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Aquatic Gardens

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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 leaning to one side... handling, not, pondfish during cold seasons  03/26/07 Hi, Crew! I have a pond outside with several Koi and goldfish who remained in the pond over winter since I didn't have enough space to bring them all into an aquarium. To ensure that they didn't freeze to death, I bought a heater to make sure there was always some of the pond that wasn't frozen. Now that spring is arriving the ice is melting and I can see a few of the fish. I found one of the Koi kind of just lying on his side at the bottom of the pond - at first I thought he was dead but then he started to move around. <Best not to handle pond livestock, or walk on the pond... when there is ice present> He suddenly got a bit 'crazy', started darting around everywhere and spinning (like a crocodile's death roll). He even came to the top and I think he hit some of the remaining ice, he then eventually calmed down and went off to the bottom near the side of the pond and just lay there. Afraid that he was hurt, I caught him, put him in a bucket and brought him into my garage. He seems to perhaps have hurt himself close to his left eye, though it's hard to see, but he is most definitely having trouble swimming - he continuously seems to fall over to one side. Apart from that, he doesn't seem to have any other injuries or diseases that I can tell. It looks almost like a swim bladder problem but I've had him since last summer and he never showed any difficulties with swimming before. Plus, it seems to me that Koi and regular goldfish rarely have swim bladder issues, no? <Variable> I'm planning on keeping him inside now for another couple of months until the nice weather becomes more permanent. I was wondering if you had any idea what he has. Is it possible that by hitting his head he's some how affected his balance? Thanks for your help! Erika <I would return this animal, hope for the best, and leave the pond and its inhabitants alone till the water is much warmer. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm The tray below on Pond Maintenance, Winter... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish seriously injured tail!!   3/26/07 Hello, your website  and advise is fantastic, hope you can help me? <I will certainly try> Today, we noticed that one of our goldfish, a comet, was stuck in a filter, in the pond, by its tail!! <Yikes!> My partner pulled it free, but her tail is very injured! Its shredded and there is a large blood patch! <Ouch!> My partner didn't pull her hard, she managed to wiggle herself out more or less, the damage was already done! We don't know exactly how long she had been like that but, she wasn't there a couple of hours earlier when we looked! <Does seem odd that this fish would get stuck in the first place... are other fish present? Are they behaving normally?> Vie put her into a hospital tank with an air stone, salt and the only medicine we've got in the cupboard, which is King British disease clear, which treats several disease problems including aiding quick regeneration of damaged tissue, to help prevent disease!  She is alive but she isn't looking too good! She is 10 years old and I would hate for her to die! I have just noticed she has babies in the pond too!! (typical)!! <Mmmm> I have never had to deal with an injury like this before, I did once treat a normal goldfish, my cat had caught the side of him, and fungus had grew! But after a few weeks hospital, he was fine and is back in the pond! Please help!! <I think you have done about the best that could... I would monitor nitrogenous waste accumulation (ammonia, nitrite...) and do regular (daily, every other day) water changes (with the pond water), replenishing the salts... and not lose hope> Also, I have a tropical fish tank. Vie got a common Plec who has always had this strange growth on the front of his mouth! He gets bigger and bigger and so does this horrible growth! It doesn't bother him, he is perfectly healthy, but it looks awful! Its like lots of warts or worms floating and sometimes the other fish try to have a munch on them!! What could it be?? <Perhaps a tumour of some sort... though there are several Loricariids (the family of which this is a member) that do have rather strange growths normally occurring about the mouth region... There are no specific cures to try here... just good, stable water quality and nutrition (like Spectrum pellets...). Bob Fenner>

Possibly pregnant Koi... more likely, fed in too cold circumstances   3/11/07 I have two Koi, six comets, and two catfish in a man-made pond.  One of the Koi appears to be sick or possibly pregnant. <Mmm, not this time of year> She looks fatter around the middle, but there have been no Real signs of eggs yet.  The one that I assume is a female is doing something strange and I wondered if you could help.  She (he) will swim around with the other fish, and then stop and kind of just float on her side.  All the other fish (with the exception of the cats) will all gather around her and then she will right herself and swim off.  Then, after a few minutes the same routine will happen again.  Also, ALL the other fish seemed to be eating something that was in a potted plant at the bottom of the pond, and we had not thrown any food in that direction. <... I hope you're not feeding whatsoever... It's too cold to commence just yet... If so, this one fish is likely suffering from incomplete digestion of such...>   Could she possibly have lain some eggs in the plant and now the other fish have eaten them? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdmaint.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

HELP, sick pond Shubunkin... no useful data    03/09/07 Hello, I have just opened up my pond for the year and one of my Shubunkin is bloated. It looks like a softball with a tail. It appears to be alert. What can this be? Cathy <I thought I had responded to this yesterday? Did you not receive this? Are there other livestock present not similarly afflicted? What do your water quality test show? Have you done something the last few days to/with the pond? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Black edge fins on a pond fish   2/25/07 Hi, I have 20 pond fish, various sizes, living in a large garbage pail, in the dark, since October. With a Fluval filter running full time. Have had no problems with them until today I noticed the largest of the fish, and only it, has a black substance all around the edge of his fins. What is this? What can I do? Thanks, Shelby S <Mmm, very likely "nothing"... a pre-determined (destined if you're into that) unfolding... perhaps triggered by seasons/weather... Not to worry. Bob Fenner>

Emailing: Fish2. goldfish tumour   2/22/07 Dear Bob Could you please let me know what is wrong with my fish . I have just noticed that one has a white ball the size of a pea on its tail and another has a white lump near its eye . What is it and how do I cure it many thanks Robert Hawker <Likely a Viremia of some sort... can be trouble... spread... Or just resident... like planter's warts. Do step up, and maintain good water quality, nutrition to keep this spread arrested. Bob Fenner>

Koi... health, predation     1/19/07 I have had established Koi/goldfish pond in the backyard for several years.  Four Koi/5 goldfish plus two goldfish babies.   Two of the Koi are losing scales and their fins look ratty.  We  are now down to only  two goldfish as a blue heron is visiting despite our efforts to make him unwelcome. <Yikes... do string some stout line above, criss-crossing the pond area... and about the edge...>    Would this cause stress to Koi and would they lose their scales because of stress. <Mmm... no, but from being jabbed by a predatory bird, yes>    We have used pond salt and changed ½ water to make sure its clean and healthy water.  Help. Help... <Water quality test results? Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi... health, predation.  - 1/22/07
Water check.  Checked PH and is within good range. <... values please, not subjective evaluations... How much is this varying late in the day, early in the AM?>   Low on Alkalinity. <...?>   Give A dose of stress/stuff for that so if that is cause, maybe this will fix problem.  Also strung string to keep bird out. <Ah, good> Let me know if you have other suggestions. Thanks for quick reply. <Had some re high and low... but they're okay. BobF>

Re: Injured Koi  1/26/07 Hi Robert, I just wanted to touch base and see if you have any other ideas that may help me. I still have that injured Koi in my pond. He's still at the bottom (on his side) and refuses to swim. <Mmm, these issues really take a while (months) during cold/er weather> I take him up at least once a day. The only difference I see now is that he now is trying to move in my hand. <Better> In the beginning he didn't move at all. Once I let him go he just floats back down. I have managed to get a little food in him but they aren't eating much now anyway. I don't know what to do. I hate to just leave him like that. Any ideas? Thanks Donna <Really only time going by... patience. Bob Fenner>
Re: injured Koi
  1/27/07 Thank you for your response, I'll keep waiting! Also, very kind of you to take your time to help people like you do. I appreciate it very much! Donna <Welcome my friend. BobF>

