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FAQs on Pondfish Disease 6

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

Related FAQs: Pondfish Disease 1, Pondfish Disease 2, Pondfish Disease 3, Pondfish Disease 4, Pondfish Disease 5, & FAQs on Pondfish Disease: Prevention, Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutrition, Genetics, Social, Pathogenic, Mysteries, Medications/Treatments, Goldfish Disease,

Aquatic Gardens

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

V. 1 Print and eBook on Amazon
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Goldfish Growth Question      6/17/17
Hi Bob,
I came across your website and was wondering if you could help me out with a question. Sorry, I wasn't sure what email to use so sent it to both the general and your own email.
I noticed some of my pond goldfish have developed some bumps on their body.
I have come to the conclusion that they're carp pox as last year (in winter) I noticed that the same fish had some ulcers on them so I treated them with antibiotics,
<Mmm; not of much/any use here IF pox; which is virally mediated>

quarantined them and they all disappeared coming into summer. I didn't notice that there were lumps last year, more so ulcers into the middle of winter but I think I've caught onto it early this time.
The weather's getting colder again and we're going back into winter and these bumps have developed even though the water parameters have stayed fine/stable (currently at 0ppm Ammonia/Nitrites and Nitrates about 40-50ppm.
<Mmm; too high. See WWM re Nitrate control; keep under 20 ppm>
I will do a water change to clear the nitrates down, 30ppm General hardness, 0ppm Carbonate Hardness and pH 6.5):
<No images attached>
I've read there's nothing you can do to treat them except just wait it out, keep the water clean and support the fishes with a good diet.
<This is about it>
I'm thinking of getting a heater to bring the temperature up into the summer temps to help boost their immune system and replicate the environment that they went away in last year? What do you guys think?
<I wouldn't do this... for one, expensive to run/heat large volumes outdoors; for two, the possibility of heater, electric failure w/ disastrous temp. fluctuation... and thirdly, better to let the seasons gently cycle coming and going>
Do you agree that it's pox? They're still eating and behaving like normal but I noticed that it's the exact same fishes that had the ulcers last year in winter so it probably is viral/pox flaring up?
<Possibly... need well-resolved images to tell more. Might be Furunculosis, or even just reaction to something/s adverse in the environment. Do see/read on WWM Re:
and the linked (above) files in this series>
I would appreciate your help!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish Growth Question    6/18/17
Thanks Bob,
<Welcome Henry>
I'll do some reading. The images should be attached now.
<Ahh; they are... and this does look like Carp Pox to me...>
Kind Regards,
<You should look carefully into your pond conditions ("dirty water") and do what you can to improve water quality, nutrition. There is no (other) direct cure (as far as I know). Bob Fenner>

Help!! Fantails with disease & growth       6/11/17
Hi Neale/Bob -
<... 16,345k?!>
Firstly, thanks so much for such a helpful and informative site. Having never previously owned fish, your site has assisted us in having our 18 fantails thrive in a 3500L outdoor pond for the last 7 or so years without incident, with a few babies also :)
I am writing because I have two fish I am concerned about (for different reasons) and, despite trawling through your site, I am no closer to being sure what the problem is. I am therefore reluctant to do without knowing exactly what is wrong. One has a growth, and the other has two white spots.
Incidentally, they are both the oldest fish in the pond.
Flippy is the matriarch who has all the babies, and over the last several months has developed what looks like a benign tumour. It started with scale discolouration, then scales lifting, then the cauliflower-like growth that is there now.
<I see this, and agree re this being a growth of some sort. Some folks might try excising this (essentially cutting away with a scalpel) and daubing the area... I would leave it be>
She is otherwise happy and healthy, and eating normally (see photos attached).
Houdini is a master of survival, and lived in the shallows of the pond without our knowledge for approximately 18 months before joining the main pond about 7 years ago! He has very recently developed two white spots/growths on his side, but is otherwise happy/healthy and eating well. He does not seem to be exhibiting any strange behaviour (rubbing, scratching etc).
<Can't tell what this is... as it's only on the one fish... Perhaps simply a manifestation of a physical trauma; I would NOT treat for this>
The pond has a dirty water pump with UV filtration, which does 12000L/hr. We use Wipeout for bacterial control (though we have only ever had to use this once or twice), water conditioner in summer when the pond loses water at a faster rate, and Coptrol (aquatic Algicide with 107g/L mixed copper chelates) as needed to manage algae.
<Mmm; the last is dangerous and perhaps a factor here... stressful to/for the fishes, lilies>
I'll admit we have never needed to use testing strips in the pond, so I cannot tell you what our levels are, but the other fish are all happy, healthy and disease free. The water is also clean and clear to the eye. We do have a lot of detritus in the bottom of the pond (by design), but do control this with regular and gradual clean outs as required.
<Good; I like this last description/practice>
There is <sic> water lilies and water reeds in the pond, and the fish are fed pellets from our local specialty fish, pond and pump supplier. They are fed in the afternoon every second day (there is rarely left over food), and seem happy with this. To the best of my knowledge, they have always been healthy and happy in the pond. Until now, really the only issue we have ever had is with Ibis (a local water bird) coming in and trying to steal fish (hence the netting in the pics)!
Just in case it is relevant, I am in Perth, Western Australia and we are just going into our winter. These are generally quite mild - today it is sunny and fine, with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 23 degrees Celsius (the average range in winter is 8-19).
<Sounds good; I would cease feeding pondfish when the temperature stays less than about 50F/10C.>
Any advice or assistance you can offer would be sincerely appreciated. <As above; I would likely stick w/ your stated routine and not add anything more>
Many thanks
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>


Re: Help!! Fantails with disease & growth     6/12/17
Hiya Bob -
Thank you so so much for such a speedy response! And sorry about the file size *hangs head in shame*
I will do exactly as you advise, and also look into another option for algae control.
<Ah, good>
We were obviously ill-advised when we were told this was safe for fish.
Thanks again -
Keryn :)
<Glad to help. BobF>

pond goldfish with one showing blisters     4/5/17
Dear Crew,
I have aprox 3000 gal recirculating pond with waterfall. There are 7 adult goldfish (2 comets, 3 Sarasas, and 2 Shubunkins ranging from 6 to 8 inches) as well as 4 fingerlings, (native frogs that I can't keep out) and a variety of water plants. I just had the spring cleaning done by a professional (which included replacing the water) last week. There is 1 functioning aerator (a second one is waiting for repair). We also replaced the Triton ionizer anode but the controller doesn't seem to be working so are waiting for parts to replace that as well. I live in Texas. We had a gentle winter so they never truly hibernated this year. Our spring/summer warm-up began in March and they have become correspondingly ravenous. I don't feed them daily but when I do, I use Tetra season appropriate food. I converted them to the summer food when the water temp reached 60 a few weeks ago.
<With you so far>
Today (April 4) I noticed that the largest Comet has aprox 5 blisters (none of the others have any that I can detect). I last fed them on April 1 and didn't notice any blisters. The comet with the blisters is currently acting normal. It is the largest of the fish and the most voracious eater.
Any ideas?
<Could be... nuptial (breeding) tubercles (do look up)... As none of the other fishes are showing such, I doubt if there is an environmental or pathogenic issue. I would do nothing at this point... but watch the one "blemished"
fish for reproductive behavior. Bob Fenner>
Thanks, Sharon Nilsen
Re: pond goldfish with one showing blisters     4/5/17

Thanks so much for a quick response! Will monitor.
<Please do keep us informed. BobF>

Koi with black spots on eye      5/30/16
Greetings Bob,
I noticed some of my koi fingers have black speckling on sclera portion of eye. Most fish look affected but show no signs of distress (flashing or similar behavior) or deaths. This line of koi does develop a fair amount of black pigments on skin. Hoping this isn't a fluke or similar parasite.
<I don't think so. Have seen this sort of marking on tategoi... speculative, smaller fish... and chatted w/ koi breeders in Japan and the US in places re... they and I don't know what the black specks are... Sometimes they "resolve" on their own; and other cases are persistent. As you state, the spots don't appear to mal-affect the Koi>
The tanks are well established tanks connected to aquaponic grow beds, nitrates rarely creep over 10ppm and NO-2 and NO-3 are zero. We are on a "hard" water supply. I do have access to a microscope... Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
<I'd keep these specimens if they're otherwise attractive (physically proportional, well-colored....). Bob Fenner>

Koi fry, dying       9/19/15
Greetings WetWebMedia crew,
I recently separated some Koi fry and added a few to a 150g aquarium. I'm noticing some of the fish in the 150g are whirling and I'm starting to notice some deaths.
Could this be a parasite?
<No; not likely. How recent is recently? I'd be adding a BUNCH of the pond water to this tank.... like maybe changing all of it out and replacing... STAT! As in right now>
If so, which one and what's best treatment. Also what would be best way to ID. I'm not seeing any outward signs of illness(aside from whirling). I have HexShield and Ickshield on standby, is there any harm in treating fish so young? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
<.... not parasitic likely, but environmental. Bob Fenner>
Koi fry parameters      9/19/15

I forgot to include parameters. This is a cycled tank with over the top filtration. Nitrates less than 10 due to the Aquaponic grow bed that filters this tank in additional to a few sponge filters. Water is moderately hard and have had no issues with my Koi in other tanks/ponds. Please help. Thanks again.
<IF it's not the water they were born in.... CHANGE IT OUT, NOW. Something in the tank is toxic. Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi fry parameters      9/19/15
The only odd thing is, I have a few other aquariums loaded with fry and only this tank is showing symptoms.
<..... RE read the last mail. B>
I have been separating them out for a few weeks. I do drip acclimate when transferring. This particular tank was holding a pair of cichlids that I removed 2 weeks ago, added heavy salt and let run without fish. I then lowered salinity to zero and added fry. I knew this was risky but because of grow bed, I didn't want to sterilize; this is the reason I suspected parasites. Thanks
Re: Koi fry parameters      9/19/15

Thank you for your input.
<Welcome! B>

Oranda with raw, white sore on face
Good Morning,
<And you>
I am at my wit's end and hoping you could help us.
<Will do my best>
My mom has a 270 gallon reflecting pool in her back yard (with a fountain two filters, one of which is attached to a UV light). There are no plants in the pool. She has kept Orandas for years and is cleans the water regularly. Currently she has four Orandas. She feeds them sinking food.
<What brand, type?>
She bought Maybe on 06 May 2015 from PetSmart and introduced her into the pool without any issues. Recently, the pool had been treated when one of the other fish Fatso had white spots (Ich?); he has been healthy for a few weeks now (about two).
About 10 days ago there were two black spots on Maybe's face, one of which developed into a large crack under her right eye on 11 Jul 2015 which is about 1/4" long. Below is a picture where you can see the crack:
[image: Click image for larger version. Name: Maybe_11Jul2015.jpg Views:22 Size: 48.2 KB ID: 173218]
<http://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/attachments/freshwater-fish-disease/173218d1437079547-very-sick-oranda-situation-worsening-maybe_11jul2015.jpg >
<See this>
- 80% of the water was changed Sunday. My mom had the old and the new water
tested (pH, ammonia, nitrates, salinity, everything). The pool was then medicated--after the water was changed--with Melafix
<Of no use whatsoever; in fact, detrimental>

(before the water change and after). She turned off the UV light when she began medicating the water.
<I'd turn it back on>

The situation got much, much worse this morning (more black spots and white, raw sore under her right eye which looks like it is being eaten away and very raw). Maybe was lethargic on the morning of 16Jul2015, but she is swimming around acting normal now, not rubbing her head on the sides or bottom of the tank.
- Maybe was separated yesterday morning (16Jul2015) when my mom saw her condition, with the same pool water into a about 5 gallon fish tank
<Too small>
equipped with aerator (mom added a little more Melafix and some stress
<This tree extract may well be mal-affecting nitrification; DO monitor Nitrogen waste cycling>

Unfortunately that is the biggest container we have in the house.
She is swimming around normally but she isn't eating today (17Jul2015)
- All other fish appear to be okay. There are no spots on other fish and they are acting normal.
<Interesting; as my presumption is and was that the source of trouble here is/was environmental: Hence all would likely be similarly afflicted>

- Maybe was separated yesterday morning (16Jul2015) when my mom saw her condition, with the same pool water into a about 5 gallon fish tank equipped with aerator (mom added a little more Melafix and some stress coat). Unfortunately that is the biggest container we have in the house.
She is swimming around normally but she isn't eating today (17Jul2015)
Could this be hole in the head, or a fungus?
What is our best course of treatment at this point?
<Perhaps an antifungal (sulfa drug/s my fave), plus a modicum of salts
Since the container is too small for an Oranda, is there anything else we can do? We are beside ourselves!
<Get/use a larger container, or treat the whole pond with this Oranda placed back in it>
The photos below were taken right after she was separated (16Jul2015) showing the black spots on top of Maybe's wen and then the raw patch under her right eye:
[image: 173212d1437078847t nasty cracks Orandas wen maybe 1]
<http://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/attachments/freshwater-fish-disease/173212d1437078847-nasty-cracks-orandas-wen-maybe_1.jpg>[image:173213d1437078848t nasty cracks Orandas wen maybe 2]
<http://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/attachments/freshwater-fish-disease/173213d1437078848-nasty-cracks-orandas-wen-maybe_2.jpg>[image:173214d1437078848t nasty cracks Orandas wen maybe 3]
<http://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/attachments/freshwater-fish-disease/173214d1437078848-nasty-cracks-orandas-wen-maybe_3.jpg>[image:173215d1437078849t nasty cracks Orandas wen maybe 4]
173216d1437078849t nasty cracks Orandas wen maybe 5]
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
<I'd have you use the search tool on WWM (on every page) with the words:
Goldfish, Fungus, Treatment

Bob Fenner>

Unknown Goldfish Disease     7/28/15
Dear WetWebMedia,
Please can you help me.
I have a small pond, 700l, with 8 Sarasa Comets that I have had for many years. There is a good filtration system with UV steriliser, and everything has been running problem free for years, with no health issues or algae problems and the fish were happily spawning (three of the fish are offspring).The older ones have suddenly been struck with an illness that I have never encountered before and I have lost 2 in quick succession.
<Your photo... shows some sort of bacterial involvement... maybe an Aeromonad... but what re root cause... usually environment, sometimes a nutritional deficiency component.... See/Search WWM re goldfish bacterial infections. Do you have data to share re water quality measures?>
I don’t know if it’s linked, but 2 of the older ones developed a few rounded lumps over the last couple of years, which a vet identified as tumours which were not contagious and not interfering with their lives. 2 months ago I introduced a new fish after a previous one managed to beach itself outside the pond. In that time all the older fish have developed sores on their side, and in particular at the base of the tail. This is now spreading into a red patch and dissolving the central part of the tail. I have attached a picture of one that died today.
At the moment the three youngest fish are not showing symptoms. Can you identify this illness and can it be treated?
<See WWM re Ana Aki... Aeromonas troubles; and their treatment. Do you need help using the site?>
I don’t want to destroy the biological filtration system that has been working so well for so many years, and I also don’t want to risk the younger fish also getting ill. I would hate to do it but am considering if I have to humanely euthanise the older ones, both to prevent them suffering and to protect everything else.
Please let me know what you think.
Many thanks and all the best,
<There are treatments; improving the env., antibiotics added to foods.... Bob Fenner>

Re: Unknown Goldfish Disease (Neale; elaboration please)       7/29/15
Thanks for your quick reply.
The water levels seem acceptable - Ammonia/nitrite - 0, Nitrate 40 mg/l,
<Too high by twice. READ on WWM re>
ph 8 (Tap water in London has lots of nitrate and a high ph so water changes can’t really improve these parameters)
<Ah yes one can... by treating the new water ahead of use. Again; all this is posted on WWM. Am cc'ing Neale (a UK native as well) to chime in w/ specifics>

They have always been fed Hikari Gold in summer and Hikari wheat germ in winter. Is that not ok?
<Good foods; but I would be supplementing w/ some useful live plant material/s... a fave: Egeria/Anacharis>
Re antibiotics, I don’t believe I can buy them over the counter in the UK, also will they not destroy the biological filter?
<Hard to get there, and yes; some will interfere w/ nitrification>
Many thanks,
<Cheers, BobF>
Neale's further input       7/29/15

<<Personally I don’t worry too much about the nitrate. When living in London I had no problems keeping fish. Frequent water changes are important though, not overstocking, not overfeeding, and I became increasingly reliant on using fast-growing plants to absorb nitrate and keep water quality good. Floating Indian Fern for example would do this nicely, as well as provide nutrition for your Goldfish. Removing nitrate (and hardness) via RO was never cost effective for me and in terms of ecological sustainability it’s pretty difficult to justify. Goldfish can and do thrive in hard water and their tolerance for nitrate is relatively high (under lab conditions over 100 mg/l for short periods at least) so if the tank is otherwise well maintained, I doubt the 40 mg/l nitrate in your tap water is causing your problems.
Antibiotics depend on a vet’s prescription here; last time I did that, the cost was about £20, but you can also get some aquarium antibiotics via eBay, though the legality and reliability of this is unknown to me (and by the time they’re shipped from the US, the cost seems about the same as the vet). I’ve found alternative products can work well, with eSHa 2000 being my go-to medication of choice. It’s very economical doesn’t harm the filter, treats a wide range of external problems quickly, and doesn’t cause problems even to sensitive fish like catfish and puffers. Cheers, Neale.>>

