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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

sick/injured Koi 9/6/2010
We have a small (1100 gal) pond in our back yard we built two years ago.
I added 3 new fish at the beginning of summer (June). The plants are all doing well and the fish seem to enjoy them. The largest fish is maybe 15 inches.
There are three fish that we purchased when the pond went in and 2 more the following year...thou one is not a Koi, I really don't know what he is, but he's happy so he stays. We bought cheap fish from the pet store just in case there were problems. Well so far everything has gone well.
This past fall we overwintered the fish in the pond. In the spring, one of the fish from the first year had a ulcer which they seemed to have a little trouble with, but seemed to do ok and got over it...except that it still swam a little funny. This fish always fed more aggressively than the others and would jump and get crazy over the food, thou it was fine the rest of the time. It did not grow as fast as the other two, so I don't know if the feeding frenzy was because it needed more or what. In August it suddenly took a turn for the worse and has had all sorts of trouble swimming. We took it out of the pond to check it and it jumped out of my son's hands and hit the ground. We noticed blood immediately and put it in a 30 gal drum.
Not sure if the blood was caused by dropping the fish or by an ulcer, we kept her in the drum. Truthfully I did not
expect it to live thru the night. We added salt & Melafix
the drum and added salt to the pond
<And this>
...just in case. It has now been about a month and none of the other 8 fish have shown any signs of illness. We did notice another ulcer on this fishes side when we pulled it out, looked like a pencil eraser on the side of the fish. About the same size and very cylindrical. Since treating, this spot has gone away. However, most of this fishes tail is missing and still appears extremely bruised.
<I think you are right>
After a week of treatment I tried to put her back in the pond, but she seems to freak out in there swimming like crazy and not very well. So we put her back in the drum where she is MUCH calmer. I am really rather surprised this fish is still alive and I have no idea what is going on with it. I would have thought that if it was a disease instead of an injury the poor thing would have died by now, but it hasn't.
<Koi/Carp, Cyprinus carpio, even genetically bunk ones as this poor "butterfly" specimen, are>
I tried after a couple of weeks to reintroduce it to the pond, but today I noticed one of the other Koi come out of no where and knock the tar out of it so I removed it again and she now has her own 30 gal tank in the living room. Again, she seems much calmer on her own. My instinct a month ago was to euthanise her, but my kids throw a fit when I suggest it. So, does any one have ANY suggestions?
<Yes... this fish does appear to be both damaged, suffering from secondary (bacterial et al.) infection and to have a broken rear spine (likely from a physical trauma)... in such a small pond, it may well not "fit in"... The choice is up to you to find it other quarters or humanely euthanize it. Read here:
scroll down to Pond Fish Disease... Bob Fenner>
thanks in advance!! Dee

Re: sick/injured Koi 9/7/10
thank you for our reply!
<Welcome! BobF>

Koi with bent spine 8/1/10
Hi there,
<Hi Gemma,>
I have a Trigon 190 corner tank and have about 12 Koi in it of various sizes. I've kept the first 7 for about 3 years with only 1 fish dying throughout that time. My dad bought about 5 of the newest ones last year from the same specialist store he's used for years. They were very small at the time.
As soon as he brought them home I noticed that 2 of them (with almost identical coloring) had slightly curved spines which made their tails point towards to ceiling at 90 degree angles to their bodies. Over the past year
they have grown (although not a huge amount) and as a result their curved spine has become more noticeable. Until recently the 2 in question would simply wiggle to swim and seemed to cope no problem. They continued to eat and seem perfectly normal.
<That does sound like a birth defect. Or an injury early on.
Unfortunately when selective breeding for color, issues like this do show up.>
However over the past week the larger of the 2 has now started somersaulting and struggling to swim in a straight line without twisting, whirling or spinning upside down. He still eats (when he can flip, twist and roll his way to the pellets) but its very upsetting to see and I'm not sure if the kindest thing to do would be to put him out his misery (if he is suffering?).
<I've had similar issues, but with sideways bent tails.>
Is this a disease (even though the other "sibling" appears to be fine and all the other fish are fine too)? He is not showing any other symptoms which are attributed to Fish TB or anything. Could this be a consequence of
inbreeding? Will he live long if we let nature take its course, as he appears to be fine otherwise?
<I do not believe it to be a disease. What to do is up to you. In my experience they lived much longer than I would have hoped. Get a feeling for if the fish looks happy or not. If the fish is happy, just try and
keep him that way with good water quality and feeding. If not, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm >
Your advice would be much appreciated.
Kind regards
<Hope this helps, Scott T.>

Crooked Fantail tailfin, pond 7/2/10
I have pond goldfish, same ones for about 8 years. The past 2 months I have noticed the goldfish in the picture has a crooked tailfin. It obviously has trouble swimming but tries, eats and hangs out with the other fish. What might be the cause of this and is there any treatment?
<Hello Mike. This is most probably genetic, though backbone deformities can also be caused by vitamin deficiencies. <<or traumas. RMF>> In either case there's no treatment, and provided the fish is happy and feeding, I wouldn't worry unduly. He's obviously more vulnerable to predators, so that may be a factor, depending on where this pond is located. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Crooked Fantail tailfin 7/3/10
Thanks guys, yeah I hope he'll be alright and they are pretty predator savvy by this point. :)
<Cool. Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Pond... mortalities, reading -- 06/26/10
I have had a pond now for about 10 years and this year is the first year I have ever had any problems (other than blue heron problems) with it. I can't keep any fish alive. We live next to a lake and each year I fill my pond with lake water and I seem to have really good luck with it.
This year my fish just keep dying. I usually just get feeder goldfish because of the blue herons and I bring them inside for the winter, keeping them for years. The only thing different from previous years is I set a canna lily pot and an elephant ear pot in the water.
<What were these "potted" with?>
I have since removed them but the fish are still dropping off. Last year I made a bog with a pitcher plant and it did very well and didn't seem to affect the pond any. I'm now wondering if maybe this is a problem also.
<Not the plant/s, but the soil perhaps>
The fish seem to get a whitish coating near the back fin before they die.
I would like to know if I'm doing something wrong or have I just been getting bad fish.
<Highly likely something is amiss with the system, not the livestock>
I only get the cheap feeder fish
<These almost always have a plethora of health/parasite issues>
as it gets to expensive buying better fish to feed the herons.
<You should read on WWM re guarding against such predators:
and the linked FAQs file above>
The water in my pond also seems to be staying very clear which is unusual. Every year it gets some green algae but not this year. The weather is very unusual this year and I have been putting the clear water down to the weather. I really enjoy watching the fish in my pond and will be very disappointed if I can't keep any alive to watch.
Any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong?
<Yes... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdenvdisfaqs.htm
and all the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Koi - 5/22/10
Hello. I love your site. First, I wanted to say "Thank You!" for offering to help people who are having trouble with their beloved fish!
<A pleasure to share>
I live in New York. My fiancĂ©© built me a pond about a year ago so I am a new pond owner. It is roughly 4,500 gallons (10 feet wide by 16 feet long by 4 to 5 feet deep). We have a massive water filtration system. We use an
upgraded vortex chamber (275 gallons) a 150 gallon cone brush chamber, and a 150 gallon biofilter chamber. I don't remember who makes the system, but a picture of a similar smaller system can be seen here:
hive%2FCyc2sys.JPG We have a waterfall, but have not turned it on yet. We also have a air stone in the pond. We have had a handful of rainy days in the past few weeks. Temperatures have been fluctuating. Nights from 35f-
65f days from 50f - 80f.
<I hope/trust temperatures do not drop to freezing there>
I have about 29 Koi that range in size from 1 inch to 24 inches. I have approximately 14 babies (under 2 inches), approximately 10 fish that are 6 inches or so, 1 Koi that is approximately 12 inches, 3 that are around 18
inches, and one that is about 24 inches.
About a month ago, a friend of mine gave me three Koi (1 12 inch Shusui, a 18 inch white butterfly Koi with a black stripe down her back, and a 24 inch butterfly Koi that is mostly black and orange with a little white).
<Mmmm, I'll comment that you'd do well to quarantine any new additions... there are a few "stock" transmittable diseases of Koi about>
I was not aware of how big they were at the time I agreed to accept them.
The Koi were in big Tupperware containers and were driven about 20 min.s or so to my house in a small amount of water. Due to the stress the fish underwent, lack of supplies (i.e. quarantine tank large enough to hold one let alone all of the Koi that size), and lack of oxygen, the fish were directly placed into the pond. (I was not happy to do this since everything I have read has told me not to-but I was outnumbered and felt I had no other choice). The fish actually seemed okay. As soon as they entered the pond they started schooling with the original fish. We tested the water difference between the two ponds. We had a higher pH (7.5) to her 7.0. We had less
phosphate than she did. Our Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels were the same (0).
Only my 3 new fish appear to be sick.
The white Koi's fins had started to have a pink tinge to them. We added Pond Care's Stress Coat.
<Mmm, I wouldn't do this>
Her fins actually turned more red. Now, they are still streaked red and one of them has what appears to be a small ulcer/tear? Up until this week, she was swimming with the others. Now, she is still eating, but stays mostly by herself by the side of the wall near to the water return except for when it is feeding time.
The Shusui Koi has some small amount of red streaking on its fins, but only a little bit.
The biggest Koi (orange, black, and white butterfly 24 inches) is not doing well at all. When we originally got the Koi, it was missing a few scales but it looked okay. The fish has seemed healthy and happy, swimming energetically until recently. On Thursday, we realized something was very wrong. We actually thought it was dead last week when we found it resting on the bottom of the pond. It didn't move until we went to scoop it out of the pond with a net. Then it sped off and started swimming around like it was fine. This week, we have noticed its skin has developed a white/grey tinge and its fins look like they are deteriorating. There is white film hanging off of the fins and it has some algae growing. The fish is often found resting now. It is still eating and swims ( a little funny) around
when we come up to the pond to feed the fish.
We called a few Koi vets, but they are way out of our price range (i.e.: $420 to just look at the fish and test the water)
So we have been trying to research what we could do to help these fish. We read that adding the stress coat can actually hurt the fish
(buildup on gills making it harder for them to breathe) so we have not added any more of this to the pond. We also read that salt was good to add so we are slowly adding pond salt to the pond. We use Morton's Pond Salt.
directions say to add 1 cup per 100 gallons so we added only 5 cups. We weren't sure if we should add the rest of the salt all at once or if it would hurt the fish so that is why we have been adding some of it slowly.
We also weren't sure of the water changing requirements after creating such salty water. I read somewhere that you could keep 3 % salt for 21 days and then do a 50 % water change a few times.... But I am afraid all of this
could drastically affect my other fish that are currently fine.
I really don't want the fish to die! I have added pictures of the Koi. I really hope you could help us and our beloved fish!
<At this point/juncture, there is scarcely any further harm that can/will be done by leaving these Blue Ridge Fisheries butterfly Koi in place... the markings you describe are/were most likely resultant from stress and your
treatment thus far. I would not add more salt or any other treatment... instead just stay observant, remove any fish that perish. Bob Fenner>

