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Aquatic Gardens

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

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Albino Catfish in pond, winter health question  04/17/2006 We have an Albino Catfish in an outside pond, approx 500 gal pond, he has been out there all winter with our Koi fish, <Mmm, likely a channel: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/ictalurids.htm> after doing our spring cleaning of the pond, cleaning leaves and such out, we noticed the catfish has this reddish color rash on the top of his body and somewhat on the sides. He is normally all white, didn't know if our water quality is still needing some fixing. <Mmm, careful here> The red rash looks like it is under his skin all the way back to his tail fins. He swims around really well, so don't know what to do for him or her. Can you advise?  Should I be feeding him something different then what we feed the Koi?? <No>   Thanks for anything advice you can give us.   Connie McCunn <I would not "do" anything here other than allow the water to warm up, keep treating this fish as you have been. Likely the reddish coloring is due to environmental stress... the cold, perhaps a degraded water quality over the winter. Adding medicine, salt will do this fish no good. It will "cure" of its own accord. Bob Fenner>

Pond disease, confusion, lack of useful info.    4/14/06 I have a 2800 gallon pond with blue light a 4000 a hour pump. A 4 tier water fall its been running 2 years with no prob. My fish just got small white bump spots on there nose and fins its on the gold fish and not the Koi and Shubunkins. I treated the pond with MelaFix <...> after two hours some of the spots were gone ??? Where did they go I have no idea do you ??? I have never added any salt should I ??    <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Swimming habits of Koi Blue Hi, I have a 1200 gallon, established Koi pond with 8 Koi and 1 gold fish.  I obtained all of them at the same time about 2 years ago.  All seem very happy but one "Blue".  A few days ago Blue separated itself from the rest.  At times it will gather with them or the others come over to it and hover around him/her.  "Blue" will sit at the bottom of the pond or swim up to the ledge and sit for a while.  On the occasion it swims - it will first swim backwards for about 6 inches then it goes forward.  When it starts swimming forward it swims at a 45 degree angle.  The tail does move as well as all the fins so I don't think there is fin damage.  The only other thing that might be of help is that the front fins below/behind the gills are partially brown, around the area that connects to the body.  Blue does have some brown spots on his head and along his body in a horizontal strip shape.  I have never noticed nor have I ever looked that closely to Blue before. Possible that this just may be his coloring.  Thanks for any help you can offer. Michael Tarvin <Some Koi (all are the same species) do just have a sort of "anti social" behavior repertoire, but this one reads like it is "blind"... Nothing much you can do here in any/all cases, but drop food near its snout, on a regular time basis to assure it is getting fed. Bob Fenner>

Sick pond goldfish...?   3/18/06 Fancy long tailed goldfish four year old appr. l pound from 2500 gallon pond stands straight up like man looking at the sun. Doesn't move around much unless you touch him, then he swims around a couple of seconds then back vertical again. Been like this for at least a week  or more. Other fish in pond does not to seem affected. I now have  him her in a five gallon bucket in the house. What is problem, what can I do ???? Anita reeves <??? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Dead fish Aaargh... ponds period  3/20/06 Hi <Hello> I inherited a pond last year when I moved house.  There are [or should I say were :-( ] 5 fish - look like goldfish but I'm not sure, they are mostly orange, orange and white and there is one black one - they range in size from about 15cm - 25cm in length.  About a week ago my son found one |(apparently) dead at the edge of the pond, but although it did move when he fished it out, it was obviously not long for this world and was barely breathing.  We put it in a large container (plastic barrel) to reduce the likelihood of any infection to the rest of the fish - though I suspected water quality to be the problem - <Me too> from what I know of aquarium fish.  I really know nothing about pond fish other than a note left me by the previous owners advising me to stop feeding and turn off pump with the onset of winter (which is about when we moved so we haven't had much to do with the fish up till now) and to turn the pump on in spring which I have now done. <You hopefully flushed the lines, filter/s if there...> I don't know what type of pump it is but it seems pretty basic and they didn't mention anything about filters - just that it may need cleaning out occasionally. We now look as though we are about to lose another fish - again one of the smaller ones - I cant see any obvious injury or illness other than the lack of life!  Not wanting to be flippant - I am really concerned.  Would appreciate any advice or request for additional information you may need.  I can send photos if you need. <You need to read first> We have loads of amorous frogs who seem very lively - would the change in pond life have any effect? Thanks in advance for your help. Also can you recommend a book on keeping pond fish - I think I need to do some swatting. Janet <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm Start at the top...> P.S constipated aquarium Oranda - we have been feeding daphnia to no effect and have added salt - going to try peas - do I squash them, remove the skin or what? <Pinch the skins off> (Obviously talking about the peas not the Oranda) <Bob Fenner>
Re: Dead fish Aaargh... ponds period   3/23/06
> Thanks for help - have done some swatting <?> and know where to look if need more help.  Have done massive water change and pump clean and all now seem to have livened up.  Found a rotten frog at bottom which must have been breeding bacteria etc. badly. <Yikes> We have 2 large fish and one small left and I think that 's probably enough from what I've read.  Anyway I'll keep on swatting and hope situation won't arise again! Janet <Swatting? Thanks for the further input. Bob Fenner> Hi Swatting = intensive reading Janet <Ahh! Thank you for this. RMF>

Shubunkin problem ... pondfish env. dis.  - 3/1/2006 Hello <Good morning... or later> You have helped me in the past regarding problems with a new pond.  I am in Cornwall, UK, and I have a 100 gall garden pond, with goldfish and Shubunkin.  It has been cold lately with some snow and ice.  One of the Shubunkin, the smallest at about 3" long, has been seen to be floating about in the crevices along the pond edge for about a week.  If touched it has swam away, downwards.   <Likely either from the cold, or more likely from the too-quick change in temperature. Larger ponds, with more depth in particular, are more thermally stable> On Sunday I had problems with the pump not working, and whilst out checking it, noticed that this fish had sank to the bottom and appeared motionless.  I reached in and picked it out, <Best not to "fool" with biota in ponds during cold seasons> it was not dead so I returned it to the pond to see if it would swim.  It got caught in the flow of the waterfall and was tumbled downward and then lay at the bottom again, as if dead.  I have brought it in the house, and left it in a bucket of pond water, along with a little weed. <See the above> It's gills are moving, and it's fins move from time to time, but it has a frayed tail, and a small chunk of it's face appears missing and hanging off.  It just sits at the bottom of the bucket.  At the base of the tail there appears to be a small cloud of fluffy grey, not really attached and growing on the fish, but just seems to be hanging on it.  I have not disturbed it at all.  Not knowing what to do, and reluctant to stress the fish with chemical treatments I have used Kusuri-Sabbactisun and Kusuri-Parazoryne, described as herbal treatments to boost the immune system.  The fish is still alive 3 days since being removed from the pond, surely a good sign.  I wonder if you have any advice on how I can treat it.  I would like to save it if I can as it is a particularly pretty fish, very opaque and almost all over pink, with bits of orange, and specks of grey.  It is at present still in the bucket, in a cool unheated room.  Would warming it help? <Not likely at this juncture... but worth a try. I would not return this fish to the outdoors till the weather is very warm consistently. Please read here re pond design: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pddessize.htm Bob Fenner> Any suggestions much appreciated. Wendy

