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FAQs on Environmental Pondfish Disease Troubleshooting/Fixing

Related Articles Environmental Pond Disease, Koi/Pond Fish Disease, Gas Bubble Disease/Emphysematosis, Pond Parasite Control with DTHPHole in the Side Disease/FurunculosisGoldfish Disease,

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

When, where in doubt... successive water changing... perhaps moving the stock immediately to elsewhere if it's in great distress.

Aquatic Gardens

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Fish Space and 1 Missing     9/28/14
Hello. I live in the Arizona desert, on a floodplain. I have an informal, irregular shaped, 765 gallon, sunken, 45 mil. EPDM liner pond in my backyard. The pond has a ph of 8, a gph of 625, and a submersible filter with a built in uv and a fountain attachment. The pond contains 11 pond goldfish. 10 are comets, 1 is a Shubunkin. There are 3 adults comets, 7 baby comets of various ages, and 1 baby Shubunkin.
Is there enough space for 11 pond goldfish to survive their entire lives together in my pond?
<Should be... with regular maintenance. SEE WWM re>

It rained here last night. We got some hail. All my fish except the Shubunkin have turned up. Do you think the tiny 1 inch Shubunkin is just hiding? Thank you.
<How could I/we tell? B>

e: Fish Space and 1 Missing      9/30/14
Thank you Bob.

Small Pond Goldfish Pond Survival      9/25/14

I have a 765 gallon, irregular shaped, sunken pond. It is a 45 mil. EPDM liner pond. It is a few weeks over 1 year old. It has a pH of about 8. It has a uv, a fountain, and a submersible filter with a water pump of about 625 gph. 2 of my adult fish died about 2 days ago. A calico Shubunkin goldfish and a big white comet. They got gill damage. They got it from being cooped up with 11 other goldfish. They were in a way too small 50 gallon tank, with no filter or aeration. They stayed in there for a day and overnight. My fault entirely. I should have known better. I got 2 new replacement fish for them today. A little yellow comet and another redheaded Shubunkin. They are both about 2 inches long. I live in the Arizona desert. Will the 2 new fish have time to build up their size and reserves before it gets too cold?
<Should do, but depends on how mild your autumns are and how cold it actually gets in your winters. Remember, Goldfish can feed and metabolise down to 10-12 degrees C, using low protein foods such as wheat germ, but below that they shouldn't be fed anything at all until springtime rolls round and it warms up above 10-12 C. Very small Goldfish may do better overwintered indoors, and your 50 gallon tank should be ample for that.
Mortality of yearling Goldfish can be quite high in cold climates where ice forms over the pond, but Arizona might well be mild enough for yours to do okay.>
Thank you.
<Welcome, Neale (in the UK). Have cc'ed RMF to add a more Southwestern USA perspective.>
<<IF the pond is large enough, deep enough, protected by structure from much influence of (weather) elements... to not vacillate much thermally (see WWM re as always); the biota should be fine here. RMF>>
Re: Small Pond Goldfish Pond Survival     
Thank you Neale! :)
<Most welcome.>

HELP NEEDED SOON! Pondfish; killing them env.      7/15/14
To whom ever can offer help that I desperately need!
<Let's see>
I have a 4'W X 3'L and 26"D pond, that I have just had resurfaced ,
<With what?>
after 6 of my fish died one Butterfly Koi who committed suicide jumped out of pond , 5 plane Goldfish. I know have 2 Butterfly Koi and 5 Goldfish left, in a small 20 gal tank that are being treated for
bacterial infections with E.M. erythromycin tabs, Melafix

2 teaspoon,
and 2 teaspoons salt according to directions. They are currently alive and seem a bit better. Now I need to get them home again.
<Is this pond cycled?>
How and what do I treat the size pond now that it is refilled? I have on hand correct pH fizz tabs.
<... what is the make up of your source water?>

Start Right and salt. My fountain pond filter is Beckett for 200 gal. Do I need a bigger one?
<What filter is this pump driving?>

These are my readings as of yesterday;
Ammonia 2.0
pH low 7.6
pH high 8.4
<.... WAY TOO much vacillation... Also deadly toxic>

NP2 0
NO3 0
Don't know how to test for hardness, pond was filled with house salt softened water has been re circulating without the filter part in place just the fountain pump.
Nervous to put filter material ( bio balls and sponge material) back in pond as could be infected. Bio balls just cleaned and left in clean water in sun bucket. What would you recommend for filtering?
<Posted.... here's the indices:
Food used for feeding is Tetra Pond Variety blend and Goldfish Crisps, should I be feeding anything different?
<... I would not feed anything under the current water conditions>

Today's readings are as follows;
Ammonia 0.50
pH low 7.6
pH high 8.3 - 8.4
NO 2 0.
NO 3 0.

