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FAQs on Environmental Pondfish Disease Due to Poisoning 

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

Related FAQs: Pond Environmental Disease 1, Pond Environmental Disease 2, Pond Environmental Disease 3, & FAQs on Pond Environmental Disease: Prevention, Diagnosis, Causes: Cumulative Stress, Predation, Metabolite Accumulation, Physical Trauma/Damage, Electrical, Troubleshooting/Fixing, & Pond Fish DiseasePondfish Disease 2, Pondfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease,

Copper metal, algicides (and their effects)... almost all "fish medicines"... are toxic to degrees

Some Polyethylene for landscape, greenhouses, "Blue" liner for pools... are as well.

Treated wood, run off that gets into the pond, sanitizers (chlorine, chloramine), aerially applied pesticides (can be from quite far away)...

Aquatic Gardens

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

contaminated water     4/4/12
Please see attachment.  Thank you bonbon has a file to share with you on SkyDrive.  To view it, click the link below. I have a small pond in the back yard with four large goldfish.doc
Nothing attached
Re: contaminated water     4/4/12

I have a small pond
<... how large? Dimensions please>
 with 4 large goldfish (approximately 8-10" long). My swimming pool is being sandblasted to remove the fiberglass.  When I came home, there was a film of dust (sand and fiberglass) floating on the pond.
<Not good>
 I did not realize the extent of the mess or I would have risked moving the fish to my daughter's pond.  I skimmed the water, cleaned the filter, added about 3" of water (pond is approximately 12" deep)
<Too shallow>

 and added dechlorinator.  I covered the pond with a tarp, but they are still sandblasting and will be continuing tomorrow.  Should I change 1/3 of the pond water today and then another 1/3 tomorrow when they are done? 
<Likely of benefit>
Or put them in the bathtub with the pump until they are done?  But I would still have water with particles floating in it  I will try anything to save them.  Thank you.
<Leave the basin covered... Bob Fenner>

Bob F: Thanks for chlorine discourse   7/4.5/11
...Though it offered little solace to he who returned from the family picnic to discover that he had left the hose running in the goldfish pond (+/- 1000 gal., 12 full-grown common/comets plus 1 yearling) for about 8 hours (at about 5 gpm), on a Sunday night before a Monday holiday, at that.
Screwed, in a word.
Ben, one of our 5year-olds and the alpha F, floated in the skimmer, and Mnemeth, the yearling (my wife may actually be from Pern, but I digress) was barely alive. She moved him into the 20-gallon setup indoors, but he quickly succumbed.
The water was foamy. All we had handy was about 4 oz. of "Stress Coat," which only lists aloe as an ingredient, and almost all of a 26 oz. carton of Ammo Chips.
This morning, to my relief, there is no foam and there are no more corpses in evidence, although I can only see 9. I'm not despairing for the other 2 yet, even though the water is quite clear. There are lots of places for a fish to hide in our pond if it wants to. The ones I see are behaving normally, swarming for a feeding. They can wait.
Max Smith
<Sorry for your travails Max. BobF>
Re: Bob F: Thanks for chlorine discourse   7/4.5/11
Thanks. "Nobody's fault but mine," wrote the poet.
<Ohh, one of my fave refrains from the Zep's: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobody's_Fault_but_Mine
Cheers, BobF>
Re: Bob F: Thanks for chlorine discourse   7/5/11

Seriously, thanks for your condolences, Bob. It's the half-glass perspective. We are happy it was only four---we still haven't seen the other two, so they must be gone---and are happy that we still have three of our original six 5-year-olds along with five of their progeny and the one a friend gave us to take care of (whew!) We do have four more of the progeny that we moved indoors as fry. Being in a 20 gallon set-up, they're naturally a fraction of the size of the pond fish that are from the same spawn.
Max Smith
<Life to you my friend. BobF>
Problem with Bleach   9/28/10

I have a 3500 liter fish pond that was drained of all the water, and bleach was put in to the remaining dregs of water to prevent mossies from hatching, I now want to reintroduce fish into the pond. I have filled and emptied the pond three times and added a dechlorinator. How do I get rid of the bleach from the water and get it ready for fish.
<Go to the chemist, or photography shop and buy solid sodium thiosulfate (hyposulfite)... apply a few pounds of this (mix in water and pour along the pond edge... and check for free chlorine an hour or more later... Add more hypo if you're still registering free chlorine. Bob Fenner>
Re: Problem with Bleach   9/29/10
Thanks will try this
<This is the best, most-assured, least expensive and non-toxic means of neutralizing sodium hypochlorite (bleach). B>

Using carbon to remove an unknown chemical. Pond filtr. 04/22/09
Hi, I have a pond that has been in use for over a year now. the problem is that I didnt feel like working with it previously do to an illness that I have, so essentially it was left for my family to care for. Due to mosquito issues my family added a floating chlorine realizing device and several dosings of bleach last summer. I now wish to work with my pond and have tried adding some paradise fish to it. The paradise fish look horrible only minutes after being added and Im unable to locate them the next day. I have also been having some problems with duckweed and salvia that I have contributed to the sun before I noticed the problem with the fish.
So heres the condition of the pond. Ammonia and nitrites are 0, I didnt test nitrate yet because it wouldnt account for the speed of deterioration in the fish that I have been noticing, and the API test is kind of a pain. PH is high, about 7.5-8, but again, while not ideal for the paradise fish, I dont see it killing them. The duckweed is mostly dead, but there are a few that are staying green, and there are a few aquatic insects currently alive at this time. Im thinking that there is some chemical in the water that is causing the fish death, and that the duckweed and insects are only surviving in small numbers. 99% of the duckweed is dead, and Im guessing that there should be a lot more insects then there are, but only a small number are surviving. As to whatever may have been released by the floating chlorine releasing device or something extra in the bleach I unfortunately dont know.
<Mmm, possibly just the excess chloride... easy to remedy...>
Theres even a possibility that something else might have been added to the water last year, and forgotten about, so no one mentioned it.
My plan was to use carbon to remove anything that might be left.
Do you think carbon would be enough to remove an unknown toxin? I was thinking 30lb, pond is approximately 160-180, three uses of 10lbs each or so. i will be making my own addhawk
<Heeee! Ad hoc?>
 filter for this purpose so if you have any suggestions on dosing I can probably accommodate it.
I would eventually like to release some Xiphophorus birchmanni which would enjoy the high ph, but Im afraid to until I start seeing some better results with the paradise fish. Thank you for any help, Christian.
<Much cheaper and surer to dump most all the water out and just re-fill it anew. Bob Fenner>