Pond help, poor English   2/26/06 hello, i desperately need some help. I have had a mixture of gold fish and Koi in a pond outside i have had them for 2 years now, they have recently started getting sores in them and on and around the sore they have white, slimy, lumps almost like cotton on them i don't know what to do cause i have no clue what it is. Please help <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Koi sickness... env., lack of biol. filtr.   2/24/06 This is my first time posting but I read your site all the time and is very helpful, great site!  I'm having a problem with my Koi which is getting weak. The Koi is 2.5 years old and about 10 inches long in a 75 gallon tank. Last week he started to act funny by jumping out of the water, darting aimlessly at times. But I didn't see any signs of disease, bacteria, fungus, or parasites on him. I checked the water conditions and the ammonia was a little high .75 and so was the nitrate .50. <Likely nitrIte... both these measures are very toxic!> I do 25% water changes, clean filters, and add new carbon weekly. Second time toxins went above .25 after I got a biological filter. <You obviously need more biological filtration. Koi of this size, in warm/er water are copious producers of ammonia waste... needs ready processing> I never use salt but added 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons this time to help him (mixed in water bucket first). That night he looked a lot better and thought he was just being a weird fish. But now he is acting listless at the bottom of the tank, hiding, won't eat out of my fingers, looks scared, clamped fins, eyes looks bulged, and nothing on his body to indicate infection when I looked closely at him. Also I don't see heavy mucus build, he not losing color yet, but his scales are a little beat-up possibility from banging himself up. I have one 4" shark, one small tiger barb, and 2 algae eaters in the tank and leave the Koi alone (unless the Koi steals the algae disc.. lol). The Koi still eats, but there is something wrong. My cold blooded friend needs your help. Can you help me?; Thanks, Wayne <Only you can help here... you need more bio. filtration. Add an outside power filter, quit feeding, don't gravel vacuum... till there is not detectable ammonia or nitrite. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi sickness,,, env., lack of biol. filtr. - 2/28/2006
Sorry to disturb you again. I was wrong. Ammonia and nitrites are fine...no traces. But my NitrAte is out of control. Out of frustration, I changed out 80% of my water, <Best to limit this to no more than 20-25% per any given day> added Amquel, salt, cleaned my filtration/ and biological filter a little. But despite my efforts my NitrAte remains at a level of 40? (border line) and raising. My Koi now has something large (bacteria?) on his tail with some steaks also, I added Maracyn-Two to try to control the Popeye and  possible tail rot. I understand Ammonia and Nitrite toxins but cant find any beneficial information on NitrAte except declining fish health. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwnitrates.htm and the links above> I hope I took the right steps using a gram negative antibiotic. <... trouble... in the way of interrupting nitrification... Read, understand what you're doing, then act...> But still not sure what to do with my original problem considering I got mixed up with my Nitrate and Nitrites. Could you lead me on the right steps. I know its hard because you cant see the fish. But I thank you for your time and patience.             Thanks,             Wayne <Keep reading Wayne. Learn to/use the Google search tool on WWM, the indices, links... Bob Fenner>

Koi with puffy white spots  - 2/4/2006 Hello, <Hi there> I am trying to treat a Koi in my pond.  It has puffy white spots on its tail fin.  I treated the pond with antifungal remedy for a week.   It contained Pimenta Racemosa 2.5%. <... another "tea" mix...> The fish is eating and behaving normally for the winter period.  The air temperatures are in the high 50's during the day and into the 30's at night.  The water temperature is cold. <And hopefully not fluctuating much in the system>   The fish are not as active as the summer, which is normal for past seasons.   <Yes> Can you recommend a treatment?  Thanks, JT from Santa Rosa, California <Mmm, not w/o knowing what this is, the root cause. Best not to "fool" with ponds, their occupants during cold seasons (when water is consistently below 55 F.)... I would maybe... carefully add salt here... as proscribed on WWM... otherwise I'd wait, hope for a cure in the coming warmer weather. Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi with puffy white spots  02/12/06 The salt worked wonders.  Everything is back to being healthy.  We forgot that when you remove water to add back the salt.  Thank you so much. Joanne Thomas <Ah, good to read of your success. Bob Fenner>

Is this Hemorrhagic Septicemia? Sick pondfish  1/31/06 Hi Robert, I am a novice at Koi keeping and am trying very hard to learn very quickly! My fish have all been fine since the pond was established about 7 months ago but  I am now experiencing my first fatalities. It is actually my husband's pond but  he is away at the moment. About a week ago one of my platinum Koi was found floating dead on the top of the pond - although I gave it a thorough examination I could see nothing wrong  with it. <Frightening... and, as you know, will know, though all Koi/Nishikigoi are the same species, Ohgons are typically very hardy comparatively> Then yesterday, one of my ghost Koi was swimming a little strange - the  only way I can describe it is as 'wobbling' and swimming very slowly near  the top of the pond. However, when I went out to watch the fish for a while it  appeared to be swimming as normal. By today it was just floating on the top of  the pond listing to one side and struggling to breathe. I have isolated it and it seems to have red streaks in between some of it's scales on just one side and all it's fins except it's pectoral fins are tightly  clamped. I will be surprised if it survives to be honest. Obviously, I am now very concerned for the health of the rest of my fish. They are all exhibiting normal behaviour at the present, but so was Pip, my ghost, up until yesterday. Unfortunately, with the cold weather none of the fish are moving about much at all which doesn't help matters. What does this sound like to you and what is my best course of action? <... I take it you have not added any new fish or other life during the cold weather months just present? I suspect the root cause/issue here is environmental... is this pond relatively stable, thermally? Chemically? No automated make-up water system?  The fish that are in most apparent stress, were/are they amongst the larger/smaller Koi? Do you have an electrician who might come and investigate whether there might be an electrical leak present? Do you have tests for water quality, particularly ammonia, nitrite... I take it you are not feeding, but what had you been offering? How often? The protein count please> My pond is roughly 10ft x 4ft x 4ft. It is fully filtered (by what I would call a normal filter with a UV light in it) and it has a fountain. I have 2xplatinum Koi, 2xghost Koi and 12 'goldfish' in it. <Mmm, just a comment re the last. Best not to mix the two... however, if have been in long-contact, not such an issue> All the fish are approx 6"  long. I look forward to hearing from you again soon, Best regards, Linhez <We will hopefully solve this mystery. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Is this Hemorrhagic Septicemia?   2/1/06
Hi Bob, Thanks for the reply. In answer to your questions: No, we have introduced no new fish since the beginning of September. I presume the water is stable thermally - we have no heating system installed. I presume the temperature is just following the air temperature  trend. <Mmm, you might want to invest in a suitable thermometer... the shape, size of your basin sounds okay, but if not near "structure", it might well vacillate too much> The platinum that died and the very poorly ghost were probably the largest ones, but that is only by a matter of millitimetres. There is very little difference in size between all the Koi. <I see> I never thought of an electrical leak. The pump provides the power for both the filter and the fountain. We do also have an set of 3 underwater lights. Should  I switch them off? <Yes... I would. Such lighting in biological systems is a bit "tricky" period... Bothers the life. I do hope/trust that all of these (the pump, lighting) are wired through a GFI protected circuit> I was feeding them twice every day, then slowly decreased as the  temperature dropped. The food we use is Tetra Pond Floating Koi Sticks, with  protein content of 31%, oil 5%, Fibre 2% ash 7% and Moisture 7%. <This is a very good food. Please see WWM re a standard/rule of thumb re feeding and temperature... below 55 F. none... 55-65, once per day...> I have watched the rest a lot today,  and they are all deep in the  water as it is a bitterly cold day but are showing no signs of distress and  their fins don't look clamped. I cannot get water test kits until tomorrow. Which ones? Ammonia and pH, I presume. <These are the most important... next would be nitrate (as a measure of when, how much water to change mostly)...> What about nitrite/nitrates? If it is water quality, why are only some fish affected? <Individual variation likely> As for mixing the fish - this is the first problems we have had since the pond was established in June. They have all seemed ok up until now - should I separate them? Look forward to your reply. Regards, Linhez <I would not separate anything, or disturb the system period till the water warms substantially. What "ping-ponging" of vectors occur twixt these minnows/cyprinids is a post-issue at this point. Bob Fenner>

Dropsical Koi I've got an 18'' Israeli Bekko whose got Dropsy, she's had this since the summer, but due to my pond being heated I believe this is what has kept her alive, and happy, sadly it look's a lot worse, the scales are not only lifted   but red too. She's still feeding, and seems happy, all other Koi are fine.  Can I just leave her in peace? I don't want to upset her by messing as she's  never liked being messed with. Yours Jaime Chrisfield <I would move this fish to another "large-enough" container to ease treatment, and add a level teaspoon per ten gallons of Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate)... monitor water quality daily, dilute ammonia by water changes... This might just "do the trick" by itself. Are the scales at right angles to the body? Perhaps this is something other than bacterial in origin... egg-blockage... Bob Fenner>

