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  • Results 1 to 15 of 15

    Thread: Koi died over winter outdoors

    1. #1
      SimonW is offline Member
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      Koi died over winter outdoors

      Dear friends:

      I have been into the koi-hobby for 2 years. My pond is about 25k gallons, 33X27 feet, half of it about 3 feet deep and the other half 7 feet. The water was very green when the winter 2018/19 came. I was told by RichToolBox that my biofilter was not working, and instead the green water algae took care of ammonia. I have an air-pump of 100 W going on 24/7/365. The koi survived an ammonia peak July 2019 when I accidentally killed off the green water algae. No other accident otherwise.

      Summer 2017 (2 years ago) I bought 25 small cheap Israeli koi for testing, and 15 of them perished during the winter 2017/2018 outdoor in the pond. Last year I got some 15 bigger (15-20 inches) low-quality koi plus 4 better quality ones (1 nisai male and 3 tosai) just imported from Japan.

      The koi was fine before the ice covered the pond December 2018. Of course, the air-pump left a hole in the ice-cover throughout the whole winter. Since I thought that the bigger koi would survive the long Swedish winter better, I have just expected to see them happy and nice again this spring.

      Disaster:

      But to my big horror many of the bigger koi died. Up to today I have taken out 8 floating, stinking dead big koi since the ice started to recess for about 2 weeks ago, and I suspect that there can be more dead koi on the bottom waiting to float up when the decomposition proceeds further.

      I tested the water quality, and everything is OK. Zero NH3, NO2 and NO3, just as I expected as green water algae is excellent N-remover.

      I donīt know if it is a coincidence, but none of the dead koi was the 4 imported from Japan last year, nor anyone which survived the winter 2017/18.

      So I wonder:

      Can it be that some koi are just better than others to survive the long (5 months, 4 months with ice-cover), cold winter? The guy who owned those 15 bigger, low-quality koi had always had them indoors, at least 10 C or 50 F in the water. Therefore those koi had probably never been selected for coldness. Swedish koi-friends of mine took their koi indoors too.

      I plan to take the koi indoors in the future winters. But will it be good for their health if they never experience cold water? Maybe they need the cycle of the seasons: Warmth of the summer and coldness of the winter?

      And, have Japanese tosai been kept outdoors in the winter in Japan, therefore all Japanese tosai I buy in Sweden have been winter-selected?

      Thank you for your thoughts!

      Simon

    2. #2
      icu2's Avatar
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      I'm so sorry for your losses.
      I have had fish that seem to go through winter easier than others, but I'm not sure it matters much
      where they're from.... some just seem to tolerate the cold better than others.

      --Steve
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    3. #3
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      When it comes to temperature, as the temperature drops to around 40F (4C) the koi will go into torpor, a form of stasis, hibernation of sorts. When this occurs they tend to lay on the bottom nearly motionless. I feel this is a very stressful time for the fish and with the belly in constant contact with the bottom the slime coat is abraded off the fish and that is a major barrier to bacteria and parasites. Some fish will at these temperatures lay over on their sides and if not brought in and warmed somewhat, will die from exposure, if they are not able to shift to normal torpor. While I had my fish, in an attempt to keep them up and swimming, instead of laying on the bottom, I covered my ponds and applied heat to a minimum of 50F (10C). This was more work and more expense but I did not suffer the springtime issues with sores and dead fish. Some will say that the the fish are four season fish, but the breeders do not leave the fish out in the cold mud ponds all winter.

      "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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    4. #4
      SimonW is offline Member
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      Thank you so much for your reply!

      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      When it comes to temperature, as the temperature drops to around 40F (4C) the koi will go into torpor, a form of stasis, hibernation of sorts. When this occurs they tend to lay on the bottom nearly motionless. I feel this is a very stressful time for the fish and with the belly in constant contact with the bottom the slime coat is abraded off the fish and that is a major barrier to bacteria and parasites. Some fish will at these temperatures lay over on their sides and if not brought in and warmed somewhat, will die from exposure, if they are not able to shift to normal torpor. While I had my fish, in an attempt to keep them up and swimming, instead of laying on the bottom, I covered my ponds and applied heat to a minimum of 50F (10C). This was more work and more expense but I did not suffer the springtime issues with sores and dead fish. Some will say that the the fish are four season fish, but the breeders do not leave the fish out in the cold mud ponds all winter.
      RTB:

      Really thanks for your informative reply. Your explanation makes total sense. I have decided to get a tank in my wamed garage before winter 2019/20 comes, and next year I will make an over-winter pond inside a green house, with heater.

      Today I see another big koi swimming around slowly in the pond, 10-30 cm below the surface, and it does not look healthy. The water temperature is still only about 35 F, and I have no possibility to take it indoors. I guess that it will not survive, since it is snowing again here, and I have to wait at least 1 month before the water temperature will reach 50 F.

      By the way you actually explained for me how I killed the green water algae last summer, though you did it without knowing it in an much older thread. There you wrote that adding soda and thereby higher pH made it impossible for you to grow hyacinth and water lettuce, since the nutrients become unavailable for plants at higher pH. Since green water algae are single-cellular plants I must have killed them by adding too much baking soda into my pond too quickly and the pH-value spiked.