P.S. It rained hard overnight. Last ? do barley balls really do what they say they will do?
Thanks in advance for any and all help!
<Help yourself; read... send along specific questions. You must get the ammonia to zero, have some alkaline reserve...>
Shavana Abel
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Butterfly Koi hates his pond     4/30/12
Hi I would like to start by saying thank you for your site it has helped me with many of my fish.
I had a 200 gallon pond, but read that this was not enough for a Koi so I decided to make it bigger and in the meantime I had my Koi indoors again( he was raised inside from the time I bought him) in my 55 gallon aquarium.
He was very active and friendly always coming to say hi when id come into the room, but I knew he would not live happy there especially since I had other fish in my aquarium.
I dug a bigger pond which is now about 500 gallons its 7 feet by 3 feet and 4 feet deep I moved him back outside to the pond and now all he does is lay behind one of my pump boxes.
I currently have two pumps I think 1000 gph and a waterfall. The water quality is all good even better then I read you need for Koi.
Please tell me anything I can do he seems healthy in looks and when I put him back into the aquarium he acts fine.
<Mmm, actually; likely add a couple more fish... Koi best... are social animals>
I did have him in the aquarium by himself for a long time prior because I did not know of him not being able to live there when I bought him.
Could he just be used to indoors and not like it outside?
<Perhaps... it's warmer... more interesting...>

Oh I forgot to say when I bought him he was about 2" and now he is like 8".
<I urge patience here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Butterfly Koi hates his pond    5/1/12
Thank you Bob for the quick response.
My Koi does have gold fish just the common feeder ones in the pond with him or are you suggesting more Koi?
<Koi would be better, but the goldfish are fine>
I figured with the ponds size I shouldn't get more Koi.
I do have him in the aquarium right now because I was worried about him and wanted to watch him closer but he is being his mischievous self inside as usual.
I know he can not live in this 55 gallon for long and I also have some other fish in there that are not compatible with him such as a Oscar and a foot long Pleco.
I would just love any suggestions on making his life more happier outdoors where he fits in better.
Thank you again in advance,
Heather concerned Koi mom
<Best to just leave this fish in the pond, outdoors. BobF>

sick fish   12/31/11
Dear WWM Crew,
I have a sick fish.  Our pond is 800 gallons, with pump, waterfall, and filter box.  There are three adult fish and 6 juveniles; one of the adults is a Shubunkin.  There are water lilies and bog iris in pots sunk in the deep part of the pond.
We noticed this adult because he was swimming weakly in the shallow part of the pond and has fuzzy, fibrous stuff growing on his body.  It looks to me as if it is a cottony substance, and feels fuzzy to the touch.
<Is bacterial or fungal... decomposition... "Rot">
 It is especially pronounced in his tail area, and there may be some swelling there as well.  We have moved him into a basin indoors, with a small pump and water from the pond.
I have looked at some of the possibilities and am not sure how to proceed. 
I hope the pictures are clear enough to show what is going on.
Thank you for your help.
<Need to know, and assure what your basic water quality is here... the one fish may have been challenged somehow, fallen susceptible to infectious agents... For now, leave in the basin, read on WWM re salt use:
I would not use other treatments. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick fish   12/31/11

Hi Bob,
Thank you so much!  I will read about the salts and check the water quality.
I appreciate your quick response!
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: sick fish   12/31/11

Hello again,
We normally test our pond's pH level.  Is there something else I should check?
<Yes... aspects of nitrogenous waste accumulation, and likely alkalinity>
The fish is in about 2 gallons of water. 