Pond goldfish  11/20/05 I have a goldfish in my small pond. It is around 4 years old. It's just the common goldfish that you see at Wal-Mart. I started with a dozen all about 1 - 2 inches long. Only this one survived. It is now about 6" long. A few months ago it started to get a swollen place on it's side. My friend who raises Koi told me to salt the water. I did, no change. I tried not feeding for a couple of days still no change. Now it is so big that it can't touch it's mouth to the bottom or come to the surface for a sniff. It seems to be eating but I am sure it is not happy or comfortable. I am assuming it is some type of tumor. <Yes, likely so... cause?> It's scales are stretched and it looks like it could pop any minute. My question is...how do you euthanize a fish?? Sincerely, Lynda in Florida <Place in a small bag of water, place this in turn in the freezer... alternatively liquid cloves (a few drops) can be added to a bit of water... Bob Fenner>  <<Also known as "clove oil", easily found at a natural foods market.  Marina>>

Re: Goldfish Euthanasia  11/21/05 Dear Bob, Thank you for your kind reply. Yesterday after writing to the "crew" I took a longer browse thru your website and found the info on what to do. So I carefully put my lovely goldfish into a pail of water that was large enough to let him be comfortable and quickly iced him down. He didn't struggle, just seemed to go to sleep. <Yes> I don't think it took more than a minute before he had quit breathing. I placed the pail into the deep freeze just to make sure then later that day we buried him in the garden. He now has a nice stone over his head. We are moving from FL to MO and I hope to have a pond there too. Thanks again for your kindness and your great website. Sincerely, Lynda in Florida <Thank you for your kind follow-up. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner> 

Pond goldfish sinking, blowing bubbles, gulping air 10/31/05 Greetings, Our large, 3-4 yr. old goldfish is resting on the bottom, top fin a bit clamped, releases bubbles, and every few minutes darts to the surface, pops out of the water and gulps air, returns to the same spot at bottom of pond.  All other fish are active and milling about as normal. Looked through the WWM website but couldn't find a similar description.  I have an 11' x 16' pond (Aquascapes system). 25 goldfish from 1 ft long to 3".  Just did the fall clean-out as temperatures are dropping. <Ahh...> Would appreciate any advice. I do have an indoor tank that the Plecos overwinter in. Thanks so much, Holly <Very likely "simple stress" from the clean-out, time of year... and also very likely to recover of its own accord. Bob Fenner> 

Bloaty Goldfish  10/20/05 Hi there, <Hello.> we have a garden pond which is 2000 liters, 8ft by 6ft and about 24 inches deep. We have 7 fish in total, mostly goldfish, one of our Comets has put on an awful lot of weight (nearly doubled in size) she is only about 6 inches long but is absolutely huge around the stomach area. <Sounds like she's bloaty.> She has been this way for about 4 weeks now. If you could please give us some indication as to what's going on it would be much appreciated. <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> Thank you. <Anytime Adam J.>

Outside pond fish... possible Lernaeid  10/21/05 Hi, this is our first time on your web-site, and we have a question. We have an outdoor fish pond with 4th generation goldfish! Today I noticed something on one of the fish. It is gold in color, protruding ( from under his skin)? or sticking out of   his skin, I can't really tell. It looks like a thick wire sticking out. He doesn't look or act different, eating as normal. I didn't see anything   like this on the other five fish.   Do you think this is some sort of parasite? <Mmm, possibly... Lernaea... "Anchorworm"...> What would you suggest we do? <Mmm... place this/these terms on the WWM, general search engines... read... If this is the cause/parasite, removing the adults by tweezing, inspecting all fishes, using a organophosphate to kill intermediates is suggested. Bob Fenner> Thanks Donna

Bloated pond goldfish 10/7/05 hello, I wonder if you can help? <Maybe. Capitalize the beginning of sentences> in the past two weeks our gold fish has developed a swollen belly. all the other fish (10) are fine. the fish is about eight years old and it has recently being put into a larger pond. any clues? thank you J H <Could be egg-bound, some dropsical condition... I would move this fish into more controlled circumstances (like a large-enough aquarium), treat it with Epsom Salt, feed other than dried foods... this/these are covered in articles, files on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

Koi with large open stomach  10/3/05   I have a 6 year old Koi that is over a foot long, kept in a 8x10x6 pond. There are several smaller Koi and goldfish is the pond too. The large Koi has had babies twice this year already, so when her stomach began to swell about two weeks ago we thought see was pregnant again, but her belly has never been this large before. After about a week she moved to a different area of the pond and would sit on the bottom all day, away from the other fish. We thought she was doing this just to rest or was ready to lay the eggs there. But after a couple of days she stopped moving away when we approached the edge of the pond. I wanted to make sure she could still swim so I put a net in there so she would move, and she did. I went to check on her today and noticed some tissue hanging form her belly. <Yikes, not good> I was afraid she would make the other fish sick too, and they were all avoiding her. She I caught her in a net, she didn't put up much of a fight. When I got her in the net I noticed a large 2 to 3 inch hole in her stomach. Her innards are not coming out and I don't see any blood, or other problems with her. I have her in a separate container for now. She is still alive, but I'm not sure she will be much longer!!!!!!! PLEASE HELP SOON!!!!!!! <Could be a few things... an injury from a predator, resultant from a jump... or Ana Aki... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi with large open stomach  10/4/05
I reviewed that site before emailing you. The wound didn't look anything like that. It was an opening on the bottom of her belly. It almost seems like she had a disease inside her that caused her stomach to burst open. Her scales were not missing, there wasn't any redness or signs of attack (nothing was tore up or missing that might suggest she was bitten by another animal!) but I could see all of her intestines. About two hours after I sent the first email, she died. Now my primary concern is for the other fish in the pond, and doing preventive maintenance so they don't get sick. Any other idea's on what this could be from? <... my "guesses" as to what this might be stand... non-emarginated sores/openings are often signs of Furunculosis (a condition... generally associated with Aeromonad bacteria)... Can be very catching, or not. Please send a pic if you can, take the moribund specimen to a veterinarian, college specializing in fish pathology. Bob Fenner>

White fungus on Koi  10/3/05 Hi I have just started up a pond in the garden, 1000 gals 3' 8" deep with a waterfall fed by an Oase Aquamax 8000 pump through an Oasis 24000  green2clean UVC/bio filter.  I have been given 7 fish (all from one pond)  including 3 Koi of around 18" long. <Too large for this size system> I have noticed that one of the large Koi has  about 3 small semi transparent white patches that are slightly proud of its  scales.  It looks like some kind of fungus but I am not sure.  I have  also noticed that a few of the larger fish are 'flashing' and appear to rub  themselves against the sides of the pond.   <Likely "just" environmental... getting used to a new system that is not quite aged "enough"> I noticed one of the fish do this about 5 times yesterday morning.  At other times they are quite stationary.  They are all feeding OK at the moment on Koi staple pellets and wheat germ sticks. I have tested the PH which is at about 8.5 (similar to the pond they came from).  Ammonia, Nitrites and nitrates are all very low. <Ammonia, nitrite need to be zero, zip> Any advice? Thanks Chris (Newport S. Wales) <Read through our Pond Subweb on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Swollen or loose scale in Koi's side  9/21/05 Hi Crew, <Sybil> I have looked over the Koi FAQs and searched in the query but was still unable to distinguish what the Koi actually has. I just relocated and transported the Koi. during the move, i lost one 11" Koi carp from what looked like internal bleeding.  I also lost my algae eater (the species that sucks on the glass, 7"). I recently bought 2 1" algae eaters of the same species and introduced it to the tank. Here comes the main problem. I have 5 Koi remaining in the 45 gallon tank, one 12", three 6" and one 5" on top of the two new algae eaters. <Too much fish for this volume...> 1.  The 12" Koi has been acting funny the past 2-3 weeks by idling at the bottom of the tank and stop breathing for minutes at a time and isn't as active as it was previously.  I thought it was in shock from the move and needed time to get used to its surroundings.  Could there be any other factors that might be causing this? <Mainly having to do with being crowded, moved, all-new water... yes> I don't see any signs of parasites, though my Koi's' fns aren't always fully extended/erect. <Shouldn't be...> 2.  I found that one of the bigger the scales were raised and the flesh underneath it was red. <A bad sign... of environmental stress> It would be great if you could tell me what it is exactly and how i can treat it.  The main concern I have is whether that scale would fall off and lead to an infection. pictures included 1. the biggest fin in the middle is the one that is protruding. 2. side view of how far it is protruding from the body. (it was difficult to focus) Thanks in advance, I'm looking forward to your response. Sybil, CA <Is this system cycled? What sort of filtration, circulation, aeration are you providing? What of water quality? Please read over WWM re these issues... keep good amounts of pre-prepared water to make large water changes on hand... and I would administer "aquarium salt" here as a general remedy. From your description, photos, it is obvious your Koi are suffering from a poor, changing environment... more space is needed, likely adjuncts to biological filtration, aeration. You need to identify and solve the root (environmental) causes here... Now! Bob Fenner>


