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FAQs on Environmental Pondfish Disease 3

Related Articles: Environmental Pond Disease, Koi/Pond Fish Disease, Gas Bubble Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control with DTHP, Hole in the Side Disease/Furunculosis, Goldfish Disease,

Related FAQs: Pond Environmental Disease 1, Pond Environmental Disease 2, & FAQs on Pond Environmental Disease: Prevention, Diagnosis, Causes: Cumulative Stress, Predation, Low/no Oxygen, Poisoning (Algicides, Metals, Pesticides...), Metabolite Accumulation, Physical Trauma/Damage, Electrical, Troubleshooting/Fixing, & Pond Fish Disease, Pondfish Disease 2, Pondfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease,

Aquatic Gardens

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

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Please help. GF dis., pond      8/16/18
Dear WWM Crew
Can you please help me? I rescued 60 goldfishes 2 weeks ago at the time of rescuing they suffered extremely bad stress then I just got one day to set up the new pond.
<Mmm; how was the water, filter "conditioned"?>
Now all fine but one poorly sick, it sinks at the bottom of the pond, I quarantined it indoor, used Interpet First Aid salt and API Pimafix, the black border alongside the body faded after 7 days treatment so I placed it back to the pond then next day the black border comes back again and it seems has new wound. I tested the water it shows medium high NO2 and NO3 which I immediately change 50% water, bought it down to normal level now
but the question is SHOULD I USE THE SAME MEDICINE AGAIN or should I try something different?
<Mmm; actually, no medication needed or advised, BUT you need to step up the biological filtration here. Let me have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwno2faqs.htm
STOP feeding period; the fish won't starve, but driving the nitrite up higher may well kill all.
DO look for Dr. Tim's products: GET "One & Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria"
Bob Fenner>
Hopefully not viremia, pox, or furunculosis...

Small Pond Goldfish Pond Survival      9/25/14
I have a 765 gallon, irregular shaped, sunken pond. It is a 45 mil. EPDM liner pond. It is a few weeks over 1 year old. It has a pH of about 8. It has a uv, a fountain, and a submersible filter with a water pump of about 625 gph. 2 of my adult fish died about 2 days ago. A calico Shubunkin goldfish and a big white comet. They got gill damage. They got it from being cooped up with 11 other goldfish. They were in a way too small 50 gallon tank, with no filter or aeration. They stayed in there for a day and overnight. My fault entirely. I should have known better. I got 2 new replacement fish for them today. A little yellow comet and another redheaded Shubunkin. They are both about 2 inches long. I live in the Arizona desert. Will the 2 new fish have time to build up their size and reserves before it gets too cold?
<Should do, but depends on how mild your autumns are and how cold it actually gets in your winters. Remember, Goldfish can feed and metabolise down to 10-12 degrees C, using low protein foods such as wheat germ, but below that they shouldn't be fed anything at all until springtime rolls round and it warms up above 10-12 C. Very small Goldfish may do better overwintered indoors, and your 50 gallon tank should be ample for that.
Mortality of yearling Goldfish can be quite high in cold climates where ice forms over the pond, but Arizona might well be mild enough for yours to do okay.>
Thank you.
<Welcome, Neale (in the UK). Have cc'ed RMF to add a more Southwestern USA perspective.>
<<IF the pond is large enough, deep enough, protected by structure from much influence of (weather) elements... to not vacillate much thermally (see WWM re as always); the biota should be fine here. RMF>>
Re: Small Pond Goldfish Pond Survival       09/25/14

