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    Thread: 2 large koi with ulcers... need advice please!

    1. #1
      MrsGriffin is offline Junior Member
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      2 large koi with ulcers... need advice please!

      I'm at a loss.....Any help would be much appreciated.

      Issue:
      2 Large Koi have ulcers. One is pretty severe and the other is showing redness. Both are about 25 years old and 18-20 inches long.

      How long:
      I noticed a dime-size ulcer in January. It is now 3" x 4"!

      What I've tried:

      I noticed fish flashing and rubbing. I suspected parasites as I had added 2 new fish last Fall.

      I used PreziPro for 7 days, then 60% water change. Pond salt increased to 0.3% for 7 days. Ulcer showed signs of healing (pink with white edges) but came back worse after a few weeks with a gray fungus rim.

      I then brought salt back up and used Melafix and Pimafix for 7 days. Again slight improvement, but returned worse.

      In between treatments, I've done 50% water changes. I filter water and add conditioner to remove any extra chemicals.


      I have now bought Aquascape Bacterial and Ulcer treatment, but I'm afraid to use it as it does not list the ingredients.


      Pond water tests ever other day:

      PH = 7.0 to 7.5

      Ammonia = 0 ppm, with one reading at .025 ppm

      Nitrite = 0 ppm, but has been slightly elevated for the past several days, even with water change. 0.25 ppm

      Phosphate = 0 ppm


      Salt is currently at 0.19%

      The pond is 1400 gal.

      3 large koi, 2 small koi, one gold fish.

      Pumps are cycling about 5000 gal per hour.

      one bog / waterfall filter and one 10,000 capacity bio filter.

      2 aerators, skimmer and 6 pond plants


      There are no aquatic vets anywhere near here and I can't get any local vets to help me. I've read everything I can and watched all sorts of conflicting video help guides. Since I can not get medication or medicated food apparently, I have only tried the OTC remedies.

      It is very hard to watch them suffer and feel helpless. Although they are all still eating, the orange and black one is sometimes listing to one side and rubbing on the bottom. Can you offer any advise? Is there a way to make medicated food? These are not expensive koi, but they are my pets and I'm failing at helping them. It's heartbreaking. I will attempt to add photos.


      Thank you in advance,
      Attached Images Attached Images     

    2. #2
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Ulcers are indicative of a number of things. One could be a breach of the slime coat by parasites, another could be a water quality issue and yet another could be a bacterial condition.

      Please don't use the Melafix and Pimafix at all. You're wasting your money on things that won't really resolve the issue.

      It's impossible to say for sure if parasites are involved. They may be. When you did your parasite treatments, how clean was your pond?
      It looks like you have rocks in the bottom which harbor all kinds of nasty bacteria. A bog can do much the same thing. Each creates a lot of areas where the medication can be spent before having much effect on the actual parasites. That is why a lot of medications recommend water changes between doses. It's an effort to minimize the things that may spend the medication.

      I'm concerned that your pH is what it is as that seems low. Given the results you listed, I think you have the API Pond test kit. I'm afraid it really is a poor fit for our needs. I would suggest you get the API Freshwater Master kit. Also buy a KH test kit. Basically, you need an ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and KH test. The Master Freshwater has those except the KH.

      Regarding treating, I would suggest you have something to sedate the koi to topically treat.
      Do you have that? If not, I would recommend you get some MS-222. I believe one of our vendors usually has it. His name is Billy and his business is Cascade Pond Supply.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    3. #3
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Also, what parasite medications do you have to available to use?
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    4. #4
      MrsGriffin is offline Junior Member
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      I have PraziPro liquid that I used to treat the whole pond.
      I will buy the master test kit today and I will also get supplies to start a quarantine tank. I read another thread on here about sedating with clove oil and then using tricide-neo powder topically. Although I’m very nervous about doing this it seems less stressful than using it to do dips several times. Is there something better than that topically? I would faint if I had to give it an injection.