Koi in trouble  9/20/05 Good morning.  We have an 1800 gal tank with 5 Koi, 3 Japanese and 2 domestic, that has been running fine for the last 5 years.  This morning, I notice on of the Japanese Koi (Tancho) on the bottom, laying on its side, still breathing.  I removed the fish, and put it in a holding container for further examination, and discovered it had a distended belly, including the visible signs of some blood vessels very visible, and rather lethargic. <Not good> Water check indicated ph 6.8, alkalinity 80, hardness 50, nitrite .05, nitrate .05 It appears the fish has a blockage in the urinary tract?   <Possibly the alimentary tract...> Any ideas? Scotty MacDonough <Could be "gut blockage" or even egg-bound... I would treat the one fish, or even the whole system with Epsom Salt... and look into nutritional possibilities... Am hopeful you don't just feed dried/pelleted food/s. Both of these issues are addressed in archives on WWM. Bob Fenner> Re: Koi in trouble  9/21/05 Thank you for the suggestion.  I was able to contact the supplier later in the morning, and after seeing the photographs, determined it had a tumor. The fish died within a hour of discovery. Scotty <Thank you for this follow-up... I would still necropsy this specimen. Bob Fenner>

My Koi are dying - please help... algicide?  8/30/05 Hi Fenner, <Madeline> Last month my 18" 3 year old female tricolored had what seemed like a seizure.  She was spinning in the pond and all the fish were bumping up against her.  She swam toward the edges and I thought she was trying to spawn. <The other Koi might have been trying to "help" the sanke> I put my hands in the water and she swam into them.  I noticed that the top of her head was badly bruised as were the sides and bottom of her.   <Likely from bumping into things> I put her in a quick salt dip and then let her swim in and out of my hands while in the pond until she felt better.  (They all take turns laying on my hands if I put my hands in the water, I am very careful not to touch them too much to avoid sandpapering their skin.) <You are wise here>   She seemed OK for a week but then died. Last week my 21" 4 year old female yellow Ohgon did the exact same thing but there weren't any fish near her and when she swam into my hands she didn't have a single bruise. <Frightening> She did look like she had eggs.  Yesterday morning she seemed perfectly fine but when I came home in the evening she too was dead and was badly bruised - same exact type of bruises. <!> I am absolutely heart broken with these losses and fear that my other fish will also pass.  Also I am concerned because I now have only 1 female, 23" and the rest are male.  They have spawned without a single problem for years.  Have you ever heard of this type of problem?  Can you please suggest anything that I can do.  What am I doing wrong? <I suspect poisoning or something bacterial in origin here... a version of "Ana aki"...> Here are my pond specifics:  3,500 gallon pond average depth 5' that was built by a pond company.  The filtration is excellent and the waterfall is always on.  I use Algaefix, <Please see the MSDS re this here: http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=brands&id=1020010 I would suspend its use> Kent Pro Clear, MicrobeLift and Dechlor per directions and as needed.  I have a master test kit and the water results are always perfect even the salt level.  Up until a month ago in all my 8years ponding I never had a sick fish.  I give away the fry to keep the population down.  They were always very healthy and the smaller ones only came up 'missing' due to the Herons and Egrets close by.  Two months ago my 23" metallic was dragged out of the pond by a Heron. <Bold> It bruised the body of the metallic and then ate part of the dorsal fin and tail.  I stepped outside as my Miniature Pinschers chased the bird away.  I was able to save the metallic and he is now doing fine but is still a little washed out.  The remaining fish move about with energy and look good.  I now have 5 Koi average length 20"-25" and 4 small average length 6"-8". Thank you in advance for your help, Madeline PS  If you feel like responding will I know when you post or do you respond via email as well.  I really could use your help. <We respond directly to all, post most all. Please read here re Furunculosis: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm Acute cases often manifest themselves as your fish's symptoms... I would have the dead fish necropsied (see your veterinarian re who in the area has expertise), cultured for Aeromonas... Adding salt may well be efficacious in this circumstance. Bob Fenner>

Leaking pond - am I hurting my fish refilling so often? 8/28/05 Hi, <Hello there> We've cleaned out and restocked a pond in our new house. It's approx.  10feet by 5feet, and 3feet deep. It has a top level which waterfalls down to the larger lower level. We've put in a pump for the waterfall and a filter, loads of plants and have 2 happy little goldfish. Only problem is we have a slow leak in the liner somewhere as the outer  wall (stone and mortar) is constantly wet and we're losing 3 - 4 inches a week.   <Mmm... perhaps capillatory in nature... hard to fix...> We've tried emptying the pond and found a tiny hole, which we repaired with a   cycle repair kit on the advice of our local water centre. But either that didn't  work or there's more holes! <Or just a "damp" area twixt the liner and up...> Anyway, time is short at the mo due to work, so we've just been refilling  every few days and as there's no time to reline it this year, that's our only  option - but is it harming my fish????? <Mmm, not likely... in fact, replacing 3-4 inches per week of depth in a volume of this size is likely very helpful> Very quick 2nd question, sorry - one of my goldfish seems to chase the  other smaller one a lot. <Happens> At first I thought they were playing, but today I  noticed light patches on the rear sides of the one that's being chased, where  the nose of the chaser rubs his skin. Is this normal behaviour, are they  fighting, playing or even mating??? <Mostly the latter, the middle as practice... I would add a few more goldfish to diffuse the aggression here> Thanks, Allison Franklin (UK novice pond keeper) <Welcome, Bob Fenner, old-timer>

Koi very heavy  8/27/05 I have a Koi that looks like a pregnant horse.  Scales do not stick out like in dropsy.  Swims with the other fish, is active and eats.  I'm wondering if it can't spawn - is that possible?  Any suggestions on what to do. <May be dropsical... or egg-bound... You can try adding Epsom Salt to a small-enough container at the dose of about a level teaspoon per ten gallons, and/or  drop some liver oil into the fish's mouth... Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi very heavy
 8/30/05 Thanks for the quick reply.  I have a total of 6 Koi & 1 comet in a 750 gallon outdoor pond in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  Is it okay to leave the "fat" Koi in the pond and add the Epsom salt to the pond or should I put the "fat" Koi in a smaller kiddie pool and add the salt to that? <Can be treated in either place... better in a smaller, separate tank... Do keep it covered, aerated... monitor ammonia... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish turning white 8/21/05 Hello, I have 7 goldfish not sure what kind they are. The pet store called them feeder fish, they were about a inch long, now they are about 4 to 6 inches long. <Otherwise known as "comets"... a variety developed in the west> They live in a 100 gallon plastic shape pond in my front yard. I have had goldfish for about 10 yrs now and never had this problem. These 7 goldfish I have had for about a year now. I had one that was losing his color. He started turning white in spots <In spots... likely a parasitic disease... were the spots very small? The fish lethargic, hanging at the surface?> until he was totally white. He died after about 2 weeks. Now I have two other goldfish getting the white spots on them now. It looks like, its just losing its color, it does not look like it has something attach to the skin. I have read about Ich, these do not look like little salt spots on them. <Oh...> They do not scratch up against anything in the pond. These spots are on there bodies and not there fins. They do not look like any of the pictures I have seen of Ich. I have tested the water, the nitrites is in the stress level 3.0, <... this is past the deadly level... 1.0 ppm at high pH is very toxic> and I am now treating the water for that, but everything else is ok. I do not know what else to do. Can you help me or have you heard of this problem. Betty   <Fix your water quality... do you have a purposeful biological filter? Aeration? A regular water change maintenance schedule? These are covered on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm I strongly suspect the root cause/s of your troubles are environmental... Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish turning white
8/22/05 Thanks Bob, Yes I do have bio filter and a Aeration pump. No, the fish is not lethargic, or hanging at the surface. I will do a water change and keep a closer eye on the levels. Thank you for all of your help. Betty <Ahh, I see... I do hope the water change/s solve the issue/s here. Your root trouble/s may be seasonal, from crowding, elevated temperature... Bob Fenner>