Re: sick Koi update 5/23/10
Thanks for your help. I was able to find a professional pond man who would look at my fish for $50. He sedated the fish and was able to show me the damage under the fish's body. He explained that the fish has a severe
internal bacterial infection and took scrapings and a sampling of her stool.
When he studied them under the microscope he found (and showed me) skin flukes, Ich (he said it wasn't the type that was white, it was the type that lives inside the body?) and a few Chilodonella (spelling?).
<Mmm... a host of troubles, which could/would have been dealt with through quarantine/isolation and treatment ahead of introducing these fish... as you and I know... But I see below a plan of action to deal with>
He has me treating my pond with 50 g Praziquantel, 50 g KMN04,
<Do be VERY careful with this amount of Potassium Permanganate, KMnO3 likely... this compound is a powerful oxidizer... and can easily burn, and kill fishes, invertebrates, even plants>
100# salt and 1 qt Hydrogen Peroxide for this week, 50 g KMN04, and 75# salt and 1 qt Hydrogen Peroxide next week and then Medicated Koi food. We are to do a 50 % water change on 21 day and another 50 % water change a week from that. He also recommended that I buy medicated food. I bought 3#.
I got home and tried to look up some of the medicated food online so I can replace it when I run
out, but I wasn't sure which one to get.
<Mmm, medicated for what? The Prazi is for the flukes (Trematodes) and the Protozoan is likely being treated with the Permanganate... Are you looking to add Metronidazole here? If so, it can be purchased as a powder and mixed
in... Please read here for details re making your own medicated food/s for Pondfish: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm
His are unlabeled. They sink to the bottom. Do you have any idea of what type of medicated food I can give them when they run out? He didn't tell me what brand it is and it was $50 for a 3 # bag. Also, is this treatment going to hurt my biofiltration system?
<It could well do so... depending on admin., what is in the med. food>
Is there something I can/should use like microbe-lift to increase the beneficial bacteria since the KMN04 is an oxidizer? (I was told conflicting report of whether oxidizers kill beneficial bacteria)
<They can kill everything... You may want to read re RedOx measure, implications>
Thank you again for your help!
<Welcome. BobF>

Goldfish in pond - possible Finrot? 4/21/10
Hello, Crew!
It's early spring in Northeast Ohio, and my pond has started to come out of winter hibernation. I have approximately a 500 gallon pond that is almost 2 years old with a mixture of different varieties of goldfish. One of my larger (6 in.) comets has some black "speckles" on his head and his tail seems to be slowly deteriorating.
<Can't make out much from your small, blurry pix... but these markings are likely from "stress" from winter... and this pond... How warm is the water now? Does the weather get to freezing where you are? This pond may be such
a small volume that it vacillates too greatly in temp., water quality en toto>
The tail is not frayed and there is no redness, but it is about 1/2 inch shorter than it was 2 weeks ago with a white edge (see picture). He is acting fine (swimming, eating, etc.), and all of the other fish are showing no similar symptoms. I test my water on a regular basis, the readings yesterday were as follows: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, 8.6 ph during the day.
As a note, my ph has always been this high during the day. Do you believe this is Finrot?
<If so, the "cause" is what needs to be addressed>
What are the black speckles on his head? I know sometimes ammonia burn can cause some black spots, but my ammonia has never been more than 0. If it is indeed Finrot, do I need to treat the whole pond? I do not have a
hospital tank indoors.
<I would not treat, nor move these fish>
Thank you so very much for your time and advice,
<Likely improving weather will find these fish curing. Please read here:
and the linked files above, and here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish (RMF?) <<Agreed>> -- 4/12/10
I have a goldfish in a 200 gallon pond with 10 other small gold fish about 5" long. They are all doing great except one. He has one wart like looking thing on his tailfin and one small one on his body. He doesn't swim much or eat lately. He sits on the side of the pre-fab pond liner and kind of leans to one side. I checked the water and the numbers are all good.
The other fish look great it is just him. I did use Melafix in the water thinking it was fin/tail rot. What can I do for him.
Thank you,
<Hello Cindy. Without a photo it's difficult to know what's the deal here, but my guess would be Fish Pox. This looks like blobs of molten candle wax.
It's a viral infection and cannot be treated. The good news is it eventually gets better by itself. The bad news is that it only occurs where fish have been stressed one way or another, so you do want to check water quality and water chemistry. Ponds are particularly prone to pH drops if overstocked and not receiving adequate water changes to top up the carbonate hardness. The same environmental issue that allowed Fish Pox to get established could be the same thing that's making him lethargic.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish (RMF?) 4/15/10
Thank you so much for replying. Sorry to say, Penny did not make it. Thank you again,
<Too bad. Unlikely to have been Fish Pox then, so do review water conditions, accessibility of the pond to predators, and potential toxins such as pesticide sprays. Many pond fish die because of rapid/sudden pH changes, so do make sure the pond has sufficient carbonate hardness.
Goldfish are happiest at about pH 7.5, but ponds naturally tend to become acidic over time, especially if there's a lot of dead leaves and such at the bottom. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish (RMF?) <<Not a goldfish!>> 4/16/10
Thank you for the information. I will definitely test the water conditions.
<Happy to help. Do have a read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