Toxicity, possible aluminium, no answers! Pond... env. dis.   08/28/08 Hi Bob <Julian> I live in England and I hope you will excuse the long message, as it's complicated! <No worries> I have kept Koi for many years, but this is a newish build as I moved house. I shipped all my Koi into their new 2300 gallon home, along with all their mature filter media. I have young children so I had a safety grid installed, now this grid had aluminium bars that sit submerged in the pond. I didn't think this was a problem, but during the run in of the pond I decided to add salt <Mmmm> as there was a level of 0.5 nitrite <Trouble> in the pond that was sitting too long. Anyway before this (2 months) the fish were very happy, feeding hard. 1 day after adding the salt (dishwasher 99.9% pure) the fish all went off food and acted lethargic. I wondered what it was so I obviously scraped fish and found nothing. I contacted some people who suggested the aluminium was leaching into the water. <Too likely much more so with the addition of the salt...> So I talked to 2 doctors of chemistry who disagreed with each other as to whether this was even possible. So not to hang about I started water changing. <Good move> I couldn't remove the grid at this time. Anyway after a couple of weeks I had changed enough water to get the salt to pretty much 0 (it was 0.2%) <I'd keep changing out water> Problems persisted and I talked to the company who agreed to remove the grid and refund me. I carried on water changing and the like but could not 'wake' the fish up. The fish were very weak, I took one to a specialist and he scraped it too- found nothing. One fish died of sudden dropsy. I bought an aluminium kit at vast expense and tested the water which had a level of 0.05 m/l of aluminium. The tap water, and my local river and lake tested at 0.0 <I see...> I contacted Paula Reynolds who is a disease and toxicity carp expert in this country. She obviously couldn't be sure, but was fairly convinced that the aluminium was the culprit. <Is, was likely a factor... along with, exacerbated by the salt addition> I used a product called Pond Detox which she says neutralises all metals from water. Fish would perk up a little with it's use, then gradually go off food and be lethargic once more. <Do you have another system you could move these Koi to?> I noticed through the saga that blanket weed would not grow in the pond- in fact the pond walls were brown and crusty, and near the flow in it was horrible on the walls- . Several weeks, in fact 3 months on and the fish are not improving. They will not eat anything other than very small pellets and dried shrimp. They eat very, very slowly. I became unconvinced that the aluminium was the culprit so in an experiment I put two new hungry fat fish in. Instantly they took on the same behaviour of the other fish. I then assumed that something else in the pond was toxic, by this time little patches of green were growing on the walls, but then would die after a few days. <Again... I'd remove these fishes, acid/bleach wash this basin, all surfaces, rinse thoroughly, re-fill, add a bacteria prep., let run a week or so... test with one fish> Nitrate was always about 30 ppm. <Much too high as well> Water is hard, ph is just under 8, <Dangerously high for any nitrogenous metabolite presence, though I would not purposely try to change... again, I'd move the fish, even into a temporary kiddie pool of size (with mesh cover, pump, bio-filtration)> and nitrite and ammonia remained constant 0. I then suspected my block built filter was leaching lime, <Bingo... another factor in the debilitation here> as part of it I noticed could track water between the bays where the concrete was not sealed properly. I contacted Paula who said there is nothing in cement that is toxic to fish... <... This is assuredly incorrect... Please do a bit more investigation re> So ignoring her advice I then shut the large filter off, I am running the pond on an old filter that I know to be safe! <Ah, good... Hook this one up to the ancillary pool/kiddie> Just pump feeding it with the bottom drain shut off. Since then I have used her product again, and carried on with water changes. Still the fish will not come around and no alteration in the ph has been noted. <The cement in the concrete is not cured sufficiently to allow this...> The fish look perfectly fine, but they are acting as though it is the middle of winter. You might think that I've messed around and the fish are just stressed- however, all this has gone on over 3 months. These were fish that I used to hand feed and pat on the head- they are all 18 inch - 22 inch, only 7 in the pond plus the two new ones. Obviously it is very distressing to see, but I feel helpless. <Don't be so... Think, and act!> These are the materials that are now in the pond, Butyl box weld liner. Aquamax pump, pvcu 4 inch bottom drain. Abs solvent weld 1.5 inch pipe work. These were all there before plus of course the aluminium grid and block built filter. Have you any thoughts on this?? <Yes... see above> Many thanks, a desperate Julian from the UK. <Do make it known how you progress here Julian; and what further assistance I may be. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Pond liner toxic?  7/7/08 Hi, I recently purchased a 45mil EPDM "fish friendly" pond liner from the Pond Depot (Ponddepot.com) for a 4000 gallon pond and set it up. So far, my fish keep dying on me (3 to 4 Koi and goldfish at a time to see if they survive). It takes 3 or 4 days, but they all eventually die. The pond is 4 feet deep for about half of it, but has high sun exposure and has been up and running for about a month. <... is this system cycled? How filtered... oh, I see this below> I am using a high powered filter and pump by Tetra and have put plenty of dechlorinator, etc. in the water. I have an identical pond that's 4 years old and supports fish just fine. It has the same filter, pump, maximum depth, and sun exposure, only it's 2000 gallons deep and uses firestone's 45 mil EPDM pond liner. My question is if my liner is "toxic" despite its label as being fish friendly. How would I test something like that? <Mmm, a bioassay likely... as you are actually doing> Pond Depot says it's fish friendly, but I'm at a loss here. This is a real chore (and very expensive) to just "switch to a new liner", there must be some way of knowing if it's toxic. <EPDM is non-toxic... Something else is at play here... I would dump the water out, re-fill with water from the old/established system, wait a month, allow this system to stabilize, and try some fish from a known-healthy source. Bob Fenner>

Re: pond liner toxic? Bob, thank you for your prompt response to my concerns. I feel better about the liner (dreaded the thought messing with that) and will continue to try and make this pond a success. -Martin <Thank you Martin. Do please relate to us later how this turns out. Bob Fenner>

Re: pond liner toxic? -update 8/16/08 Bob. You were right, it wasn't the liner. Something toxic had most likely gotten into the pond the first time. After draining it and starting over, I have a functioning pond! Thanks again. <Ah, thank you for this update. There are a few principal ways contamination can get into ponds... run-off, sprays and fertilizers from surrounding landscape... Even "bug sprays" from not very close... I remember times when folks would call our service co. in a tizzy asking what was going on with their pond fish... I'd tell them "lick your finger and stick it in the air"... and walk/run in the direction of the incoming wind... Extermination co.s... Bob Fenner>

Painted Fish - 04/29/2006 Well, this is unbelievable. I seem to have finally gotten my half barrel water garden cycled, and the pH has stabilized at 7.2 with the KH reading "ideal" on my test strip. The fish seem happy and their bluish white coating has dissipated and is almost gone. The water lily is growing, the elodea is well-nibbled, the water hyacinth has new leaves. All seems well.  Except today the next-door neighbor sanded his house all day, and it's windy, so the paint dust drifted over my way and coated the water surface. <Ohhhhh no....> I did a partial water change (about 30%), removed the hyacinth and bog plant and rinsed them well before replacing them, and scooped out as much of the remaining dust as I could. But there is still some on the surface, and it's still windy so there's paint dust in the yard and in the air. I see little specks of paint that are now attached to the elodea, the still-underwater lily pads and yes, I even see a couple of specks of paint attached to the fish.  Seriously. And it's not ich, unless the plants have ich too. The paint in question is new exterior paint, not old (lead based) paint.  How bad is this for the fish, and is there anything further I can do for them?  -Linda <In all honesty, this isn't particularly good.  I wish I had a very good solution for you, but the best I can think of is to do some significant water changes, rinse off the plants as best as you can in dechlorinated water of the same temperature, and cover the pond or bring it inside for the duration if you have room....  How frustrating, I'm so sorry!  All the best to you,  -Sabrina>  