<MUCH too small... this fish will die soon here>
Would you recommend the "dip" method of treatment, or simply add salt to the basin?  If I ask for aquarium salt, will I get the correct substance?
<... Why are you writing w/o having read where you were referred? B>
Thank you,

Re: sick fish    12/31/11
Dear Sir,
With respect and thanks for your expertise and willingness to share it, I do take issue with your comment suggesting that I did not read the material to which I had been referred.  I did read the page, albeit quickly, and upon revisiting it I still fail to see where it helps me decide whether to use the bath or dip salt treatment. 
<T'were it me, I'd opt for the bath AND continuous exposure>
If I have simply missed that detail, please do forgive me.
<Too likely a difference in emphasis, too many "destructive learning" cognizance issues from too much differing input (the FAQs)>
As an educator, I find that disrespecting one's students rarely brings about learning or a positive experience.
Robin Liston
<And you, B>
Strange pond behavior (Koi flashing at dusk)  5/15/06 Greeting from LA to the WWM Crew! <Howdy from mauka of Kailua-Kona> First, let me say that since I first put in my pond I have been able to find all my answers in browsing your site.  Thank you for that.  I am afraid however that I may now be in need of a little personal help. My fish have been exhibiting a new behavior; specifically - Acting erratically, flashing, and jumping.   This begins about an hour before the sun goes down and lasts to about a half hour after dark.  This behavior is being exhibited by every single fish, and they seem to all be being led by my butterfly Ki Matsuba (like a destructive game of follow the leader). Now on to the details: 10% water changes weekly. Filter media cleaned monthly. Bio media cleaned every 4 to 5 months. Water is crystal clear. I do get scummy blue/green algae on rock surfaces and such (pond is in direct sunlight for ~3hrs/day) Sal AM readings are consistently 7.4, PM readings are consistently 8.6 <Mmm, too much diurnal vacillation... You should look into means of limiting this... there are a few> Ammonia:  Typically 0ppm (occasionally spiking to .10ppm, and once to .25ppm - which prompted two weeks of 30% water changes). <Again... too much...> Nitrites:      0ppm Nitrates:     0ppm All fish have been inspected for visible parasites - none exist. <Not surprising... "is" environmental> I do not have a scope so I haven't been able to check for micros. Gave all fish a 3 min. dip in a 5% salt solution Fish are active. Fish eat like the little piggy's they are (feeding one pellet per inch of fish twice daily). Daytime behavior is perfectly normal. (with the occasional flash by the Matsuba). Help please!  :-) Warm regards, Stephen & Camille. <Mmm, well, the "Pinecone" fish shouldn't be the "first to scratch" for any other reason than it is likely the largest/dominant female... The activity could be mostly "seasonal" with the water warming, days getting longer... But I would have your water/system checked for errant electricity (I do hope/trust all your circuits associated with this pond are wired through GFCIs). Otherwise, I would look into means to discount the too-wide varying change in daily water chemistry... could be more involved... Use of ozone, ultraviolet sterilizer... to simpler buffering, shading... take care re the filter media... you don't want any, as in zip, zero, nada ammonia. Bob Fenner>
Re: Strange pond behavior ( Koi flashing at dusk)  - 05/21/2006
Greetings Bob and thank you for the speedy response. <Welcome> This week has been a bit busy rushing around trying to return homeostasis to my little pond.  Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. <No worries> You hit the nail on the head with the comment on the Ki Matsuba, she is by far the largest of the group. <A fave breed, key fish IMO... along with a good-sized Ohgon of course!> Measured errant electricity - negative <Good> I think the problem may lie in one or both of the two other issues you raised. Diurnal Vacillation:  The only factor that I can think of is the amount of algae/plant life, thus fluctuating O2 (day) CO2 (night) content, and in turn pH variance. <Very common a source of "stress" seasonally... good to check in the AM, mid-day... and do what can be done re reducing the degree of vacillation... water changes, backwashing filters regularly, shading...> Elevated ammonia levels:  Bio filter can't keep up with load? <Likely so... best look at the type, amounts, frequency of feeding, reduce population/s and/or increase amount/surface area of filter media> Over the course of the last week I have done the following (I could use a logic check here if you don't mind): 1)  Stopped feeding fish 24hours prior to any change. <Good> 2)  Moved fish to quarantine. (no feeding occurred in q-tank as it is not filtered) <Still monitor water quality... fish still excrete ammonia irrespective of feeding> 3)  Scrubbed algae from all pond surfaces. 4)  90% water change <Yikes... not all at once I hope/trust> 5)  Installed additional bio-filter in line. 6)  Installed 3 air-stones (two to pond and one to new bio-filter) in hope that this would limit O2 fluctuation and promote good bacteria. 7)  Seeded new bio-filer with media from existing bio-filter. 8)  Ran system for 24 hours before re-introducing my fish. <Sounds good> I reintroduced my fish to the pond yesterday (minus the Matsuba - gave her to a friend with a much larger pond).  Today was the first feeding (which I will keep at apprx. 1/3 the normal amount for the next couple weeks while bacterial colonization occurs).  Every one seems happy, no flashing, very active and continually on the hunt for food. <Outstanding> Thank you for your help, and if you see any red-flags with what I have done so far, or can suggest anything I still need to do please let me know! -Stephen <Thank you for this thorough follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Koi ... beh., actually env. dis.  7/11/06 We have a out door pond about 700 gallon water. Our first Koi of four years old is acting strange. It seemed healthy eating a lot. It is about 20 inches in length. <A big fish in actually very little water...> The past week and a half it has behaved differently. We had a long stretch of extremely hot weather. We thought perhaps it was spawning. <Likely so> The three smaller Koi was attracted <Eng...> to the large Koi. The large Koi did a lot of swimming and flipping. Then it stopped eating and started laying on it's side. There was white gooey stringy stuff coming from the fish. I don't see any more of this substance but the fish still lays on it's side on the bottom of the pond or goes by the waterfall in shallow water and lays still. It has tried to eat, but spits it out. We feed the fish with Koi Pellets. We have added Epsom salt. We are at a loss of what to do. We have never had this happen before. <I would start a very slow "drip" replacement, change-out of water here... check your filters, backwash/clean... monitor water quality... and start planning on either a larger pond, or trading out your largest Koi. Bob Fenner>

