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Thread: Fish are losing their color

  1. #1
    Nisai
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Camby, Indiana
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    Fish are losing their color

    So, it's been a long month. A month ago we noticed one of our younger fish (a grow out) we've had since last November losing it's coloring, both sumi and hi. We knew we had flukes at the time (scraped and found) and treated in the midst of about 16" of rain in 2 weeks time. Had our koi show in Indy, went to Jacksonville, came home and within a couple of days realized some more of our newer fish (especially our nicest fish) losing color. The main color you notice going is the hi, the sumi is somewhat faded on the fish compared to 2 months ago. At first, this had been limited to our fish we have purchased in the last year, but noticed today that fish we have had for 4 years are starting to lose their coloring.

    This is what we know. Our ammonia, nitrites, nitrates are all 0. Our pH is consistent in the evening at 8.2-8.4 while in the morning we are at 8.0-8.2 consistent. Our kH is 179, our gH is 107. We haven't changed our food any and use a combination of Ray Abell's wheat germ and hi protein and Hi Silk 21. We have 12,000 gallons with a bioreactor, bead and prefilter. We have a low stocking level (but overstocked for us) of 16 fish, 6 of which are in the 7-9" range. We had a water test done 3 months ago and finally got the results a couple of weeks ago. We have .282 ppm of copper in our source water (from the water company) but in the pond it's .005 ppm. We run our source water through a water softner (typical hardness without water softner would be in 400s) and then through a small carbon filter. The water tested out of the pond with .007 ppb of lead, 5.91 ppm of magnesium, .005 ppm of manganese, .01 ppm of iron, .05 ppm of aluminum. So we know we have some metals. We are dealing with that. Just to be on safe side, sent new samples out for testing again to UGA and are waiting on test results. We have city water but the source for us is a well that was changed to a different well in early spring.

    The problem is even after figuring this out and using stuff to neutralize the metals, our fish are still losing color. In June we had 22" of rain, we don't have run off, Marc sprays the yards on both side of us so we know we don't have issues with ChemLawn or anything. I know the pH has swung a little with the rain, but not a lot, maybe .01-.02 after a quick hard rain.

    We don't have a large show collection and we're going to lose them all (they'll be junked for showing) if we can't figure out how to stop this. We have Marudo, Torazo, Quality Koi among others in our pond. We are parasite free (have scraped several fish a few different times). Even our goromo is losing coloring and we've had her the longest and never had issues with her coloring. Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Tamara
    NMZNA Koi & Goldfish Show and Pond Expo - Indianapolis
    June 19-21, 2009
    Season's Gardens in Fishers, IN
    www.nmzna.net

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I am completely befuddled.

  3. #3
    Nisai
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    Trust me, so are we.

  4. #4
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    That is odd. Your pre-treatment of the water seems to be doing a pretty effective job, and the day/night ph swings are very modest. Your pond must be well buffered and large to handle the rains so well, as even the rain induced swings are pretty negligible.
    Is it just the colors going down, or does the shiroji seem to be getting dull/hard too?
    This makes me wonder if treating the pond with EDTA to chelate the remaining metals may help...

  5. #5
    Nisai
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    The beni is completely disappearing and the black is going down, although on the first fish it is completely white now on the back part of the fish. The shiroji looks good. What is EDTA?

    Thanks
    Tamara

  6. #6
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    It is a chelation therapy compound that has been used for removal of heavy metal toxins since the WW1 era, and is still in use today. It is available in powdered form, but I'd have to do some checking around to see how widely available it is in bulk purchase quantities.
    Steve H mentioned it in a recent post, so maybe he'll pop in with a heads up on where he may know of to get it and how well it may work in a pondwide application.

  7. #7
    Oyagoi Sangreaal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gofish View Post
    So, it's been a long month. A month ago we noticed one of our younger fish (a grow out) we've had since last November losing it's coloring, both sumi and hi. We knew we had flukes at the time (scraped and found) and treated in the midst of about 16" of rain in 2 weeks time. Had our koi show in Indy, went to Jacksonville, came home and within a couple of days realized some more of our newer fish (especially our nicest fish) losing color. The main color you notice going is the hi, the sumi is somewhat faded on the fish compared to 2 months ago. At first, this had been limited to our fish we have purchased in the last year, but noticed today that fish we have had for 4 years are starting to lose their coloring.

    This is what we know. Our ammonia, nitrites, nitrates are all 0. Our pH is consistent in the evening at 8.2-8.4 while in the morning we are at 8.0-8.2 consistent. Our kH is 179, our gH is 107. We haven't changed our food any and use a combination of Ray Abell's wheat germ and hi protein and Hi Silk 21. We have 12,000 gallons with a bioreactor, bead and prefilter. We have a low stocking level (but overstocked for us) of 16 fish, 6 of which are in the 7-9" range. We had a water test done 3 months ago and finally got the results a couple of weeks ago. We have .282 ppm of copper in our source water (from the water company) but in the pond it's .005 ppm. We run our source water through a water softner (typical hardness without water softner would be in 400s) and then through a small carbon filter. The water tested out of the pond with .007 ppb of lead, 5.91 ppm of magnesium, .005 ppm of manganese, .01 ppm of iron, .05 ppm of aluminum. So we know we have some metals. We are dealing with that. Just to be on safe side, sent new samples out for testing again to UGA and are waiting on test results. We have city water but the source for us is a well that was changed to a different well in early spring.

