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    Thread: Koi have started dying while in temporary holding pond.

    1. #1
      Darthfuzzy is offline Junior Member
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      Koi have started dying while in temporary holding pond.

      New member, but I was sent her from Reddit.

      We have a large swimming pool set up because I'm having my koi pond redone. It's a 12ft diameter circular pond (30" height). I won't get too much into it, but the contractor I hired to redo the pond has royally dropped the ball. It's been six weeks since he started and the pond is still not complete. He's using an epoxy for the lining and it won't dry. That's not the issue at the moment though. For a solid 5 weeks the koi were fine. They have plenty of aeration and filtration to support the pond.

      However, I started to notice some discoloration in the koi starting on Saturday - I didn't think much of it because it was just slightly lighter which I attributed to a tarp being on top of the . By Monday, a few of the larger more expensive koi started to isolate themselves from the main school and wouldn't eat. I came home from work and one was dead. The ammonia was at 0.50ppm. All other readings were mostly normal with the exception of a slightly high pH (8.1). I did an emergency water change of about 70% and applied some API Tap Water Conditioner, Ammolock and Eco Labs BSDT32 Melachite Green. By the next day, I had lost another koi. Tuesday morning, another one was on the brink of death. I did another 25% water change, applied the same as above (per the Eco Labs instruction) and moved the one to an emergency rubbermaid quarantine tub. It died within 3 hours. The main pool is now at around 0.25ppm on ammonia and is at a pH of 7.75 - which is within range, but the koi are continuing to decline in health.

      This afternoon, I moved the largest koi I have (which is showing the same symptoms) to a smaller gold fish pond along with 3 medium sized koi that I just bought 2.5 weeks ago (they had also begun self isolating from the school). I added pool salt (non-iodine, high purity - water softening grade) to hopefully help with the healing process on some of them that are exhibiting sores.

      I'm at a loss as to how to fix this. At this point, we've lost 3 of our favorite koi and 4 are exhibiting similar symptoms (the ones in the gold fish pond).

      Here is a link to some photos of the dead fish: https://imgur.com/a/N0ugpjO

      Note, one of them (the first image) has recessed eyes. This has always been what he's looked like. He...appeared to have been injured as a small koi or something because his head was always slightly deformed. He was one of our favorites (along with the butterfly koi) so it's really disheartening for us. I've even called the local zoos (since there's no fish doctors within 200mi of us) and none of them can help. So any assistance will be appreciated.

    2. #2
      KTownKoinut is offline Senior Member
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      Sorry too hear...... Did you loose the biofilter? Or could the pool be contaminated with somethin? Are you still feeding them?

    3. #3
      Hope J is offline Senior Member
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      Are you cleaning the muck out of the bottom of the pool? Do you have pictures of it and the filtration system? Mine live in Intex pools and I have to clean the muck off the bottom every other day, sometimes every day during the summer and every other day during the winter. The muck creates toxic gasses that make them sick and can cause parasites if it's not cleaned regularly. Pics would be a great help.

    4. #4
      Darthfuzzy is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by KTownKoinut View Post
      Sorry too hear...... Did you loose the biofilter? Or could the pool be contaminated with somethin? Are you still feeding them?
      That's what we're thinking. The good news is that this morning the fish and pond appear to be much better. The ammonia levels are high again. I turned off the UV light last night and am in the process of another 25% water change.

      I haven't fed them for about 48 hours. I was feeding them daily (not a lot) but I think I need to reduce my feedings right now. They appear pretty hungry though as they keep schooling towards the feeding area.

    5. #5
      Darthfuzzy is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Hope J View Post
      Are you cleaning the muck out of the bottom of the pool? Do you have pictures of it and the filtration system? Mine live in Intex pools and I have to clean the muck off the bottom every other day, sometimes every day during the summer and every other day during the winter. The muck creates toxic gasses that make them sick and can cause parasites if it's not cleaned regularly. Pics would be a great help.
      There is a tarp on the top of the pond, so there's minimal leaves in there. I cleaned out whatever was in there before. It was maybe 1 or 2 small nets worth of leaves. I can't imagine that that is what's causing it, but they seem much happier today despite another elevated ammonia reading. I removed the tarp more today to hopefully release any gasses that might be trapped under it (although its only loosely on top, it's there mostly for leaf protection). The filtration system is this one: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      They appear to be doing much better this morning after I dumped a bunch of salt in to the pond last night. The ones I moved into the goldfish pond seem to be doing okay, but its so mucky in there (I added a new filter) that it's hard to see em.

