Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Environmental Pondfish Disease: Environmental

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

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

Crowding is a huge contributor to pond fish disease

Aquatic Gardens

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

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Please help. GF dis., pond      8/16/18
Dear WWM Crew
Can you please help me? I rescued 60 goldfishes 2 weeks ago at the time of rescuing they suffered extremely bad stress then I just got one day to set up the new pond.
<Mmm; how was the water, filter "conditioned"?>
Now all fine but one poorly sick, it sinks at the bottom of the pond, I quarantined it indoor, used Interpet First Aid salt and API Pimafix, the black border alongside the body faded after 7 days treatment so I placed it back to the pond then next day the black border comes back again and it seems has new wound. I tested the water it shows medium high NO2 and NO3 which I immediately change 50% water, bought it down to normal level now
but the question is SHOULD I USE THE SAME MEDICINE AGAIN or should I try something different?
<Mmm; actually, no medication needed or advised, BUT you need to step up the biological filtration here. Let me have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwno2faqs.htm
STOP feeding period; the fish won't starve, but driving the nitrite up higher may well kill all.
DO look for Dr. Tim's products: GET "One & Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria"
Bob Fenner>
Hopefully not viremia, pox, or furunculosis...

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>

Koi help for newbie lady     9/15/15
Good morning,
<Good morrow to you>
I have three koi in a 150 gallon pond in my backyard.
<Yikes; will start w/ a cautionary statement re this size/volume and keeping koi/Nishikigoi... Not easily done. Hard to keep small bits of water outdoors optimized and stable... chemistry, temp. wise... hard on such (ultimately) large fish
I noticed one of my koi had something wrong near her gill so I brought her in to my 60 gallon tank to view. She has what appears to be part of her flesh near her gill missing. The attached picture was taken last night and as you can see it is a "round" spot and as of this morning it is now elongated in appearance.
She is eating, shows no sign of stress and my ammonia levels have been running zero. I brought my other 2 in as well to view and they do not have any injuries, as a matter of fact all have doubled in size in 7 weeks! Any ideas on what this "spot" could be?
<My first guess is on mechanical injury... either the fish dashing itself against something or a predator whacking it. Am leaning toward discounting environmental cause here... as the other fish are listed as fine. I would ask that you peruse the pond subsection of WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm
re pond design, maintenance (water quality), predator control... disease diagnosis>
I'm new to the hobby and would appreciate any feedback.
Thank you,
<Much to know; actionable knowledge needed... but not knowing you better, best to lead you at this juncture to educate yourself. Do write back w/ more specifics as time goes by. Bob Fenner>

Note the sore on the gill operculum, missing scales, fungus on the tail

All fish in pond dead    3/23/14
I live in Northeast Pennsylvania and we had a very hard winter here this year. It looks like I lost every fish in my 6 year, 6000 gallon pond. It is still partially frozen over but from what I can see, there is nothing left alive. I had 8 year old Koi and regular pond gold fish and they are frozen in the ice. I am so devastated and upset. I have decided that I will not be replacing the fish seeing as I am not at home for most of every month (I drive semi truck with my husband) and can not handle the guilt of what has happened.
<... is it the design (shape, location) of this pond basin that allowed it to freeze so deep? Have you read here re de-icers?
I did a clean up in the fall, had a heater in throughout the winter to keep a hole open,
stopped the pump, covered the pond with netting yet this obviously it was not enough. I'm not sure what else I could have done.
<Covered in hay perhaps>
I just want to drain the pond, clean it out and refill it but with no fish.
Is there a way for me to find out what happened? The deepest end of the pond is over 5 feet so I am pretty sure that the water did not freeze the entire pond. I suspect maybe a PH crash. If I have the water tested, would this be able to tell me what happened?
<Quite a few possibilities... lack of oxygen, anaerobiosis effects... Testing won't tell you much re the past/cause/s>
I appreciate any information that you can give me regarding this issue.
Thank you very much.
<Do peruse the above citation, the linked files at top. Sorry for your losses. Bob Fenner> 
Re: All fish in pond dead    3/23/14

Thank you for your response.
<Welcome Sandy>
The pond design/shape is fine (I think). We have come to the conclusion that the fish died then floated to the top and got iced over. The pond is not completely thawed out yet but I have managed to get a lot of the larger dead fish out. While I was doing this I accidently caught a live gold fish.
This has given me some hope as to maybe there are more alive. I put it back into the pond but am concerned because the water is "smelly".
<You did the right thing. Important to move very slowly, deliberately when the water is still cool to cold>
In addition to the dead fish (which by the way look like they have been dead awhile i.e.: white eyes, bloating) there are numerous leaves laying on top of the net but also in the water. I know this is not a good thing and tried to get some out.
Do I have any chance of saving any live fish that are in the pond?
I will be leaving for work in just a few days and we are expecting yet another cold front so I can only do so much. My cousin will be stopping in from time to time and I have asked him to scoop out any dead fish that he sees. Any other suggestions??
<Drip, as in a steady drip... new water into this pond... at 6k gal.s it won't hurt to introduce sanitizer like this... and it will slowly dilute wastes>
I appreciate your time and insight. Thanks so much.
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: All fish in pond dead     3/24/14

Thanks again for all the info.
We have started a steady drip of fresh water from the hose. The problem is that the temperature is below freezing today and will also be for tomorrow.
There is a small hole in the ice where the water is coming out of the hose but not very big. I don't think we will be able to run this during the night (temps down in the low 20's).
I have also found quite a few holes in the top part of the liner that will need to be repaired as soon as the weather breaks.
We have seen numerous fish moving very slowly under the ice so that is a good thing. I have removed some more leaves (what isn't frozen in the ice).
<Better to not disturb... PLEASE read where you've been referred. B>
Is there anything else that we can do? I do have another pond heater (to keep a hole open in the ice), would it be beneficial to put another one in?
Then I would have 2 holes open.
Please advise and thanks once again.

Balancing objectives, bio-cycling new pond  7/28/10
Dear Crew,
We have set up a new 1,300 gallon pond. We treated the water with Amquel initially
<Mmm, better by far to "just wait"... let a week go by... to liberate sanitizer (Chloramine)>
and then aged it for 4 weeks
<Oh! So Amquel was unnecessary>
with filter and aeration. Finally we added a product our local Koi store sells called "super bugs"
<What is this specifically? A culture of nitrifying bacteria?>
and then 3 days later added 5 fingerling Koi. The nitrogen cycle started as predicted with the Ammonia slowly climbing up to .25
<... toxic, debilitating>
and then slowly back down. Along the way we sometimes gave way to worry about stress and added tiny amounts of Amquel. We knew this would affect the cycle by binding the ammonia that the bacteria needed, but we did it sparingly hoping that the bacteria would simply take longer to cycle.
<A reasonable assumption>
Now, the ammonia is zero, but the nitrites are over .50
<Also toxic...>
and maybe even climbing. The fish are flashing occasionally and certainly in distress.
<I'd remove them to elsewhere till this system is completely cycled>
Everything I've read says to do a minimum 25% water change, but since we don't have a place to fill and treat 325 gallons of water, we'll need to pour our local chloramine-treated water into the pond while interspersing
<... or just wait, feed the system a bit of food/s to finish cycling>
My concern is that I'll be changing too many things too quickly and substituting one terribly toxic condition for another while subjecting the fish to toxic conditions AND sudden change.
How do I get out of this cycle?
Thank you,
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and as much of the linked files above as you deem gains you a sufficient understanding of your present position, options. At any length, if you don't move the tategoi, I'd stop feeding period... but the best course of action is to remove them to an established system, wait the few weeks till there is no NO2, some accumulating NO3, evidence of complete cycling here.
Bob Fenner>

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>

Re: Pond... mortalities, reading 6/26/10
> Hi Bob,
> I did see the pond question earlier today, but left if you to answer since the problem wasn't obvious to me.
<Nor I>
> However, one thing that did catch my eye was the bit about pitcher plants. Growing carnivorous plants is a hobby of mine, and one thing true about them is they're bad choices for ponds. They invariably need acidic, mineral-free water to grow; lime causes damage to their roots, and eventually death. So if the pitcher plants are thriving in the same water basin as the pond, then alarm bells should be ringing -- anything soft and acidic enough for Sarracenia spp. North American pitchers would be lethal to Eurasian pond fish. Conversely, if the pond was alkaline enough for the fish, any pitcher plants used as marginals would be dead by now.
<Will accrue your input>
> So at the very least, employment of a pH test kit would be very useful.
> Cheers, Neale
<Thank you, B>

Pond goldfish anomaly  4/19/10
Dear Bob, Neal and crew,
I have employed once again my trusty empty aquarium setup to get a good picture. Here are two shots of our comet, "Ruth." (My wife named her for the Pern dragon.) She is the Sarasa with the chevron in her caudal fin.
Please observe her head above her eyes. She has, you can see from today's snap, a blemish on her head. It developed around the end of March, and as of the last few days, may be waning. Her behavior is normal. Speaking of, spawning only commenced last Saturday, so we don't think that behavior is involved. Do you suppose that it is a hemorrhage? Is it a concern?
<Mmm, not likely a concern, nor a hemorrhage per se... likely a "sore" resultant from either "jumping", swimming into something or a poke by a predator>
There are 13 goldfish in a 1000 gallon 9'x11'x3' pond. 5 of them are 4 years old, and the rest are their offspring, almost 2 years old. They're 8-12" long. We're outside Philadelphia, PA in a Climate Zone 6, and we're just a few miles from Zone 7. Our water temp was 72 for a few days during a warm spell, but has returned to a more normal 63.
<I see... Your system/water looks good, as does the health of your goldfish charges. If it were me, mine, I would do nothing treatment wise here. It is highly likely that this "blem" will clear of its own accord in the next few months. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Re: Pond goldfish anomaly  4/19/10
Thanks, Dr. Bob. Muy rapido, too.
A bump or poke... Okay... That's why I mentioned that they had only just started the frenzy of the spawning season.
<Assumed such>
If that had been ongoing, I would have assumed it was the cause. By the way, in the same photo, ...46, you'll notice "Beatrice," the Sarasa with the single dorsal red spot. She was one I wrote you about in May of '08,
when she disappeared for ten days, then showed up with terrible scrapes and dangling tissue. None the worse for wear, now. I lost a year - they're almost 3 and 5 years old. The all-white one alongside Ruth looked just like her until last August. You never know with these fish!
Thanks again.
<Thank you Max. BobF>