      I inherited this pond a few years ago but honestly didn’t pay any attention to it until last fall when I added the new fish. I have now read more than I did in my college career! But so much conflicting information out there. I have also purchased so many products that I have no idea how they interact with each other so I’m afraid to go forward. I’m told that The salt has helped in years past but it didn’t do the job this time.

    5. #5
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      I know it's daunting to catch up on fish care. It's a whole new world.

      Treating topically with clove oil and TricideNeo is very doable. It seems difficult but once you do it a time or two, the newness and fear abates. So yes, treat topically but we have some other things to address.

      How is the cleanliness of the pond? A clean pond will make any treatments you do be more effective. Do you clean your filter? Do you do water changes? Do you clean out the muck around the rocks on the bottom of the pond and the bog?
      All of those will help.

      Keeping fish is really quite easy. I know it seems challenging right now.
      What they need is healthy water which means a clean and healthy environment. They also like stability. A stable pH, low water contaminants (waste and debris), adequate KH and reasonable temperature will serve you well.

      As far as salt, it is a therapeutic. Alone, it does very little and is used infrequently. When combined with some medications is can be quite helpful, used with others, it can be disastrous and even lethal. If you have a bog with plants, it can also be quite hard on them.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    6. #6
      MrsGriffin is offline Junior Member
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      I think the water is actually much much better than it used to be. Last fall it was completely green and murky. Lots of leaves and debris. After reading everything I could on water quality I completely cleaned it out, added in a giant OASE bio filter and a new separate waterfall with a bog filter, skimmer and up clarifier. I flush out the sediment from the bottom of the bog every other week and lightly rinse the pads in the bio filter each weekend. I add beneficial bacteria each time. I usually have a slow water trickle with an overflow pipe going during the day, but have only been doing the % water changes recommended for each of the meds I’ve tried. There are actually only a few rocks in the pond to hold the skimmer down and I can see the bottom clearly, which has very little algae but nothing else.

    7. #7
      MrsGriffin is offline Junior Member
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      Also, the water is only about 56 degrees right now. Hasn't been very warm yet. I don't have a way to bring the temp up though. Will the TricideNeo work at that temp? And how long can the fish be out of water when under sedation with clove oil?

    8. #8
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      For topical treatments there is no temperature that you can't do it. Healing will likely be slower in colder temps as their immune systems are slower in colder water.

      I'm not an advocate for most beneficial bacteria products in your situation. I do believe in a couple brands that will accelerate establishing a filter. One is by Fritz and one is by Keeton.
      My impression is that if you need the beneficial bacteria on an established pond then something is amiss.
      There is a product called Koizyme that helps maintain healthy bacteria. As I recall, it is supposed to out compete the unhealthy bacteria. A club member studied it and advised it for new ponds which go through something called new pond syndrome. It may be of some help. It is a refrigerated product.

      If you're confident that the system is clean then I would do the topical applications. If you see more ulcers happening then you may have to do a shotgun parasite treatment and see if that is the genesis of the issue. We will have to determine how much salt is in your pond though as some medications can be dangerous mixed with salt.

      Make sure you test the water with the new kit when it arrives. Test your tap water as well since that will affect your pond via the trickled in water and water changes.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    9. #9
      MrsGriffin is offline Junior Member
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      The former owner of the pond used Microblift PL and Ultimate water conditioner for years and years after every water change. I just continued doing it because it did not see like it would hurt. I have now put an inline filter on the hose when I add water to the pond because that Ultimate stuff is getting pricy. The Microblift and the Koyzyme seem to be the same thing.

      About the PH... I've read that anything between 7.5 and 9 is fine for koi. Do you feel differently?
      And about the TricideNeo.... If I decide the sedating piece is too scary, I'm confused about the instructions for using it as a dip. If I have 2 fish to dip, do I make up the 5 gal treatment and dip them one at a time.... and then do I mix up a new patch for each future dip every other day? Or can I mix it up and then dip and re-dip in 2 days? There is conflicting info on this.

