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    Thread: Dead 17 year old Koi - did a necropsy but ?

    1. #1
      Ronaye is offline Junior Member
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      Dead 17 year old Koi - did a necropsy but ?

      Hello Koi people,

      On November 3rd I found my 17 year old female Koi upside down but alive; she tried to swim off when I touched her but with great difficulty, and rolled back over again. This went off and on for a couple of days then she righted herself and seemed to be okay. I have become very complacent over the years with this pond, as I've never had a problem with water quality or fish loss other than to a freak spawning accident, and when my quarantine tank sprung a leak many years ago, I never replaced it. So 2 days ago I again found her belly-up and couldn't do anything to help her but did get online and order a new tank and supplies to set her up in a sick tank. Too little too late, I found her dead today. She was extremely bloated. I had been assuming swim bladder problems, but did some research online and realized it could have been any number of things. So I did a necropsy as best I could and took lots of photos, because I know little of fish anatomy but am hoping someone out there can look at the pictures and give me an idea of what might have killed her. It appears to me she was impacted with eggs but also seemed to be incredibly full of fat, it just doesn't look normal to me! I didn't see anything that looked obviously like a tumor but then what do I know? I have about 9 mbs of photos that I've placed on OneDrive, if anyone uses it. Don't know if I can post that many here but if someone is willing to look at them I'd be happy to email, or if you know someplace I can contact about them, I'd appreciate your advice.

      Briefly, the pond is just under 4000 gallons with 375 gallons of filtration (vortex, mechanical and bio) and a bottom drain and skimmer. Fish load very light - I had only three Koi and 9 senior goldfish. (No Q-tank to get new ones!) I feed a moderately priced Koi food, fish based in the summer, wheat-germ in the cooler months, and had stopped feeding around the last week of October. Our fall and winter so far have been extremely mild and the water temp has been upper 40s - low 50s. Now that I have a 300 gallon tank and heaters coming, do you think I should bring the other 2 koi inside and give them some decent water temperatures over the winter?

      Any help appreciated. Thank you!
      Ronaye

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    2. #2
      icu2's Avatar
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      Hi Ronaye,
      Thanks for joining Koiphen... but sorry for the reason of your first post.
      9MB's of photo's is no problem if you want to upload them. Or you should be able to
      put them all in a folder on OneDrive and make it a "shared" folder and tell us here what
      the link is to the shared folder to view.

      I'm also in WA and never had a need to bring the fish inside for survival. Many bring them
      in and heat the water so they continue to grow... or if you can cover the pond with 6 mil
      clear plastic and it will help hold the heat some of the heat in and keep wind off the water
      which can really cool it.
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

    3. #3
      Ronaye is offline Junior Member
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      Thank you Steve. The link to the pix is here https://1drv.ms/f/s!AqSypJua5bCXhUubf5FavocgJKYU
      If I can figure out how to upload them to the forum I will, or do I just attach them all to an email?
      Ronaye

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      Ronaye is offline Junior Member
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      Hmm, I did this a while ago but don't see my reply. Pardon me if it's out there and I just haven't figured this place out yet. The link to the OneDrive folder is https://1drv.ms/f/s!AqSypJua5bCXhUubf5FavocgJKYU

      Thanks for replying Steve, I hope someone can see something in those photos that may clear this up.
      Ronaye

    5. #5
      icu2's Avatar
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      Sorry Ronaye, all new members are automatically put on moderation so that's why you didn't see your second post
      right away... but you should see them as soon as post them now.
      The linked worked fine and I'm as bad as you at koi internal anatomy, but I bet others will know. She looked to be
      egg bound but I'm not sure what the fatty looking mass towards the head is.
      If you need help with uploading pictures and some other forum features there's a list of tutorials here:

      https://www.koiphen.com/forums/forumd...d-Forum-Useage

      So sorry for your loss. After 17 years I'm sure she will be missed.
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

    6. #6
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      Hi Ronaye, I'm glad you joined us, I'm sorry it was under such sad circumstances. This sort of post is usually in "Emergency Forum" where it would get noticed by our "Certified Koi Keepers", they are the ones most likely to have some answers for you. I've sent some notes out so hopefully help is on the way, please be patient just a little longer.

      While we're waiting, they're going to ask about your water so lets get to those questions ok?

      Water parameters: Ammonia, Nitrite, pH, Nitrate?
      Are your filters currently running? Does the pond have aeration?
      How often do you do water exchanges? How much water volume do you exchange? When was it done last?
      Do you have municipal (city) water or well water? Have you used a dechlorinator?
      Are your other fish showing any signs of distress?

      That's a start.
      Last edited by DarkStar; 01-07-2019 at 09:50 AM.
      Find Something You Would Die For And Live for It.



    7. #7
      icu2's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by DarkStar View Post
      This sort of post is usually in "Emergency Forum" where it would get noticed by our "Certified Koi Keepers", they are the ones most likely to have some answers for you.
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

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      Thank you Steve!
      Find Something You Would Die For And Live for It.



    9. #9
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      Hi Ronaye. Welcome to Koiphen. I had some expert help when I did a necropsy last fall. One thing obvious is the fat. Way, way to much of it. The expert assistance I had on my fish said she was morbidly obese and she had maybe 1/4 as much fat as yours. We also found two fatty tumors in my fish. One destroyed the liver. I don't see any tumors in your photos. In fact what I think I see as the liver in your photos looks healthy. I do not see the heart in any of your photos. The heart in my fish was completly encased in fat (not good). Also in your photos I don't see an inflated swim bladder. Did you puncture them? or were they deflated when you opened her? They should have been white air sacks up by the spine. In a necropsy if the swim blader has fluid inside it can be an indicator of bacterial infection. If the swim bladders were not there when you initialy opened her up then this explains the belly up behavior. On my necropsy we took lots of tissue samples to check with a microscope. We found no parasites and no bacteria. In my fish the cause of death was "Dropsy" due to the liver destroyed by fatty tumor as well as morbid obiesity.

