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    Thread: One of my koi just died, need some advice for the rest of my pond

    1. #1
      deanzel is offline Member
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      Exclamation One of my koi just died, need some advice for the rest of my pond

      One of my Doitsu Showa tosai koi fish just died this morning I found it at the bottom of my pond dead like a brick lying on its side (I think that's why one of its gills are a bit dirty looking)

      I did notice last evening that particular fish was swimming constantly at the top of the surface of the pond unlike the other fish. In hindsight, this was definitely the signs of some type of issue (perhaps a swim bladder issue). I have a 6000 gallon above ground pond with a good filtration system (two settlement tanks, 1 biofilter tank, 2 sand tanks, UV light, large bog filter area) with plenty of aeration that I have running almost all day. I had tested the levels in my pond last night (picture is below) and I had alright levels I think (pH=8.2, ammonia=0.25ppm, nitrite=0.25ppm, phosphate=1-2ppm) so I was going to perform a coarse filter cleaning of my settlement filters and about a 15% water change this morning. I was also going to look further at the affected fish this morning as well. Of course, with my luck the poor fellow was found dead at the bottom of the pond. In retrospect, I should have immediately put the fish in a quarantine tank last night when I first noticed the weird behavior, but I did not think it would die so quickly overnight. Lesson learned...

      I contacted the dealer who sold me the fish, and he said that it may have been accidental and looks like nothing (could have swallowed a rock or accidental issues). My biggest concern is making sure that the rest of the koi in my pond are safe and any necessary precautions are taken.

      I have definitely noticed that my fish have been less active in the past few days, not eating as much, and hanging out in the bottom of the pond and in places to hide. However, I attributed that to a series of heron attacks that I started 4 days ago which gave them a serious predator scare. We've also had the large temperature drop over the past few days, so I thought the lack of eating was due to the lower water temperature. Other than that though, the rest of my fish look fine physically (from my very untrained eyes), and seem to be swimming ok. It was just that one fish that was showing that weird behavior last night of swimming at the water surface a lot.

      I've attached pictures of the little guy at the bottom of the post. My dealer said initially it might have been a bacterial infection, but after I sent him clearer pics, he said that he couldn't really see anything wrong and that it may have been an accidental death. I obviously can't tell if there is something seriously wrong with the fish or not at a quick glance. My main concern is protecting the rest of the fish in my pond.

      As I said, I finished performing the water change this morning and my pond is slowly filling up with new dechlorinated water. Added a little extra Seachem Safe as well. Should I take any other preventative measures? I was thinking about adding salt to my pond, but I do have a lot of aquatic plants in there and I don't want them to die as well (but better the plants than the fish). I wanted to take a wait and see approach with quarantining individual fish on a case-by-case basis, but I was definitely blindsided by how quickly my Doitsu Showa died overnight, that I'm actually really nervous about the rest. I also have small bottles of API's Melafix and Primafix.

      Any advice would be great!!


      Water levels last night before I did a coarse filter cleaning and about 15% water change this morning:
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    2. #2
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      How old is the pond and filters? If fully cycled then there is insufficient filtration for the fish load, as the ammonia and nitrite should be undetectable. Ammonia burns gills and nitrite causes red blood cells to become brown blood cells which do not carry oxygen, allowing the fish to essentially suffocate, even with good oxygenation. I don't see any obvious bacterial infections or causes for death and the swimming action doesn't sound like that of a fish with parasite issues, but with the fish at the surface, the ability to get adequate oxygen may have been an issue. Was the fish stationary at an edge just piping (sucking in water)?

      Fish are like people, they don't all make it to be 100 years old, some just die early and that may have been the case here. I would not use the Melafix and Pimafix as neither provide any substantive protection and for fish with compromised gills, the coating of the gills with an oil is counter productive.

      "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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      So I have a bit of good news and bad news. The good news is that on the whole, the rest of my fish are behaving much better and normally now, eating well and pretty voraciously, along with not being that spooked and swimming in all heights of the water column.

      The bad is that I found another little guy that just died (pics below) and was floating caught up in an aquatic plant. He's a little 3.5-4" tosai that I saw this morning that had the most "concerning" symptoms that matched up with my previous fish. It was kind of swimming off by itself at times and would go up to the surface of the water and down a few times, when the other fish were hiding down at the bottom this morning. It's behavior was nowhere near as off as the Doitsu Showa that died last night, but I was going to keep an eye on it. Literally 7 hours later, I found it dead, which is alarming for me. I thought things were looking better for my fish as a whole, but the one death really got me spooked again. While it's horrible that another fish died, it was at least one of my cheap little tosai that I added over a month ago and none of my more expensive bigger nisai fish.