Sick pond fish       1/23/15
Hi Bob Fenner,
You have been recommended, by Neale Monks'
<Oh, yes, a fine fellow>
I live in St Helens Merseyside England. I have an outdoor fishpond and keep quite large goldfish and Koi, it is winter i have not fed my fish since end of summer,
<Below about 55 F consistently, I think this is the route to go>
I have 2 sick goldfish, symptoms are they look bloated having trouble keeping their balance, i have been putting Myxazin P, in pond past three days, with no effect.
<Aye ya... not likely to be effective during cold months>
Although weather is 3 degrees during the day, is there anything you can suggest that I can try doing
<Yes; the simplest, least expensive, most likely to work and not cause trouble is adding Epsom Salt (MgSO4); about a cup per 100 gal.s (UK or US)>
The fish did belong to my Dad who passed away a few years ago. I am trying my best the pond holds about 280gallons, with a green gene filter. All the other fish seem to be fine, they are about 10-15yrs old. Neale, mentioned Epson salt, i have never used this, he also told me you are an expert on pond fish.
<Ahh; Epsom, not Epson (the printer co./brand)>
I hope you don't mind me asking for your help and opinion of which I would be so grateful.
Kind regards Nerina x
<Do try the Epsom... you should be able to procure it at most any grocery store... Used often as a "muscle relaxant" by humans. Bob Fenner>
Sick pond fish       1/23/15

Hi Bob Fenner,
Thank you for getting in touch, would I be better taking the sick goldfish out the pond,
<No; much worse for pondfishes to be moved, manipulated during the cold/er months. Unless there is something very wrong w/ the system itself, leave all in place>
i have a container that I can fill with water and put in my garage were it is a bit warmer, just put a couple of tablespoons in, in your opinion would this method work any better?
Kindest regards Nerina x
<And you, BobF>
Sick pond fish       1/23/15

Hi Bob, thank you so very much for the information, I will try the Epsom salts in the pond, as long as it won't cause harm to the rest of the fish. It is going to be 7 degrees tomorrow.
Thanks for your help! :-)
Nerina Everall x
<W. B>

Help! My Shubunkin is not acting right.      9/21/14
My pH is around 8. I have a 625 GPH submersible filter with a uv sterilizer and a fountain attachment. I just cleaned my 765 gallon pond. I started yesterday afternoon and finished this morning. I had to put my Shubunkin in a 50 gallon container with 11 other comet goldfish overnight. I about lost one of my comets. But that fish recovered and is doing fine. Now this one is acting strange. It is gasping at the surface of the water and darting around. The other fish are hiding in their fish shelters during the heat of the day. This is normal. Usually my Shubunkin hides with them. Not so today.
I used a new type of pond bacterial additive too.
<Why? What additive? To fix what problem with the pond?>

It keeps coming up to me as if asking for help. Is my fish stressed because of the water change?
<Fish can react to sudden changes in pH and temperature by swimming oddly, but typically most/all the fish will react, particularly within a single species (in this case, Carassius auratus). So if just one Goldfish is acting odd, then there may be something else going on.
Examine the fish carefully for signs of physical damage (cats, leeches) or external parasites (anchor worms are not uncommon). Your photos don't really show me anything of significance, but capturing the fish with a net, removing to a white container, and then examining it yourself could be the next step for you.>
Does it have gill damage? Is it just hungry? No red areas or streets that I can see. Some photos are provided below.
Thank you.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Help#2!      9/21/14
In my last letter to you, do you recall me telling you about the comet goldfish I about lost? Well, turns out now that one is suffering from the same ailment as the Shubunkin. I am almost certain now these two suffered some sort of gill damage from their overnight stay in the 50 gallon tank with the other fish. What should I do with them? Do I humanely kill them?
Or should I just wait and see? Thank you.
<The latter. Damage to the gill filaments -- if not fatal or so severe the underlying bones are damaged -- usually will recover in time. Upping the aeration and/or use of water features to ensure oxygen levels are good will be helpful for this fish of "diminished capacity" at the moment. In fact you may prefer to hold them in a cycled hospital tank where you can keep them out of direct sunshine and excessive warmth (warm water contains less oxygen) so that they heal more comfortably. Should be back to normal within
a month. Cheers, Neale.>
Help #3
The fish I wrote about in my 2nd email to you has died. Found her floating in the pond. Checked her gills before disposing of the body. They were a dark blood red. Is this a sign of gill damage?
<Nope. It's a sign of a dead fish. Haemoglobin, once blood flow and gill (or lung) ventilation stops, turns dark red.>
A photo of the dead fish is below. The 2nd fish was having the same symptoms as this poor fish. Will it die too?
<I hope not. Do see previous emails.>
Thank you.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

re: Help #3      9/21/14
Thank you so much for all your help Neal. All my remaining fish are hiding this morning. Do you think it is due to stress from the pond cleaning? The Shubunkin is still alive as well. Thank you.
<Most welcome and good luck. Neale.>
Help! #4 Update
I got an update for you on my sick Shubunkin. Found my poor Shubunkin dead today. It was up in one of the folds of EPDM liner I have in my pond.
<Oh dear!>
Looked like it had been there a day or two. The other fish seem healthy and active. I have 8 to 7 goldfish now. Hard lesson learned though. No overnight housing in a 50 gallon tank without aeration and filtration. Poor fish! :(
<Indeed. Good luck with the remaining fish/pond. Cheers, Neale.>

Golden Orfe       8/1/14
Hi I have a 200mm golden Orfe that has a bright red gill on the left side and a distorted mouth it looks like there in no skin over the gill see pic any ideas cheers Dave Beckett
<Either a genetic anomaly or resultant from a physical trauma. Both covered on WWM.
Bob Fenner>

Goldfish bloated, possibly dropsy.      8/1/14
Hello again crew! I wish I didn't have to write you but it seems one of my goldfish is sick. A few days ago I actually lost one of my goldfish to snapping turtle who forced his way under my 125gal ponds cover. I removed him but he had already bitten and killed one of my 7 year old goldfish. I had to net the remaining two fish out to remove the turtle and that's when I noticed one of my fish seemed swollen.
His name is Slim and he is an oddly shaped fish to begin with so I hadn't noticed the subtle change in his body shape. The ponds water reading are all fine (ammonia 0, nitrite 0)
<Nitrate? I'd bet this is sky high>
and the other fish is fine (the female who was killed by the turtle was healthy as well but her shorter fancier shape made her an easy target for the murderous turtle).
Does slim look swollen to you?
<Not terribly so; but... more than healthy>
I netted him out today to gently feel the area and the area around his vent felt very soft and pliable
like it maybe had liquid built up. He has no pineconing of the scales and he eats and poops just pine. Yesterday I fed him and the other fish a handful of peas and they ate and pooped them out easily. I'm
reluctant to stress him by trying medication as dropsy in all it's forms seems impossible to really cure. What would you guys suggest?
<That you read; re the use of Epsom:
P.S. My Betta with the strange protrusion I emailed you guys about a couple of weeks ago has recovered completely after having it removed!
Thank you guys so much for giving your opinion on his problems and giving me the courage to do what needed to be done with him!
<Ah, good. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish bloated, possibly dropsy.      8/3/14
Thank you for your response! I had read the page on Epsom salt and been worried that it would raise the ph and water hardness too much.
<Not likely issues>
Is it possible for water to be too hard for goldfish?
<Practically, no>
My water is extremely hard already the ph is 8.4 straight out of the tap
<So is ours here in San Diego... and I use it straight with goldfish>
and I have to really work at keeping my filters free of calcium and limescale build up. I had tested nitrate the day of the turtle attack and It had come out at 10.
I did not test it again today but I will as soon as I get off work. If I go the Epsom salt route I'll have to use a cattle feed tub as a make shift hospital tank because slim is too big for any of my regular aquariums.
Luckily I have the salt on hand so that's not an issue!
<Real good. Sorry for the delayed response. Bob Fenner>

Blue Orfe; disease       6/23/14
I recently lost a 20inch 30year old golden Orfe with a bad infection which was mainly internal but also showed up on it's Dorsal fin. Treatment of the pond on three occasions was in vain as we're salt treatments. I now have a blue Orfe with similar symptoms, only this started with a small red mark on it's body. This developed into what looked like a large red grape.
This has now turned into what I can only describe as a large red piece of meat sticking out from it's body. The infection has travelled internally down to it's tail fin and pine cone appearance has started from the mass down to it's tail. All pond treatments for parasites and bacteria have failed and I have just ordered some ulcer treatment.
<The only working remedy for this fish to try is antibiotic injection>

Can you please tell me if I am wasting my time and am on the wrong track.
Water condition is all good, it's a large pond with an air supply and good filtration. I have also put some 50 lbs of salt into the pond at half an ounce per gallon rate. When I did this the Orfe appeared to pick up and was swimming and eating ok but the fish has taken a turn for the worse and is just staying on the top. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<... You may well have to hire a veterinarian to assist your efforts here.
IF they can acquire Chloromycetin (succinate); I'd have them look at Ed Noga (Fish Disease; Diagnosis and Treatment) re SOP. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue Orfe    7/1/14

thanks for the info and suggestion, my apologies for the delay in responding. A few days after your mail the fish got really swollen and the infection was all over it's body. I felt that it was beyond saving and that it was better to put it out of it's misery. I appreciate your advice and help, and have in the past put fish to sleep and injected them in the area next to the Dorsal fin, but this fish was really sick in the last few days.
Perhaps I should have asked about it a lot earlier and it would have had a better chance of survival. Unfortunately I didn't expect a small red mark to develop as it did so quickly, but I will in future. I have treat the pond again for bacteria and will do so again in a few days. Thanks again,
<Thank you for this follow up Dave. There are some very "rapid onset" bacterial problems with coldwater fishes... Frightening. Bob Fenner>

Help with Koi with Dropsy... and use of antibiotics in ponds f'      10/22/13
As you can see... from my original message, in such a state... typed wrong e-mail address.  Thank you.
Hi, finny expert:
Not trying to be funny, actually I'm almost in a panic state. We've never had a problem with our Koi in 15 years! I have a Butterfly Koi that's approx. 14 years old that we've had in our pond almost since its inception.  Last Wednesday/Thursday/Friday I thought she was full of eggs, thought it odd, but with Koi I read on one of the fish websites that it's possible even here in Ohio.
<Mmm; not likely this time of year... too cold>
 No aquatic vets..._am in touch
with one in a close by city, but he hasn't gotten back to me.  Not my regular vet... is that why there is no sense of urgency.  He was formerly vet for one of the better known zoos in Ohio and has retired to private practice.  He's my only chance for "doctor advice"... other than you kind folks! _
Microbe-Lift pond expert has been very helpful.  An answer from a "not free" online service suggested Maracyn II which I am currently using. 
<... Erythromycin... for what? Dropsy? From what presumed cause/s? I'd simply use Epsom Salt>

Dropsy was diagnosed by them and Microbe-Lift expert.  The latter said that since Sunny's scales were in the pinecone stages, only on her bloated belly and not on her back, that it was bacterial Dropsy and treatment should proceed.
<... Might be bacteria involvement... But... the Mardel product... not a good, first choice... Was any sort of culture work done?>
 She is in only 21 gallons
<... a poor idea. Exceedingly. I would return this fish to larger quarters, as it will assuredly perish here>

of water in a tub in our basement right now, since Sunday afternoon.  I'm using the Maracyn II as directed. I've an air pump in there, testing... ammonia reading is 4.0,
<... deadly toxic. See above. MOVE this fish NOW>

after having done a 50% water change.  I added "Ammonia out" for aquariums and have not yet tested again.
<...  won't, WILL NOT remove the ongoing excreted and secreted ammonia>

 We're equipped for a pond, not aquarium setting.  We want to build her a larger area, with cement blocks and pond liner, but then need larger amounts of Maracyn 2... which is very expensive, even on Amazon, which I just checked.  Usage is 2 packets per every  10 gallons of water.  If we put her in a 60 - 100 gallon holding pond that would mean 12 - 20 packets per day for five days then repeat treatment for another five days.   I paid $25 at PetSmart for a 24 packet box... it's $11.50 for same at Amazon. But that would be a minimum of $12/day.  If there is nothing else, we will do it.  But if something better, we'll keep her in the 20 gal for five days and they transfer her.
<.... this fish won't live that long in this setting>
<I do know... See/Read on WWM re Pondfish health, dropsical conditions. You can/could administer an antibiotic to foods, inject... putting it in the water is of very small use/efficacy>
It states on Maracyn 2
<STOP. Don't treat w/ this further>

 package to finish treatment and not use any other antibiotics while using it.  Is there something I can purchase over the counter or obtain a veterinary script for?
Incidentally, if my dear Sunny is alive after being treated for 10 days with Maracyn 2... what then... another series of antibiotics? 
<... not if it were my fish. I would NOT put antibiotics, antimicrobials directly in the water... OF ALMOST NO USE>
My dear friend is also my vet but she knows absolutely nothing about fish.  She would write me any script I needed and there is a local Pharm that fills pet scripts... but we would need to know what... and if there is an alternative that I could substitute for the Maracyn 2 after we transfer her (we haven't built...  the larger pool yet) -- without killing her.
 My vet advised that I call OSU, their Vet Med or Zoology Dept but they offered nothing.  Since Sunday afternoon I've made 26 phone inquiries... all dead ended.  I want to move my girl to larger quarters  but can't afford to keep buying the packets of Maracyn 2 I would need to maintain a volume of say 60 - 100 gallons, which would be anywhere from 12 packets to 20 packets per day.  Sunny is two feet long and can't really move where she is.  I've put bacteria in but I know that has to seed.  I will try anything to try to save her.  Can you please help?
This morning her scales don't seem to be protruding as much... or am I seeing that I hope to see?  She is eating thawed frozen peas and her water temp is 70 degrees, whereas our pond is now 50 degrees outside.
_Do I start feeding her? _  I'm going to petstore as soon as they open to get a piece of tubing to get out the waste.  At least she is pooping.  Is that a good sign?  Our pond is pristine and all tests are perfect.  I'm just scared to death that this same bacteria will infect my other finny guys. I've been praying a lot.
Please help... I'd really appreciate it.  Thank you
ps  Am in this for the long haul... and am prepared to winter her in the basement so as not to stress her any more by putting her back in her home.
<Read on WWM... re MgSO4... return this fish to the main pond, treat the water there w/ this salt... IF your friend/vet wants to inject the fish, have her contact me directly (here). I do NOT want to encourage private individuals in such matters... Or have her read Ed Noga's work/tome re the same... Bob Fenner>
Re: Fwd: Help with Koi with Dropsy       10/30/13

Hi, Bob.
First, let me apologize for causing you to roar!  Wasn't aware of your credentials, and I don't and didn't last week have time to read your bio.  I'm sure by now you've become aware that I, too, say what's on my mind at any given moment.  BTW, I, too, have "credentials", which, in this instance, are totally useless. Yours are not.
Despite our valiant efforts, Sunny died Sunday morning.
 Vet came out and took fluids from her ab which were pinkish.  When lifted out of her hastily built hospital pond (150 gal) she had bloody red sores on sides.  These were not seen when she was under water. The culture he sent out returned yesterday which indicated "Infectious Periotonitis", 
I asked him whether bacterial or virtual and he said he suspected cause of condition was due to either kidney/renal failure, cancer, tumor, etc., and that this weakened condition caused Aeromonas as and his cousin Pseudomonas (please excuse spelling of both of them... am hurrying to get ready for work) ever present in our ponds to take over.  He didn't say this exactly 'cuz he never mentioned the a/p cousins...
those are my words.  He just indicated parasites or bad bacteria took over.  Then came even more advice.  I spoke to a gentlemen who is a well known fish breeder in the area and who was recently published in National Geographic and he said to either open up the pond again and heat if and treat it with Oxalic acid and feed MediKoi OR just watch the other fish in the pond.  There is NO WAY IN HELL I can heat this pond. 
Is my daddy Donald Trump????????????  Just frustrated and angry that there are SOOOOOOOOOO many opinions and suggestions out there... obviously fish husbandry is more complicated than human medicine,altho working parts are the same and equal the same sum.
<I would just observe... there are two "types" of these sorts of infections; acute and not... Read here:
I'm taking the advice of the Microbe-Lift expert and dosing the outside pond with Sabbactisun and Parazoryne, each for 10 days, to possibly keep the a/p cousins OFF my other fish.  Even though the directions say best used in temps @ least 70 degrees, she said to go ahead and use it... which I will, as soon as it gets here on Monday.  Like I said... I live in "Podunk" and nothing is readily available... maybe for aquariums, but not ponds.  The few pond shops that are available don't stock anything but standard pond supplies but then can order them.  Yea... so can I... taking the same length of time to get here.
So, now, after burying our girl, Sunny... I'm about out of gas mentally.  I just want to try to save my other fish and am prepared to bring them in if necessary.  But, 150 gallons can't accommodate everyone out there!  I'm just saying prayers to our Lord and St. Francis to intercede and protect them.
Then... there is the question of:  to salt or not to salt.  For 14 years we've kept a .01% salt solution in the pond.  That's what we were told at its inception.  I   questioned usage of salt for freshwater fish as I know there is salt naturally in water and was told... "who's the expert here?"  I let him live!  On a lighter note... since I did let you beat me up a bit... you must be a Scorpio or a Leo, right?
 I know it's not fashionable to talk about signs of the zodiac now... but some things are just inescapable! It kinda takes one to know one, I think... cuz I'm a Scorpio with rising sun in Leo.  If you're not close to the same... then my guess is a Gemini or Cancer.  How close am I?  You don't have to answer personal questions... but I usually don't take prisoners... and I don't think you do either.
Can you just please tell me I'm doing the right thing with 50 degree water temp out there and an aerator running for oxygen (air fork at surface) and a stock heater just for a hole for oxygen should the air fork fail for some reason.  I'm going ahead with the Sab and Para because something within me is saying that it's better than nothing and all herbal and won't hurt my fish.
<I would do nothing further this season... Stop feeding period... Do read the above article cited, the Related FAQs that are linked at top>
Thanks, Bob...and lighten up!
<? B>
Re: Fwd: Help with Koi with Dropsy... the end of dealing w/ nonsense       10/30/13

Gee, Bob... how could I possibly know, i.e., Stinger or Lion?  I guess
our supreme arrogance and feisty demeanor just can't be hidden under that
proverbial bushel!!!!
<... please go elsewhere>
Anyway, in my haste to write, I probably wasn't clear.  Our pond is shut
down for the season and I'm not now, nor will I be feeding!  The MediKoi
feed was in the event we had another incident and had to bring one of
our guys into the hospital pond. He said to raise temp, feed MediKoi and
also get Oxalic acid and to treat hospital pond.  After looking up that
little gem, there is no way on this earth I would attempt to use it
unless instructed by a professional, each and every step and with each
and every once.  I suppose I could have it on hand to use on an old
antique ice chest I inherited!