    10. #10
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      It is easier and cheaper to sedate than to dip. The solution can be reused, but it must be filtered between uses as it strips a certain amount of slime coat off the fish, making the dip foul. My experience in filtering was to use coffee filters and a funnel, and a ladle. It must also be refrigerated and finding a refrigerator with room for a 5 gallon bucket is not always easy, and then the liquid needs to be brought back to pond temperature before putting fish back in. Buying new solution for each treatment is expensive.

      Sedating with clove oil seems difficult, but is really quite simple. Once the fish rolls over and stops fighting, then I have kept the fish out for 10 minutes or longer, but felt like it was nearly a day. Feels like a very long time. I have used clove oil to euthanize fish and it takes an hour or more for all gill motion to cease, so I think it is possible to bring them back even then.

      After you do it the first time, it becomes a non-issue.

      "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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    11. #11
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      When I had a garden pond, I used the Microblifg products too. Once I redid my pond I realized that I really didn't need them.

      Ultimate is pricey. You may want to consider using a product called Safe by Seachem. It is the powdered version of Prime, another liquid which is more expensive. You would need to get a Seachem ammonia alert card to read the ammonia. Trickling in with an inline filter can be a problem if it isn't removing all you need it to be removing.

      pH of 7, if stable, would be fine. So would a pH of 9, if stable. First, I suspect you are testing the pH with the pH test from an API Pond test kit. It simply is not accurate enough for our purposes. You need the high range that comes in the Freshwater Master test kit.
      If your pH is actually 7 or even 7.5, I suspect your KH may be low. That means it is not likely to be stable. That can create loads of issues for the fish and may even compromise the slime coat and make ulcers more likely. That is why testing your source water is also important as you may be lowering your KH value with the trickle in set up. It is easy to remedy by adding baking soda but knowing the results is a big advantage. I suspect that is why your established pond has trace readings of ammonia and nitrite, too.

      Regarding treating the koi, the most economical way to do it is to topically treat them. I find it more effective too. I'm afraid I haven't done a dip with the TricideNeo.
      Maybe others will chime in with their suggestions for a dip. Btw, what size koi are we talking about that need treatment?
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    12. #12
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      I see Rich addressed the dip part.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    13. #13
      MrsGriffin is offline Junior Member
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      This is all very good info! I appreciate it.

      I have a few more questions about topical treatments. I watched a few videos... one guy brushed a 'salt paste' on the ulcers which appeared to work. Another showed someone sedate with clove oil and then swab with iodine. Would either work in place of the TricideNeo?

      I think I found someone to help me if sedation is the way to go. I also have the Freshwater test kit coming from Amazon along with a KH and GH kit.

      The 2 largest koi are 20+ years old and 18" & 20" long.

    14. #14
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Good news on the tests.

      A salt paste will pretty much burn back the tissue. I have never used it for ulcers and you're talking about a large area. I'll try and track down a thread where someone did a salt paste for bumps. You'll see it generated a fair bit of tissue trauma. Not what we're looking for.
      The iodine can work and I've used it on smaller areas, one or two raised scales. You're dealing with much larger areas. I think it would be best to use the TricideNeo.

      I asked for the size of the koi as you'll need a container to put them in to sedate them. Many people use the totes from Home Depot for building showers so they must be fish safe. You could use one as a makeshift koi bowl to sedate.

      https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-17-G...LDBY/205808350
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

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      MrsGriffin is offline Junior Member
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      I'm on it! I'll go to Home Depot in the morning. I've ordered the TricideNeo with expedited shipping. So hopeful this will work!
      I'll try to video the treatment to share.

      One last question for tonight, I promise.....
      I'm reading up on making some medicated food. Is Oxolinic Acid the way to go? I was also thinking of adding some vitamin C supplement that I found on Amazon. Any thoughts?

    16. #16
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      I would go with Oxolinic Acid if you're doing medicated food.
      Regarding the Vitamin C, I haven't used it for illnesses. I have made paste food mixing together supplements when I was prepping for shows but that was many years ago. I did Vitamin C, Vitamin E, clay and probiotics. They had it good.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

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      MrsGriffin is offline Junior Member
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      Good evening,
      I have many questions tonight. I received the Tricide-Neo and I'm all set to do the topical treatment (not the dip) in the next few days.