ORF BENT 3/28/10
Hello, I have a good sized outdoor pond with filters running all year round, 4 years old, clear clean water, plenty of plants ( including the horrid blanket weed fished out once a month or so).........Started off with 4 healthy goldfish, now there's about 14.......And 4 golden orf, 2 of these went missing possibly a heron........Just 2 orf left....One healthy has grown to about 14 inches call him 'Moby' as he's massive compared to goldfish.....The other ones body started to round of the second year and now in the fourth year is completely bent he is almost an 'L' shape...................... I call him 'bendy'......... He eats, he swims about which looks very much a struggle for him............(They are both very skittish compared to the goldfish)........I just hope he is in no pain..........Is he ok just to leave like this and let him?? Just get on with things as he has been doing???? Or is there anything I can do for him
please.?? I appreciate any reply, thank you. Julie
<Hello Julie. Orfe, Leuciscus idus, are only fair to middling pond fish and rather more difficult to keep than Goldfish or Koi. They need fast-flowing, oxygen-rich water and are prone to jumping. They're easily alarmed if the
pond is too shallow or small for them to feel secure. You really do need at least six specimens for them to do well, and it's notable that while your Goldfish have multiplied, your Orfe have died off for one reason or another. What I'm saying is that these are fish that require some care, and can't be treated in the same way as Goldfish or even Koi. Crooked backs can mean one of four things. Firstly, poor genes. That'll be obvious from day one, and if this Orfe was a good size and shape when you bought him, then this isn't the issue here. The second reason is physical damage, and in the case of Orfe, throwing themselves against solid objects is not beyond the realms of possibility. The third reason is malnutrition, but this would have to be pretty severe and unless you were using the cheapest possible pellets isn't very likely. Orfe are somewhat carnivorous in the wild, feeding on insects and suchlike, so their diet needs to be fairly rich. But a good quality pond fish pellet should be adequate. The fourth and BY FAR the most common reason Orfe become deformed is the pond is too small. What you think is a good sized pond may not be what an Orfe thinks is a good size pond! Realistically, you need a 7500 litres/2000 gallons to keep Orfe
successfully. Such a pond would need to be at least 5 metres/15 feet long and not less than 1 metre/3 feet deep. Orfe are big fish, as you've seen, with an average length of 45 cm/18 inches in captivity, and quite a bit more than that in the wild. They are also fast, active swimmers completely unlike the lazy bottom feeders that are Goldfish and Koi. Provided the "bent" Orfe can feed normally, no, he's not in any pain and there's no need to euthanise him. But he is a clear sign something is amiss with this pond, at least in terms of maintaining Orfe, so you should reflect on that and act accordingly. One last thing. Please don't send messages in ALL CAPITALS next time. Re-typing your message into a form I (and visitors to this site) can read without doing my (their) head in took some time, and on a Sunday, when the clocks have gone forward and I'm feeling robbed because of it, well, that's just not nice. Normally we bounce back messages written this way, so please don't do it again. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: ORF BENT -- 3/31/10
Hi Neale,
Reply really appreciated, thanks very much,
<You are welcome.>
after taking in what you have said I think the possibility that Bendy the Orfe damaged himself possibly by leaping, jumping and throwing himself about as they do. I guess I come to this conclusion because his friend Moby is so
fit. Cos the pond is 3 meter by 2.5 meters across and a meter deep in center,
<Probably too small for Orfe, unfortunately.>
has a water fall and fountain meaning plenty of oxygen all year round. Also 2 foot of the pond has a deck area overhanging over it, which they go under out of harms way.
<Again, a potential hazard for these jumpy fish.>
They are used to me and come to me to be fed although as an Orfe they are still jumpy. They are fed March to October with good pellets and flakes and also live food in summer, pretty soon all the frogs-spawn will hatch and no doubt they will feast on tadpoles, because suddenly this year 4 frogs have made themselves at home.
So Bendy I hope although a disabled fish I hope is having a good life I will keep an eye on him..........once again thanks Neale I have enjoyed looking at your site and reading all the information, my hobby has become my pond and fish I love them.
<Very good.>
<Enjoy your fishkeeping. Cheers, Neale.>

Koi With Eggs in Fall 12/12/09
I have a koi (approximately 16" long) filled with eggs. The temperature has dropped dramatically in the past few days, and all the fish including this female have settled to the bottom of the pond. Is there anything I should do about this fish.
<Mmm, no. Leave it be as it is. Likely the eggs will be resorbed... Moving this fish, manipulating its environment at this time of year will only harm it>
This is my fourth year with this pond, and this has never happened before. They have always spawned in the spring/summer. Thanks for advice.
<Perhaps more evidence of change/s in our weather. Peace to you (and the world). Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi With Eggs in Fall 12/13/09
Thanks for your advice. That is my plan; hopefully, she will be fine. As you say....Peace!
<Have occasioned this first and other hand on several occasions. Keeping all... the fish/es, system in status quo, allowing time is prudent. Cheers, BobF>

Swim Bladder Disease in Koi
<Hello Don,>
I have a rather large Koi...approximately 18 inches long, and around 4 pounds in weight.
<Good size.>
He appears to have swim bladder disease and can use some help. I have read several articles about this over the past 4-5 days and still remain confused about what I can do to try and bring him out of this.
<Hmm... do understand that most swim bladder disorders (I don't like the word "disease" in this context) are more to do with other issues, particularly constipation. See here:
He began irregular swimming about 5-6 days ago. I live in an area where the outside temperature has been fluctuating ranging from moderately cool nights 40's and 50's to warmer daytime temps in the 50's to low 70's.
<Take care not feed these fish while it's cold; here in England at least, Koi aren't fed between late October and the beginning of March.
Temperatures below 10 C (about 50 F) prevent their digestive systems from working properly, and any food in the gut rots and promotes the growth of bacteria.>
My pond has been established for 8 years, and I have never lost a fish.
The other 5 fish in the pond are smaller, no larger than 9-10 inches in length and no more than 1 pound in weight. None of the smaller fish are experiencing any problems.
<May be a clue... bigger fish eat more, have longer digestive tracts, are perhaps more sensitive to water temperature/digestion issues?>
On the warmer days, I have lightly fed the fish (a high quality Koi staple food), but not on a daily basis.
Over the past few days, the evening temps have fallen into the high 30's, but still warming during the daytime into the 60's on occasion.
<Much too cold for feeding.>
With the exception of an elevated Ph level, all water conditions are excellent. I have slowly reduced the Ph level to normal about 6.4.
<That's actually pretty low for carp. A neutral to basic pH is optimal; aim for 7.5.>
I have also been treating the pond with Tetra Pond Treatment which contains Quinine Hydrochloride.
<Do be careful not to use a "scattergun" approach: medications are poisons, and if used without reason, can end up causing even more problems. Always identify the problem first, and then medicate. Medicating first, and hoping that cures something tends not to be a viable approach.>
I am not sure that my Koi is not simply constipated or really does have swim bladder disease, and I realize from reading it isn't always easy to distinguish one from the other.
<Quite so; but if the fish is defecating (easiest seen in a holding tank) then constipation is unlikely.>
My fish has a swollen abdomen, and there are some slight areas of blood streaks on the swollen area, and also on one dorsal fin.
<Ah, I see. Again, cold can cause problems, especially if you have any water features running (these cool the water further). Frost damage in the fins leads to inflammation and eventually Finrot-type infections.>
He remains mostly laying on his side and does not move much at all.
He has not been feed for the last 5 days, and I have to tried to get him to eat any peas, which I understand could relieve the constipation, if that is the problem.
<Do also add Epsom salt to the water, as indicated in the above article and associated FAQ. Epsom salt relaxes the muscles, allowing blockages to pass out more easily. Possibly easier to do if the fish can be moved to an aquarium or holding tank.>
Is there a water treatment I can try that may kill a bacteria infection, if that is what is causing the problem.
<Generally, adding antibiotics to ponds isn't practical or especially effective. There's just too much "ecology" going on there for such drugs to work. Antibiotic foods can be better, since they're going into the fish, but for things as big (and as valuable!) as Koi you need a vet to comment on this. He/she will either calculate the appropriate food dosage, or else inject the fish directly. If there is one fish on the planet that veterinarian science has a good handle on, it's the Koi, so finding a vet able to do this shouldn't be too hard.>
Something that I can use in the pond along with the other fish?? I do not have a hospital tank (but could set up something if it may help). Also, with a hospital tank, how much trouble will this cause give the change in water temp.
<Don't expose the fish to massive temperature changes, but by all means fill the tank with water from the pond, and let it warm up slowly as needs be.>
The pond water temp has to be around the mid to high 40's or low 50's at this point, and I don't want to traumatize the fish with a large temp change to warmer water.
Any assistance you can give me with this would be greatly appreciated, as I do not want to lose my prize Koi.
<I bet. These are lovely fish, and worth going the extra mile for.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Swim Bladder Disease in Koi (RMF?)<<You're spot on>> - 11/07/09