Upside down hibernating comet...    1/17/06 Hi, I live in No. California, between Sacramento and San Francisco, and have a 1200 gal pond with several large Koi and a few comets. <Not good to mix...> The biological filtration system is running as usual. As you know, it has been extremely cold here in No. Cal. the past week or so. All the fish are in hibernation at the bottom of the pond... with the exception of one 8" comet. He is suspended head-first at the opposite end of the pond from the other fish. <Not good> I found him like this yesterday. While I was standing looking into the pond, he righted himself and then swam off. Today, I went out to check to see if all was well and found him again, head down. I also noticed several small, round, red "dots" on his body. I realize these could be injuries or possibly parasites? <Yes> I've never had this problem in the dead of winter before and have been raising these fish... some for over 12 years. This comet is approx. 5 years old. I just don't know what to do about the situation. <Mmm, nothing for pathogenic disease when/while it's too cold (below 55 F.)... but do watch, screen for predators> I've read a great deal of the info on your website (terrific and very clear), and have learned not to handle or disturb hibernating fish. <Ah, good> What does one do if a fish becomes injured or sick during hibernation? <Something possibly amiss water quality wise... again be careful about changing, adjusting... if done... very slowly... Predators? Detection, avoidance> Do we just leave it alone and see what happens? Please help! Thank you, Anna Maria Sablan Fairfield, CA <Likely best just to keep under close observation... along with netting to prevent birds, mammals... Bob Fenner>
Re: Upside down hibernating comet  1/17/07
Hi Bob, Thanks for getting back to me on this. I didn't mention it, but we have had the pond netted (very taut - checked daily) since October. Also, the pond is 4' deep at it's deepest end. It was built with no shelves so as to deter raccoons, etc. <Ah, good> In Winter, we always have egrets coming to call. We have had a real problem this year with a great blue heron. <Yikes... are BIG birds> He was coming daily until the middle of December even though he wasn't able to catch any fish. Everyone is accounted for, but I understand that they can stab fish even through netting. <Yes> I had wondered if the heron might have "stabbed" this comet. <Me too> (I use the term comet loosely, since this fish doesn't really look like one. He's most likely a goldfish. All the fish in this pond have been together for anywhere from 5 to 17 years without any problems. <Might well be a cross... twixt a Koi and goldfish... happens> Although you didn't say it directly, it sounds like you suspect a predator may have caused these injuries and that parasites may have invaded? <Yes... sorry for the lack of clarity> I just can't seem to get my head around the idea that everything comes to a halt during hibernation. Seems like pathological disease would continue to develop. <Mmm... consider that these organisms are "cold-blooded"... that the effective rates of their metabolism are directly related to thermal/kinetic energy (what happens on the borders of the universe?) A: Nothing> I agree about the water chemistry, but I've done extensive reading on this (much of it on your website...which is terrific, by the way) and learned not to mess with it during the winter. <Yes> Despite cleaning the pond in Fall, we have debris in the pond from both our trees and those of neighbors. I realize we have to jump on this as soon as the pond water warms to 55 or so. We have a biological filtration system and from the get go, have run the pond naturally with no chemicals. <Good> We use 20% water changes to correct chemistry. We've always left the pond alone in Winter, no water testing, etc. and never had a problem. It sounds like this is the best approach.. yes? <Yes, agreed> Thanks so much for your time and help with this. It's so difficult to get answers from anyone in our area and I feel very fortunate to have found your website! Anna Maria <And I for our meeting. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish pond/health  12/28/06 Hello,     I have a pond with 8 goldfish, originally there were only four but  they have multiplied.  Two of them now have circular sores, one of the  sores is now turning dark in color whereas before they were the color of the  fish. The sores are raised, but the fish seem fine.  Is there something I  can do for them.  I live in a small village in Crete, Greece and do not have access to a pet sore that has much in the medication dept.  These sores are perfectly round.  Can you help me please.  The oldest are 10 years old  and about 12 inches long.  You can find a picture of them on my website  at the bottom of  the "CONTACT US" page. <I do see them here... Very nice site> I tried to copy and paste it to  this e mail but it didn't work. Thank you for you time. Amalia Katsikalakis www.villa-amalia.com <These sores may be evidence of "carp pox" and not really treat-able per se... Or possibly a type of Furunculosis... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>

Koi Problems   12/11/06 Hello, <Greetings> We seem to be having many problems with our Koi this year after the water turned cold. <Many problems manifest themselves at the years two main season changes> We have an outdoor pond which is about 1500 gallons. It contains 7 large Koi (9 years old), 6 young Koi (1 year old) that were introduced about 2 months ago, <Mmm... a note to browsers... This is not a "very" large system... I would just stick with the nine established Koi... and there are often difficulties (pathogenic disease, social dynamic readjustment) with introduction of new fishes to an "older" grouping> 6 goldfish, and 2 turtles <These are incompatible...> which we have recently removed to separate them from the fish. We have not had a sick fish in about 7 years, so we are not very prepared to handle sick fish. <Understood> Most of our fish are slowing down due to the cold water temperature and have settled down at the bottom of the pond. In general the fish looked stressed out. In the lighter-colored Koi, you can see the red blood vessels in their body showing through their scales. Also, we have found a few scales lying at the bottom of the pond but can not see which Koi they are coming from. <Missing scales are a very bad sign... perhaps a predator... some types of zoological parasites> We noticed last week however that one fish was laying down sideways instead of upright and its mouth was stuck open. <Very bad...> We read from other sources online that the mouth could be stuck open due to something behind lodged in the mouth. We did a visual inspection of the fish and could not see anything in its mouth and nothing wrong with the body of the fish either. So we did a salt treatment by giving it a salt bath <Good move> and the mouth problem seemed to go away, it can now open and close it's mouth. However, it still turns sideways when it stops swimming and it seems like it's gasping for air from time to time. We have quarantined this fish <Also good> for fear that whatever it has could spread to another fish. We are not sure what is wrong with the fish. Yesterday, I noticed one of the fish had Ich and one was beginning to develop Ich, so we went out and bought some anti-fungal medication (Malachite Green) and treated the water. I was told to treat the entire pond since the fungus <Mmm, Ich is a protozoan... not a fungus... but Malachite Green is efficacious here.> was present and all the fish were vulnerable and that it would be fine to use at colder water temperatures (about 50F) <Mmm... cold...> but now I see conflicting reports online saying that this medication is not effective at lower temperatures and might not work. <Along with salt, it should do for the cold weather period. Very likely you will need to address this parasitic problem in the Spring as well> So we have a concern as to what we should do in this situation. Should we continue on with the treatment or stop? <I would continue> The bottle says to re-treat the water after 48 hours if the fish are not getting better. <Yes> Also, today our fear came true. I woke up to another fish with the same symptoms as the first fish. The fish was lying sideways in the water. When I came outside and started talking though, it heard me and turned itself over and started swimming again. At this point, we don't know what is causing the fish to turn sideways and what to do about it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance! Tracy <The side-turning behavior leads me to be concerned with general environmental issues... like dissolved oxygen, some chemical contamination... You do have water quality test kits? What do they read? You have "put to bed" your biological filtration for the Winter? And/or thoroughly cleaned this before the end of Fall... You've ceased feeding I trust... You have read on WWM re Koi/Pondfish disease? Bob Fenner> Sick (Pond Gold)fish 2 of 2    11/28/06 I'm sending you pics <These didn't make it... please send as attachments... of a few hundred Kbyte size, jpgs are best> of my largest goldfish, 6", that has been struggling for about 11 days. I noticed the first 2 days he was lethargic with some whitish spots, 3rd day white spots more prominent, on body, mouth (looks swollen), dorsal fin flat and sitting on the bottom a lot. <Bad signs> I searched the web as best as possible, treated the pond with Tetra DesaFin (for parasites, fungus, bacteria), 1/2c for 600gal. I didn't see very much change. The pond has been balanced except low salt. <Mmmm... not good, advised to keep ponds, goldfish "salted" permanently> The fish vet online suggested to raise the salt to .3%. I have raised it to .13% over the last 3 days and still going. Today I thought he was dead, because he was on his side in-between the plants, but when I went to scoop him out he swam away and seems like his lethargic self. He hasn't been rubbing himself against things, so I don't believe it is Itch. <Ich> We estimate he is around 10yrs old. All other fish are acting great, but I am seeing some whitish mouths and the other larger one has 1 white spot on his side.  What do you think?   Thanks, Diane <Ahh, the "Huntress"... Perhaps this one fish is "just getting old"... do you keep a record of water temperature measures of this pond? Other water quality tests? Likely "environmental stress" is mal-affecting the individual least likely to survive it. Bob Fenner>