So, I also was told to do another water change and not to do another
water change.  What do you think?  I didn't take water temp today but a
week ago Sunday, when i first wrote, it was 50 degrees.  Our outside
temp is supposed to hit 65 here... just today and then gradually go down
to 47 high (weather temp)... so that outside water spigot is probably
running at about 50.  So, should I do a maybe 650 gal water change or
not?  I'm working now and I won't get home till tomorrow morning and my
husband refuses to do anything at the pond unless I'm there!  Duh!!!!
Water change or not... or literally... do nothing.

Also... I thought fish floated when they expired.  Sunny was at the very
bottom of her hospital pond.  I have only had goldfish and Bettas prior
to my koi and when they died they were floating.
Thanks, Barbi

Sick Oranda... "Pictures of Lilly made my life so wonderful...."      10/23/13
I have a small pond with 10 assorted goldfish and Koi.
<Not good to mix Nishikigoi with fancy goldfish... the former are much more eager eaters, bigger/stronger swimmers>

One of the Oranda is sick (Lilly). It looks like a swim bladder problem, but I'm not positive. She disappeared into the rocks over a month ago and just this past week reappeared, but unable to keep upright or swim to the surface.
She's not turning upside down, which is typical for swim bladder, but can't really swim and stays close to objects that will keep her steady.
I don't see how she getting any food. What should I do?
<... do you usually bring your goldfish indoors for the winter? I would...
IF the water temp. is below 55F. consistently I would cease feeding the Pondfish altogether. Please search/read on WWM re winter maintenance of ponds period. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Oranda      10/23/13

Thanks for answering. I don't bring the goldfish or Orandas in for the winter. They have survived three winters and are all very hardy. And even though the Orandas are slower eaters, they seem to be thriving (except Lilly). So, baring all that, is there anything I can do for Lilly?
<... Depends on what the actual cause/s may be here... water quality, nutrition, perhaps simply genetic. Have you searched WWM re? Read the survey articles on GF health? B>

Help with Koi with Dropsy... and use of antibiotics in ponds f'      10/22/13
As you can see... from my original message, in such a state... typed wrong e-mail address.  Thank you.
Hi, finny expert:
Not trying to be funny, actually I'm almost in a panic state. We've never had a problem with our Koi in 15 years! I have a Butterfly Koi that's approx. 14 years old that we've had in our pond almost since its inception.  Last Wednesday/Thursday/Friday I thought she was full of eggs, thought it odd, but with Koi I read on one of the fish websites that it's possible even here in Ohio.
<Mmm; not likely this time of year... too cold>
 No aquatic vets..._am in touch
with one in a close by city, but he hasn't gotten back to me.  Not my regular vet... is that why there is no sense of urgency.  He was formerly vet for one of the better known zoos in Ohio and has retired to private practice.  He's my only chance for "doctor advice"... other than you kind folks! _
Microbe-Lift pond expert has been very helpful.  An answer from a "not free" online service suggested Maracyn II which I am currently using. 
<... Erythromycin... for what? Dropsy? From what presumed cause/s? I'd simply use Epsom Salt>

Dropsy was diagnosed by them and Microbe-Lift expert.  The latter said that since Sunny's scales were in the pinecone stages, only on her bloated belly and not on her back, that it was bacterial Dropsy and treatment should proceed.
<... Might be bacteria involvement... But... the Mardel product... not a good, first choice... Was any sort of culture work done?>
 She is in only 21 gallons
<... a poor idea. Exceedingly. I would return this fish to larger quarters, as it will assuredly perish here>

of water in a tub in our basement right now, since Sunday afternoon.  I'm using the Maracyn II as directed. I've an air pump in there, testing... ammonia reading is 4.0,
<... deadly toxic. See above. MOVE this fish NOW>

after having done a 50% water change.  I added "Ammonia out" for aquariums and have not yet tested again.
<...  won't, WILL NOT remove the ongoing excreted and secreted ammonia>

 We're equipped for a pond, not aquarium setting.  We want to build her a larger area, with cement blocks and pond liner, but then need larger amounts of Maracyn 2... which is very expensive, even on Amazon, which I just checked.  Usage is 2 packets per every  10 gallons of water.  If we put her in a 60 - 100 gallon holding pond that would mean 12 - 20 packets per day for five days then repeat treatment for another five days.   I paid $25 at PetSmart for a 24 packet box... it's $11.50 for same at Amazon. But that would be a minimum of $12/day.  If there is nothing else, we will do it.  But if something better, we'll keep her in the 20 gal for five days and they transfer her.
<.... this fish won't live that long in this setting>
<I do know... See/Read on WWM re Pondfish health, dropsical conditions. You can/could administer an antibiotic to foods, inject... putting it in the water is of very small use/efficacy>
It states on Maracyn 2
<STOP. Don't treat w/ this further>

 package to finish treatment and not use any other antibiotics while using it.  Is there something I can purchase over the counter or obtain a veterinary script for?
Incidentally, if my dear Sunny is alive after being treated for 10 days with Maracyn 2... what then... another series of antibiotics? 
<... not if it were my fish. I would NOT put antibiotics, antimicrobials directly in the water... OF ALMOST NO USE>
My dear friend is also my vet but she knows absolutely nothing about fish.  She would write me any script I needed and there is a local Pharm that fills pet scripts... but we would need to know what... and if there is an alternative that I could substitute for the Maracyn 2 after we transfer her (we haven't built...  the larger pool yet) -- without killing her.
 My vet advised that I call OSU, their Vet Med or Zoology Dept but they offered nothing.  Since Sunday afternoon I've made 26 phone inquiries... all dead ended.  I want to move my girl to larger quarters  but can't afford to keep buying the packets of Maracyn 2 I would need to maintain a volume of say 60 - 100 gallons, which would be anywhere from 12 packets to 20 packets per day.  Sunny is two feet long and can't really move where she is.  I've put bacteria in but I know that has to seed.  I will try anything to try to save her.  Can you please help?
This morning her scales don't seem to be protruding as much... or am I seeing that I hope to see?  She is eating thawed frozen peas and her water temp is 70 degrees, whereas our pond is now 50 degrees outside.
_Do I start feeding her? _  I'm going to petstore as soon as they open to get a piece of tubing to get out the waste.  At least she is pooping.  Is that a good sign?  Our pond is pristine and all tests are perfect.  I'm just scared to death that this same bacteria will infect my other finny guys. I've been praying a lot.
Please help... I'd really appreciate it.  Thank you
ps  Am in this for the long haul... and am prepared to winter her in the basement so as not to stress her any more by putting her back in her home.
<Read on WWM... re MgSO4... return this fish to the main pond, treat the water there w/ this salt... IF your friend/vet wants to inject the fish, have her contact me directly (here). I do NOT want to encourage private individuals in such matters... Or have her read Ed Noga's work/tome re the same... Bob Fenner>
Re: Fwd: Help with Koi with Dropsy... learning... Misconceptions re salts, assignation, getting along      10/25/13

Well, Bob... learned lots with this fish in distress problem. First off... there wouldn't be enough Epsom Salt in this town to put a dent in my pond. 
<Oh, Barb... there likely IS plenty. This salt is sold widely in regular grocery stores and all pharmacy type outlets... And IS cheap as well as readily available>
Further, common sense would dictate to me that the last thing a bloated fish would need is more salt.
<Actually; the odd "thing" about common sense is that it's so often rare...>

 I fully realize that salt is regarded as a healing tool for fish...
<... Please see my biblio. on WWM. I taught H.S. level chem., physics and bio... salts are combinations of metals and nonmetals... And some have VERY different properties than "common" (here's that word again) NaCl>
 but not bloated ones when you don't know what is really going on. I had the good fortune to find a vet who, while doesn't specialize in fish, has worked on and performed surgery thereon.  He agreed to come out and do a house call.  My Sunny was, at this point, when taken from the water, bleeding through her scales.  He took fluid from her tummy, as much as she would tolerate and was sending the culture out for further diagnosis. 
<Ah good... am sure they will find Aeromonas, even Mycobacteria... but these could be secondary>
His "90-99%" sure professional diagnosis is cancer and/or tumor and said to just keep her comfortable.  Since my e-mail to you we built a quite nice 36" x 88" enclosure with cement blocks and a pond liner, with two air stones and aerator, the water is about 18" deep.  She is, as I write this, swimming hither and yon and seems content.  That is now my job... her comfort as she slips away.
<Do monitor nitrogenous aspects of water quality... and have new water ready for change out... Most such fishes die from simple ammonia poisoning>
I thank you for your expertise... but I think you have to count this one as a ZERO!
<...? BobF who wishes you "good luck">

Pregnant pond comet? Using WWM     8/17/13
My comet seems to have been swollen since last summer. She wobbles when she swims. Not sure if she is pregnant or something wrong with her. How can I tell
<... could be full of eggs, egg-bound, a tumour, fatty degeneration due to poor food/feeding... Search WWM w/ your string above and read. Bob Fenner>

Koi in pond    7/30/13
I searched your site but could not find any reference to my problem.  We have an outdoor artificial pond about 4000 gal with about 14 Koi (and just got a few babies!)  Today I noticed one of the Koi is having trouble swimming and it looks as if there is a kink in its tail just about where the body ends and the tail begins.  It is hiding and moving very slowly, and had difficulty going after Koi food.  Superficially it looks fine, normal color, fins are all there and undamaged, etc.  Honestly it looks to me similar to a dog or cat breaking their tail and it having a kink in it after healing.
<Happens; a few possible causes; most likely a physical trauma. As you state, the underlying bone/support broken. Can fix itself, but often the fish will be fine (survive) in any case>
Is this diagnostic of a disease or parasite?
<Not likely pathogenic>
 And if it is an "injury", do you have any idea how it could have occurred?
<Oh yes; jumping, swimming into something hard; possibly a predator jumping into the pond, biting it>
 I would be grateful for any insight you could provide.
Thank you,
<Unless there is evidence of "something" definitively wrong here, I would likely do nothing other than test water quality; keep up regular maintenance. Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi in pond    7/30/13

Thank you so much for your quick reply!  I was looking around on the internet and saw that sometimes electrical shock or lightning can cause tail kinking as well.
<Yes; but more than one fish is generally affected in these cases... Not hard to measure (simple low voltage multi-tester) for stray current... if you're concerned. And for browsers and GP (general practice, sorry); all electrics on ponds (pumps, lights...) of 120, 240 v should/must be wired through a GFCI>
 I will hope for the best. 
Thanks again :-)
<Ah, welcome. BobF>
Re: Koi in pond    7/30/13

Yes, we do have the GFCIs.  I appreciate your help.  Going down to just check the water chemistries now :-)
<Real good... Remember the mantra, "When, where in doubt, water changes!".
Cheers, BobF>

pond goldfish question     4/17/13
I have a 9 year old large garden pond goldfish who is laying on her side at the bottom of my pond.  If I move her she will swim for a minute and then float to the bottom.  She is not breathing through her mouth.  She does not appear to have external parasites or fungus.  My water condition has all tested within limits.
<Have you changed (a bunch) of the water recently? Has the weather changed a good deal? Your comet "may have swallowed a bug... At any length, there is really naught to "do" at this juncture. Do read here for more input:
and the linked files above>
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Comet with growth on fins    12/31/12
Dear WWM crew,
This comet has lived in my mum's 250l pond for around 10 years.  It is about 4 inches in body length and lives with, at any given time, a couple of other small goldfish.
It has had the pictured growth on its side fins for a few months. In that time, it has spread to both fins and increased in size. The fish swims and eats fine (and indeed, since I put my two fantails into the pond with the comet, someone has been spawning: we assume the comet was involved). It doesn't seem to be sick.
Do you have any idea what this could be and what, if anything, would you do?  I am wondering if its Lymphocystis?
<Mmm, other tumorous growth/s... can be trimmed, but I'd likely leave it alone. Read here re:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Re: Treating goldfish for ick and juvenile green frog   3/25/12
Thank you for your quick reply, Bob! 
<Welcome Ronna. BobF>

young fish acting crazy. Pond goldfish hlth. 11/26/11
Hello! We have an outdoor pond that is about 7 feet x 8 feet x 2.5 feet deep. It's about 2 years old, and has about a dozen goldfish in it, with over a dozen plants (including the ones in the "stream"). In the summer we keep lots of hyacinth and lettuce in there too, but those have all been removed for the winter. Snails appeared magically - we assume on a plant.
<Likely so>
About half of the fish in there are babies of varying ages. We haven't had any health issues in the past, but today one of the babies (probably about 5 months old) started acting crazy. He (or she) would swim like crazy wiggling frantically, shoot to the surface and come out of the water about 1/4 of his length, then go back to the bottom. He didn't come to eat earlier today, which we didn't find alarming. They don't all come every time, especially this time of year. All of the other fish are acting normally.
We've put this one in a container, and now he's just sitting there.
Should we keep him isolated?
<Better for this fish to be kept in the pond... more stable. IF there were a communicable issue, it's in the system already>
Surely he's too young for mating behavior? And he was never chasing or being chased...
Thanks for any advice you can give us!
<Perhaps a physical/neuronal injury... or genetic... I urge you to not be overly-concerned w/ this one fish's health. Bob Fenner>
Re: young fish acting crazy 11/26/11

Thank you so much!
He's being re-acclimatized now (if that's the term - his container is in the pond to equalize temperatures).
We'll release him later and hope he does OK.
<I as well. Cheers, BobF>

Sick Goldfish 6/12/11
I recently rescued some goldfish from a guy closing down his pond. I have a 500 gallon pond that I set up this spring. It has a 1000GPH pump and a bio falls, lots of plants and the water is very clear and tests normal for Nitrate, Nitrite, and the only "off" thing on the test strip is hard water. I have 9 fish in the pond all about 4-6 inches. The gold ones look great and seem to be thriving. I rescued a "white" goldfish that I thought had an orange mark on it's back'¦ Well the orange mark turned out to be a very large lesion and is now red (see attached pic). It's a long story but when I rescued the fish they guy said this one was marked like a Koi and because his water was so murky I couldn't see the problem until I got home and while I thought it looked strange it didn't look this bad until today when I saw one of the other fish eating what looked like fungus off of the fish's side.
I have since quarantined the fish and added Melafix per recommendation of a guy at Petco. He's now in a tub with an air stone and I'm monitoring the water. I went to a movie and when I came back all of the scales from the infected area are gone (floating in the water and I skimmed them out. The redness is diminished and he's still frisky and moving around but looks awful. He's in about 10 gallons of water and will flip around like crazy when I put the skimmer in to get rid of the shed scales...
I feel really bad for him and want to help. All of the info on the forums is interesting but I'm lost.
<Hello Ed. Your pond sounds about right for Goldfish, though I must make clear that 500 gallons isn't much when we're talking about ponds. It'd be fine for a small group of Goldfish, maybe half a dozen specimens initially (if they're happy, they'll breed) but I wouldn't keep Koi in there, or anything flighty like Orfe. Also, you comment that your water is hard -- that's fine! Like most Eurasian fish species, Goldfish not only thrive in hard water they prefer it to very soft water. I think it comes as a surprise to many aquarists that the hard, alkaline water common across much of Europe is actually harder and more alkaline than the African Rift Valley lakes! On the plus side, hard water ensures very stable water chemistry, which is important in ponds because pH tends to vary through the actions of organic decay and nitrate accumulation (which lower pH) and photosynthesis (which raises pH). Now, with all this said by way of preface, it isn't immediately obvious what your Goldfish is suffering from. My instinct is that this is some sort of bacterial septicaemia, in which case a strong course of antibiotics -- ideally, injected by a vet -- will be required. Treatment in a hospital tank is a good idea, and if you must use food-based antibiotics, do take care to provide the right dose. You may want to use a cocktail of antibiotics to handle both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria -- again, a vet will advise you here. A good many vets deal in pond fish these days, so if you can take this course of action, it's by far the best. Because your Goldfish is still active and feeding, there's a good chance he'll survive if treated promptly. As for Melafix, it is, at best, a topical antiseptic that you might use with success in situations where a fish has been damaged, e.g., through careless handling, but hasn't actually become sick. Once bacteria make their presence known, I don't consider Melafix to be a reliable cure. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Sick Goldfish 6/12/11
Thanks Neale, I did contact my vet but have not heard back yet. The fish is still swimming this morning so I think he's hanging on. I'll let you know what happens. Thanks again!
<Good luck! Neale.>