No worries  5/1/10
Dr. Bob,
<No doctorate Max/well>
in re: Pond goldfish anomaly, 4/19/10
Sure enough, the bruise is virtually dissipated. Thanks for your comments.
<Thank you for this good news. B>

Koi stress/losing scales 8/1/09
I have read all of your posts about the causes and prevention of koi losing their scales. None of the posts say anything about how long to continue treatment and approximately when you will start to see the scales grow back.
Or do they?
<They can, will if the fish regain their health>
I don¹t know whether or not I should continue to put salt and stress coat in the water.
<Mmm, what do you consider the root cause of trouble here? Salt alone is not often efficacious. Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi stress/losing scales   8/3/09
Thank you for your quick reply.
I believe it is a water change.
<Mmm, no. The animals might die from such, but not lose scales>
I had a mishap and about 2/3 of the water drained out. When I replaced, I forgot to add stress coat because I was so stressed about it draining out!
I check the levels (pH, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite) regularly. They are not overfed and there are 10 relatively young fish in a 1000 gallon pond.
The water is crystal clear. I am not sure what else could be a factor?
<The clarity of the water? Mmm, no>
They do not seem to be behaving differently -swimming happily and normally.
Just missing scales. I have done the salt once and stress coat twice in the last week.
Thank you.
<I'd be looking about for a possible predator... or sharp objects that your fish might be running into that is causing the scale loss. Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi stress/losing scales... reading    8/3/09
Thanks again for additional info. This is going contrary to what I have read on the web - the water change being a factor, I mean.
<... please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshdisart.htm
and the linked files above >
It would be next to impossible for the scale change to be due to share objects since the lost scales are in a specific pattern and all next to each other. One of the fish used to have a large orange spot on his head and
that is exactly what is missing.
<A pic please>
What kind of predator could remove scales in a pattern?
<Possibly the wound area might appear thus>
Our pond has plenty of plants for cover and we've also built a cover out of coated metal fencing. It hasn't been disturbed and neither have the plants (which had been sheared off when we had a raccoon problem, but the cover has eliminated that).
Can you address the question of whether or not the scales grow back and if I should continue to use stress coat?
Thank you.
<Will regenerate in time. StressCoat really only useful for massive water changes... B>

Re: Koi stress/losing scales   8/5/09
I had already read all the articles about illness on the site and was following instruction there for treating the pond for stress. My problem was that articles say how the illness starts and how to treat it, but none
address what happens after? How long does it take for the fish to recover?
How much of whatever treatment should you do?
<... just good care, time going by (high, consistent water quality, feeding...). Months>
Hopefully you can see this - it's as close as I can get without scaring them into hiding. There is a ridge at the edge of the color/scale loss that is an indentation (like layers of flesh are missing - where color and scales are gone). You can also see that his head is kind of transparent now because there isn't as much protecting it.
Thanks again for the replies.
<Welcome. B>

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:

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>

Using carbon to remove an unknown chemical. Pond filtr. 04/22/09
Hi, I have a pond that has been in use for over a year now. the problem is that I didnt feel like working with it previously do to an illness that I have, so essentially it was left for my family to care for. Due to mosquito issues my family added a floating chlorine realizing device and several dosings of bleach last summer. I now wish to work with my pond and have tried adding some paradise fish to it. The paradise fish look horrible only minutes after being added and Im unable to locate them the next day. I have also been having some problems with duckweed and salvia that I have contributed to the sun before I noticed the problem with the fish.
So heres the condition of the pond. Ammonia and nitrites are 0, I didnt test nitrate yet because it wouldnt account for the speed of deterioration in the fish that I have been noticing, and the API test is kind of a pain. PH is high, about 7.5-8, but again, while not ideal for the paradise fish, I dont see it killing them. The duckweed is mostly dead, but there are a few that are staying green, and there are a few aquatic insects currently alive at this time. Im thinking that there is some chemical in the water that is causing the fish death, and that the duckweed and insects are only surviving in small numbers. 99% of the duckweed is dead, and Im guessing that there should be a lot more insects then there are, but only a small number are surviving. As to whatever may have been released by the floating chlorine releasing device or something extra in the bleach I unfortunately dont know.
<Mmm, possibly just the excess chloride... easy to remedy...>
Theres even a possibility that something else might have been added to the water last year, and forgotten about, so no one mentioned it.
My plan was to use carbon to remove anything that might be left.
Do you think carbon would be enough to remove an unknown toxin? I was thinking 30lb, pond is approximately 160-180, three uses of 10lbs each or so. i will be making my own addhawk
<Heeee! Ad hoc?>
 filter for this purpose so if you have any suggestions on dosing I can probably accommodate it.
I would eventually like to release some Xiphophorus birchmanni which would enjoy the high ph, but Im afraid to until I start seeing some better results with the paradise fish. Thank you for any help, Christian.
<Much cheaper and surer to dump most all the water out and just re-fill it anew. Bob Fenner>

Koi sickness... env., lack of biol. filtr.   2/24/06 This is my first time posting but I read your site all the time and is very helpful, great site!  I'm having a problem with my Koi which is getting weak. The Koi is 2.5 years old and about 10 inches long in a 75 gallon tank. Last week he started to act funny by jumping out of the water, darting aimlessly at times. But I didn't see any signs of disease, bacteria, fungus, or parasites on him. I checked the water conditions and the ammonia was a little high .75 and so was the nitrate .50. <Likely nitrIte... both these measures are very toxic!> I do 25% water changes, clean filters, and add new carbon weekly. Second time toxins went above .25 after I got a biological filter. <You obviously need more biological filtration. Koi of this size, in warm/er water are copious producers of ammonia waste... needs ready processing> I never use salt but added 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons this time to help him (mixed in water bucket first). That night he looked a lot better and thought he was just being a weird fish. But now he is acting listless at the bottom of the tank, hiding, won't eat out of my fingers, looks scared, clamped fins, eyes looks bulged, and nothing on his body to indicate infection when I looked closely at him. Also I don't see heavy mucus build, he not losing color yet, but his scales are a little beat-up possibility from banging himself up. I have one 4" shark, one small tiger barb, and 2 algae eaters in the tank and leave the Koi alone (unless the Koi steals the algae disc.. lol). The Koi still eats, but there is something wrong. My cold blooded friend needs your help. Can you help me?                                                  Thanks,                     Wayne <Only you can help here... you need more bio. filtration. Add an outside power filter, quit feeding, don't gravel vacuum... till there is not detectable ammonia or nitrite. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi sickness,,, env., lack of biol. filtr. - 2/28/2006 Sorry to disturb you again. I was wrong. Ammonia and nitrites are fine...no traces. But my NitrAte is out of control. Out of frustration, I changed out 80% of my water, <Best to limit this to no more than 20-25% per any given day> added Amquel, salt, cleaned my filtration/ and biological filter a little. But despite my efforts my NitrAte remains at a level of 40? (border line) and raising. My Koi now has something large (bacteria?) on his tail with some steaks also, I added Maracyn-Two to try to control the Popeye and  possible tail rot. I understand Ammonia and Nitrite toxins but cant find any beneficial information on NitrAte except declining fish health. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwnitrates.htm and the links above> I hope I took the right steps using a gram negative antibiotic. <... trouble... in the way of interrupting nitrification... Read, understand what you're doing, then act...> But still not sure what to do with my original problem considering I got mixed up with my Nitrate and Nitrites. Could you lead me on the right steps. I know its hard because you cant see the fish. But I thank you for your time and patience.             Thanks,             Wayne <Keep reading Wayne. Learn to/use the Google search tool on WWM, the indices, links... Bob Fenner> Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months  12/13/05 Hello from New Zealand. <Sorry for the lateness of this reply> A couple of months ago we built our first pond, complete with filter and waterfall and stocked it with 4 Shubunkins and 4 red comets, all acclimatized, bag in pond for 1/2 hour gradually adding pond water to bag.   <Mmm, what was done to "cure" the pond... and initiate biological filtration?> Within a week 5 were killed by a neighbours cat. So, off to the to the shop , got netting to protect last 3 fish and bought 3 more fish. The next day one fish is at the opposite end of the pond to all the rest of the fish and dies at lunchtime. The day after same thing, day after that, same thing.   Over the next couple of days, the fish are showing signs of lethargy but not alienating anyone. We had the water tested and found 0 ammonia 0 nitrates or nitrites and a PH of 7.8 which we were told was a little high but no too bad and it was suggested we put some driftwood (fresh water) into the pond. <Interesting approach... could work> One morning, 2-3 days later, 2 are dead on the bottom of the pond and 1 left showing odd behaviour by leaping up the waterfall and then gasping for oxygen and then a few flips. <Telling> We put last fish in bowl, filtered water, mini waterfall for one day and night and emptied the  pond, dug it deeper and relined with butynol. <Very interesting> We  added water, with Pond Safe water ager and did tests, all OK. Thought Harry was lonely so got Sally (we hoped) and reintroduced  both fish to the new pond. Harry went mad around Sally and continuously followed around pond for up to 15 hours. Next morning both fish are at opposite ends of pond, Harry dead and Sally was dead by lunchtime. 11 fish are gone at this point and the water is testing good and the people at the pet store said they could not figure out the problem. After many conversations at the pub <Good meeting place> about the ongoing saga of the lost goldfish to all who have or did own goldfish, and many a site to read) we firmly believe we are treating with the utmost care so we decide to try a different fish store and their suggestion was "guinea fish" as our samples of water were good. Little goldfish no.12 and 13 are introduced to the pond and lo and behold, dead within 2 days.  We took the fish to show the people at the shop and they suggested we try the more robust bronze nymphs and now they want to know as much as we do. Sure enough,2 more dead within 24 hours! 15 We felt like giving up but the problem wasn't solved. We emptied the water again, scrub and wash the pond liner, fill the pond, put in formalin, <... toxic> (twice what is recommended for use with fish in pond) let the filter run for 6 days, empty the pond, refill and get 5 fish from a friend who had 3 in a tank and 2 in a wine barrel outside (been there 4 years and in all that time they had "flushed it out a bit with the hose a few times"). They were quiet on the move but only around the corner from our house so very quick . The 2 big beautiful 4 year olds were dead within 48 hours and the  bronze nymph followed 1 day later and the goldfish one day after that so now we have 19 gone, 1 left who now has its mouth what appears to be stuck open, had reddish tinges to its fins and tail but 6 days so far on MelaFix would seem to have helped a bit but  Hercule (yes that's his name) is now sinking and gasping and when he tries to come to the surface he almost runs through the water, head held high above the surface! He is staying on the bottom of the pond breathing (mouth stuck open) but not eating. He's hanging in there but I fear not much longer.   We added today 1 and1/4 tsp of Epsom salts(1/4 tsp per  10 gallons) Pond safe ager and did a 1/2 water change and added 5ml Melafix, water still tests good. We can't think of anything more we can do if Hercule doesn't make it we are back to square one. Most people we know who keep fish are as puzzled as we are as they seem to do almost nothing and still their fish thrive. Thanks for a great site. We have read heaps of useful stuff but none of it seems to point to our problem or its solution. Steve and Sofie <Mmm, there is some sort of overt toxicity at work here... likely in the construction materials... What is the nature of this liner? Is it made for fish pond use? I do hope it is not a swimming pool unit... At this point I would leave the water in place, not put any more fish in for a few months... try some live plants... Bob Fenner>