Thanks so much for the reply.
<My pleasure.>
I agree that "disorder" is a better term when talking about swim bladder issues. Your comments have caused me to think more about my Koi's problem.
<Very good.>
I realize there are a number is things that can cause the swim bladder to malfunction, such as constipation, a tumor, a bacterial infection, injury, genetic defect, just to name the most obvious.
<Indeed. A vet can narrow these down some more, but from my vantage point on the other side of the Atlantic from you, the best I can do is mention some of the possibilities.>
I have to some degree examined my Koi's abdomen and it feels pliable, no hard spots that may indicate some sort of injury or tumor.
<That's good to know.>
I believe I am ruling out a bacterial infection, since the other fish in the pond show no signs of any issues.
<Hmm... would be careful about this. Genetic variation in fish, as in humans, does affect predisposition to disease.>
Unless the large one's immune system was somehow depleted, I would think if it is bacterial, viral, or some other organism causing the problem, the other fish would also be effected.
<Perhaps. Broadly, yes, it's true that if water quality was bad, several fish would show signs of a suppressed immune system (e.g., Finrot). But this doesn't have to be the case.>
I have also looked at some different pictures of examples of Dropsy....and my Koi doesn't look like any that I have seen. There is no overall swelling of the body, and only a very few scales that are slightly protruding on his abdomen where the swelling is located, but not to any degree it gives the appearance of Dropsy.
<This is also good news. Dropsy tends to be difficult to treat, since by the time it appears (it's a symptom rather than a disease) whatever disease is at work has progressed a very long way. Again, vets can help, particularly where Koi are concerned since they're big enough to treat. But even with Koi, the prognosis is mixed, at best.>
This brings me back to the constipation, and since I had given then food during more colder weather than I normally do (on those warm days) when they were swimming around giving me that look like, don't just stand there give us a bite to eat!!
<Resist! Or at least, provide high-fibre foods that'll get shifted through the gut quickly. Plant material is the obvious thing, and a clump of Elodea thrown into the pond would make a find snack for them.>
If I create a hospital tank using the colder pond water...would it be ok to bring in side and allow to warm to room temp?
<Yes, this is fine. Do put the tank somewhere cold though, like a garage, shed or basement. Or even an unheated spare bedroom (which is where, funnily enough, I overwinter my carnivorous plants that, like Koi, need a cool winter).>
Or should I be more gradual than that?
<The more gradual the better, but don't get paranoid about this. Provided filtration and if necessary aeration are adequate to the size of the fish and the aquarium being used, Koi handle this sort of thing just fine.>
I will have to figure something out as far as filtration and circulation....and I think I have enough resources to get the proper amount of Epsom salt in the water.
<You certainly can add Epsom salt to ponds, but you'd need an awful lot, and getting it out again afterwards would mean changing all the water, and that really isn't practical with most ponds. That's why it's better to do this using by moving the fish to a hospital tank. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Swim Bladder Disease in Koi 11/10/09
Thanks again for all of your help.
<Happy to help.>
Unfortunately I lost my big guy last night.
<That's too bad.>
I did get him in a hospital tank over the weekend, set up with aeration and filtration and a heater...but I guess I was too late, or it was something that just wasn't going to be cured with the resources I had and my level of knowledge. I am just glad I gave it my best shot!
<Indeed, sounds like you did.>
Thanks again, and I truly appreciate all of your assistance!!
<Good luck with your remaining fish! Cheers, Neale.>

Koi with bent tails 10/29/09
hi, i am looking for help with koi with bent tails. we had 1 fish that developed a bent tail, gradually over period of 2 month became severely bent. Eventually this affected his ability to swim upright!! He would
lodge himself between pond liner, in order to stay upright, or else he would mainly flap about trying to correct himself. We have since humanly put him out of his misery (2 wks ago) now i have noticed 2 more fish who have developed this same problem, tail only slightly bent right now, but this is how it started with other fish. Any help on this would be appreciated,
Kind regards, Gilly
<Hello Gilly. It's quite common for fish to be born with bent spines, and good breeders cull deformed fish long before the fish are sent to the shops. But for fish to develop bent spines once mature, that's a whole
other thing. It's typically caused by some problem in terms of maintenance.
The most common reasons are physical injury, dietary shortcomings, poor water quality, and certain (apparently Mycobacterium spp.) infections. I'd consider each of these in turn. Koi aren't likely to physically damage themselves given a sufficiently large pond since they aren't that active, and this is more of a thing with, for example, Orfe, which tend to be skittish and prone to flying into things. Dietary shortcomings are a real problem with Koi because they need a very carefully balanced diet with lots of green foods, or at least processed foods based on plant material.
They're acutely sensitive to Vitamin C deficiency. A key problem here is that Vitamin C isn't stable, and if you buy a big tub of Koi pellets, over time, once open to the air, the vitamin content can drop alarmingly. A vet can help by administering vitamin booster shots, but it's better to avoid this problem by regularly augmenting the diet of your fish with some fresh green foods, such as cheap pond plants or certain green foods from the kitchen. Poor water quality is another major problem with Koi. While their ancestors are famously tough, Koi are so inbred that they're astonishingly
sensitive to non-zero nitrite/ammonia levels, and continual exposure to high nitrate levels will do them harm as well. Check the filter is doing its job, and double-check you aren't overfeeding and that the pond isn't
overstocked. Finally, bacterial infections. These will almost always be triggered by some kind of problem in terms of care, so while bacterial infections might shift the immediate cause in a different direction, the
ultimate cause is still likely to be down to injury, diet, or water quality. There isn't much you can do about Mycobacterium infections using off-the-shelf medications, even antibiotics, and you will need a vet to
diagnose such a problem and devise an appropriate treatment. Do deformities heal themselves? Generally not, but if the deformity is slight, the fish may adapt, and as it grows, the problem will be less noticeable. Again, a vet will probably be the best person to balance the severity of the deformity against the quality of life. If conditions in the pond can be improved, there's no reason to kill a Koi with a mild deformity. Indeed,
some people learn to love such oddball specimens! But still, it's something to avoid, and you want to think long and hard about what's wrong in the pond such that you've had to deal with at least three deformed fish.
Cheers, Neale.>

Koi problem... reading 10/20/2009
I have a 2-year old koi in our pond that has developed a problem. I had put leaf mesh over the top of the pond, and the next day found the two koi on top of the mesh. Mr. Big, the older of the two koi, is fine. Carmen, is not.
Today she was swimming on her side or upside down. Is it bloat?
<... a term w/o a specific cause... A symptom>
The pond is 120 gallons, and we have a heater. I'm hoping that we aren't going to lose her.
<This volume is too small to keep Nishikigoi>
Would putting Epsom salts in the pond hurt? There are other fish in the pond as well - 4 comets.
<... not a good idea to mix...>
Thanks for any help you can give me!
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Koi, hlth. 10/15/09
I have a pond about 1/3 acre and have had koi for many years. I lost one this
summer, and found one dying this morning. it had a swollen stomach, blisters on its side, it back was arched from swollen stomach. its anal port was swollen and popped out about the size of a silver dollar. would you know what may have caused this?
Wade graham
Canton, pa.
<Frightening for sure... there are a few possibilities here... leading likely to bacterial involvement. Have you had a change in the operation of the pond in recent times? An influx of water, some spraying of pesticide
nearby? How do the rest of the livestock there look? Please see here re Aeromonads: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm
and the linked article linked above re pond fish/koi disease.
Bob Fenner>

re: Koi, hlth. 10/16/09
Thank you for responding, the only thing is we had to disturb the pond and had a backhoe dig out part of bottom in the water to fix a leak. maybe that was enough to cause damage, I see a little hydraulic residue on the water when it was done.
<It might well be that this is the cause Wade, or at least a contributor... Best to overfill the basin to float off any "residue", keep whatever aerator/aerating mechanism going continuously (e.g. a destratifier). BobF>
re: Koi
Here are some pictures that might help. thanks
<Mmm... these non-emarginated sores do look like Aeromonad involvement... but there are almost always environmental mediating factors in such instances... I would not be feeding these fishes if your water temperature is staying below 55F. BobF>