Koi... seasonal die-off? More likely poisoned by too much change, untreated source water   05/08/07 My finance and I recently moved into a rental with a pond in the backyard (We do not know the size nor the size of the pump-sorry). Last week, we noticed that the algae was getting pretty bad, so we took all the fish out (12 Koi, 1 turtle and 3 catfish), put them into tubs and scrubbed out the pond (no chemicals used). <Not even something to remove the tapwater sanitizer?>   Yesterday, the turtle and the catfish were fine (and still are), but all but 3 Koi were dead (as of this morning, only one is still living). Since we don't know the first thing about the fish (the landlord told us to feed them and that's all, saying that they take care of themselves), I want to see what can be done.   We took all the catfish out and the turtle and put them into one tub, and the Koi into another one. We don't know if it is male or female, so "he" is floating towards the top, doesn't seem to be interested in food and is pretty still but still breathing. He is dark orange in color and do not notice any external problems.   We drained out the pond again but the algae this time was worse than last week. We are not done cleaning it out yet (will be by this afternoon) and was wondering what we need to do help out our last surviving Koi. Do we keep him away from the catfish for now? And mainly could you help us try to find out what may be the problem so we can keep him?   Thank you so much! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm The trays below on Maintenance, Water... Bob Fenner>

Koi are dying... env. dis., Algicide poisoning   7/17/06 Hi! I have outdoor 4300 gallon pond. My pond water really green pea soup looking, <Not good... such presence can easily cause way too varying water quality/conditions in the day/night...> and  I don't have any shade for my pond. <So...> So I keep adding algae fix every 3 days <Dangerous... toxic> and drain the pond late at night everyday <... the algae can double in population more than every hour...> it does not seem to help. 2 of my Koi died with mo sign of disease <... the Algicide and water changes...> My problem now is several of my Koi that I have for 8 years are very lethargic and the body are pinkish and the other have blood streaks on fins and tail. <"Environmental stress"...> I check most of this ph, nitrate, nitrites, ammonia and water hardiness they are all fine.  I have added chloramines remover, stress coat and MelaFix yesterday and I did not see any improvement at all. please help! Lonnie & Carmen <There is something amiss, deficient in your system make-up... insufficient filtration/nitrification surface area,  too little circulation/aeration... could be too high initial pH... Shade, the use of purposeful plants... perhaps a UV sterilizer or Ozone generation... Many roads/steps can be taken to curtail algal proliferation (and should). Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdalgcontrol.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi are dying ... Not reading?! What the....?  7/18/06 Thanks for the quick response.     Is there anything I can do lower the toxicity of my pond water to save my fish? I need all the advice I can get right now. I'm really upset that I did this to my fish. Lonnie & Carmen <...? Yes, read where you were referred to. Bob Fenner>

Pond problems  9/15/06 Hi.  I came across your site on the web.  I am experiencing problems with my new Koi pond and was wondering if you might have any insight. <Might> My pond was built about 3 months ago out of bluestone with a standard liner. <Standard? Not one made for swimming pool use I hope/trust... these are toxic> It is a small pond, about 250 gallons (3.5 feet x 6.5 feet x 20 inches deep). <Not large/deep enough to be stable-enough in most settings, climates> We have a pump with a filter that circulates the water with a waterfall.  We have added plants -- water irises, parrot feather, water hyacinths and water lilies.  I have also been adding bacteria -- specifically in liquid form with a product called Clear Pond.   <Yes... sometimes "works", often not> About 3 weeks after the pond had been running, I added 2 small Koi to the pond.  One of the Koi died within 2 days.  I waited about 4 days and introduced 3 very small Comet goldfish. <Mmm, would get/use test kits for water quality. Would not keep Koi in such a small volume, definitely would not mix goldfish and Koi>   About 5 days later, 1 of the goldfish died.  Then slowly, over the course of the next week, each of the fish died.  We had the company who constructed the pond come out to test the water 3 times, and each time all of the levels (ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, ph, water hardness) were in normal range.  So, I waited a week, continued to add the bacteria and introduced 2 more small Koi.  They also died within 1 day. <Something toxic...> I called in another pond expert to get a second opinion.  He also tested the pond water and said everything looked fine. <For what was tested>   He gave me a better bacteria in granular form that he uses and told me to add a 1/4 teaspoon to the pond every day for 2 weeks and that he would then bring in a hardier Koi.  Well, 2 weeks past, he brought the medium sized, "hardier" Koi and it died with in 4 hours. I am perplexed, as are all of our pond experts.  The one commonality is that all of the fish had glazed over/white eyes when they died.   <Poisoned> In fact, the last Koi's eyes were bulging out.  None of them were gasping for air or swimming at the top, therefore I do not believe it is an oxygen issue.  And the pond water is clear. <"So is white vinegar"...> Please help!  Do you have any idea what could be wrong with my pond, or could you give us any suggestions of what to check?  Thank you! <I'd dump all the water out (leave the plants), re-fill, wait a week, look for a product called "Bio-Spira" for freshwater... add this, wait another week, and try whichever type of fish life you intend to keep again. I suspect that there is "something" that either was left in the original construction or consequently got into your system that was/is toxic. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdenvdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>  