Re: Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months  12/13/05 Hi there Bob, Thanks for the reply. > <Mmm, there is some sort of overt toxicity at work here... That's what I surmised. I checked with our water supplier as to what they treat the water with, they just use chlorine and a touch of fluoride and they'd had no recent disasters so a water conditioner (Pond safe) should fix anything here. <Yes... though, most municipalities use chloramine rather than simpler chlorine... more persistent mainly> > construction materials... What is the nature of this liner? Is it made for fish pond use? I do hope it is not a swimming pool unit... The product (Butyl Rubber) is used for roofing and also water tanks and is certified safe for drinking water. <Should be fine then> We also scrubbed it with sugar soap and rinsed 3 times before filling. We have a submerged filter with bio media and activated charcoal running at 400 ltrs p/h (105 us gal) the pond is 250 ltrs(66 us gal) We have since done a total water change as mentioned previously. > I would leave the water in place, not put any more fish in for a few months... try some live plants... Bob Fenner> Hercule is still with us and seems to be improving, he is still buoyancy challenged (to be politically correct) keeps sinking after his dashes across the surface of the pond I fear he is turning into a cartoon fish :-) <Call the WB and sign him up!> We have had several types of plants in the pond since day one. One thing I did do, which now I think was rather rash, was to introduce water and pond life from some local streams and ponds but as the water contained fresh water shrimp I assumed it was quite healthy, until they too died :-( <Strange... is there some metal in this system? Like new copper piping? Perhaps a general water test done by a QA lab...> Now, about this sinking fish thing. I came across this http://www.goldfishsociety.org/old_this_month_pages/4-2005.html Do you have any experience with this? <Yes... way too much, first and other hand. Please see Sabrina's excellent article re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm> Cheers Steve and Sofie <Steady on re this system... with "just time going by" many such anomalous toxicities "solve themselves"... I would periodically re-visit, add test comet goldfish... Bob Fenner> Re: Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months  12/14/05 Please see Sabrina's > excellent article re:   > http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm> > Cheers > Steve and Sofie > <Steady on re this system... with "just time going by" many such anomalous toxicities "solve themselves"... I would periodically re-visit, add test comet goldfish... Bob Fenner> Thanks Bob, will do.   I had read Sabrina's article but our fish is sinking, not floating, <About the same cause/s...> and shows no other signs mentioned in the article. He does, however, seem to be not able to close his mouth (there is no sign of anything stuck in there) but this could just be because he is trying to get some air in his swim bladder, could this be right?. <A possibility... though most such "mouth closure problems" are due to physical injuries, secondarily to genetic anomalies> I am feeding him on small amounts of spinach and cucumber with some cooked peas and every time I splat a mozzie the corpse goes in the pond just in case he feels like a bit of meat protein. <Sounds good>   The amount of Epsom salts seems to vary wildly from post to post. How much do you recommend and how quickly should this amount be added, all at once or over a few days? Cheers Steve and Sofie <A level teaspoon per five actual gallons is safe and effective. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months  12/16/05 Hi Bob.   It gets worse, it seems, now poor old Hercule has developed black spots, mainly round the eyes and gills. I noticed this yesterday but didn't want to think about yet another disorder. Could this be the dreaded Sanguinicola? <Highly doubtful... very likely "just" environmental> The birds round here just love snails and also sit over the pond. <Telling> The other possibility I have come across is Paravortex but I am led to believe this is a saltwater fish disease. <... yes> Should I treat with a copper solution or maybe Formalin? What do you think? <That the U.S. should stop invading sovereign nations... that there's no future in the death business... that commerce rules... And that you should remove Hercule et al. fishes to less toxic settings for now. Bob Fenner> Re: Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months  12/16/05 > What do you think? > <That the U.S. should stop invading sovereign nations... that there's no future in the death business... that commerce rules... And that you should remove Hercule et al. fishes to less toxic settings for now. Bob Fenner>   If there was such a thing as intelligent design God would have designed bulletproof fish. :-) And damn the burning Bush. <Heeee! BobF> Re: Pond problem, 19 dead in 2 months   12/28/05 Hi Bob and the seasons greetings to you. <And to you and yours my friend> Thought I'd give you an update on Hercule. Some smart Alec friend bought me a Bronze Comet on my birthday (2 weeks ago) <Happy birthday to you> he lasted only 24 hrs in  the pond but Hercule is now completely velvety black with just a hint of   his original gold. He is swimming normally and energetically and eating like a pig. I have looked for info on fish changing color but have seen nothing like this, he changed color over only a few days, could this be affirmative action? ;-) <Mmm, likely more a reaction to seasonal water quality changes...> I have to say that he (or she, we don't really know yet) is looking rather beautiful and seems to be the healthiest fish   we have ever had. Happy Hol.s to all the crew, From Steve & Sofie, down here in sunny NZ. <Seems like your system may have "turned the bend"... I would try some other fish-life when the weather warms a bit, stays about 55 F. consistently. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

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

White fungus on Koi  10/3/05 Hi I have just started up a pond in the garden, 1000 gals 3' 8" deep with a waterfall fed by an Oase Aquamax 8000 pump through an Oasis 24000  green2clean UVC/bio filter.  I have been given 7 fish (all from one pond)  including 3 Koi of around 18" long. <Too large for this size system> I have noticed that one of the large Koi has  about 3 small semi transparent white patches that are slightly proud of its  scales.  It looks like some kind of fungus but I am not sure.  I have  also noticed that a few of the larger fish are 'flashing' and appear to rub  themselves against the sides of the pond.   <Likely "just" environmental... getting used to a new system that is not quite aged "enough"> I noticed one of the fish do this about 5 times yesterday morning.  At other times they are quite stationary.  They are all feeding OK at the moment on Koi staple pellets and wheat germ sticks. I have tested the PH which is at about 8.5 (similar to the pond they came from).  Ammonia, Nitrites and nitrates are all very low. <Ammonia, nitrite need to be zero, zip> Any advice? Thanks Chris (Newport S. Wales) <Read through our Pond Subweb on WWM. Bob Fenner>  