Multiple Bloated Goldfish 4/5/11
Hi there Bob/Sabrina/WWM Crew in general!
I am helping a neighbor of mine with an issue of multiple goldfish who are bloated.
They are in an outdoor pond, approximately 300 gallons.
I am unsure as to how large the pump is, but I am sure that it could have a better filtration system. It is a submersed box filter with sponges that is run to a fountain. There are 5 Veiltails, 2 Comets, and 1 Koi. The Koi is unaffected so far, as he was a gift from a friend who had to move. The veils and comets are the only fish who seem to be affected. I have read through your site extensively and it seems to be constipation, but from what I can find on your site this issue is in the case of one fish. I am dealing with
multiple fish with the same issue. The reason I believe it is constipation is the HIGH (47%) protein food
he has been using for who knows how long. But would this affect all of his fish? Or is it some other type of infection?
<It's almost assuredly the food>
I am considering an Epsom salt/water change treatment regimen along with a change to a diet that is lower in protein and higher in fiber. (I keep aquariums, and I have generally found that less is more.) How often should I change a portion of the water, and how much should I change each time?
<I'd change a good quarter a week>
I was thinking every 3 to 4 days, about 50 percent changed each time.
<Mmm, IF you can trust the source water, this should be fine>
I was going to do this for 3 to 4 weeks to see if there was any improvement. If this does not work, I have also read that Kanamycin in their food might be the next best route,
<I'd leave off with antibiotics here>
which, from what I have read and what my local fish store recommended, seems to be the best follow-up in the case the salt treatment is ineffective. Please let me know if you need any more information to help
get these guys back into shape, or whatever else you think the problem(s) might be.
Thank you for your time and help! We really appreciate it!
<The better, more appropriate food (perhaps some Anacharis/Egeria added to the system for a few reasons), and water changes, time going by will "do it" here. Bob Fenner>

Koi with Sudden symptoms. Please Help. -- 12/08/10
First of all I have 1 large 5-6 yr old Koi and 4 comet goldfish in a about 150 gallon pond.
<Mmm, small/unstable physically and chemically. Hopefully this volume is underground, near structure... discounting daily vacillation>
I may be 1-2 gallons off, but not more than that. This was a Koi we adopted from PetSmart due to the original owners moving and the humane society doing the adoption through them. We had to bring proof before
being given the Koi and already had the 4 comets in the pond and it was well cycled.
<Good move>
He has been in this pond for almost a year without a problem until tonight. All the fish have been eating less since it is the winter months and they are outside. I live in Yuma, AZ and the water has slowly and steadily been growing colder into December without problem. Everyone we have talked to and researched said it was normal for the comets and the Koi to have a decreased appetite or to completely stop eating.
<This is so>
They have been progressing through their hibernation modes as usual standards seem to be with less movement, sitting at the bottom more, decreased appetite. I check on the pond and all the inhabitants (there are some mystery snails also present before Koi was introduced) multiple times a day and so does my boyfriend. All day long the fish have been acting and looking normally. It was about 11:30pm AZ time when I lasted checked and everything was fine.
I went into my backyard and peered into the pond at 2:30 am and noticed that the comet goldfish are behaving and look normal on the outside. However, the Koi which normally has a fairly pristine white belly, appears to have a brownish color developing on his belly scales. There appears to be a small guppy-like tail-fin or worm-like thing slightly protruding from his mouth.
<I see this growth>
He is leaving his mouth wide open constantly now. And has sprouted a strange lump on his cheek that was not present earlier. When I mentioned this to my boyfriend he came and looked as well. He agreed that the Koi did not look like this earlier. He used the net to pull the comets to the surface for a close examination (they tend to hang close to the Koi wherever he roams in the pond, about 1-2 ft distance normally). None of the 4 comet goldfish were exhibiting any of the symptoms the Koi has suddenly shown.
I could not tell if it was actual scratching or if I just spooked him (we never put our hands in the pond unless absolutely necessary and only after being properly washed and dried), but when I got as close to the water as possible to examine him, he began erratically swimming around the pond and did rub the side of the pond, gravel, and log. I moved the pond plants to the shallower area in order to get some photos and examine all the inhabitants better. He doesn't act this way unless I get very close to the water's surface, but I do not generally get very close to them in order to watch them as naturally as possible.
The pond gets regular frequent water changes
<How much, how often?>
and a very large, mostly biologically driven filter which is carefully rinsed and I guess you could say "cleaned" on a very regular basis.
<Do you measure aspects of nitrogen cycling? Nitrate accumulation?>
I make sure to remove anything bad for the pond or fish and leave anything like the filter bacteria that clean the ammonia and excess waste from the water. My boyfriend and I made sure we knew what was good and bad water quality and filtering wise before adopting the Koi.
I am very worried because of the sudden and unusual symptoms that my Koi is displaying.
He had slightly bulging eyes for 1 day a couple weeks ago, but it was very slight and went away the same day. Currently, his eyes are normal size as well. As far as either of us can tell, his belly does not look extended or sunken in at all.
Also, I was not aware until a few moments ago when running around my house in a panic, looking for my camera, that my roommate had tossed his cichlid into the pond about 2 weeks ago.
<What species? What is the water temp.?>
He then informed me that it lived 2-3 days before dying while hiding within the hollow log the entire time and that he removed it as soon as he saw it floating (before I woke up that morning) and threw the fish away. Stating that his tank busted and he had no where else to put it. His cichlid was a healthy fish and had never displayed signs of illness or disease in the tank, but I don't know if it was for sure or if maybe the fish died inside the log and sat inside until being dislodged. There is no way to be sure, but the ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and pH have all remained normal and steady.
<Numbers please>
And when I say normal, all levels are at ideal values. My test kit says the pH is perfect, ammonia is between 0.00-0.25 ppm, nitrates = 0-5, and nitrites = 0.00-0.25 ppm. I performed the tests according to the booklets instructions included with the kit. The book also explains optimum levels for each part of the water quality and what each does in positive and negative ways in the pond, what the differing degrees of seriousness each value means, and a summary of how most normal ponds levels will spike and then regulate due to things like new fish or plants.
<Ah yes>
Our water is always extremely clear and there is enough good algae and "waste cleaners" to maintain that. I am hesitant to add any fish that may perform this job due to cold water adaptations the Koi and goldfish possess not common to other types of fish and the added stress on the pond with another fish. 1 Koi, 4 Comet goldfish, 6-7 variously colored Mystery Snails and about 5-6 Ghost shrimp cleaning the shallowest area. And the shrimp are closed in this shallow area by a large impasse of rocks that the water can flow through but the shrimp can't cross. They are in the area where the filtered water empties from the pipe into the water. This out of pond filter allows us to clean and inspect frequently, control the good bacteria, remove waste missed by the "cleaner" snails/shrimp, and due to original pond set-up difficulties, removed the need for us to reach into the water in order to fix the filter. This was done because we had problems
a) with keeping the in-pond filter from clogging, breaking, losing suction, etc (and we tried multiple filter systems before giving up) and b) we were worried that once we started adding the snails and goldfish that we might contaminate the water as this is a danger with our inside marine fish tank and the delicate puffers that occupy it. The pump used for the filter is said to pump at least 300+ gallons per hour. It goes through a pipe into a large bucket with filter bags, which can be removed separately for cleaning of wastes and excess bacteria if any. The bags are rinsed out with water I take from the pond and I make sure to do this 1-2 days before any water changes. This was the advice of the man who explained and sent us the designs for his filter and has used this filter successfully for over 20 years. He has been a neighbor since childhood and has since enclosed his pond due to insane grass and weed intrusions from neighboring fields to his house. He made, set-up, and instructed on how to properly care for and clean the system for the best pond environment.
Please help me in any way you can. This Koi is my baby and my joy. I know PetSmart can analyze a water sample for us once they open, but I am concerned because of some of the info on the "Koi ulcerative lesions" and "Mycobacteria" <Mycobacteria>
that whatever it may be might not show up in a water sample and Yuma does not have a vet that treats fish. This area is mainly a domesticated animal/livestock area.
Desperate for Info and Clues and located in a desert.....
PS. It took me forever to get a decent picture and I was sure they would help, especially with the mouth thing.
Please let me know if you need them closer or anything. I can try.
Sorry for the lighting. Its still dark so I had to use another light and try to get a good enough angle over the water to see through the glare and water ripples... Let's just say he did not like the unusual extra attention and began moving around a lot and kinda of shaking his head with that thing in his mouth stuck as far out as possible.
<Other than boosting this fish's immune system via supplements applied to the food, I would not do anything "overt" here. These sorts of tumorous growths are at times positively correlated with "poor water quality" aspects, but the fact that you have the stated snails and shrimp doing well negates this possibility. It may bring you solace to read here:
scroll down to the red tray, "pondfish disease"
Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi with Sudden symptoms. Please Help. 12/10/10
I have been keeping a close eye on him throughout the time since your speedy reply; about every 1-1.5 hours. (Thank you for the haste). He continued to display his mouth growth and shake his head as hard and quickly as possible from time to time until he finally settled for the night. He was still displaying all symptoms when I finally went to bed. However, when I woke up today and have checked all day frequently (usually about ever 2-4 hours throughout the day) and he has not shown any sign of the mouth growth at all. The discolored belly scales have returned to their normal pristine white and stayed that way. He only has that small lump left on his cheek and it has not changed at all.
<This is typical>
I was going to do a water change and make sure to "ground materials/pond bottom/rocks" after moving him to a safe area for the cleaning period, but I wanted to double check this with you since almost all
of his symptoms have disappeared just as suddenly it seems without any changes being made by me. I did not want to do any kind of treatment in the middle of the night at its coldest. We did nothing to remove or treat the mouth growth in any way either because Bob did not directly say to do so
<I would not do so>
and we did not want to harm the fish unintentionally or make anything worse.
All pond levels are still the same as when I first wrote the e-mail and I made sure to test a few times with at least a 12 hour interval between the first test from my first e-mail to the second one done on Wednesday. Also another at least 10 hours between that test and the one I did today. What could this mean?
<That the fish is rallying>
I just want to make sure he is actually doing better before assuming so or treating him for something he might have fought off himself.
Thanks again. This was an amazing help, especially with the mouth growth.
No information on what it could be anywhere on this site that I could find or through Google and yahoo search.
aka....baffled and unsure
<Such is life Paige. BobF>
Re: Koi with Sudden symptoms. Please Help. 12/10/10

Well thank you for at least explaining what was probably happening. I couldn't find anything about his mouth anywhere and started to panic.
<Ahh, I do apologize for not proffering more information, compassion here.
There is quite a body of (scientific) knowledge re virus, viral complaints of Cyprinus carpio and other economically important carps/cyprinids... And I have been "party to" a good deal of this literature as well as commercial efforts to curtail their spread. What you very likely have, are observing is one of these "pox's... It may well wax/wane, something like "warts" on human's hands. At any length, not to worry here. BobF>
Re: Koi with Sudden symptoms. Please Help. 12/11/10
Actually the Koi ended up spitting out the thing in his mouth.
<? Was this the markings showing on the outside as well?>
It looked like it was a fish that got caught and he managed to get it out so I removed it from the pond as soon as I saw it. Were not missing any fish though.
And you were awesome. You responded promptly and gave me good information I wasn't aware of. And thanks again you were a huge help.
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Koi with Sudden symptoms. Please Help. 12/13/10
Just the thing protruding from his mouth.
Paige Nicholls
<I see... the pix you sent in had growths on the outside:

Re: Carpal syndromes 11/17/10
Bob, would you like to read the epilogue? On 11/9, I could not see Gracie.
Plenty of hiding places; not necessarily meaningful. On the 12th, there was the smell of decay, though. Saturday the 13th was Fall maintenance day. The water lilies, bluebells and pickerel rush were cut back and sunk to the scoured bottom. That's when we found her, still alive, still pine-coned and discolored. I removed her to a bucket until I could prepare an aquarium for her. The following morning, she was gone. "Huh," I thought, "Something's quoted Douglas Adams' porpoises: 'So long, and thanks for all the fish!'"
I had some raking to do around the pond, and that's when I found her. Still alive!
Bleeding from at least one puncture. Right or wrong, I treated her as a lobster: head first in hot water.
Indeed, the other 13 are fine, unaffected.
<Thanks for this follow-up Max, and the "Hitchhiker's" ref. BobF>
Re: Carpal syndromes 11/18/10
I appreciate your counsel, Bob. Don't forget your towel!
<Never. B>

question on goldfish, pond, hlth. 11/17/10
I have a fish pond which is about 4000 gal. I had this pond for about 20 years, I have 70 gold fish now all from the off spring of 4. We have one gold fish which is about 4 years old and over the last 2 years it's stomach has gotten bigger and bigger. At first I thought it was eggs. But the other day it was having trouble swimming.
<Still could be... "egg-bound">
It was flipping over and upside down on the top of the pond. The fish was so blown up it looked like he was about to explode. His scales were all flat. I took a small needle and inserted it underneath him and clear water came out and some of the blot went down. What does that mean?
<Perhaps a tumour>
I took this fish out of the pond and put it in a holding tank in my house.
I just put 2" of water in the tank with a air stone. The reason I put this small amount of water is because the fish was all stressed out from trying to right it self. Now the fish looks less stressed and stays flat on the bottom. I added a little sea salt and some medication for fungus which covers swim bladder infections. I also added stress coat to the new water. It seems the past few days it has been able to swim better and looks better but still blown up. If this fish recovers from what ever it has, my question is can I put this fish back in the pond before the winter sets in.
<I'd wait...>
Right now the pond temperature is 42 degrees, in the next 3 to 4 weeks the pond should be frozen. Or should I try to keep the fish in house until the spring than put him back if he lives were would he have a better chance if he recovers. Thank you.
<Much better to house this fish in the house for the cold period. Bob Fenner>
Re: re: question on goldfish 11/17/10
I will do that and let you know if the fish recovers
<Thank you, BobF>

outdoor pond problem... reading 9/15/10
Thank you for this comprehensive website. I have a 15 gallon
<Really? Fifteen gallon? Like a volume that is 2 by 1 by 1 foot in size?>
outdoor Koi
<... Really? Koi carp?>
tank with several fish and some vegetation.
<How many? What types?>
I bought the house with the tank and fish already in place, so I do not know much about the specifics.
However, I do know the old owners had the tank for about 4 years before we bought the house. We live in Maryland and took over the tank last September and substituted the filter for a deicer in the winter. The fish lived through the winter and I was pleasantly surprised that they all made it!
I read online that I do not need to feed the Koi as everything they need is already in the tank so I didn't feed them all winter. In the spring I began feeding them about once a week but was told I actually don't need to feed them at all, so I stopped.
<Do have to be fed during warmer weather...>
They survived all spring and summer but just this week have started dying. In the spring/summer there were 2 babies born and those two are thriving. We started with 4 gold Koi and 1 black/grey Koi. The black/grey Koi disappeared a few times this summer, always reappearing, but now I haven't seen him/her for months. Then last week I found a dead gold Koi in the bottom of the tank :( I thought maybe it was
just time
<... no>
and didn't think much of it. Then today another very lethargic fish was laying at the bottom of the tank, I think s/he is still alive, but barely. I am down to the 2 babies and 2 adults, I want to keep them safe,
please help.
<? With what? Such a small volume cannot support this species... even if it were relatively stable, filtered... which it is not>
I am not sure how to test the water or even what to look for.
I don't know anything about maintaining a tank and thought it would just maintain itself... I am willing to put work into it, I just want to make sure more fish don't die. Thanks in advance for any help or info.
<Uhh, read here:
Bob Fenner>

