been lying under a water plant, near the surface and move around infrequently. I do not know how to diagnose the problem nor how to cure it. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    john Mellon

  2. #2
    MCA
    MCA is offline
    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    I would ask a Koi Health Advisor associated with my local club (or nearby club) to come over and help diagnose the problem. If a KHA is not available, get the most experienced koi keeper you can find. It could be any combination of water conditions, filtration, aeration, parasites, or an internal problem with one of the koi. With the results of water quality test and examination of the fish (including scrape and scope using a microscope) you can start to diagnose the problem(s) and then, and only then, can you arrive a treatment options.

    Long term...get a good water quality test kit and metric the water at least once a week. Also get a microscope and get someone to show you how to scrape and scope a fish for parasites. There are several good koi health books available.
    Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    John, welcome to our board. wish your appearance could have been under more enjoyable circumstances.

    Just as a Dr always has you come in to be diagnosed, it's difficult to diagnose a problem over a chat line.

    MCA's suggestions are good ones. It would be best to have someone educated
    that could make a house call.

    I think you'll learn that we all started our learning curve with problems that taught us lessons about health for our wet pets.

    Knowing the exact number of gallons in your pond is a must to be able to administer medication in the right doseage.
    Dick Benbow

  4. #4
    Fry
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Sick Koi

    Quote Originally Posted by jmellon View Post
    I am a novice to Koi care. I have 2 Koi in a 3,000 gallon pond. One of them has been lying under a water plant, near the surface and move around infrequently. I do not know how to diagnose the problem nor how to cure it. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    john Mellon
    Thank you all for thew suggestions. I found a Koi club in Knoxville, TN. I did have the water checked and it was OK. They suggested salt. I contacted a local fish hatchery and they suggested that I make a container of water, with a high concentration of salt, catch the Koi and put it in the container for about 30 seconds, then return it to the pond. They said that this should kill and bacteria, etc. This sound very drastic to me. Is this something that you all would do in my situation?

    Thanks,

    John

  5. #5
    Sansai
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    pacific northwest, USA
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    Hi John:

    First off, there is no such thing as "okay" water on this forum. To figure out water quality, we need to know the exact levels of these things:

    Ammonia level
    Nitrite level
    Nitrate level
    pH
    temperature
    KH (carbonate hardness, alkalinity)

    Buy these as liquid (drops in a bottle) pond test kits. Test strips are less reliable. You may have to buy the KH kit as a separate component (KH/GH). Don't bother with the GH part.

    You should test and report these numbers for both the SOURCE water, and the POND water.

    Is there chlorine or chloramines in the source water? If you don't know, your water district should be able to tell you. If you do have either (most do) you will need to have to treat the new water you add to the pond.

    How often do you change the water? What percentage of the water gets changed? When was the last water change?

    What type of filtration system is this pond relying on? Does the pump run constantly, or does it get turned off (a terrible idea, but it happens...)? Is there any air added to the pond (airstones), or is there a waterfall? Can you post a picture of your pond system?

    The salt treatment proposed by the fish farm is a bad idea. You need to know what is ailing the fish before you treat them. For some ailments, a salt bath is a decent idea, but it will cause stress and weaken the fishes immune resistance. This could kill it.

    You really need to find someone to help you "scrape and scope" the fish. Most ailments that are not directly associated with low quality water are caused by parasites. Most parasites will no longer respond to salt treatments, but there are many other treatment options that will work. Oftentimes, a parasitic attack is followed by a bacterial infection, so you end up dealing with both.

    Let me summarize:

    #1 call the water department and find if chlorine or chloramine is in the source water
    #2 buy liquid drop test kits to test for the above parameters in both the pond and source water
    #3 see if someone can help you scrape and scope your fish and determine if they have parasites

    If you can't get #3 accomplished, report back here with your numbers and maybe we can help come up with a more targeted plan.

    Good luck!

    -t

  6. #6
    Fry
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by webted View Post
    Hi John:

    First off, there is no such thing as "okay" water on this forum. To figure out water quality, we need to know the exact levels of these things:

    Ammonia level
    Nitrite level
    Nitrate level
    pH
    temperature
    KH (carbonate hardness, alkalinity)

    Buy these as liquid (drops in a bottle) pond test kits. Test strips are less reliable. You may have to buy the KH kit as a separate component (KH/GH). Don't bother with the GH part.

    You should test and report these numbers for both the SOURCE water, and the POND water.

    Is there chlorine or chloramines in the source water? If you don't know, your water district should be able to tell you. If you do have either (most do) you will need to have to treat the new water you add to the pond.