Re: Pond in serious trouble 8/28/05 Thank you for the information.  I have pulled all of my plants out of  the pond and added 20 pounds of rock salt.  I still am having trouble with  the water flow.  But I feel this is a pump issue and have purchased a new  pump to install in the morning.  I have noticed that the fish I have left  seemed to have perked up a little.  I really hope that this works.   Thanks so much for all of your advise. Sissy <Very welcome. Bob Fenner>

Koi unusual habits 8/12/05 Dear Bob Fenner, <Derek, Jenny> We live in the South of England UK and have a garden pond of approx 1,000 gallons and 4 feet deep.  We have 7 Koi (4 being about 15" long).  We also have 16 other fish being a mixture of goldfish and Shubunkins and babies we have reared. <A bit crowded...> We have a very good filter system and water pump in the pond and part change the water and clean the filter regularly.  The water is clear and the fish are all healthy and we have not lost any for 4 years. However,  there is a water outlet pipe which runs from the filter and then the water cascades into the pond quite strongly.  My husband and I are worried because we have recently noticed the 3 large yellow Ogon Koi have taken to sitting under the pipe and letting the water hit them on their head (in fact they almost have their head out of the water to do this and stay there in this position for some considerable time.  It may sound odd, but they are also opening their mouths as if they are trying to drink the water! <Telling>   At first we thought it was only one Koi doing this, but have found the other 2  Ogons doing the same thing yesterday and today.  They seem to do it after about 19.00 hours.  Also all the other fish are around them at the time very closely compacted and almost nudging each other gently.  There is no animosity or bullying.  In the 5 years we have had our fish we have never noticed this behaviour before and we spend a lot of time caring for them and watching their habits.  We are now worried.  Is this natural behaviour?   <Is... for an oxygen lacking environment... you have provided the significant clues... the small size, surface area of your pond, the fact that the Ohgons ("sun-colored fish") are affected most, and the time frame of the commencement of this behavior... What is happening very likely is that with the sun going down, cessation of photosynthesis, there is a rapid loss of dissolved oxygen concentration... by virtue of their breed (all Koi, like domestic dogs, are of the same species), the Ohgons suffer most... and therefore...> This is not a joke email by the way!.  Many thanks for your help in advance.   We have found your website most helpful. Jenny and Derek <The best thing to do... either reduce the bioload here, increase the pond size... and/or add mechanical aeration (bubblers). Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi unusual habits 8/15/05
  Dear Crew <Derek>   Many thanks for your speedy reply received the following morning after your email.   I immediately tested the water in the pond and it was reading dangerous on nearly all tests. <Yikes! Glad you were quick to action>   I guess you probably saved the lives of all our fish, as I immediately went to the Water Gardens Fish Farm nearby and bought the bubble making machine for oxygen, pond salt, BioStart, Water Cress and updated our water testing kit. <Great!>   My husband immediately started a series of partial water changes over the last few days and cleaned out the filter again. <Very good>   It didn't enter our minds that the oxygen level was low as the pond and fish have been healthy for 4 or more years. <Happens... very commonly>   Many thanks once again.  We now have happy fish swimming around normally. Your Website is an inspiration!   Regards  Derek & Jenny, England UK <Ahh, my twin wishes... that WWM serve as a source of information... and inspiration! Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Koi Fish Disease...Can you help! 8/9/05 Hi just writing you an e-mail to see if you can help me with something. My dads friend keeps Koi as we do. But he's having trouble with his fish at the moment its not like a normal disease though.. we have never seen anything like it before. About seven days ago he noticed one of his fish was swimming a bit weird. but thought he must have knocked himself on something in the pond...the following day the fish was on his back...swimming into the side....acting like a  torpedo when it was swimming and lying on its side on the bottom of the pond....he got a bit worried and took a water sample out to the local garden centre to get tested it came back negative...everything seemed to be in order. <Everything that was tested for...> The following day the fish died.... this keeps repeating through all his fish the  same pattern at this moment in time we have four of his fish separated in one of  our tanks to stop the his other Koi from catching whatever it is and to  monitor and hopefully treat them.....it has baffled us because we have never  seen anything like it...its like they've had a stroke of some sort...... Could you  fill us in on what it could be or any possible remedies or websites for   information....you co operation would be appreciated because its such a shame  what is happening to them. Many Thanks Michael Orchard <Have your father's friend contact me please... This sounds like one of two probable possibilities (will be able to tell more...), either an anomaly with cycling in this system ("ammonia poisoning") or a trace pesticide residue that has gotten, is getting into the system. Bob Fenner>

Fungus on Koi... 8/6/05 Hello.  I have three Koi with an off-white fungus (I think, after trying to do some research on what it could be.) <Actual fungal infections are exceedingly rare... almost all infectious pond disease is directly related to environmental cause/s>   They do not show any other symptoms.  I just completed seven days of treatment with PimaFix in my 1700 gallon pond. <Worthless "fixes">   It looks like it may have improved slightly, but the fungus is still there... on their faces, gill area and fins.  Should I repeat another week of PimaFix or try something else?  Thanks for your help! <Have someone come by and look at your system, fish... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

New pond, new Koi, new problem 7/31/05 I recently enlarged my Koi pond to about 1500 gallons, and bought 2 new Koi for it.  Both Koi are 3.5-4 inches.  I always inspect all of my fish before I add them to either my pond or my aquarium, <and quarantine them?> and did not see ANY problems at all with them.  Both Koi have been in the pond for 4 days now, and I have been inspecting them each day to see if any problems were emerging.  Today I noticed that one of the new Koi had a bit of a stringy/slimy substance around its gill on one side.  I have never had any of my fish get any sort of fungal infection, I'm not sure how to tell if that is the problem.   <Mmm, not likely... probably simple body slime... from the stress of movement, netting...> No other fish in the pond have any problems, and are all appear to be very healthy (2 13" Koi, 2 8" Shubunkin), so I removed the small Koi until I find out what the problem is.  I was wondering if you had any idea what the problem could be, or if it is something I should be worried about the rest of my fish getting.   Please note: 2 days before I added the new Koi, I dosed the water with salt, since it was a new pond and would be getting new fish. Any help is greatly appreciated <Oh, the salt itself might bring on this excess mucus. I would move the fish back into the main system... but do consider using the tank to quarantine all future livestock. You can read re such procedures on WWM. Bob Fenner> Lee Baker