Suspected Koi/pond poisoning      - 09/14/06     Two weeks ago I went out to do my morning feeding and found my 20in Showa floating around on the bottom.  I netted him out and found no signs injury predator) or disease. One week later my 18in all-white female died just as suddenly - no signs, or indications of weakness/stress/injury the night before.     Sudden panic!  What would cause the two largest Koi to die overnight!? <... either a non-related coincidence of something toxic being ingested... an poisonous insect? Or related "over spray" incidents of pesticide likely> They're the biggest., the biggest need more oxygen! <You are correct here> All the plants consume more oxygen at night! <Also correct> I have an oxygen problem!  Nope - testing shows the level of dissolved oxygen to be higher then normal range.     Tests immediately after both deaths show the water quality is very good. , with no nitrite, or ammonia readings at all., and pH at 7 to 7 and a half.     (I test weekly.., and have never had a 'bad' reading.)     Two days later the next two largest Koi don't come for their morning feed. (I hand feed my Koi.)  Just sitting on the bottom and swimming around slightly.     Now it's full-fledge war!     After half a cup of coffee and starring into the depths of the pond.., the only thing I could come-up with is poisoning.., of some kind.  What would cause it!? <Mmm, yes>     What has changed? The only environmental change I made in my pond in months was the addition of three new cattail plants about three weeks ago. FERTILIZER! <Or pesticide...>     I immediately yank all three plants from the pond and performed a 95 percent water change. (Hard to do with an 8500 gallon pond!) Figuring that there must be an odd/nasty fertilizer in the new plants. (Yes, I treated for chlorine/stress coat as I refilled, back flushed the bio-filters for half an hour each.., and added beneficial bacteria.)     The 16in Showa started to show improvement and the next day came up to eat., though he is still slightly lethargic, and not eating very well, or much.     Big-Red, the 16-17 in female didn't improve and started developing white patches on her face.  I hesitantly pulled-netted her from the pond and isolated her - she was stressed enough, without being man-handled.     The white 'spots'., in two days went from slight discoloration, to large open wounds - like someone had splashed her in the face with acid!  In some places clean down to the bone.., and some skin just hanging from her face. (see pic)     I just lost her about an hour ago. (Actually I 'iced' her. She was laying on her side and slowly gasping for the past couple hours.  Couldn't watch her suffer anymore. She was one of my favorites - it was hard to do!)     ..,also this morning I found one of my 4incher's dead. Seemed just fine last night., but hard to tell with one so small. With slight raised scales around the back part of the gills and in front of the tail section. (see pic)     Since Big-Red developed open wounds/sores (no bleeding ever visible) I treated the entire pond for fungus/bacteria infections. (yes, I removed the active carbon.)     Question:  Have you ever seen this/heard of this?? <Yes... anomalous or mysterious losses... syndromes of this sort. Quite a few times over the years> I am possibly right in the fertilizer poisoning? <Maybe... could even be some sort of endogenous biological poisoning... there are algae, microbes that can present themselves with these loss profiles> Or is this something completely different., and I'm going in the wrong direction?     Background:  Pond is 8500 gallons, over four feet deep, three large natural rock waterfalls, two skimmers, two over-sized bio-filters w/UV, two small bubblers, pond pumped and filtered approx every twenty minutes.  Water is clear., and you can see the small river rock on the bottom quite clearly (no sludge/gunk.)     Population at the beginning of this: 9 large Koi 12 to 20 inches., 20 three to five inch 'babies' (Koi).., two 8in butterfly Koi and three 9in gold fish. <Mmm... I would not house goldfish and Koi together... there are some strong anecdotal "reasons"/pathogenic disease issues here> A dozen snails (two-three inches - all still alive). <Nor snails... too often vectors for fish and human parasites> About seventy percent of the surface is covered with lilies, hyacinth, and water lettuce. (No fertilizer ever used in my plants.) No ornamentation (i.e. brass/bronze figurines, etc in the pond.)     Any idea what's going on here!?     thanks in advance     Lynn - Washington state <Given the circumstances as you've related them, I would have done the same as you... At this point, I might try measuring the pond for stray (electrical) current, using a pad or two of PolyFilter in your filter flow path to see if you can detect (by color) some errant metal contamination... thoroughly wash your filter media... All in an effort to "re-establish" chemical, physical and biological dynamics in your pond... If really in doubt, and you have facilities for such, moving all fish livestock, allowing the system to be drained, cleaned entirely, run for a few weeks... Bob Fenner>

Sick pond Koi possible poisoning ???   11/11/07 I have a 12-inch Koi thats not doing well( I dont think hes going to make it). He has been outside in a pond for the last year. A few weeks ago something nasty got into the pond and killed off all the fish except him. <Yikes...> The water smelled like bug spray and was all foamy. <I can tell you some incidents of such "over-spray" here in S. Cal. Does happen> I have no idea what it was. We drained the pond, cleaned it, refilled it, let the water mature and put the Koi back in the pond along with two new three inch Koi. <Mmm, I do hope some of the biological filter capacity was preserved...> Yesterday my dad said the big Koi was hanging around the top. I checked but he was hiding in his flowerpot. When I went to feed them today he was on the top and didnt run when I picked him up. <Not good> All of his fins are bloodshot (hemorrhaging) and very stiff almost rigid. He cant seem to stay upright very well and is gasping. <Good description, bad signs> His slime coat seams not to be almost nonexistent except a small amount around his head. His anus has some hemorrhaging around it as well as some small 1-3 cm patches of hemorrhaging in other various places on his body. He follows me with his eyes so I know he can see me but he just isnt able to react. I have no idea what could have caused an otherwise healthy fish to suddenly turn south like this practically overnight. Unless whatever got into the pond poisoned him as well & hes just taking longer to react to it because of being so much larger than his other pond mates were. <This is likely the case> The two new Koi are doing fine. No signs of whatever is affecting the larger Koi. Any ideas on what could have caused this or if theres anything I can do for the sick Koi?...........(ex-sick Koi I have just been informed that it is dead) <Nothing other than what you have done my young friend. Bob Fenner>