dying Koi and goldfish - hope you can help... 9/13/10
Good day Bob and Crew,
My wonderful and generous and extravagant Husband built this pond for me as a birthday present last November. It's pretty amazing and I absolutely love it. It has aged and grown in nicely since this photo
was taken last March. We donated the female goldfish to friends and kept the Koi - the goldfish were a bit too fecund for the size of the pond. As to Koi, we had a total of eight. There are also three Plecostomus and a couple of Chinese algae eaters
<I'd ditch these>
and a slew of Japanese Trap Door Snails as well as a few Zebra Danios and Minnows to keep the
mosquitoes under control.
We achieved biological balance within five weeks of set up and haven't had a problem or any lost fish since inception. ...until about a month ago which is the reason for this email.
Background info first: the pond is about 1300 to 1400 gallons and has three distinct depth sections/areas. Each depth area has a large cap rock over it to offer protection for the fish from birds and too much sun. The pond measures 23' x 10' (inside measure) and depth is 4'6" in one area, 3' in the second, and 4' in the third. There are two bottom drains in the deepest sections at each end that both go through the Nexus Easy Pod filter (our pump is supposed to be able to handle a 4,000 to 5,000 gallon pond, I forget the size/name of it, sorry.) We also have a skimmer basket and a separate pump for it that feeds solely to
the round ball on the big rock in the center. We used a firestone (?) 25 year warranted liner specifically made for pond use and all silicones, foams, sealants, etc. were very specifically bought from pond supply houses (such as Webb's Water Gardens, etc) and rated for pond use. There is also a PondMaster UV sterilizer in the water return system as well with a brand new 40 watt bulb.
<So far... so good>
We test the water regularly and it always tests virtually perfect and it STILL does. Our ammonia is nil...
<Should/must be zip>
nitrate/nitrite levels as well... as I said; we achieved balance a long time ago. I don't know specific levels right now. I am at work. We are in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale area, agricultural zone 10, if that helps. The pond was very deliberately built 16" HAG (height above grade) so that water run-off from the yard would not carry pesticides or fertilizers into the pond and kill the fish.
For plants we have elephant ears (taro) in the waterfall box (not shown in this photo - they are now about 5' tall), water lilies, irises, dwarf white irises, Cabomba, Anacharis, and some other floating water lily type
plant with tiny papery white flowers whose name escapes me, and 6' to 7' tall papyrus by the turtle beach (the turtles got raccooned or birded a while ago). We do not have an excess of algae of any sort except on the waterfall and flat rock under the ball - which I clean off by hand weekly - it plucks easily.
As to our issue... about a month ago, I found a small dead goldfish (that one last fling all the girls had bore progeny!) I wasn't overly concerned. A few days later there was another listlessly floating (but not yet dead) 2" goldfish. Both were in the left side of the pond.
Again I didn't connect anything. I had been trying to cull the baby goldfish (I would rather cull a few babies that I'm not attached to than have them grow up and breed) and one night I was able to catch six 2" babies! Six of them! I am not that good. This was suspicious and alerted me that there might be a problem. They were a bit slower than usual. But for the next week... nothing. Testing water and... nothing.
Two weeks ago (perhaps two and a half weeks) I notice that Dr Grey (a 7" Koi) was listless and quite thin and in the left side of the pond. We fished him up to the surface - he did not fight at all - to get a good
look at him. Nothing. He looked fine. No fuzz, no bumps, no bruising, no scales (but I didn't think he was a scale-less Koi), VERY thin, no fight to him at all, no visible worms, gills look fine.
Found out that we have been having raccoons come to our pond at night.
Saw them one morning sitting on the same rock the cat is and playing the water coming out of the round rock. We are working on dissuading them from returning, but so far without much success. We will probably have to trap them.
<Mmm, maybe a shocking wire for a while...>
We also are having problems with Buffo toads. We remove and kill them when we find them as they are highly poisonous. Could raccoon urine or Buffo toad poisoning be affecting the water quality?
<The Bufos, yes>
About ten days ago, Dr Grey had a fairly severe outbreak of white fuzz on his tail fin to the point that the tail looked like it was rotting away. I started feeding him (and all the fish, of course) Medi-koi sinking fish food and I put a dose of Praziquantel in the pond. Figure the fuzz is probably fungus... there is a possibility he could have a parasitic worm of some sort (?).
<Doubtful... this all reads as "something" environmental>
Within three days, Dr Grey was gone, though in pieces on the big flat rock. Raccoons. Not a natural death, though he wasn't really far from it.
Last week, Sunrise (another Koi, 6") was swimming upside down near the bottom of the pond. Hubby came home at lunchtime and Sunrise was floating, dead. He says she had an empty stomach - and she, too, was very thin. Have not lost any fish since Sunrise, but still don't know why we lost the ones we did.
We also put in the turbo bubbler - I don't know how else to describe it - it is the one needed to flush the Nexus Easy Pod filter.
It is the size of a gallon of milk.
<... small>
It has four outlets and we put all four 6" disks in the pond at various locations, just in case there was something stagnant. I don't know, a dead toad, sitting trapped against a stone under a rock poisoning an area of the water. It's probably a dumb idea, but we couldn't think of what else to do. We also did a very very light potassium permanganate burn on the pond. Pot perm is a sterilizer and in very light quantities is fish and plant safe.
I will say that after we put in the bubbler, there was a light oil slick on the left side of the pond for about a day and a half, but nothing floated to the surface. Actually it wasn't quite an oil slick. There were tiny micro bubbles and when I tried to figure out what they were, I realized they were oily and would leave a slight oily sheen behind that dissipated very rapidly. We even took nets (and a hose) and tried to disturb the water in that section as well - and still nothing.
I realize this is a novel, hope that is helpful and not annoying... if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call.
Martina Robinson
<I do wish I had something, the "thing" definitive to relate to you here. I do not; other than the re-assertion that there is something amiss environmentally... Could be the toads... At any length, "the" or a thing to do would be to "step up" your water changing regimen... I'd flush a good 20-25% of the water out (from the bottom) every week... likely on Sunday... when you can and will be present, drinking your coffee, what have you... to dilute the effect/s of whatever this is, complex with new water ionic content... Mmm, what else? Nothing really comes to mind. I would not treat the water, fishes... I might cover/net the top to keep out the coons and toads. Bob Fenner>

sick/injured Koi 9/6/2010
We have a small (1100 gal) pond in our back yard we built two years ago.
I added 3 new fish at the beginning of summer (June). The plants are all doing well and the fish seem to enjoy them. The largest fish is maybe 15 inches.
There are three fish that we purchased when the pond went in and 2 more the following year...thou one is not a Koi, I really don't know what he is, but he's happy so he stays. We bought cheap fish from the pet store just in case there were problems. Well so far everything has gone well.
This past fall we overwintered the fish in the pond. In the spring, one of the fish from the first year had a ulcer which they seemed to have a little trouble with, but seemed to do ok and got over it...except that it still swam a little funny. This fish always fed more aggressively than the others and would jump and get crazy over the food, thou it was fine the rest of the time. It did not grow as fast as the other two, so I don't know if the feeding frenzy was because it needed more or what. In August it suddenly took a turn for the worse and has had all sorts of trouble swimming. We took it out of the pond to check it and it jumped out of my son's hands and hit the ground. We noticed blood immediately and put it in a 30 gal drum.
Not sure if the blood was caused by dropping the fish or by an ulcer, we kept her in the drum. Truthfully I did not
expect it to live thru the night. We added salt & Melafix
the drum and added salt to the pond
<And this>
...just in case. It has now been about a month and none of the other 8 fish have shown any signs of illness. We did notice another ulcer on this fishes side when we pulled it out, looked like a pencil eraser on the side of the fish. About the same size and very cylindrical. Since treating, this spot has gone away. However, most of this fishes tail is missing and still appears extremely bruised.
<I think you are right>
After a week of treatment I tried to put her back in the pond, but she seems to freak out in there swimming like crazy and not very well. So we put her back in the drum where she is MUCH calmer. I am really rather surprised this fish is still alive and I have no idea what is going on with it. I would have thought that if it was a disease instead of an injury the poor thing would have died by now, but it hasn't.
<Koi/Carp, Cyprinus carpio, even genetically bunk ones as this poor "butterfly" specimen, are>
I tried after a couple of weeks to reintroduce it to the pond, but today I noticed one of the other Koi come out of no where and knock the tar out of it so I removed it again and she now has her own 30 gal tank in the living room. Again, she seems much calmer on her own. My instinct a month ago was to euthanise her, but my kids throw a fit when I suggest it. So, does any one have ANY suggestions?
<Yes... this fish does appear to be both damaged, suffering from secondary (bacterial et al.) infection and to have a broken rear spine (likely from a physical trauma)... in such a small pond, it may well not "fit in"... The choice is up to you to find it other quarters or humanely euthanize it. Read here:
scroll down to Pond Fish Disease... Bob Fenner>
thanks in advance!! Dee

Re: sick/injured Koi 9/7/10
thank you for our reply!
<Welcome! BobF>

Koi with bent spine 8/1/10
Hi there,
<Hi Gemma,>
I have a Trigon 190 corner tank and have about 12 Koi in it of various sizes. I've kept the first 7 for about 3 years with only 1 fish dying throughout that time. My dad bought about 5 of the newest ones last year from the same specialist store he's used for years. They were very small at the time.
As soon as he brought them home I noticed that 2 of them (with almost identical coloring) had slightly curved spines which made their tails point towards to ceiling at 90 degree angles to their bodies. Over the past year
they have grown (although not a huge amount) and as a result their curved spine has become more noticeable. Until recently the 2 in question would simply wiggle to swim and seemed to cope no problem. They continued to eat and seem perfectly normal.
<That does sound like a birth defect. Or an injury early on.
Unfortunately when selective breeding for color, issues like this do show up.>
However over the past week the larger of the 2 has now started somersaulting and struggling to swim in a straight line without twisting, whirling or spinning upside down. He still eats (when he can flip, twist and roll his way to the pellets) but its very upsetting to see and I'm not sure if the kindest thing to do would be to put him out his misery (if he is suffering?).
<I've had similar issues, but with sideways bent tails.>
Is this a disease (even though the other "sibling" appears to be fine and all the other fish are fine too)? He is not showing any other symptoms which are attributed to Fish TB or anything. Could this be a consequence of
inbreeding? Will he live long if we let nature take its course, as he appears to be fine otherwise?
<I do not believe it to be a disease. What to do is up to you. In my experience they lived much longer than I would have hoped. Get a feeling for if the fish looks happy or not. If the fish is happy, just try and
keep him that way with good water quality and feeding. If not, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm >
Your advice would be much appreciated.
Kind regards
<Hope this helps, Scott T.>

Crooked Fantail tailfin, pond 7/2/10
I have pond goldfish, same ones for about 8 years. The past 2 months I have noticed the goldfish in the picture has a crooked tailfin. It obviously has trouble swimming but tries, eats and hangs out with the other fish. What might be the cause of this and is there any treatment?
<Hello Mike. This is most probably genetic, though backbone deformities can also be caused by vitamin deficiencies. <<or traumas. RMF>> In either case there's no treatment, and provided the fish is happy and feeding, I wouldn't worry unduly. He's obviously more vulnerable to predators, so that may be a factor, depending on where this pond is located. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Crooked Fantail tailfin 7/3/10
Thanks guys, yeah I hope he'll be alright and they are pretty predator savvy by this point. :)
<Cool. Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Pond... mortalities, reading -- 06/26/10
I have had a pond now for about 10 years and this year is the first year I have ever had any problems (other than blue heron problems) with it. I can't keep any fish alive. We live next to a lake and each year I fill my pond with lake water and I seem to have really good luck with it.
This year my fish just keep dying. I usually just get feeder goldfish because of the blue herons and I bring them inside for the winter, keeping them for years. The only thing different from previous years is I set a canna lily pot and an elephant ear pot in the water.
<What were these "potted" with?>
I have since removed them but the fish are still dropping off. Last year I made a bog with a pitcher plant and it did very well and didn't seem to affect the pond any. I'm now wondering if maybe this is a problem also.
<Not the plant/s, but the soil perhaps>
The fish seem to get a whitish coating near the back fin before they die.
I would like to know if I'm doing something wrong or have I just been getting bad fish.
<Highly likely something is amiss with the system, not the livestock>
I only get the cheap feeder fish
<These almost always have a plethora of health/parasite issues>
as it gets to expensive buying better fish to feed the herons.
<You should read on WWM re guarding against such predators:
and the linked FAQs file above>
The water in my pond also seems to be staying very clear which is unusual. Every year it gets some green algae but not this year. The weather is very unusual this year and I have been putting the clear water down to the weather. I really enjoy watching the fish in my pond and will be very disappointed if I can't keep any alive to watch.
Any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong?
<Yes... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdenvdisfaqs.htm
and all the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Koi - 5/22/10
Hello. I love your site. First, I wanted to say "Thank You!" for offering to help people who are having trouble with their beloved fish!
<A pleasure to share>
I live in New York. My fiancé© built me a pond about a year ago so I am a new pond owner. It is roughly 4,500 gallons (10 feet wide by 16 feet long by 4 to 5 feet deep). We have a massive water filtration system. We use an
upgraded vortex chamber (275 gallons) a 150 gallon cone brush chamber, and a 150 gallon biofilter chamber. I don't remember who makes the system, but a picture of a similar smaller system can be seen here:
hive%2FCyc2sys.JPG We have a waterfall, but have not turned it on yet. We also have a air stone in the pond. We have had a handful of rainy days in the past few weeks. Temperatures have been fluctuating. Nights from 35f-
65f days from 50f - 80f.
<I hope/trust temperatures do not drop to freezing there>
I have about 29 Koi that range in size from 1 inch to 24 inches. I have approximately 14 babies (under 2 inches), approximately 10 fish that are 6 inches or so, 1 Koi that is approximately 12 inches, 3 that are around 18
inches, and one that is about 24 inches.
About a month ago, a friend of mine gave me three Koi (1 12 inch Shusui, a 18 inch white butterfly Koi with a black stripe down her back, and a 24 inch butterfly Koi that is mostly black and orange with a little white).
<Mmmm, I'll comment that you'd do well to quarantine any new additions... there are a few "stock" transmittable diseases of Koi about>
I was not aware of how big they were at the time I agreed to accept them.
The Koi were in big Tupperware containers and were driven about 20 min.s or so to my house in a small amount of water. Due to the stress the fish underwent, lack of supplies (i.e. quarantine tank large enough to hold one let alone all of the Koi that size), and lack of oxygen, the fish were directly placed into the pond. (I was not happy to do this since everything I have read has told me not to-but I was outnumbered and felt I had no other choice). The fish actually seemed okay. As soon as they entered the pond they started schooling with the original fish. We tested the water difference between the two ponds. We had a higher pH (7.5) to her 7.0. We had less
phosphate than she did. Our Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels were the same (0).
Only my 3 new fish appear to be sick.
The white Koi's fins had started to have a pink tinge to them. We added Pond Care's Stress Coat.
<Mmm, I wouldn't do this>
Her fins actually turned more red. Now, they are still streaked red and one of them has what appears to be a small ulcer/tear? Up until this week, she was swimming with the others. Now, she is still eating, but stays mostly by herself by the side of the wall near to the water return except for when it is feeding time.
The Shusui Koi has some small amount of red streaking on its fins, but only a little bit.
The biggest Koi (orange, black, and white butterfly 24 inches) is not doing well at all. When we originally got the Koi, it was missing a few scales but it looked okay. The fish has seemed healthy and happy, swimming energetically until recently. On Thursday, we realized something was very wrong. We actually thought it was dead last week when we found it resting on the bottom of the pond. It didn't move until we went to scoop it out of the pond with a net. Then it sped off and started swimming around like it was fine. This week, we have noticed its skin has developed a white/grey tinge and its fins look like they are deteriorating. There is white film hanging off of the fins and it has some algae growing. The fish is often found resting now. It is still eating and swims ( a little funny) around
when we come up to the pond to feed the fish.
We called a few Koi vets, but they are way out of our price range (i.e.: $420 to just look at the fish and test the water)
So we have been trying to research what we could do to help these fish. We read that adding the stress coat can actually hurt the fish
(buildup on gills making it harder for them to breathe) so we have not added any more of this to the pond. We also read that salt was good to add so we are slowly adding pond salt to the pond. We use Morton's Pond Salt.
directions say to add 1 cup per 100 gallons so we added only 5 cups. We weren't sure if we should add the rest of the salt all at once or if it would hurt the fish so that is why we have been adding some of it slowly.
We also weren't sure of the water changing requirements after creating such salty water. I read somewhere that you could keep 3 % salt for 21 days and then do a 50 % water change a few times.... But I am afraid all of this
could drastically affect my other fish that are currently fine.
I really don't want the fish to die! I have added pictures of the Koi. I really hope you could help us and our beloved fish!
<At this point/juncture, there is scarcely any further harm that can/will be done by leaving these Blue Ridge Fisheries butterfly Koi in place... the markings you describe are/were most likely resultant from stress and your
treatment thus far. I would not add more salt or any other treatment... instead just stay observant, remove any fish that perish. Bob Fenner>

Re: sick Koi update 5/23/10
Thanks for your help. I was able to find a professional pond man who would look at my fish for $50. He sedated the fish and was able to show me the damage under the fish's body. He explained that the fish has a severe
internal bacterial infection and took scrapings and a sampling of her stool.
When he studied them under the microscope he found (and showed me) skin flukes, Ich (he said it wasn't the type that was white, it was the type that lives inside the body?) and a few Chilodonella (spelling?).
<Mmm... a host of troubles, which could/would have been dealt with through quarantine/isolation and treatment ahead of introducing these fish... as you and I know... But I see below a plan of action to deal with>
He has me treating my pond with 50 g Praziquantel, 50 g KMN04,
<Do be VERY careful with this amount of Potassium Permanganate, KMnO3 likely... this compound is a powerful oxidizer... and can easily burn, and kill fishes, invertebrates, even plants>
100# salt and 1 qt Hydrogen Peroxide for this week, 50 g KMN04, and 75# salt and 1 qt Hydrogen Peroxide next week and then Medicated Koi food. We are to do a 50 % water change on 21 day and another 50 % water change a week from that. He also recommended that I buy medicated food. I bought 3#.
I got home and tried to look up some of the medicated food online so I can replace it when I run
out, but I wasn't sure which one to get.
<Mmm, medicated for what? The Prazi is for the flukes (Trematodes) and the Protozoan is likely being treated with the Permanganate... Are you looking to add Metronidazole here? If so, it can be purchased as a powder and mixed
in... Please read here for details re making your own medicated food/s for Pondfish: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm
His are unlabeled. They sink to the bottom. Do you have any idea of what type of medicated food I can give them when they run out? He didn't tell me what brand it is and it was $50 for a 3 # bag. Also, is this treatment going to hurt my biofiltration system?
<It could well do so... depending on admin., what is in the med. food>
Is there something I can/should use like microbe-lift to increase the beneficial bacteria since the KMN04 is an oxidizer? (I was told conflicting report of whether oxidizers kill beneficial bacteria)
<They can kill everything... You may want to read re RedOx measure, implications>
Thank you again for your help!
<Welcome. BobF>