    How often do you change the water? What percentage of the water gets changed? When was the last water change?

    What type of filtration system is this pond relying on? Does the pump run constantly, or does it get turned off (a terrible idea, but it happens...)? Is there any air added to the pond (airstones), or is there a waterfall? Can you post a picture of your pond system?

    The salt treatment proposed by the fish farm is a bad idea. You need to know what is ailing the fish before you treat them. For some ailments, a salt bath is a decent idea, but it will cause stress and weaken the fishes immune resistance. This could kill it.

    You really need to find someone to help you "scrape and scope" the fish. Most ailments that are not directly associated with low quality water are caused by parasites. Most parasites will no longer respond to salt treatments, but there are many other treatment options that will work. Oftentimes, a parasitic attack is followed by a bacterial infection, so you end up dealing with both.

    Let me summarize:

    #1 call the water department and find if chlorine or chloramine is in the source water
    #2 buy liquid drop test kits to test for the above parameters in both the pond and source water
    #3 see if someone can help you scrape and scope your fish and determine if they have parasites

    If you can't get #3 accomplished, report back here with your numbers and maybe we can help come up with a more targeted plan.

    Good luck!

    -t

    Thanks. When I said the water tested OK, I generalized. I took a water sample to the Aquarium in Knoxville, TN. They ran the liquid drop test and found the following:

    Ammonia level - 0
    Nitrite level - 0
    Nitrate level -not indicated
    pH - 8.4 (high) I added an Acid buffer to slightly lower the PH and will continue to to so
    temperature 68
    KH (carbonate hardness, alkalinity) - 3.4
    Chlorine - 0 ( I use well water for the pond)

    The pond has 2 waterfalls that run continuously. I have an Ultima II 4000 Filter. The water is partially changed/replaced every day. Probably about 10%. The second Koi in the pond is doing fine. These fish were given to me a couple of years ago. I do not know how old they are, but the are big. Is there an expected age before a fish dies?

    I have offered to pay someone from the Koi Club in Knoxville (about 80 miles from where I live) to scrape the fish, but have no one interested. Any thoughts/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    John

  7. #7
    Sansai
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    158
    So your water test ok (but nitrate is relevant) and your filter is probably adequate. YOu don't say how often the pump turns over the water. Oxygen is probably ok with two waterfalls.
    So in summary you need to scrape and scope as it is probably not a water issue (although your pH is pretty horrible).

  8. #8
    Sansai
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    pacific northwest, USA
    Posts
    177
    Hi John:

    Yes, this makes for a much different animal. Okay, your water quality does sound just fine, and if you're actually changing out about 300 gallons per day, then there isn't much reason to think it is a toxin buildup. I am a little confused by the KH number. Usually folks either refer to the ppm count, or they refer to the number of drops (which correlates to "german degrees hardness", or "dH"). For example, if you used three drops of reagent, then 3 degrees of hardness or 54ppm (17.8ppm per dH). If your number is 3.4ppm, then this is extremely low, and your water has no real buffering capacity. If it is 3.4dH, then you're at 60ppm, which is still quite low. If you have a lot of plants in your pond this could be the problem. The short version is, at low buffering levels, your pH can swing quite dramatically from day to night. This can put a lot of stress on the fish and kill them outright, or it can lower their immunity, etc...

    You should read up on KH and buffering in koi ponds. There are a lot of opinions out there, but generally speaking, most folks running bead filters target KH levels >100ppm and some desire more like >150pppm. Baking soda is often used as a short term fix, a better solution is something like oyster shells or marble chips (basically, a cheap source of coarse calcium carbonate) in some area that sees a lot of flow.

    I would avoid the acid buffer, that's usually a pretty drastic measure, and it could definitely cause stress on the fish.

    In my own simplistic way, I usually think of three things when fish are unhappy: water, parasites and bacteria.

    The water sounds good, so that leaves parasites and bacteria. That's not to say these are the only problems, but >99% of the time, it's one of these.

    More later, I've got to run...

    -t

  9. #9
    Fry
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    7

    Sick

    Thanks. I am trying to find someone who can help in checking the fish itself.

    John

  10. #10
    Fry
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    7

    Sick Koi

    I have treated the pond with salt as suggested by the Aquarium in Knoxville, TN. The Koi has not improved. If I touch the Koi, it swims with it's mouth out of the water near/on the surface like it needs air. I can not get any real help from the East Tennessee Koi Club in Knoxville. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    In response to an earlier question, the pond has two pumps that circulate about 6,000 gallons an hour. The pond is about 1,500 - 2,000 gallons.

    John Mellon

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