New pond... goldfish ailment? 7/30/05 Hello again. I have another problem.  One of my fishes was floating but not dead this morning.  I have isolated it, in a bucket, and on examination it seems to have a hard black protuberance from its anus.  This protuberance is about 10mm long, and the surrounding area of flesh seems very raw, white with red edges.  The fish will swim, but when it stops it tends to float to the surface, always on the same side.  I am very worried and would like some advise on how to treat this, and whether all the fishes should be treated. Your rapid response would be much appreciated. Thanks Wendy <... impossible to tell you what is going on from the data presented... I would (of course) check your water chemistry, change about a quarter of the water, keep a close eye on your other fish/es... and read... re their care, feeding on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: New pond 7/31/05
Hello again. <Morning> I have been reading up on your pages and think that I have identified the problem as Camallanus worms. <Mmm, possible>    Anyway, I am in the UK and can not find any flake fish food with Piperazine.  Do you think my diagnosis is correct, and can you advise me of any online store that I can order from. <I would look for Praziquantel instead, or products with this in it> My isolated fish does not look as if he will make it, any suggestions on immediate first aid would be greatly appreciated. <... a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per ten gallons of system volume>   Other fish are still in the pond, and all appear lively and healthy so far, yet I do realize that all should be treated. Your help would be much appreciated. Wendy <Bob Fenner> Hi again. The world wide web informs me that Praziquantel is not available to the UK. WHY??? Should I  give my vet a ring in the morning!!? AAAAAGH! with frustration........... Wendy <Perhaps. Please read... on WWM re Vermifuges, -cides. RMF>
Re: New pond 8/1/05
Thanks for your quick replies. My sick fish died overnight. I will search  online for food containing Praziquantel as you suggest.  Any recommendations of where to purchase would be much appreciated. <Try online suppliers of pond goods>   Seems medicated fish food is not available in pet shops around where I live, I spent much of yesterday visiting stores, only to be met with blank looks and unhelpfulness by shop staff.  A fish encyclopedia I have gives doses for treatment with Panacur wormer for horses, powdered form to be dissolved in the pond.  I am considering contacting a veterinarian or farm store if I cannot find medicated food.  Do you think this is wise? <Mmm, if you're going to this ends... I would take the one dead fish with you and have it examined... necropsied, to determine if worms are actually involved...> What happens to eggs of Camallanus when the fish are treated via food - wouldn't they be alive and well in the bottom of the pond, ready to infest when ingested by another fish? <Possibly, yes> And would the eggs be killed if treated with dissolved Panacur? <I don't know... and am unfortunately away from printed reference> I will splash out on a pond testing kit, and also attend to changing some of the pond water as suggested. There are several newts living in the weed in my pond, and I have seen frogs and toads in it from time to time.  Can these wild creatures transmit disease to the fish? <A possibility, yes, though, not common.> I have 6 small goldfish left at present BTW.  Also, could any  "pond treatment" adversely affect the wildlife- I am sure the newts eat the fishes food. <Some could> Many thanks for your extremely helpful pages. Wendy <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Koi with a Bump in the Night 7/18/05 Hello, You have helped us tremendously in the past and we thank you.  So here goes.  5 fish in a 200 gallon indoor tank.  One Rena X3 bio filter (largest) one Fluval 404 bio filter (largest).  Water tests zero for Ammonia and Nitrites, Nitrates appear high and PH is about 8+. 1/3 water vacuumed off to remove all debris on bottom of tank once every 7 days (water added back in at EXACT temperature of tank and is country, well water that tests normal) and filters gently flushed every 14 days at same time water is vacuumed off.  The product Cycle added with each water change. New carbon every 3rd cleaning or 6 weeks.  Approx. 1/3 aquarium salt of recommended dosage.  All winter and spring, tank temperature was approx. 68 degrees F.  Now this Hot Summer, temperature is pretty stable at 76 degrees F.     Two small Comet Goldfish (about 3 inches), 0ne 6+ month old Koi (about 6 inches) one 16 month old Koi (about -12 inches) and one 17 month old Koi (measured at 13 inches by floating plastic ruler on water and getting him to line up with it as he is a pet and easy to handle).  Koi are growing at an incredible rate, appear very healthy, very good color, very tame, not stressed, eat well and always hungry, etc.     Two weeks ago, I noticed on the biggest one and our favorite Koi:  On the left side, approx. mid of his body (both from top to bottom and from head to tail) a raised scale.  Thinking he must have brushed to hard against one of the 4 large rocks positioned down the center of the tank.  Then 5 days ago, he had a very thick, snow white ribbon sticking straight out of the damaged scale.  In 3 days time it was more 1/3+ of an inch long and very thick.  NOTE: size description is pretty accurate.  By thick, think larger than a pencil lead by 2+ times.     I searched numerous pictures on the web and it looked to thick to be an "Anchor" worm and "Did Not" match the various pictures?  It also "Does Not" match a "Fluke" picture, especially of attachment to fishes body?     On advice from local Fish Store, bought "Melafix" and added according to label directions last night.  While doing so, saw the snow white, thick spike was gone.  Went to add it again today as says to do so for 7 days and noticed a tiny bump of white showing again on damaged scale.     Is this a worm that does not match what I can find on Internet or could it possibly be some kind of "Purulent Discharge" (called Pus on us humans and animals)??? < Possible.>     Last Koi was added 3.5 months ago after being kept in a separate tank for 14 days.  Was supposed to be parasite free when I bought him??? < Seriously doubt there is such a thing.> Once again, pure white and thick coming straight out from tip of slightly lifted and/or damaged scale on the fishes side.  Fell off but appears some is notable today AGAIN!!!  That scale appears to be very reddened in color (he is a "Kin Matsuba" so kind of yellow/orange with the Pine Cone black edged scales on the top and coming part way down the sides) so the reddened scale/pure white thing is very easy to see as below the Pine Cone effect if that maybe helps you in location?     We do not have a Quarantine Hospital tank for a fish his size.  Plus he/she is the dominant fish and we doubt even if we got a larger hospital tank and got it (water) properly conditioned that he/she would be happy alone???  Sorry, so entire tank of 5 fish are being treated.     Please help as this is our Pet and means a lot to us.  I can pet his head and he will come up and kiss me on the nose when I bend far enough over the tank so my nose is only about an inch from the water.  He knows his name too.  He actually does not come until you sweet talk him using his name.  Don't use his name and he does not come up to respond.  Crazy but true!!!  Thank you again for now and all your help in the past. Trixie < The summer temps have elevated the water temp in your tank and have stressed you cool loving Koi. If you have a worm type parasite then treat the tank with fluke-tabs. It sounds like an external bacterial infection that may have started with a bump or scrape. Treat with Nitrofurazone, increase the aeration and watch for ammonia spikes because antibiotics may affect the good bacteria that break down fish waste.-Chuck>

Koi dying with no physical signs 6/29/05 Hi <Hello there> I have been searching your site for possible causes for the death of my fish. I have lost one a day for the last seven days. The pond is new (about 6500 litres). I left the pond for a couple of weeks before putting the fish (15 small Koi up to 7") into it. The filter and fountain were running for the entire period since the pond was filled. I had read quite a few of your responses to other owners with similar problems (fish dying with no outward signs). The fish that have died became loaners, not feeding and began swimming at a very shallow depth and would die within 24 to 48 hours of showing these symptoms. Whilst reading one of your replies about possible deaths caused by poisoning by weed killers/pesticides etc. <Or the system just not being cycled... the root cause here is almost assuredly environmental> it suddenly dawned on me that my pond design may actually be poisoning my fish. The pond is part dug and part raised and lined (not a problem). However the top edge of the pond was finished with 6" wide decking timbers. I realized, whilst reading your replies, they were made from tanalised timber (for those who may make the same mistake as me but are unaware of what tanalised timbers are, they are timbers treated with cyanide). I have made a presumption that when it is raining the cyanide is possibly getting into the water (not 100% but I think it is a strong possibility). Of course I immediately went out and took these timbers off my pond and will drain it first thing in the morning. <Yikes!> Could you please let me know your views on this? If you think I am right then I hope this information may help others who have made (or might make) a similar oversight to mine!! Ps. Great site!!! Regards Stephen Robbins <You are correct in that treated lumber can be real trouble... A sample of the water might be taken to a quality assurance or college laboratory for analysis... Perhaps the timber can be sealed with something making it impervious to water... like polyurethane... Or it can be moved, the pond modified such that water that does come in contact does not wash into the basin. I wish you well. Bob Fenner> Koi flipping over 6/29/05 I read an entry in your Koi diseases section from a person called Lorenzo (page 57) and it sounds like a problem my fish starting having yesterday.  Three days ago my husband changed the water in our pond and took out about half of the rocks that were ornamentally placed around it.  (he removed the rocks because they had thick algae on them).  Ever since then, the fish have been racing around the pond, sometimes chasing each other and flipping and jumping.  I am very concerned and would like to know if this sounds like a disease problem or an environmental problem? Very worried! Denise <Mmm, could be that the water change, loss of cover (the rocks) is over-stressing your fish, but much more likely the temperature and water quality change has triggered a reproductive frenzy here. I'd keep your eyes on your aquatic charges for evidence here, and possibly the need to separate, maybe treat them for scratches from being too rambunctious. Bob Fenner>