    10. #10
      cindy's Avatar
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      So sorry, 17 years old. You did something right.

      I'm not good at necropsy but my best guess is egg bound and the eggs went septic and it turned bacterial (redness on fins and belly) causing the bloating.

      For the other koi, do water changes during the winter.
      My opinions in ER and on this forum are mine only. Use my advice at your own discretion.

      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."


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    12. #12
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      Ronaye, you have a private message. I was asked to post on this thread.
      My opinions in ER and on this forum are mine only. Use my advice at your own discretion.

      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."


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      Thanks for your help (and sympathy!) Steve, I'll learn eventually.
      rt

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      Thank you Darkstar. I didn't consider it an emergency as she was long past help, but I do appreciate you putting it out here for others to assess. I'll get back to you on the water parameters shortly, just want to see what the other posts have to say.
      Ronaye

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      FRK, thanks for the welcome and the info! Yes, even to my uneducated eyes that looks like an extreme amount of fat! I literally had to pull it out and away in order to get what I presumed to be a few vital organs. This pic shows the swim bladder as I found it after pulling it out of the fat. Could it have been so confined by the fat that it just stopped working? I didn't puncture it, didn't get close to it with a knife at all. And the black looking part to the lower left of it I assumed to be the heart - also surrounded by the fat but the fat was not adhered to it, if that makes sense. It took no effort to pull the fat away from it.

      None of my other fish look fat, I don't understand why she'd be so full of fat when she ate the same as everyone else (and hasn't eaten any commercial food since late October.) Any ideas on that?
      Ronaye

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      Thank you Cindy, yes, I lost an old friend. She was the only Koi born and raised in the pond. I still have her parents.
      I do a few water changes in the winter but we get so much rain I never felt it was that important; I add bicarb regularly to keep the natural water pH up but that's about it.
      Yes, the egg situation looked bad. and all that fat!
      Ronaye

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      kdh, thank you for the article, looks like a very informative site. I didn't see anything in this fish that I took to be a tumor and her weight was pretty evenly distributed (through her belly, anyway.) I have been feeding a "maximum growth" food during the summer but apparently it worked super well on her :-( I have another large female older than her that is just about as long but not nearly as fat; they both loved to eat but I was only feeding once a day during the summer months. Maybe there was some problem that kept this one from metabolizing as well as the others do. I will be changing foods next season, any suggestions that are good quality but don't cost a fortune?
      I'm also glad to have the info on temperature changes and spawning, as I had been contemplating bringing the remaining koi indoors to keep them warm over winter. Now I'll leave them out as always and hope my remaining female spawns when needed! Must get a new male or two to spice things up ;-)
      Ronaye

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      Darkstar, in answer to the water parameter question (which made me realize how lax and lucky I've been with this pond. There is a LOT to be said for under-stocking a pond to keep it healthy!
      The total volume of the pond including filtration and stream is about 4000 gallons. The pond is peanut shaped, 22' long by 14 and 16' wide, 3 shelves inside the pond to a total depth of 5 feet.
      I have only had an ammo reading once, which was after the pond was totally encased in ice for a number of days (which is very rare for these parts, I was unable to keep a hole in it.) I don't recall what the reading was but it was low. As soon as possible I performed a partial water change with dechlor and the ammo dissipated.
      Because I've never had ammo readings, I stopped testing for nitrates and nitrites a long time ago.
      I keep my pH at 8.4 using bicarb, keep the kh about 125. Years ago in another pond I had extreme pH swings and learned (the hard way) about the importance of carbonate hardness and pH. Always diligent with that.
      In the warm months I do partial water changes weekly or every 2 weeks at most, about 300 gallons per change. I'm on muni water that is from a local aquafer of good quality - the city sends out regular reports on the water and its contents - but I still always use a dechlor, for the past year or so Kordon Pond NovAqua Plus. In the winter I only do occasional changes (every 6 weeks?) as we get a LOT of rain here. It can be a struggle to keep the KH and pH up.
      Last did a water change November 4th, when I realized this fish was in distress.
      I keep my filters running 24/7 year round unless it gets extremely cold and things freeze solid. When it does, which is rare, it doesn't last but for a couple of days.
      Aeration is from two short waterfalls and a lot of pond surface.
      The other fish all look fine.
      Pix are of the waterfalls - they are split, coming off a 20 foot stream which stems from a 100 gallon Matala filled tank which is fed from the main filtration system 40 feet across the yard. 2nd pic is looking south from the falls end of the pond. Bottom drain gravity feeds underground to the filters on the other side of that slatted fence (Vortex, mechanical, bio which pumps back across the yard and up to the waterfall head) or can be diverted to "french drain" another 15 feet south of the filters. Oh yes and two 25 UV lights between the mechanical and biofilters.
      Hope this isn't too much information! You know how people like to talk about their ponds :-)

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      Last edited by Ronaye; 01-08-2019 at 12:20 AM.

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      Oh yeah and I also have a skimmer running 24/7 which you can see at the south end of the pond. It connects to the flow from the biofilter and joins into the stream.
      r

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      icu2's Avatar
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      Beautiful pond!
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

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