Goldfish in pond - possible Finrot? 4/21/10
Hello, Crew!
It's early spring in Northeast Ohio, and my pond has started to come out of winter hibernation. I have approximately a 500 gallon pond that is almost 2 years old with a mixture of different varieties of goldfish. One of my larger (6 in.) comets has some black "speckles" on his head and his tail seems to be slowly deteriorating.
<Can't make out much from your small, blurry pix... but these markings are likely from "stress" from winter... and this pond... How warm is the water now? Does the weather get to freezing where you are? This pond may be such
a small volume that it vacillates too greatly in temp., water quality en toto>
The tail is not frayed and there is no redness, but it is about 1/2 inch shorter than it was 2 weeks ago with a white edge (see picture). He is acting fine (swimming, eating, etc.), and all of the other fish are showing no similar symptoms. I test my water on a regular basis, the readings yesterday were as follows: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, 8.6 ph during the day.
As a note, my ph has always been this high during the day. Do you believe this is Finrot?
<If so, the "cause" is what needs to be addressed>
What are the black speckles on his head? I know sometimes ammonia burn can cause some black spots, but my ammonia has never been more than 0. If it is indeed Finrot, do I need to treat the whole pond? I do not have a
hospital tank indoors.
<I would not treat, nor move these fish>
Thank you so very much for your time and advice,
<Likely improving weather will find these fish curing. Please read here:
and the linked files above, and here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish (RMF?) <<Agreed>> -- 4/12/10
I have a goldfish in a 200 gallon pond with 10 other small gold fish about 5" long. They are all doing great except one. He has one wart like looking thing on his tailfin and one small one on his body. He doesn't swim much or eat lately. He sits on the side of the pre-fab pond liner and kind of leans to one side. I checked the water and the numbers are all good.
The other fish look great it is just him. I did use Melafix in the water thinking it was fin/tail rot. What can I do for him.
Thank you,
<Hello Cindy. Without a photo it's difficult to know what's the deal here, but my guess would be Fish Pox. This looks like blobs of molten candle wax.
It's a viral infection and cannot be treated. The good news is it eventually gets better by itself. The bad news is that it only occurs where fish have been stressed one way or another, so you do want to check water quality and water chemistry. Ponds are particularly prone to pH drops if overstocked and not receiving adequate water changes to top up the carbonate hardness. The same environmental issue that allowed Fish Pox to get established could be the same thing that's making him lethargic.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish (RMF?) 4/15/10
Thank you so much for replying. Sorry to say, Penny did not make it. Thank you again,
<Too bad. Unlikely to have been Fish Pox then, so do review water conditions, accessibility of the pond to predators, and potential toxins such as pesticide sprays. Many pond fish die because of rapid/sudden pH changes, so do make sure the pond has sufficient carbonate hardness.
Goldfish are happiest at about pH 7.5, but ponds naturally tend to become acidic over time, especially if there's a lot of dead leaves and such at the bottom. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish (RMF?) <<Not a goldfish!>> 4/16/10
Thank you for the information. I will definitely test the water conditions.
<Happy to help. Do have a read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

ORF BENT 3/28/10
Hello, I have a good sized outdoor pond with filters running all year round, 4 years old, clear clean water, plenty of plants ( including the horrid blanket weed fished out once a month or so).........Started off with 4 healthy goldfish, now there's about 14.......And 4 golden orf, 2 of these went missing possibly a heron........Just 2 orf left....One healthy has grown to about 14 inches call him 'Moby' as he's massive compared to goldfish.....The other ones body started to round of the second year and now in the fourth year is completely bent he is almost an 'L' shape...................... I call him 'bendy'......... He eats, he swims about which looks very much a struggle for him............(They are both very skittish compared to the goldfish)........I just hope he is in no pain..........Is he ok just to leave like this and let him?? Just get on with things as he has been doing???? Or is there anything I can do for him
please.?? I appreciate any reply, thank you. Julie
<Hello Julie. Orfe, Leuciscus idus, are only fair to middling pond fish and rather more difficult to keep than Goldfish or Koi. They need fast-flowing, oxygen-rich water and are prone to jumping. They're easily alarmed if the
pond is too shallow or small for them to feel secure. You really do need at least six specimens for them to do well, and it's notable that while your Goldfish have multiplied, your Orfe have died off for one reason or another. What I'm saying is that these are fish that require some care, and can't be treated in the same way as Goldfish or even Koi. Crooked backs can mean one of four things. Firstly, poor genes. That'll be obvious from day one, and if this Orfe was a good size and shape when you bought him, then this isn't the issue here. The second reason is physical damage, and in the case of Orfe, throwing themselves against solid objects is not beyond the realms of possibility. The third reason is malnutrition, but this would have to be pretty severe and unless you were using the cheapest possible pellets isn't very likely. Orfe are somewhat carnivorous in the wild, feeding on insects and suchlike, so their diet needs to be fairly rich. But a good quality pond fish pellet should be adequate. The fourth and BY FAR the most common reason Orfe become deformed is the pond is too small. What you think is a good sized pond may not be what an Orfe thinks is a good size pond! Realistically, you need a 7500 litres/2000 gallons to keep Orfe
successfully. Such a pond would need to be at least 5 metres/15 feet long and not less than 1 metre/3 feet deep. Orfe are big fish, as you've seen, with an average length of 45 cm/18 inches in captivity, and quite a bit more than that in the wild. They are also fast, active swimmers completely unlike the lazy bottom feeders that are Goldfish and Koi. Provided the "bent" Orfe can feed normally, no, he's not in any pain and there's no need to euthanise him. But he is a clear sign something is amiss with this pond, at least in terms of maintaining Orfe, so you should reflect on that and act accordingly. One last thing. Please don't send messages in ALL CAPITALS next time. Re-typing your message into a form I (and visitors to this site) can read without doing my (their) head in took some time, and on a Sunday, when the clocks have gone forward and I'm feeling robbed because of it, well, that's just not nice. Normally we bounce back messages written this way, so please don't do it again. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: ORF BENT -- 3/31/10
Hi Neale,
Reply really appreciated, thanks very much,
<You are welcome.>
after taking in what you have said I think the possibility that Bendy the Orfe damaged himself possibly by leaping, jumping and throwing himself about as they do. I guess I come to this conclusion because his friend Moby is so
fit. Cos the pond is 3 meter by 2.5 meters across and a meter deep in center,
<Probably too small for Orfe, unfortunately.>
has a water fall and fountain meaning plenty of oxygen all year round. Also 2 foot of the pond has a deck area overhanging over it, which they go under out of harms way.
<Again, a potential hazard for these jumpy fish.>
They are used to me and come to me to be fed although as an Orfe they are still jumpy. They are fed March to October with good pellets and flakes and also live food in summer, pretty soon all the frogs-spawn will hatch and no doubt they will feast on tadpoles, because suddenly this year 4 frogs have made themselves at home.
So Bendy I hope although a disabled fish I hope is having a good life I will keep an eye on him..........once again thanks Neale I have enjoyed looking at your site and reading all the information, my hobby has become my pond and fish I love them.
<Very good.>
<Enjoy your fishkeeping. Cheers, Neale.>

Koi With Eggs in Fall 12/12/09
I have a koi (approximately 16" long) filled with eggs. The temperature has dropped dramatically in the past few days, and all the fish including this female have settled to the bottom of the pond. Is there anything I should do about this fish.
<Mmm, no. Leave it be as it is. Likely the eggs will be resorbed... Moving this fish, manipulating its environment at this time of year will only harm it>
This is my fourth year with this pond, and this has never happened before. They have always spawned in the spring/summer. Thanks for advice.
<Perhaps more evidence of change/s in our weather. Peace to you (and the world). Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi With Eggs in Fall 12/13/09
Thanks for your advice. That is my plan; hopefully, she will be fine. As you say....Peace!
<Have occasioned this first and other hand on several occasions. Keeping all... the fish/es, system in status quo, allowing time is prudent. Cheers, BobF>

Swim Bladder Disease in Koi
<Hello Don,>
I have a rather large Koi...approximately 18 inches long, and around 4 pounds in weight.
<Good size.>
He appears to have swim bladder disease and can use some help. I have read several articles about this over the past 4-5 days and still remain confused about what I can do to try and bring him out of this.
<Hmm... do understand that most swim bladder disorders (I don't like the word "disease" in this context) are more to do with other issues, particularly constipation. See here:
He began irregular swimming about 5-6 days ago. I live in an area where the outside temperature has been fluctuating ranging from moderately cool nights 40's and 50's to warmer daytime temps in the 50's to low 70's.
<Take care not feed these fish while it's cold; here in England at least, Koi aren't fed between late October and the beginning of March.
Temperatures below 10 C (about 50 F) prevent their digestive systems from working properly, and any food in the gut rots and promotes the growth of bacteria.>
My pond has been established for 8 years, and I have never lost a fish.
The other 5 fish in the pond are smaller, no larger than 9-10 inches in length and no more than 1 pound in weight. None of the smaller fish are experiencing any problems.
<May be a clue... bigger fish eat more, have longer digestive tracts, are perhaps more sensitive to water temperature/digestion issues?>
On the warmer days, I have lightly fed the fish (a high quality Koi staple food), but not on a daily basis.
Over the past few days, the evening temps have fallen into the high 30's, but still warming during the daytime into the 60's on occasion.
<Much too cold for feeding.>
With the exception of an elevated Ph level, all water conditions are excellent. I have slowly reduced the Ph level to normal about 6.4.
<That's actually pretty low for carp. A neutral to basic pH is optimal; aim for 7.5.>
I have also been treating the pond with Tetra Pond Treatment which contains Quinine Hydrochloride.
<Do be careful not to use a "scattergun" approach: medications are poisons, and if used without reason, can end up causing even more problems. Always identify the problem first, and then medicate. Medicating first, and hoping that cures something tends not to be a viable approach.>
I am not sure that my Koi is not simply constipated or really does have swim bladder disease, and I realize from reading it isn't always easy to distinguish one from the other.
<Quite so; but if the fish is defecating (easiest seen in a holding tank) then constipation is unlikely.>
My fish has a swollen abdomen, and there are some slight areas of blood streaks on the swollen area, and also on one dorsal fin.
<Ah, I see. Again, cold can cause problems, especially if you have any water features running (these cool the water further). Frost damage in the fins leads to inflammation and eventually Finrot-type infections.>
He remains mostly laying on his side and does not move much at all.
He has not been feed for the last 5 days, and I have to tried to get him to eat any peas, which I understand could relieve the constipation, if that is the problem.
<Do also add Epsom salt to the water, as indicated in the above article and associated FAQ. Epsom salt relaxes the muscles, allowing blockages to pass out more easily. Possibly easier to do if the fish can be moved to an aquarium or holding tank.>
Is there a water treatment I can try that may kill a bacteria infection, if that is what is causing the problem.
<Generally, adding antibiotics to ponds isn't practical or especially effective. There's just too much "ecology" going on there for such drugs to work. Antibiotic foods can be better, since they're going into the fish, but for things as big (and as valuable!) as Koi you need a vet to comment on this. He/she will either calculate the appropriate food dosage, or else inject the fish directly. If there is one fish on the planet that veterinarian science has a good handle on, it's the Koi, so finding a vet able to do this shouldn't be too hard.>
Something that I can use in the pond along with the other fish?? I do not have a hospital tank (but could set up something if it may help). Also, with a hospital tank, how much trouble will this cause give the change in water temp.
<Don't expose the fish to massive temperature changes, but by all means fill the tank with water from the pond, and let it warm up slowly as needs be.>
The pond water temp has to be around the mid to high 40's or low 50's at this point, and I don't want to traumatize the fish with a large temp change to warmer water.
Any assistance you can give me with this would be greatly appreciated, as I do not want to lose my prize Koi.
<I bet. These are lovely fish, and worth going the extra mile for.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Swim Bladder Disease in Koi (RMF?)<<You're spot on>> - 11/07/09

Thanks so much for the reply.
<My pleasure.>
I agree that "disorder" is a better term when talking about swim bladder issues. Your comments have caused me to think more about my Koi's problem.
<Very good.>
I realize there are a number is things that can cause the swim bladder to malfunction, such as constipation, a tumor, a bacterial infection, injury, genetic defect, just to name the most obvious.
<Indeed. A vet can narrow these down some more, but from my vantage point on the other side of the Atlantic from you, the best I can do is mention some of the possibilities.>
I have to some degree examined my Koi's abdomen and it feels pliable, no hard spots that may indicate some sort of injury or tumor.
<That's good to know.>
I believe I am ruling out a bacterial infection, since the other fish in the pond show no signs of any issues.
<Hmm... would be careful about this. Genetic variation in fish, as in humans, does affect predisposition to disease.>
Unless the large one's immune system was somehow depleted, I would think if it is bacterial, viral, or some other organism causing the problem, the other fish would also be effected.
<Perhaps. Broadly, yes, it's true that if water quality was bad, several fish would show signs of a suppressed immune system (e.g., Finrot). But this doesn't have to be the case.>
I have also looked at some different pictures of examples of Dropsy....and my Koi doesn't look like any that I have seen. There is no overall swelling of the body, and only a very few scales that are slightly protruding on his abdomen where the swelling is located, but not to any degree it gives the appearance of Dropsy.
<This is also good news. Dropsy tends to be difficult to treat, since by the time it appears (it's a symptom rather than a disease) whatever disease is at work has progressed a very long way. Again, vets can help, particularly where Koi are concerned since they're big enough to treat. But even with Koi, the prognosis is mixed, at best.>
This brings me back to the constipation, and since I had given then food during more colder weather than I normally do (on those warm days) when they were swimming around giving me that look like, don't just stand there give us a bite to eat!!
<Resist! Or at least, provide high-fibre foods that'll get shifted through the gut quickly. Plant material is the obvious thing, and a clump of Elodea thrown into the pond would make a find snack for them.>
If I create a hospital tank using the colder pond water...would it be ok to bring in side and allow to warm to room temp?
<Yes, this is fine. Do put the tank somewhere cold though, like a garage, shed or basement. Or even an unheated spare bedroom (which is where, funnily enough, I overwinter my carnivorous plants that, like Koi, need a cool winter).>
Or should I be more gradual than that?
<The more gradual the better, but don't get paranoid about this. Provided filtration and if necessary aeration are adequate to the size of the fish and the aquarium being used, Koi handle this sort of thing just fine.>
I will have to figure something out as far as filtration and circulation....and I think I have enough resources to get the proper amount of Epsom salt in the water.
<You certainly can add Epsom salt to ponds, but you'd need an awful lot, and getting it out again afterwards would mean changing all the water, and that really isn't practical with most ponds. That's why it's better to do this using by moving the fish to a hospital tank. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Swim Bladder Disease in Koi 11/10/09
Thanks again for all of your help.
<Happy to help.>
Unfortunately I lost my big guy last night.
<That's too bad.>
I did get him in a hospital tank over the weekend, set up with aeration and filtration and a heater...but I guess I was too late, or it was something that just wasn't going to be cured with the resources I had and my level of knowledge. I am just glad I gave it my best shot!
<Indeed, sounds like you did.>
Thanks again, and I truly appreciate all of your assistance!!
<Good luck with your remaining fish! Cheers, Neale.>

Koi with bent tails 10/29/09
hi, i am looking for help with koi with bent tails. we had 1 fish that developed a bent tail, gradually over period of 2 month became severely bent. Eventually this affected his ability to swim upright!! He would
lodge himself between pond liner, in order to stay upright, or else he would mainly flap about trying to correct himself. We have since humanly put him out of his misery (2 wks ago) now i have noticed 2 more fish who have developed this same problem, tail only slightly bent right now, but this is how it started with other fish. Any help on this would be appreciated,
Kind regards, Gilly
<Hello Gilly. It's quite common for fish to be born with bent spines, and good breeders cull deformed fish long before the fish are sent to the shops. But for fish to develop bent spines once mature, that's a whole
other thing. It's typically caused by some problem in terms of maintenance.
The most common reasons are physical injury, dietary shortcomings, poor water quality, and certain (apparently Mycobacterium spp.) infections. I'd consider each of these in turn. Koi aren't likely to physically damage themselves given a sufficiently large pond since they aren't that active, and this is more of a thing with, for example, Orfe, which tend to be skittish and prone to flying into things. Dietary shortcomings are a real problem with Koi because they need a very carefully balanced diet with lots of green foods, or at least processed foods based on plant material.
They're acutely sensitive to Vitamin C deficiency. A key problem here is that Vitamin C isn't stable, and if you buy a big tub of Koi pellets, over time, once open to the air, the vitamin content can drop alarmingly. A vet can help by administering vitamin booster shots, but it's better to avoid this problem by regularly augmenting the diet of your fish with some fresh green foods, such as cheap pond plants or certain green foods from the kitchen. Poor water quality is another major problem with Koi. While their ancestors are famously tough, Koi are so inbred that they're astonishingly
sensitive to non-zero nitrite/ammonia levels, and continual exposure to high nitrate levels will do them harm as well. Check the filter is doing its job, and double-check you aren't overfeeding and that the pond isn't
overstocked. Finally, bacterial infections. These will almost always be triggered by some kind of problem in terms of care, so while bacterial infections might shift the immediate cause in a different direction, the
ultimate cause is still likely to be down to injury, diet, or water quality. There isn't much you can do about Mycobacterium infections using off-the-shelf medications, even antibiotics, and you will need a vet to
diagnose such a problem and devise an appropriate treatment. Do deformities heal themselves? Generally not, but if the deformity is slight, the fish may adapt, and as it grows, the problem will be less noticeable. Again, a vet will probably be the best person to balance the severity of the deformity against the quality of life. If conditions in the pond can be improved, there's no reason to kill a Koi with a mild deformity. Indeed,
some people learn to love such oddball specimens! But still, it's something to avoid, and you want to think long and hard about what's wrong in the pond such that you've had to deal with at least three deformed fish.
Cheers, Neale.>

Koi problem... reading 10/20/2009
I have a 2-year old koi in our pond that has developed a problem. I had put leaf mesh over the top of the pond, and the next day found the two koi on top of the mesh. Mr. Big, the older of the two koi, is fine. Carmen, is not.
Today she was swimming on her side or upside down. Is it bloat?
<... a term w/o a specific cause... A symptom>
The pond is 120 gallons, and we have a heater. I'm hoping that we aren't going to lose her.
<This volume is too small to keep Nishikigoi>
Would putting Epsom salts in the pond hurt? There are other fish in the pond as well - 4 comets.
<... not a good idea to mix...>
Thanks for any help you can give me!
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Koi, hlth. 10/15/09
I have a pond about 1/3 acre and have had koi for many years. I lost one this
summer, and found one dying this morning. it had a swollen stomach, blisters on its side, it back was arched from swollen stomach. its anal port was swollen and popped out about the size of a silver dollar. would you know what may have caused this?
Wade graham
Canton, pa.
<Frightening for sure... there are a few possibilities here... leading likely to bacterial involvement. Have you had a change in the operation of the pond in recent times? An influx of water, some spraying of pesticide
nearby? How do the rest of the livestock there look? Please see here re Aeromonads: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm
and the linked article linked above re pond fish/koi disease.
Bob Fenner>

re: Koi, hlth. 10/16/09
Thank you for responding, the only thing is we had to disturb the pond and had a backhoe dig out part of bottom in the water to fix a leak. maybe that was enough to cause damage, I see a little hydraulic residue on the water when it was done.
<It might well be that this is the cause Wade, or at least a contributor... Best to overfill the basin to float off any "residue", keep whatever aerator/aerating mechanism going continuously (e.g. a destratifier). BobF>
re: Koi
Here are some pictures that might help. thanks
<Mmm... these non-emarginated sores do look like Aeromonad involvement... but there are almost always environmental mediating factors in such instances... I would not be feeding these fishes if your water temperature is staying below 55F. BobF>