Thank you Neale! :)
<Most welcome.>

Help! My Shubunkin is not acting right.      9/21/14
My pH is around 8. I have a 625 GPH submersible filter with a uv sterilizer and a fountain attachment. I just cleaned my 765 gallon pond. I started yesterday afternoon and finished this morning. I had to put my Shubunkin in a 50 gallon container with 11 other comet goldfish overnight. I about lost one of my comets. But that fish recovered and is doing fine. Now this one is acting strange. It is gasping at the surface of the water and darting around. The other fish are hiding in their fish shelters during the heat of the day. This is normal. Usually my Shubunkin hides with them. Not so today.
I used a new type of pond bacterial additive too.
<Why? What additive? To fix what problem with the pond?>
It keeps coming up to me as if asking for help. Is my fish stressed because of the water change?
<Fish can react to sudden changes in pH and temperature by swimming oddly, but typically most/all the fish will react, particularly within a single species (in this case, Carassius auratus). So if just one Goldfish is acting odd, then there may be something else going on. Examine the fish carefully for signs of physical damage (cats, leeches) or external parasites (anchor worms are not uncommon). Your photos don't really show me anything of significance, but capturing the fish with a net, removing to a white container, and then examining it yourself could be the next step for you.>
Does it have gill damage? Is it just hungry? No red areas or streets that I can see. Some photos are provided below.
Thank you.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Help#2!      9/21/14
In my last letter to you, do you recall me telling you about the comet goldfish I about lost? Well, turns out now that one is suffering from the same ailment as the Shubunkin. I am almost certain now these two suffered some sort of gill damage from their overnight stay in the 50 gallon tank with the other fish. What should I do with them? Do I humanely kill them?
Or should I just wait and see? Thank you.
<The latter. Damage to the gill filaments -- if not fatal or so severe the underlying bones are damaged -- usually will recover in time. Upping the aeration and/or use of water features to ensure oxygen levels are good will be helpful for this fish of "diminished capacity" at the moment. In fact you may prefer to hold them in a cycled hospital tank where you can keep them out of direct sunshine and excessive warmth (warm water contains less oxygen) so that they heal more comfortably. Should be back to normal within
a month. Cheers, Neale.>
Help #3
The fish I wrote about in my 2nd email to you has died. Found her floating in the pond. Checked her gills before disposing of the body. They were a dark blood red. Is this a sign of gill damage?
<Nope. It's a sign of a dead fish. Haemoglobin, once blood flow and gill (or lung) ventilation stops, turns dark red.>
A photo of the dead fish is below. The 2nd fish was having the same symptoms as this poor fish. Will it die too?
<I hope not. Do see previous emails.>
Thank you.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

re: Help #3      9/21/14
Thank you so much for all your help Neal. All my remaining fish are hiding this morning. Do you think it is due to stress from the pond cleaning? The Shubunkin is still alive as well. Thank you.
<Most welcome and good luck. Neale.>
Help! #4 Update
I got an update for you on my sick Shubunkin. Found my poor Shubunkin dead today. It was up in one of the folds of EPDM liner I have in my pond.
<Oh dear!>
Looked like it had been there a day or two. The other fish seem healthy and active. I have 8 to 7 goldfish now. Hard lesson learned though. No overnight housing in a 50 gallon tank without aeration and filtration. Poor fish! :(
<Indeed. Good luck with the remaining fish/pond. Cheers, Neale.>

HELP NEEDED SOON! Pondfish; killing them env.      7/15/14
To whom ever can offer help that I desperately need!
<Let's see>
I have a 4'W X 3'L and 26"D pond, that I have just had resurfaced ,
<With what?>
after 6 of my fish died one Butterfly Koi who committed suicide jumped out of pond , 5 plane Goldfish. I know have 2 Butterfly Koi and 5 Goldfish left, in a small 20 gal tank that are being treated for
bacterial infections with E.M. erythromycin tabs, Melafix

2 teaspoon,
and 2 teaspoons salt according to directions. They are currently alive and seem a bit better. Now I need to get them home again.
<Is this pond cycled?>
How and what do I treat the size pond now that it is refilled? I have on hand correct pH fizz tabs.
<... what is the make up of your source water?>

