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Is intermittent gulping for air really benign?

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  • Is intermittent gulping for air really benign?

    Many of us have kois that intermittently come to the surface to have a gulp of air and these kois otherwise appear well. I wonder if this action is really benign or is it a symptom of some underlying condition (like mild gill disease)? If one observes the action closely it appears like the kois are "flushing" their gills.

    Your comments and experiences will be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    dtbh
  • #2

    A good topic for sure...

    When I hear this a good inspection of the gills is reccomended. Check the gills they should look like raw meat red.

    Another scenario from past experience was too look in the mouth. I found a small sore on the upper roof of mouth closer to lip. This bothered the koi a bit so it kept moving its mouth.

    Also string algae can get caught in gills and or a heavy slime coat can coat the gills which make it extremely hard for the koi to breath..

    Just some things to take a look at and not rule out..

    Joe
    It's a living creature (chit happens)

    Comment

    • #3

      There have been times when a fish would gulp air over a day or so, and then stop. I would get concerned, and start worrying about it, but when just one fish acts peculiar, I'll just observe for a day or two. Then the behavior stops and I'll stop worrying. I've assumed that the fish had indigestion, or something caught in the gills or throat, or was just feeling frisky. It has not occurred to me that there might be a mild gill infection, maybe because the fish act normal otherwise. ....Next time I'll probably worry more!

      The only one I have had engage in this behavior more than a day or so is the Showa I mentioned in reply to Hwong's thread on pond length. She had an intermittent air gulping habit before I got her, and it continued for a period of a few weeks after she arrived. I never inspected her gills. I'd be shocked if she had any sort of infection, simply because her prior owner provides an extraordinary level of care to his fish and regularly examines them, takes scrapings, etc.

      I think you are right to question the assumption that it is a benign behavior. It is a reaction to something. Maybe an individual sensitivity to something in the water? ....Perhaps similar to a person who sneezes when a particular perfume is in the air? Something benign generally, but the particular fish are bothered by it. It seems such a fad for people to say they "must be allergic to something", but maybe some koi have mild allergic reactions that affect the gills? If so, that could explain the change in behavior of the Showa better than anything I've thought of so far. But, still just another guess on a list of guesses.

      Comment

      • #4

        In my short experience in the hobby, when a fish is gulping for air intermitently, it might be trying to adjust it's swim bladder, or have a swim bladder problem.
        Koi-Unit
        " Da Best" Chapter
        xxx

        Comment

        • #5

          i ALWAYS FIGURED IT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH EQUALIZING THE AIR IN THE SWIM BLADDER. I would see it happen shortly upon arrival after shipment but with some koi it continued on ocassionally for quite a time after?
          Dick Benbow

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          • #6

            oops

            Oh after reading the original posts. yes its equalizing for the koi.. You see this a lot after shipments. Lots of it going on as the koi take a big gulp and you see bubbles as the koi goes to a different depth..

            I agree Dick....


            Joe
            It's a living creature (chit happens)

            Comment

            • #7

              Looks like this is not an uncommon condition. So, my next question is whether we need to do anything (at all) about it. If so, how/what?

              Thanks for sharing.

              Comment

              • #8

                gulping driving me nuts

                Its been many months now and one of my kohaku sansai still exhibit intermittent gulping. She swims normally and eats normally. I just don't like it when she gulps at least 30x a day (mostly before, during or after feeding times). Not sure what I should do. I have done salt and formaline / malachite green before and symptoms would lessen but just come back. Any suggestions?

                Comment

                • #9

                  Originally posted by sacicu View Post
                  Its been many months now and one of my kohaku sansai still exhibit intermittent gulping. She swims normally and eats normally. I just don't like it when she gulps at least 30x a day (mostly before, during or after feeding times). Not sure what I should do. I have done salt and formaline / malachite green before and symptoms would lessen but just come back. Any suggestions?
                  I would think gill damage. Possibly from chlorine or ammonia burn. Gill recovery is a long process. Possible, but not always...
                  Tim

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                  • #10

                    The failed tancho that I put to sleep the other day, it had swim bladder disorder. It had been gulping for air for a long time. I even remembered asking Homer about it 2 years ago. I don't know if there is a connection but I know don't feel comfortable seeing the gulping behavior.

                    Comment

                    • #11

                      I am not sure if it is chlorine or ammonia burn. I never had problems with chlorine or ammonia since she went into my pond. It could be a sign of gill or swim bladder that she has to correct every time she gulps. It could also be just bad habit which could be harmless. I know of a hobbyist who has a showa that has the same problem for 3 years already and she's still fine and growing. Nevertheless, it does bother me and will do again FMG.

                      Comment

                      • #12

                        I have a koi that has begun gulping several times a day. Not a sansai. I acquired the koi as nisai in 2001. I wonder if age has something to do with mine.

                        Comment

                        • #13

                          Originally posted by sacicu View Post
                          I am not sure if it is chlorine or ammonia burn. I never had problems with chlorine or ammonia since she went into my pond. It could be a sign of gill or swim bladder that she has to correct every time she gulps. It could also be just bad habit which could be harmless. I know of a hobbyist who has a showa that has the same problem for 3 years already and she's still fine and growing. Nevertheless, it does bother me and will do again FMG.
                          I have been reading up on the disinfection by-products of chlorine, as I became interested in the subject after MikeM shared about the effects of residual chlorine on another thread, on degassing columns. I wonder if DBPs (disinfection by-products) could be linked with swim bladder disorder in fish. Although humans and fish are not the same, there is a statement under the Health Effects section of DBPs in Wikipedia, which cites two references that link DBP to bladder cancer in humans. Don't flame me. I'm just looking at links and speculating with this theory. At any rate, I am already looking into adding sodium thiosulfate to chlorinated tap water before it gets added to the pond.

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                          • #14

                            The sansai I mentioned 2 years ago which had gulping issues for more than 2 years is now 83 cm and 3 weeks ago developed full blown swim bladder problem staying at the bottom with ulcer at its bottom and raised scales on one side at least 10 scales.

                            After cleaning and treating ulcers and raised scales with PP paste, injecting antibiotics at 6cc 5x, the kohaku is much better. Ulcers gone. Gulping is gone. no more swim bladder issues. Eating and swimming normally. Will still observe if there will be a recurrence.

                            Comment

                            • #15

                              Glad to know she has responded well to treatment. Swimming well and eating again. That's a big relief!

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