    The problem is even after figuring this out and using stuff to neutralize the metals, our fish are still losing color. In June we had 22" of rain, we don't have run off, Marc sprays the yards on both side of us so we know we don't have issues with ChemLawn or anything. I know the pH has swung a little with the rain, but not a lot, maybe .01-.02 after a quick hard rain.

    We don't have a large show collection and we're going to lose them all (they'll be junked for showing) if we can't figure out how to stop this. We have Marudo, Torazo, Quality Koi among others in our pond. We are parasite free (have scraped several fish a few different times). Even our goromo is losing coloring and we've had her the longest and never had issues with her coloring. Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Tamara

    What does the slime coat of the fish feel like?

  8. #8
    Nisai
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Camby, Indiana
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    Pretty normal slime coat. When the first fish lost its color, it had a very heavy slime coat; but we also had flukes and having to wait the rain out to treat. When that fish lost color, we figured it was a combination of stress from the flukes and the 16" of rain in 2 weeks. That was about the end of the first week of June when that started happening. Then we were able to treat the flukes, got rid of them, and then about 2 weeks ago or so noticed all the other fish (a few at a time) slowing losing their coloring. The first fish (a 10" sanke) happened quickly, losing 2/3 of its coloring within a week. What is left is very faded on that one.

  9. #9
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Well, for whatever good it may do, here's some questions:

    What did you use to treat the flukes?

    Is there treated lumber anywhere around the pond... decking, shade structure?

    How does all that rainwater overflow to exit the pond, & where does it go?

    Are there trees or anything overhanging the pond that drips into it with the rain?

    Lots of rain often means lots of mosquitoes...Has there been mosquito spraying in the area? [We get lovely spray trucks drive through at 3am when mosquitoes become serious. Gov't budget crises this year may eliminate those. ]

    You may not have been doing anything different to the pond, but the rain would have other things being done differently... or neighbors doing something different.

    Are you sure nothing has been done differently? ...not anything? How about something different, an improvement, or treatment for algae etc a month before you first notice anything?

    Have you checked for stray voltage?

    Describe your water change regimen.

    Fading color on tosai would not cause me concern... stuff happens. It's the older ones that cause concern.

  10. #10
    Nisai
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Camby, Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    Well, for whatever good it may do, here's some questions:

    What did you use to treat the flukes? Started with Prazi and promptly saw it get washed out 1 day later with 10" in one day. Used PP 1 week later when we got a clear day. Subsequent scrapes did not find any flukes.

    Is there treated lumber anywhere around the pond... decking, shade structure? No treated lumber other than our deck that is 7 years old.

    How does all that rainwater overflow to exit the pond, & where does it go?We have the ground around the pond sloping away from the pond. We did have a corner that collected some rain and rain into the pond a little. Only thing in that corner is dirt. Within our skimmer we have a built in overflow which goes into the yard underground. The yard is then sloped down to the back for drainage. The rain that collects in the grass could not overflow because none of the grass is around the pond.

    Are there trees or anything overhanging the pond that drips into it with the rain? No.

    Lots of rain often means lots of mosquitoes...Has there been mosquito spraying in the area? [We get lovely spray trucks drive through at 3am when mosquitoes become serious. Gov't budget crises this year may eliminate those. ] No.

    You may not have been doing anything different to the pond, but the rain would have other things being done differently... or neighbors doing something different. Not that we are aware; we're good friends with our neighbors and they watch out for the pond as much as we do. They make sure they ask if something will affect the pond before they do something. We have the yard fenced so the kids can't come in unless we're with them. We're very fortunate that our neighbors respect the property the way they do. We don't have issues with the kids either; one the ones that might are scared of messing with Marc and two they all love the fish as well.

    Are you sure nothing has been done differently? ...not anything? How about something different, an improvement, or treatment for algae etc a month before you first notice anything? The only thing we add to the water is the same koi clay we've used for 4 years.

    Have you checked for stray voltage? Yes

    Describe your water change regimen. We dump our turbo 3-4 times a week and backwash our bead once a week, all total it's a 25% water change a week. We refill with our source water running it from a water softner into a carbon filter.

    Fading color on tosai would not cause me concern... stuff happens. It's the older ones that cause concern.
    The only thing that is different that we can come up with is that our city water switched our well early spring. We've known that we've had something going on (other than parasites) this year because the fish just haven't been happy; flashing a lot and jumping even when we can't find anything on the fish with scrapings. While we didn't flood, the area that our well is in flooded quite a bit. Flooding was bad enough in some areas that a dead cow was seen floating down the street of a golfing subdivision and there aren't any cows around there. Two weeks after that is when all the problems with color started.

    We are assuming that the constant low levels of metals some of which are at the continuous level have not helped and have subjected the fish to some stress all along. But, we want to make sure so that's why the water is being retested.

    Thanks for trying and thinking for us; we figured put it out here and see what people come up with in case we've missed something.

    Thanks
    Tamara

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