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


My Koi are dying - please help... algicide?  8/30/05 Hi Fenner, <Madeline> Last month my 18" 3 year old female tricolored had what seemed like a seizure.  She was spinning in the pond and all the fish were bumping up against her.  She swam toward the edges and I thought she was trying to spawn. <The other Koi might have been trying to "help" the sanke> I put my hands in the water and she swam into them.  I noticed that the top of her head was badly bruised as were the sides and bottom of her.   <Likely from bumping into things> I put her in a quick salt dip and then let her swim in and out of my hands while in the pond until she felt better.  (They all take turns laying on my hands if I put my hands in the water, I am very careful not to touch them too much to avoid sandpapering their skin.) <You are wise here>   She seemed OK for a week but then died. Last week my 21" 4 year old female yellow Ohgon did the exact same thing but there weren't any fish near her and when she swam into my hands she didn't have a single bruise. <Frightening> She did look like she had eggs.  Yesterday morning she seemed perfectly fine but when I came home in the evening she too was dead and was badly bruised - same exact type of bruises. <!> I am absolutely heart broken with these losses and fear that my other fish will also pass.  Also I am concerned because I now have only 1 female, 23" and the rest are male.  They have spawned without a single problem for years.  Have you ever heard of this type of problem?  Can you please suggest anything that I can do.  What am I doing wrong? <I suspect poisoning or something bacterial in origin here... a version of "Ana aki"...> Here are my pond specifics:  3,500 gallon pond average depth 5' that was built by a pond company.  The filtration is excellent and the waterfall is always on.  I use Algaefix, <Please see the MSDS re this here: http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=brands&id=1020010 I would suspend its use> Kent Pro Clear, MicrobeLift and Dechlor per directions and as needed.  I have a master test kit and the water results are always perfect even the salt level.  Up until a month ago in all my 8years ponding I never had a sick fish.  I give away the fry to keep the population down.  They were always very healthy and the smaller ones only came up 'missing' due to the Herons and Egrets close by.  Two months ago my 23" metallic was dragged out of the pond by a Heron. <Bold> It bruised the body of the metallic and then ate part of the dorsal fin and tail.  I stepped outside as my Miniature Pinschers chased the bird away.  I was able to save the metallic and he is now doing fine but is still a little washed out.  The remaining fish move about with energy and look good.  I now have 5 Koi average length 20"-25" and 4 small average length 6"-8". Thank you in advance for your help, Madeline PS  If you feel like responding will I know when you post or do you respond via email as well.  I really could use your help. <We respond directly to all, post most all. Please read here re Furunculosis: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm Acute cases often manifest themselves as your fish's symptoms... I would have the dead fish necropsied (see your veterinarian re who in the area has expertise), cultured for Aeromonas... Adding salt may well be efficacious in this circumstance. Bob Fenner> Pond in serious trouble... poisoned at least by Algicide  8/27/05 I have been going to my local pond supply store and trying to get help on   this problem.  I would love to hear your advice.  First the pond  started getting a lot of green slimy algae.  The store said to add barley  so I did.  No help.  Then after a week or so they suggested adding  more plants.  So I did no help.  Then the store suggested algae fix,  and a white powder that you put on top of the water after removing all of the  plants and letting this powder sit with the filters off for 20 minutes.   This did nothing.  Now the pond smells really bad the fish are dying and I  still have both green and brown algae.   You can't walk in the pond as the  bottom is very slippery.  Do you have any suggestions?   <... yes... study... What is it about your pond for instance, that inspires such algal profusion? What is your water quality... particularly nutrient levels like nitrate and phosphate? Do you have an adequate biological filter? Circulation? The Algicide you've used is toxic, and is killing your livestock... I would start a series of large water changes to dilute this, or move your livestock out entirely...> I have lost 2  3.5 to 4" gold fish and 3 or 4 small babies.  I don't see any sign of  disease, <... environmental disease, poisoning...> but I have noticed that all of my fish have stopped eating.  They  also seem to be very lethargic.  Please send any help that you can.   Thanks   Sissy <Start by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdalgcontrol.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish turning white 8/21/05 Hello, I have 7 goldfish not sure what kind they are. The pet store called them feeder fish, they were about a inch long, now they are about 4 to 6 inches long. <Otherwise known as "comets"... a variety developed in the west> They live in a 100 gallon plastic shape pond in my front yard. I have had goldfish for about 10 yrs now and never had this problem. These 7 goldfish I have had for about a year now. I had one that was losing his color. He started turning white in spots <In spots... likely a parasitic disease... were the spots very small? The fish lethargic, hanging at the surface?> until he was totally white. He died after about 2 weeks. Now I have two other goldfish getting the white spots on them now. It looks like, its just losing its color, it does not look like it has something attach to the skin. I have read about Ich, these do not look like little salt spots on them. <Oh...> They do not scratch up against anything in the pond. These spots are on there bodies and not there fins. They do not look like any of the pictures I have seen of Ich. I have tested the water, the nitrites is in the stress level 3.0, <... this is past the deadly level... 1.0 ppm at high pH is very toxic> and I am now treating the water for that, but everything else is ok. I do not know what else to do. Can you help me or have you heard of this problem. Betty   <Fix your water quality... do you have a purposeful biological filter? Aeration? A regular water change maintenance schedule? These are covered on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm I strongly suspect the root cause/s of your troubles are environmental... Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish turning white 8/22/05 Thanks Bob, Yes I do have bio filter and a Aeration pump. No, the fish is not lethargic, or hanging at the surface. I will do a water change and keep a closer eye on the levels. Thank you for all of your help. Betty <Ahh, I see... I do hope the water change/s solve the issue/s here. Your root trouble/s may be seasonal, from crowding, elevated temperature... Bob Fenner>

Sick Goldfish Downunder  8/16/05 Hi there, <Howdy> I have a 400 litre outside fish pond with around 14 goldfish. <Yikes... dangerously crowded...> 2 are around 11 years old, (about 9 inches body length) 6 are self sown and range from 7 to 4 years and 6 were bought about 4 years ago.  One of the old ones has had a protruding  right eye for several years and did not appear to be affected by it. <Happens... resultant likely from a physical trauma...> More recently the protrusion has increased significantly and the other eye is showing similar symptoms. Now the other old one is showing some eye protrusion. Yesterday whilst the two old one were basking in the sunlight I noticed that lumps have erupted around the body of the second old one. Looks like cysts but no colour difference. Is there any treatment I can use to fix either or both problems? <Mmm, just environmental improvement... they need many more gallons of space...> Since day 1 they have been fed with commercial granular fish food except when we go on vacation when I give them a slow release block. Occasionally there is an algae problem which I treat with Simazine <A common ingredient (for our readers) used in commercial ornamental algicides (Princeps powder...)> and in summer a flocculent. Pond is clear water filtered with a bubbler and with pond weeds. Can you help? Thanks Russell <Really... what you, they need is a larger, less-crowded world. Though you've had good success with all these fish in a mere hundred gallons or so for years... they're "getting old" (maybe they and I can start a club?), and the vacillating water quality, exposure to the Simazine... is taking its toll... Do consider either "thinning the herd" or building a larger pond. Bob Fenner> Koi unusual habits 8/12/05 Dear Bob Fenner, <Derek, Jenny> We live in the South of England UK and have a garden pond of approx 1,000 gallons and 4 feet deep.  We have 7 Koi (4 being about 15" long).  We also have 16 other fish being a mixture of goldfish and Shubunkins and babies we have reared. <A bit crowded...> We have a very good filter system and water pump in the pond and part change the water and clean the filter regularly.  The water is clear and the fish are all healthy and we have not lost any for 4 years. However,  there is a water outlet pipe which runs from the filter and then the water cascades into the pond quite strongly.  My husband and I are worried because we have recently noticed the 3 large yellow Ogon Koi have taken to sitting under the pipe and letting the water hit them on their head (in fact they almost have their head out of the water to do this and stay there in this position for some considerable time.  It may sound odd, but they are also opening their mouths as if they are trying to drink the water! <Telling>   At first we thought it was only one Koi doing this, but have found the other 2  Ogons doing the same thing yesterday and today.  They seem to do it after about 19.00 hours.  Also all the other fish are around them at the time very closely compacted and almost nudging each other gently.  There is no animosity or bullying.  In the 5 years we have had our fish we have never noticed this behaviour before and we spend a lot of time caring for them and watching their habits.  We are now worried.  Is this natural behaviour?   <Is... for an oxygen lacking environment... you have provided the significant clues... the small size, surface area of your pond, the fact that the Ohgons ("sun-colored fish") are affected most, and the time frame of the commencement of this behavior... What is happening very likely is that with the sun going down, cessation of photosynthesis, there is a rapid loss of dissolved oxygen concentration... by virtue of their breed (all Koi, like domestic dogs, are of the same species), the Ohgons suffer most... and therefore...> This is not a joke email by the way!.  Many thanks for your help in advance.   We have found your website most helpful. Jenny and Derek <The best thing to do... either reduce the bioload here, increase the pond size... and/or add mechanical aeration (bubblers). Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi unusual habits 8/15/05   Dear Crew <Derek>   Many thanks for your speedy reply received the following morning after your email.   I immediately tested the water in the pond and it was reading dangerous on nearly all tests. <Yikes! Glad you were quick to action>   I guess you probably saved the lives of all our fish, as I immediately went to the Water Gardens Fish Farm nearby and bought the bubble making machine for oxygen, pond salt, BioStart, Water Cress and updated our water testing kit. <Great!>   My husband immediately started a series of partial water changes over the last few days and cleaned out the filter again. <Very good>   It didn't enter our minds that the oxygen level was low as the pond and fish have been healthy for 4 or more years. <Happens... very commonly>   Many thanks once again.  We now have happy fish swimming around normally. Your Website is an inspiration!   Regards  Derek & Jenny, England UK <Ahh, my twin wishes... that WWM serve as a source of information... and inspiration! Cheers, Bob Fenner>

