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Thread: Sudden Koi deaths after rain & thunderstorms

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    Henning is offline
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    Unhappy Sudden Koi deaths after rain & thunderstorms

    After a heavy rainfall with thunderstorms, all my 7 Kois suddenly died . All had different sizes and ages, without previous signs of disease for at least 2 years. :crybaby:

    Oxygen, ammonia, all NHx, pH and Hardness levels where in the normal range, even though a lot of rainwater fell inside my +100 gallon pond. Nearby contaminants? None that I could have seen or imagine of.

    Since there where many nearby lightning strikes on the electric power lines (with power failure) , I suspect that some kind of current might have electrocuted my Kois through the water pump or UV filter.

    Could this happen? Any opinions ? Similar cases?

    I would really appreciate some opinions on what could have happened to my Kois, so I could try to avoid it before I start over again.

    Thanks

    Henning

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    Absolutely it can happen. I have visited more than one pond over the years where entire wipeouts ocurred during heavy rain or snow. There can be from a lot of reasons, but if you pH and oxygen levels are fine, I would also start to look to external factors like lightening or run off. In the early years my own pond one morning showed three koi terribly bent over night! It was a while later that I noticed one of the big oaks was lossing all its leaves- upon closer inspection you could see a black scar running up the length of the tree- a lightening strike.
    It is kinda unusual to see ALL fish dead outright from such and event, but possible depending on strike and size of pond.

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    What are the effects of the so called "acid rain" on a pond? Could the toxins harm the fish?
    Steve


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    No pH change though in this case. People are often surprised to see that large amounts of snow will drp their normal pH. This is why some form of winter water change can be needed- if it is well water, you keep the pH up but can actually warm the pond at the same time.

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    Henning,

    Were your pump & UV plugged into a Ground Fault circuit? There could have been a power surge that got to the pond water through your equipment.

    +100 gallons does not seem like enough water for Koi. If your equipment failed there could have been an oxygen depletion in the pond water. That would take them down fast! If that were the case, they would have been gasping for air at the surface.

    Whatever...I feel your pain!

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    That is a good point , and begs the question " is it an inpond pump or an external pump"?

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    I measured our acid rain it was 7.2 which is neutral not acid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pete
    Henning,

    Were your pump & UV plugged into a Ground Fault circuit? There could have been a power surge that got to the pond water through your equipment.

    +100 gallons does not seem like enough water for Koi. If your equipment failed there could have been an oxygen depletion in the pond water. That would take them down fast! If that were the case, they would have been gasping for air at the surface.

    Whatever...I feel your pain!
    I’m new to this forum, basically started looking for answer to my Koi loss. I’m impressed with all the immediate answers, I’m very grateful and happy to find people who care about these thing here. I appreciate all your concerns. It has been very sad for me and my family.

    Mr Pete… normally, I have like 130gallons. Perhaps the day of my Kois death, before the heavy rainfall, it was around 100 gallons since I haven’t replenished evaporated water for some days.
    The O2 levels, perhaps an hour after the Kois death, where between 5 and 8 mg/l. I understand these are normal levels and these are the same ones I had over the last 2 years. I have had power surges before, for longer periods, and the fish survived without problems.

    Now…. there is something you mentioned that I just checked out….. the ground fault circuit (this would be the third wire on the plug). Indeed, it is not connected to anything, there are no ground wiring inside my wall plug.

    If a lightning stroke on a power line…. perhaps some “parasite” current went through the pond?
    Today, emptied the pond and found a small live aquarium fish I put in a year ago. So he wasn’t “electrocuted” … No I am even more confused.
    Thanks

    Henning

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    Quote Originally Posted by madeyna
    I measured our acid rain it was 7.2 which is neutral not acid.
    Then you do not have acid rain!

    If our rains come from the Gulf, its pH is neutral. If it comes from across the State - and across the phosphate mines with their sulphuric acid pits - the rain can be 4.7.

    In the instance given above, I would also side with the "electrocution" theorists, especially if there was a submersible pump or there were other electrical items in the water. There were also an awful lot of fish for very little water - so if the power was out for very long, the fish could have also suffocated due to lack of water circulation.

    I'm sorry all your pets died. Perhaps now would be a good time to reevaluate your ponding goals - perhaps enlarge the pond if you want to keep koi, or maybe restock with comet goldfish (more suited for smaller ponds - and just as lovely).



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    I always heard the fish closes to the source will be the ones affected. Any chance of water run off getting in there .Lots of chemicals on lawns this time of the year.

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    Thanks Lee, as I mentioned above, I have like 130gallons. The day of my Kois death, before the heavy rainfall, it was around 100 gallons since I haven’t replenished evaporated water for some days.
    O2 levels, an hour after the Kois death, where between 5 and 8 mg/l. I have had power surges before, for longer periods, and the fish survived without problems. On the other hand, 130 gallons for 7 Koi, is this really so small?

    JPR…. Yes, both pump and UV filter are submersed. Both had a faulty grounding circuit.

    Madeyna…. Yes, it was a terrible rainfall, can’t remember one worse. Water came from everywhere…. Mostly above terrace and roof, but no garden nearby.

    Steve… acid levels where OK after the rain. Maybe some other pollutant in the rain.

    I am thinking on extending the roof over the pond and avoid future rainwater falling inside.

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    More clues!

    In the future, please remember that fish need a water *exchange*, not just a top off. An exchange involves taking water out and replacing it with new, fresh water.

