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    Thread: Dead Koi - Photos - Diagnosis?

    1. #1
      True Blue is offline Junior Member
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      Dead Koi - Photos - Diagnosis?

      Our pond has been very healthy lately after discovering leaking voltage from our UV system, which was the likely cause of an earlier death. The earlier fish death was bent and had pretty severe ulcerations on the underside from being on the bottom so much. I backflush every other day, do water changes, check levels, etc. We have not yet replaced the UV, but it is not plugged in. Even though we do not have UV, the water is quite clear.

      A couple of weeks ago, I noticed one of our fish was rather lethargic, sleeping late, going to bed early, but it would still eat and was somewhat active during the day. Some days it seemed fine. I saw it feed the day before it died. I was not overly alarmed, but I sensed something was wrong with the fish. I did not, however, net it for closer inspection for fear of stressing the fish.

      The other day I noticed it was "sleeping late". It did not feed. It was upright on the bottom in the morning and I saw the gills moving. By the afternoon it was on its side at the bottom, bent in half, barely breathing, obviously about to die. It was dead within the hour.

      I netted the fish and inspected it closely, but no microscope. Gills were dark red, no spots. No obvious parasites. No ulcerations. The only thing I noticed was reddening along the top of the fish, left side, behind the gill area. Photos attached (I also have photos of the gills and all sides of the body, but move along, nothing to see there).

      Best I can tell this was some sort of bacterial infection? Looking for confirmation and how it should have been treated if diagnosed earlier.

      All other fish in pond are very active and healthy. Visual inspection doesn't reveal any other noticeable reddening.

      Any and all comments welcome. Thanks in advance for all replies.
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    2. #2
      RichToyBox's Avatar
      RichToyBox is offline Administrator ~
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      The reddened area above the left shoulder area appears to be an infection developing toward an ulcer, but that doesn't look to be severe enough to have been the cause of death.

      I would be interested in knowing more about your pond and the water parameters therein. How large, how many fish, what type of filtration, rocks on the bottom or not. Actual test numbers for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH morning and evening, KH, temperature. Are the fish acting normal, just swimming around, or are they hiding, clamping, breaching, flashing, isolating, .... other odd behavior.

      "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

    3. #3
      True Blue is offline Junior Member
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      Hi, Richard.

      Our pond is about 3,000 gallons (3-4 feet deep) with about 20 fish at this point, mostly medium-sized, a couple giants, some smaller. We have a liner, no rocks. Ultima II filter. No new fish for about two years (don't want to crowd the pond more). Nitrate and nitrite at zero. KH currently at 100ppm, a little low (last checked about a week ago at 125, I will increase). pH 7.4 (it's always 7.4). Ammonia is usually a little higher than we would like at about 0.5 - 1.0, hard to keep it down further, have to balance water changes with risk from tap water. Testing done with liquid, not strips. Unknown temp (we live in southern California, pond is shaded most of the day), but we did have a 4-day heat wave (95-100) which ended just before the death. Lots of aeration from a stone as well as a waterfall.

      There is no flashing, clamping or breaching, and the fish (other than the dead one) are all pretty energetic, schooling, no place for them to hide in our pond. At feeding time (currently 3x day, reasonable amounts of food) they are like piranha. Gas meter is next to the pond, and when the woman came by to check meter the other day (her first time), she was startled by how aggressive they were when she walked by as they were expecting food (it was lunch time).

      Birds in the palms above the pond will occasionally poop, but only rarely do we see poop on the deck surrounding the pond, so it is not a huge problem. But I am aware that is a potential entry point for bacteria. I am anal about netting leaves out of the pond.

      I think that covers all of your questions. Thanks for your interest and your help.

      It's weird. Our pond was mostly unmaintained for several years, never tested, rarely backflushed (like every 6 months), rarely changed water, and we *never* lost a fish due to illness. I took over the maintenance of the pond when I retired several years ago during a severe algae bloom (our first and only) and I learned everything I could about the pond, the equipment and appropriate water quality.

    4. #4
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      If this fish were the only one showing any issues, I would say it was probably just its time to go. The water numbers sound pretty good, except the ammonia level. Is it possible to increase the filtration, add a shower filter or other means of increasing the available bio space for the ammonia converting bacteria. The Ultima filter is a good filter is a good filter, but most of the tank type filters really need to be sized at least 2 to 3 times the size of the pond. They also consume a large amount of KH, so keep it up. At 100 it is ok, but 150 to 200 would be better for that style of filter.

      "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

    5. #5
      True Blue is offline Junior Member
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      Thank you for your response, Richard.

      Yes, in hindsight we realize that we should have purchased a bigger filter, but the pond was built by my partner and our worker, neither of whom have prior Koi experience. My partner has *zero* internet research ability, and he relied on advice of pond supply people without really doing calculations on how many gallons the pond would hold, so he just pulled a capacity number out of his you know what when discussing filters. I was working full-time at the time, didn't really have any interest and thought the hole in the ground would be better suited as a large Jacuzzi! I wish he had asked me to do some calculations and research, but oh well.

      I thought that around 125 KH was optimal for Koi, but I will rely on your knowledgeable advice and slowly increase it. pH has always been rock steady for us.

      I will chalk up the single koi's passing to just what you said, it was his time.

      Thanks again for your input and advice. It is much appreciated.

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