My neighbours Golden Orfe... toxic, env. situation 8/20/05 Hi, please can you help.  My neighbour has a pond with aprox 7 goldfish and 2 golden Orfe.  The 2 Orfe have lost their colour and are just lying on their back at the bottom of the pond.  They have been off their food for the last week. The only thing they have changed in the pond recently is that they have replaced the foam in the filtration system with upholstery foam (thoroughly washed beforehand).  Could it just be that or do you think there is some other cause. Thanks Jacky / John <There is something environmentally amiss here... I would test the water for what they have kits for, and start some consecutive (daily) large water changes... fifteen/twenty percent... with the new water slowly re-added, perhaps sprayed in the air to aid in aeration, removing sanitizer. If the fishes look very bad, I would remove them entirely to another container, new water, provide biological filtration... Bob Fenner> Sick Koi 8/11/05 I have a number of Koi and other assorted fish in a 1500 gall pond. one of the Koi did become slight misshape with a bulge growing on one side, and  for a number of weeks it also had trouble swimming and had to work fairly hard to prevent itself from sinking. It also  spent a lot of time resting on a ledge within the pond obviously to save energy. <Not good... something likely is wrong with your water quality... system> The other Koi seemed to gently nudge it to keep it going. recently  it has lost the bulge and swimming ok but has  now  lost a lot of weight. its eyes also seem to be protruding. I am concerned that when winter comes it won't have enough weight to survive <Me too> Have you any suggestions please thank you Graham Denham <Yes... check your water quality... be diligent re cleaning your filter before cooler weather prevails... maybe have someone come by who also keeps ponds and have them do an on-site going over of your set-up... Most importantly, please peruse our pond Subweb: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm re set-up, nutrition, disease... It may be that the one fish is/was a "time bomb", that it had a genetic, developmental predisposition to a tumorous growth... but it may be that there is something awry with the system itself. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Snacks - And Not The Crackers! - 08/07/2005 Hiya <Ahoy thar.> could you help with a problem we have, we have about 10 goldfish in a 300 gallon pond, in the last month we have noticed that several of the fish have bite marks on them, one in particular looks like it has no mouth left, <WOW.> is it disease, is it a predator, we have no idea.   <More than likely a predator.  Without more detailed descriptions of the wounds, though, no way to know.  A predator is highly likely, though.> As an extra note we have two very large frogs/toads that have just moved in.   <Some frogs will eat small fish - but I've never heard of them leaving bite wounds.  Look to the skies, and neighborhood cats or "vermin" (wildcats, raccoons, etc.), for your predators.  You might want to consider purchasing a motion-activated sprinkler for scaring away birds and kitties with the munchies.> Help please. <I hope that does.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Pond goldfish 8/7/05 We have an established pond with a small trickle feature to keep the water moving, one of the gold fish has developed what look like blisters or ulcers on top of its head. They are about 1-1.5mm across and do not appear to be irritating it nor do any of the other fish have them. Any ideas please? <Ah, yes... these are very likely what are called "pre-nuptial tubercles"... males get such bumps on their heads this time of year> we have separated it but it has had to go into a small tank so we don't want to leave it there too long. Cheers <No worries. Please see these files: http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&cof=BGC:%23FFFFFF%3BT:%23000000%3BLC:%230000CC%3BVLC:%230000CC%3BALC:%230000CC%3BGALT:%23008000%3BGFNT:%23000000%3BGIMP:%23000000%3BDIV:%230000CC%3BLBGC:%23FFFFFF%3B&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com&q=pre-nuptial+tubercles&spell=1 Bob Fenner>

Lessons in liner differences... some are toxic to pond life 8/5/05 We are new to the Koi Hobby, and just built our 1st pond in May,  we have had 7 fish since July, but developed a slice our current liner, so we had men come out and put in a new PVC Blue liner, <Is this a swimming pool product? Some are treated with chemicals that are undesirable for biological systems> We moved the fish to a large horse tank  for 3 weeks, while we went bigger and deeper with the pond. we went to our first Koi Pond tour, and got new info and designs. <Ahh! An "eye-opener"... which invariably folks wish they'd done before setting up...> Needless to say, they finished installing the new liner on Sat, July 30, and we got the filters going,  the water was clear on Tuesday night, and water test are good, so the fish were transferred back to the pond. We came out on Wed night and the small fish were dead,  The large one was still doing ok, swimming around. We took the water in for testing on Wed night, and all the water tests are normal.  I questioned the oxygen,  it is a 1800 gal pond. But that came within limit, he indicated that bigger fish would have died first if not enough oxygen. <This is so> The water filters completely 2 times a hour with the pumps/filters.  Today the large Koi is dead.  The pond people said that maybe the liner is toxic, <Yes> How can we Tell,    the liner people said it is non toxic.   <Non toxic to what? Swimming humans... you can "do a bioassay" with water taken from the exposed liner, or soak a piece of the liner in water that you know otherwise to be okay... or ask to see the manufacturer's information re this liner... or take the liner to a QA lab...> We have well water,  have added  nothing except Koi Clay.  He gave us black crystals to put in a hose and put in the outlet water, to capture any toxins. <...?> Help!!   My husband is terribly upset as are the children.  If it is the liner, how can we fix it?? <Can either wait, see if time going by, perhaps chemical filtration will remove... plasticizers, anti-mildew/algal material... or remove, or place a non-toxic liner over this in turn...>    If it is the liner, can it be treated, so we do not have to tear it out,  does it wear off? <Likely the latter does occur... but how long...? Bob Fenner> Carolyn Goldfish behaviour 7/4/05 Hi <Hello there> I have a very large garden pond - twenty foot by forty plus foot, four feet plus deep at one side, lots of goldish which do breed and so on.  However they do this every year and I now feel I need to know why. They are mostly just hanging suspended in the water, like they were asleep, although they did consent to eat a little yesterday and in the post dawn period they make little bubbles on the surface which linger most of the day. <Ah, yes> Can anyone tell me what they are doing and why?  No filter or oxygenator alas but I have lived here for more than ten years now and have managed so far okay. Thanks very much Angie Watts <They are experiencing changes in the pond due to the season... in essence being poisoned... changes in pH, mixing of bottom water... You might consider adding aeration, biological filtration... that will make this system overall more homeostatic throughout the year. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pond Goldfish behaviour 7/5/05 Thanks very much for your reply.  I found the credit note from the water company when we had to have the concrete pond relined with a butyl liner as it had cracked (September 2003) and I found I reclaimed for 35metres3 not put back into the sewage system. <A good note... in the States we also can at times realize such a saving from notifying our water/sewage service provider> Add to that the contents of 2 x 45 gallon containers, one large fish tank and a paddling pool (for the marginals) I think that works out a pond approx 7,800 gallons, am I about right?   <Mmm, 35 cubic meters of water is about 9,409 gallons...> About a hundred goldfish (although most of them have bred black).  I have ordered a solar powered oxygenator to help things & use barley straw in old tights (last added about three weeks ago) but I guess 2 and half inches of rain the other day really upset my systems. Although I have to confess I was in there the week before taking out some weed!  At the moment I am just spraying the water a little each day to add oxygen. <All good techniques> The fish seem to be okay but after looking through your web site I am resolved to feed them less often than the several times a day they have got into the habit of begging for. It's a great site - I have learnt so much from looking at it. Cheers Angie Watts <Thank you for your kind words, caring and sharing your experiences. Bob Fenner>