Start Right and salt. My fountain pond filter is Beckett for 200 gal. Do I need a bigger one?
<What filter is this pump driving?>

These are my readings as of yesterday;
Ammonia 2.0
pH low 7.6
pH high 8.4
<.... WAY TOO much vacillation... Also deadly toxic>

NP2 0
NO3 0
Don't know how to test for hardness, pond was filled with house salt softened water has been re circulating without the filter part in place just the fountain pump.
Nervous to put filter material ( bio balls and sponge material) back in pond as could be infected. Bio balls just cleaned and left in clean water in sun bucket. What would you recommend for filtering?
<Posted.... here's the indices:
Food used for feeding is Tetra Pond Variety blend and Goldfish Crisps, should I be feeding anything different?
<... I would not feed anything under the current water conditions>

Today's readings are as follows;
Ammonia 0.50
pH low 7.6
pH high 8.3 - 8.4
NO 2 0.
NO 3 0.

P.S. It rained hard overnight. Last ? do barley balls really do what they say they will do?
Thanks in advance for any and all help!
<Help yourself; read... send along specific questions. You must get the ammonia to zero, have some alkaline reserve...>
Shavana Abel
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Questionable Water Supply?     4/24/14
Greetings WetWebMedia Crew, I have a peculiar incident to report. I did a water change three days ago, ended being about 60%, which is larger than I normally change. This tank is my Shubunkin goldfish tank and holds 65g and
filtered by wet/dry filter(this tank has always been bullet proof for me).

I hold these goldfish in here to establish breeding pairs or trios then relocate to outer pond.
<Good practice>
There are 4 fish and are about 4 inches in length, I've had for 5 months.
Tank has been running for two years ammonia>0, nitrite>0,nitrate >10 before water change. These were fish healthy with a diet high in vegetables and algae. Now two days after change I noticed, my fish had what looked like fin rot completely covering edge of fins. Two fish dead, two very weak. I performed a immediate water change of 50%, without testing water
parameters. The following day the remaining fish died. The fish actually looked as if they lost weight in the 48hours as well.
Not quite sure what to make of this. Only thing I can think of, is my county water line was being worked on that day, a block or two away and my water supply was interrupted briefly that day. I did attempt to flush my line(by running water for 5mins or so) and water looked and smelt OK. Do you think a water additive being run thru the line killed these fish?
<Could be... I'd contact the water district; ask re; and see if they'll test a bit of your extant mixed water. In future, I'd do what I advise re new water treatment, changes... Store it for a week ahead of time; make only 20-30% changes if poss. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for the great site. Aloha Brandon
<A hu'i hou!> 

Sandpaper skin on my Shubunkin 12/27/11
Hi there, I'm so grateful to you guys, the site is fantastic. I should have written and asked for advice before. I also apologise in advance for this long email. And for the fact that I still don't have a proper testing kit for nitrate and ammonia. I've ordered one online and it should arrive in the next couple of days.
Just as an introduction, I have eight goldfish in a 400 litre pond, ph 7.0.
Its in my tiny front yard, taking up most of the garden, the fish are sheltered by water lilies and overhanging ferns. Its very popular with the neighbourhood kids who all stop and admire the fish every chance they can get. Another of my fish, a male Shubunkin, is currently in a separate hospital tub of 200litres, ph 7.4.
<All right>

I've had three of my fish, two comets and the Shubunkin, maybe four or five years, all bought from my local pet shop when they were tiny. These are the ones that had the other 'babies', but of course the babies are now huge.
The two original female comets are about 30cms long (12inches), the Shubunkin and a couple of the Shubunkin x comet 'babies' are around 10inches.
<Mmm, need more room...>
The rest are about 8inches minimum, except for one 4inch fantail
(which I suspect came in on some plants I bought on eBay). When I got the original three they were so small, and I'm ashamed to say, but I had a small bowl with no filtration. My current 400litre pond is the third, and I now have a huge ClariTec 15000 biofilter, hooked up to a Stingray 7000 Pond Filtration Pump. I bought the current pond two years ago, and the goldfish grew dramatically after I bought it. It was astonishing how much they grew. I feed them floating pellets and peas. I do 30-40% water changes once every week or so, using various water conditioners, currently Prime.
The fish are really tame and swim between my hands. They're lovely fish.
I'd hate to lose any of them. The thing is, the current pond is now too small, and I suspect this may be one cause of my current problems. I want to get them a bigger pond, but at the moment I don't have anywhere to put it.
<Then some of the fish need to be moved elsewhere>