Re: Koi, hlth. 10/16/09
Hi Bob,
I'd concur with your message about not feeding koi while it's cold. Here in England, it is well known you need to stop feeding once water temperature approaches 10 C (about 50 F). The explanation given is that while the movement of food through the gut of the fish slows down with its metabolism, bacterial decay of the food doesn't slow down as much. So you have lots of potential for serious problems, including symptoms like those described by your correspondent. I believe the same holds true for hibernating reptiles and amphibians. In England at least, goldfish and koi are not fed between October and about March. If they do need to eat, they have access to algae and organic material in the pond, and there's seemingly much less risk from those than from high-protein pellets.
Cheers, Neale
<Thank you for this. Will compile. BobF>

golden Orfe with unidentifiable disease, pd. 8/29/2009
i- Having spent hours trawling through a variety of fish diseases possible in pond fish and coming to no conclusions am hoping your expertise can help
<Do our best!>
ii- Have a 550 litres pond with 4 golden Orfe and 2 comets- all brought as babies and all ( were) thriving and growing rapidly and seemingly happy. Am novice fish keeper and pond in place for approx 16 months.- filter, fountain and solar air pump ( Orfes like lots of oxygen/fast flowing water )
<Yes they do, and most mortality of this species, Leuciscus idus, occurs when kept in slow, sluggish water conditions. During summer, Orfe often become stressed because oxygen concentration drops, and the addition of extra pumps to increase aeration or circulation can be useful.>
Literally overnight my biggest Orfe -- apprx 6 inches- has appeared with what looks like a white collar around his neck- not fuzzy looking nor white spots- and on closer inspection it looks as if he has overnight lost colour on his scales here .
<Can happen with many Cyprinidae, including Goldfish and Orfe. In part, because "golden" Orfe are a man-made variety, genetic throwbacks can lead the reappearance of their normal silvery-brown colour. Also, certain types of physical damage can lead to changes in colour.>
He has isolated himself from rest of fish and not feeding.
<Very odd.>
Both extreme changes of behaviour as Orfe go round in shoal and he was always first to feed and was at point was take food from hand. I really want to help him but cannot see what problem is.
<Nor can I, from the information given. One possibility is predation; cats and certain birds can, will attack Orfe given the chance, and even if unsuccessful, their claws or beaks can do physical damage. If not too serious, this will heal. Physical damage is always a possibility. Orfe are prodigious jumpers, and if there are solid objects above the water, like a bridge or decking, they can injure themselves. Diseases such as Finrot and Fungus are usually distinctive, and often appear on the fins before the body. Consider both, and compare what you see to the symptoms indicative of these diseases.>
Am planning on 30% water change and test water ( although do this regularly and has been fine) . Currently other fish seem fine. Would a salt bath help?
<Possibly; Orfe, or at least wild Leuciscus idus, are salt-tolerant, occurring in brackish water in parts of their range. So a low dosage in a suitably cool aquarium (around 3-6 grammes per litre) across a few weeks might help by reducing the chances of bacterial infections. Simply taking the fish and dipping it in salty water would likely stress the fish rather than do any good, so personally, wouldn't bother.>
Bit nervous about doing this- have read cooking salt dissolved and fish in bath for 20 min.s- but willing to do what it takes just do not want to stress him more ? Wary of medications as Orfe sensitive to some
<Quite; antibiotics should be fine, but things with copper and formalin are more risky. Tea-tree oil (e.g., Melafix) should be safe. Ideally, ask a vet.>
Only other possible thought is- we have a chicken wire frame over pond as two doors down have had a heron stealing their beloved fish- I am wondering if some how heron has got beak through the gaps ( possible have heard they are tenacious) _ grabbed him and then dropped him as couldn't get through wire- in which case he has bruise/wound which I am not sure what to do with
<A very plausible suggestions.>
iii- Think this is an excellent site by the way
<Kind of you to say so.>
Sorry for length but would really appreciate any ideas/advice
iv- Thanks
v- Sarah
<Thanks for writing, Neale.>
Re: golden Orfe with unidentifiable disease 8/29/2009

Thank you so much for informative answer.
<Happy to help.>
Have had a few developments over last 24 hours. Think Orfe definitely got trapped in wire netting ( either jumping/heron) and sustained injury which now very much looks like fungus - white cotton wool appearance on injury site.
<I see.>
Have now got some medications to treat pond for fungus /bacteria which have put in- slightly worrying has turned whole pond green!
<Normal; the medication you're using sounds like one of the organic dyes such as Malachite Green, and being dyes, they colour things.>
but other fish all seem fine and info says is fine for all pond fish/plants/filter- have to treat over 5 days so will see how we go. Will give salt bath idea a miss- didn't really like idea of this.
<Actually, though it sounds harsh, the use of salt is *by far* the mildest way to treat many diseases. Adding salt randomly isn't something I recommend, despite many "old school" hobbyists doing this without
understanding why. Because many fish are tolerant of salt, at least to a point, it's much safer to use than many medications, such as those containing copper or formalin, which are outright toxins and poison the
fish to some degree. Malachite Green for example is a known fish poison, and becomes more toxic at high temperatures and/or acidic pH levels. So don't be surprised if some/all of your fish begin to show signs of stress.
Not all fish react negatively equally quickly, and in most cases the Malachite Green breaks down in the tissues and water before any serious harm is done; but some fish, notably catfish and loaches, have been
reportedly poisoned by organic dyes even at "therapeutic" doses. Hence when treating these fish for Whitespot, we tend to recommend salt and raised temperature rather than the more risky, if widely sold, Ick medications. As for Orfe, I don't know, but would watch for signs of distress and act accordingly. All this said, while brackish water can suppress fungal infections rather well, you'd need to add a lot of salt, and though the Orfe would adapt, the plants, frogs, etc. might not.>
Have raised netting so if Orfe jumps again ( they do to catch flies- which is quite impressive) hopefully will be OK
You live and learn
Thanks again for great info and advise
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish (pond; gasping Oranda) 8/12/09
Hello, I have a question regarding my Orandas. They are approximately 5 years old, live in an outdoor pond, just the three of them, which gets heated in the winter. All have been fine, they eat peas, oranges, pond plants, and some commercial food. This past week the biggest has been hovering near the surface all day.
<Check the temperature, water quality, and pH. Goldfish don't like very warm water, and in hot summers a source of shade (like a pergola) is essential. Water quality is as important in a pond as in an aquarium, so
check the nitrite concentration, and make sure the filter is working properly. A pond may not need a filter when the Goldfish are small, the plants and sediment housing enough bacteria to do the job. But as the years
pass, the Goldfish get bigger, and inevitably there comes a point when a filter becomes essential. As for pH, Goldfish like basic water, so the pH should be between 7 and 8. If the pH is dropping below 7, i.e., becoming acidic, it's a good sign your pond needs a thorough clean to remove the organic matter producing acids. Goldfish can be killed, quite quickly, by prolonged exposure to acidic conditions.>
He is eating, but then will go back to hovering, he is usually quite active. I'm concerned he's dying. I've checked the water, all seems okay,
<Define "okay"; I need numbers!>
it has been particularly hot here in No. Calif, but the pond does get some shade. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. Tricia
<Cheers, Neale.>

I need ur help with a koi 8/12/09
I just notice that my koi has a very red gill--I cant tell if its moving or not. I'm really worried about it Help thanks Judy
<Is the gill cover red? As in damaged or infected? The gill cover is the large, plate-like structure that moves in and out when fish breath. It's also called an operculum. Or is the gill cover damaged or curled, in such a way you can see the bright red (blood red) feathery gills underneath?
Damage to the gills is sort of serious, because the gills are delicate, but that said, otherwise healthy fish can live long and happy lives with a missing gill cover. Gill curl, when the gill cover curls back, is usually a
sign of prolonged stress, typically water quality problems. Hope this helps, Neale.>

re: I need ur help with a koi 8/12/09
yes the cover is red- I did notice that it is moving if i need to get meds do i put him/her in a tank alone or will it be okay. tried to get pic to send but fish wouldn't pose LOL thanks
<If the gill cover is red, then likely physical damage (with pond fish, often caused by cats and other predators). If water quality is good, should heal by itself quite quickly. Treatment with a suitable antibacterial or antibiotic is recommended. Cheers, Neale.>

1 sick koi 7/19/09
Hi Guys,
I have a koi pond in my back yard, about 6500 gallons that I hand-dug. One of my koi, he is about 17 inches long and about 7 years old, can't go fully under water. He is moving around fine, eating well, but part of his back is above the water line.
<Hmm... most likely constipation; do review here:
While Koi aren't goldfish, they're every bit as herbivorous, and a common mistake is to give them too much high-protein food and not enough fibre.
Failing that, review water quality; Koi are sensitive to poor water quality, and issues like high levels of nitrate or sudden acidification can cause problems.>
I think it may be a swim bladder problem or a leech problem. I've noticed some leeches in my filter medium pads and have picked them out. I ve also tried to trap them with beef liver in a can with holes in the sides; Koi's have eaten through the coffee can to get to the meat! I will try a metal can next.
<Most leeches in most ponds are harmless, assuming of course you're not looking at Planarians (flatworms) and calling them leeches! Planarians are also mostly harmless. You need only suspect dangerous leeches if you can see three-toothed bite marks on your fish.>
I know that I can try Epsom salts, but if I do 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons of water, then that would be about 433 tablespoons of salt. Any clues as to how many cups that would be?
<Surely you can do this yourself? Get a measuring cup, count how many teaspoons it takes to fill. You might find it quicker to do a half-cup measure if you have one, and double it to get the per-cup amount. Either way, say you get 30 teaspoons per cup. If you needed to add 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons, then a 30-teaspoon cup would do 30 x 5 = 150 gallons.>
None of my other fish are affected. I would truly appreciate a reply. I don't want to destroy my fish if I don't have to. They are all at the breeding age and have had two years of fry. I have regular domestic koi, butterfly and black Malaysia. I feed them Blue Ridge Color food. You can see a picture of my pond at: www.angelfire.com/biz/twinmagnolias .
<Nice pond.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Koi in trouble after a rainstorm Likely toxic water\Need more information. 7/13/2009
<Hi Christin.>
I have had a Koi pond for the past ten years and have had no trouble with anything so far, two years ago I got three new koi and they have been doing very well in the pond as well.
<Sounds good.>
I live in North Carolina in high point last night we had a large thunderstorm with lots of rain, my pond overflowed which it has never done before most of my Koi are small because they are goldfish koi mixes but the three I got two years ago are all about 13 inches long.
My pond is 500 gallons I have a waterfall and another pump in the middle of the pond for aeration I have four Goldfish-Koi mixes that are about 8 inches long and then the other three are about 13-14 inches long they all like each other they don't fight or pick on any one fish.
<What do you have for filtration?>
My biggest Koi that I have out of the three I got 2 years ago I found upside down floating in my pond this morning, he is still breathing but very labored and shallow, with periods around 3 seconds of nothing at all I took him in to my recovery tank which is twenty gallons and tried to see if he would do anything different.
<Hmm..... how did the water test - both in the pond and in your recovery tank? Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, etc.>
I didn't know if the large amount of water that fell could have caused something to happen to him, my other Koi seemed stressed as well so I removed 25% of the water and put fresh well water back it is still off and on raining and the Koi I have in my recovery tank is still floating on his back breathing heavily he also seems to have blood coming from his rectum <Not a good sign.>
I want to know if you all would be able to help me save him or at least tell me what might be wrong with the water in my pond, I run test on my pond every other week and the water has remained the same throughout nothing was out of the ordinary this morning with the water but the pH was more basic so I added a pH balancer,
<I really need more information to best help you. I need actual numbers from your test kits. Also, did you do anything around the pond recently?
Fertilizer, insecticide, etc?>
I just want to make sure the rest of my Koi will be ok even if my other one dies I have never had a problem like this before, my Koi in the recovery tank when I hold him right side up he tries to move his fins but he only flips back upside down.
Please help if you can, thank you.
<Please do respond back with the information I requested.>

Re: Koi in trouble after a rainstorm Likely toxic water\Need more information. It was toxic water 7/14/2009
<Hi Christin.>
This is all the info I have right now, the pumps that I use are in a black box they sit in there is a looser black wire type filter and then a tightly woven white filter that is under the black one,
I have had the pumps for the same amount of time as the pond and the brands and labels have long wore off they are still in good shape and work well though.? I have not treated anything around the pond with fertilizer or insecticides or anything like that I never do, the pH is usually about a 7.5 to 7.8 today it was an 8.4 and once I added the neutral regulator it went and has stayed at a 7.2, the pH in the aquarium was a 7.0 it was fresh clean well water there were also no ammonia nitrates or nitrites in that water. In the pond the numbers were as follows
Nitrates-40ppm (mg/L)
Nitrites-.5ppm (mg/L)
Hardness-150 GH ppm
Alkalinity-80 KH ppm
Ammonia-.25ppm (mg/L)
<The ammonia and Nitrite levels got too high. Something has killed off your biological filter.>
My fish that was in my recovery tank didn't live but my other fish seem fine I don't know if maybe something was just wrong with him, my other fish in the pond seemed stressed this morning so I added a few air pumps to add air to the water and they seemed to respond well to more air but they were swimming around the top more than normal but they are eating their pellets and they seem to as the day went on not stay at the top as much as before.
Thank you for getting back with me as quickly as you have, I hope this information helps
<You have toxic water and the biological filtration on your pond is re-establishing itself. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm  and here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pondsubwebindex/biopdfilters.htm >
Re: Koi in trouble after a rainstorm 7/17/2009

<Hi Christin>
Thank you for your help and information the rest of my fish are doing well so far and they are acting normal again.
<Excellent news.>
Thank you
<My pleasure>

Mysterious koi illness... study, application... 7/14/09
I have searched every website I can find and ask several pond specialist in or area but have not found the answer to my koi problem. All of my water test are good except salt witch I've been told to add sea salt instead of pond salt specifically for the koi.
<I would not add salt period... not often useful, but quite often deleterious>
The problem started after I added three large comets from a friends pond.
<Mmm, not a good idea to mix goldfish and Nishikigoi... The reasons are gone over on WWM's pond subweb>
Their pond is a very stable, healthy home to many large and small comets. Since adding the new fish one of my koi had a black spot behind the gills. It grew to the size of a nickel then all the scales fell off. Then I notices black spots on the other koi but they haven't lost any scales, yet. The first koi has now lost scales farther back on it's tale the same size as the first. The only other symptoms I have noticed are the over all color has changed to a dull orange and it seems to stay on the bottom sometimes. It still comes up to feed very vigorously and swims around with the others. The only answer I have found so far is some kind of disease that there is no cure for that is carried by gold fish to koi. I'm told that the gold fish do not show any signs of disease they are only the carrier. One of the pond stores I use lost $1,800 to this disease. Of course I can't remember the name of it only that it starts with "P" sorry.
Before I learned about this mystery disease I treated with Melafix
for 14 days with no benefit what so ever. I have now purchased Tetra Pond fish treatment at the recommendation of a local pond specialist. They told me they hated to even sell me the Tetra treatment since we have no idea what we're treating.
<... then why not find out? A simple microscopic examination, skin scraping... perhaps with a dye...>
Do you have any idea what this is or how
to treat it from my pictures and my description?
<Can only guess... there are a few Protozoans... Likely a Ciliate... maybe read re Chilodonella, Costia... and the treatments for such>
The pictures below shows the first koi that showed signs of the disease. If you can tell it has lost scales on the left of it's body just behind it's gill and on the right side you can see where it has lost scales at the end of the top fin before the tail. It also has more black spots on top of it's body as you can see. The only other fish that show any signs of anything out of the ordinary is the comet to the right of the koi with the white head. That comets head wasn't always white and it has spread with time.
<"Something" eating it...>
None of the other comets show any signs of disease and I didn't notice that one until after I realized the koi had black spots. This pond is over a year old the only other guess I could make is we may have over stocked it with the addition of the last 3 big comets. I'm told that would not have caused this kind of disease.
Please help I hate not being able to do something for them.
Ruth Hall
<Read on Ruth, read on... Bob Fenner>

Pond Goldfish 6/28/09
Hello BobF
Please see my re-sent question in normal text sorry for the one in capitals I misread your info page.
<I see>
I wonder if you could help me with the following problem.
<Will do my best>
I have a 2500 gallon pond in which my koi and goldfish have been happy and disease free till about two years ago.
Many of my goldfish have been lost to very bad ulcerations on their sides,
<Mmm... Viremia? Viral? Environmental?>
however the koi have not been affected at all. I have spent rather a lot of money using various treatments from major aquatic retail stores and have listened to their advice but to no avail, I have lost 3 goldfish in the
past 2 weeks. I have even taken them out and tried to treat them but with no result. Rather than let them suffer I now extract the fish from the pond and dispose of them as and when required.
The ulcers/sores would be classed as MRSA in humans,
and wonder why the koi are not suffering the same fate?.
<Mmm same family, different genera... though not too different... can cross breed... But there are differences in susceptibility to other contagions known twixt these species>
Any advice to eradicate this problem would be very much appreciated.
Regards Gordon Vaughan
<Mmmm, likely your best "bet" here is to seek out the services of an "aquatic veterinarian"... perhaps the Yellow Pages... you may need to refrigerate (not freeze) and send a specimen or two out... Bob Fenner>

