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  • Results 1 to 12 of 12

    Thread: koi in distress

    1. #1
      cottagefog is offline Senior Member
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      koi in distress

      We are well into winter here. Koi are on the bottom of the pond here in northern Illinois. Upper level of the water temp is 37 degrees. I haven't taken the temp of the lowest level of the pond as of yet. Pond depth is 6' 6" deep.

      I have one koi that showed signs of issues a few weeks ago. He would swim up and gently break the surface of the water then swim down to the bottom of the pond. He continues to do that now even with the water temps that are suppose to keep them on the bottom.

      He is now swimming up and laying on the ledge about 12 inches off the surface of the pond. With a little nudging he goes back to the bottom of the pond.

      Not really having the place for a QT tank, I did fill up a Rubbermaid cattle tank in the garage to see what I can do. Knowing well, once I pull him out of the pond he is in the tank until spring.

      He is 20 years old and I cant stand by for what seems the inevitable if I don't do something with the harsher winter closing in.

      API water test kit for GH and KH

      GH took 7 drops and got a reading of 125.3

      KH took 3 drops and got a reading of 33.7 (if I am reading the API chart correctly)

      High Ph reading 7.4
      Nitrate 5.0 ppm
      Ammonia 0 ppm
      Nitrite 0 ppm

      These tests were taken with a API test kit letting the pond water reach room temperature.

      I have various size koi in the pond. 2 at 36 inches, 5 at 20+ and a smaller ones from 8 inches to fry. No signs of stress from any other koi.

      Pond is appox 19 x 20. All filters, and falls shut down for the winter.

      My thought now is when he comes up to the surface again is to net him. Stick him in the tank and slowly bring up the water temp to try to lower the stress of winter, and treat according to test results.

      Any thoughts or suggestions will be welcomed.

    2. #2
      graybird's Avatar
      graybird is offline Supporting Member ~ Koi Health Care Committee Member
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      Your KH reading is very low -- you multiply the number of drops needed to turn the test tube from blue to yellow by 17.9, so 3 drops should be 53.7. KH supports the stability of pH, and when the KH drops (through the action of your filters), the pH will fall precipitously and can kill your herd pretty quickly. Do you have a regular pH (not hi-range) test? I'm concerned that 7.4 is the lowest reading on the hi-range test and you may actually be lower than that, on the way to a pH crash. What is the pH of your tap water?

      I would first double-check your KH and pH readings, and if they are the same, get a big bucket or two of baking soda and gradually add 1 lb per 2000 gallons (based on your given dimensions, I'm estimating pond volume at 14k gallons). This will raise your KH approximately 2 drops, or 35.5 ppm. I would recommend that you bump it up to at least 6 drops or 100+ ppm. So -- you'll need 7 lbs for each 2-drop rise in KH. Be sure there is no detectable ammonia first.

      As to the cattle trough, how many gallons is it and how big is the fish? You would need to be able to do frequent water changes, and the fish will need to be acclimated to warmer water very gradually -- no more than 2-3 change per day if I recall correctly. It would be best if you had two fish in there together for company.

      Good luck, and keep asking questions.
      Mary

    3. #3
      ademink's Avatar
      ademink is offline Supporting Member ~ Koi Health Care Committee Member
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      I have had some koi that develop an intolerance for the winter temperatures. If it were me, I would bring the fish in for the winter. If you are able to snag a second fish to overwinter with this one, that would be great (a small one). Here is the method I have used in the dead of winter (aka polar vortex....#NeverForget lol).

      You will need:
      QT (is your cattle tank 100 or 300 gallon?)
      *Ammonia binder (I would recommend purchasing a bucket of Seachem Safe since it also protects against nitrite poisoning and lasts forever (https://smile.amazon.com/Seachem-Con...qid=1575290925)
      *Filtration setup of some sort
      *Air pump/aerator
      *A way to do water changes
      *To make life easy, I recommend also purchasing a Seachem Ammonia Alert disk to monitor your ammonia level. You will get false positive readings on your drip kits when using a binder so this will show you harmful ammonia at a glance. I love these things. ( https://smile.amazon.com/Seachem-001...s%2C154&sr=1-1 )

      Fill up your cattle tank (going forward, referred to as QT), using the appropriate amount of Safe for removal of chlorine/chloramines...leave it at room/garage temperature for now.

      The transition: Your goal is to move the fish from the pond to the QT, acclimating it to the QT temp.