Our poor fish... Pond fish dying... no useful data  10/7/06 My uncle bought some new (big) Koi to put in his new pond a few weeks ago. what I don't understand is that a few days ago, one fish died. It had parts where the scales had fallen off and brown gooey bits oozing out. <Very bad signs> another one died yesterday. A few are showing the same symptoms that the other fish showed before they died. (not moving much, rarely eating and staying under the filter) What is wrong?!  Please help, a worried niece. <... Where's the beef? Need much more information... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm and the linked files above... The root cause/s here? Environmental most likely... but w/o data as to water quality, set-up, history, other livestock... only can guess. 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>

Goldfish Attacked By Raccoon  - 09/07/06 The background: I have a 35 gallon barrel pond that's home to four mega store-bought "feeder" fish, who have been quite happy for months.   The barrel is stocked with a variety of plants, including Anacharis, water hyacinth, and others. I don't feed them much, a few pellets now and again. There's a filter in the barrel, water chemistry is consistently good (once I learned from your site what that means) and I keep up with water changes. The problem: Sadly, twice in the past 10 days my barrel pond has been attacked by raccoons. One fish was eaten but the others escaped. The latest attack was over the weekend while I was out of town. I put their house back in order and screwed mesh over the top to protect the fish. Ugly but effective. The remaining three fish seemed to be doing OK. The biggest seemed the worst off, swimming very slowly and staying near the bottom. Not eating. This morning I went out and he is floating at the top, barely moving his fins now and again. He does seem to be bloated, though not as ballooned out as some of the photos on the site. I can see there are several missing scales on his side, presumably injuries from trying to escape the raccoon. He will occasionally right himself for a few moments, but the rest of the time he floats at the surface. I read over your FAQs about floaty goldfish. I removed him from the  tank and placed him in a container with some Doc Wellfish aquarium   salt, at the ratio of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons (his container is just one gallon, though). I don't have a quarantine tank. The FAQs indicted that Epsom salt was the thing to use; I happened to have the aquarium salt on hand for immediate action. Should I redo the solution using Epsom salt? I placed a cooked, shelled pea, cut into quarters in the container with him but he doesn't seem interested. Is there anything further I can do to try to help the fish to recover? He looks pretty bad, so any advice is most welcome. Thank you for your help. Linda < The raccoon may have damaged the internal vital organs and there really isn't too much you can do about that. If the organs are OK, then the stress of the raccoon attack may be the problem. Stress causes problems like internal infections. Treat for bloat with Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole, or Clout. Keep the water clean and see if he starts to eat in a few days. That will be your signal that he is getting better.-Chuck>

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>

Koi importation restrictions   9/2/06 Bob, Have you heard about this yet? People, This just in from the USDA -APHIS WEBSITE. <Mmm, just rumors of this pending... Thank you for sending this along. Bob Fenner> USDA TO PLACE IMPORT RESTRICTIONS ON LIVE FISH, FERTILIZED EGGS AND GAMETES SUSCEPTIBLE TO SPRING VIREMIA OF CARP WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2006--The U.S. Department of Agricultures Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to establish regulations restricting the importation of live fish, fertilized eggs and gametes of fish from certain species that are susceptible to spring Viremia of carp (SVC). The following species are considered susceptible to SVC: common carp (including Koi), grass carp, silver carp, bighead carp, Crucian carp, goldfish, tench and sheatfish. SVC is an extremely contagious viral disease of carp. Outbreaks of SVC confirmed in the United States in 2002 and 2004, and since eradicated, have been linked to unregulated importation of SVC-infected fish. This action is necessary to prevent further introductions of the virus into the United States. This action is scheduled for publication in the Aug. 30 Federal Register and becomes effective Sept. 29. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Oct. 30. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS 2006-0107, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov and, in the Search Regulations and Federal Actions box, select Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service from the agency drop-down menu; then click on Submit. In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0107 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically. Mitch Gibbs

Canopy hood leaking paint in aquarium... Yeeikes!   8/27/06 I did not have my glass tops for my aquarium under my black canopy for four years. It is a 135 gallon with two 10 inch comets living in it. I could not figure out why the water kept turning dark blue right after water changes. then while  wiping off the inside of the canopy I saw that there was black paint all over the towel. It was leaking into the water. I have done so many water changes since then , and the water is now a light blue, but my fish are staying at the bottom of the tank, moving a little and eating a little. I am really worried that this might have really harmed them. I have put lots of carbon in the filter which is a Rena XP3, I have 2 powerheads and two big airstones. I also just bought a 240 gallon tank which will be delivered next week, but then I have to wait for that to cycle for two weeks. I don't know what else to do , and if I have poisoned through my own ignorance, please please help. thank you   <Do you have another sizable container to move these goldfish to? Perhaps you can secure a "kiddie swimming pool" that you can keep covered (they can jump out)... I would keep changing the water, keep the carbon fresh. Bob Fenner>
Re: Canopy hood leaking...
Quick-cycling a Tank  8/29/06
<Hi Wendy, Pufferpunk answering for Bob on this one> Thank you for your fast response, I have done the above except for the pool. The water is almost clear and they are moving and eating a little more. <Eating is always a good sign (so is moving).> Do you think I have done any harm to them and also when I get my 240 gallon tomorrow is it necessary to wait 2 weeks for it to cycle even if I put some of the old gravel in it to get the bacteria growing? <Personally, I wouldn't use anything form the old tank--could have remaining toxins in there.  If you live in the USA, you can purchase Bio-Spira to instant cycle the tank. If not, then just put the fish in there & keep an eye on the parameters & do water changes accordingly.  The best thing is to get your beloved fish out from the toxic tank.  Sounds like a close call, keep up w/the fresh carbon & water changes.  ~PP> Thanks again and no more questions after this but I will let you know how everything turns out.      WENDY

