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Thread: Serious winter problems..Advice is appreciated.

  1. #1
    Honmei Brutuscz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Serious winter problems..Advice is appreciated.

    It's been a wacky season so far...cold and snow...then warms up, then snows again. During a warm spell last week, my koi started to swim around...There was ice on top, but I can see them swimmimg by the opening. This time of year, they are usually on the bottom in a state of torpor.

    9 koi have been affected. Either at the top or on the bottom, laying on their sides. I brought them indoors for a very gradual re-warming. 1 has died. 2 more are probably dead (I am still hoping to see a gill move). 6 are still breathing..and may recover fine. 1 had dropsey...and it opened into an ulcer in 1 day. I am dealing with the ones indoors (I have them in 2 large pools with excellent water quality..at 53deg). I also have baytril and nuflor...just in case.

    I decided to do a partial water change outdoors...threw the hose in with dechlor yeaterday and all went well.

    My question is...anything else I can do for the ones outdoors to prevent further problems? I keep 2 bubblers at the surface to keep a space in the ice. I also have no salt in the water(did that mistake before).
    I really think the fluctuating temperatures have caused these problems. They were fine on the bottom until it warmed up, they became active and algae grew...then it got cold again. It really seemed to stress them out.

    Also...at 53deg...do I have to feed the ones indoors? Since I have more in my holding tanks than I would have liked, I'd rather not feed to keep the water quality better. With all my outdoor hoses frozen, water changes will be impossible. Maybe some PP to refresh the water in 2 weeks??

    Thanks for the help...one of my ones dying is a show winner, I am really not happy

    Next season...they are coming indoors. Enough is enough!!

    If your desire to succeed is greater than your desire to fail, then you will succeed.

  2. #2
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Davenport, Oklahoma
    Sorry to hear of your troubles. We invest a lot of ourselves into caring for them well only to have nature undo our efforts so easily.

    To be honest, in your circumstance I might be tempted to try some lymnozyme/koizyme in the pond. With filtration down and temperatures swinging wildly the need to outcompete disease organisms is tough to stay ahead of. This is why I never shut down filtration completely, but keep it running with sub-surface water returns to prevent chilling. Even in a reduced state of efficiency due to cold temperatures a modestly active filter can at least intercept a nutrient spike if temperatures suddenly warm.
    Larry Iles

  3. #3
    Tategoi Lomaponder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    619 Guy. Member of the Koi Club of San Diego

    My thoughts

    First I must say, sorry for your losses and I wish your reminding fish a full recovery. From reading your input/ postings here in the forum, it is pretty obvious that you take special care of your koi. Now here's my theories (note: just my theory) on what happen. Now please remember, I'm just brain-storming the possible cause

    1. You talked about a heat spell. The water MAY of warmed up enough to cause an algae bloom (it doesn't take much..). The algae bloomed, then turn in H2O temp; died; that ate up the O2 in the water; ice hole / exchange not enough. Fish suffer.

    2. Fish in torpor. Water warms; fish stir up what ever debris on bottom; which releases gas; hole in ice not big enough; fish suffer.

    Just my theories. Again, I wish the best outcome for this situation.
    “In times like these men should utter nothing for which they would not be willingly responsible through time and in eternity.”

    Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    If you can warm up the water on the Koi that are inside you stand a chance of saving them. Baytril would do next to nothing at your current temperature of 53 degrees, but if you can warm them to 72 to 76 it would be successful. I would not use PP on the outside pond at freezing temperatures.

    I live in a cold climate too (south of Buffalo, NY); ponds need a certain amount of circulation even when there is ice on the surface. A small pump placed a foot or so under the water surface would be the way to go. In my 4000 gallon pond with a surface area of 308 sq. ft. I use a 900 gph pump and this does the job of taking out the CO2 and allowing oxygen to get in. Much better than bubblers.

    Sorry about your loses. Sometimes they happen even when we do our best to prevent it.

  5. #5
    Oyagoi gcuss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Maple Falls, WA
    Rough go buddy.

    If it were me, I would cover the pond with a tarp right away. I would hope that the darkness would help them settle down and go dormant again.

    Have you tested the water for your parameters? Do you have an ORP meter?

    Make sure your water is pristine as far as chemical make up, and I would add an air. If possible, buy some long hose and some plumbing insulation for the airline and have your airpump indoors so that the air reaching the pond would be somewhat warmed. This alone keeps a massive hole in the ice on my pond despite the subzero weather I've had lately. The ice is 6" thick except for the hole. I realize this disturbs the thermal layering, but for whatever reason, my fish are looking OK @ 35* water temps.

