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FAQs on Environmental Pondfish Disease, Cumulative Stress

Related Articles: Environmental Pond Disease, Koi/Pond Fish Disease, Gas Bubble Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control with DTHP, Hole in the Side Disease/Furunculosis, Goldfish Disease,

Related FAQs: Pond Environmental Disease 1, Pond Environmental Disease 2, Pond Environmental Disease 3, & FAQs on Pond Environmental Disease: Prevention, Diagnosis, Causes: Predation, Low/no Oxygen, Poisoning (Algicides, Metals, Pesticides...), Metabolite Accumulation, Physical Trauma/Damage, Electrical, Troubleshooting/Fixing, & Pond Fish Disease, Pondfish Disease 2, Pondfish Disease 3, Goldfish Disease,

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

At a total loss, help! Pond winter maint. f'        2/26/14
Hi Guys,
Thanks so much for the great info on the site.  I have been reading through and now I'm more confused than ever.  I have an small outdoor man made pond (actually 2 that are connected with a small watercourse, top one is about 35 gallon and bottom pond is about 150 gallon).  I am in Baltimore, Md
<Ahh, these volumes are too small... I would overwinter your livestock (fish, plants, invertebrates) indoors... moving them when temp.s are staying in the mid 50's F... as gone over/archived on WWM re maintenance of ponds>

 and we have had a highly unusually cold winter.  For the first time in the ~13 years I've had the pond, I have had some winter issues with the fish.  First my Shubunkin had dropsy which I attributed to possible hypothermia. 
Brought it into my basement for 24 hours which slowly brought water temp to 40 degrees and added some Epsom salt, then the next day I bought it upstairs which brought temp up to about 50 degrees
<Mmm, I'd leave all in the basement>

 and added a bubbler.  Then I put it into my indoor pond (about 35 gallons) and treated with e.m. erythromycin for 4 days according to package directions.  In the meantime, I ended up bring in 3 more goldfish (comet or comet/Shubunkin hybrids, not sure, were born in pond) and did the same process with them.  They are now all in the indoor pond and had been treated with the anti-biotic.  All are eating,
<... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdmaintwint.htm
and the linked files above>
one looks great and seems happy, fin on back raised, but the others seem stressed fins down.  Two have a fuzzy white appearance almost like the slime coat is "peeling" off.  Been monitoring water quality and the ph and kH are low, from the antibiotic killing off beneficial bacteria? 
 The ammonia levels have been high
<... need to be zero>
 so I've been doing 1-2 (30-50% each) water changes per day making sure to match temp which is ranging now between 55 and 60 degrees
<Too high; too much change in a short period>

and am hovering at 1 for ammonia, which I know is still high.  My question is, are these large water changes ok, or stressing fish more?
<Read on WWM re biological cycling>

 Is the white stuff disease or symptom of ammonia poisoning/water quality?  Should I add some salt?  I do have plants in the pond, iris, pothos, tropical water lily I'm overwintering, white calla lily and a lucky bamboo.  It's been over a week since the antibiotics and I've added beneficial bacteria several times.
I am just at a loss. 
Thanks so much,
<... Bob Fenner> 

Sandpaper skin on my Shubunkin 12/27/11
Hi there, I'm so grateful to you guys, the site is fantastic. I should have written and asked for advice before. I also apologise in advance for this long email. And for the fact that I still don't have a proper testing kit for nitrate and ammonia. I've ordered one online and it should arrive in the next couple of days.
Just as an introduction, I have eight goldfish in a 400 litre pond, ph 7.0.
Its in my tiny front yard, taking up most of the garden, the fish are sheltered by water lilies and overhanging ferns. Its very popular with the neighbourhood kids who all stop and admire the fish every chance they can get. Another of my fish, a male Shubunkin, is currently in a separate hospital tub of 200litres, ph 7.4.
<All right>