      My Doitsu Showa yesterday wasn't exhibiting what I think was gasping for breath or actions that were similar to lack of oxygen. I've seen videos of koi where they are gasping at the surface of the water with their mouths constantly opening, but my fish was kind of just chilling by itself (away from the group) close to the surface of the water just wandering around slowly by itself. It didn't go near the waterfall or places with more aeration so I wasn't really sure what was going on. It was more like just a bit of some slow but slightly erratic swimming that just really didn't make sense.

      I definitely do have an overcrowding issue which I'm trying to rehome fish as I catch them and find homes for them. It's a little hard to really say the age of the pond and what cycle it is in. It was built by the previous owner 2 years ago, and has been doing pretty well. We moved in at the end of June and added koi fish shortly afterward adding more and more as time progressed. There were koi fish in the pond until the week before we left, so I don't think that it should have affected the cycling of the pond. From a time perspective, I think that the pond should have been cycled already and the biofilter media should be full of beneficial bacteria. I was even worried about there not being enough beneficial bacteria so for more than a month I've added Microbe-Lift/PL in the recommended initial and maintenance doses along with recently CrystalClear Clarity Max over the past 3 weeks. This is along with many aquatic plants to help with nitrates and whatnot.

      The pics of the newly deceased little fish are below. From my untrained eye, I really cannot find anything wrong with it. I honestly have no clue what is going on and what caused things to go south so quickly for the little guy (literally a matter of hours). I was trying to read up and research on my own and maybe it is possibly Columnaris infection? Here are some of the symptoms from that article that might match:

      "The fins and tail will take on a ragged look, either looking shredded or bitten.
      The pectoral and caudal fins will be “clamped” or held closely in to the body.
      You may notice that your koi has a hard time breathing and will breath rapidly. This is a result of the infection eroding the gill filaments.
      The koi will be lethargic and lose its appetite, which can result in rapid weight loss.
      It will spend a lot of time near the surface of the water or alternatively spend periods resting on the bottom of the pond."

      It can be induced by stress-causing conditions, which my pond definitely has had with the predator attacks, heavy bioload and unfortunately the noticeable levels of Ammonia and Nitrite. Should I be trying any treatments in particular or at least buy some kind of Fish Antibiotics ahead of time so I won't be waiting for them to ship (like nitrofurazone)? I bought the Melafix/Primafix a while back when I didn't really know better and have read more recently from here that it doesn't help much.

      I'll definitely test my water again next morning and do a larger water change to hopefully alleviate some of the water quality issues some more.

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      Last edited by deanzel; 09-13-2020 at 10:26 PM.

    4. #4
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      I don't see any indication of bacterial infection, so antibiotics would be of little or no use. If you were to want to have some on hand, then I would get some packets of the one gallon size of Tricide Neo. It cannot be put in the water as it is a true antibiotic and antibiotics kill bacteria, but that includes bio filtration bacteria. I would recommend that the next fish that you have any concerns with should be caught while still alive and the gills looked at, noting (picturing) color, shape, and texture, as it could possibly be bacterial gill disease which can kill the fish, but does not show readily from the pond side, or even in pictures of fish that don't have the gill covers opened for inspection. I suspect that the cause of death is related to the ammonia and or nitrite levels.

      The bottled bacteria that you can buy are not the type of bacteria that are used in bio filters as the bio filter bacteria are aerobic and would die quickly in the closed container. There are a few good sources of bio bacteria, but they are shipped overnight and maintained refrigerated. The bottled bacteria are more closely related to Rid-X or some of the other septic tank bacteria products that are anaerobic, sludge digesters. They may be of some use in bog filters which tend to clog with sludge and then become anaerobic, but those don't digest ammonia or nitrite.

      To get the ammonia and nitrite under control, you need to add filtration or remove fish. Just not enough filter for the fish load if you can detect these chemicals in with the drop tests.

      "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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    5. #5
      deanzel is offline Member
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      Is there anyway you can link me to some of these better bio filter bacteria and where they have them for sale? Or at least the exact name of the products? I tried a quick search and could only find the same or similar stuff to what I've been using. The Microbe-Life PL Beneficial Bacteria says it is for seeding and maintaining biological filters but I guess it isn't that great, huh?

    6. #6
      icu2's Avatar
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      --Steve


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    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Thanks!!!