    6. #6
      Hope J is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Darthfuzzy View Post
      There is a tarp on the top of the pond, so there's minimal leaves in there. I cleaned out whatever was in there before. It was maybe 1 or 2 small nets worth of leaves. I can't imagine that that is what's causing it, but they seem much happier today despite another elevated ammonia reading. I removed the tarp more today to hopefully release any gasses that might be trapped under it (although its only loosely on top, it's there mostly for leaf protection). The filtration system is this one: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      They appear to be doing much better this morning after I dumped a bunch of salt in to the pond last night. The ones I moved into the goldfish pond seem to be doing okay, but its so mucky in there (I added a new filter) that it's hard to see em.
      They poop. It's not just leaf debris, it's also poop and left over food. Is it a net so they can get light?

    7. #7
      Hope J is offline Senior Member
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      The tarp blocks out light, they need daylight as well.

    8. #8
      Hope J is offline Senior Member
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      I'm uploading a video for you right now on YouTube so you can see what I'm talking about. I'll post as soon as it's ready.

    9. #9
      Hope J is offline Senior Member
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      Here's the video

      https://youtu.be/GFwhwhwYjZs

    10. #10
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      You have given me numbers for ammonia and pH. The ammonia level is definitely too high. I would recommend you use Seachem Safe, Prime, Cloram-x or similar product that binds not only ammonia but also nitrites. I would also get a Seachem Ammonia Alert Card which will let you know if the ammonia is bound such that it is safe, or if it is unsafe, as that card will tell you when to add more binder. Your pH is not a problem if it is a constant pH, morning to evening and the best way to assure that is to test for KH, carbonate hardness, and if it is over 100 then the pH should be solid, higher is better. You did not report on the nitrite level, and if present it can cause brown blood disease, but the best treatment for preventing that damage is to add salt at one pound per hundred gallons of water.

      It is always best to start with all of the water parameters and rule out deficiencies in filtration, pH crashes, etc. as it is cheaper to fix the water than to fix the fish and even if attempts are made to fix the fish without taking care of the water, the attempts will be mostly futile.

      The BSDT is a parasite treatment, and a good one at that, but it requires 3 doses, one per day with 25% water changes. It takes care of most of the microscopic parasites, but for flukes you need a product like Fluke-M or Prazi to add to the third dose of BSDT. Unless the fish have sores, are flashing, isolating, breaching, piping, or otherwise not acting correctly, I would not be trying to treat for parasites as the treatments are very hard on the parasites, but also somewhat hard on the fish, and if not necessary that is stress the fish do not need.

      If there are sores, then they need to be treated with some form of antibiotic as the sores are indications of bacterial infection. I like Tricide Neo as a spray or as a topical, and we can help with instructions, as the package instructions are for baths which take much more medicine. If you can get injectible Baytril or Amikacin from your vet that is an even better option. Some have had success with topical triple antibiotic ointment but I have never used it.

      Please provide numbers for ammonia, nitrite, pH morning and evening or KH, water temperature and specific actions of the fish.

      "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

    11. #11
      Darthfuzzy is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Hope J View Post
      The tarp blocks out light, they need daylight as well.
      Yes - the tarp is on 50% of the pond right now. For a couple of days there was some construction going on so it was covered to prevent sawdust from getting into the pool, but I left a little bit of it open. The issue is that the temporary pond is below a tree so if I didn't put a tarp on it it would basically dump leaves into the pond.

      There's no muck though - I have the same pools as you and I can see all the little squares. It's crystal clear with zero material at the bottom at the moment, but I appreciate the video! It was helpful!
      Last edited by Darthfuzzy; 11-26-2020 at 11:32 PM.

    12. #12
      Darthfuzzy is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      You have given me numbers for ammonia and pH. The ammonia level is definitely too high. I would recommend you use Seachem Safe, Prime, Cloram-x or similar product that binds not only ammonia but also nitrites. I would also get a Seachem Ammonia Alert Card which will let you know if the ammonia is bound such that it is safe, or if it is unsafe, as that card will tell you when to add more binder. Your pH is not a problem if it is a constant pH, morning to evening and the best way to assure that is to test for KH, carbonate hardness, and if it is over 100 then the pH should be solid, higher is better. You did not report on the nitrite level, and if present it can cause brown blood disease, but the best treatment for preventing that damage is to add salt at one pound per hundred gallons of water.