I've had three of my fish, two comets and the Shubunkin, maybe four or five years, all bought from my local pet shop when they were tiny. These are the ones that had the other 'babies', but of course the babies are now huge.
The two original female comets are about 30cms long (12inches), the Shubunkin and a couple of the Shubunkin x comet 'babies' are around 10inches.
<Mmm, need more room...>
The rest are about 8inches minimum, except for one 4inch fantail
(which I suspect came in on some plants I bought on eBay). When I got the original three they were so small, and I'm ashamed to say, but I had a small bowl with no filtration. My current 400litre pond is the third, and I now have a huge ClariTec 15000 biofilter, hooked up to a Stingray 7000 Pond Filtration Pump. I bought the current pond two years ago, and the goldfish grew dramatically after I bought it. It was astonishing how much they grew. I feed them floating pellets and peas. I do 30-40% water changes once every week or so, using various water conditioners, currently Prime.
The fish are really tame and swim between my hands. They're lovely fish.
I'd hate to lose any of them. The thing is, the current pond is now too small, and I suspect this may be one cause of my current problems. I want to get them a bigger pond, but at the moment I don't have anywhere to put it.
<Then some of the fish need to be moved elsewhere>

About six months ago I noticed my original Shubunkin had developed skin that felt like sandpaper. My first thought was white spot, and I took him out and tried a ten day salt treatment to no avail. (Epsom salt, rock salt, baking soda and Melafix.) None of the others had sandpaper skin or any visible spots. I know this is silly but he seemed quite upset about being separate so put him back with the others. (I know this is incredibly silly but I wasn't thinking straight due to various other things that were happening at the time). He was swimming around rapidly by himself and calmed when I put him back. Anyway, I then tried Aqua Master Rapid White Spot Remedy on the whole pond to no avail. I used up 2 lots of 500ml of the stuff, as per the instructions, so its not as though I didn't try for long enough.
<The issue here is environmental..., not a biological disease agent>

I later tried Paracide and paragone. Nothing got rid of his sandpaper skin. I've read about the dangers of over medicating and this all happened over a 4mth period, which yes, is probably way too much medication over that time.
The other fish seemed fine while this was going on and I was desperate. Of course I was asking the advice of people in a few different fish shops and they just kept flogging me different treatments. In the meantime I was searching the web and couldn't find any symptoms similar.
The only information I did find said 'sandpaper skin' meant the fish had 'had it', or referred to some obscure incurable disease in wild fish which once you saw this on their skin meant it had already got into all their internal organs and caused irreparable damage.
It was when the Shubunkin started swimming frantically up and down the pond one day that I finally put him in a separate 200litre outdoor tank, 2mths ago now. He was really going psycho. At this point I was really desperate and was convinced he was going to die in the next few days. He'd become very thin, especially compared to the others. I then tried Waterlife Protozin and later Sterazin on him to no avail. Even just writing this I'm horrified at the medication I've inflicted on him, but I was desperate and didn't know what else to do.
<A better world... not toxic medications>