Koi Resting  - 05/29/06 My mom has a pond in our backyard and she has some goldfish and 3 Koi. One Koi, the largest one, just 2 days ago started to stop swimming, and just float along on his side. He is eating fine and is otherwise acting normal. His floating action is like he is sunbathing but, he is not particular about where he floats. He just swims, and then stops on his side and sits there for maybe 30 seconds. Our pond is about 200 gallons and no other fish seems to "sunbathe" either. What may be wrong, or what could we test for to find out what is causing the problem? Thank you very much. Marc <Mmm, considering the small size of this system and the warming season, I suspect the chemical/physical changes in this bit of water are over-stressing this one fish... Could be a sign of coming trouble. Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdspgmaint.htm concerning what you might do. Bob Fenner>

Unhappy Koi  - 12/12/06 Hi guys <A and I> I tried not to have to bug you with questions, but I've been going through the forums for hours, and my eyes are going seriously fuzzy! <I prescribe Sulfa drugs... oh, wait, not for your fishes, for you... Okay, perhaps a nice Merlot> My silver Koi, whom I've had for about 3 years, is looking distinctly unhappy. He has been hiding behind a potted plant for the past 2 days and refusing to eat. When I approach him with my hand, he darts away really fast, swims right around the pond and lands right back in his hidey-hole. <... perhaps a predator...> I took him out today to have a good look at him, and I can't say that there is anything visibly wrong, but then I'm no great expert. I THOUGHT there were tiny pinprick holes on his 'forehead', but on closer inspection they seem to be too uniform to be nasties, they look more like they are part of his ...'design'? Oof, this is frustrating! <Is likely part of this fish's lateralis system...> Ok, some background. Johannesburg, South Africa. Summer rainfall. It is now pretty much mid-summer...yup, swimming pool Christmas parties! <You lucky pugs! It's so called in San Diego, I've had to put on long sleeve tee shirts!> 3 year old 500 litre concrete pond, above ground. <Oooh, this is quite small...> 4 Koi, 3 of which are the same age, I've had them for roughly 3 years,  bought them when they were about 10 cm long, and are now about 25 cm- 30 cm long. The last Koi I've had for about a year, so he's smaller. (He replaced a jumper.) <Yes, happens> 2 Shubunkins, about 15 cm long. I had a third, but he developed dropsy and died, about a year ago. 3 goldfish, roughly the same. One has what look like cancerous growths, hard bulges, <Perhaps "carp pox"...> but seems happy enough. One was bought gold, but rapidly lost his colour and is now a creamy colour. <Nothing problematical there> He has spongy orangy-pink growths on the joint between his body and his front fins. (Please excuse the ignorance of fishy anatomy terms.) I was told by a supposed Koi expert that this is common in goldfish and nothing to worry about. <Likely not> 1 fantail, about 10 cm long. He too has the spongy bits on the joint, which he developed about 1 and a half years after the goldfish. I originally had another 5 baby fantails, but they apparently came sick from the shop, as 4 of them rapidly developed swim bladder disease and died within days of purchase. The 5th lasted a couple of years, until the survivor started tormenting him and seemed to nibble his fins to shreds, and then he too, died. 1 baby hatched in the tank, looks half Koi and half goldfish! <Is a definite possibilities... do "cross"> He's about 8 cm long already, he's been growing really fast. Please note that 'he' denotes either sex, as I have NO idea how to sex fish! <Can be done... with practice, close observation, seasonal changes... see WWM re> Ok, so last week I had done a 1/3 water change, which I do fairly regularly, every few weeks when the water starts looking dirty. I try to vacuum the bottom too with the end of the syphon hose, which works quite well. I added 1 kg of salt, which I don't normally do, I usually just add chlorine remover. Today, out of panic, I did a 50% water change. I also went to the pet store and they gave me a parasite medicine, 'Parasite Clear' by Pond Medic, which contains Methylene Blue. <Very safe> The container reads that it also treats fungal infections and is effective in eradicating roundworm. <Mmm, dubious re this last claim> I added 30 ml. They also recommended that I add another 1/2 kg of salt to replace what I'd removed. (By the way, they came down on me from a dizzy height for doing a 50% water change!) <Better to limit these to no more than 25% or so> I dislike adding medicines, much as I dislike taking medicines myself! <Good> My filter is a simple sponge filter which I rinse out every 3 days or so in summer because of algae build up, and every 5 to 6 days or so in winter. <Mmm... I'd take care here... There is an inherent problem here with environmental vacillation due to the small size/volume and above-ground location of this pond... This env. stress is manifest in the viral expressions on your goldfishes...> Speaking of which, I occasionally will treat the pond with an algae killer when it gets too bad. <Not a good idea...> I do realize that my Koi are getting a bit big for that pond, and am doing my feminine bit to persuade the man to fork out the money to build a bigger pond for them. (Nag nag nag.) <You really should give these Koi away then... this system is too small for all you list, most especially the Koi> Whew! Sorry for the novel, but I really need help here, my heart is aching for the poor fish! <Translate this caring into action... on your fish charges behalf... Move the Koi, add bio-filtration...> And before you ask, no, I'm afraid I've never tested the water. <You should> (Bad bad fish Mommy!) Sigh! A friend moved into a house that had an abandoned  little plastic pond FULL of goldfish that had not even been fed for 2 years, and NO pump or anything, and they were happily breeding and living until the neighbours cat discovered them. Why can't it always be so simple! In urgent anticipation Irene <Can be... with planning, knowledge, patience... Bob Fenner>

