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Nervous Koi

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  • Nervous Koi

    Hurricane Charley came through our neighborhood 11 days ago. Actually, the eye of the storm crossed a couple of neighborhoods away. There were approx 80 mph winds for 2 hours, with higher velocity gusts. As a result, the pond went without any filtration for 3 days and only partial filtration for a couple of days before pwer was restored. The pond had been fully shaded, but is now in nearly full sun due to loss of trees and limbs, which filled the pond the first 24 hours after the storm. Despite all this, only one small koi was lost. Full filtration has been re-established for a week, multiple water changes etc performed, and water quality is back to normal. No detectable ammonia or nitrite. Nitrates under 20ppm. The sun exposure has raised water temps to mid-80sF, and on 2 days temps were close to 88F. Usually, temps were upper 70sF with occasional days in 80sF. We still have a lot of chain saw activity in the neighborhood, and large trucks hauling out debris, so pounding vibrations from sawn down trees etc occurs throughout the day.

    Since the storm, the fish do not seem to recognize me. They go to ground at any movement around the pond. Food thrown on the surface scares them, then they recover and slowly begin to eat. Last night I had a 4 year Ogon begin swimming rapidly and in erratic fashion. She would not eat. Her constant movement disturbed the others. This evening she seems almost normal and ate well. But, a 5 year Tancho began the same erratic rapid swimming. He ate, but maybe not quite as much as normal. His movements upset the others. Weird seeing the same behavior as the Ogon displayed the night before.

    I believe they are suffering a form of piscine post-traumatic shock.

    Comments? Experiences with similar episodes? Is there a koi psychologist in the house?
  • #2

    Hi Mike
    was sorry to read your report. This kind of stuff makes koi keeping no fun, and it's suppose to be relaxing!
    When we have storms thru the NW or raccoons or blue herons by the pond, my koi show nervousness and will not come up and eat for several days. It takes awhile for them to return to normal.
    What I don't understand is the eractic swimming you discribe. My thoughts are that something was blown into the pond that may be creating
    a problem with water quality. I don't mean to be insulting but your electrical is well grounded and on a GFI right?(just thinking out loud) if my water parameters check out ok there still could be something in their that was blown in and mixed and you might want to consider a program of water replacement of 25% over a 4 day period just as insurance. You might also check with the town's water dept to see if anything was needed after the storm to be added to correct any problems created.
    I trickle in 24/7 thru activated charcoal with my pond as a kind of insurance.
    wish i could be of more help but it's hard without seeing what's going on.
    My gut instinct Mike is more Physical than mental. Let us know please what you are learning!
    Dick Benbow


    • #3

      We fear change,...

      Yep, Koi are very sensitive to changes in their environment, and generally very alert to predators lurking around the pond. If the Koi in one of the tanks up here at the barn are acting skittish I can usually find the cause with a little detective work. Last Summer none of the tosai in one of the tanks came up to eat at feeding time, when there is generally a frenzy,... I knew there was an issue, and checked around the tank and found an adult water snake at the tank's edge. This happened again this morning when I came in to check the fish,... the tosai in one of the tanks didn't cime up to eat,... so I looked aroud and found this pup Raccoon up in the loft of the barn WHICH is right beside the tank with the skittish tosai. Yes, Koi will also act this way if their water has gone south,... a sudden PH crash, ammonia, oxygen depletion.

      In Mike's case the Koi are likely reacting to the change in pond cover, the lack of shade,... replaced with sunlight in places within the pond they are not accustomed to seeing it, the shadows and shaded areas have changed... this in addition to the trauma of the storm itself. I would also check the pond's PH after such an influx of rain water.

      The Koi that is swimming irratically MAY have some nerve, muscle, or spinal damage from the storm - heavy thunder cracks, or other loud sudden sounds which startle the fish can cause a fish to damage itself (spine) with the sudden dramatic flight response - similar to a person "throwing out" their back while doing something strenuous. Watch the Koi swim, and see if it is swimming normally,... or if it is hobbling or only flapping the tail on one side.

      Best Wishes,

      The visitor in the barn, taken this morning.


      • #4

        I want to thank-you for adding your input. It helps. The photo was great!
        Your appreciated,Brady!
        Dick Benbow


        • #5

          Yes, Dick "it's always something!" But, if it came too easy, we'd get bored.

          Brady: Raccoon faces are "so cute", it is a shame the varmints cause such problems. Around here, they are known to carry rabies. But, we have so many, you just learn not to go around them when they come out. If it was anyone but you, I'd expect that one was eliminated from this world. I suspect you let it find its way back to the woods where its litter-mates are.

          Just gave the school (SMG: I read your post :lol: ) their evening meal. Still skittish, but no abnormal swimming. For a brief moment the Tancho abruptly darted like crazy, but calmed to normal pretty quickly. No trips around the pond at full speed. I'll do a couple of extra water changes, just in case & check wiring etc. Water temps today in low 80sF ... we had afternoon thunderstorms that seem to have kept things a bit cooler. We'll see.


          • #6

            Had to come back on to share part of a newspaper article my wife came across. It tells the story of a dairy farmer and his cows in the aftermath of the hurricane:

            Afterward, "They looked at me kind of wild-eyed. They wondered what was going on." Now, like a lot of people hit by the storm, the cows are having some post-Charley anxiety. For a cow, there's only a short list of must-haves, and routine - the same thing, day in and day out - is right at the top. Most days, Wright's animals are pampered, with fans and sprinklers to cool them. But the loss of power messed that up. Some of the girls got nasty infection in their udders. Others aren't eating right. All the disruption has left Wright with a field full of emotional wrecks. He figures his milk production will be slow until October, with losses of as much as 2 gallons a day for some cows. Calvin Covington, chief of Southeast Milk, a co-op representing most of Florida's dairy farmers, says Wright's animals aren't the only ones suffering some psyche damage. He expects production to be down across the board ...[Wright's] just waiting for things to calm down. "Cows have feelings", he says.

            Keep smiling!


            • #7

              Mike. Brady is on to something.....besides rearing raccoonz !
              After Andrew came through in 92 my parrots personalities completely changes from puppy affectionate animals, to cage bound "wild" creatures overnight.
              Once I got their cages back to their original spot and provided them with some shade they got back to normal fairly fast.

              Animals rely on light levels to "schedule" their activities.

              The first thing I would do, in your shoes, is get to a nursery supply and get some shade cloth.
              Grab some pre storm photos and try to duplicate the shade conditions you had before.
              They'll thank you for cooling them down a bit too.

              I've seen many sunburned koi down here.


              • #8

                Wow Mike, what a traumatic experience you and your kois have gone through. I just hope everything will be back to normal as soon as possible. Put out a brave heart will you - our prayers are with you.


                • #9

                  Thanks, Kiky. But, I have to say that I'm just inconvenienced compared to many who have suffered real losses.


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