My Shubunkin didn't die however, and he's been in the 200litre tub about 2mths now, with a biofilter and a 3500 litre per hour pump. (This tub has algae that just won't go, which I realise after looking more at your site is probably because I've been overfeeding.) Anyway, after I tried the Parazin my fish's symptoms started to change. (I don't know whether these changes really had any connection to the Parazin, the weather in Sydney was really hot around that time too.) What happened was that my fish started to get white raised skin, like healed raised scar tissue, where his dorsal fin joins his body. White spots up to 1mm diameter started to appear and slowly erupt from that tissue, not as a cyst, but in a long white thread.
(Sorry I know this is gross.) The sand paper skin on the rest of his body didn't change. During the Parazin treatment the erupting white spots just kept appearing and the raised scar tissue like skin just got worse.
I think it was just under a month ago I decided to give my fish a salt bath and finally I found this seemed to have some effect. What looked like little black worms and longer white worms came out of his body. He seemed calmer after it was over though he really hated it at the time. His swimming around frantically became less frequent afterwards too.
I've given him a few salt baths since and am worried about over salting him.
Unfortunately the salt baths haven't fully eradicated the sand paper skin or the raised scar tissue, or the white spots which still appear every few days in the scar tissue along the base of his dorsal fin, although the scar tissue is getting much smaller, and his skin seems to be becoming less 'sandpaper like' (although I may be imagining this). When he does swim around frantically its usually in the morning, or when another white spot has appeared and looks like its going to erupt.... gross... :-(
No more black worms have come out since the first salt bath I gave him.
What still appears to erupt from his skin during the salt baths are the long white threads - from the white spots, as well as the rest of his body.
I've since realised it may not be a worm - I've copied a gross close up photo to this site so you can see for yourself and decide:
If you look at the edge of the black cardboard you should just be able to make out little black spots in the white. The white thread shown here is about 1cm long. (I've also taken a photo of an insect that's been appearing out of nowhere in his pond and which always appears the day after the salt bath in the container I've used. Its white or grey, about 1mm, and jumps like a flea. I don't know if this is connected to whatever might be in his body.)
<Can't make this out, but not likely a factor here>
I just don't know if I can keep doing the salt baths, how long it will take to finally work and if it eventually will.
<Just good conditions, nutrition and time going by>
What really scares me is that over the last few days I've seen white threads coming out of one of my fish in the front pond too. I couldn't bear to go through this with all of them. I've tried to take photos of the affected goldfish, copied into the above link. The white threads are circled in red, but you can't really see them. The other fish's scales appear whiter too. (If I hadn't seen the white stuff I would've thought it was because she was breeding - there are eggs and small fry in the pond, which hopefully the rest of them will eat. I definitely don't want any more fish.)
I feel so sorry for my poor fish, the Shubunkin. He's such a beautiful fish with a lovely long tail and I hate doing all this to him, its like torture, I can't believe he's survived the whole process to this point.
Plus I know goldfish are social and I don't like leaving him by himself.
Yet throughout most of this time his appetite has been good, and since I separated him I've been spoiling him by giving him frozen brine shrimp mixed with Spirulina (too much obviously). He loves that and devours it.
Unbelievably he's now looks like he putting on a little bit of weight.
<Should as the weather cools>
If you could please let me know your thoughts on all this it would be so much appreciated. The whole process has been horrible. I've been doing as much reading about fish diseases as I can and I've not come across anything like the symptoms my fish is exhibiting. And thank you for your patience with this long essay, and for all the time and care you've put into this site.
Best wishes,
<This issue is often attributed to a viral involvement, but always environmentally mediated. STOP all medications, including salts... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sandpaper skin on my Shubunkin 12/27/11

Hi Bob, thanks for this, and thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I will do as you suggest. By the way, do you have any idea what that white stuff coming out of my fish might be,
<A few guesses... like humans,, fish digestion is extracellular... This material is either something that has gone undigested in the food/s or a component of post digestion>
and given the visible black spots in the white, do you think its some kind of parasite?
<Can't tell w/o microscopic examination>
Have you heard of anything similar where raised skin that looks like scar tissue has grown at the base of a fish's dorsal fin?
Cheers, & best wishes from Sydney,
<And to you from (today) sunny S. Cal. BobF>