      It is always best to start with all of the water parameters and rule out deficiencies in filtration, pH crashes, etc. as it is cheaper to fix the water than to fix the fish and even if attempts are made to fix the fish without taking care of the water, the attempts will be mostly futile.

      The BSDT is a parasite treatment, and a good one at that, but it requires 3 doses, one per day with 25% water changes. It takes care of most of the microscopic parasites, but for flukes you need a product like Fluke-M or Prazi to add to the third dose of BSDT. Unless the fish have sores, are flashing, isolating, breaching, piping, or otherwise not acting correctly, I would not be trying to treat for parasites as the treatments are very hard on the parasites, but also somewhat hard on the fish, and if not necessary that is stress the fish do not need.

      If there are sores, then they need to be treated with some form of antibiotic as the sores are indications of bacterial infection. I like Tricide Neo as a spray or as a topical, and we can help with instructions, as the package instructions are for baths which take much more medicine. If you can get injectible Baytril or Amikacin from your vet that is an even better option. Some have had success with topical triple antibiotic ointment but I have never used it.

      Please provide numbers for ammonia, nitrite, pH morning and evening or KH, water temperature and specific actions of the fish.
      I'll provide some additional numbers tomorrow when I can. I just went and checked on them and they appeared to be okay. I haven't lost any in 24 hours, but the ammonia levels are still high. I ordered some of the stuff you suggested a couple days ago. Amazon was supposed to deliver them on Wednesday but they didn't and it's now rescheduled for Saturday delivery. I appreciate the suggestions - my goal is to get the water in line.

      The good news is that the main pond appears to have (finally) mostly dried and I can begin filling the main pond with water and applying Microlift PBL ASAP and get the filtration system online to move the fish in there. I'll feel much happier when I can move all the fish in. Since I'll have a bunch of pond chemicals arriving tomorrow or Friday. I don't like that the big fish are in a small pond at the moment - but it was an emergency step to get them into a stable environment.

    13. #13
      KTownKoinut is offline Senior Member
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      Best of luck!!

    14. #14
      kdh is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Darthfuzzy View Post
      There is a tarp on the top of the pond, so there's minimal leaves in there. I cleaned out whatever was in there before. It was maybe 1 or 2 small nets worth of leaves. I can't imagine that that is what's causing it, but they seem much happier today despite another elevated ammonia reading. I removed the tarp more today to hopefully release any gasses that might be trapped under it (although its only loosely on top, it's there mostly for leaf protection). The filtration system is this one: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      They appear to be doing much better this morning after I dumped a bunch of salt in to the pond last night.
      The ones I moved into the goldfish pond seem to be doing okay, but its so mucky in there (I added a new filter) that it's hard to see em.
      Could have been costia.

    15. #15
      Darthfuzzy is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by kdh View Post
      Could have been costia.
      After looking at photos and reading more about it, this might be it.

      The ponds dropped in temperature over the last week. Not a tremendous amount, but down to 50-60 degrees for a couple of days. It heated up, but it's been sitting at around 70ish for a few days. Louisiana doesn't get very cold, but it's been a real mild winter. Looking at the photos of the dead koi and the ones in the pond experiencing symptoms, these appear to be similar.

      The addition of the salt made one of the koi feel better, but not the one I moved into the holding tank. This could be the solution. I'm going to pick up more salt now and do another 30% water change.

    16. #16
      kdh is offline Senior Member
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      It's just a guess based on your postings and the look of the koi. Could be other things. When a koi has an issue usually to help figure things out. Gills should be looked at. And a scrape and scope to see if there are parasites. Costia has this look when they are dead/dying. And almost always show red areas very similar to yours. However so does bacterial and other things.

    17. #17
      Hope J is offline Senior Member
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      Definitely worth scraping to be sure.

    18. #18
      SimonW is offline Senior Member
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      Since you have ammonia, I guess your filtration system is not working. Please follow RichToyBox´advice in this case.