Goldfish pond problems  1/5/07 Hi, I have about 9 goldfish in an outdoor pond which is about 650 gallons.  My problem fish are 7-9 inches long and about 5 years old.    One has had problems with balance for almost 2 years.  He swims upside down and now his head is a normal size and his body is bloated and the scales are protruding from his body.  The second problem fish lies on the floor of the pond and is very thin.  I have treated the irritated side with "bio-bandage" and that has improved its appearance. <Mmm>   The third fish is really puffed up and lies at the floor.  Its scales are not really distended. <Also a clue... environmental trouble... dropsical conditions...> We have eyedropper fed Epsom salts <? Into your fish?> and anti bacteria medicated fish food to all three.  We   have tried dosing with peas but they spit them out once released.    What other things might I try? Thanks. Char Cardey <Mmm, likely fixing the environment itself... no mention of your filtration, maintenance procedures, water quality testing, foods uses... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdenvdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Koi?  03/09/07 Hi, <Bonita> We have had our Koi pond for just over one year. When the ice thawed about 2 weeks ago, it started getting full of stringy moss.   <Seasonal... to be expected... and a note to all... I would NOT fool with a pond this early out of the "cold season"> The Koi have been kind of dormant (not moving around much) which seems to be the case whenever the water starts getting colder (going into winter). <Yes> Anyway, one of the Koi was particularly dormant and seemed to have moss growing on it. <!> Now the rest of the Koi are moving around a lot, but this one has a big patch of green on its back and a small patch over each eye.  It looks just like the moss (same color and looks stringy).  My husband picked the Koi up and rubbed his thumb across the green patch on its back.  It didn't come off at all and he said it felt really slimy. <Mmm... healthy Koi, pond fish... are slimy... not "dry"... but not "too" slimy either> Can you tell me what this is and if there is anything we can do about it? <Likely nothing... really. I would leave this fish be... and if you do "anything" with the pond... do it s l o w l y> I have been trying to find information, but everything I read about fungus and other things seem to be white or red in color.  Also, I have read something about putting salt in the pond and someone told me I could treat the fish with salt??? <I would not at this time of year...> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Bonnie & Rusty Wilson   <You should read... here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm scroll down to the tray on Pond Maintenance... the articles by myself... and the related/linked FAQs files. Don't fool with the pond or livestock... until it's much warmer, consistently. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Koi?  3/9/07 Hi, <Bonita> Thanks for the speedy reply.  We ended up taking the one fish out of the pond <... a mistake> and put it in a 10 gallon tank filled with water from the pond and bought PIMAFIX <...> from the local pet store (they recommended it and said that the fish sounded like it had a fungus).  We removed him because he ended up in the skimmer.  He is about 10 1/2 inches long and unless sick I don't think the current would push him in there skimmer? <What else has been going on with this pond? Something is awry here> We put a bubbler in the tank so he would get air and added a tsp. of the PIMAFIX as the directions said to do.  The green on him still looks like the moss to me and is stringy, but looks like it might be loosening up some.  Both of his/her eyes are covered with it and a big patch on his/her back.  Do you think we should put him back in the pond, and if so, how soon. <I think this fish will perish at any length at this point from whatever beset it, and consequent handling... Is your pond large enough, deep enough, positioned near structure to be stable "enough"... Perhaps this one fish was just not strong enough...