Unhealthy Comet Goldfish in an Outdoor Half Barrel Pond 4/25/10
Hello crew.
<Jim... I'll be, there's another friend... HHH and around the corner with your same name>
I would like to start by saying that I have been using your site for a couple of years now and find it a valuable research tool for both my aquarium and my pond. Keep up the brilliant work.
<Will do>
My question regards the size of my pond and the number of goldfish in it. I have researched your site for the appropriate number of fish for the size of the pond but require some additional <sic> advise. The half barrel, with the fish in, is supported by a second barrel which houses my own design of biological / mechanical filter, in a third barrel and the pump (The attached photos will illustrate how it is constructed.).
<Looks good>
I have had the pond for 5 years, four years with 5 x gold comets in it. Last year I added 15 x little Tetras and had them all living very happily together until winter. I removed the Tetras to a planted aquarium indoors and decided to replace these with 4 x small yellow comets this year, after I had refurbished the pond in May.
When I calculate the ratio of fish to the ponds surface area, should I calculate the area of both barrels or just the one with the fish in it?
I understand that only the volume of the primary barrel is important for the fishes space requirements, but what about water quality parameters?.
<Both/all, the more "the merrier">
I use the volume of both barrels when calculating any medication doses.
I am asking this because many of my fish have become ill over the last two weeks and I'm trying to do everything I can to fix the problem, using advice from this forum as well as a couple of others for a second opinion.
*The history of recent problems are as follows:*
From a total of 9 comets, (5 x gold and 4 x yellow)
1 x yellow comet has suffered with Dropsy but after hospitalisation has reduced its swelling and is now eating and active, although still scarred1 x yellow comet is showing signs of Dropsy but is eating and active1 x yellow comet is lethargic and gasping as if it is eating something and prefers to hide
1 x gold comet became lethargic, stopped eating, laid on the bottom of the pond and died last night with no outward signs of distress or parasites
1 x gold comet has become lethargic and prefers to hide The other fish are active and eat well.
The average size of the gold comets is 12.8 cm long and the yellow comets are 9.6 cm. Following much research I realise that this might be too many for their space requirements, but what about the quality of the water?
<An important measure... but the overall apparent and real health of your livestock is most valuable>
I used to believe I could keep more fish in the pond if I had good filtration and a high flow rate of water through the filters, hence my pond and filter barrel design. I'm beginning to wonder if this was the right thing to do.
<When in doubt, under-crowd>
I have a total of 90 cm of fish in approximately 0.2 m3 of water (both barrels) with a combined surface area of 0.669 m2.
<Comet goldfish get very large... more than a foot in length... this is too much fish life for here>
The problems have all occurred since I refurbished the pond, after the winter period, by removing the plants, cutting their roots back and re-potting them, removing debris from the bottom of the pond and cleaning out the filter. From my own research it looks like I have affected the natural balance of the pond by removing the plant roots and replacing last years filters with new ones. I only started feeding again in March when the water temperature rose above 8 degrees. I stopped feeding them in December. Thread algae has also started to grow vigorously, some of it is removed daily but I maintain a patch of it on the slate stone, in the flow of the water from the pump, to house any good bacteria and act as a food source.
I perform regular water tests every two weeks and acted when my tests showed elevated Nitrite & Nitrate.
17/04/10 pH 8.5, Ammonia 0.1 @ 15 degrees, NO2 0.1,
<Mmm, Ammonia and Nitrite need to be zero, undetectable>
NO3 10 - 25
After this reading I carried out a 20% water change, using Tetra Pond's AquaSafe to condition the new water and then medicated with Tetra Pond's MediFin. The health of the fish continued to deteriorate and 1 x yellow comet was already showing signs of Dropsy and placed in a separate tank.
By now I am using this site for advise and read an article on using salt in the pond water. I researched this extensively on both this site and others and returned to this site and followed advice from article *Goldfish Disease: Prevention, Causes, Treatments*, *Koi, Pond Fish Disease* and FAQ *Re: Help My Goldfish Bandi - Dropsy? -- 4/30/09*
My next water test, prior to a 25% water change and addition of salts (Epsom Salts, Bicarbonate of Soda & Maldon Sea Salt) in the ratios described in the FAQ but halved to give me a 0.05% concentration, to protect the plants and bacteria. The Hospital tank had a higher concentration..
26/04/10 pH 8.5, Ammonia 0.1 @ 10 degrees, NO2 0, NO3 0.
The Nitrite and Nitrate have reduced and I am now working on bringing the Alkalinity down slightly. I have now changed 25% of the water, conditioned with AquaSafe, added the salt in steps of a 5th every 3 to 4 hours and will continue to change 15% of the water every two days, with only Maldon Sea Salt in a 0.025% concentration and AquaSafe. I have stopped feeding flake food, I have tried peas but only 2 fish like it, I have fed them Tubifex worm
<I would not feed these to goldfish>
with more success but only 4 fish are
eating it. I am not feeding them anything else for 3 days.
*Technical details of the pond and its construction:*
Primary Barrel = 80 cm diameter x 35 cm deep.
Secondary Barrel = 46 cm diameter x 30 cm deep.
Pump = Libel Xtra 2300 (580 lph go to the primary barrel and 250 lph are cycled through the secondary barrel)
*The third barrel housing the filter is constructed as follows:*
River Pebbles on a plastic support grid over 3 layers of graduated foam filter with the most open at the top, the least open at the bottom over approx 150 pieces of 30mm diameter ribbed pond hose, cut to approximately 25 - 30mm long acting as an environment for good bacteria.
The pump draws water through the filters via a sealed exit point at the bottom of the third barrel and returns it to the pond. This set up allows me to maintain a constant depth of water in the pond, because of the weir. Any loss of water is buffered by the secondary barrel and it is here that I normally top up the water, although medication and water conditioning is done by adding it to the water which flows over the slate stone.
I know this a long e-mail but I thought it best to give you as much information. I'm sure you will have many more questions
<I do think you're statements are correct, useful re changing all so much with your "Spring cleaning" and their being so/too much fish life here. At this point, I would just keep feeding sparingly and not at all if there is any detectable ammonia or nitrite. Bob Fenner>