    8. #8
      GoldieGirl's Avatar
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      The other one that is true nitrifying bacteria is Fritz Turbo start:

      https://fritzaquatics.com/products/p...fying-bacteria
      ________________________________________
      Cheers,
      Ci


    9. #9
      deanzel is offline Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by GoldieGirl View Post
      The other one that is true nitrifying bacteria is Fritz Turbo start:

      https://fritzaquatics.com/products/p...fying-bacteria
      Does this work as well as the other one (or at a relatively similar level)? I'm asking just cause this is more widely available, cheaper, and seems easier to get shipped/delivered.

      As for my pond, the fish definitely seem to be doing better now. I tested my water and the levels are getting better/lower. It's between 0 to 0.25ppm for both Ammonia and Nitrite and I'm not sure if I can get it any lower without rehoming some fish or getting the nitrifying bacteria.

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      I'm attempting to buy the Keeton Industries KI Nitrifier from Cascade Pond Supply, but I'm having some issues contacting them, so we'll see how it goes. Are there any other suppliers in the US online? I couldn't find any other shops. Maybe I'll see what the prices are directly from them on their official website.

      The prices are kind of steep especially with overnight shipping, so I'd prefer to buy the 5 pack at the discount rather than a single pack. It says "Best to Use within 6 months of receipt". Does anyone have experience using them a bit beyond this date? Would like for it to make it to next Spring hopefully :D
      Last edited by deanzel; 09-15-2020 at 01:27 PM.

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      Well, I bought a 5-pack directly from Keeton Industries and should be arriving tomorrow. It's a bit expensive especially with the overnight shipping, but yeah I really hope this will help with the nitrifying bacteria in my bio filter. They said that it's alright to keep it beyond 6 months, it's just that the efficacy may drop which is fine. It's still cheaper for me to buy some extra now and save it in my fridge with the bulk discount and savings on shipping.

      I just have a few questions for application. I see that I'm supposed to mix it in a quart of water. What's the best area/place to pour the nitrifying bacteria into? Should I pour the majority of it directly in my bio filter media tub? Or should I be putting some directly into the bog filter area as well that I have established? Also, it says to apply it every 3 days for 9 days. After that my pond should be cycled right and I don't have to apply the bacteria again unless I feel like it is knocked out of cycle? Or is there a recommended maintenance dose or amount of time that you guys on Koiphen like use?

      Just trying to get all my questions out of the way while I can. I don't want any more of my little babies to get hurt...

    11. #11
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      To answer a couple of your questions, once applied the bacteria will be increasing rapidly and should achieve balance within a few days of the end of the additions. Once a filter is fully cycled, it should not need any additional additions, unless it is knocked out of balance by chemical treatments, large increases in fish load or feeding rates, or filter being taken off line.

      "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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      ^ Thanks for all the great advice and help, Rich!

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      Noooooooo. I thought things were getting better and I just received the Keeton Industries KI Nitrifier bacteria and applied the first treatment yesterday. I performed a complete filter cleaning and did a 20% or so water change yesterday as well while I was at it. I didn't see anything unusual from my koi fish and their activity has been pretty good the past couple days. However, I just discovered one of my nicer Shusui tosai dead in the skimmer a little bit ago

      I have no idea what is going on, and I really don't think that my water levels are that bad to be causing all these fish to suddenly die on me with little to no warning. It's really hard to figure out what is going on for me...

      The water levels that I just tested after finding the dead Shusui were pH=8.2, Ammonia=0.25ppm (or less), Nitrite=0.25ppm (or less), and Phosphate=1.00ppm. The picture of my water tests are below:

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      The pictures of my dead Shusui are below as well. I admit that I'm not very good at id'ing symptoms, but it doesn't look like there is anything major going on. Admittedly, this Shusui always had a more unique pattern with the crazy scalation and coloring so it's hard for me to tell if there is actually something wrong on the surface. What's tougher with this one is that it was completely unexpected as I hadn't noticed or observed any "weird" behaviors. If it really is the ammonia and nitrite levels, it is frustrating that the effects are this significant at what I think are pretty scarce levels. I haven't seen an immediate improvement in the ammonia or nitrite levels yet, but I just applied the new biofilter bacteria yesterday and its supposed to take 9 days to cycle fully with treatments every 3 days. I got a lot extra, so I may try to put a dose in tomorrow.

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    14. #14
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      Did you look at the gills. There is no obvious external wounds that would cause death, and water quality numbers are not all that bad.