    5. #5
      SimonW is offline Member
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      I caught the koi that has been swimming slowly just below the water surface since several days back, and I found that its eyes are cloudy, and on its belly there is a place that is redish, and a place with some white protruding spots (Ok skin but protruding, diameter is about 1 mm). It has no obvious damage on its back. It is also relatively agile considering the freezing water temperature (2 C or 36 F). I feel that it will survive, but can it be blind? Do I need to give it treatment with for instance iondine?

      The weather is turning, and within 3 days the day temperature will jump to above 60F, and it will be so at least 7 days forward. Hopefully the water temperature will rise some degrees as well.
      Last edited by SimonW; 1 Week Ago at 10:26 AM.

    6. #6
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      The cloudiness over the eye could be increased slime coat. What is the pH and KH of the pond. A low KH could lead to rapid changes in pH causing the skin surfaces to react by producing extra slime coat. The KH needs to be at least 100ppm for stability.

      "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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      Richard

    7. #7
      SimonW is offline Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      The cloudiness over the eye could be increased slime coat. What is the pH and KH of the pond. A low KH could lead to rapid changes in pH causing the skin surfaces to react by producing extra slime coat. The KH needs to be at least 100ppm for stability.
      Thank you for your advice again!

      The KH is around 50 ppm. I will gradually increase it.

      My kid helped me to photograph the koi when I held it.

      You can see the eye is cloudy, as if the cloud is inside the eye, not on the surface.

      And another picture which shows the red spots on its belly.

      There is another thing that worries me even more: Some scales have started to rise! They have risen like 1-2 mm, too little to photograph. I read that that indicates kidney problem and is fatal.

      I have now moved the fish to my smaller, goldfish pond with fresh new water, though still freezing cold: 36F. To be sure I also added some baking soda.

      Best regards!

      SimonName:  IMG_20190414_122636b.jpg
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    8. #8
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      The scales do appear to be thickening, which is a build up of fluid within the scale due to the fish not being able to expel as much fluid as it is taking in. I do not see any major ulcers that would contribute to high inflow of water, caused by trying to balance with the high salinity of the blood. If that were the case, high salt content, up to 0.8 will take the pressure off the fish, allowing the kidneys to expel the extra liquid. The inability of the kidney to expel the excess water can also be attributed to kidney failure. Allowing the water temperature to increase to above 60F could help the fishes immune system to fight and be able to reset the kidneys, but time and temperature may be working against this fish. Keep an eye on it, and if you can get injectible antibiotics, it could be worth a try.

      "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."

      Zone 7 A/B
      Keep your words sweet. You never know when you may have to eat them.
      Richard

    9. #9
      SimonW is offline Member
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      RTB:

      Thank you so much for your informative advice again.

      Right now the biggest tube I have is about 100 liter (25 gallon?), and the koi is about 20 inches. Will it be better I put it in that tube and move it indoors? Will the ammonia produced by the koi kill it quickly at 65F, even without food? Of course I guess I have to change water very often.

      Kind regards again!

      Simon

    10. #10
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      Now I have put the koi in a 25 gallon tube with about 0.5% NaCl (donīt dare to go 0.8% as the water volume is not exact), and the tube is kept in the pond. You can see the pictures. I donīt know if this is a better arrangement, or I should move it indoors.

      Once entered the tube the koi has a lot of difficulty in keeping the right position, and it swims quite a bit. The skin is in terrible condition (hard to watch). I wonder if it can recover, if it survives after all. Especially the cloudy eyes.

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    11. #11
      SimonW is offline Member
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      And is it better to take out the tube and let the Sun shine on it? It will definitively increase the temperature, but in the night the temperature will drop to freezing point again. Can koi take such huge temperature variations, though through many hours?

    12. #12
      kdh is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by SimonW View Post
      And is it better to take out the tube and let the Sun shine on it? It will definitively increase the temperature, but in the night the temperature will drop to freezing point again. Can koi take such huge temperature variations, though through many hours?
      You are doing more harm than good. Do not warm up to quickly. Start with a 5 degree increase and than 2 degrees per hour. You need a minimum of 100 gallons and that is pushing it with this size of koi. You are going to kill the fish in a 25 gallon container. As it will use up the oxygen in the water and start creating a large ammonia spike. Also stresses the koi. Find a kids plastic pool or some other container. (Much) more to do and health advisors will explain.
      Last edited by kdh; 1 Week Ago at 08:33 AM.

    13. #13
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      Unless you have a large, 250 to 500 gallon or more tank with active filtration, I would leave the fish in the pond. You can cover the pond with a polyethylene sheeting over some form of support structure to capture the daytime heat and prevent the loss of heat over night. Your size pond creates a problem with the cover, but if some of the pond were covered, the night losses would be lessened. A fish of that size in a 25 gallon container will stress itself out accelerating any problems it has.

      "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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      Richard

    14. #14
      SimonW is offline Member
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      Thank you for all your advice! Though the koi did not make it, sadly enough.

      But I finally saw a living koi today that looked healthy. It swam relatively quick and agile. The water temperature has reached 40F.

      Since about 1 week back I have not seen any dead fish floating up, so I guess that the rest have survived this hasch winter, for this time! It is about half of my koi.

      Thanks again and best regards!

      Simon

    15. #15
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      I'm so sorry he didn't make it.
      Hopefully the temps rise soon for you.
      --Steve
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      "It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company." --George Washington

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