Shubunkin problem ... pondfish env. dis. - 3/1/2006 Hello <Good morning... or later> You have helped me in the past regarding problems with a new pond. I am in Cornwall, UK, and I have a 100 gall garden pond, with goldfish and Shubunkin. It has been cold lately with some snow and ice. One of the Shubunkin, the smallest at about 3" long, has been seen to be floating about in the crevices along the pond edge for about a week. If touched it has swam away, downwards. <Likely either from the cold, or more likely from the too-quick change in temperature. Larger ponds, with more depth in particular, are more thermally stable> On Sunday I had problems with the pump not working, and whilst out checking it, noticed that this fish had sank to the bottom and appeared motionless. I reached in and picked it out, <Best not to "fool" with biota in ponds during cold seasons> it was not dead so I returned it to the pond to see if it would swim. It got caught in the flow of the waterfall and was tumbled downward and then lay at the bottom again, as if dead. I have brought it in the house, and left it in a bucket of pond water, along with a little weed. <See the above> It's gills are moving, and it's fins move from time to time, but it has a frayed tail, and a small chunk of it's face appears missing and hanging off. It just sits at the bottom of the bucket. At the base of the tail there appears to be a small cloud of fluffy grey, not really attached and growing on the fish, but just seems to be hanging on it. I have not disturbed it at all. Not knowing what to do, and reluctant to stress the fish with chemical treatments I have used Kusuri-Sabbactisun and Kusuri-Parazoryne, described as herbal treatments to boost the immune system. The fish is still alive 3 days since being removed from the pond, surely a good sign. I wonder if you have any advice on how I can treat it. I would like to save it if I can as it is a particularly pretty fish, very opaque and almost all over pink, with bits of orange, and specks of grey. It is at present still in the bucket, in a cool unheated room. Would warming it help? <Not likely at this juncture... but worth a try. I would not return this fish to the outdoors till the weather is very warm consistently. Please read here re pond design: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pddessize.htm Bob Fenner> Any suggestions much appreciated. Wendy

Koi leaning to one side... handling, not, pondfish during cold seasons 03/26/07 Hi, Crew! I have a pond outside with several Koi and goldfish who remained in the pond over winter since I didn't have enough space to bring them all into an aquarium. To ensure that they didn't freeze to death, I bought a heater to make sure there was always some of the pond that wasn't frozen. Now that spring is arriving the ice is melting and I can see a few of the fish. I found one of the Koi kind of just lying on his side at the bottom of the pond - at first I thought he was dead but then he started to move around. <Best not to handle pond livestock, or walk on the pond... when there is ice present> He suddenly got a bit 'crazy', started darting around everywhere and spinning (like a crocodile's death roll). He even came to the top and I think he hit some of the remaining ice, he then eventually calmed down and went off to the bottom near the side of the pond and just lay there. Afraid that he was hurt, I caught him, put him in a bucket and brought him into my garage. He seems to perhaps have hurt himself close to his left eye, though it's hard to see, but he is most definitely having trouble swimming - he continuously seems to fall over to one side. Apart from that, he doesn't seem to have any other injuries or diseases that I can tell. It looks almost like a swim bladder problem but I've had him since last summer and he never showed any difficulties with swimming before. Plus, it seems to me that Koi and regular goldfish rarely have swim bladder issues, no? <Variable> I'm planning on keeping him inside now for another couple of months until the nice weather becomes more permanent. I was wondering if you had any idea what he has. Is it possible that by hitting his head he's some how affected his balance? Thanks for your help! Erika <I would return this animal, hope for the best, and leave the pond and its inhabitants alone till the water is much warmer. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm The tray below on Pond Maintenance, Winter... Bob Fenner>