      -Get a small rubbermaid tote or other similar container....pull the fish to the tote half filled with POND WATER. One fish per tote unless they are really small. Make sure you add aeration.
      -Put the tote wherever your QT is (ie garage). Cover the tote (!!) to keep the fish from jumping out
      -Leave the fish in the tote until it comes up to garage/room temperature. This can take a few hours or it can take overnight...just depends on the temperature difference. Do NOT use a heater or anything else to speed this process up.

      Once the temperatures match or are within a few degrees, move the fish into the QT. You will need to setup filtration (you'll have to let us know what you have at your disposal and we will go from there) and make sure you have an air pump.

      Is your garage heated or will you need a heater for the QT?

      If you are starting from scratch on your filtration, Safe is going to be your best friend for probably 6 weeks or so. You will need to dose the QT with Safe for the FULL TANK VOLUME every 48 hours until your filter cycles. If you have a way to use media from your existing pond to do a "plug and play" filter, that would be great. As stated above, you will need to be able to do regular water changes with water at the same temperature as the QT.

      Please let us know what questions you have. Don't get overwhelmed...this is doable. I promise!

      If you don't have a heated garage and can figure out a way to get the QT in the house, it makes life much easier but go with what you have!
      Andrea
      Koi Health Care Committee Member



    4. #4
      cottagefog is offline Senior Member
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      THank you for your help. I will try to address all the questions. As I left for work, a second koi has joined the distressed koi on the ledge.

      Your KH reading is very low. I am using the API chart supplied. Maybe I am reading the chart incorrectly? But I did follow directions and recorded how many drops to change color of the pond water in the test tube.
      What is the pH of your tap water? I do not know. I will check when I get home after work.
      As to the cattle trough, how many gallons is it and how big is the fish? 100 gallon trough. 18 inch koi.

      I go in for shoulder surgery Wednesday dropping me into the unable to do much department. Horrible timing.

      The garage is not heated. I do have a finished basement, but my wife would kill me with the idea of bringing them in. But I cant lose my herd. I am thinking this is not going to stop at one or two koi.

      I am trying to think of anything I might have done to cause this? I did blow out a line while winterizing. The line got clogged late summer and the water got stagnant in the lines. I did blow air to get the water out so it would freeze in the winter. I am wondering if there was any bad bacteria in that line and I introduced it into the pond?

      My set up on the cattle tank will have an aerator. Small pump going through a pressurized tetra filter.

      Thanks again for the support.
      Last edited by cottagefog; 1 Week Ago at 09:32 AM.

    5. #5
      ademink's Avatar
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      With a second fish joining, go back to graybird's KH advice first.

      For Illinois, 7.4 ph does seem little low (in my experience...with the abundance of limestone in the bedrock). The good news is that this can easily be corrected, as she indicated, with baking soda if that's what's going on.

      You need to see if the water pH is swinging high at night to low in the AM. Any chance someone at home now can check your pH?

      If your water temp is 37 on top, it likely isn't much warmer further down (unless you have a massive pond...how big is it, btw?).

      If you have to move the fish inside, I would let your wife kill you and haul that thing into the basement on a tarp. lol It's going to be SO MUCH EASIER.
      Andrea
      Koi Health Care Committee Member



    6. #6
      cottagefog is offline Senior Member
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      Pond depth is 6' 6" deep. aprox 19x22' Nobody home to test the water.

      Typically the Ph is 8.0.

      And to the mix let me add, about 2 weeks ago I had a 10 year old koi go belly up and died. No signs of ulcers, or trauma. I just chalked it up to one of those things.

      I will get home about 4pm central time, I will test the ph in my tap and test the ph again with the normal ph API tester to see where I am with the ph. I cant over does on the baking soda correct?

      I know I have been told a 19x22 pond with a depth of 6' 6" should be 14 k, but a saline test gave me 5800 gallons. Even the guy that dug the pond guessed the gallons at 5500. When I filled the pond years ago I metered the water and it was about 5700+ gallons. The only shallow parts to this pond are two small shelves along the rim about a foot from the surface.

      Thanks again for any input.

      The pond has been shut down for the winter. No filtering. Skimmer running for surface debris and a bubbler at the surface.
      Last edited by cottagefog; 1 Week Ago at 12:25 PM.

    7. #7
      mplskoi is offline Supporting Member
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      It is amazing the number of issues that come to the emergency health committee that end up being about low KH. KH is our friend. If we ignore it, it is at our fishes peril.