Koi pregnancy Hi Robert, <Joyce> We have a 9 x12, 4 deep pond in our backyard for a few years. The Koi are about 18 long. Recently, one of the Koi' belly is bulging out noticeably, I suspect it might be pregnant. <Maybe...> The temp has been ranging 25-30 Celsius, with night low of 14 Celsius.  How long will it take for the eggs to be matured and be spawned? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshbreeding.htm and the linked files above> Please advise so I can start watching out for eggs and babies. I want to take good care of them so they won't be eaten by others before they get a chance to grow. Oh yeah,  we also have many huge pond fish, fan-tailed goldfish too, I hope they will leave the eggs alone if there's going to be any. Thanks for your advise in advance. <Study my friend. Bob Fenner>

Koi problem dear Sir, I am at present looking after my sister-in-laws Koi.  One of them seems to be staying on the bottom most of the time.  It also keeps going over onto its side but rights itself. I would appreciate any advice you can give me. Kind regards. Kevin Healy. <It may be that this fish has swallowed something (like a bug), or has somehow damaged itself. Do keep an eye on it for signs of missing scales, bruising... Otherwise, I would not remove it or treat the system in any way at this point. Much more potential damage from "trying to do something" at this juncture. Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi problem
Many thanks for getting back to me Bob, I have built a pond in my own garden and intend to keep Koi.  Your site is very helpful to those of us that know very little about this subject. <Good> It is nice to know that if I have a problem I can e-mail you and get a quick response.  I note that you say keep an eye open for missing scales.  I have seen about 8 scales floating on the pond but not sure which fish they have come from. <Ah ha! Do look about for further signs of a "visitor"... I now suspect further that your one fish is in a funk due to a predator... there is an article and FAQs file posted on WWM re these, and their prevention.> I suppose it is very likely that they have come from this fish. Once again, many thanks for your help. Regards. Kevin <Good luck, life to you Kevin. Bob Fenner>

Koi health... Mind-reading? 11 Koi are kept in a normal size pond but at the moment they are lifeless and lying on there sides at the bottom of the pond. We have had the Koi for 7 years and this is the first year this has occurred. <What? I do hope you have tested your water for physical, chemical properties... that you have no electrical "leak" in this system, that you have instituted large water changes, moved them... Bob Fenner>

Pond fish - pregnant or diseased? Dear Wet Web Media & Crew, I have a question regarding one fish in my pond. Since either Saturday (May 28th) or Sunday I noticed a fish swimming upside down right next to a massive plant in the center of our pond. It's been 5 days and she's still upside down just moving her tail back & forth. <Not good> Her abdomen looks bloated like a pregnant woman ready for delivery. Now... is the fish pregnant or does it have that swim bladder disease? <More likely either a type of gut blockage or egg-bound> A local nursery said it was a 50/50 chance. She is probably at least 10 inches long & her scales were once solid black and are now 80% orange. We've had this pond for probably 15 years. We've had babies before... just never noticed anything like this. What should I do? <I would isolate this one fish, treat with Epsom Salt, perhaps try expressing it...> Is there any other signs that I should look for... either way? If she does have that bladder disease will it affect my other fish? <Depends on root cause/s> We easily have 50 fish. I'm honestly not sure what type. This was my fathers project many years ago. He passed away in 1996 and I'm in charge of taking care of the pond. He purchased fish from different places so I don't know what we have. As far as I'm concerned the pond this year is the best it has ever been. Ideal conditions all around... you can see perfectly down to the bottom... it's that clear. I'm trying my best to keep this going since it was my Dad's project. I appreciate any advice you can give me regarding my fish. Thank You, Eileen <Likely just the one fish affected... I would quarantine, treat it... Magnesium sulfate. Bob Fenner>

Koi carp wasting away Hey there, We have a garden pond that contains 6 Koi carp, some Japanese goldfish and a few Rudd. The largest Koi, however, has been progressively deteriorating over the past month and is now looking quite underweight. He is having trouble feeding as seems to find it hard to locate the pond sticks and so isn't getting as much food as usual. Swimming is also taking more effort as he is having to swing his whole body instead of just flicking his tail. He is around 18'' long. <Some sort of wasting condition...> Have you any ideas as what his condition could be due to as would hate to see him get any weaker, <Mmm, could be bacterial, perhaps a genetic development... If the fish is very valuable, you could try antibiotic injections (50 mg. per pound body weight, intramuscular... Chloramphenicol/Chloromycetin if you can find it... three injections with three day intervals). Otherwise, I would at least isolate this one mal-affected specimen. Bob Fenner> 

Pond Goldfish Dear Wet Web Media Crew, <Mary-Anne> I found your site today and have been scouring the abundance of information you have for some help with my fish. I've looked at your FAQ's but can't seem to find anything that may help me with my pond (I know most of your queries are aquarium related but I hoping this is relatively similar), so I apologize now if you've already answered this type of query many times before :-) <Okay> I have a circular pond that holds approximately 1476 litres, it has a solid particle pump which feeds a UV bio-filter, contained in the pond is also 2 lilies and an oxygenating plant, there is also a small fountain pump in the centre but does not normally get turned on. I had 3 goldfish, 3 yellow goldfish, 1 golden Orfe, 1 blue Orfe, a green tench and golden tench and a white and red fantail plus a comet. All was well with the pond before I went away on holiday to Florida. My fiancĂ©'s parents were looking after it while we were away. When I got back the pond contained a great deal of blanket weed and the golden Orfe had died. The centre pump was on continuously as the parents thought there might be a problem with oxygen in the water. <Good> There was no apparent marks on the dead Orfe. I soon realized that the main pump was not on and that is now on again. I treated the pond with Interpet Pond Balance 3 days ago and have cleared most of the blanket week, Tuesday morning I found a goldfish dead in the pond, the strange thing was it wasn't floating belly up but almost looked as though it was just on the surface for some extra air! Yesterday evening I took several different water readings as my research seemed to suggest that I probably had a water problem. The PH of the pond is 8.5 (slightly high), <Actually very high... the pH scale is logarithmic... base ten... one whole point is ten times difference...> the ammonia level is 0.1 <Should be zip... am sure you realize the gist of what happened... your biological filtration was lost with the main pump being out... the system went "out of balance"... Coupled with the change in season (more light, heat) the algae outbreak...> and the NO2 and NO3 are both nil. This morning I have treated the pond with Interpet Sludge buster but I am still worried about the remaining fish as they all seem to be staying in the bottom and very rarely swim about. Even with the main pump on I daren't turn off the little fountain pump as this seems to be helping somewhat. Also one of my yellow goldfish has developed a black edge on all of its fins and just around the mouth is also black, I cannot get a good look at him/her as he/she is hiding beneath a rock but from what I can see there doesn't appear to be any fin rot. In all my research I haven't been able to identify what this may be. Oh I also forgot to say that I have 3-4 snails in the pond. Please help as I would hate to think they are suffering. Here's hoping you can help. Cheers Mary-Anne Clark <I would instigate a series of daily water change-outs... siphoning out (if you can) about five-ten percent of the water, netting out what weed algae you can... and not cleaning the bio-filter... and being very careful not to overfeed... All should re-settle itself in time. Due to the plant presence, addition of salt, other "treatment" chemicals is not advised. Bob Fenner> 

Koi disease, sexing Hello I have a Koi pond approx. 35,000 gallons of water. I have had very good luck with breeding. I have noticed on one of my large Koi, a pink tumor like spot on his face. He doesn't seem to be sick, and he is eating okay. I read some of the questions people have sent you, but I can't seem to find my question. Do you have any suggestions on what this could be? <Perhaps a bruise, maybe just a color patch... could be something more ominous... Likely not treatable in all cases> I did read one article that in the spring mating season male Koi can have a spot that looks like tumors. I don't know if this one is a male. Sincerely, Sharon <If water visibility is good, not hard to sex Koi... males are much slimmer, torpedo-shaped than females... particularly across the "shoulders". Bob Fenner> 