New Pond 7/4/05 Hi <Hello there> I have come across your goldfish help pages - very fascinating. I have a new pond, set up a few weeks ago.  It holds 250 gallons, and 7 fish.  5 comets and 2 Shubunkins.  The smallest fish, a red shubunkin has a white blob on it's tail.  Presumably fungus. The pond originally was stocked with 5 comets.  1 died on the first day of introduction, found floating.  After a few days I bought 2 more comets, and then another few days later, 2 Shubunkins.  One more of the original comets died a few days ago, after growing a white fungus like blob on its mouth. <... but what is/are the root causes of these "blobs?"> This fish sank to the bottom, I fished it out, and examined it before disposal.  Now my smallest shubunkin, about 3 inches long, has a white blob on its tail.  I am treating (the whole pond) with "Protozin" which states on the box  - used for the control of all protozoan and fungal infections.  This treatment is to be used on days 1, 2 and 3, and then day 6.  It is now day 3, and the white blob is still there.  I will continue the treatment, but do you think it is working? and is there anything else it could be? <All sorts... most likely environmental... water quality...> and is there anything else I could do? <Yes... check water chemistry, seek to understand cycling... improve> I don't want to lose all my fish.  I am new to this game and have never kept fish before.  Oh, and by the way, I have observed newts, frogs and a toad in my pond, could these be presenting any danger, are they beneficial or harmful? <The frog may prove to be predaceous...> Before installation of my pond, the area was a swampy mess, where there were frogs and newts.  They are now in my pond. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Wendy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/biopdfilters.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner> Oops.  I got the pond size wrong.  500 litres.  Approx 100 gallons. <All the more reason to be careful re filtration, maintenance and water quality. Bob Fenner> Koi dying with no physical signs 6/29/05 Hi <Hello there> I have been searching your site for possible causes for the death of my fish. I have lost one a day for the last seven days. The pond is new (about 6500 litres). I left the pond for a couple of weeks before putting the fish (15 small Koi up to 7") into it. The filter and fountain were running for the entire period since the pond was filled. I had read quite a few of your responses to other owners with similar problems (fish dying with no outward signs). The fish that have died became loaners, not feeding and began swimming at a very shallow depth and would die within 24 to 48 hours of showing these symptoms. Whilst reading one of your replies about possible deaths caused by poisoning by weed killers/pesticides etc. <Or the system just not being cycled... the root cause here is almost assuredly environmental> it suddenly dawned on me that my pond design may actually be poisoning my fish. The pond is part dug and part raised and lined (not a problem). However the top edge of the pond was finished with 6" wide decking timbers. I realized, whilst reading your replies, they were made from tanalised timber (for those who may make the same mistake as me but are unaware of what tanalised timbers are, they are timbers treated with cyanide). I have made a presumption that when it is raining the cyanide is possibly getting into the water (not 100% but I think it is a strong possibility). Of course I immediately went out and took these timbers off my pond and will drain it first thing in the morning. <Yikes!> Could you please let me know your views on this? If you think I am right then I hope this information may help others who have made (or might make) a similar oversight to mine!! Ps. Great site!!! Regards Stephen Robbins <You are correct in that treated lumber can be real trouble... A sample of the water might be taken to a quality assurance or college laboratory for analysis... Perhaps the timber can be sealed with something making it impervious to water... like polyurethane... Or it can be moved, the pond modified such that water that does come in contact does not wash into the basin. I wish you well. Bob Fenner> Whirling Vortex of Doom, or Fun With Tadpoles? - 06/07/2005 Dear Sirs, <And Ma'ams!  <grin>  Sabrina with you, today....> Hi! <Hello!> I live in Michigan and have a pond that is approximately  35x75 with depths of 3 inches to an average depth of 5 ft to one section that is 12 ft. <Wow, very nice.> Our pond is lined as the water table was too low. We installed this 5 yrs ago. Shortly after we had it filled a snapping turtle was found to be in it carrying with him leeches. <Eew.  There aren't a great many living things that I truly dislike....  among them are hydra, Aiptasia, most disease-causing organisms, and leeches.  Ugh.> We got rid of him but the leeches stayed. <Naturally.  Undoubtedly, they were plotting to get between your toes and latch on....  Evil little creatures....> We were told to use copper sulfate to get rid of them which they did. <Sure would.> My neighbor came down who happens to be a "water environmentalist" <I'm almost afraid to ask, but what precisely do you mean by "water environmentalist"?  Are we talking a jolly, down-to-earth fish hugger, or someone with OCD who honestly believes that swimming in a river is a heinous crime because you might, god forbid, kill an amoeba?  I mean all that lovingly, of course.  Diversity is, after all, what makes this world a good one to live in.> and said my husband put too much copper sulfate in the pond and said his kids were never to be in my pond. <Hmm....  How much CuSO4 did your husband use?  Did your husband disclose the amount to your neighbor?  If so, does your neighbor have any facts or statistics, or a scientific background, to properly understand whether or not there is "too much" CuSO4 currently in the pond?  What, to your neighbor, constitutes "too much"?> He told me its not safe. <Well....  To be quite honest, I *do* have to agree with him that CuSO4 is "not safe", to some extent.  CuSO4 is pretty nasty to all invertebrates, and something that I urge aquarium owners to really think about before using it, as it can be adsorbed into the substrate to be leached out at a later time, and cause inverts to sicken and die.  But, again, it would help to know how much CuSO4 was added.> We still have frogs, water bugs and tad poles living in along w/ a few painted turtles every now and then. <The water bugs alone make me think there is not, or not much, CuSO4 currently present in the water.  Water bugs, any and all of 'em, are invertebrates, and thus are SIGNIFICANTLY more sensitive to copper than, say, a fish, LET ALONE a person, even a kid.> I do not remember how much my husband put in but he bought what he needed per what he told the salesman. <Perhaps you can find out the amount from the salesman?  Perhaps, given the same facts you gave him before (probably dimensions or volume of the pond), he can tell you what he would've sold you?> My question is, is my pond safe? <Well, to be precise about it, I have insufficient data to give you an accurate answer.  But from what you've told me so far, given the choice to drink a glass of your pond water or a glass of water from a four-star hotel in Egypt, I'd take your pond water in a heartbeat - provided I was allowed to pull any tadpoles or turtles out of my glass, first.> My neighbor came over last summer to see what we had done and he made the comment that there was a lot of copper in my water because it was blue. <Uhh....  *what*??> I told him that we have not put any copper sulfate in since that first time and that the pond was blue because we put blue dye in it. <Yeah, oh-kay, to my understanding, there is NO CuSO4 offered for use in aquaria or ponds that will turn your water blue.  I've worked with Copper II Sulfate in chem lab, and the crystals were a very inviting azure hue (one of my favorite shades, in fact!), so maybe that's what has him thinking this?  Either way, my GUESS is that the blue dye you are using is probably Methylene blue, a flavine dye, which in small quantities is essentially harmless to people - I wouldn't want to chug it out of the bottle, as that would probably cause some serious damage to me, but splashing around in a pond with a little bit of m. blue in it wouldn't be disturbing.  But....  I have to ask....  WHY are you using it??  I do recall having seen such a product claiming to prevent algae....  There are other "less blue" options to prevent algae, if you're interested.> His daughter was over yesterday along with another friend of my daughters and they ended up at the pond trying to catch the tadpoles. <A very noble quest, at a young age.  I have to admit, I still play with tadpoles, and have several in the tanks I have outside on my porch, thanks to some native very noisy and cute frogs that like to stick to things like suction-cups.> The little girl said she could not "touch" the water whatsoever <Sure, she might get wet.  And if she got wet, the world would end.  Or something like that.  Right?> and that her dad was going to sneak down and check on her. <Wow, very trusting of him.> I'm very good friends with these neighbors and don't want that to change but he is really ticking me off saying these things. <I can understand.  I really don't like when people jump to conclusions without having ANY facts to go off....> I would like to tell him once and for all that my pond is safe. Can you help me out? <If you stop adding the dye, once the pond becomes colorless again (as opposed to blue), you can buy test kits to test the copper concentration of the water.  I would hazard a guess that your test results would be zero.  Here are some test kits to look at:   http://www.bigalsonline.com/search/?type=catalog&method=all&collection=sitebuilder%2Fcatalog3-1&keywords1=copper+test .  The dye in the water will skew your test results, especially on the Seachem kit, which is really by far the best of those three.  The other two use different reagents that don't give you blue test results, so you *might* be able to try detecting a change in the color....  this *might* work, but I don't know.  Best to rid yourself of that dye, first, and go with the Seachem kit, in my opinion.> I forgot to mention that after the copper sulfate was added the first year we had beach sand thrown in over the entire pond surface. <Umm, how long ago WAS it that you used the copper?  It's starting to sound like we're talking about a matter of YEARS ago?  I see you opened the email with a time frame of five YEARS?  Was it five years ago you added copper?  If so, yeah, realistically, I just don't think that you have a problem with copper at all.  Likely less of a problem than having copper pipes in your house, even.  My best guess is that you're dealing with a father who knows just enough to be afraid but not enough to see reality.  Lack of knowledge is very dangerous stuff....  Utter the words "nuclear energy plant" in a room full of pretty much average folks and you end up with cries of Chernobyl, while hundreds or thousands die per year as a result of coal-fire energy plants to supply those folks' power in their homes....  Same principal.  Just do be patient with your "water environmentalist", and try to gather the cold, hard facts (or wet, sloshy facts, as it were) to prove to him that your pond is not a Whirling Vortex of Doom lying in wait to snatch up his little girl - this is his fear.  If you had a fear, no matter how senseless or unfounded, that something would without a doubt harm your child, you'd do everything to protect her, I'm sure.  Though your neighbor has no reason to, this is what he is doing.  So do be sensitive to him as you try to guide him to a better understanding.> Signed, Cindy <Wishing you and your Whirling Vor- I mean, pond- well,  -Sabrina><<Copper is used in most, if not all potable reservoirs in the U.S., elsewhere... It is very safe to swim in, let alone drink in dilution... RMF>>

Algae/Fish Killer Help Sir, I picked up your name on ASK.com.  I am having trouble with an outdoor fish pond.  I obviously put in too much Algicide, and killed all of my fish.  Is there any way that I can neutralize the chemical without draining the pond? <Not practically... most expedient to do a series of massive (tens of percent) water changes here> I have a 5000 gallon pond, without a drain so I would have to pump it all out into the street.  Any help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  Thank You!! Jan Shepherd <Mmm, if there is any change in elevation, you may well be able to siphon the water... better from the bottom, along with mulm... Bob Fenner>

Fungus question Hello, <Hi there> I have a large fishpond with about 40 Koi and I recently noticed that one of the larger fish has dark furry spots on it's side. It is still eating along with the other fish. <Mmm, furry spots... does sound fungal> I have read about fungus on your site and I believe this is the problem. I admit that we have not cleaned the pond since we moved into this house a couple of years ago. We planned to do so this spring when the fear of frost was past by draining 1/2 of the water and vacuuming out the organic matter and debris collected at the bottom. <Good idea... but I would change out a quarter at most... wait a few weeks, do again...> In the meantime I am very concerned about this fish. I have never removed any of the fish from the pond for any reason and I am not sure how to handle treating it for the fungus. Someone has suggested capturing it, removing the fungus with a q-tip and applying Neosporin cream to the wounds. Do you have any tips on treatment? I am afraid I will stress the fish more if I don't handle it properly and I fear it will jump out of my hands! Also, should I salt the water in the meantime before I can get to the cleaning? How much salt per gallon? <You can use a topical... mercuric compound, not Neosporin... Mercurochrome, Merbromin... with a dauber... but where will you put the fish after? Back in the same pond? I would not do this... too much stress to warrant its removal, treatment. Do the water changes, add salt... Bob Fenner> There are aquatic plants such as water iris and lily pads in the pond. It has a waterfall to circulate the water, and a UV light filter which we will re-introduce when fear of frost is past.  Thank you so much for your help! Sincerely, Laura Keitlen Seekonk, MA  <About one pound of salt per hundred gallons of water.>

Fish Pond, or Wishing Well? >Hi, I have recently built a 1m diameter fish pond and hope to put some fish in it, but my family wants to use it as a wishing well, but would the copper harm the fish? >>Please, for future reference, we kindly ask that all use proper capitalization so that we do not have to retype queries (we get a LOT every day). Little copper is used in our (U.S.) pennies of today, mostly replaced with zinc if I recollect... But it seems you're from the U.K. and I honestly have NO idea how your coinage is alloyed. In any event, copper is an insecticide/parasiticide, and it used to be that copper pennies were problematic in large numbers (even small numbers/amounts, especially in systems with invertebrates - I worked a shop where someone tried to kill our fishes, as one day we discovered at closing there were pennies in almost all the tanks. Surreptitious, but ill-informed, indeed!).  I personally would strongly recommend against doing this, but not for the reasons one might initially consider. First, tossing things other than food into such a small pond is only going to startle and frighten the fish. They may bang themselves about being so surprised, not a cool thing to do to an innocent fish. Second, when they become larger, they may try to eat one, which could very well become lodged in their throat, again, not cool. Third, if it became truly habitual, and your Queen's mint/treasury still uses a good amount of copper in her pennies/pence, it could indeed become toxic. All around, not such a good idea in my opinion. Far better to teach your fish that YOU are the ones with food, they will learn to come "beg", much more fun. Marina >Many thanks - Anna 