    I think you can get away for quite sometime without feeding at 53*. Just keep an eye on them for extreme lethargy.

    Really hoping your fish do ok. You've got some real nice ones. And hopefully those with much more experience than I chime in here quickly to help you out. (truth be told, you probably know a lot more than me, I'm just trying to help)

    And I hear you on the indoor thing. I've moved everyone that's really important (read: show bound fish with weaker immune systems) indoors along with media from the pond) No spring fears and my filters will be alive and kicking butt when I move everything out again next spring.

    Best wishes, hope it works out.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    If I am readfing this right.
    the INDOOR temp is 53
    What is the outdoor pond temp?

    Pappa bear and I agree...Lymnozyme MIGHT help in your case.
    But you leave out so much info...How many koi what size what size pond Pond temps...Water chemistry...
    from what you have poste dyou have got to have a buncha fish..in a too small pond...?

  7. #7
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Orlando, Florida
    Koi can go without feeding for months at 53F... Don't worry about feeding unless the koi become emaciated.

  8. #8
    Oyagoi kntry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Louisiana - KHA
    You do need to get more air in the outdoor pond, just do NOT put it near the bottom where it can release the gases. No PP either. You may have a problem as simple as a lack of O2 due to the algae dying.

    Antibiotics won't work under 60°. The fish that you brought inside will not be able to go back out until the weather warms up.

    On the fish inside, raise the salt to .3%, lots of air and daily water changes to keep your water quality up.

    As Luke requested, please post water parameters and temp outside, size and depth of pond, number and size of fish.

    I would not cover the pond because there would be no way for the gas to exit or for the sun to get through.

  9. #9
    Honmei Brutuscz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Thanks for all the replies. So far..it seems I have lost those two others. so, 3 down as of now. My outside water was 37deg at the bottom. Tied a rock to a thermometer for that. Indoors was 53deg. My pond is 16,000gal...5ft4inches deep. I have 50 koi...but half of them are small. I have had no illness this season...really had a great year. Going into winter...water was pristine, lots of water changes. I vacuumed the bottom...scrubbed everything. You could literally eat off the bottom...I am a real stickler for cleanliness. I really think the main problem was the temperature fluctuations. I have 2 large pumps with big alita airstones near the surface (6-12inches below surface). Tons of oxygenation from them. When it got really cold...all was well. They were at the bottom as they should be. It got warm...they got active. It got cold again...the s++t hit the fan!!! A few other observations. Last year I had a problem because I left salt in the pond. Most fish recovered fine....but the same ones who had problems last year are involved this year. Also...of my 50 koi..5 are shiro utsuri. of the 9 affected, 3 are shiro utsuri. Two of those three were affected last year.

    We had a snowstorm today...the surface has frozen again except for my 2 large spaces in the ice. Not much I can do any more. The ones still in the pond looked ok before the snow. I just went to look through the ice and no floaters or anything.
    The other thing is the koi come in looking perfect...in suspended animation(Except the one with dropsy) No infections or anything visible...simply looks like hypothermia. I really think if it would have just gotten cold and stayed that way, they would have been fine. It's these fluctuations that are making it so hard for them.
    Next year....indoors for sure!!! Just hope the rest are ok under the ice. With the current snowstorm, it is out of my hands for the moment. If it goes up to 60deg next week (again)..I'm going to be in trouble again. All I can say is damn!!!

    I went to re-read Richard Carlson's article on winter and koi. He does allude to the fact that temperature fluctuations are a real problem...and that dropsey can come from the cold. It's just there is no answer as to what I can do about these fluctuations when they happen???

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    was it 37 degrees throughout the water column....

    hey before I write anything else remember I do not have to deal with cold water so I amm thinking ...and mainly it is theory, and what i remember from fishing..
    the deep water should be about 42 degrees...somewhere around that temperature water is its densest...so All fish SHOULD be able to find water that is 42 degrees way down deep
    UNLESS something is screwing up the water column..like those damn bublers...to much current in the Winter time could cause major problems...
    to keep a hole open I'd use a weak heater submerged a couple of feet..
    In that cold a water temp the water is going to hold enough oxygen and the fish aren't going to need much.
    Bubblers can cool down ALL the water way more than you are giving them credit...imagine pumping air that is nearly zero degrees into water that is about 40 degrees..it'd cool the water down cooler than if NO air was being pumped into the water. And the bubbler could create so much current that the deep water could be being stirred up and the water down there that would be warmer due to density and the fact that the ground down there would be giving off a small amount of heat is now being depleted of all its warmth by being moved towards the surface and is being cooled to the detriment of the fish

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