Mysterious Koi killer   8/24/06 Greetings, <Salutations> I haven't found any information on this topic and I'm hoping you might have some idea or advice. <Let's see> We presently own a 55 gallon aquarium, stocked with several gold fish, 2 Pleco's and 2 Koi. <Mmmm... Koi can be kept in aquariums... but... not good to stock with goldfish...> The two Koi were extremely healthy in our tank. Tiger had grown to 8+ inches from a little tosai, and Julius the smaller stopped growing at around 4". The trouble began with out smaller fish Julius. Julius about 2 months ago stopped eating and was blind in one eye. This was several months after we introduced a third fish from a pet store into the tank. The third fish after a month or so began floating to the top of the tank and hung there not eating until it seemed like his fin stiffened, his back end went stiff, and he was gasping for air, we felt it best at that point to put him down ourselves. Not long after Julius began exhibiting strange behavior. He started darting aimlessly and bumping up against the aquarium walls. <Myxosoma... possibly another genus of bacteria... likely> Shortly after that he began hanging out at the bottom of the aquarium, lethargic, and still not eating. Shortly after this Tiger joined Julius at the bottom of the tank in the same corner, <Co-infected> and they moved very little. After 2 weeks of this (we thought at first they were breeding given their behavior) <No, too small> we placed both fish into an isolation tank, and progressed to give them a course of TriSulfa, and jungle parasite killer. We kept the water fresh, in the meantime cleaned out the aquarium, (complete water change). At the end of the course they were looking a little better. The discoloration around Tiger's gill too had began to fade. We decided to place them back into the aquarium. The water was cleaner than the isolation tank, conditioned, pH neutral and ammonia free. <Good> After three days in the cleaned tank Tiger was looking bad. He died this evening. Julius is still lingering on  but I'm nervous about keeping him in the tank if I introduce other Koi. <I would be as well> This disease or virus only affected the Koi. The other goldfish have been completely unaffected. <May still act as reservoir hosts> After the parasite "dip", and antibiotic "dip", and the cleaning, I am clueless as to what it was that struck our Koi. It looked like fin rot, but their weird behavior could have been a parasite. <More likely bacterial> I found some information on KHV, but if you have any other ideas I'd love to know. Also, is it possible that Julius (if he's still alive in a few days) is going to be a carrier to any other Koi we introduce? <Possibly> Looking forward to your reply, -Jennifer <Please read on the Net, what books you can lay hands on re Myxosoma (likely M. cerebralis). Do the symptoms seem similar? There are tests/culture, histopathological work-up that can be done on a fresh-perished specimen... Bob Fenner>
Re: Mysterious Koi killer  8/25/06
Thanks you! <Welcome> My other suspicion was that it was some form of bacteria and TriSulfa wouldn't get. We're giving up on Julius for the time being but might try the Myxo soon. Now to look up where to take a culture. <A trying, but educational task> BTW we absolutely loved the Koi. They have great personalities, behaviors, and their own character. We've gotten hooked lol. We're going to stock it with at max 2 tosai. Our gigantic 8" comet is swimming around like he owns the place ^_^ Again, thanks for the reply! <I see a pond... make that two ponds... and is that a lake? In your future... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Writing to you after reading your faq's, Koi w/ bent spine    8/21/06 Dear Bob, <Lawrence/Larry>      First, let me say thanks and kudos to you for all that you do.  You are very knowledgeable and take time to respond to questions. <Mmm, you would do the same likely...> I work with Koi and goldfish types at a local garden center. <Heeee! Am getting a good visual of you all hanging about the Hydrangeas!>   I am no expert by any means but i am very proud of my work and my personal ponds and fish.  I just spent the last few minutes reading all of your faq's and sadly only found one other instance similar to mine (though i am sure you have heard it all before).  Before I go any further, just wanted to say thanks and I really appreciate any information you can share to help me with my problem. <Okay>     Here is some basic info, I had to copy it from another website (my apologies) but the info is what is key: "" -How long has the tank been set up? this is 3rd full year -Water test readings: --Ammonia: 0 --Nitrite: 0 --Nitrate: 10 --pH: 7.2-7.8 (morning/evening) --KH: 110 --GH: didn't test but usually well within normal ranges, ran out of solution, haven't brought any more home from work yet -Water Temperature: 72 in the am, 75-77 in the evening -How much water the tank holds: 400 gallons -What kind of filtration: 1000gph Bioforce filter w/foam and bioballs on a 2100 gph Hozelock pump, also a 350 gph pump operating with a lava rock filter-Water conditioner used: Koi clay, barley bales, stress coat/AmmoLock (DeChlor) -Routine tank maintenance: due for a filter cleaning, usually clean once a week, haven't cleaned since last Monday -What, how much and how often do you feed your fish? small Koi pellets, 2 times daily, about a 1/4 of a cup total -Tank inhabitants: sick koi(15"), two other healthy (appearance-wise) one 14" and the other about 6", 2 Orandas (one panda/one Ryukin) less than 3" each <Mmm, these are large Nishikigoi for a 400 gallon tank/system... and I don't encourage people to keep them and fancy goldfish together> -New fish or plants added to the tank? What type and when? Were they quarantined: I have fish in a quarantine pond currently waiting to be added -Medications used: none until i diagnose problem... currently in pond is salt of a concentration between .15-.18, increasing amount to .25 tomorrow just for normal pond conditions  ""     Now a bit of back history.  She came into my work in a regular shipment of large 8-10" Koi.  There was nothing special about her just a big Koi.  But immediately there were problems.  She developed a horrible case of tail rot, where the area between the caudal fin and the dorsal fin.  Lost almost 2/3 of the flesh she had in that region. <... bacterial... perhaps Aeromonad> By this time I had moved her to a quarantine area or my medical pond at work.   Within about 3-4 months I got her back to full health, completely healed with the fin rot. she now has a large white blank spot on her back in the area the rot occurred.  I knew she was never a show fish, but I guess this confirmed it.  anyway, i decided that it wouldn't be fair to sell her to a customer only to have her die a week later.  So i took her to my home, quarantined her for about 15-18 days, it was under three weeks but longer than a fortnight not often you see that anymore).  She became the queen of the pond.  First to eat, always destroying my hyacinths and water lilies.       Fast forward to this spring, she got laden with eggs and began to widen.  She still is pretty large, so I honestly doubt she has released any eggs into the water (and no signs of spawning, no male excretions all year).  She is also the only female Koi in the pond.  Anyway, everything has been fine this year.  Pond water has been clear, clean my filters about once a week, and lilies, pickerel rush, irises, zebra rush, and when they let it go, hyacinth all were beautiful.  Anyway w/in the last week she has developed a horrible s curve in her spine. <Mmm, might be genetic...>   We can rule out lightning since it hasn't rained, lightning, or thundered in over three weeks locally.  I have been trying to diagnose it and can not find anything definitive... Best i came up with was Anchorworm, and that doesn't seem right. <Agreed...> the curve is from right to left if viewing from above.  Visual and physical inspections revealed nothing remarkable or out of the ordinary.  So i am asking besides lightning and genetics, what other causes are there for these type of conditions to be present? <Some spine twisting can be traced to nutrition, bacteria... but these are very gradual onset usually. Electrical issues would affect most all...>   Do you have an ideas or recommendations on course of action? <Other than "staying the course"> I do not want to lose her, but i don't want to lose the rest of my fish either... <Not likely pathogenic, catching> so sadly, am willing to do what needs to be done with her if it saves the rest of them, but obviously would love if it didn't come to that...   Again i am fairly experienced in dealing with Koi but unable to properly diagnose this, any help is greatly appreciated and desperately needed.  Your reply is eagerly awaited. LMB <I would keep the faith here... Not much of any possibility that the spine will repair, but this fish may be fine other than appearances... for quite some time. Bob Fenner>
Re: writing to you after reading your faq's... pond fish dis.   8/22/06
Thanks for the quick reply and encouraging words.  I also wanted to say thinking back you are right, it was either a bacterial infection or a ulcer gone way bad.  I misclassified it as fin/tail rot. I continued reading through the rest of the evening.  Through your site, her symptoms, her history and the condition of the other fish, I basically calmed myself down with the thought it was more likely due to her previous physical ailments not healing properly and/or genetic defect.  I greatly appreciate the time you took to get back to me and you are right, the hydrangeas are on the other side of our water gardening section. <Heeee!> Also I wanted to add, I understand your note on the goldfish, its more of a fancy of the wifey.  They were quarantined for over a month before being placed in mainly due to where they were from.  I also gave an gradual increase in the quarantine water's salt content, over a period of three weeks, a tenth of a percentage per week. <Good>   That was the final three weeks of quarantine just to ensure that they're scales and bodies were as close to as clean as possible.  Other than being lifted out of the water from time to time when the bigger Koi go to eat, they live a pretty comfortable life together.  The Koi are the boss' but the Oranda's aren't missing any meals. <Very good to read/understand> Thanks again, and look forward to getting more into your site and a lil personal self education/refreshers. LMB/Larry is fine  