Albino Catfish - Ich? My friend has a pond that I frequent to about every weekend.  Last weekend I caught a 10 lb Albino (which are heavily stocked in this pond) and notice that there were, what looked like, blisters on it's skin.  Quite large at that.  Some averaging the size of a quarter in numbers of 5 or 6 on the body.   Is this Ich or some other form of infection/parasite?  If so, how can we attempt to treat this? <Not ich... and from the description of the symptoms, not likely a parasite either, but some sort of reaction to water quality issues... I would test the water for pH, alkaline reserve, nitrates, ammonia... and at the very least, execute a series of small (ten percent) per day water changes while siphoning what you can from the bottom, removing leaf litter, cleaning the filters... and adding back a cup of salt per hundred gallons of changed out water... do this NOW. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Joe Hamner Koi fish hiding Hi, my name is Sherrie, I have about a 300gal pound in my back yard.   I have four Koi fish and I have 7 gold fish.  I have had them since April  of this year.  I live in Florida.  about a week ago my fish stopped  coming to the top of the water to eat, all of them.  and they stay hidden  in the homes I have in the pond for them.  they won't come out at all not  even to eat.  could it be weather change, or breeding? <Not breeding... this occurs mainly in the warming months of Spring, occasionally in Summers... but yes to the possibility of cooling weather, water... and another idea: You might have a predator about that is scaring your fishes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdpestspreds.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top)> I put a little  of food in the mornings just in case they do get hungry.  I have two  pumps with filters, aeration, that I clean every two weeks.  help. thank  you <Do read about adding some cover... perhaps a piece of corrugated fiberglass supported by a couple of blocks... for your fishes to hide under, feel more secure. Bob Fenner> Hemorrhage (In My Pond) - Just Poor Water Quality? - 08/19/2004 Last Saturday I added some common goldfish and 4 Koi (the Koi are only about 4" long)  to my backyard pond/waterfall.  The water has been circulating almost continually since the addition of the fish to provide oxygen and help prevent the growth of algae.   <Almost continually?  Not constant?> I have not tested, at this time, the condition of the water to make sure all the levels are within fish tolerance.  This morning I ended up removing a dead goldfish that appears to have had some hemorrhaging around the eyes and scales, nothing around the gills however. <I would *immediately* test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, also pH (if you can, compare your pond's pH with that of the store where you got them).> Prior to the fish dying, I noticed that his movement in the pond seemed lethargic and he was having some difficulty maintaining his equilibrium.  I recently went and checked the pond again and am seeing yet another goldfish with similar symptoms as the first.  I checked for any signs of hemorrhaging and see small red spots under both eyes but nothing like the first one.  Any suggestions? <First and foremost, with so much life added at once - and you only say 'some' common goldfish, I assume this is a higher number than the 4 Koi - I would not be at all surprised if ammonia and nitrite are, or at least have been, highly toxic.  Please test these values - without knowing them, there's no further I can recommend.  If ammonia or nitrite are not *zero*, you'll have to do some hefty water changes (a PITA in a pond - yikes!) to bring them back down.  Please do keep us updated, and we'll try to be of more service, once a problem/solution can be had.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Sick Koi Hi, Koi Problems Two of our Koi are tipping forward and can not seem to get their balance, they are both slightly bloated, one seems to go on its side also, we have a 450g  pond 2 UVs and very clear water, the ph is fine and so is the oxygen level, <What are these actual measures?> the  only thing we have recently changed is we introduced 4 small Japanese Koi about  3/4 inches, there are currently 4 10/12inch Koi, 2 6/8inch and the 4 new Jap  ones, please help. Many thanks <Mmm, may very likely be "something" from your new Koi. Did you quarantine these new fish? Have you contacted the folks you bought them from? Whatever the root, principal cause, I would at the very least execute an appreciable size (25% or so) water change, or better, move the fishes (all of them) to another holding system (like a kiddie wading pool, covered, aerated) as the cause may be some source of acute poisoning (like an errant "bug" spray). BTW, the term "Jap" is derogatory... Bob Fenner> Koi problem dear Sir, I am at present looking after my sister-in-laws Koi.  One of them seems to be staying on the bottom most of the time.  It also keeps going over onto its side but rights itself. I would appreciate any advice you can give me. Kind regards. Kevin Healy. <It may be that this fish has swallowed something (like a bug), or has somehow damaged itself. Do keep an eye on it for signs of missing scales, bruising... Otherwise, I would not remove it or treat the system in any way at this point. Much more potential damage from "trying to do something" at this juncture. Bob Fenner>

Re: Koi problem Many thanks for getting back to me Bob, I have built a pond in my own garden and intend to keep Koi.  Your site is very helpful to those of us that know very little about this subject. <Good> It is nice to know that if I have a problem I can e-mail you and get a quick response.  I note that you say keep an eye open for missing scales.  I have seen about 8 scales floating on the pond but not sure which fish they have come from. <Ah ha! Do look about for further signs of a "visitor"... I now suspect further that your one fish is in a funk due to a predator... there is an article and FAQs file posted on WWM re these, and their prevention.> I suppose it is very likely that they have come from this fish. Once again, many thanks for your help. Regards. Kevin <Good luck, life to you Kevin. Bob Fenner>

Koi dead suddenly Dear there, <And there> I have kept a 100 Gallon pond with 5 Koi for about nine months, the Koi is now about 7 to 9 inches, <One hundred gallons? This is way too small a volume for this number of Koi of this size> they have done well. the pond have filter and UV light system, half water change every two weeks. <Sounds like a nice set-up, maintenance schedule> But yesterday morning, they stop eating abnormally, and one dead afternoon. I was so surprised, tested water and changed about 2/3 water immediately. the water rate before water change is as, PH 8.1, Ammonia 0.25, <pH is a bit high... is your tap water this alkaline? And the ammonia is hopefully just left over from the dead fish, and not something you have all the time> Nitride 0, temperature 74. Looked at the dead Koi, no any sign of disease, only have sticky skin, the left four looked have heavy breath, however they looked better after water change. <Good move> The nightmare is not finished, I found another dead Koi this morning, two of the three left fish have heavy breath again, I put this two weak Koi into an isolated basin with salted water and some medicine. Can you image what's the problem I met according to my state, what can I do now to survive the lest life. Thank you very much. Bo <Very likely what you are experiencing is more of a "seasonal" set of circumstances... the water warming up is increasing your fish's metabolisms and reciprocally is responsible for less solubility of oxygen... With such a small volume your fishes aren't getting enough oxygen... this is at least a major contributing factor to their distress, dying... I doubt if they have a pathogenic (bacterial, parasitic) problem... you can add some aeration, keep changing water frequently, but you really need a larger pond if you intend to keep Koi. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish pond concerns, predators, owees Yesterday I noticed something white hanging at the base of the fin on the back of one of my gold fish.  Without taking the fish out of the water, it appears as though something has sliced into his flesh and it is still attached and floats along with him when he swims.  I had 10 gold fish and added 2 Koi the middle of June and on the 20th of June my daughter gave her dad some kind of a fish that creeps along the bottom of the pond and eats the algae and 3 or 4 large snails that are also supposed to be algae eaters.  I have had a couple of fish disappear on me as I never find them floating but for the life of me I don't know where they are.  I have not seen anything other than a frog which is now gone so it's a real mystery what is happening to them.  One day I thought they'd all disappeared but slowly them came out from under the rock.  We have a nice sized pond about 12 ft long and 8 ft at the widest.  There is a waterfall at one end of the pond and the pond is stepped.  The deepest part under the falls is 3 ft and then it steps up to 2 ft and then 1 ft around the outer perimeter.  Is there anything I can do for this fish that is maimed. He's eating and swimming.  Would appreciate any info you can pass on.  Thanks.  Dorothy < You have a bird problem. Years ago while I was in Florida I was fortunate enough to stay with a very knowledgeable fish farmer who had all of his ponds covered in sun screen to keep fish eating birds away. He knew that birds such as egrets and herons had been after his fish because the larger fish had these "saddles" across their backs where the birds beaks had tried to pluck them from the water but left damaging scars on their backs. If the birds are allowed to return then the damaged fish will be the most likely target. Try to discourage the birds to keep your fish in the pond. There are many things you could try, plastic owls, scarecrows or strips of aluminum on strings are all worth a try. They would try and eat rubber snakes. Your local hardware store or nursery may have some ideas on how to prevent the birds from returning. As long as the water stays clean the wounds should heal. If it looks like it is getting worse then remove the fish and put him in an aerated tub and treat with Furanace.-Chuck>