About six months ago I noticed my original Shubunkin had developed skin that felt like sandpaper. My first thought was white spot, and I took him out and tried a ten day salt treatment to no avail. (Epsom salt, rock salt, baking soda and Melafix.) None of the others had sandpaper skin or any visible spots. I know this is silly but he seemed quite upset about being separate so put him back with the others. (I know this is incredibly silly but I wasn't thinking straight due to various other things that were happening at the time). He was swimming around rapidly by himself and calmed when I put him back. Anyway, I then tried Aqua Master Rapid White Spot Remedy on the whole pond to no avail. I used up 2 lots of 500ml of the stuff, as per the instructions, so its not as though I didn't try for long enough.
<The issue here is environmental..., not a biological disease agent>

I later tried paracide and paragone. Nothing got rid of his sandpaper skin. I've read about the dangers of over medicating and this all happened over a 4mth period, which yes, is probably way too much medication over that time.
The other fish seemed fine while this was going on and I was desperate. Of course I was asking the advice of people in a few different fish shops and they just kept flogging me different treatments. In the meantime I was searching the web and couldn't find any symptoms similar.
The only information I did find said 'sandpaper skin' meant the fish had 'had it', or referred to some obscure incurable disease in wild fish which once you saw this on their skin meant it had already got into all their internal organs and caused irreparable damage.
It was when the Shubunkin started swimming frantically up and down the pond one day that I finally put him in a separate 200litre outdoor tank, 2mths ago now. He was really going psycho. At this point I was really desperate and was convinced he was going to die in the next few days. He'd become very thin, especially compared to the others. I then tried Waterlife Protozin and later Sterazin on him to no avail. Even just writing this I'm horrified at the medication I've inflicted on him, but I was desperate and didn't know what else to do.
<A better world... not toxic medications>