Black Koi bent spine   8/16/06 sorry...attachments Note: forwarded message attached. very interesting website. You sound like you know a lot about Koi and might be able to help me.    see attached pics of black Koi. <I see them>    my Koi 6 years plus in age, and last month spine bent and more white color/ clouded eye. do not know of any trauma. think it is a parasite or vitamin deficiency?    marc <Mmm, perhaps this last... though could be more a genetic anomaly... even infectious agent, stray electrical current at play. Please read here: http://www.google.com/custom?domains=www.WetWebMedia.com&q=bent+spine&sitesearch=www.WetWebMedia.com&client=pub-4522959445250520&forid=1&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859-1&cof=GALT%3A%23008000%3BGL%3A1%3BDIV%3A%23336699%3BVLC%3A663399%3BAH%3Acenter%3BBGC%3A99C9FF%3BLBGC%3A336699%3BALC%3A0000FF%3BLC%3A0000FF%3BT%3A000000%3BGFNT%3A0000FF%3BGIMP%3A0000FF%3BFORID%3A1%3B&hl=en Bob Fenner>

Question about sick pond goldfish... Mmm, and Pond Circ., Filtr., Maint.    8/7/06 Hi - I could not find the answer to my question on your web site and hope you can help.    <Will try>   We have a natural outside pond. It is under shade all day and has much foliage around it but none in it other than the occasional foliage which drops in from around the pond.  The pond measures aprox. 26 ft by 14 ft by 4 ft deep.  It is always clear and is fed from the runoff of our spring box. <How nice!> The water is constant circulating and has a pipe in the middle of the pond to control overflow. <Mmm, I would "sleeve" this... put a pipe over this one, notched at the bottom... to "force" "old water" and silt from the bottom rather than venting newer water from the surface>   There is a dirt bottom and a layer of leaves.  Also at the bottom is a very small spring which additionally feeds the pond. <Great>     I am not sure how old the pond is, we have lived here 5 years and it was here when we bought the home.  The only upkeep is the removal of leaves every 2 years or so.    The current gold fish we have in the pond have been there 3 years.  We originally had five. <No reproduction? Odd...> Just this past year, around the beginning of spring we lost one fish and now, recently, a second.    The goldfish both measured about 6 to 8 inches long.   Prior to dying, they both became lethargic and kept themselves close to the edge of the pond.  Resting themselves there and not swimming around at all.   They also lost many of their scales and where the scales were, there was "fuzz".      <Perhaps... secondary... decomposition>   We are worried there may be a disease or parasite in the pond. <Mmm, not likely... or at least not likely a primary cause/source of mortality here. Much more likely is some sort of environmental complaint... most easily addressed with the added "sleeve" over your standpipe mentioned above...>   We are also concerned that the problem may be at the source spring. <Mmm, yes... and/or some bit of decomposition in the "overburden"... the unconsolidated "ooze" at the bottom... again, best addressed with the sleeve, periodic increased (overflow from rain...>   This is concerning because we use the water from this spring for our home use.  It is a separate spring box pumped to our home but the overflow from this spring feeds the pond.      <Mmm... Am sure you have particulate and chemical treatment to make this safe, potable... If it were me/mine, I would make use of a reverse osmosis device for potable uses... adding a "booster" pump for needed pressure if required...>>   Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you.      J.M. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about sick pond goldfish   8/8/06
Thanks Bob,   <Welcome>   Need clarification on the "sleeve".  I understand a pipe over the existing pipe but please explain the "notches" at the bottom and how it allows for water and material to be pulled from lower pond depth.      <Wish I knew how to make, post a drawing of such... imagine your existing overflow pipe... with a pipe of larger diameter placed over/around it. The new, larger pipe is "taller", and there are some holes, inverted "V" cut outs in this pipe at the bottom... such that, when the water level rises, the water from the bottom of the pond (about the cut outs) travels up, between the inner wall of the new pipe, the outer wall of the old standpipe... and to waste>   And again for clarity - the "sick fish" problem is likely environmental? <Almost assuredly> If so, then explain how the "sleeve" will "fix" this. <By improving the environment... helping vent "bad water" (nutrient laden, low/no oxygen...) from the system> Are we likely to lose the rest of our fish before the problem is resolved by the "sleeve"?      <Mmm, impossible to say. However, not worth trying to do something "overt" here... adding a large influx of water, "treatments"...>   I too was surprised that we have not had "babies" yet.   Any ideas on cause? <Many possibilities... mostly "environmental/water quality" probably... though could be predation... frogs, insect larvae (do you have Odonatans/Dragonflies?> Should we create "ambiance"? :) <Could... more diverse habitat would help... plants...>   Or,  there are babies but they get eaten.  Or there are eggs but environmentally the conditions are not right for maturity. <Some should survive>    Maybe I should stick to one problem at a time - the "sick fish" for now would be the priority.   If we lose the rest of our fish, is there a "stronger" fish we should consider for replacement? <Mmm, would need much more information... on where you're located, the local laws, the likelihood of the animals getting loose... too many issues to speculate on w/o much more input>      Again thanks for all info - and your quick reply.  JM <Bob Fenner>