      "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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      Noooooo... Tragedy strikes again and it was one of my nicest imported Ginrin Kohaku fish that I just found dead. Rich, I'm sorry that I couldn't get pictures of my previous Shusui, but I took plenty of pictures of my Kohaku and have even refrigerated and saved the body for inspection by a vet later on. After my last Shusui died 3 days ago, I had the little bottles of Melafix and Primafix and just poured them into my pond, hoping that they would at least help a little bit. The pond smelled and was foamy for the last 3 days, but it seemed that the fish were doing better. I was a little worried about this fish as I saw it off on its own and near the skimmer yesterday evening, but then it ran off by itself. I've seen the other fish gathering near the skimmer sometimes after I applied the treatment, so I thought it wasn't very "abnormal" behavior.

      This is one of my more expensive fish and one of my favorites as well, so I've basically gone into full Red Alert at this moment. I've contacted a local fish vet that was recommended by the pond builder that I know, and will hopefully get an evaluation as soon as possible. The secretary contacted me but they're not sure how quickly they can schedule a pond evaluation and get me the help that I need. In the meantime, I'm going to be scrambling and try to figure out everything that I can from here and other places.

      I've got lots of pictures this time, and I tried to open up the gills as best as I could to take pictures of it. The koi didn't look too bad except for the outer gill on the right side of its face. It looks like something may have been eaten away or deteriorated on there, so that is most likely the cause of whatever is wreaking havoc on my pond. I couldn't quite tell what was going on in the side of the gills, but hopefully I can get some help from here. I had just tested the water quality earlier that afternoon, and found they were as good or better than before (pH=8.2, Ammonia=0.25ppm or less, Nitrite=0.25ppm or less, Phosphate=1.0ppm). Here are all the pictures that I took of my baby girl...

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    16. #16
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      The gills definitely look bad. Hopefully your vet will be able to find a good treatment for the damage to the gills. Since it has affected multiple fish that have shown no outward signs, I am going to say it may be bacterial gill disease, but would rather a vet confirm this on a live swimming fish. Great that you have found a vet. Many of us do not have the luxury within a reasonable distance.

      "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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      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      The gills definitely look bad. Hopefully your vet will be able to find a good treatment for the damage to the gills. Since it has affected multiple fish that have shown no outward signs, I am going to say it may be bacterial gill disease, but would rather a vet confirm this on a live swimming fish. Great that you have found a vet. Many of us do not have the luxury within a reasonable distance.
      Thanks for the help, Rich. This is the first one where even I can tell that the gills are bad. I had a bottle of CrystalClear Wipeout Bacterial Control that treats about 5000 gallons, so I just finished putting that into the pond right now. If it is a bacterial problem, hopefully that helps to combat it a little bit while the vet gets in contact with me. I hope that the vet is a good one as well!!

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      I also put some salt into the pond just now. I've got a bunch of pond plants in there, but put a 40lb bag of salt into the 6000 gallon pond. From the salinity calculators online, it looks like 50lbs of salt will raise the salinity by 0.1% in my 6000 gallon pond. Should I keep adding more salt to get to the recommended 0.3% or should I stick with this amount for now due to the plants?

      EDIT: The vet that I contacted just called me back. His schedule is really packed up and it doesn't look like he can do an in-person pond evaluation anytime soon. He told me that it sounded like a parasite may have found itself into my pond and recommended that I use Proform-C. Does anyone know of the fastest place that I can order Proform-C? Most of the places that I've found online look like it'll take about a week or so to get here to Las Vegas. Thanks.
      Last edited by deanzel; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:57 PM.

    19. #19
      icu2's Avatar
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      Did you show the vet pictures of the gills? I'm with Rich and I would lean towards bacterial gill disease. Chloramine T is
      what most use to treat it:

      https://www.koiphen.com/forums/showt...ion-and-dosing

      I'm not sure why you added the salt but Proform-C or Broad Spectrum Disease Treatment (BSDT) (same as Proform-C)
      shouldn't be used with salt. My BSDT says "no more than .15% salt, and monitor carefully with a lot of added air") but
      I know others have had bad results with any significant amount of salt in the pond.

      Billy from Cascade is in Oregon so you might give him a call and see how fast he could get it to you:

      http://www.cascade-pond-supply.com/M...ENT-p-885.html

      To my address in WA with Prime it shows 2 days:

      https://www.amazon.com/Eco-Labs-BSDT...0745234&sr=8-1
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      No, he did not see the pictures when I talked to him, but I sent them to him in an email. Well, I'll buy Chloramine T as well!!

      Edit: And just bought from Amazon for 2 day delivery!

      And as for the salt, I just added it because I thought it was supposed to help (with the slime layer and everything) and my pond builder recommended it...

      Looks like I'll have to do some water changes before adding the medicines.
      Last edited by deanzel; 4 Weeks Ago at 11:42 PM.

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