Losing Koi... paucity of data 6/19/09
Hi my name is Vicky
<Hello Vic>
last year i started my pond its 20' by 12 and about 3 1/2 feet deep.
Well this spring got it all set up have a waterfall and pump in middle and a uv filter box i had about 8 to 10 fish in it and everything was fine, a week ago i went and bought about 12 fish 3 medium and the rest were little including some babies all koi. My 3 bigger ones are dead now and have lost 5 more that were smaller.
<Yikes... no quarantine procedure?>
Some of the fish that were dead had cloudy eyes the others looked like their scales were coming off and some looked fine. My concern is the ones that already were fine and doing good like my large butterfly koi i am really scared i might lose him, anyway i did a fifty percent water change
and put some pond salt back in and water conditioner and I have been using megafix and PimaFix
<... please... follow directions... and search/read on WWM ahead of writing us. These two "compounds" are worthless>
for bacterial and fungus disease with my uv filter turned off. I have a lotus plant and lily plants in there also with some floating plants too, since i turned off my uv my water is real green too. Do you think what I am doing will help?
<... There's insufficient useful information here to help you... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm
Especially the sections on disease... and write back with water quality test measures, some close-up, well-resolved images...
Bob Fenner>
Re: Losing Koi, still not reading... 6/20/09

I have been checking my water for about 3 weeks now, today i checked again nitrate 0,nitrite 0, GH in-between soft and hard looks more hard, KH 80, ph in the range of 7.8 to 8.4 says alkaline?
<Yes... and this is too large a range if shifting. You need to address the algal issue... which is driving this variation>
From what i have read the nitrate and the nitrite are most important?
<Mmm, no... of nitrogenous issues, ammonia is paramount, with NO2 secondary>
well its 6:00 Cincinnati time and I don't see any fish dead they all seem to look well moving ,eating and from what i can tell i cant see any signs of cloudy eyes or fin rot or any thing else tomorrow i am going to get in and check a lot closer but i want to turn my uv back on,
<I definitely would do so>
like i said earlier i was treating it with those 2 products the last treatment i did was about 7:00 Thursday night do you think it has been long enough so i can turn my uv filter back on?
<... the products mentioned are shams... Again, read... on WWM re>
I hope i have gave enough info that you can try to help, but this is all confusing to me. By the way 3 years ago I had a smaller pond in a different town and the only problems I had were with fish getting caught up in the pump, its funny i did not have to do anything I mean anything to the water just let nature that its course i guess and all my fish were fine and till one day 13 fish were just gone totally vanished. I thought some of the neighborhood kids took them because we had a few bad apples but for all I know a raccoon and other animal got them.
<... Turn the UV back on and read. BobF>

Pond Goldfish with Dropsy -- 06/15/09
I have had problems in the past few years with cases of dropsy among the goldfish in my small (125 gallon) pond--about one case every two years.
<Likely environmental: for a pond, this is rather small, and if you don't have a filter, then water quality, pH stability and oxygen availability are likely very variable. There's probably a reason the deaths are periodic as
well. A fish dies, so the pond load is reduced and the fish are healthy, but then the fish grow above a threshold size, the pond is overloaded again, and another fish dies, and so on.>
The affected fish actually survive in an increasingly bloated state for over a year, beginning to show symptoms one summer and finally succumbing at some point during the following summer. This is the beginning of summer number two for one of the fish, and for the first time ever a second fish is showing signs of being affected concurrently. I have dealt with any and all environmental issues that might contribute to this problem and, after hours (probably totaling days) of researching the web for info, I am currently dosing the pond with Maracyn 2 and Epsom salts.
<While antibiotics such as erythromycin and Minocycline can help, and Epsom salts may reduce the swelling, the prognosis for Dropsy once it is established is generally pretty poor. It's more important to review the causes, and usually euthanising the fish while fixing the aquarium or pond ends up being the way forward.
The Epsom salts ratio is presently 1/8 tsp per 5 gal of water, as I have read that this ratio will not harm the other healthy fish in the pond. I have also seen recommended doses of 1 tsp per 5 gal, and even 1 to 2 Tbsp per 10 gal,
<1 teaspoon per 5 to 10 gallons for Dropsy.>
however I haven't found any clear info re whether those stronger ratios will harm (e.g.. dehydrate) the other healthy pond fish or if those doses are for hospital tanks only.
<Won't do any harm to healthy fish. Goldfish are very tolerant of hard water, in fact they need it, and do very badly in soft/acidic conditions.
Feral Goldfish are found in brackish water too, which underlines their preference for mineral-rich rather than mineral-poor conditions.>
I'm trying to avoid a hospital tank if I don't need one, since catching the darn fish isn't easy and is stressful not only to the fish being chased but to all the other fish who think they're being chased (not to mention the
person wielding the net). Could you clarify for me what the maximum Epsom salts dose for a pond or aquarium containing a general population of healthy fish would be, and whether or when the dose should be repeated?
Thank you very much.
<Cheers, Neale.>

can you please help my fish? (Goldfish, dropsy) -- 06/12/09
Hello my name is Amanda and my goldfish needs some serious help.
<Indeed it does.>
My goldfish (im not sure what type of goldfish) is in trouble and i would like to take it to a vet. or a specialist on fish but my parents do not care much about the fish and, in their words, "don't want to waste time on it".
<Bad karma.>
I was wondering if there was anything i could do on my own to help save the fish. My fish is extremely bloated and its scales are standing up but he is not floating at the top of the tank. There are clear bubble like sacks coming out all over its body and there are little white dots on his head that look to be potentially harmful to him. I know that cleaning the tank is a start since it has been a while since it has been cleaned. but i was wondering if there is anything i can do to save him. what do you recommend?
I would greatly appreciate your help.
<It's almost certain your fish has Dropsy, also known as Oedema, a condition caused by organ failure. Usually this happens because water conditions have been bad for a long time, so you do need to review how your fish are being kept more generally. Is the tank big enough? Is the filter strong enough? Do you change enough water each week?
In any case, curing Dropsy is very difficult because the damage is done before you see the symptoms. Antibiotics such as erythromycin or Minocycline may help, and you can buy these from US pet stores under brand names such as Maracyn and Maracyn 2. As well as using antibiotics, if you ALSO add some Epsom salt at a dose of 1 teaspoon per 5 to 10 gallons and raise the temperature to around 82 degrees F, the antibiotics usually work quite a bit better.
Otherwise, Euthanasia is the only option, as described here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Pond Goldfish with Dropsy 5/16/09
Thanks, Neale, for the information. Half our goldfish are about twenty years old and the rest--their offspring--are eleven, so I guess it's not overly surprising that the odd one would suffer from some ailment or another at this stage.
<Be open minded: while I agree that at this age, some may simply be dying from natural causes, a wise aquarist take any deaths as possible clues something is amiss. Review stocking, filtration, circulation, etc.>
Thanks again. Mary.
<Cheers, Neale.>

New Pond, New Fish: Pond System\Water Conditions\No Useful Information 5/22/2009
<Hi Troy>
We have a new pond and 4 new fish, Koi.
They been in the pond for about 2 days and they don't do a lot of moving around or eat, every once in a while they do eat. How long will it take for the fish to get use to the pond.
<Need a lot more information than this. How big is the pond, did you test the water? What were the results of your water tests? What kind of filtration?
Do start here:
and read the articles and the linked pages on top.>

We have a new pond and 4 new fish, koi. They been in the pond for about 2 days and they don't do a lot of moving around or eat, every once in a while the do eat. How long will it take for the fish to get use to the pond. Troy
<Hi Troy, Mac here with you today. Koi are some of my favorite fish in the world and they are absolutely great in ponds so you have made a great choice. But you haven't told me. How big is your pond? What is the temperature of the pond and the outside area? Have you got water movement? So let me tell you a little about what I have seen with Koi. First, they get to be big fish, sometimes up to 18 inches or 2 foot long. They need a very large pond. Depending on where you live you'll need to have a pool that is at least two feet deep so in the winter they have a place to be safe where it doesn't freeze. You might already know lots of this so pardon me for repeating. They tend to do better with top food which is
food that floats and they tend to be better eating when the weather is warm but in my experience mostly at the end of the day. Wet web media has lots of information on koi so I encourage you to look it up and get as much info as possible. Oh and it might take a couple of days for them to settle in.
They will start coming to the top of the pond.
Best of luck,

Koi problem. No data, reading 05/23/09
I bought a Koi about a week ago. I just start noticing its not swimming smoothly ,Tail seams to be drooping and looks a little stiff. I never had a Koi do this before. It eats very well. What could be wrong ? Is there anything to do, will it die? thanks
<Umm... need more info... Read here:
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Pondfish hlth. reading 5/16/09
I have a 700 gallon pond with 12 goldfish and 1 koi the koi is about 14inchs long. I noticed that at night he is wedging his nose in between the rocks.?? I have a waterfall and an airstone in my pond for years = I'm wondering if its oxygen?
<Mmm, no... otherwise the goldfish would do so also>
all of a sudden? I live in ny - he eats during the day and swims around and I am also seeing some other fish just hanging out like they are sleeping at night only?
<Do rest nocturnally>
my ammonia is fine my ph was 7.8 someone told me that was a little high so I put in the ph down. I don't know what to do?
please help
<... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm
and the linked files above. Not enough information presented to begin speculating... Read, observe and report back with data as others have in your reading. Bob Fenner>

Orfe with green growth 5/2/09
Recently added (5 weeks ago) two Orfe (4-5 inches) to an established pond (10 years+), both appeared to have settled in well. The pond is a mix of Koi and Orfe.
<Sounds lovely! This time of year the Orfe should be nice and active, swimming about all over the place. Great fish.>
All readings are fine, with good water clarity.
<Impressive; Koi by their nature make water cloudy, which Orfe hate, so there's a real balance here that you'll need to maintain via filtration and keeping the bottom of the pond relatively silt-free.>
Last week I noticed signs of a green 'weed like' growth on one of the Orfe, fins have a stringy growth (almost weed like) and there is a slight fluffy growth on the sides of the body, limited to were the fins meet the body.
<If fluffy, does sound like a Fungal infection. I've never heard of green fungal threads, but grey and brown are certainly possible, as well as the usual white. Do consider possible alternatives though, in particularly
Columnaris, a bacterial infection that can form thread-like colonies.>
I removed from the pond and treated with Para-Pure and salt, no improvement. (2-3 days) I then moved onto a Anti fungus and Bacteria with salt again, and have continued with this. Whilst the growth is not getting any worse, it is also not improving. The fish is not eating. Having searched the web and checked with local suppliers I cannot identify what this growth is.
<Ideally, I'd use something capable of treating both Fungal and Bacterial infections, since both are possible. Use something based on some cocktail of antimicrobial, antibiotic and/or organic dyes; avoid pseudo-treatments like tea-tree oil and salt, which really don't work reliably. This said, I suspect a Fungal infection more probable, and if forced to choose, would target that first. Treatment in a hospital tank is the ideal scenario, though remember not to use carbon while treating. Since Orfe are sensitive to low oxygen levels, ensure the treatment tank is well filtered and aerated.>
If you could help identify what it is or suggest a treatment, I would be most appreciative.
Thanking you for your assistance in advance.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Orfe with green growth (RMF?) <Mmm, at times an oaf, but not an Orfe> 5/10/09

Good afternoon
I thought I would update you with news of the Orfe. Finally treated him with a product called Acriflavine. An intensive 'soak', followed by several days of slightly higher than recommended does in the holding tank. The growth cleared up, in about a week, and we returned him to the pond this morning, his first act was to eat!!
To confirm it was definitely a green growth that the Orfe had.
Many thanks for your assistance.
<Hi Peter. Acriflavine is a chemical (rather than a brand) used in many anti-fungal medications. It is, as you've observed, very effective. Now that you've established the problem was likely fungal, your next step is to figure out why the Orfe became infected; fungal infections primarily affect fish after they've been wounded or damaged in some way, typically through fighting or handling, but sometimes in pond fish via predators, frostbite,
etc. Cheers, Neale.>

Possible Tumor? Pondfish 4/28/09
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hello Stephanie,>
We have had an outdoor pond for 6 years now. It is a 500 gallon pond with a filtration system that over turns the water every hour and is also ran through a UV light. We clean the filters regularly and float Hyacinths during the summer. Our water is crystal clear with no odor and we never add chemicals...never! We live in Kentucky and our pond is shaded with a roof so there is plenty of sun and shade. Water temperature is good and they get plenty of oxygen due to a three tiered water fall. We actually do not do anything to it but replace evaporated water about every two weeks or so.
<All sounds ideal.>
Our fish are growing great, very active, get a long well with each other, and reproducing fine. Color is bright, breathing normal, scales good and beautiful. Not sure of breeds but believe comets and koi.
<Also good.>
Problem--6 years ago my friend gave me 2 fish (I don't know what the are...maybe comets?) They have long tails similar to butterfly koi but they do not have the [whiskers] that Koi have. They are reddish orange
and white in color.
<Most likely Goldfish of some sort, if they lack whiskers.>
They are approximately 10-12 inches from mouth to tip of tail. They were approximately 4-5 inches when we got them. But one of them last summer looked like it had a scale sticking up above it's right eye. Thinking it would fall off, we decided to leave it alone. Over the winter it grew. I netted it tonight for investigation and discovered it is at it's nostril.
It doesn't seem to bother it. It acts just as happy as ever and still as beautiful as it has always been. This is the only area of the spot and it is the about the size of an adult pinky finger tip. No other fish has this
or anything else. Is this a tumor?
<If only on one side of the head, then it is likely either a tumour or a cyst. Malignant tumours are rare in fish, and usually benign tumours or cysts only cause problems if they obstruct something important, like the
mouth or anus. The nostrils aren't terribly important to fish, since they only smell and don't breathe through them, so provided the swelling wasn't getting in the way, I'd not worry over much. A vet should be able to remove the thing without much bother. It's not something you can treat at home (unless you're a vet or surgeon, of course). The alternative explanation is Carp Pox, a viral infection very similar to Lymphocystis seem in tropical fish, particularly marine fish. Carp Pox tends to look like hot wax has been dribbled onto the fish and left to go solid. Like Lympho, it's basically untreatable but not usually fatal. Given good conditions, it eventually goes away, but like Lympho, this can take months or even years.
Carp Pox is usually related to overstocking and poor water quality, but may have other causative factors as well.>
Does it sound fatal?
<Not normally.>
Should I have it removed?
<Ideally, yes.>
Should I quarantine it for any treatment?
<Not required.>
Is this common in these fish?
<Not common, but does happen, just as with people. The reasons are obscure, and likely partly genetic, partly environmental, just as with humans.>
Please help! We love all of our fish but this one is special because it is one of our originals!
Thank you,
<Good luck, Neale.>

Strange looking white area on orange-red Koi 4/23/09
Dear Crew: I have corresponded with you several years ago regarding Shrimp... Koi with a kinked tail. He has since totally recovered and marvelously swimming "wit da fishes". My concern is now Marigold, a 10
year old orange-red butterfly Koi. I noticed white marks on her head when we opened our pond for the season yesterday. We are in Ohio and temperatures range from 50/39 (this week). We have pond and aerator going.
<I would take care to not do much with this system, its occupants till the water warms up considerably>
When I first entered your site today, I found something that was similar to my question, but then couldn't find it again. There is a definite "line" dividing koi head/body (where scales begin). I guess it would be the very top of head, opposite from nose. There are white marks there, smooth, not cottony, not raised, no prominent "edges"... only white and smooth, looking like someone took three fingers or an eraser and removed her orange color.
She is the only one. I called my regular "pond guy", nice, but really limited in koi health/diseases, and he said perhaps she swam under a low rock and scratched off the color. She is too large for me to "catch"...
and has been in the same pond since she was eight inches long... now nearly 30" long.
I can't find anything in Dr. Johnson's book, nor in others I have, the white marks are smooth, not raised or "cottony". Can you please help me?
None of the fish are doing too much swimming right now... it's 37 degrees, and they are huddled at the bottom, as in winter. All were quite active this past weekend when we were cleaning up leaves, etc., around the pond and cleaning filters.
<Mmmm, I would NOT do any of this till the water was staying in the mid 50's F... can cause real trouble...>
Anything you can offer regarding Mz. Marigold will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you. Barbi Morell
<Please, don't "do" anything at this point... Just wait for a month or so... then try to take a few good pix... and send them along. Really, best to not fool with the system, the Nishikigoi at this juncture at all. Bob Fenner>
Re: Strange looking white area on orange-red Koi 04/23/09

Dear Bob... thanks so much for the prompt response. When you said "don't do anything" to the system... we already put in the Microbe-Lift PL and tested for everything. We also did a 10% water change.
<... Don't do anything further... Again, please read my writings on WWM, the TFH book I penned re... >
We needed about 14 cups of salt to bring it to the correct level. That's been done "so far". The next thing will be another one-fourth of the Microbe-Lift PL in four weeks.
<I would NOT...>
Soooooooooo... just the pump is running now, not the aerator or the UV Light/Pump. Shall we just "stand down" till we start averaging water temp of 50-55 degrees?
Sorry to again have to write, but the guy who put in our pond 10 years ago is really our only source. Can't really manage to find "good" info on the net... your site was the only one that has given us proper information. Thanks again, and hope you'll let me know about the above. Don't want to be a pest!. Barbi Morell
<No worries. When, where in doubt read...:

Aquatic Gardens

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