My Shubunkin didn't die however, and he's been in the 200litre tub about 2mths now, with a biofilter and a 3500 litre per hour pump. (This tub has algae that just won't go, which I realise after looking more at your site is probably because I've been overfeeding.) Anyway, after I tried the Parazin my fish's symptoms started to change. (I don't know whether these changes really had any connection to the Parazin, the weather in Sydney was really hot around that time too.) What happened was that my fish started to get white raised skin, like healed raised scar tissue, where his dorsal fin joins his body. White spots up to 1mm diameter started to appear and slowly erupt from that tissue, not as a cyst, but in a long white thread.
(Sorry I know this is gross.) The sand paper skin on the rest of his body didn't change. During the Parazin treatment the erupting white spots just kept appearing and the raised scar tissue like skin just got worse.
I think it was just under a month ago I decided to give my fish a salt bath and finally I found this seemed to have some effect. What looked like little black worms and longer white worms came out of his body. He seemed calmer after it was over though he really hated it at the time. His swimming around frantically became less frequent afterwards too.
I've given him a few salt baths since and am worried about over salting him.
Unfortunately the salt baths haven't fully eradicated the sand paper skin or the raised scar tissue, or the white spots which still appear every few days in the scar tissue along the base of his dorsal fin, although the scar tissue is getting much smaller, and his skin seems to be becoming less 'sandpaper like' (although I may be imagining this). When he does swim around frantically its usually in the morning, or when another white spot has appeared and looks like its going to erupt.... gross... :-(
No more black worms have come out since the first salt bath I gave him.
What still appears to erupt from his skin during the salt baths are the long white threads - from the white spots, as well as the rest of his body.
I've since realised it may not be a worm - I've copied a gross close up photo to this site so you can see for yourself and decide:
If you look at the edge of the black cardboard you should just be able to make out little black spots in the white. The white thread shown here is about 1cm long. (I've also taken a photo of an insect that's been appearing out of nowhere in his pond and which always appears the day after the salt bath in the container I've used. Its white or grey, about 1mm, and jumps like a flea. I don't know if this is connected to whatever might be in his body.)
<Can't make this out, but not likely a factor here>
I just don't know if I can keep doing the salt baths, how long it will take to finally work and if it eventually will.
<Just good conditions, nutrition and time going by>
What really scares me is that over the last few days I've seen white threads coming out of one of my fish in the front pond too. I couldn't bear to go through this with all of them. I've tried to take photos of the affected goldfish, copied into the above link. The white threads are circled in red, but you can't really see them. The other fish's scales appear whiter too. (If I hadn't seen the white stuff I would've thought it was because she was breeding - there are eggs and small fry in the pond, which hopefully the rest of them will eat. I definitely don't want any more fish.)
I feel so sorry for my poor fish, the Shubunkin. He's such a beautiful fish with a lovely long tail and I hate doing all this to him, its like torture, I can't believe he's survived the whole process to this point.
Plus I know goldfish are social and I don't like leaving him by himself.
Yet throughout most of this time his appetite has been good, and since I separated him I've been spoiling him by giving him frozen brine shrimp mixed with Spirulina (too much obviously). He loves that and devours it.
Unbelievably he's now looks like he putting on a little bit of weight.
<Should as the weather cools>
If you could please let me know your thoughts on all this it would be so much appreciated. The whole process has been horrible. I've been doing as much reading about fish diseases as I can and I've not come across anything like the symptoms my fish is exhibiting. And thank you for your patience with this long essay, and for all the time and care you've put into this site.
Best wishes,
<This issue is often attributed to a viral involvement, but always environmentally mediated. STOP all medications, including salts... Bob Fenner>