      1. I've read many different doses for the clove oil. How many drops, to how much water? Does the size of the fish matter? (18 and 20 inches). How long will it take the fish to revive, and do I just hold him in a separate holding tank until then before putting him back in the pond?

      2. Once I'm ready to use a q-tip and apply the powder, should I first clean up the edges of the wound? It looks as if it has a gray fuzz around the edges, I assume fungus? Will the TricideNeo kill that too?

      3. I want to make sure the pond water is right before I do this.
      I received my Freshwater Master kit and GH / KH test kit today. Here are the readings from 6pm this evening:

      KH- 3 drops
      GH-6 drops
      PH- 7.6
      High range PH- 8.2
      Ammonia- 0
      Nitrite- 0
      Nitrate- between 0 and 5.0

      Salt is at 0.27, high because I was hoping the salt would help heal the ulcers.

      I don't understand KH and GH at all, so no idea what the numbers mean.

      Anything else I need to know before I do this? I'm nervous but hopeful.

    18. #18
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Your KH is too low. Since your ammonia is zero, please add baking soda and double it (3 DH change). Tomorrow, do another 3 DH change.
      Please read up on KH/alkalinity. The basics are this: ammonia is converted to nitrite which is converted to nitrate. To do this, alkalinity is expended. Always maintain it at least 8, some people maintain 10. Rain can also lower it. It is a vital part of pond chemistry.

      Here is the koi calculator link. It is above the banner ad at the top of the page on the forum.
      Enter your gallons, enter 3 for the DH change and it will give you the amount to use.
      https://www.koiphen.com/forums/koicalcs.php?do=calckh

      Regarding the clove oil sedation, not all clove oils are the same hence the different doses. I would start off with the smallest recommendation and add more as needed. Stir it in briskly with your hand. I always resuscitated in my pond, holding the fish. Once it was upright and the tail was moving I gently released it.

      I'm going to link the ER sticky's which will help with some of your questions, I think:

      https://www.koiphen.com/forums/forum...re-Information

      The TricideNeo is for bacterial issues and will have not work on the SAP. That is why I recommended you get the MG/F treatment.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    19. #19
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      I know it is nerve wracking going into doing sedation on fish but it gets better after the first or second time.
      Take it slow, make sure you have everything you need before you start. I liked to place the koi on a dampened large garbage bag while working on them.

      I took an inexpensive plastic toolbox and converted it into my koi emergency kit: q-tips, gauze pads I could use to clean an area, iodine, sedation (I use MS-222), tweezers, cuticle trimmers (which are excellent for trimming injured fins) and so forth. I keep some syringes in there for doing injections and a table listing the dosing for the antibiotics I kept on hand.
      That way it's all in one place as soon as I need it.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    20. #20
      MrsGriffin is offline Junior Member
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      Hi Marilyn, thank you for the links above. Very helpful!
      I do have a question about the secondary fungus. You stated that the TricideNeo would not work on fungus, only bacteria. But the ER sticky states under “Part Fifteen Fungal Treatments”
      “ SAP Treatment:
      At one time it was generally agreed that Malachite Green was by far the most effective treatment. However, a treatment for topical bacterial ulcer disease has shown a very serious advantage. Tricide Neo, produced for dips and sprays has now been used for topical swabbing when simply mixed with the slime of the fish. It is important to continue to work this into and under the scales and flesh of the fish for about 5 minutes. Then simply wipe off and revive the fish. The results have been extremely good. It remains to be seen if this will become a staple in the medicine cabinet for SAP but it definitely has proven, in the short term, that it works.”

      I don’t want to over medicate if I don’t need to. Your thoughts.? If the TricideNeo will work for both the ulcer and fungus around the edges of the wound should I try to clean it off first with a q-tip before applying the powder. I also don’t want to make the wound worse by digging around too much.

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