Checking up of <pond>fish illness 1/16/07 I was wondering if you received this 2 weeks ago. I know you have a fast response time and I heard anything back. Thanks <Thank you for re-sending this... I had not seen it> I recently bought a house which had a 300 gallon pond which was about 5 years old. It uses 2 pumps one feed the UV Pond Mate filter and the other feeds a small water fall. Originally it had 5 10goldfish / Koi. Since then I have added 3 more 3 Koi, and a water lily. The water quality was very bad and I noticed that one fish had a large blister looking growth (about the size of a dime and Ã'¼ tall) and another had 3 small white dots 2 near the head and one near the tail. <Environmental...> I drained, cleaned and refilled and treated the pond with API Melafix. <...> Everything was looking good > the water change out> and the fish started to eat and everything seemed good until I noticed that the blister was growing. After 3 weeks it fell off the fish and it died. I drained and refilled the pond, and added the 3 new Koi. <Mmm, this volume and filter cannot really accommodate more fish life> The last 3 months everything was fine but I notice that the other fishs white dots were starting to rise more, stomach is large like she has eggs and another fish has a single dot near the head. I treated the pond with API Pimafix and Melafix <Please... stop... Have you checked the water quality... with test kits...?> for a week and added sea salt. The fish with the eggs has been large for two weeks now and another fish is constantly chasing her. How long does it take for the mating ritual to end and the eggs to be released? As far as I can tell the pond has not produced any fry. As a separate note I changed the type of food that I was feeding them last week and none of the fist are eating like they were. Its the same type of food just a different company. I have search the internet and books and have not found anything that looks or sound to be the same. Any ideas? -Steven Schulz- <Have just skipped down... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm The sections on filtration, Environmental disease... and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Checking up of fish illness 1/17/06 Thank you for the fast response. Yes the water quality is: pH 7.6, Ammonia and Nitrite 0, and Nitrate 5ppm. I have read over the sections you suggested but didn't find anything to help my problem. Thanks again. <Well, the water quality reads as good... perhaps something else causing trouble water quality wise though... I would do some very slow water changes... dripping in new water... over the falls... allowing this to make up for vented water... Bob Fenner>

PLEASE HELP!!! Pond... fish... dis. Reading 5/1/08 I have a medium-sized outdoor pond containing 4 black moors, 1 fish caught in a river, 3 Shubunkins and 6 goldfish. Recently my pond was infested with plants <? You mean algae?> and the fish had an oxygen deficiency. I took out most of the plants and found that some had Finrot. <The fishes...> I treated them <With?> and later saw that on some of my other goldfish there is what appears like red streaks, kind of like veins on them mostly on their heads and near their gills (some of them are only breathing with one gill, the other seems to be shut). They aren't feeding properly and have become in active mostly staying near the plants and never venturing into clearer water like they use to. I have done water changes and cleaned the pond <How?> but the fish don't seem to be getting better. My water also keeps going a murky greenish brown but is still relatively clear, algae is every where but im not sure this would have anything to do with this. please help me! Thanks Michelle in Melbourne, Australia <Mmm, a few issues here... Likely your water quality is "out of whack"... and this, along with the "treatment", pond cleaning... are stressing these fish... resulting in the blood-streaking. You don't proffer data on the set up, maintenance, water quality... But, there is likely time to save all here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm The areas on pond design, maintenance, water quality... small, frequent water changes are all I'd proscribe here. Bob Fenner>

Dead (pond) goldfish Hello, I have an outdoor in ground preformed 44 gal pond, in Tucson, Arizona-small filter in pump that runs approximately 7 hours a day. <Small system... unstable... and would run the filter continuously> Has snails, Anacharis, water lily. <Very nice> I had two comet goldfish, found the smaller one dead this morning, no eyes. Got the two at the same time, they were and are almost a year old. I've been reading your website for info. Before he died the smaller one was hiding a lot, but no noticeable signs of stress except death when I found him floating this morning. Any ideas what could have killed him? Is this pond too small or too inadequately maintained (i.e. no continual filter, etc.) to try to add another goldfish? <Likely it is the size, cyclicity of the filtration/circulation AND season change to blame here> The one still living is 3-4" long. Would another fish have to be the same size or close? Any help greatly appreciated. Marty <Could be smaller. Goldfish get along well. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dead goldfish
Bob-Thank you so much for the quick reply. Of course, I want to go out right away and get a new companion for my existing fish. Sounds like I need to improve my pond system too, although on other sites (and I'm quickly learning just to listen to you) they say no filter etc etc. Thanks for being there. Marty <Some friends who keep "container gardens" (like half wood barrels) have great success using air pump and sponge filters or canister filters (my fave, the Eheim line) run continuously. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/contpdsart.htm Bob Fenner>