Fish Dying....
Hi I have a fairly new pond, 4 weeks old. 6/9/11
<Mmm, very new... How was the surface treated? What had/have you done to cycle it biologically?>
The pond is aprox 1400 gallons. I have a top notch filtration system with a bottom drain
<Best not to draw water from the bottom for filtration, or circulation>
that is rated for 2000 gallons. The water fall has excellent flow and creates plenty of oxygen. I started the pond and treated the water with dechlorinator, water conditioner and a bio agent
<Which product?>
to get the good bacteria to grow. The pond store told me I could put fish in right away
<An exceedingly poor idea>
but I waited another week. I purchased 5 small Koi from the pond store and introduced them to pond after acclimating them. Unfortunately I lost two fish because the were sucked into the bottom drain.
I fixed that problem and added two more fish a few days later. One of those fish died within a couple of days, but we weren't sure if a predator had gotten in the pond and injured it. Everything was fine for a few days, except I couldn't get the fish to feed. They were hiding in the rocks and staying near the bottom. In the last few days they have become more brave and have been swimming around, but still not coming to the surface to feed.
I have checked the water quality almost everyday and with the exception of hard water, everything else is good. the PH avg. is around 7.5. The nitrate/nitrite readings are 0.
<... if this system is cycled there should be accumulating NO3>
I have a few marginal plants and one water lily. Lately I have been losing a fish every 3 days or so. They seem to go from behaving normally to becoming lethargic and the soon after dead.
<Indicative of environmental issue/s>
I can't find any visible damage on them when I pull them from the water.
I am down to only two fish now, although they seem quite normal at the moment. Any advice...
<Yes; stop stocking>
should I remove these fish from the water and do a large water change??
<I'd wait a month or so... drain half the water out, replace...>
I also have a couple of tadpoles in the pond. I don't see them much, but I did spy one swimming around and feeding the other day. He looked fine.
<Too many possibilities to re-key... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdenvdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above... Best to take your time here. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Issues, pond, comm. svc. acct. 4/19/11
I have a client with a pond, who has some goldfish that need your help!
The fish are between 3-5 years old. Two are bloated (thought to be from improper nutrition/environment/husbandry) and one I am unsure what to think could be the problem. Possibly an infection of the liver? Or gases built up around the intestines from improper diet?
<Likely the latter, along w/ aspects of the environment>
I have attached pictures to this email, these are the only three out of 8 fish to be affected in a 350 gallon pond.
Any suggestions on what to do would be greatly appreciated.
So far, here is what has rolled out since I took over the pond. After the consultation, I immediately came up with an action plan, and cross-referenced it through your site ( as I do when I am uncertain in the least! ). I tested the pond's water and the only issue was mild ammonia,
which alleviated after the water change/debris removal. This was 2 weeks ago. The water is still testing zero ammonia, zero nitrites, 15ppm nitrates, and the pH is stable around 7.3-7.5. I added magnesium sulfate at the rate of 1 g/L directly following the water change, and after a week of no feeding I bumped the level to around 2.0-2.3 g/L based on my calculations (hard to say due to a storm we had during the first week, the pond had overflowed some, so I dosed enough to bring the level from 1 to 2.5 g/L) I also started feeding a few peas every few days at the second visit. Still no results in the affected fish.
<These will take months>
I am also having issues obtaining pond plants that the fish will find palatable, as the owner agreed to have plants in the pond for proper nutrition. The reason I am having issues is the plants that are suggested on WWM are either illegal in South Carolina (Egeria sp., Pistia sp.) or are not being carried yet by my local nurseries, as it is still early in the pond season here. Do you have any other suggestions for palatable pond plants (palatable to the goldfish, of course!)?
<What do you have available?>
And do you have any suggestions for a quality commercial goldfish diet?
<Mmm, yes... low protein... no more than 20%... ten would be better>
My client loves to feed his fish, and has been asking me when he can resume feeding, and what (although he does understand he cannot feed the fish until they are in better condition.)
<Emphasize this every time you're there. He needs to MINIMALLY feed these fish/es>
He is a busy man, so I don't see him preparing peas and the like for his fish. He just wants a bag/container that he can pick up when relaxing in his backyard and feed a handful to his aquatic buddies.
Should I tell him to stick to a spring/fall diet, and only to feed sparingly (as long as I can find suitable plants for the fish to eat on a daily basis?)
A couple of questions:
What is the highest/most effective concentration of Epsom Salt for bloat/dropsy? Would the affected fish benefit more from a 1-hour high-concentration bath?
<Possibly. Please read here:
and the linked FAQs file above labeled MgSO4>
Please let me know what direction I should take, I want to help my client's goldfish live happy lives! I thank you in advance for all of your help!
P.S.: Sorry about the glare in the pictures, it was the best quality I could get out of my travel camera.
*Mitchell Downs*