      Any chance you can add tap water to warm it up a bit?

    8. #8
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by cottagefog View Post
      Pond depth is 6' 6" deep. aprox 19x22' Nobody home to test the water.

      Typically the Ph is 8.0.

      And to the mix let me add, about 2 weeks ago I had a 10 year old koi go belly up and died. No signs of ulcers, or trauma. I just chalked it up to one of those things.

      I will get home about 4pm central time, I will test the ph in my tap and test the ph again with the normal ph API tester to see where I am with the ph. I cant over does on the baking soda correct?

      I know I have been told a 19x22 pond with a depth of 6' 6" should be 14 k, but a saline test gave me 5800 gallons. Even the guy that dug the pond guessed the gallons at 5500. When I filled the pond years ago I metered the water and it was about 5700+ gallons. The only shallow parts to this pond are two small shelves along the rim about a foot from the surface.

      Thanks again for any input.

      The pond has been shut down for the winter. No filtering. Skimmer running for surface debris and a bubbler at the surface.
      No, you won't overdose on the KH.

      Quote Originally Posted by mplskoi View Post
      It is amazing the number of issues that come to the emergency health committee that end up being about low KH. KH is our friend. If we ignore it, it is at our fishes peril.

      Any chance you can add tap water to warm it up a bit?
      KH is a factor here but I'm not seeing that it is the cause of the fatality or current health concern. That there were symptoms of illness (breaching) before the coolest weather to date leads me to suspect a possibility of parasitic issues. The problem is parasites can affect all of the koi but water temps are not conducive to treatment.
      First course of action is definitely to raise the KH though.

      Cottagefog, going forward, if you see symptoms like this heading into winter, I would advise taking action before the water temps get this cool. Low end for the MG/F formulations I think is 60 degrees. I'm not sure on FlukeM, maybe another health advisor recalls that one.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    9. #9
      icu2's Avatar
      icu2 is online now Administrator ~ WWKC Treasurer
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      Quote Originally Posted by Marilyn View Post
      I'm not sure on FlukeM, maybe another health advisor recalls that one.
      I happen to have a package of FlukeM and it says it's safe to use in all temperatures.
      --Steve
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      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

    10. #10
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      I happen to have a package of FlukeM and it says it's safe to use in all temperatures.
      Awesome, thanks Steve!
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    11. #11
      cottagefog is offline Senior Member
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      Added 3 pounds of baking soda.

      KH took 5 drops to get the water to change color in the test tube. (up from the original 3 drops pre baking soda)
      GH is still taking 7 drops to change the color of the test tube.

      Tap water Ph tested with both the Ph and the High Ph. Regular Ph test had it very blue, 7.6+ according to the API chart.
      Tap water tested using the high Ph testing had the Ph somewhere between the 8.2 and 8.4 color.

      Did the exact same test to the pond water tonight. Using the regular Ph tester I got a color between the 7.2-7.6 compared to the API chart.
      High Ph test looked closer to 7.8 compared to the API chart.

      Trying to answer all questions. Thanks for all the help.

      I don't mind buying flukeM at this point if that is a suggested insurance card to play? I would imagine a second dose would be required if used?

    12. #12
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Thanks for the parameter updates. Let us know if the baking soda helps with the behavior you are noticing, please.
      By my calculations you should have raised your KH 2.5 degrees or roughly 45ppm. Please get it to 120-150 and maintain that. It is one of the things that keeps water quality from contributing to health issues for them.

      Only use the high range pH test, the other really isn't appropriate for ponds.
      Advising you to use the FlukeM kind of goes against my grain without more info especially at this time of the year. Any medication should have adequate aeration and circulation and I'm worried with everything shut down you may not be able to do this. It could create more issues than it may resolve.

      Any chance you checked the gills on this koi or the deceased koi?
      Absent a result (visual or via s/s) to point to challenged gills that look tattered indicating flukes, I don't think I would be doing the FlukeM in water in the mid 30's.
      Gills can also be damaged from bacteria and that requires a different medication for treatment. There are many things that can cause the behavior you're seeing so it will take so piecing things together to see if there is more here than a pH and KH issue.
      My gut tells me there is more to this but treating at this time of year can be very problematic I'm afraid. Getting the water sorted out is the first step and I'm hoping the only one you'll need to take at this time of year.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

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