Re: Koi, hlth. 10/16/09
Hi Bob,
I'd concur with your message about not feeding koi while it's cold. Here in England, it is well known you need to stop feeding once water temperature approaches 10 C (about 50 F). The explanation given is that while the movement of food through the gut of the fish slows down with its metabolism, bacterial decay of the food doesn't slow down as much. So you have lots of potential for serious problems, including symptoms like those described by your correspondent. I believe the same holds true for hibernating reptiles and amphibians. In England at least, goldfish and koi are not fed between October and about March. If they do need to eat, they have access to algae and organic material in the pond, and there's seemingly much less risk from those than from high-protein pellets.
Cheers, Neale
<Thank you for this. Will compile. BobF>

golden Orfe with unidentifiable disease, pd. 8/29/2009
i- Having spent hours trawling through a variety of fish diseases possible in pond fish and coming to no conclusions am hoping your expertise can help
<Do our best!>
ii- Have a 550 litres pond with 4 golden Orfe and 2 comets- all brought as babies and all ( were) thriving and growing rapidly and seemingly happy. Am novice fish keeper and pond in place for approx 16 months.- filter, fountain and solar air pump ( Orfes like lots of oxygen/fast flowing water )
<Yes they do, and most mortality of this species, Leuciscus idus, occurs when kept in slow, sluggish water conditions. During summer, Orfe often become stressed because oxygen concentration drops, and the addition of extra pumps to increase aeration or circulation can be useful.>
Literally overnight my biggest Orfe -- apprx 6 inches- has appeared with what looks like a white collar around his neck- not fuzzy looking nor white spots- and on closer inspection it looks as if he has overnight lost colour on his scales here .
<Can happen with many Cyprinidae, including Goldfish and Orfe. In part, because "golden" Orfe are a man-made variety, genetic throwbacks can lead the reappearance of their normal silvery-brown colour. Also, certain types of physical damage can lead to changes in colour.>
He has isolated himself from rest of fish and not feeding.
<Very odd.>
Both extreme changes of behaviour as Orfe go round in shoal and he was always first to feed and was at point was take food from hand. I really want to help him but cannot see what problem is.
<Nor can I, from the information given. One possibility is predation; cats and certain birds can, will attack Orfe given the chance, and even if unsuccessful, their claws or beaks can do physical damage. If not too serious, this will heal. Physical damage is always a possibility. Orfe are prodigious jumpers, and if there are solid objects above the water, like a bridge or decking, they can injure themselves. Diseases such as Finrot and Fungus are usually distinctive, and often appear on the fins before the body. Consider both, and compare what you see to the symptoms indicative of these diseases.>
Am planning on 30% water change and test water ( although do this regularly and has been fine) . Currently other fish seem fine. Would a salt bath help?
<Possibly; Orfe, or at least wild Leuciscus idus, are salt-tolerant, occurring in brackish water in parts of their range. So a low dosage in a suitably cool aquarium (around 3-6 grammes per litre) across a few weeks might help by reducing the chances of bacterial infections. Simply taking the fish and dipping it in salty water would likely stress the fish rather than do any good, so personally, wouldn't bother.>
Bit nervous about doing this- have read cooking salt dissolved and fish in bath for 20 min.s- but willing to do what it takes just do not want to stress him more ? Wary of medications as Orfe sensitive to some
<Quite; antibiotics should be fine, but things with copper and formalin are more risky. Tea-tree oil (e.g., Melafix) should be safe. Ideally, ask a vet.>
Only other possible thought is- we have a chicken wire frame over pond as two doors down have had a heron stealing their beloved fish- I am wondering if some how heron has got beak through the gaps ( possible have heard they are tenacious) _ grabbed him and then dropped him as couldn't get through wire- in which case he has bruise/wound which I am not sure what to do with
<A very plausible suggestions.>
iii- Think this is an excellent site by the way
<Kind of you to say so.>
Sorry for length but would really appreciate any ideas/advice
iv- Thanks
v- Sarah
<Thanks for writing, Neale.>
Re: golden Orfe with unidentifiable disease 8/29/2009

Thank you so much for informative answer.
<Happy to help.>
Have had a few developments over last 24 hours. Think Orfe definitely got trapped in wire netting ( either jumping/heron) and sustained injury which now very much looks like fungus - white cotton wool appearance on injury site.
<I see.>
Have now got some medications to treat pond for fungus /bacteria which have put in- slightly worrying has turned whole pond green!
<Normal; the medication you're using sounds like one of the organic dyes such as Malachite Green, and being dyes, they colour things.>
but other fish all seem fine and info says is fine for all pond fish/plants/filter- have to treat over 5 days so will see how we go. Will give salt bath idea a miss- didn't really like idea of this.
<Actually, though it sounds harsh, the use of salt is *by far* the mildest way to treat many diseases. Adding salt randomly isn't something I recommend, despite many "old school" hobbyists doing this without
understanding why. Because many fish are tolerant of salt, at least to a point, it's much safer to use than many medications, such as those containing copper or formalin, which are outright toxins and poison the
fish to some degree. Malachite Green for example is a known fish poison, and becomes more toxic at high temperatures and/or acidic pH levels. So don't be surprised if some/all of your fish begin to show signs of stress.
Not all fish react negatively equally quickly, and in most cases the Malachite Green breaks down in the tissues and water before any serious harm is done; but some fish, notably catfish and loaches, have been
reportedly poisoned by organic dyes even at "therapeutic" doses. Hence when treating these fish for Whitespot, we tend to recommend salt and raised temperature rather than the more risky, if widely sold, Ick medications. As for Orfe, I don't know, but would watch for signs of distress and act accordingly. All this said, while brackish water can suppress fungal infections rather well, you'd need to add a lot of salt, and though the Orfe would adapt, the plants, frogs, etc. might not.>
Have raised netting so if Orfe jumps again ( they do to catch flies- which is quite impressive) hopefully will be OK
You live and learn
Thanks again for great info and advise
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish (pond; gasping Oranda) 8/12/09
Hello, I have a question regarding my Orandas. They are approximately 5 years old, live in an outdoor pond, just the three of them, which gets heated in the winter. All have been fine, they eat peas, oranges, pond plants, and some commercial food. This past week the biggest has been hovering near the surface all day.
<Check the temperature, water quality, and pH. Goldfish don't like very warm water, and in hot summers a source of shade (like a pergola) is essential. Water quality is as important in a pond as in an aquarium, so
check the nitrite concentration, and make sure the filter is working properly. A pond may not need a filter when the Goldfish are small, the plants and sediment housing enough bacteria to do the job. But as the years
pass, the Goldfish get bigger, and inevitably there comes a point when a filter becomes essential. As for pH, Goldfish like basic water, so the pH should be between 7 and 8. If the pH is dropping below 7, i.e., becoming acidic, it's a good sign your pond needs a thorough clean to remove the organic matter producing acids. Goldfish can be killed, quite quickly, by prolonged exposure to acidic conditions.>
He is eating, but then will go back to hovering, he is usually quite active. I'm concerned he's dying. I've checked the water, all seems okay,
<Define "okay"; I need numbers!>
it has been particularly hot here in No. Calif, but the pond does get some shade. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. Tricia
<Cheers, Neale.>

I need ur help with a koi 8/12/09
I just notice that my koi has a very red gill--I cant tell if its moving or not. I'm really worried about it Help thanks Judy
<Is the gill cover red? As in damaged or infected? The gill cover is the large, plate-like structure that moves in and out when fish breath. It's also called an operculum. Or is the gill cover damaged or curled, in such a way you can see the bright red (blood red) feathery gills underneath?
Damage to the gills is sort of serious, because the gills are delicate, but that said, otherwise healthy fish can live long and happy lives with a missing gill cover. Gill curl, when the gill cover curls back, is usually a
sign of prolonged stress, typically water quality problems. Hope this helps, Neale.>

re: I need ur help with a koi 8/12/09
yes the cover is red- I did notice that it is moving if i need to get meds do i put him/her in a tank alone or will it be okay. tried to get pic to send but fish wouldn't pose LOL thanks
<If the gill cover is red, then likely physical damage (with pond fish, often caused by cats and other predators). If water quality is good, should heal by itself quite quickly. Treatment with a suitable antibacterial or antibiotic is recommended. Cheers, Neale.>