> I read somewhere that if you remove a fish for treatment the stress of a small tank could be really bad for it <You are correct> and you should put it back in he pond after treatment, <...> but I'm not sure how long to keep him out. Again, thanks for any help/advice. <Please... read where you were referred to... There is too much to relate, ask back and forth... to educate you in this manner. What you need to know is posted. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish (mysterious pond deaths) Hi, I don't know if this is a place where I can perhaps get some answers or direction. I have a small lined pond in my back yard appx. 25' x 10' and 2-1/2' deep appx. I have some mosquito fish, salamanders, a few little frogs and some gold fish. The largest one appx. ". Around mid summer I noticed they were staying in the deeper areas and not as active. I spoke with a pet shop owner and she thought perhaps I needed to feed them. <Mmm, actually... more likely there is/was a "temperature issue"... too hot to eat, even move... or some other chemical reaction/s going on due to the elevated water heat... possibly a predator scaring them even> I have submerged plants, etc. and thought they would be getting enough. As soon as I started feeding them, they became active again swimming around, etc. This went on for almost 3 weeks and then one evening I found 3 of the 11 fish dead. One large one and two smaller ones.  <Good clues... size not a factor here> Two things came to mind. One, I had been testing a new hose and inadvertently sprayed the pond with a very potent spray. It was quick and short but since I found the fish dead the next day I felt the shock of the hose had hit them directly.  <Good observation... but not likely... unless the hose was contaminated with a toxin... if it was a "garden hose" for human use it was fine> The other possibility was that there is a wild cherry tree nearby and leaves had been getting into the pond much as we try to keep them out. <Ahh...> All went fine and two days later another fish, a yellow gold fish appx. 6" died. We tried to dissect the fish but did not really know what we were looking for. I have him in the frig hoping to find a place that can help figure this out. <Not so easily done... better to have the fish "chilled" for a short while (days), not frozen...> He was light yellow and I noticed just a couple of scales missing - quite minute, no injuries but just a few areas with red veining. I read this could be stress. <Yes> I also now have read that cherry foliage is toxic. Could this have killed them? <Possibly... you might devise a test (in aquarium/s... with boiled water and leaves, boiled water w/o leaves...) to see> We panicked and cut the tree down. I think there are leaves still on the bottom of pond. Could this have killed the fish? Anything I can put in the pond to counteract? <Might be a good idea to net out as much of this leaf litter, maybe siphon it out (if you can) and slowly (drip like) replace the water with new. Otherwise there are dechloraminating products like Amquel, general curatives like Res-Q... that could be tried.> Is it that it creates ammonia? or is it the ingestion? <Not likely either> Or do you have any other ideas?  <Many. Please read through the maintenance sections posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm> Could the fact that these fish were not fed for the first year of their lives and now they were have caused them to die? <Not much chance of this... much more likely water chemistry related.> Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Olga S Dongvillo <Please do read through the Pond section of our site, re-contact me if you have further questions, concerns. If it were my pond I would remove the overburden (the unconsolidated material on the bottom) as much as practical (not advised to dump the system, or try to remove all) and slowly refill it... Do look into water quality test kits, keep a small journal of tests, activity in the pond. Bob Fenner>