Koi lying on its side   7/28/06 Hi (from South Africa) <Aloha from Hawai'i> I have a Koi (sorry don't know what kind) - I have had him in the pond (bio filter) for about 9 months.  We have another 6 - we bought the house 2 years ago and the outside pond had one Koi so the pond has been established for at least 3 years.  The Koi I refer to started flipping above the surface last Thursday - he then disappeared to the surface (about 1 meter deep) and I could not see him.  On the Saturday (2 days later) I cleaned the bio filter and on Sunday saw him lying on his side.  I thought he was dead, but he is not.  He moves his side gills occasionally and some how moves around in the pond.  Why might this be happening - <Mmm, a likely scenario is that the one fish injured itself... perhaps by splashing about, maybe brought on by a warm water spell...> the other fish are fine - and please tell me what you suggest I do.  Someone I know with Koi suggested euthanasia <Mmm, I would hold off here> but there is no way I can bash a fish on its head, so what is the kindest thing to do.  Please help I don't know where one finds a fish vet.  Thanks <There is a very good chance this fish will self-cure... w/o the addition of anything here. I would hold off, just wait, monitor water quality to assure a minimum of ammonia, nitrite... if necessary use means to speed up your biological filtration... feed sparingly in the meanwhile. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Re: Koi lying on its side   7/29/06 Thank you so much for this reply - the fish is still alive.   I read a little on swim bladder - is it possible it could be that as opposed to hurting himself? <... could have damaged this bladder> I have seen the fish move along on its side. I cannot see any problem with colour or scales or anything external.  The question/answer sections regarding swim bladder mention the addition of salt  - you mention not to add anything so should I not even add salt. <I would not do this. Too likely to upset the not-yet-established biological filtration organisms> You also advise that I speed up my filtration - how do I do that? <Adding a bacterial culture principally...> I have cut back on the feeding to 2 times per week - the weather has not been that warm recently - temperatures in the range of 7 degrees (early morning) to about 19/20 degrees.  Thanks again Regards, Yvonne <"Keep the faith"... patience my friend. Bob Fenner>

Water temp, Pond Fish with Ick/Ich, UV lights   7/26/06 Hi, I have a 2 year old pond about 1200 gallons with plants, waterfall and pressurized UV and bio pond filter. <Okay> I test the water daily and it is balanced and the water quality good. I have three large gold fish (6" to 8") and two small Koi.  2". Recently the smallest of my large goldfish developed Ich.  I have a couple of questions: I am concerned that frequent partial water changes and pond top-offs (every few days because I lose a lot of water through evaporation and waterfall "splash") are creating fluctuations in water temperature that stress the fish and make them susceptible to disease.   <Possible> Is there anything I should do about this? <Yes... replace this water changed out and top offs very slowly... as in  drip... WITH placing a timer, other reminder on the door let's say, to help you recall that the hose pipe is running, needs to be shut off> And I'm afraid that treating the fish for Ich and continuing this practice might be counter-productive. <?> Is the  Ich life cycle longer because I unavoidably keep lowering the water temperature w/these top-offs? <Slightly more so>   I'm in a rural area and  my water is very cold because it  comes from a (very clean)  underground well.     What should I do? <Perhaps drip the new water over the falls...> Also, I have used AP Pond Cure Ick.  Just one app. so far.  No additional Ich spots, but the ones that were there still are.   Must   I take the UV bulb from the filter for this treatment to be effective? <A good idea if this cure is copper based... the UV will plate out the copper> Is vacuuming the pond advisable?   <If there is much "muck", this is a good idea> Though the pond water tests really well,  I have a lot of silt-like stuff on bottom and that clings to the sides and gets stirred up when it rains.  Is this a breeding environment for the Ich parasite? Thank you for your time and help. --Judy <Is possibly forestalling the cure here. Bob Fenner>

Koi health, no info.  7/19/06 I am in need of help so I am hoping you can.   I am very new to the whole pond and Koi thing so i hope you can help me out. I have searched the web over and I am almost out of options other than hunting down a fish vet, which I have no clue where to find! I have 2 Koi approximately three and six months old. A few months ago I had 5 Koi and 1 comet and I introduced a new fish in that had a parasite and it killed all but one which we managed to save with salt, Quick Cure, and a qt tank. He is one of the Koi I have now. We bought the other a few weeks after he was all good and went through the whole qt process just in case. <Good practice> Her name is Princess and the lone survivor is Salty. Salty has never really acted the same. If I had to guess I would say he acts a little brain damaged. <The formalin in the Quick Cure will do this> Well to get to my problem...For about a week I haven't seen him which in a way is normal. Princess has never changed her attitude. She is waiting on her food when it is feeding time. Salty is rarely seen. Well today was time for a water change. We have a few large rocks on bottom for them to swim under. We took a few out and Salty swam out as usual. We went to transfer him to the holding tank and noticed he was bent in half. His tail end right past his abdomen is completely bent. He still moves his tail but he is bent in half. He is having trouble swimming if you hadn't guessed. Is this ok and is it going to fix itself? <Mmm, the bending can/could be due to a number of dissimilar causes/influences... from nutritional deficiency, bad/poor water quality/conditions, genetic anomaly, electrical leakage, infectious disease.... You don't provide enough information to guess which of these might be at play here. Not likely to get better, no> There are no scraped or tears. I thought maybe a rock fell on him, other than that I am at a loss. Can we help Salty or is he going to be this way from now on?   KANDY ANGEL <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

My poor carp, no useful info.  7/15/06 Hi I've checked through your website and am still not sure what is wrong with my 25 year old carp, Copper. He lives in a large pond with 5 other carp of varying ages, (one is the same age) and three Orfe. All of the others are all OK. The patient  looks like he has something like dropsy as he is very very swollen and now doesn't seem able to swim about. <Ascites... one name for the condition... a few possible causes... not sufficient information offered here to narrow this/these down> His scales don't appear to be sticking out. Please help. What can I do to relieve him? Thanks Pam <See WWM, the search tool, indices... or read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: My poor carp  7/18/06
Thank you for your reply. I had already read the information you suggested in your reply. This did not clearly  indicate what was wrong with Copper our carp. <There is insufficient information presented. It was/is my hope that by reading other peoples' input/responses, you would mimic their behavior and/or "something" might "jump out" that resembles your situation.... Water quality tests, history, make-up of this system...> We read the suggestion that Epsom salts might help. Unfortunately he died before we could try this.. It was sad as he had been with us for 25 years. Pam <Very sorry to realize your loss. Bob Fenner>

