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  • Results 1 to 10 of 10

    Thread: New to Koi, question about gills

    1. #1
      elfsprin is offline Junior Member
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      New to Koi, question about gills

      Hello. I bought a house in 2018 that has a goldfish pond and I've been learning intensively about its care. This year, I've started learning about Koi and added a couple Koi to my pond. I'm still at newbie stage with gaining knowledge about Koi.

      I added this Koi in May, it was 2.5". It died yesterday at 10.5". I think it is a Yamabuki Ogon (ogon for sure, which isn't super clear in the pics, but possibly a mutt ogon). It had been doing really well up until this point. I have several theories I'm testing as to why it died; this is just one of them.

      I found it dead and floating in the morning. I have a papyrus plant on the outer ledge of my pond, and it was laying sideways in the water. The plant is weighted down by stones, so this was either due to a strong wind or to a predator. I removed it from the pond and placed it in a plastic bag for later inspection, as I had to attend several work meetings. A couple hours later, I started inspecting it.
      • It had a bloated belly, I believe this was due to time spent out of the water in the bag as I did not see this bloating when I removed it from the pond.
      • I noticed some blood seeping from one of its gills. Looking at the rest of the fish, I do not see any other obvious injuries from predators.
      • It had a broken nose and slight damage to one pectoral fin... possibly this is just normal wear and tear but I know it didn't have a broken nose as of a week earlier when I last took a close look at it for any warning signs. Note that I did not look at the gills at that time... I just learned about doing that this week and so I don't have anything to compare these pictures to for this particular Koi.
      • I inspected the gills and I can't tell if these are normal and healthy, or starting to necrotize. The pictures I've viewed of healthy gills on multiple Koi care sites lead me to believe these gills are not healthy as they should be a deeper red? But possibly they lost some of their red color due to the hours spent in the bag post-mortem?
      • When I pressed on the fish belly at the end of my inspection, a lot of blood squirted out of its anus. I'm not sure if this implies there was an internal injury from a predator, or if this is normal when a fish has been dead & out of the pond for several hours.
      • Ignore the small egg things. Those happened while the fish was out of the pond in the bag; I didn't notice the bag had some air holes and something got in.


      Any insight would be greatly appreciated regarding the gills, the blood I noticed, and whether you spot anything else that concerns you. I'm thinking a heron got it and that caused the blood but without other obvious injuries I can't be sure.

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    2. #2
      icu2's Avatar
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      Sorry for your loss but welcome to the forum.

      Do you have tests for the water? Primarily tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and KH?
      How many gallons is your pond? Filtration?

      When you say it had a broken nose, was it like a notched shape?
      --Steve


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    3. #3
      elfsprin is offline Junior Member
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      Its snout was crunched in like a dent/deep crease up above its mouth but below its nostrils; I’ve seen this referenced as a ‘broken nose’ on several sites. At some point since last week, it ran into something hard in a frenzy.

      As to gallons, the previous owners who built the pond didn’t tell me but I had to repair the waterfall last year and the person I hired to help me has a lot of experience with ponds and estimated it at 650 gallons. I’ve tried to get a more accurate assessment several ways; currently I have a water flow meter on order to attach to the end of my hose so I can do a full Fall water replacement and get a true count.

      I have a 1/2 HP motor sucking in the water from the skimmer box and feeding a ‘river’ on one side and the waterfall on the other. I also have an aerator with two rocks in the pond; one at the deepest point in front of the skimmer and one perhaps 5 feet from the river mouth. I have perennial lily pads in the pond and I add hyacinths at the beginning of the year to provide shade and cover until the pads grow in; I cull & compost the hyacinth throughout the summer as they multiply to keep 5-9 in at the butt end of the pond where the pads don’t reach. I have a Japanese filter pad in front of the pump in the skimmer box, and a net bag full of lava rocks at the bottom of the basin where the water pumps in to feed the falls. There is no bottom drain but I have one on order to retrofit. The pond liner floor is covered in rocks which I know isn’t ideal. The pond is level with the ground so I do get runoff, and hope to build it up higher in the near future. I clean the filter once a week at least, but have never cleaned the lava rocks. I have a ‘pool vacuum’ attachment for my hose which I use to get muck up off the bottom of the pond regularly. I also treat 1-2x weekly with beneficial bacteria, pond sludge remover, and algaefix.

      My pH is 7. My test kit (master test kit from API) doesn’t test KH. I had to leave for two weeks recently and had someone I’m sheltering in my home during COVID quarantine take care of the pond in my absence; during that time the pond water quality deteriorated and I’m working on getting it back up to snuff. The ammonia recently was 2 ppm, Nitrite 2 ppm, and my test doesn’t indicate for nitrates. I have the proper treatments for the ammonia and nitrites and have been applying them to the pond over the last few weeks. Yes, I dechlorinate when replacing water.