Albino Catfish - Ich? My friend has a pond that I frequent to about every weekend.  Last weekend I caught a 10 lb Albino (which are heavily stocked in this pond) and notice that there were, what looked like, blisters on it's skin.  Quite large at that.  Some averaging the size of a quarter in numbers of 5 or 6 on the body.   Is this Ich or some other form of infection/parasite?  If so, how can we attempt to treat this? <Not ich... and from the description of the symptoms, not likely a parasite either, but some sort of reaction to water quality issues... I would test the water for pH, alkaline reserve, nitrates, ammonia... and at the very least, execute a series of small (ten percent) per day water changes while siphoning what you can from the bottom, removing leaf litter, cleaning the filters... and adding back a cup of salt per hundred gallons of changed out water... do this NOW. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Joe Hamner New Pond 7/4/05 Hi <Hello there> I have come across your goldfish help pages - very fascinating. I have a new pond, set up a few weeks ago.  It holds 250 gallons, and 7 fish.  5 comets and 2 Shubunkins.  The smallest fish, a red shubunkin has a white blob on it's tail.  Presumably fungus. The pond originally was stocked with 5 comets.  1 died on the first day of introduction, found floating.  After a few days I bought 2 more comets, and then another few days later, 2 Shubunkins.  One more of the original comets died a few days ago, after growing a white fungus like blob on its mouth. <... but what is/are the root causes of these "blobs?"> This fish sank to the bottom, I fished it out, and examined it before disposal.  Now my smallest shubunkin, about 3 inches long, has a white blob on its tail.  I am treating (the whole pond) with "Protozin" which states on the box  - used for the control of all protozoan and fungal infections.  This treatment is to be used on days 1, 2 and 3, and then day 6.  It is now day 3, and the white blob is still there.  I will continue the treatment, but do you think it is working? and is there anything else it could be? <All sorts... most likely environmental... water quality...> and is there anything else I could do? <Yes... check water chemistry, seek to understand cycling... improve> I don't want to lose all my fish.  I am new to this game and have never kept fish before.  Oh, and by the way, I have observed newts, frogs and a toad in my pond, could these be presenting any danger, are they beneficial or harmful? <The frog may prove to be predaceous...> Before installation of my pond, the area was a swampy mess, where there were frogs and newts.  They are now in my pond. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Wendy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/biopdfilters.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner> Oops.  I got the pond size wrong.  500 litres.  Approx 100 gallons. <All the more reason to be careful re filtration, maintenance and water quality. Bob Fenner>