Pond Goldfish Dying Daily Hi there, <Greetings> I hope you can help me.  I have been looking at the info and FAQs on your site for about the past 10 - days during which time I have lost about 30 goldfish -   hoping to find some answers to my dilemma.  (By the way It is a terrific site and has taught me so much - Thank you).   However, I can't quite find a similar situation to my problem and can't get through anymore reading in fear of there being no more fish left by the time I've covered every FAQ! Firstly I will tell you I live in Australia. I have a 2000 litre fibre glass pond in my back garden  established for 2 years 4 months. I have a Oase Aquarius 4000 E pump with an aerating type of fountain head that I can regulate which takes the pond water to a bio filter and then (by gravity) comes back into the pond by another inlet.  I can control the flow rate of this too. <I understand> I have 3 medium and 2 small water lilies in pots I have a dwarf papyrus and a large tall papyrus again in pots and two small pots of water irises.  I took out my huge pot of grass and much of the elodea and parrots feather with the first two deaths as it had spread so thickly and old growth had died off under the water and I wasn't sure it might not be bad for them. I started off with about 30 goldfish (comets - some with long tail fins, some with short -  plain gold and Shubunkins and two fantails) of varying sizes (mostly under 2 inches as they were the babies which I transferred (without any problems) from my other pond (680 litres) that I have in my front garden when it started to become over crowded. Out of that 30, 5 fish were between 6 and 8 inches long. About 8 months later I purchased 5 more large goldfish (10 inches plus).  Needless to say they bred and the babies grew (now about 5 to 6 inches long including tales and I had about 58 that I could count - Again I thought it was time to put in yet another pond to move some of these to due to overcrowding). <Good> That was until 7 weeks ago. Until then I had only ever lost 1 of my big guys in all that time (dropsy - I brought her back and got her scales down and she lived happily for a further 6 months before she went) and none of the small ones. Late one afternoon while having a regular check I noticed a 2 inch grey baby just floating on its side with the water lily leaves.  It didn't look as if it had been dead for long as it didn't have any marks on it and it's eyes were fresh and clear.  I took it out immediately thinking it must have just been a weak little fellow.   Next morning I checked again and I noticed my big white girl with her nose parked in the large papyrus plants roots about quarter of the way down.  She didn't come with the others to get food (floating pond sticks) On further inspection we thought she was gone so we pulled her up with the net.   Again no marks blotches or anything and eyes so clear and fresh - I figured it must just be a heart attack.  None the less I medicated water with Melafix which my local aquarium recommended in case of bacterial infection and did a half water change. (great - we have water restrictions at present but managed to recycle to the garden!) <Good> The water for some time has been very murky looking.  We have green algae growing off the walls of the pond and also off the underside of lily leaves and stems etc.  The fish pick at it so I have cut them back a bit on their food.  They kind of demand feed.  They see me and I throw a small handful in - maybe sometimes 3 times a day. The food all goes in about 30 seconds. The water usually starts off clear in the morning and then as the sun gets warmer or brighter (because the sun is strong even in winter when the weather temperature is less) it starts to cloud up sometimes to the degree where you can't even see a few inches down.  During the winter I got sick of this and turned the pump and filter off  for a month or so (which I have always done periodically over the 2 and a bit years I've had the pond) because I felt that this just contributed to the murkiness by stirring up the water.  There seems to be enough movement and it doesn't go stagnant or get too many mosquitoes or anything.  But it didn't stop the water from clouding up that much.  We only turned the pump back on and started to operate the bio filter again once we found our first two dead fish. <I see> Then we were OK for about 4 weeks and it was just after Christmas that I found one of my 5 inch gold baby comets just floating. - Again I couldn't see anything wrong and it looked as though it had just gone - I was shocked - Then a few days later another - same size and type.  in the following days they mostly all started to gape at the surface.   very listless not interested in food.  Water still murk central.  I did PH test and came in a little high but not out of the range.  About 7.4. <A good clue>   I noticed that some of my fish had started to get this sort of mucous covering them and eyes bulging and gasping at surface.  Aquarium told me mucous was because they were stressed and there was a problem! with the water.  One guy there told me to completely empty pond and start again.  So we pushed fish to one end and started to empty pond (again) and took it down to about 8 inches. and scooped out heaps of sludge from bottom - <Yes... a root cause of your losses here> (I've got those Dragon fly Odonata things in there which I've never found to cause a problem) <These can be large enough to predate small fishes>   but I couldn't empty it completely as I couldn't get all of the fish out.  Also we cleaned out the bio filter as the aquarium people suggested - to start from scratch again.  We refilled with tap water blasting quite a bit in there to create oxygen (as this is what they seemed to lack from looking at their bulging eyes and gasping) and added the appropriate amounts of chorine and chloramine inhibitors to the water. <Okay> Next day many fish appeared a bit better.  But some still mucousy and gasping at top.  Two had red streaks in there tails and I continued to treat the pond with MelaFix. (they died) But  the pond water even murkier and more sort of brown.  I noticed that most of the algae had gone from the walls of the pond too. <Likely mainly cycling signs...> Two more fish dead the next day.  And my first baby ever (now 7 inches and fat) - gone.  I couldn't find her in the pond.  It must be dead and trapped under something.   She was very covered in mucous just before she vanished.    I decided to go back to local aquarium and get tests for ammonia nitrate and nitrite and hardness. <Good> which they did - only ammonia a little up.  I purchased Zeolite Ammonia Remover bags and  put in the bio filter. Also some water conditioning salt to get the water a little harder (didn't need much). Over the next few days more fish started floating some had been dead a while and just surfaced by the looks of them and some only freshly gone. Still many of them looked so perfect without marks.  I started to identify the ones that I thought were going to die as they seemed a little disorientated and gaspy at the surface.  So I thought I would transfer them to small Hospital pond I had readied so I could keep a closer eye on them. NOW THIS IS WEIRD. As I took them out of the pond and put them into the bucket containing water from their own pond to transfer to hospital pond they started to flip and turn upside down and jump out of the water and then lay there - They would be dead within seconds. <Sounds like something in the way of a residue was in/on the bucket>   I did this to two slightly sick 5 inch comets that I thought I may be able to save if moved them out of the 'poison pond' quick enough and they were dead with in seconds.  I thought it must be some weird co-incidence and a day later tried it with another fish (small 1 inch long) same thing.   Jumped all over the place gasping in the water and just died in seconds. Then I tried it again with another but didn't remove it from the big pond with a net.  I scooped it out in a small container without it leaving the water at all.  This survived a little better for about a day then died in the hospital pond. (jumping again.)  It looked like I'd thrown them into a pot of boiling water or that they were being electrocuted.  After scouring your site I thought it may be gas bubble disease and something to do with gas pressures inside and outside of fish -  although I could not find any evidence of little bubbles on them some did have slightly protruding eyes.  And I don't have anything aerating the water from underneath only from the external fountain head! This morning my big 12 inch red and white girl was floating.  She looked perfect.  Fresh eyes and brightly coloured.  The mucous (which traps the algae particles) that covered her body  yesterday seemed to have left her  and she looked very clear and bright.   Water still murky maybe a slight smell too. <Something like rotten eggs, or at least a dank, dirt-like smell?> I can't even see many others in there - I know I have 5 largish ones left 3 of those I haven't seen today.  I can glimpse a couple of red shadows moving around under the water.   They seem to have gone quite deep.  They sometimes come up for food a bit.  But they seem to 'dart' quite a bit swimming fast and incoherently down in the deep.  Two have got tail rot.  (I am still Melafixing).  So I went back to the aquarium this afternoon and got them to redo there tests again today's (10 days after the last) and they are clear.  NO AMMONIA. <Be aware that ammonia is quite transient... by the time you take a sample to somewhere it can well have evaporated>   Everything else normal too except water which could be a little harder.   They are at a loss.  I came home and two more 2 inch babies were floating - one of which I recognize as being one of the fitter and healthier ones two days ago.  I know I'm going to lose my big fantail next (I've had her for 6 years) - she is one of the ones that has fin rot and her eyes are bulging. - I am frightened to take them out of the pond to transfer them to hospital pond now as I think I will kill them due to that darting and freaking out business I mentioned above.   PLEASE HELP. Thanks -  I know it's a long email but I'm trying to paint the whole picture.  Oh yes the other thing in the last few weeks it has been very hot here.  I have tried to shade the pond a bit with garden umbrellas - I don't know if that's relevant or not. I've seen in FAQs that the heat can have an effect depending on the condition. Thanks again Carol <Thank you for your careful relating, good notes. You appear to have some source of chronic poisoning at play here... most likely the soil and/or what you have used for fertilizing your potted plants... the low pH (it should have been much elevated by daytime driven photosynthesis) is evidence here as well as the order, size of your fish losses, and their timeliness... the move to reduce the sludge was a good one... as was the addition of salt. The Melafix I would hold off on, as this is working against you more than for... stalling biological conversion... A few things going forward... A five hundred gallon/2000 litre system may seem large, but it should not be overstocked (yours was)... particularly during the warming months (Australia for folks in the N. hemisphere) has its seasons switched of course... winter here is summer there... With the warming water you need more biological filtration than the Oase unit can provide... or as a corollary, much less feeding... I would re-pot your aquatic plants... blind potting them per here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm and re-add the floating grasses (Elodea...)... You may be able to discern the cause of the acute poisoning in the bucket you mention... through PolyFilter use (it turns colors per source metals)... or taking it to a lab, college... but I would definitely exclude its use around your ponds... Much to do, relate in turn... there could be an/other source of poisoning here... agricultural, pest likely... am hopeful that by cleaning the pond out (get rid of those Odonatans) and re-potting the plants, either low-stocking or adding/building a bigger filter, you will have renewed success. Bob Fenner>

Concern re stagnant water in Koi pond plumbing Hi, I am a fifteen year old girl in urgent need of assistance.  Water that had been stagnant in my pump system for many months was accidentally pumped back in the pond today.  Will it kill my Koi and if so is it too late to save them?  Thanks, Elena Payami <Likely not if it did not immediately affect their behavior. If the system is large, the water disrupted/exposed to the air as in a waterfall, filter... there should be little trouble of low oxygen or anaerobic product/s in the small amount of water in your plumbing lines. Bob Fenner>