      Your koi may also suffer from parasite out-break. June this year I got a huge parasite out-break (fluke, probably also costia and chilodonella) when I moved some of my koi to the out-door pond. They had been healthy all through the winter in in-door tanks, so I had no idea that the stress my koi suffered from being netted/moved would induce such a disaster. So in your case I would definitively check for parasites by scraping and microscoping. I guess you have not done it yet. If you don´t have microscope, I would add KMnO4 to 2 ppm to suppress possible parasite infections. I would add another 2 ppm if the pink color disappears within 1 hour. To be sure I would not do it more than twice within one day, though our legendary koiphen-friend Ruddy Conrad wrote that he once did it 35 times within 2 hours, with koi in the pond, as that pond was particularly dirty. If the problem is caused by parasites you would see improvement the next day.
      Last edited by SimonW; 11-27-2020 at 07:54 PM.

    19. #19
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Darthfuzzy View Post
      I'll provide some additional numbers tomorrow when I can. I just went and checked on them and they appeared to be okay. I haven't lost any in 24 hours, but the ammonia levels are still high. I ordered some of the stuff you suggested a couple days ago. Amazon was supposed to deliver them on Wednesday but they didn't and it's now rescheduled for Saturday delivery. I appreciate the suggestions - my goal is to get the water in line.

      The good news is that the main pond appears to have (finally) mostly dried and I can begin filling the main pond with water and applying Microlift PBL ASAP and get the filtration system online to move the fish in there. I'll feel much happier when I can move all the fish in. Since I'll have a bunch of pond chemicals arriving tomorrow or Friday. I don't like that the big fish are in a small pond at the moment - but it was an emergency step to get them into a stable environment.
      If the filtration has been offline for a period of time and the liner has been changed out, it will take time for the cycle to re-establish itself, so don't over do the move. Move some, which should help the isolation pond filtration do a better job with less fish, and the pond will have time to build up the necessary bio to take care of the fish load before it is being tasked with the full load.

      "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

    20. #20
      Darthfuzzy is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      If the filtration has been offline for a period of time and the liner has been changed out, it will take time for the cycle to re-establish itself, so don't over do the move. Move some, which should help the isolation pond filtration do a better job with less fish, and the pond will have time to build up the necessary bio to take care of the fish load before it is being tasked with the full load.
      I think that was my mistake here. The smaller koi are doing much better in the smaller pond. The one large koi I moved back into the regular pond again. I realize that's not advised, but I pulled her out of the small pond to check and she looked real rough. The one koi in the larger temporary pond that was showing symptoms has (mostly) recovered. The big koi is slowly looking better in the larger pond. The salinity in the larger pond is around .1-.2%. I don't want to over salt the other fish, but I also want to apply a salt therapy to the fish that aren't feeling so good.

      The primary issue I'm having is getting anything you guys are recommending within a short timeframe. I'm basically limited to what Petco has in stock and I've wiped them clean of almost every chemical possible. Amazon's shipment on the stuff I ordered on Monday has yet to arrive. It was supposed to be here on Wednesday. I ordered some more stuff on Wednesday and it's expected to arrive Tuesday,

      I'm beginning to think more and more that it was a Costia outbreak. The malachite green + salt seems to have improved the color and liveliness of the school in general. The larger koi once moved back into the pond with the higher salinity appears to be doing better. She has less sores and appears to be recovering her slime coat. Her color is improving, but she's still a little lethargic and is isolating a little (but will swim with the school occasionally). Knock on wood, we haven't lost another koi in 3-4 days (Wednesday). The pond is still showing elevated ammonia levels (.25/.30), but I'm going to attribute that to the larger water change we did at the beginning of the week and it now going through a new pond cycle. I've been doing 10-25% water changes with tap water conditioner and ammonia neutralizer roughly every 24-36 hours. Unfortunately, our tap water by design has a .25ppm level, so even with the neutralizer it's going to have some.

      The good news here is that the main pond is filling up with water and I can begin the process of breaking in that pond. It's 4,000gal vs the 2,000 they're currently sitting in.

      Ultimately, I know what caused this issue - they shouldn't have been in the temporary holding pool for so long. This isn't my fault. I wanted this job done within two weeks. It's been 7.5 weeks and that's 100% the fault of the contractor I hired to apply an epoxy coat to the pond to make it water tight. What is my fault is not monitoring the temporary holding pond's levels daily and not noticing the signs when they first started.

      I appreciate everyone's help - I just hope it's mostly under control now and I don't lose anymore. As mentioned in the OP it's rough because we did lose 3/4 of our favorite fish. I'd feel much better if the large koi that's still alive was swimming normally (she has shown signs of improvement though), so I'll continue to monitor the situation. This has been a more than stressful Thanksgiving week, but it was definitely a koi learning experience...

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