Koi dying with no physical signs 6/29/05 Hi <Hello there> I have been searching your site for possible causes for the death of my fish. I have lost one a day for the last seven days. The pond is new (about 6500 litres). I left the pond for a couple of weeks before putting the fish (15 small Koi up to 7") into it. The filter and fountain were running for the entire period since the pond was filled. I had read quite a few of your responses to other owners with similar problems (fish dying with no outward signs). The fish that have died became loaners, not feeding and began swimming at a very shallow depth and would die within 24 to 48 hours of showing these symptoms. Whilst reading one of your replies about possible deaths caused by poisoning by weed killers/pesticides etc. <Or the system just not being cycled... the root cause here is almost assuredly environmental> it suddenly dawned on me that my pond design may actually be poisoning my fish. The pond is part dug and part raised and lined (not a problem). However the top edge of the pond was finished with 6" wide decking timbers. I realized, whilst reading your replies, they were made from tanalised timber (for those who may make the same mistake as me but are unaware of what tanalised timbers are, they are timbers treated with cyanide). I have made a presumption that when it is raining the cyanide is possibly getting into the water (not 100% but I think it is a strong possibility). Of course I immediately went out and took these timbers off my pond and will drain it first thing in the morning. <Yikes!> Could you please let me know your views on this? If you think I am right then I hope this information may help others who have made (or might make) a similar oversight to mine!! Ps. Great site!!! Regards Stephen Robbins <You are correct in that treated lumber can be real trouble... A sample of the water might be taken to a quality assurance or college laboratory for analysis... Perhaps the timber can be sealed with something making it impervious to water... like polyurethane... Or it can be moved, the pond modified such that water that does come in contact does not wash into the basin. I wish you well. Bob Fenner> Pond goldfish 8/7/05 We have an established pond with a small trickle feature to keep the water moving, one of the gold fish has developed what look like blisters or ulcers on top of its head. They are about 1-1.5mm across and do not appear to be irritating it nor do any of the other fish have them. Any ideas please? <Ah, yes... these are very likely what are called "pre-nuptial tubercles"... males get such bumps on their heads this time of year> we have separated it but it has had to go into a small tank so we don't want to leave it there too long. Cheers <No worries. Please see these files: http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&cof=BGC:%23FFFFFF%3BT:%23000000%3BLC:%230000CC%3BVLC:%230000CC%3BALC:%230000CC%3BGALT:%23008000%3BGFNT:%23000000%3BGIMP:%23000000%3BDIV:%230000CC%3BLBGC:%23FFFFFF%3B&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com&q=pre-nuptial+tubercles&spell=1 Bob Fenner>

Sick Koi 8/11/05 I have a number of Koi and other assorted fish in a 1500 gall pond. one of the Koi did become slight misshape with a bulge growing on one side, and  for a number of weeks it also had trouble swimming and had to work fairly hard to prevent itself from sinking. It also  spent a lot of time resting on a ledge within the pond obviously to save energy. <Not good... something likely is wrong with your water quality... system> The other Koi seemed to gently nudge it to keep it going. recently  it has lost the bulge and swimming ok but has  now  lost a lot of weight. its eyes also seem to be protruding. I am concerned that when winter comes it won't have enough weight to survive <Me too> Have you any suggestions please thank you Graham Denham <Yes... check your water quality... be diligent re cleaning your filter before cooler weather prevails... maybe have someone come by who also keeps ponds and have them do an on-site going over of your set-up... Most importantly, please peruse our pond Subweb: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm re set-up, nutrition, disease... It may be that the one fish is/was a "time bomb", that it had a genetic, developmental predisposition to a tumorous growth... but it may be that there is something awry with the system itself. Bob Fenner>

My neighbours Golden Orfe... toxic, env. situation 8/20/05 Hi, please can you help.  My neighbour has a pond with aprox 7 goldfish and 2 golden Orfe.  The 2 Orfe have lost their colour and are just lying on their back at the bottom of the pond.  They have been off their food for the last week. The only thing they have changed in the pond recently is that they have replaced the foam in the filtration system with upholstery foam (thoroughly washed beforehand).  Could it just be that or do you think there is some other cause. Thanks Jacky / John <There is something environmentally amiss here... I would test the water for what they have kits for, and start some consecutive (daily) large water changes... fifteen/twenty percent... with the new water slowly re-added, perhaps sprayed in the air to aid in aeration, removing sanitizer. If the fishes look very bad, I would remove them entirely to another container, new water, provide biological filtration... Bob Fenner>  

Aquatic Gardens

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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