1 sick koi 7/19/09
Hi Guys,
I have a koi pond in my back yard, about 6500 gallons that I hand-dug. One of my koi, he is about 17 inches long and about 7 years old, can't go fully under water. He is moving around fine, eating well, but part of his back is above the water line.
<Hmm... most likely constipation; do review here:
While Koi aren't goldfish, they're every bit as herbivorous, and a common mistake is to give them too much high-protein food and not enough fibre.
Failing that, review water quality; Koi are sensitive to poor water quality, and issues like high levels of nitrate or sudden acidification can cause problems.>
I think it may be a swim bladder problem or a leech problem. I've noticed some leeches in my filter medium pads and have picked them out. I ve also tried to trap them with beef liver in a can with holes in the sides; Koi's have eaten through the coffee can to get to the meat! I will try a metal can next.
<Most leeches in most ponds are harmless, assuming of course you're not looking at Planarians (flatworms) and calling them leeches! Planarians are also mostly harmless. You need only suspect dangerous leeches if you can see three-toothed bite marks on your fish.>
I know that I can try Epsom salts, but if I do 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons of water, then that would be about 433 tablespoons of salt. Any clues as to how many cups that would be?
<Surely you can do this yourself? Get a measuring cup, count how many teaspoons it takes to fill. You might find it quicker to do a half-cup measure if you have one, and double it to get the per-cup amount. Either way, say you get 30 teaspoons per cup. If you needed to add 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons, then a 30-teaspoon cup would do 30 x 5 = 150 gallons.>
None of my other fish are affected. I would truly appreciate a reply. I don't want to destroy my fish if I don't have to. They are all at the breeding age and have had two years of fry. I have regular domestic koi, butterfly and black Malaysia. I feed them Blue Ridge Color food. You can see a picture of my pond at: www.angelfire.com/biz/twinmagnolias .
<Nice pond.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Koi in trouble after a rainstorm Likely toxic water\Need more information. 7/13/2009
<Hi Christin.>
I have had a Koi pond for the past ten years and have had no trouble with anything so far, two years ago I got three new koi and they have been doing very well in the pond as well.
<Sounds good.>
I live in North Carolina in high point last night we had a large thunderstorm with lots of rain, my pond overflowed which it has never done before most of my Koi are small because they are goldfish koi mixes but the three I got two years ago are all about 13 inches long.
My pond is 500 gallons I have a waterfall and another pump in the middle of the pond for aeration I have four Goldfish-Koi mixes that are about 8 inches long and then the other three are about 13-14 inches long they all like each other they don't fight or pick on any one fish.
<What do you have for filtration?>
My biggest Koi that I have out of the three I got 2 years ago I found upside down floating in my pond this morning, he is still breathing but very labored and shallow, with periods around 3 seconds of nothing at all I took him in to my recovery tank which is twenty gallons and tried to see if he would do anything different.
<Hmm..... how did the water test - both in the pond and in your recovery tank? Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, etc.>
I didn't know if the large amount of water that fell could have caused something to happen to him, my other Koi seemed stressed as well so I removed 25% of the water and put fresh well water back it is still off and on raining and the Koi I have in my recovery tank is still floating on his back breathing heavily he also seems to have blood coming from his rectum <Not a good sign.>
I want to know if you all would be able to help me save him or at least tell me what might be wrong with the water in my pond, I run test on my pond every other week and the water has remained the same throughout nothing was out of the ordinary this morning with the water but the pH was more basic so I added a pH balancer,
<I really need more information to best help you. I need actual numbers from your test kits. Also, did you do anything around the pond recently?
Fertilizer, insecticide, etc?>
I just want to make sure the rest of my Koi will be ok even if my other one dies I have never had a problem like this before, my Koi in the recovery tank when I hold him right side up he tries to move his fins but he only flips back upside down.
Please help if you can, thank you.
<Please do respond back with the information I requested.>

Re: Koi in trouble after a rainstorm Likely toxic water\Need more information. It was toxic water 7/14/2009
<Hi Christin.>
This is all the info I have right now, the pumps that I use are in a black box they sit in there is a looser black wire type filter and then a tightly woven white filter that is under the black one,
I have had the pumps for the same amount of time as the pond and the brands and labels have long wore off they are still in good shape and work well though.? I have not treated anything around the pond with fertilizer or insecticides or anything like that I never do, the pH is usually about a 7.5 to 7.8 today it was an 8.4 and once I added the neutral regulator it went and has stayed at a 7.2, the pH in the aquarium was a 7.0 it was fresh clean well water there were also no ammonia nitrates or nitrites in that water. In the pond the numbers were as follows
Nitrates-40ppm (mg/L)
Nitrites-.5ppm (mg/L)
Hardness-150 GH ppm
Alkalinity-80 KH ppm
Ammonia-.25ppm (mg/L)
<The ammonia and Nitrite levels got too high. Something has killed off your biological filter.>
My fish that was in my recovery tank didn't live but my other fish seem fine I don't know if maybe something was just wrong with him, my other fish in the pond seemed stressed this morning so I added a few air pumps to add air to the water and they seemed to respond well to more air but they were swimming around the top more than normal but they are eating their pellets and they seem to as the day went on not stay at the top as much as before.
Thank you for getting back with me as quickly as you have, I hope this information helps
<You have toxic water and the biological filtration on your pond is re-establishing itself. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm  and here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pondsubwebindex/biopdfilters.htm >
Re: Koi in trouble after a rainstorm 7/17/2009

<Hi Christin>
Thank you for your help and information the rest of my fish are doing well so far and they are acting normal again.
<Excellent news.>
Thank you
<My pleasure>

Mysterious koi illness... study, application... 7/14/09
I have searched every website I can find and ask several pond specialist in or area but have not found the answer to my koi problem. All of my water test are good except salt witch I've been told to add sea salt instead of pond salt specifically for the koi.
<I would not add salt period... not often useful, but quite often deleterious>
The problem started after I added three large comets from a friends pond.
<Mmm, not a good idea to mix goldfish and Nishikigoi... The reasons are gone over on WWM's pond subweb>
Their pond is a very stable, healthy home to many large and small comets. Since adding the new fish one of my koi had a black spot behind the gills. It grew to the size of a nickel then all the scales fell off. Then I notices black spots on the other koi but they haven't lost any scales, yet. The first koi has now lost scales farther back on it's tale the same size as the first. The only other symptoms I have noticed are the over all color has changed to a dull orange and it seems to stay on the bottom sometimes. It still comes up to feed very vigorously and swims around with the others. The only answer I have found so far is some kind of disease that there is no cure for that is carried by gold fish to koi. I'm told that the gold fish do not show any signs of disease they are only the carrier. One of the pond stores I use lost $1,800 to this disease. Of course I can't remember the name of it only that it starts with "P" sorry.
Before I learned about this mystery disease I treated with Melafix
for 14 days with no benefit what so ever. I have now purchased Tetra Pond fish treatment at the recommendation of a local pond specialist. They told me they hated to even sell me the Tetra treatment since we have no idea what we're treating.
<... then why not find out? A simple microscopic examination, skin scraping... perhaps with a dye...>
Do you have any idea what this is or how
to treat it from my pictures and my description?
<Can only guess... there are a few Protozoans... Likely a Ciliate... maybe read re Chilodonella, Costia... and the treatments for such>
The pictures below shows the first koi that showed signs of the disease. If you can tell it has lost scales on the left of it's body just behind it's gill and on the right side you can see where it has lost scales at the end of the top fin before the tail. It also has more black spots on top of it's body as you can see. The only other fish that show any signs of anything out of the ordinary is the comet to the right of the koi with the white head. That comets head wasn't always white and it has spread with time.
<"Something" eating it...>
None of the other comets show any signs of disease and I didn't notice that one until after I realized the koi had black spots. This pond is over a year old the only other guess I could make is we may have over stocked it with the addition of the last 3 big comets. I'm told that would not have caused this kind of disease.
Please help I hate not being able to do something for them.
Ruth Hall
<Read on Ruth, read on... Bob Fenner>

Pond Goldfish 6/28/09
Hello BobF
Please see my re-sent question in normal text sorry for the one in capitals I misread your info page.
<I see>
I wonder if you could help me with the following problem.
<Will do my best>
I have a 2500 gallon pond in which my koi and goldfish have been happy and disease free till about two years ago.
Many of my goldfish have been lost to very bad ulcerations on their sides,
<Mmm... Viremia? Viral? Environmental?>
however the koi have not been affected at all. I have spent rather a lot of money using various treatments from major aquatic retail stores and have listened to their advice but to no avail, I have lost 3 goldfish in the
past 2 weeks. I have even taken them out and tried to treat them but with no result. Rather than let them suffer I now extract the fish from the pond and dispose of them as and when required.
The ulcers/sores would be classed as MRSA in humans,
and wonder why the koi are not suffering the same fate?.
<Mmm same family, different genera... though not too different... can cross breed... But there are differences in susceptibility to other contagions known twixt these species>
Any advice to eradicate this problem would be very much appreciated.
Regards Gordon Vaughan
<Mmmm, likely your best "bet" here is to seek out the services of an "aquatic veterinarian"... perhaps the Yellow Pages... you may need to refrigerate (not freeze) and send a specimen or two out... Bob Fenner>