      It’s tricky though since I don’t know the true pond size and the treatments all warn not to overdose. I am worried I’ve been overdosing since one test I’ve been doing to determine true size was: let the hose get up to full flow on max open faucet, time how long it takes to fill a five gallon bucket X, replace what I estimate to be 50% of water in the pond and time that Y, divide Y/X then multiply by five... but the outcome of this suggests I have a ~300 gallon pond, and the pond builder person from last year was very confident in their 650 gal estimate.

      I’m in the heart of Minneapolis and there are many cranes, herons, eagles and other predators with territories very near me. There is a heron in particular who lives 2 blocks from me at a local lake. We also get foxes, coyotes, possums, and other predators here.

      Can I ask your take on whether my favorite fish’s gills look poorly to you? I’m just too inexperienced to be confident in my assessment at this point.

      This is my pond. The river side is to the left of the bridge.

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    4. #4
      elfsprin is offline Junior Member
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      Bump for any insight on how these gills look to someone more experienced than me

    5. #5
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      Sorry for not responding earlier. The Fios was cut in my neighborhood and I had no internet, phone or TV all day yesterday. Looking at the gills is of no value at this late stage. The blood leaves them bleached out and not showing much. I don't see any indications of the cause of death in the pictures. Sometimes they just have a heart attack or other cause of death. Stress from pH swings could be a contributing factor.

      I would highly recommend you get the KH test kit. A KH value of between 100 and 300 is needed to maintain the pH which will help with the health of the bio bacteria in the filters, which will result in ammonia and nitrite staying at zero, and remove the stress of a pH crash on the fish and bacteria. This level of KH will most likely result in a pH of near 8.3 which is great for the fish and bacteria, but may affect the growth of some plants.

      As for the size of the pond, your guess is probably better using the bucket test than the installer. They tend to exaggerate size. Short of using a meter during a full pond refill, the best method of determining volume is the salt test. You can use a salt meter (TDS meter) and measure the salinity of the pond before adding any salt, then using solar crystal salt for water softeners or Kosher Salt, measure the salinity after adding a known amount of salt. There is a calculator at the top of the page to calculate the volume. For your pond, I would start with 3 pounds and if the volume is 300 gallons, the salinity will increase by 0.12%. If it is 600 gallons, then the salinity increase would be 0.06%. Plants really don't like salinity above about 0.1%, but can stand it for short periods, so if the salinity goes higher, be prepared to do an appropriate water change.

      Regardless of which size the pond is, it would be too small for more than one or two koi. A general rule of thumb is that a single koi needs about 250 gallons to grow to maturity. They produce a large amount of waste and the solution to the pollution is dilution. Some are successful in keeping more fish but they are fanatics about maintenance of water quality.

      "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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    6. #6
      elfsprin is offline Junior Member
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      Thank you so much! I’ll look for a KH test kit and salinity meter.

      I read that a female koi needs 500 gal and a male needs 250, is that bad info?

      Good to know about the gill bleaching, thank you. I have another ogon so I will be looking at its (probably hers, it’s a fat one) to get a better sense of what’s ‘normal’ while it’s living.

    7. #7
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      Some would say the optimum pond size would be 1000 gallons per koi, but the rule that I have always heard was 250 gallons per koi, with some saying that you need 1000 gallons for the first one. There is some logic to that in that a full size koi is going to be somewhere generally about 30 inches, and it needs room to swim, turn around and swim back, and have some ability to elevate. But most people aren't going to go with just one and with multiple 250's the room to swim improves.

      "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

    8. #8
      elfsprin is offline Junior Member
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      Dumb question but I don’t want to assume I’m correct on this. I got the TDS meter and took an initial reading of 100ppm.

      I’m assuming this means my salinity was .01%. Can you directly convert ppm to % salinity in that fashion?

      I added 2.5 cups of salt, or 1.5 pounds, and got 424ppm, assuming that is approx .04%.

      So a .03% jump with 1.5 pounds means a 600 gallon pond. Which makes me wonder how the bucket test could have been so far off... my city water must have an incredibly uneven flow rate.

      Or, I’m misunderstanding how to convert ppm values to % salinity?

    9. #9
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      Your calculations are correct. You can add another dose and see if it replicates what you have found. As a testing engineer, we generally ran tests in triplicate. One test just doesn't always give a realistic result.

      "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

    10. #10
      elfsprin is offline Junior Member
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      Thanks!

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