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Thread: Mystery Cause of Death of Large Koi

  1. #1
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Mystery Cause of Death of Large Koi

    Last summer I lost a large koi, over 85cm with good bulk. On day one, her behavior was 'off', tending to hover near the surface.... closer to the surface and more still than the usual schooling in the current behavior my koi frequently exhibit. On day two, the hovering near the surface was nearly constant, with the koi moving only when disturbed and not drawn to food. On day three, she died. There were no outward signs of a problem. No parasites detectable, no redness or discoloration anywhere on the body, and the gills appeared healthy.

    Going back over my records from the past 12 years, this was the fourth such death in my pond. All four instances have involved full-bodied (but not bloated)female koi in excess of 85cm (two at or over 95cm). All were 7 years old or older (the youngest being 7+ and the oldest being 10+ years). From outset of hovering behavior to death has been as short as 3 days to as long as 5 days. None had parasites, and none had outward signs of anything being wrong. Only the hovering behavior signaled there being some problem.

    If there had been just one instance, I'd chalk it up to one of those inexplicable things that happen... That's koi for you. Always something. Now that it has occurred on 4 occasions over a period of 12 years, I have to conclude there is a cause that I should address. I can imagine and theorize about a dozen possibilities from heart attack to some mystery amoeba to too much of a warm climate, but that does me no practical good. And, without a full post-mortem autopsy (and who would have the experience to do such a thing??... too late now, of course), no definite cause seems likely to be established.

    Nonetheless, I am posting about this to see if there are others who have experienced it. Perhaps then it would be possible to determine common factors that might be relevant.

    ....As a side note, the loss last summer motivated me to re-home all the old bedraggled dowagers that had taken up space. (Except, I still have the warped Hariwake born in my old lily pond 24 years ago. Re-building can only go so far. )

  2. #2
    Sansai
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    Last summer I lost a large koi, over 85cm with good bulk. On day one, her behavior was 'off', tending to hover near the surface.... closer to the surface and more still than the usual schooling in the current behavior my koi frequently exhibit. On day two, the hovering near the surface was nearly constant, with the koi moving only when disturbed and not drawn to food. On day three, she died. There were no outward signs of a problem. No parasites detectable, no redness or discoloration anywhere on the body, and the gills appeared healthy.

    Going back over my records from the past 12 years, this was the fourth such death in my pond. All four instances have involved full-bodied (but not bloated)female koi in excess of 85cm (two at or over 95cm). All were 7 years old or older (the youngest being 7+ and the oldest being 10+ years). From outset of hovering behavior to death has been as short as 3 days to as long as 5 days. None had parasites, and none had outward signs of anything being wrong. Only the hovering behavior signaled there being some problem.

    If there had been just one instance, I'd chalk it up to one of those inexplicable things that happen... That's koi for you. Always something. Now that it has occurred on 4 occasions over a period of 12 years, I have to conclude there is a cause that I should address. I can imagine and theorize about a dozen possibilities from heart attack to some mystery amoeba to too much of a warm climate, but that does me no practical good. And, without a full post-mortem autopsy (and who would have the experience to do such a thing??... too late now, of course), no definite cause seems likely to be established.

    Nonetheless, I am posting about this to see if there are others who have experienced it. Perhaps then it would be possible to determine common factors that might be relevant.

    ....As a side note, the loss last summer motivated me to re-home all the old bedraggled dowagers that had taken up space. (Except, I still have the warped Hariwake born in my old lily pond 24 years ago. Re-building can only go so far. )
    I have noticed in my lifetime, some male human beings have passed on at around the age of +- 45 years.

    People I have worked with, and acquaintances.

    A defective heart gene?

    A hurdle at about that age, it seems.

    I believe a gene is responsible for the deaths of a number fit athletic young men in their 20's recently, this was mentioned by my wife a couple of days ago.

    I have not actually followed up on it.

    I have lost a number of mature fish over the years, when I think about them,it could have been similar circumstances as above.