Odd Koi out We've got 3 Koi and a few goldfishes, the Koi always used to swim together but lately one of them is acting very strange i.e. isolated, very quiet, changes colour on his lips, stay in the deep end of the pond by the oxygenated plants and put a lots of weight on without eating.  <Good observations> we though it they were symptoms of white spots and we did a treatment however they idea of it being pregnant is now striking our mind. could you let us know what you think and what would be best to do? thank you for your reply. <I would continue to just observe this fish for now... as your other livestock seem fine. Know that fishes are quite different from Tetrapods... dogs, cats, ourselves for instance, and often exhibit genetic or developmental problems much later in life... This may be such a situation, or just a passing phase of odd behavior. Bob Fenner> 

Disease in golden Orfes I have about seven golden Orfes in my pond. One of them has got quite a back curvature. I have noticed a second once is beginning to show signs of developing a curvature near the tail end. Would it spread to my other fish? I spoke to the lady at the aquatic centre and she said that it is common Orfes as they get older. Please advise. Should I separate them from the other fish?  I have other types of fish in the pond too: red caps. gold fish Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks Teresa <Mmm, could be a genetic developmental problem... perhaps nutritional deficiency in nature... Or possibly evidence of infectious disease (Myxosoma)... I would definitely separate the mal-affected fish, perhaps all the Orfes... Perhaps have one examined histologically if it perishes. Bob Fenner>

The Dreaded Furunculosis! Preface: I know my Koi housing is totally inadequate and probably contributed to the disease. Chock it up to inexperience and a lesson well learned. I have always wanted an outdoor pond and the cost has made it difficult to achieve. I will not be getting more fish without first establishing the proper environment. <<I've seen well-established, properly stocked systems experience bad outbreaks of this awful disease. While basic husbandry can exacerbate or alleviate the problem, it is not the "final word".>> My first experience with sick fish didn't turn out well. I had 3 Koi, 2 about 8-9", one 4" (Freckles, Flash and Flip, respectively). After reading your web site I'm guessing the problem was Furunculosis. Freckles had what looked like a few hemorrhages beneath the skin along the body and one at the mouth, one area looked like it had penetrated the skin. He also had enlarged eyes with a white goggle-like appearance. <<Pardon me, but wholly sheet, that was one badly infected fish. The infection wasn't just presenting externally, it was systemic. Poor fish!>> I put him into a Qtank and began to salinize the water, 1 T. per 10 gal every 8 hours for 3 doses. <<Not sufficient salt, and not sufficient treatment.>> I did not have available on short notice, the proper medications but did have and added some Nitrofurazone based fizz type tablets (Tank Buddies Fungus Clear). <<Is one treatment.>> I also dabbed his lesions with iodine. <<Ok. I've read that Neosporin may actually be effective used in this manner. This is obviously for external lesions only, cannot address internal/systemic infection adequately.>> I found little Flip the next day dead in the pond, same appearance, except the eyes looked OK. So I removed Flash to the Qtank with Freckles, and increased the saline to 2%, plenty of aeration too. <<Good move, but again not sufficient. 3% is the place to start.>> I examined Flash and found no hemorrhagic spots and eyes looked OK. Next morning Freckles is dead, too. So far Flash is fine, no lesions, peppy and even eats a bit. Flash is still lesion free 3 days after this episode began. <<This is very much like what I experienced with my mother's pond fishes. We have ONE survivor from our awful bout two years ago, scarred on the side that suffered a really terrible lesion, but alive.>> My question is how long should I leave Flash in the brine? Should I bring the saline solution to 3% or start dilution through water changes? <<Take it up, definitely. I kept my fish "pickling" for weeks, till they were lesion-free. I advise the same for you.>> And most important what about the "pond"? I'm ashamed to say it is only about 50 gal... my fish started at 2-3". It's a filtered and planted plastic tub. Is the water (tested fine 1 day before this began) contaminated with this darn bug or whatever it is? <<Honestly, I would not be surprised if this organism (sorry, can't think of the genus at the moment.. it's on the tip of my brain!) is actually carried in the air. Leaving it fallow of fish during treatment should be enough. If it has plants, DON'T salt!>> Should I do a complete water change, filter clean out and start fresh? <<I would only worry about excess mulm/detritus on the bottom. A filter cleaning won't hurt, but care for your nitrifying bacteria, rinse in pond water only, not tap water.>> What about the plants: Anacharis, frog-bit, and 1 lily and 1 floating-heart in pots? How can I decontaminate those? <<I wouldn't worry about it.>> Thank you for your help, Robin Murray <<Robin, here are some links to good sites on ponds and pond fishes. It doesn't matter how big (or not) your pond is, this is all applicable. Your Koi, however, are going to need bigger digs VERY soon. Spend the $5 at Wal-Mart and get the biggest kiddie pool you can, those are about 100 gallons. Cover it, the Koi can jump out easily. http://www.ponddoc.com/WhatsUpDoc/FishHealth/SpringOutbreak.htm  http://www.blueridgekoi.com/disease_issues.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/koidisfaqs.htm  (also search our goldfish disease FAQs). Here you have a start, the plants are not infected nor do I believe they can spread this infection. I wish you the very best of luck, I honestly HATE and LOATHE this disease. Marina>> 

Sudden Pond Fish Deaths I have had an outdoor fish pond (150 gallons) for the last 4 years. I only have comet goldfish in my pond. I came home to find the 3 largest fish dead. <<Marina here, I'm sorry to read this.>> I have had them for the last 3-4 years. One of the larger fish was still alive but floating on his side and gulping for his breath. <<In need of oxygen, possibly too much carbon dioxide or worse in the water.>> I tried to save him, but was unsuccessful. I have 4 smaller comets that were their offspring (2 yrs old) that are still alive and they do not have any signs of sickness. I am puzzled as to why the larger fish have died. I have never had any of the Comet fish to die. Our pump messed up and pumped about 70% of the water out the night before they died and we had to fill the pond up that morning.  <<Oh man, there you have it my friend. This is how I lost a whole pond full of fishes once. >> We were afraid that it would mess up while we were at work, so I did turn the pump off.  <<Bad juju - you simply ensured that it would end up the same whether or not the pump "messed up".>> The fish were fine before I left and seemed to enjoy the water change. <<I'm sure they did, especially if it's been a long time since you've done any maintenance on the pond. A build up of mulm/detritus on the bottom would be another reason for sudden deaths - anaerobic conditions may very well have been created with such a buildup, the gasses then build to the point where they are released into the water et voila'! Dead, gasping fishes.>> The outside temperature was around 73 degrees the day they died. I don't know if they died from lack of aeration, but I have left it off before without any problems.  <<It wasn't that, it was such a large change without following aeration. For one thing, the water out of the tap has a great deal of gasses in solution. When you take that water out of the pipe, the pressure that kept the gasses in solution is gone, thusly, the gasses turn to bubbles, hopefully BEFORE the fish breathe them in. If not, they got the "bends" in a manner of speaking. NEVER refill a pond this way with fish and NOT ensure aeration and/or turbulent water movement to ensure this doesn't happen. Let's not forget that if on municipal water chloramine is likely present, bond between chlorine/ammonia MUST be broken chemically.>> I have also done water changes greater than 70 % without any problems.  <<Did you leave the pump off after doing such a large water change? In a situation such as this we cannot ascribe the deaths to any ONE cause, but more likely a chain of events, several root causes coming together for a lethal combination. Do some maintenance on the pond if it hasn't been done already, check the pump and replace if necessary. I LOVE Eponds.com by the way. Fantastic service, incredibly fast shipping, incredible deals on product.>> Any ideas as to what happened to my large fish (10 -13 inches long)? <<Whoa.. they got THAT big in just 3-4 years?? As above, a combination of factors is my best guess here. If you have plants then they help prevent these sorts of problems. If you don't, consider adding live plants. Marina>> 

Aquatic Gardens

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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