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    Thread: Excess slime coat or mucous...other? I'm a newbie...please help

    1. #1
      Helen242 is offline Junior Member
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      Excess slime coat or mucous...other? I'm a newbie...please help

      Hi, I'm new to Koipen and new to keeping Koi.
      I live in The Bahamas -- climate is HOT (and for anyone wondering...I live in Nassau where we were not affected physically by Hurriane Dorian)

      My husband built a pond a couple of years ago and once the water had settled we added some koi that a neighbour brought us from his well stocked ponds (he breeds them). Our pond is about 1000 gallons is I can tell (7 feet long, 5 feet wide, 2.5-4+ feet deep; shallow at one end, slow decline slope and a little more than 4 feet deep at the end where we keep our filter). The Koi appear to be some "regular" or common koi and others butterfly koi.
      I really wasn't interested in either the pond or the fish until a heron (great blue believe it or not, the things was huge) came and stole most of our fish around December/January last year and then I began taking notice. I thought all the fish were gone but slowly they came out from hiding behind the filter and it turned out there 4 were left. I had no idea if they were male or female. They swim around happily, were growing nicely and in the spring we had babies!! Hundreds. (lol..I know they are called fry but I'm a mom...they became my babies and now I care).

      It appears the menacing heron left me with 1 male and 1 female each of both the common and butterfly variety. Unfortunately, 1 of each are black (I think the are the males but am honestly guessing) so the fry are not very colorful but it is clear now that there are both varieties of Koi. I have read they do not cross breed and if they occasionally do the offspring will be sterile. Is that true?

      I probably now have a hundred little guys and still 4 older ones. I'm assuming natural selection took care of the others...none died (to my knowledge) on their own..except a few my kids brought inside in a large fish bowl...they obviously didn't get enough oxygen. :-( The rest have stayed in the pond and have been growing nicely; some aggressive /greedy and now 4+ inches...a couple slow swimmers, (butterflies I think) that just haven't grown to the same rate (maybe 1.5 inches). I think I have one who's fins haven't developed - I can barely see them...but it's very pretty and seems to be making it hiding most of the time in the undewater feature I have, so I've left it be.

      Recently, however, a few of the fish (and I'm noticing it's spreading) have what appears to be a white film on them. It's transluscent. At first, I thought the one who is most affected (it's almost all white) was changing color, but realized after a while it wasn't that. Now more are presenting with the same thing. There is no apparent "flashing" . I've checked as much as I can online and am wondering if it's excess slime coat/mucous. I don't really don't know. PH, Nitrite, Phospate and Ammonium were fine. PH slightly elevated(7.5) but that has been normal/consistent and from what I've read that shouldn't matter.

      Then all of a sudden I noticed a lot of floating particles in the water. PH was elevated (8) but ammonia and nitrites were fine. I cleaned the filter (it needed it!), backwashed the pump and made a point of removing leaves a couple times a day. PH went down to almost 7... but it spiked back up to 9 in 2 days. Nitrities were fine. Phosphates slightly elevated (which they have been pretty much for the past year and ammonia for the first time in months was slightly elevated.
      I treated with some diluted vinegar (1 cup for the whole pond...1000Gallons) so I thought that would be "safe". The next day I added a pond sludge reducer. There was moderate improvement but the PH spiked again. PH this morning if anything was slightly low...first time I've seen that -- then I've not been testing as frequently before either - and I understand PH is always lower in the morning and higher at night (especially in hot climates). Just now, abnormal amounts of particles still in the water, fish congregated at the bottom of the pond - this too is not normal for them. Something is amiss.

      How do I help them and prevent them from getting more stressed and/or more sick.

      I've read drastic spikes in Ph can stress the fish...so I want to know if I should be doing partial water changes more regularly...the water source is ground water...it's hard but PH is 7 and no Ammonia, Nitries or significant phosphates in the water...I've not tested for chlorine (don't have test strips) or salt...but living here I expect there will be some salt and no chlorine. I am not testing Kh --haven't done due diligene on that and maybe that is what is causing the daily spikes in Ph? ;

      I don't want to see my fish get sick or die. In this climate, I am aware bacteria and parasites can quickly become a problem...and have no idea how to tackle that.

      What can I do to get rid of the white coating?
      Also...I currently have no plants and would like to add some...not sure what to add given climate and pond depth - although that is secondary to dealing with whatever is 'blooming' and stressing my fish.

      I also think I need more aeration and a better filter, but I can't do that right now...

      Expert advice appreciated.

      Thank you.

      Helen

    2. #2
      icu2's Avatar
      icu2 is offline Administrator ~ WWKC Treasurer
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      Welcome Helen and thanks for joining Koiphen!
      So glad you weren't part of the devastation that Dorian caused in the Bahamas.