Sick Goldfish Down under 8/16/05 Hi there, <Howdy> I have a 400 litre outside fish pond with around 14 goldfish. <Yikes... dangerously crowded...> 2 are around 11 years old, (about 9 inches body length) 6 are self sown and range from 7 to 4 years and 6 were bought about 4 years ago. One of the old ones has had a protruding right eye for several years and did not appear to be affected by it. <Happens... resultant likely from a physical trauma...> More recently the protrusion has increased significantly and the other eye is showing similar symptoms. Now the other old one is showing some eye protrusion. Yesterday whilst the two old one were basking in the sunlight I noticed that lumps have erupted around the body of the second old one. Looks like cysts but no colour difference. Is there any treatment I can use to fix either or both problems? <Mmm, just environmental improvement... they need many more gallons of space...> Since day 1 they have been fed with commercial granular fish food except when we go on vacation when I give them a slow release block. Occasionally there is an algae problem which I treat with Simazine <A common ingredient (for our readers) used in commercial ornamental algicides (Princeps powder...)> and in summer a flocculent. Pond is clear water filtered with a bubbler and with pond weeds. Can you help? Thanks Russell <Really... what you, they need is a larger, less-crowded world. Though you've had good success with all these fish in a mere hundred gallons or so for years... they're "getting old" (maybe they and I can start a club?), and the vacillating water quality, exposure to the Simazine... is taking its toll... Do consider either "thinning the herd" or building a larger pond. Bob Fenner>

Swollen or loose scale in Koi's side 9/21/05 Hi Crew, <Sybil> I have looked over the Koi FAQs and searched in the query but was still unable to distinguish what the Koi actually has. I just relocated and transported the Koi. during the move, i lost one 11" Koi carp from what looked like internal bleeding. I also lost my algae eater (the species that sucks on the glass, 7"). I recently bought 2 1" algae eaters of the same species and introduced it to the tank. Here comes the main problem. I have 5 Koi remaining in the 45 gallon tank, one 12", three 6" and one 5" on top of the two new algae eaters. <Too much fish for this volume...> 1. The 12" Koi has been acting funny the past 2-3 weeks by idling at the bottom of the tank and stop breathing for minutes at a time and isn't as active as it was previously. I thought it was in shock from the move and needed time to get used to its surroundings. Could there be any other factors that might be causing this? <Mainly having to do with being crowded, moved, all-new water... yes> I don't see any signs of parasites, though my Koi's' fns aren't always fully extended/erect. <Shouldn't be...> 2. I found that one of the bigger the scales were raised and the flesh underneath it was red. <A bad sign... of environmental stress> It would be great if you could tell me what it is exactly and how i can treat it. The main concern I have is whether that scale would fall off and lead to an infection. pictures included 1. the biggest fin in the middle is the one that is protruding. 2. side view of how far it is protruding from the body. (it was difficult to focus) Thanks in advance, I'm looking forward to your response. Sybil, CA <Is this system cycled? What sort of filtration, circulation, aeration are you providing? What of water quality? Please read over WWM re these issues... keep good amounts of pre-prepared water to make large water changes on hand... and I would administer "aquarium salt" here as a general remedy. From your description, photos, it is obvious your Koi are suffering from a poor, changing environment... more space is needed, likely adjuncts to biological filtration, aeration. You need to identify and solve the root (environmental) causes here... Now! Bob Fenner>

Pond goldfish sinking, blowing bubbles, gulping air 10/31/05 Greetings, Our large, 3-4 yr. old goldfish is resting on the bottom, top fin a bit clamped, releases bubbles, and every few minutes darts to the surface, pops out of the water and gulps air, returns to the same spot at bottom of pond. All other fish are active and milling about as normal. Looked through the WWM website but couldn't find a similar description. I have an 11' x 16' pond (Aquascapes system). 25 goldfish from 1 ft long to 3". Just did the fall clean-out as temperatures are dropping. <Ahh...> Would appreciate any advice. I do have an indoor tank that the Plecos overwinter in. Thanks so much, Holly <Very likely "simple stress" from the clean-out, time of year... and also very likely to recover of its own accord. Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Gardens

Ponds, Streams, Waterfalls & Fountains:
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
V. 2 Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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