    Think of it this way: recirculating systems - systems that do not have a steady inflow/outflow of fresh water - are basically toilets. That sounds bad - but they are: all the fish's wastes, food waste, plant waste, etc. are in there. If you don't take it out, the water goes bad. It's the same reason why you flush your toilets. Also, fresh water contains micro nutrients that the fish need to remain healthy.

    For informational purposes, koi (and goldfish for that matter) are very messy fish. The water changes are essential for their health. You may have been able to not do this before, but the fish are growing and making more waste. Also, the water recommendations for koi are for at least 150 gallons per fish, and that's if you have very, VERY good filtration. A more realistic fish-to-water ratio is something like 200-500 gallons per fish. And most people who want to grow their fish to show potential have 1,000-1,500 gallons per fish - or more .

    The fact that you have a small survivor in your pond does not rule out electrocution. However, smaller fish have a better ability to deal with oxygen deprivation than larger fish. That may be another clue.



    He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. - Anonymous


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    If there was rainfall that fell from your roof and got into the pond with flooding, that could have been a cause, also. Roofs collect all sorts of pollutants - and shingles and or tiles are frequently treated with things to prevent mildew and other things that can affect the life of the roofing material. Under normal rainfalls, this would fall harmlessly to the ground and would be absorbed or flow away without getting to the pond.

    But if you had an extraordinary rainfall with flooding of the surrounding areas, the roof water may have washed into the pond before it could flow away, and the chemicals used to treat the roofing material would have washed into the pond. They are deadly.



    He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. - Anonymous


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    Amen Lee, great points. When anyone builds their first pond they are told about pond location based on tree line proximity, house viewing distances and sun exposure- all good but not enough. The height of the edge relative the ground ( raised pond vs grade location) and the runoff possibilities are not usually mentioned. This is at least as important if not more so. JR

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    Henning, As I said, I'm sorry for your fishes death. That being said...I'm worried about your safety!!!!

    You answered me saying:

    " Now…. there is something you mentioned that I just checked out….. the ground fault circuit (this would be the third wire on the plug). Indeed, it is not connected to anything, there are no ground wiring inside my wall plug."

    It is more than just the missing ground wire. That is NOT a ground fault circuit.

    Not only should your UV and pump have plugs with a third ground prong, but they should plug into a properly installed "Ground Fault Receptacle" NOT just a 3 prong receptacle wall plug!

    This receptacle (wall plug) will "open" the circuit if it senses any leaking current. Not only protecting your fish, but more importantly you or a family member!!!!!

    Ground fault receptacles are used in kitchens and bathrooms and are especially imperative around a pond.

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    I first suspected PH crash.

    However Lee B, JR and Mr Pete all have valid points. I'm suspecting faulty wiring at this point. That ground fault breaker just wont work without a ground wire attached. I had a well pump blown completely off the 320' pipe in the bottom of my well during a sever electrical storm. The lighting actually hit a popular tree some 75 +or- feet away from the well but traveled the roots and then the well cassing then the water in the pipes to the pump exploding the hanging pump from the schedule 40 pipe. Lightening will travel routes least expected to get to your pond. Koi don't seem to take an electrical charge very well. Ph crash would have taken a few days to do your koi in. Hope you get it all back in line soon. Mike
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    Was YOUR power off? I am thinking the higher oxygen demands of the koi did them in and the little aquarium fish survived. He would have been fried too if it was an electrical charge through the water. You can have naturally lower oxygen saturation levels in the water after heavy thunderstorms, and to lose your power too would be double jeapardy. Sorry about your fish, that's terrible. Ponderingkoi

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    Could you please describe the dead fish? Are they twisted or kinked? Electrical shock. Is their body rigid, the mouth wide open and the opercula extended?--anoxia

    ks
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    Assuming since you mentioned pond at about 100 gallons...down from 130 due to evaporation, that it was warm out temperature wise prior to and during the thunderstorm and rain periods.
    Wierd things can happen to your oxygen levels when this happens. I know as I witnessed gasping behavior one year in my smaller pond just prior to a summer storm. Fortunately I was out back and saw it....immediately cranked on the waterfall which was off. Within 15 minutes all was normal. If I had not seen them gasping and had stayed in during the storm, they would have expired. It appears your oxygen levels (5-8ppm) were on the low side anyway. In my opinion....lack of oxygen due to barometric pressure or whatever resulting in fish die off.
    Sorry for your loss.
    About the time you get old enough to realize your father was a smart man, you have a teenager telling you just how stupid you are. :D

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    Thumbs up

    Lee, I’m impressed with the fish-to-water ratios. I will take that in mind, but I would need a pond the size of a swimming pool.

    Mr. Pete, I had an electrician wire a ground cable into the receptacle and check if the other two cables where well connected. Thanks for your concern. This is now in order and safe.

    Ks, the fish where in great condition…. Some (but not all) had there mouth wide open. I don’t recall which had them open. I do recall that one of the big ones had it very open. None where twisted, nor kinked , nor rigid.

    Michael & Ponderingkoi, the lightning stroke the nearby power lines with a big flash. From that moment, till I went to check on the Kois, it was like just an hour… without power.

    I guess that pollutants on the upper roof and terrace might have been the cause, together with low oxygen levels due to the power loss and low oxygen level of the rain water, although I don’t discard lightning.

    I will use an external pump and palace the UV outside the pond, just in case. I will also find the way to avoid rainfall water (direct and collected) to pour in the pond, start up with only a couple of Kois.

    Thanks to all for the opinions and concerns.

    Henning

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