*Ebb and Flow Aquatics*
<Really only improved and diminished nutrition, sustained high water quality and time will improve these fish's health. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Issues 4/19/11
Thank you for the info Bob,
What would you suggest I offer the customer? Weekly/Bi-weekly water changes with debris removal and cleaning of filters?
Feeding schedule/guidelines along with this?
<As posted on WWM... none, once, twice per day depending on temp.>
Or should I feed once per week if we choose to go with a weekly maintenance schedule? The customer wants some sort of time frame, is there no real reliable way to estimate this?
<... please refer him to WWM is you don't care to look this up:
I am not as much concerned with short-term revenue, as with long term contracts.
<You are wise here>
The customer has indicated that a routine maintenance contract is viable as long as I can fix this problem. Should I tell him the only way to fix the problem is through a maintenance contract?
<My stock statement here: I would NOT do any work nowadays w/ out a signed, written contract>
I pride myself in honest, excellent customer service at a price that is better than my competition as well as a superior quality of service.
I normally maintain aquariums, and my background is heavily in reefs and tropicals (where most issues I have either dealt with personally, or researched and assisted customers in resolving). I have been drawn more and more to ponds for various reasons ( both personal attraction as well as business reasons $$$) I want to keep this customer! I don't want to scare him off, resulting in another company immediately dosing the pond with loads of antibacterials before looking into the problem thoroughly (potentially causing more issues than before). The only reason I could think of to use antibacterials would be on the food (Kanamycin possibly?), after 2-3 months of consistent, optimal water quality and nutrition. Do you agree?
<Mmm, at times/places, injectibles are of use... Definitely NOT poured into the water>
I have been in the hobby for almost 16 years, 7 of which have been in the service/retail industries. Any insight from someone with much more experience than myself is always appreciated.
<Oh, do also peruse our Business SubWeb when you have time:
Also, did the pictures indicate nutritional issues?
<Possibly, along w/ env.>
The two that are bloated seem to be, but the one with the lump under the skin I am curious about.
Thanks as always,
Mitchell Downs
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Gold Koi swimming on its side at the surface after winter 1/15/11
<Hello Dale>
I have an outside pond which has been in existence for at least ten years and has a pump with a filter, last year in June after a water change I purchased a number of fish two Gold Koi, one Red and a Ghost Carp.
During Autumn I cleared the pond of all leaves with a net, the fish have survived this harsh winter but recently one Gold Koi died after floating on the surface of the pond on its side, followed a few weeks after by the Ghost Carp which simply died no sign of floating on its side. Now the remaining Gold Koi has been swimming at the surface on its side for 3 days, it is still strong and seems determined to dive and is able to straighten out for a few seconds before returning to swim on its side at the surface.
I suspected it has swim bladder problems maybe brought on by acclimatising to the changing water temperature,
<Mmm, no>
and I have read about the use of defrosted peas to help cure this ailment, which I'm a bit doubtful of, will this help?
The Red Koi is fine and has always been fond of this last remaining Gold Koi, so it would be a shame if it is left on its own ha-ha.
I'd be grateful of any further information you could give me to help rectify the problem.
<I don't know with any real certainty what the exact cause of this fish's odd behavior actually is... but I fully suspect "something" re the environment. It is quite common through seasonal changes that simple stress, changes in the chemical/physical make up of pond water brings about such anomalous losses. I urge you to take care (small, gradual changes) in your upkeep. Please read here re:
Bob Fenner>
Re: Gold Koi swimming on its side at the surface after winter, 1/16/11

Unfortunately it died, but thanks for the advice.
<I would (still) be looking for root cause/s here. Something is not right w/ the system/water. BobF>

Goldfish Problems 5/13/10
I need some help with my sick Goldfish, I live in NE Ohio and I have ten -7 inch Goldfish in my outdoor pond. The other day when I went out to feed them I noticed that they were losing their color or maybe scales losing pigment. They were staying still at the bottom. I took one of the fish to the local fish store and the man told me that it was a bacterial infection
<? from what cause/s?>
so he told me to use the T.C Tetracycline. So I set up a 20 gallon tank
<Too small>
inside the house and brought them all in and using a 50/50 of water from the pond and fresh water and the suggested medication. As soon as I put them in there with the medication they are gasping at the surface, some on their side. I don't know if the Tetracycline is making them worst?
<Possibly... but lack of oxygen, the sudden increase in temperature... will kill them>
I have attached some pictures hoping that someone can help me? Thanks for any help that you
can give. Mike
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdenvdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Problems

Bob, Could you make out anything from the pictures? Should I continue the Tetracycline?
<Not much and no. B>

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.>

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