Big, Gigantic, Parasite Problem (FW goldfish)... Youth in Asia as a means to a means   6/28/06   Hello all,   I have done much research and tried many methods to deal with parasites, but have found out (the HARD way) that euthanasia is the safest, most humane way, and I will not keep fish in the future.        <Yikes! Are you serious?>   Since spotting thin, white, 1/2 inch wriggling things in my tank, my goldfish have swum weirdly and developed red streaks, I have thoroughly cleaned the tank (to the great disturbance of my family), I have done the salt dip treatment, and I have ended up with a dead comet, dead Chinese algae eater, euthanized commons, and a carefully disposed of tank. <...>   Now I have found 1 inch, fatter, red wriggling things in my pond filter (which has now been carefully removed), and 2 of my comets in the pond are extremely bloated: 1 inch, gill to tail. Does this mean they are infected by parasites? Strange, because the many other goldfish and Koi in my pond look healthy. <These are not likely related events. The red things in the filter are probably oligochaete worms (non-pathogenic, -parasitic), the goldfish complaint, environmental>   Finally, is there a way to tell which fish are infected and which fish are not? <?> Otherwise, I fear the most humane way is for me (or the pet store) to euthanize all of them. Which is REALLY distressing, because the fish look so happy and healthy in the pond (for now at least).   Maybe if I wait until winter when the water freezes? But the fish always come back, so the parasites will too¡­   PLEASE help! It will be MUCH APPRECIATED!   Nelli from Colorado   <My mothers maiden name (though from Rhode Island). Euthanasia is not the first or best route to take in "treating" livestock... Understanding the causative mechanisms of health/disease and doing ones best to provide good care, exclude pathogens, optimize environments... is. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm For an overview of the major factors that determine livestock health... And here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Big, Gigantic, Parasite Problem (FW goldfish)  7/26/06
Dear all,    <Vicky>   Sorry for the lateness, but THANK YOU so much for the information you've given me. I definitely am keeping all my fish (yay!), and indeed it doesn't seem like there's any of the infectious parasites in the pond. Although I was alarmed about seeing the oligochaete worms for the first time, but glad to know they're not dangerous. <Correct> And from my research I found out that actually worms are expected in fishponds, and they are actually beneficial. <Yes>   So that's the end of that for my pond, although it seems to have sprung a leak somewhere. So we're going to find the leak and add another layer to the pond, and then things can return to normal.   Thanks again,   Nelli from Colorado <Real good Nel. Bob Fenner> Koi death  6/15/06 I have a pond appx 3 years old 1500 gallons.  I "had" 12 fish total one  for over 15 years which was about 2'+, 5-6 I had for 5+ years, and over two  years for the balance (except newly introduced)  Last week everyone looked  fine.    I introduced 3 small fish from a local supplier. I shop there  regularly.   <Sans quarantine...> The rest of the fish at the store that are in the same tub I  purchased from are still fine; however, mine died within about a week of  purchase.  No visible sign on their bodies and no symptoms.  A short  while after, my large Koi started to show signs of trouble.  white  splotches on the dark colored ones.  The light colored ones just looked  bloated.  All were lethargic and appeared stressed. I added stress relief  and MelaFix. <Worthless> I lost 1 Tuesday, 3 yesterday, and 3 today.  The only  one that is visible is the black one he is facing a wall that several faced  before they die.  One hung out at the base of the waterfall and was  pushing himself up into it (kind of like a salmon), but not going up more than  4-6 inches. I placed one of the new fish (purchased at same time) in my old pond that   has the small fish 4-6" and they all appear to be fine. Any idea what caused these deaths? <Could be related or no... perhaps a protozoan parasite was introduced with the new fish (need microscopic examination, necropsy of the lost Koi), or could be totally unrelated...> Are there steps I should take  during spring to ward off infection (I lost 4-5 fish at same time last  year)? <Good question. There are folks that advocate "prophylactic" treatments to prevent environmental and pathogenic stress going the balance over to disease... I am not a fan of this, but do encourage regular, rigorous maintenance... See here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm scroll down to the tray with Pond Maintenance Articles and FAQs files highlighted, as well as careful quarantining of all new pond livestock ahead of introduction> Thank you for any advice you may be able to provide. Desiree' Slinkard Lakewood, Ca <There are many instances of such "wipe-out" syndromes from "just" introducing new fish to well-established pond systems. It has been speculated that these simple additions can add tremendous stress to an otherwise well-established "dynamic" amongst the animals present... again, tipping the balance of the system to disease rather than health. That you lost your Koi so quickly though seems to point to either an environmental problem (that yes, might well allow the new/smaller Koi to survive), or a possible disease-causing organism. Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi death   6/16/06 Thank you so much for your incredibly prompt  response.  I will read the recommended passages; and try to be more  proactive (e.g. quarantine new fish, and consider whether it is in the best  interest of a well established pond with older fish, to alter their balance by  introducing "outsiders".   <Ahh, yes> Unfortunately, it looks like I will have an empty  pond by the end of the week - but I will follow recommendations and hope for the  best. Again, Thank you! Desiree' Slinkard Lakewood, Ca <Very sorry to realize your situation. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question re: article on Fish Body Slime  - 06/06/2006 Hi Bob, <Spike> Thanks for the reply and the advice.  I have a fairly good library (and there may be something in one of my books that I haven't found!) but don't have good access to journals and other such periodicals.  I know and can find references to the fact that larval fish "breathe" thru their skin (no gills yet) but haven't found good references on adults. <Mmm... I do scan the quarterlies when I'm down/about at the UCScripps Library, and do recall (over the years) various works that touch/ed on this field... Are you familiar with Jeff Graham's works on aerial respiration in (mainly S. American) fishes?> BTW, I'm a Koi hobbyists.  We started a program (about 6 years ago) to teach other hobbyists how to take better care of their Koi.  We are always on the lookout for good information and for folks to teach continuing education courses.  Is that anything that might interest you?  See: http://www.akca.org/kht/kht.htm  (I have CCed our CE coordinator). <Ahh... years back I gave talks at the AKCA's get-togethers... and have a few articles in some of their early collections... Was one of the original honko jin ZNA members as well... Looks like a very nice program replete with good instructors. Don't know that I'm "up to snuff" with the later/greater technology... as evidenced by my dated pieces posted on WWM's Pond SubWeb... But glad to be considered>> Thanks again.  I'll try to hit a college or two. Best regards, Spike <A short run at/on BIOSIS, the Zoological Abstracts should show what is current here. Bob Fenner>

Emaciated Doitsu Sanke Koi   6/2/06 Hi WWM crew, I've been trying to find information on treating a condition where juvenile Koi I have purchased seem to be slowly starving to death (Yes, I have actually tried feeding them, including soaking rich foods like brine shrimp in garlic to whet their appetite). There are no external lesions or lumps on the body but these young fish have a hunched over look as their abdomens shrink. They look emaciated and eventually grow listless and die. I haven't been able to find much information on treating them or even what is causing this. I found one pond disease FAQ that mentioned something similar in a much larger fish but gave no reason for the condition occurring in the first place. I began treating my quarantine tank with Maracyn and Maracyn-Two as the other FAQ mentioned similar treatment anti-bacterial treatment as well as introducing some medicated pellets containing 1.0% Metronidazole (made by Jungle) although I doubt these will be consumed. Since this Koi had also contracted a few spots of ick I added some kosher salt and increased the temperature to 32C. The tank was filtered by a Fluval 104 but I have shut it down overnight to let the medications permeate the fish (will turn it on tomorrow for a few hours to cycle the water through it before the next medication dose) and am just circulating with an AquaClear 150 with no carbon and some BioMax. I am trying to save this Sanke as it is a very attractive fish but I do not expect a good outcome. I have had to return a series of dead fish to the store for the exact same reasons. This fish is a replacement from another store location for a fish that died of the same ailment. I know the water quality of the display pond where the fish are kept is abysmal but I thought being introduced to a well maintained environment would counter any previous poor treatment. Any information would be very much appreciated. Regards, Patrick. <Mmm... we might discuss the practical use of injectable Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin succinate)... If this fish is very valuable... through a veterinarian's care... intramuscular. Please have your vet. contact me at WWM or at fennerrobert@hotmail.com Bob Fenner>