    I am not a hands on netting, swabbing, scoping type.

    The odd off color one. Now you see me. Now you don't. Now whats that floating at the mouth of the weir?

    Mumble, mumble, mumble.

    Ring a bell?

    Garfield.

    PS A slip up in the keeping procedure?

    I do not follow them day and night.

    My bedraggled ones are the hardy's.

    My pond is a gunite shell, the pond proper is finished with a plastered marbelite coating in charcoal black.

    My up flow filters run down the length on one side and across the width on the one end.Total 9 of meters. These, I water proofed using matt

    and resin.

    The pond and filters amount to a total of 63,000 liters.

    The combination of gunite and fibre glass eventually lowered the pH to below 7.

    I collected a cement pocket size of oyster shells placed it in the pond and the pH now sits at a very stable 7.4.

    I now seem to have a bunch of much happier fish with less fatalities.

    Living in darkest Africa,I have not always had access to the web and fish forums

    They certainly help.

    I have managed to GROW on some big fish.

  3. #3
    Tategoi bobbysuzanna's Avatar
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    I have always heard that the big girls have the highest risk for liver disease, not tumors but just out and out liver failure. I assume that you feed year round since you are in Florida or do you have them fast for a period?

  4. #4
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    In this website of matsuda, it list various causes of different symptoms including koi floating on surface.

    Fish Diseases - MATSUDA KOI FARM JAPAN - Quality Japanese Koi Breeder and Wholesaler
    coolwon and Jacques like this.

  5. #5
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbysuzanna View Post
    I have always heard that the big girls have the highest risk for liver disease, not tumors but just out and out liver failure. I assume that you feed year round since you are in Florida or do you have them fast for a period?
    In the past I reduced feeding to once per day for a period of about 3+ months, in the middle of which I imposed a 6-8 week complete fast. In recent years, particularly with 'winter' being warmer, I have not imposed a complete fast, just reduced feeding. The mystery deaths occurred both when I fasted them, and since I stopped complete fasting.

  6. #6
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sacicu View Post
    In this website of matsuda, it list various causes of different symptoms including koi floating on surface.

    Fish Diseases - MATSUDA KOI FARM JAPAN - Quality Japanese Koi Breeder and Wholesaler
    That's a good checklist for symptoms of disease/parasite/disorders. Good to know about it. But, the diseases listed with 'floating on surface' were not present.

  7. #7
    Tosai
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    I really dislike unsolved puzzles

  8. #8
    Oyagoi HEADACHE6's Avatar
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    Mike, From what I can tell you keep great records.

    By chance could you share the Dates when these four Koi passed? Water Temps. at the time?

  9. #9
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    That's a good checklist for symptoms of disease/parasite/disorders. Good to know about it. But, the diseases listed with 'floating on surface' were not present.
    Its written in the article:

    Floating on the surface
    Argulosis,, White spot disease, Myxobolus koi infection, Gyrodactylosis, Dactylogyrosis, Chilodonellosis, Trichodinosis, Ichthyobodosis, Columnaris disease, Dropsy, Apiosoma

    From.the above causes, Dactylogyrosis or gill worm which is active in warmer waters is a possibility. If the gill worms suddenly hatch lots of eggs in the gills, this can suffocate a jumbo koi leading to lack of oxygen which explains why it was not eating and preferred to hover above the surface.

    Did you perform a gill scrape and microscope?

  10. #10
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    It's rather fast the way your koi died from the time you noticed the loss of appetite to dying, especially when you don't see any visible signs of pathology externally.

    I suppose the old Hariwake isn't as large as these koi, and is more of a mutt lineage, that it is somehow more hardy. Still, to have a koi last 24 years is no easy achievement, and would point to other factors other than your care.

    Could you tell us more about these koi? Japan or US bred. Breed. Age and size when introduced into the pond. History such as koi shows attended.

    Are fatalities confined to koi of such age and size?

    What are similar koi (I assume they are gosanke) of same age and size that are thriving? Age and size.

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