      Do you have a test for KH (carbonate hardness)? KH will stabilize your pH at around 8.2 or 8.3,
      but you need to be sure your ammonia is near 0 because raising your pH will make any ammonia
      more harmful.
      Plain baking soda will raise your KH and you really need to know where you're starting from but
      under the circumstances, if you don't have or can't get a test kit right away, and you're sure your ammonia
      is 0, I'd go ahead and add a cup or two gradually over the next couple days. A cup of baking soda weighs
      about 9.5 ounces and should raise your KH about 50 ppm. Ideally your KH should be about 120-150 ppm
      but you really need a test kit to be able to monitor it correctly. There's a calculator here on Koiphen up on
      the upper navigation bar that will give you an idea of how much baking soda to add for the desired change:

      https://www.koiphen.com/forums/koicalcs.php?do=calckh

      Pictures of the fishes condition would help too.
      Good luck with them and enjoy the forum!
      --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
      Helen242 is offline Junior Member
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      Thank you Steve.
      I do have pics on my phone but haven't been able to get them on my computer yet. the Coating is whitish/grey and makes the fish look almost blue in certain light. Saw something that looked like a clear worm in the pond today. Just floating. pulled it out and it was not a plant. never seen a worm like that either but this is the tropics.

      PH at noon was way high again...back to 9. My poor fish. Ammonia is not 0...it's about .25 maybe higher but not higher than .5

      I do not have a KH test kit...will see if I can get one at the local pet store.
      Will a partial water change help to get the Ammonia down?
      Is vinegar a bad idea? (too much up and down for the PH/fish?)

    4. #4
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      No vinegar. Don't fight what your pH value is when properly buffered with baking soda. Fish are fine in a range of pH values providing they are stable.
      Alkalinity is critical to the proper function of a pond. The baking soda will provide this. It is expended when your filters convert ammonia to nitrite to nitrate. When you add vinegar you are further depleting the alkalinity.

      Steve is right, make sure the ammonia is bound and add baking soda to bring your KH up. Your pH will likely stabilize in the 8.2 range.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    5. #5
      icu2's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Helen242 View Post
      Thank you Steve.
      I do have pics on my phone but haven't been able to get them on my computer yet. the Coating is whitish/grey and makes the fish look almost blue in certain light. Saw something that looked like a clear worm in the pond today. Just floating. pulled it out and it was not a plant. never seen a worm like that either but this is the tropics.

      PH at noon was way high again...back to 9. My poor fish. Ammonia is not 0...it's about .25 maybe higher but not higher than .5

      I do not have a KH test kit...will see if I can get one at the local pet store.
      Will a partial water change help to get the Ammonia down?
      Is vinegar a bad idea? (too much up and down for the PH/fish?)
      Like Marilyn said, no vinegar. You're fighting a losing battle trying to adjust it.

      Test your source water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. If it's lower than the pond then yes, changing water will help. Many assume their source water
      has no ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate but often times that can vary during the year. Again, like Marilyn posted, you can get products like Safe or Prime
      that will "bind" (make the ammonia non toxic) the ammonia so you can raise the KH.
      --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
      Helen242 is offline Junior Member
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      OK- following steps...let's see how fishies do in the next couple of days.
      Question though -- one I get the PH under control and fix the Kh issue (assuming that's the issue), will the slime coat/possible parasite issue resolve itself or will I have to treat for that as well?

    7. #7
      icu2's Avatar
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      Good pictures of the fish would really help with any diagnosis.
      --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

    8. #8
      Helen242 is offline Junior Member
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      Just checked - and ammonia in the source water is the same as in the pond. Right now about .25 so it's not 0.
      I think I can get API Ammo Lock here. Will that do?
      also product directions state a partial water change should be done before adding Ammo Lock...but Steve is saying no point in doing that if the ammonia levels are the same in the source water.
      I'm not sure what happened to the source water...b/c levels were previously 0 in the pond so I'm assuming they were also 0 in the source water.
      Fish are happy right now...swimming around as usual (not sitting on the bottom anymore...maybe that was just the heat?)

      I've included a couple pictures...poor quality, hope when blown up they are sufficient.
      Attached Images Attached Images   
      Last edited by Helen242; 09-13-2019 at 06:31 PM. Reason: add pictures

    9. #9
      ademink's Avatar
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      If your pH is showing as 9, I'm guessing you are using a Wide Range pH kit....is that correct? If so....any chance you can get a *High* Range pH kit?
      Andrea
      Koi Health Care Committee Member



    10. #10
      Helen242 is offline Junior Member
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      Hi Steve,
      So I was able to get a product to reduce ammonia. Ammonia is now 0.
      I cannot get a high range Ph or a kH test kit here locally so I will have to order and wait about 2 weeks to get the product here.
      My fish are noticeable more active since adding the ammonia treatment, but slime coat/mucous still looks the same and PH is still at about 9.
      Without a Kh test kit, you suggested I add about a cup of baking soda over a few days? My pond is at least 1000 gallons. Add 1/2 cup a day over 2 days maybe or wait until I can get a Kh test kit?

      I'd still like to know if the fish's scales will return to normal after the kH is where it should be.

    11. #11
      ademink's Avatar
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      Please note that you will need to continue to add ammonia blocker every 48 hours to keep the ammonia at bay.

      I'm 99.99% sure Your pH is not actually 9. It's likely at the 8.3 range and holding steady. The wide range pH test kit gives a "bigger than a breadbasket" type of reading. If you are seeing still 9 at night and 7.5 in the morning, you are seeing major swings. The swings are what are the most damaging....not the number.

      If you were seeing 9 at night, and 7.5 this morning, you should add the bulk of your baking soda TONIGHT. That will keep your pH in the higher/stable range so it doesn't drop again overnight.
      Andrea
      Koi Health Care Committee Member



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