Fish Pond, or Wishing Well? >Hi, I have recently built a 1m diameter fish pond and hope to put some fish in it, but my family wants to use it as a wishing well, but would the copper harm the fish? >>Please, for future reference, we kindly ask that all use proper capitalization so that we do not have to retype queries (we get a LOT every day). Little copper is used in our (U.S.) pennies of today, mostly replaced with zinc if I recollect... But it seems you're from the U.K. and I honestly have NO idea how your coinage is alloyed. In any event, copper is an insecticide/parasiticide, and it used to be that copper pennies were problematic in large numbers (even small numbers/amounts, especially in systems with invertebrates - I worked a shop where someone tried to kill our fishes, as one day we discovered at closing there were pennies in almost all the tanks. Surreptitious, but ill-informed, indeed!).  I personally would strongly recommend against doing this, but not for the reasons one might initially consider. First, tossing things other than food into such a small pond is only going to startle and frighten the fish. They may bang themselves about being so surprised, not a cool thing to do to an innocent fish. Second, when they become larger, they may try to eat one, which could very well become lodged in their throat, again, not cool. Third, if it became truly habitual, and your Queen's mint/treasury still uses a good amount of copper in her pennies/pence, it could indeed become toxic. All around, not such a good idea in my opinion. Far better to teach your fish that YOU are the ones with food, they will learn to come "beg", much more fun. Marina >Many thanks - Anna 

Algae/Fish Killer Help Sir, I picked up your name on ASK.com.  I am having trouble with an outdoor fish pond.  I obviously put in too much Algicide, and killed all of my fish.  Is there any way that I can neutralize the chemical without draining the pond? <Not practically... most expedient to do a series of massive (tens of percent) water changes here> I have a 5000 gallon pond, without a drain so I would have to pump it all out into the street.  Any help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  Thank You!! Jan Shepherd <Mmm, if there is any change in elevation, you may well be able to siphon the water... better from the bottom, along with mulm... Bob Fenner>

Whirling Vortex of Doom, or Fun With Tadpoles? - 06/07/2005 Dear Sirs, <And Ma'ams!  <grin>  Sabrina with you, today....> Hi! <Hello!> I live in Michigan and have a pond that is approximately  35x75 with depths of 3 inches to an average depth of 5 ft to one section that is 12 ft. <Wow, very nice.> Our pond is lined as the water table was too low. We installed this 5 yrs ago. Shortly after we had it filled a snapping turtle was found to be in it carrying with him leeches. <Eew.  There aren't a great many living things that I truly dislike....  among them are hydra, Aiptasia, most disease-causing organisms, and leeches.  Ugh.> We got rid of him but the leeches stayed. <Naturally.  Undoubtedly, they were plotting to get between your toes and latch on....  Evil little creatures....> We were told to use copper sulfate to get rid of them which they did. <Sure would.> My neighbor came down who happens to be a "water environmentalist" <I'm almost afraid to ask, but what precisely do you mean by "water environmentalist"?  Are we talking a jolly, down-to-earth fish hugger, or someone with OCD who honestly believes that swimming in a river is a heinous crime because you might, god forbid, kill an amoeba?  I mean all that lovingly, of course.  Diversity is, after all, what makes this world a good one to live in.> and said my husband put too much copper sulfate in the pond and said his kids were never to be in my pond. <Hmm....  How much CuSO4 did your husband use?  Did your husband disclose the amount to your neighbor?  If so, does your neighbor have any facts or statistics, or a scientific background, to properly understand whether or not there is "too much" CuSO4 currently in the pond?  What, to your neighbor, constitutes "too much"?> He told me its not safe. <Well....  To be quite honest, I *do* have to agree with him that CuSO4 is "not safe", to some extent.  CuSO4 is pretty nasty to all invertebrates, and something that I urge aquarium owners to really think about before using it, as it can be adsorbed into the substrate to be leached out at a later time, and cause inverts to sicken and die.  But, again, it would help to know how much CuSO4 was added.> We still have frogs, water bugs and tad poles living in along w/ a few painted turtles every now and then. <The water bugs alone make me think there is not, or not much, CuSO4 currently present in the water.  Water bugs, any and all of 'em, are invertebrates, and thus are SIGNIFICANTLY more sensitive to copper than, say, a fish, LET ALONE a person, even a kid.> I do not remember how much my husband put in but he bought what he needed per what he told the salesman. <Perhaps you can find out the amount from the salesman?  Perhaps, given the same facts you gave him before (probably dimensions or volume of the pond), he can tell you what he would've sold you?> My question is, is my pond safe? <Well, to be precise about it, I have insufficient data to give you an accurate answer.  But from what you've told me so far, given the choice to drink a glass of your pond water or a glass of water from a four-star hotel in Egypt, I'd take your pond water in a heartbeat - provided I was allowed to pull any tadpoles or turtles out of my glass, first.> My neighbor came over last summer to see what we had done and he made the comment that there was a lot of copper in my water because it was blue. <Uhh....  *what*??> I told him that we have not put any copper sulfate in since that first time and that the pond was blue because we put blue dye in it. <Yeah, oh-kay, to my understanding, there is NO CuSO4 offered for use in aquaria or ponds that will turn your water blue.  I've worked with Copper II Sulfate in chem lab, and the crystals were a very inviting azure hue (one of my favorite shades, in fact!), so maybe that's what has him thinking this?  Either way, my GUESS is that the blue dye you are using is probably Methylene blue, a flavine dye, which in small quantities is essentially harmless to people - I wouldn't want to chug it out of the bottle, as that would probably cause some serious damage to me, but splashing around in a pond with a little bit of m. blue in it wouldn't be disturbing.  But....  I have to ask....  WHY are you using it??  I do recall having seen such a product claiming to prevent algae....  There are other "less blue" options to prevent algae, if you're interested.> His daughter was over yesterday along with another friend of my daughters and they ended up at the pond trying to catch the tadpoles. <A very noble quest, at a young age.  I have to admit, I still play with tadpoles, and have several in the tanks I have outside on my porch, thanks to some native very noisy and cute frogs that like to stick to things like suction-cups.> The little girl said she could not "touch" the water whatsoever <Sure, she might get wet.  And if she got wet, the world would end.  Or something like that.  Right?> and that her dad was going to sneak down and check on her. <Wow, very trusting of him.> I'm very good friends with these neighbors and don't want that to change but he is really ticking me off saying these things. <I can understand.  I really don't like when people jump to conclusions without having ANY facts to go off....> I would like to tell him once and for all that my pond is safe. Can you help me out? <If you stop adding the dye, once the pond becomes colorless again (as opposed to blue), you can buy test kits to test the copper concentration of the water.  I would hazard a guess that your test results would be zero.  Here are some test kits to look at:  http://www.bigalsonline.com/search/?type=catalog&method=all&collection=sitebuilder%2Fcatalog3-1&keywords1=copper+test .  The dye in the water will skew your test results, especially on the Seachem kit, which is really by far the best of those three.  The other two use different reagents that don't give you blue test results, so you *might* be able to try detecting a change in the color....  this *might* work, but I don't know.  Best to rid yourself of that dye, first, and go with the Seachem kit, in my opinion.> I forgot to mention that after the copper sulfate was added the first year we had beach sand thrown in over the entire pond surface. <Umm, how long ago WAS it that you used the copper?  It's starting to sound like we're talking about a matter of YEARS ago?  I see you opened the email with a time frame of five YEARS?  Was it five years ago you added copper?  If so, yeah, realistically, I just don't think that you have a problem with copper at all.  Likely less of a problem than having copper pipes in your house, even.  My best guess is that you're dealing with a father who knows just enough to be afraid but not enough to see reality.  Lack of knowledge is very dangerous stuff....  Utter the words "nuclear energy plant" in a room full of pretty much average folks and you end up with cries of Chernobyl, while hundreds or thousands die per year as a result of coal-fire energy plants to supply those folks' power in their homes....  Same principal.  Just do be patient with your "water environmentalist", and try to gather the cold, hard facts (or wet, sloshy facts, as it were) to prove to him that your pond is not a Whirling Vortex of Doom lying in wait to snatch up his little girl - this is his fear.  If you had a fear, no matter how senseless or unfounded, that something would without a doubt harm your child, you'd do everything to protect her, I'm sure.  Though your neighbor has no reason to, this is what he is doing.  So do be sensitive to him as you try to guide him to a better understanding.> Signed, Cindy <Wishing you and your Whirling Vor- I mean, pond- well,  -Sabrina><<Copper is used in most, if not all potable reservoirs in the U.S., elsewhere... It is very safe to swim in, let alone drink in dilution... After being added, it will "fall out of solution" almost entirely w/in a few days. RMF>>