Shubunkin ... health  - 5/7/2006 Hi, <<Hello, Sharon. Tom>> Please can you help me. I have a pond with various fish, but one of my Shubunkins has black streaks on his nostrils, his gills look tinged with black and black flecks on his scales at the sides. He doesn't seem to be very active and his tail is hanging low. I am taking him from the pond and isolating him in a tank and treating with MelaFix and PimaFix. I am going to do a water change in the pond in case of bacterial infection. All the other fish, goldfish, Orfe, Rudd and the other Shubunkins seem fine. The pond is not overcrowded and the rest are feeding and seem active. What do you think could be the problem? I have never seen this problem in any books, but it occurred with two goldfish last year and I managed to save one of them with the above treatment. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <<Sharon, there are a couple of possibilities that come to mind. The first, and probably less-likely, explanation is that the black streaks/markings are signs of healing from toxin/chemical burns or something of the like. If this were the case, you could expect the fish's normal coloration, with good water conditions, to return in a couple of weeks. The second and, in my opinion, more likely possibility is what is referred to as "Black-spot Disease" which occurs with pond fish. I'd invite you to research this for yourself but, the upshot of this condition is caused by parasitic flatworms that find their way into ponds in a rather roundabout fashion, i.e. through pond birds and, later, through snails and back to the fish. In a nutshell, the juvenile parasites leave the host snails and attach themselves to fish very much like Ich will do. The difference is that the cysts formed on the fish turn black rather than the white spots we associate with Ich, hence the name "Black-spot Disease". (Appropriate if not very inspired.) You're best course of action here would be to eliminate the snail population, if feasible, from the pond since snails are a necessary component of the parasite's life cycle.>> Many thanks, Sharon. <<Hopefully, I've given something you can work with here, Sharon. Good luck. Tom>>
Re: Shubunkin
 - 05/13/2006 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Sharon.>> Thanks for your reply, I'm not sure its black spot though. <<Okay.>> The fish have black around there mouths as if they are wearing lipstick and streaks on the tail and fins, and on their sides. One of them is developing black all over his face. It didn't start off with spots just these streaks. I don't have snails in the pond either. <<From the standpoint of eliminating a possibility, this is good. It's always helpful to narrow these things down.>> I have had them indoors for 5 days now treating them with MelaFix and PimaFix but they don't seem to be improving. <<Then a change is in order, Sharon. The fact that the "streaking"/discoloration is spreading has led me to re-think what this may be.>> The lesser affected is still eating well, but I'm not so sure about the other one. He seems less interested in the food and rather lethargic. Is there anything else you could suggest. I would really appreciate it. <<I'd like you to do a water change and switch treatment to Maracyn-Two. By way of explanation, Septicemia isn't necessarily indicated by black, as opposed to red, streaking of the fins/sides/faces of your fish but I can't discount it out of hand. If I were absolutely certain, I would recommend a more aggressive treatment but without concrete evidence, I don't think it would be prudent at this point.>> Many thanks Sharon <<You're welcome, Sharon. Tom>>
Re: Shubunkins ( Pym & St John)
 5/14/06 Hi Tom, <<Greetings, Sharon.>> I think the fish are improving. They are both eating okay and the one that first had the problem (Pym) is starting to lose the black marks. The latter (St John) is also improving. <<Love to hear this.>> I have  just read your email, I thought of septicemia as well. For the moment I'm keeping with the original treatment as it seems to be doing the trick, but if things develop I will try the Maracide-2. <<Hopefully, it won't be necessary to change treatment, Sharon.>> Unfortunately, we can't buy this is England but I will purchase some on the internet and keep it aside just in case. <<I often forget/overlook that what I can readily get my hands on just down the street isn't always available to friends overseas. I think it's a good idea to be prepared, though.>> Thank you for all your help. I'll let you know how they are. Its really great to be able to ask someone for help when you have fish. They are such an unknown quantity sometimes. <<I'm glad we were able to work through this, Sharon. Without your efforts, my advice doesn't help much. Well done.>> Thanks once again Tom, Best wishes Sharon <<My best to you and your pets, as well, Sharon. Tom>>
Re: Shubunkins ( Pym & St John), plus fantail goldfish.
 - 05/15/06 Hi Tom, <<How are you, Sharon?>> Thanks for your reply. <<Never a problem.>> Pym and St. John are still doing well but, I've just noticed one of my fantail goldfish in the pond is losing its scales on both sides. <<Possibly parasitic, Sharon. There are other possibilities, non-descriptive scratching, for instance, but there's a pattern forming.>> Also, it looks as though the right eye is developing some sort of growth on the edge plus there are a couple of areas that are looking slightly rough and I'm worried that ulcers will develop. <<On its own "merit", this might be unrelated to pathogenic (disease) influences but...>> The tail looks slightly broken in one area, too. Plus, a couple of the goldfish are showing signs of the black markings. <<Okay. Everybody's got something going, unfortunately.>> Should I isolate the fantail or should I treat the whole pond. <<The pond needs to be treated but I'm not convinced that the fish shouldn't be treated individually. The Pimafix/Melafix treatment, thus far, has been successful for you but I'm afraid that you're only treating the animals. Re-introducing them to the pond without eradicating the source of these problems sounds, to me, like we're going to be running in circles. The fish, of course, come first. I would treat them individually as best you can. The pond, very honestly, is beyond my knowledge. I apologize but, these are large systems exposed to environmental influences that I can't speak knowledgeably to.>> What could the scale loss be down to do you have any idea ? <<Yes. An idea would be improper water conditions though I wouldn't discount the possibility of Myxosporidiosis (parasitic). The Maracyn-Two that we've spoken of before will address the "broken tailfin" among other problems but it doesn't reach the heart of the problem, which, I believe, lies with the pond itself.>> Best Wishes Sharon <<Sharon, we have a "Pond" section on this site with folks who are more acquainted with the treatment(s) that I think you need to investigate where the "system" is involved. Please, feel free to address your questions to me but just know that WWM has alternate resources. My very best to you, as well. Tom>>

Bloated Koi - 05/07/2006 Aloha from Hawaii!  I think I have an egg-bound Koi--She's been full of eggs for about three months now, is very large w/ bulging eyes and now is just lying on the bottom of our pond.  She didn't even come up for food this morning.  Is she on her way to Koi heaven or can I help her along some how?   Our six males seem to have no interest in her.  Mahalo (thank you),  Carrie < Your Koi is probably bloated with an internal bacterial infection. I would recommend a treatment of Metronidazole. After three months it may be too late to be effective.-Chuck>

Bloated Koi - 05/01/2006 I have gold and white Koi approx. 12 inches in length. It has been fat since we have had her since we bought our house 2 years ago. This year she is even fatter, but I took her out of pond to check her out and I noticed she has blood seeping through her scales on both sides of her belly. <Disconcerting....> Can you help figure out what is wrong. She appears normal not showing any signs of distress. <Quite possibly a bacterial infection; perhaps just poor nutrition....> Is she egg bound?? <Not as likely, no.> Is there anything I can do to help her? <First, test your pond water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.  If ammonia and nitrite are more than ZERO, nitrate more than 20ppm, then you must do water changes to correct this.  Environmental disease alone may be the problem.  Secondly, stop feeding her for a while, and when you start again, be sure to offer only greens - and read here for more:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .  If after a handful of days there is still a problem, I would consider feeding her with an antibiotic medicated food containing Oxytetracycline if possible.> Thank You Debbie <All the best to you and your pet Koi,  -Sabrina>  

Aquatic Gardens

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