Losing Koi... paucity of data 6/19/09
Hi my name is Vicky
<Hello Vic>
last year i started my pond its 20' by 12 and about 3 1/2 feet deep.
Well this spring got it all set up have a waterfall and pump in middle and a uv filter box i had about 8 to 10 fish in it and everything was fine, a week ago i went and bought about 12 fish 3 medium and the rest were little including some babies all koi. My 3 bigger ones are dead now and have lost 5 more that were smaller.
<Yikes... no quarantine procedure?>
Some of the fish that were dead had cloudy eyes the others looked like their scales were coming off and some looked fine. My concern is the ones that already were fine and doing good like my large butterfly koi i am really scared i might lose him, anyway i did a fifty percent water change
and put some pond salt back in and water conditioner and I have been using megafix and PimaFix
<... please... follow directions... and search/read on WWM ahead of writing us. These two "compounds" are worthless>
for bacterial and fungus disease with my uv filter turned off. I have a lotus plant and lily plants in there also with some floating plants too, since i turned off my uv my water is real green too. Do you think what I am doing will help?
<... There's insufficient useful information here to help you... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm
Especially the sections on disease... and write back with water quality test measures, some close-up, well-resolved images...
Bob Fenner>
Re: Losing Koi, still not reading... 6/20/09

I have been checking my water for about 3 weeks now, today i checked again nitrate 0,nitrite 0, GH in-between soft and hard looks more hard, KH 80, ph in the range of 7.8 to 8.4 says alkaline?
<Yes... and this is too large a range if shifting. You need to address the algal issue... which is driving this variation>
From what i have read the nitrate and the nitrite are most important?
<Mmm, no... of nitrogenous issues, ammonia is paramount, with NO2 secondary>
well its 6:00 Cincinnati time and I don't see any fish dead they all seem to look well moving ,eating and from what i can tell i cant see any signs of cloudy eyes or fin rot or any thing else tomorrow i am going to get in and check a lot closer but i want to turn my uv back on,
<I definitely would do so>
like i said earlier i was treating it with those 2 products the last treatment i did was about 7:00 Thursday night do you think it has been long enough so i can turn my uv filter back on?
<... the products mentioned are shams... Again, read... on WWM re>
I hope i have gave enough info that you can try to help, but this is all confusing to me. By the way 3 years ago I had a smaller pond in a different town and the only problems I had were with fish getting caught up in the pump, its funny i did not have to do anything I mean anything to the water just let nature that its course i guess and all my fish were fine and till one day 13 fish were just gone totally vanished. I thought some of the neighborhood kids took them because we had a few bad apples but for all I know a raccoon and other animal got them.
<... Turn the UV back on and read. BobF>

Pond Goldfish with Dropsy -- 06/15/09
I have had problems in the past few years with cases of dropsy among the goldfish in my small (125 gallon) pond--about one case every two years.
<Likely environmental: for a pond, this is rather small, and if you don't have a filter, then water quality, pH stability and oxygen availability are likely very variable. There's probably a reason the deaths are periodic as
well. A fish dies, so the pond load is reduced and the fish are healthy, but then the fish grow above a threshold size, the pond is overloaded again, and another fish dies, and so on.>
The affected fish actually survive in an increasingly bloated state for over a year, beginning to show symptoms one summer and finally succumbing at some point during the following summer. This is the beginning of summer number two for one of the fish, and for the first time ever a second fish is showing signs of being affected concurrently. I have dealt with any and all environmental issues that might contribute to this problem and, after hours (probably totaling days) of researching the web for info, I am currently dosing the pond with Maracyn 2 and Epsom salts.
<While antibiotics such as erythromycin and Minocycline can help, and Epsom salts may reduce the swelling, the prognosis for Dropsy once it is established is generally pretty poor. It's more important to review the causes, and usually euthanising the fish while fixing the aquarium or pond ends up being the way forward.
The Epsom salts ratio is presently 1/8 tsp per 5 gal of water, as I have read that this ratio will not harm the other healthy fish in the pond. I have also seen recommended doses of 1 tsp per 5 gal, and even 1 to 2 Tbsp per 10 gal,
<1 teaspoon per 5 to 10 gallons for Dropsy.>
however I haven't found any clear info re whether those stronger ratios will harm (e.g.. dehydrate) the other healthy pond fish or if those doses are for hospital tanks only.
<Won't do any harm to healthy fish. Goldfish are very tolerant of hard water, in fact they need it, and do very badly in soft/acidic conditions.
Feral Goldfish are found in brackish water too, which underlines their preference for mineral-rich rather than mineral-poor conditions.>
I'm trying to avoid a hospital tank if I don't need one, since catching the darn fish isn't easy and is stressful not only to the fish being chased but to all the other fish who think they're being chased (not to mention the
person wielding the net). Could you clarify for me what the maximum Epsom salts dose for a pond or aquarium containing a general population of healthy fish would be, and whether or when the dose should be repeated?
Thank you very much.
<Cheers, Neale.>

can you please help my fish? (Goldfish, dropsy) -- 06/12/09
Hello my name is Amanda and my goldfish needs some serious help.
<Indeed it does.>
My goldfish (im not sure what type of goldfish) is in trouble and i would like to take it to a vet. or a specialist on fish but my parents do not care much about the fish and, in their words, "don't want to waste time on it".
<Bad karma.>
I was wondering if there was anything i could do on my own to help save the fish. My fish is extremely bloated and its scales are standing up but he is not floating at the top of the tank. There are clear bubble like sacks coming out all over its body and there are little white dots on his head that look to be potentially harmful to him. I know that cleaning the tank is a start since it has been a while since it has been cleaned. but i was wondering if there is anything i can do to save him. what do you recommend?
I would greatly appreciate your help.
<It's almost certain your fish has Dropsy, also known as Oedema, a condition caused by organ failure. Usually this happens because water conditions have been bad for a long time, so you do need to review how your fish are being kept more generally. Is the tank big enough? Is the filter strong enough? Do you change enough water each week?
In any case, curing Dropsy is very difficult because the damage is done before you see the symptoms. Antibiotics such as erythromycin or Minocycline may help, and you can buy these from US pet stores under brand names such as Maracyn and Maracyn 2. As well as using antibiotics, if you ALSO add some Epsom salt at a dose of 1 teaspoon per 5 to 10 gallons and raise the temperature to around 82 degrees F, the antibiotics usually work quite a bit better.
Otherwise, Euthanasia is the only option, as described here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Pond Goldfish with Dropsy 5/16/09
Thanks, Neale, for the information. Half our goldfish are about twenty years old and the rest--their offspring--are eleven, so I guess it's not overly surprising that the odd one would suffer from some ailment or another at this stage.
<Be open minded: while I agree that at this age, some may simply be dying from natural causes, a wise aquarist take any deaths as possible clues something is amiss. Review stocking, filtration, circulation, etc.>
Thanks again. Mary.
<Cheers, Neale.>

New Pond, New Fish: Pond System\Water Conditions\No Useful Information 5/22/2009
<Hi Troy>
We have a new pond and 4 new fish, Koi.
They been in the pond for about 2 days and they don't do a lot of moving around or eat, every once in a while they do eat. How long will it take for the fish to get use to the pond.
<Need a lot more information than this. How big is the pond, did you test the water? What were the results of your water tests? What kind of filtration?
Do start here:
and read the articles and the linked pages on top.>

We have a new pond and 4 new fish, koi. They been in the pond for about 2 days and they don't do a lot of moving around or eat, every once in a while the do eat. How long will it take for the fish to get use to the pond. Troy
<Hi Troy, Mac here with you today. Koi are some of my favorite fish in the world and they are absolutely great in ponds so you have made a great choice. But you haven't told me. How big is your pond? What is the temperature of the pond and the outside area? Have you got water movement? So let me tell you a little about what I have seen with Koi. First, they get to be big fish, sometimes up to 18 inches or 2 foot long. They need a very large pond. Depending on where you live you'll need to have a pool that is at least two feet deep so in the winter they have a place to be safe where it doesn't freeze. You might already know lots of this so pardon me for repeating. They tend to do better with top food which is
food that floats and they tend to be better eating when the weather is warm but in my experience mostly at the end of the day. Wet web media has lots of information on koi so I encourage you to look it up and get as much info as possible. Oh and it might take a couple of days for them to settle in.
They will start coming to the top of the pond.
Best of luck,

Koi problem. No data, reading 05/23/09
I bought a Koi about a week ago. I just start noticing its not swimming smoothly ,Tail seams to be drooping and looks a little stiff. I never had a Koi do this before. It eats very well. What could be wrong ? Is there anything to do, will it die? thanks
<Umm... need more info... Read here:
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Pondfish hlth. reading 5/16/09
I have a 700 gallon pond with 12 goldfish and 1 koi the koi is about 14inchs long. I noticed that at night he is wedging his nose in between the rocks.?? I have a waterfall and an airstone in my pond for years = I'm wondering if its oxygen?
<Mmm, no... otherwise the goldfish would do so also>
all of a sudden? I live in ny - he eats during the day and swims around and I am also seeing some other fish just hanging out like they are sleeping at night only?
<Do rest nocturnally>
my ammonia is fine my ph was 7.8 someone told me that was a little high so I put in the ph down. I don't know what to do?
please help
<... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm
and the linked files above. Not enough information presented to begin speculating... Read, observe and report back with data as others have in your reading. Bob Fenner>