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> Lessons in liner differences... some are toxic to pond life 8/5/05 We are new to the Koi Hobby, and just built our 1st pond in May,  we have had 7 fish since July, but developed a slice our current liner, so we had men come out and put in a new PVC Blue liner, <Is this a swimming pool product? Some are treated with chemicals that are undesirable for biological systems> We moved the fish to a large horse tank  for 3 weeks, while we went bigger and deeper with the pond. we went to our first Koi Pond tour, and got new info and designs. <Ahh! An "eye-opener"... which invariably folks wish they'd done before setting up...> Needless to say, they finished installing the new liner on Sat, July 30, and we got the filters going,  the water was clear on Tuesday night, and water test are good, so the fish were transferred back to the pond. We came out on Wed night and the small fish were dead,  The large one was still doing ok, swimming around. We took the water in for testing on Wed night, and all the water tests are normal.  I questioned the oxygen,  it is a 1800 gal pond. But that came within limit, he indicated that bigger fish would have died first if not enough oxygen. <This is so> The water filters completely 2 times a hour with the pumps/filters.  Today the large Koi is dead.  The pond people said that maybe the liner is toxic, <Yes> How can we Tell,    the liner people said it is non toxic.   <Non toxic to what? Swimming humans... you can "do a bioassay" with water taken from the exposed liner, or soak a piece of the liner in water that you know otherwise to be okay... or ask to see the manufacturer's information re this liner... or take the liner to a QA lab...> We have well water,  have added  nothing except Koi Clay.  He gave us black crystals to put in a hose and put in the outlet water, to capture any toxins. <...?> Help!!   My husband is terribly upset as are the children.  If it is the liner, how can we fix it?? <Can either wait, see if time going by, perhaps chemical filtration will remove... plasticizers, anti-mildew/algal material... or remove, or place a non-toxic liner over this in turn...>    If it is the liner, can it be treated, so we do not have to tear it out,  does it wear off? <Likely the latter does occur... but how long...? Bob Fenner> Carolyn

Sick Goldfish Downunder  8/16/05 Hi there, <Howdy> I have a 400 litre outside fish pond with around 14 goldfish. <Yikes... dangerously crowded...> 2 are around 11 years old, (about 9 inches body length) 6 are self sown and range from 7 to 4 years and 6 were bought about 4 years ago.  One of the old ones has had a protruding  right eye for several years and did not appear to be affected by it. <Happens... resultant likely from a physical trauma...> More recently the protrusion has increased significantly and the other eye is showing similar symptoms. Now the other old one is showing some eye protrusion. Yesterday whilst the two old one were basking in the sunlight I noticed that lumps have erupted around the body of the second old one. Looks like cysts but no colour difference. Is there any treatment I can use to fix either or both problems? <Mmm, just environmental improvement... they need many more gallons of space...> Since day 1 they have been fed with commercial granular fish food except when we go on vacation when I give them a slow release block. Occasionally there is an algae problem which I treat with Simazine <A common ingredient (for our readers) used in commercial ornamental algicides (Princeps powder...)> and in summer a flocculent. Pond is clear water filtered with a bubbler and with pond weeds. Can you help? Thanks Russell <Really... what you, they need is a larger, less-crowded world. Though you've had good success with all these fish in a mere hundred gallons or so for years... they're "getting old" (maybe they and I can start a club?), and the vacillating water quality, exposure to the Simazine... is taking its toll... Do consider either "thinning the herd" or building a larger pond. 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>

Pond in serious trouble... poisoned at least by Algicide  8/27/05 I have been going to my local pond supply store and trying to get help on   this problem.  I would love to hear your advice.  First the pond  started getting a lot of green slimy algae.  The store said to add barley  so I did.  No help.  Then after a week or so they suggested adding  more plants.  So I did no help.  Then the store suggested algae fix,  and a white powder that you put on top of the water after removing all of the  plants and letting this powder sit with the filters off for 20 minutes.   This did nothing.  Now the pond smells really bad the fish are dying and I  still have both green and brown algae.   You can't walk in the pond as the  bottom is very slippery.  Do you have any suggestions?   <... yes... study... What is it about your pond for instance, that inspires such algal profusion? What is your water quality... particularly nutrient levels like nitrate and phosphate? Do you have an adequate biological filter? Circulation? The Algicide you've used is toxic, and is killing your livestock... I would start a series of large water changes to dilute this, or move your livestock out entirely...> I have lost 2  3.5 to 4" gold fish and 3 or 4 small babies.  I don't see any sign of  disease, <... environmental disease, poisoning...> but I have noticed that all of my fish have stopped eating.  They  also seem to be very lethargic.  Please send any help that you can.   Thanks   Sissy <Start by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdalgcontrol.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>  

Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months  12/13/05 Hello from New Zealand. <Sorry for the lateness of this reply> A couple of months ago we built our first pond, complete with filter and waterfall and stocked it with 4 Shubunkins and 4 red comets, all acclimatized, bag in pond for 1/2 hour gradually adding pond water to bag.   <Mmm, what was done to "cure" the pond... and initiate biological filtration?> Within a week 5 were killed by a neighbours cat. So, off to the to the shop , got netting to protect last 3 fish and bought 3 more fish. The next day one fish is at the opposite end of the pond to all the rest of the fish and dies at lunchtime. The day after same thing, day after that, same thing.   Over the next couple of days, the fish are showing signs of lethargy but not alienating anyone. We had the water tested and found 0 ammonia 0 nitrates or nitrites and a PH of 7.8 which we were told was a little high but no too bad and it was suggested we put some driftwood (fresh water) into the pond. <Interesting approach... could work> One morning, 2-3 days later, 2 are dead on the bottom of the pond and 1 left showing odd behaviour by leaping up the waterfall and then gasping for oxygen and then a few flips. <Telling> We put last fish in bowl, filtered water, mini waterfall for one day and night and emptied the  pond, dug it deeper and relined with butynol. <Very interesting> We  added water, with Pond Safe water ager and did tests, all OK. Thought Harry was lonely so got Sally (we hoped) and reintroduced  both fish to the new pond. Harry went mad around Sally and continuously followed around pond for up to 15 hours. Next morning both fish are at opposite ends of pond, Harry dead and Sally was dead by lunchtime. 11 fish are gone at this point and the water is testing good and the people at the pet store said they could not figure out the problem. After many conversations at the pub <Good meeting place> about the ongoing saga of the lost goldfish to all who have or did own goldfish, and many a site to read) we firmly believe we are treating with the utmost care so we decide to try a different fish store and their suggestion was "guinea fish" as our samples of water were good. Little goldfish no.12 and 13 are introduced to the pond and lo and behold, dead within 2 days.  We took the fish to show the people at the shop and they suggested we try the more robust bronze nymphs and now they want to know as much as we do. Sure enough,2 more dead within 24 hours! 15 We felt like giving up but the problem wasn't solved. We emptied the water again, scrub and wash the pond liner, fill the pond, put in formalin, <... toxic> (twice what is recommended for use with fish in pond) let the filter run for 6 days, empty the pond, refill and get 5 fish from a friend who had 3 in a tank and 2 in a wine barrel outside (been there 4 years and in all that time they had "flushed it out a bit with the hose a few times"). They were quiet on the move but only around the corner from our house so very quick . The 2 big beautiful 4 year olds were dead within 48 hours and the  bronze nymph followed 1 day later and the goldfish one day after that so now we have 19 gone, 1 left who now has its mouth what appears to be stuck open, had reddish tinges to its fins and tail but 6 days so far on MelaFix would seem to have helped a bit but  Hercule (yes that's his name) is now sinking and gasping and when he tries to come to the surface he almost runs through the water, head held high above the surface! He is staying on the bottom of the pond breathing (mouth stuck open) but not eating. He's hanging in there but I fear not much longer.   We added today 1 and1/4 tsp of Epsom salts(1/4 tsp per  10 gallons) Pond safe ager and did a 1/2 water change and added 5ml Melafix, water still tests good. We can't think of anything more we can do if Hercule doesn't make it we are back to square one. Most people we know who keep fish are as puzzled as we are as they seem to do almost nothing and still their fish thrive. Thanks for a great site. We have read heaps of useful stuff but none of it seems to point to our problem or its solution. Steve and Sofie <Mmm, there is some sort of overt toxicity at work here... likely in the construction materials... What is the nature of this liner? Is it made for fish pond use? I do hope it is not a swimming pool unit... At this point I would leave the water in place, not put any more fish in for a few months... try some live plants... Bob Fenner>

Re: Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months  12/13/05 Hi there Bob, Thanks for the reply. > <Mmm, there is some sort of overt toxicity at work here... That's what I surmised. I checked with our water supplier as to what they treat the water with, they just use chlorine and a touch of fluoride and they'd had no recent disasters so a water conditioner (Pond safe) should fix anything here. <Yes... though, most municipalities use chloramine rather than simpler chlorine... more persistent mainly> > construction materials... What is the nature of this liner? Is it made for fish pond use? I do hope it is not a swimming pool unit... The product (Butyl Rubber) is used for roofing and also water tanks and is certified safe for drinking water. <Should be fine then> We also scrubbed it with sugar soap and rinsed 3 times before filling. We have a submerged filter with bio media and activated charcoal running at 400 ltrs p/h (105 us gal) the pond is 250 ltrs(66 us gal) We have since done a total water change as mentioned previously. > I would leave the water in place, not put any more fish in for a few months... try some live plants... Bob Fenner> Hercule is still with us and seems to be improving, he is still buoyancy challenged (to be politically correct) keeps sinking after his dashes across the surface of the pond I fear he is turning into a cartoon fish :-) <Call the WB and sign him up!> We have had several types of plants in the pond since day one. One thing I did do, which now I think was rather rash, was to introduce water and pond life from some local streams and ponds but as the water contained fresh water shrimp I assumed it was quite healthy, until they too died :-( <Strange... is there some metal in this system? Like new copper piping? Perhaps a general water test done by a QA lab...> Now, about this sinking fish thing. I came across this http://www.goldfishsociety.org/old_this_month_pages/4-2005.html Do you have any experience with this? <Yes... way too much, first and other hand. Please see Sabrina's excellent article re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm> Cheers Steve and Sofie <Steady on re this system... with "just time going by" many such anomalous toxicities "solve themselves"... I would periodically re-visit, add test comet goldfish... Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months  12/14/05
Please see Sabrina's > excellent article re:   > http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm> > Cheers > Steve and Sofie > <Steady on re this system... with "just time going by" many such anomalous toxicities "solve themselves"... I would periodically re-visit, add test comet goldfish... Bob Fenner> Thanks Bob, will do.   I had read Sabrina's article but our fish is sinking, not floating, <About the same cause/s...> and shows no other signs mentioned in the article. He does, however, seem to be not able to close his mouth (there is no sign of anything stuck in there) but this could just be because he is trying to get some air in his swim bladder, could this be right?. <A possibility... though most such "mouth closure problems" are due to physical injuries, secondarily to genetic anomalies> I am feeding him on small amounts of spinach and cucumber with some cooked peas and every time I splat a mozzie the corpse goes in the pond just in case he feels like a bit of meat protein. <Sounds good>   The amount of Epsom salts seems to vary wildly from post to post. How much do you recommend and how quickly should this amount be added, all at once or over a few days? Cheers Steve and Sofie <A level teaspoon per five actual gallons is safe and effective. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months  12/16/05
Hi Bob.   It gets worse, it seems, now poor old Hercule has developed black spots, mainly round the eyes and gills. I noticed this yesterday but didn't want to think about yet another disorder. Could this be the dreaded Sanguinicola? <Highly doubtful... very likely "just" environmental> The birds round here just love snails and also sit over the pond. <Telling> The other possibility I have come across is Paravortex but I am led to believe this is a saltwater fish disease. <... yes> Should I treat with a copper solution or maybe Formalin? What do you think? <That the U.S. should stop invading sovereign nations... that there's no future in the death business... that commerce rules... And that you should remove Hercule et al. fishes to less toxic settings for now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months  12/16/05
> What do you think? > <That the U.S. should stop invading sovereign nations... that there's no future in the death business... that commerce rules... And that you should remove Hercule et al. fishes to less toxic settings for now. Bob Fenner>   If there was such a thing as intelligent design God would have designed bulletproof fish. :-) And damn the burning Bush. <Heeee! BobF>
Re: Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months   12/28/05
Hi Bob and the seasons greetings to you. <And to you and yours my friend> Thought I'd give you an update on Hercule. Some smart Alec friend bought me a Bronze Comet on my birthday (2 weeks ago) <Happy birthday to you> he lasted only 24 hrs in  the pond but Hercule is now completely velvety black with just a hint of   his original gold. He is swimming normally and energetically and eating like a pig. I have looked for info on fish changing color but have seen nothing like this, he changed color over only a few days, could this be affirmative action? ;-) <Mmm, likely more a reaction to seasonal water quality changes...> I have to say that he (or she, we don't really know yet) is looking rather beautiful and seems to be the healthiest fish   we have ever had. Happy Hol.s to all the crew, From Steve & Sofie, down here in sunny NZ. <Seems like your system may have "turned the bend"... I would try some other fish-life when the weather warms a bit, stays about 55 F. consistently. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Gardens

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

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V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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