Orfe with green growth 5/2/09
Recently added (5 weeks ago) two Orfe (4-5 inches) to an established pond (10 years+), both appeared to have settled in well. The pond is a mix of Koi and Orfe.
<Sounds lovely! This time of year the Orfe should be nice and active, swimming about all over the place. Great fish.>
All readings are fine, with good water clarity.
<Impressive; Koi by their nature make water cloudy, which Orfe hate, so there's a real balance here that you'll need to maintain via filtration and keeping the bottom of the pond relatively silt-free.>
Last week I noticed signs of a green 'weed like' growth on one of the Orfe, fins have a stringy growth (almost weed like) and there is a slight fluffy growth on the sides of the body, limited to were the fins meet the body.
<If fluffy, does sound like a Fungal infection. I've never heard of green fungal threads, but grey and brown are certainly possible, as well as the usual white. Do consider possible alternatives though, in particularly
Columnaris, a bacterial infection that can form thread-like colonies.>
I removed from the pond and treated with Para-Pure and salt, no improvement. (2-3 days) I then moved onto a Anti fungus and Bacteria with salt again, and have continued with this. Whilst the growth is not getting any worse, it is also not improving. The fish is not eating. Having searched the web and checked with local suppliers I cannot identify what this growth is.
<Ideally, I'd use something capable of treating both Fungal and Bacterial infections, since both are possible. Use something based on some cocktail of antimicrobial, antibiotic and/or organic dyes; avoid pseudo-treatments like tea-tree oil and salt, which really don't work reliably. This said, I suspect a Fungal infection more probable, and if forced to choose, would target that first. Treatment in a hospital tank is the ideal scenario, though remember not to use carbon while treating. Since Orfe are sensitive to low oxygen levels, ensure the treatment tank is well filtered and aerated.>
If you could help identify what it is or suggest a treatment, I would be most appreciative.
Thanking you for your assistance in advance.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Orfe with green growth (RMF?) <Mmm, at times an oaf, but not an Orfe> 5/10/09

Good afternoon
I thought I would update you with news of the Orfe. Finally treated him with a product called Acriflavine. An intensive 'soak', followed by several days of slightly higher than recommended does in the holding tank. The growth cleared up, in about a week, and we returned him to the pond this morning, his first act was to eat!!
To confirm it was definitely a green growth that the Orfe had.
Many thanks for your assistance.
<Hi Peter. Acriflavine is a chemical (rather than a brand) used in many anti-fungal medications. It is, as you've observed, very effective. Now that you've established the problem was likely fungal, your next step is to figure out why the Orfe became infected; fungal infections primarily affect fish after they've been wounded or damaged in some way, typically through fighting or handling, but sometimes in pond fish via predators, frostbite,
etc. Cheers, Neale.>

Possible Tumor? Pondfish 4/28/09
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hello Stephanie,>
We have had an outdoor pond for 6 years now. It is a 500 gallon pond with a filtration system that over turns the water every hour and is also ran through a UV light. We clean the filters regularly and float Hyacinths during the summer. Our water is crystal clear with no odor and we never add chemicals...never! We live in Kentucky and our pond is shaded with a roof so there is plenty of sun and shade. Water temperature is good and they get plenty of oxygen due to a three tiered water fall. We actually do not do anything to it but replace evaporated water about every two weeks or so.
<All sounds ideal.>
Our fish are growing great, very active, get a long well with each other, and reproducing fine. Color is bright, breathing normal, scales good and beautiful. Not sure of breeds but believe comets and koi.
<Also good.>
Problem--6 years ago my friend gave me 2 fish (I don't know what the are...maybe comets?) They have long tails similar to butterfly koi but they do not have the [whiskers] that Koi have. They are reddish orange
and white in color.
<Most likely Goldfish of some sort, if they lack whiskers.>
They are approximately 10-12 inches from mouth to tip of tail. They were approximately 4-5 inches when we got them. But one of them last summer looked like it had a scale sticking up above it's right eye. Thinking it would fall off, we decided to leave it alone. Over the winter it grew. I netted it tonight for investigation and discovered it is at it's nostril.
It doesn't seem to bother it. It acts just as happy as ever and still as beautiful as it has always been. This is the only area of the spot and it is the about the size of an adult pinky finger tip. No other fish has this
or anything else. Is this a tumor?
<If only on one side of the head, then it is likely either a tumour or a cyst. Malignant tumours are rare in fish, and usually benign tumours or cysts only cause problems if they obstruct something important, like the
mouth or anus. The nostrils aren't terribly important to fish, since they only smell and don't breathe through them, so provided the swelling wasn't getting in the way, I'd not worry over much. A vet should be able to remove the thing without much bother. It's not something you can treat at home (unless you're a vet or surgeon, of course). The alternative explanation is Carp Pox, a viral infection very similar to Lymphocystis seem in tropical fish, particularly marine fish. Carp Pox tends to look like hot wax has been dribbled onto the fish and left to go solid. Like Lympho, it's basically untreatable but not usually fatal. Given good conditions, it eventually goes away, but like Lympho, this can take months or even years.
Carp Pox is usually related to overstocking and poor water quality, but may have other causative factors as well.>
Does it sound fatal?
<Not normally.>
Should I have it removed?
<Ideally, yes.>
Should I quarantine it for any treatment?
<Not required.>
Is this common in these fish?
<Not common, but does happen, just as with people. The reasons are obscure, and likely partly genetic, partly environmental, just as with humans.>
Please help! We love all of our fish but this one is special because it is one of our originals!
Thank you,
<Good luck, Neale.>

Strange looking white area on orange-red Koi 4/23/09
Dear Crew: I have corresponded with you several years ago regarding Shrimp... Koi with a kinked tail. He has since totally recovered and marvelously swimming "wit da fishes". My concern is now Marigold, a 10
year old orange-red butterfly Koi. I noticed white marks on her head when we opened our pond for the season yesterday. We are in Ohio and temperatures range from 50/39 (this week). We have pond and aerator going.
<I would take care to not do much with this system, its occupants till the water warms up considerably>
When I first entered your site today, I found something that was similar to my question, but then couldn't find it again. There is a definite "line" dividing koi head/body (where scales begin). I guess it would be the very top of head, opposite from nose. There are white marks there, smooth, not cottony, not raised, no prominent "edges"... only white and smooth, looking like someone took three fingers or an eraser and removed her orange color.
She is the only one. I called my regular "pond guy", nice, but really limited in koi health/diseases, and he said perhaps she swam under a low rock and scratched off the color. She is too large for me to "catch"...
and has been in the same pond since she was eight inches long... now nearly 30" long.
I can't find anything in Dr. Johnson's book, nor in others I have, the white marks are smooth, not raised or "cottony". Can you please help me?
None of the fish are doing too much swimming right now... it's 37 degrees, and they are huddled at the bottom, as in winter. All were quite active this past weekend when we were cleaning up leaves, etc., around the pond and cleaning filters.
<Mmmm, I would NOT do any of this till the water was staying in the mid 50's F... can cause real trouble...>
Anything you can offer regarding Mz. Marigold will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you. Barbi Morell
<Please, don't "do" anything at this point... Just wait for a month or so... then try to take a few good pix... and send them along. Really, best to not fool with the system, the Nishikigoi at this juncture at all. Bob Fenner>
Re: Strange looking white area on orange-red Koi 04/23/09

Dear Bob... thanks so much for the prompt response. When you said "don't do anything" to the system... we already put in the Microbe-Lift PL and tested for everything. We also did a 10% water change.
<... Don't do anything further... Again, please read my writings on WWM, the TFH book I penned re... >
We needed about 14 cups of salt to bring it to the correct level. That's been done "so far". The next thing will be another one-fourth of the Microbe-Lift PL in four weeks.
<I would NOT...>
Soooooooooo... just the pump is running now, not the aerator or the UV Light/Pump. Shall we just "stand down" till we start averaging water temp of 50-55 degrees?
Sorry to again have to write, but the guy who put in our pond 10 years ago is really our only source. Can't really manage to find "good" info on the net... your site was the only one that has given us proper information. Thanks again, and hope you'll let me know about the above. Don't want to be a pest!. Barbi Morell
<No worries. When, where in doubt read...:

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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