Goldfish dying - water quality? Hi.   Thank you for getting back to me so soon Sabrina.   <Sure thing.> I would not think the water quality is killing them as I use the same well water for my indoor guppies for  years and I have had great great success with them with only a few dying from old age as they only live to a maximum of 2years old. <I doubt very much that the issue is related to the source water, especially if your indoor tank(s) are doing well.  No, what I meant was the water quality in the pond itself - you introduced a whole lot of fish at one time, which would put a lot of stress on whatever biological bacteria had built up already (it's an issue in a pond just as much as in an aquarium).  The wastes from all the fish likely built up very quickly, and with not enough bacteria to compensate, ammonia and nitrites would rise to toxic levels.  Please do get yourself some test kits (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH) so you can know what's happening in the water.  The sick/dying goldfish probably succumbed to ammonia and or nitrite poisoning.  Again, it's not the well water that I'm concerned about (especially with your indoors fish doing fine), it's what's going on with the water once it's in the pond.  Also, please make use of the following links, to help you understand pond water, water quality issues, and cycling: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/h2ochempds.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/tstkitspds.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/trttap4pds.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdh2ochgs.htm This should be plenty of info to start, then please make use of other pond information on WWM, such a wealth of knowledge.  And of course, feel free to keep asking questions.> Goldfish should be able to live in the same water as guppies I would figure. I took the pond temperature after reading your  response and it was 61 degrees Fahrenheit at the edge of the pond. Deeper down it would be colder. <That should be plenty warm enough for them to be feeding.  I would bet they're chowing down on what countless organisms there are occurring naturally in the pond.> I wonder if when I run cold well water straight from the tap into pond this sudden shock of colder water somehow hurts the fish because I do add hundreds of gallons at a time since the pond leaks into the ground slowly and steadily.   <Oh gosh, yes, that could be a problem.  How fast is the pond leaking?  Is it slow enough that you could just top it off more often with less water?> Any response to this letter would be very nice of you... The 4 goldfish left in the pond are still  alive  and I have not added cold well water for several days now seeing if it helps. <With so few fish left, and it being two weeks later, I'd bet that the cycle's complete now.  Do please get test kits, find out where your water is right now, and wait a couple of weeks, see how the remaining four goldfish do, then, if they're still okay, add fish - but only a couple or a few at a time.> If the peas I have put into pond fall to the bottom, will goldfish still eat them off the bottom or do they have to float on top?? <Goldfish will eat pretty much anything that they find anywhere that they find it.  I do recommend that you feed them primarily with goldfish pellets or flake food.  They shouldn't need to be fed more than two or three times a week, really.  Less would be okay, too.  My ponds get fed once a week, with great results.  See here for some info on pond feeding: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfishfeeding.htm > Thank you, Todd from Canada <Any time.  Always glad to be of service.  -Sabrina>

Pond Trouble >MY NAME IS MARTHE FROM NEW JERSEY...I HAVE A SMALL POND OUTSIDE WHICH IS 50 GALLONS...I THOUGHT I TRY THIS OUT FIRST BEFORE GOING FOR A QUITE LARGE ONE NEXT YEAR...WELL 2 DAYS AGO I LOST A  SHUBUNKIN FISH THAT WAS ABOUT 3 INCHES LONG...HE WAS  A BEAUTIFUL GREY WITH ORANGE...MEANTIME THE WATER LEVELS LIKE PH, AMMONIA, NITRATES AND NITRITES WERE ALL FINE...SO TODAY I LOST A COMET...WHICH STOPPED EATING YESTERDAY, AND THEN TODAY IT WAS SWIMMING UPSIDE DOWN, SWIMMING SIDEWAYS ON THE BOTTOM AND THE WHOLE BODY OF THE FISH WOULD QUIVER AT TIMES, IT WAS JUST  SWIMMING VERY CRAZY, ALSO SWIMMING STRAIT DOWN TO THE BOTTOM AND HIT THE BOTTOM OF THE POND WITH IT NOSE...WELL HE PASSED ON...I ALSO HAD A WHITE CHANNEL  CATFISH, WHICH IS A BABY...MAYBE 2 INCHES IN LENGTH...SO FAR HE IS O.K....CAN YOU MAYBE TELL ME WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO MY FISH???? I MISS THEM...SO I GUESS I HAVE TO GET MORE FISH.....ALSO CAN YOU TELL ME SOME INFO  ON WHAT I SHOULD BE PUTTING IN THE POND WHETHER IT BE DAILY OR WEEKLY....THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH.....MARTHE >>Hi Marthe.  I will ask you kindly to please not post your questions in all caps, on the net it is viewed as yelling, and we post many of the questions on our site.  We are often pressed for time, and cannot always retype questions.  Unfortunately, I don't have enough information to really be able to tell you what happened.  However, it is my opinion that you had too many fish in the pond (50 gallons is a sorely small space, especially if all were put in at the same time).  I would need to know exact readings, brand of test kit, as well as whether or not any product such as Amquel were used (which will cause false readings in some types of tests).  I am also without basic information such as weather (my own 250 gallon pond heats up GREATLY during the day, even WITH many lilies and other plants shading it) and filtration.  I also don't know how long you've had this small pond set up, and this is an additional factor in determination...really, there are far too many to fully list here.  I will suggest you change half the water today, half in two days, and if you don't have a filter or anything that is at least helping to keep the water oxygenated you get a pump or similar in place.  I would like to direct you to http://www.eponds.com for equipment that is VERY reasonably priced.  Marina

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

Concern re stagnant water in Koi pond plumbing Hi, I am a fifteen year old girl in urgent need of assistance.  Water that had been stagnant in my pump system for many months was accidentally pumped back in the pond today.  Will it kill my Koi and if so is it too late to save them?  Thanks, Elena Payami <Likely not if it did not immediately affect their behavior. If the system is large, the water disrupted/exposed to the air as in a waterfall, filter... there should be little trouble of low oxygen or anaerobic product/s in the small amount of water in your plumbing lines. Bob Fenner>

Koi behavior after a fellow Koi dies We purchased a house with an existing Koi pond (obviously we know little about them other than the basics-pond care, feeding etc.).  Last week the largest Koi-approximately 3 inches, was found deceased laying about two feet from the pond.  We didn't find any visible signs of disease or attack from a predator.  The death remains a mystery to us, but also a mystery, is the behavior of the remaining Koi.  They have resorted to hiding and not eating as if they are traumatized by something.  Does this happen?  What can be done?  Thanks for any tips! J. Griffiths <It may be that "something" scared the "missing" Koi to jumping out of your pond (this happens), but do know that these fish are keenly aware of their "social dynamic" and do react as you observe/report with the loss or change in behavior of one of their kind. I would not be overly concerned at the one loss if as you state the others show no sign of disease. Do give a quick read through our "Pond Index": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm re Koi/pondfish disease, overall pond maintenance... to see if there is something we're not as yet aware of in your consciousness re this system. Bob Fenner>

Furunculosis (fish pox, viral involvement) Bob, as promised. hereafter the translation of her question. <Good Claude> I have to say that she wrote me some time ago and I did provide some advice as you told me to do still a longer time ago, not forgotten? <Yes, not forgotten> Now after 9 months she wrote again and as I am by nature (as you are I think) a servable man, I decide to present the problem to somebody (you) who are much more specialist. <Okay> ----------------------- It goes over a coldwater fish (it must be a "comet" or something approaching, a goldfish for sure) which presents the lesions you can see on the four photos in attach. <Yes, this is a "Comet" type goldfish. A very beautiful one> Since the first contact she had with me she said, the fish is now not more ill and still eat but it seems the lesions are increasing. <Yes, typical... this is a viral infection, something like a wart... that is very hard to treat from "the outside in"... But can sometimes be remedied as with warts... by cutting away, treating topically.> What I see make me think about something of Furunculosis but, yet I have coldwater fishes in my pool outside and in several tanks inside, I never have encountered this, I must be protected by the gods... <Or by good husbandry. The balance between health and disease is often most determined by selecting good stock, maintaining good environment, and providing proper nutrition> What do you think?  Her tank water is good and as I can pour out the pictures, she's very careful with her fishes, note the absence of waste and (the lesions notwithstanding) the healthy allure of the fish in question. <This one fish may just have an unfortunate genetic heritage... It may be like a family with a streak of a defective transmissible trait. I would likely just leave this fish as is... it may well just "self-cure" over time (this happens) w/o any medication or special care rendered.> I thank you in advance and by the way, did you receive the last address of the magazine I've sent last week? <Yes my friend. Thank you. I responded then... something is not right with our email I suspect.> Friendly yours, Claude <Au revoir my friend. Bob Fenner> Claude Declercq

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

Koi Problems Hi There, I am not a novice. But I would take any advice about my Koi. The Problem is one of my prize Koi is listing a little on his side. But when I go to feed them he perks up. Should I be alarmed? <I would be.> I know my fish and this is not normal. <Agreed.> Here are the stats. 150 gal tank inside. Good filtration, did water change yesterday and do regularly. Have 10 or so med to large Koi with, plus 20 or so small ones. <That is an awful lot of fish for that tank.> All other fish doing fine. Should I separate and try some meds or what do you think? <I would first examine water quality (this is my first reaction to anything abnormal); pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and particularly oxygen concentration. It is not unusual for the largest fish to show signs of distress when oxygen levels are depressed. -Steven Pro> Please help, Thank you Clark R. Puyallup Wa

Koi sucked into bottom drain Hi, <Hello>     Major problem.  5 days ago one of my small comets were sucked into the bottom drain of our new pond. <Yikes> I found him in the catch basket at the pump system.  When I pulled him out, quite a lot of his scales were taken off and he has lost all of his fins, with the exception of his tail fin.  The bony structures of the fins are still intact but, the webbing between them is all gone.   <Not good>     We took him immediately inside and placed him into a medical tank and subsequently into a 30 gallon holding / recovery tank with a Melafix treatment prior to the final transfer.  The Melafix treatment was done at the lower dose.  Today, since the temperature outside is going below 50 degrees, we went and purchased a 12 gallon indoor aquarium for him.  The water was transferred from the outside tank into this one.  He does swim straight although, he spends 99% of his time stationary on the bottom. He did have a problem with buoyancy, but for the past 2 days this doesn't seem to be a problem.   The water quality and temperature is closely monitored. Since this incident, he has not eaten anything <Not to worry... keep trying to offer food twice daily> and there is white cotton like material beginning to grow on his body.  Also, at the base of his tail, just before the fin, the flesh appears to be turning white.  What should the salt level be for this situation?  Should we give him other treatments?  Is this a common problem when a fish suffers injuries like this? <I would add some (perhaps two teaspoons per gallon) of "table salt"... iodized or not to the system water... works as a general anti-microbial... to help this specimen... and keep an eye on water quality, have some warmed-up pond water to switch out a good part of the aquarium water if ammonia, nitrite... water cloudiness present problems>     Can you please help me!!!  Is euthanasia needed when something this traumatic happens and the fish begins to develop symptoms like he is developing?   <Can be... but given the efforts you have exerted thus far, I would hold on, hope for recovery> We are first time comet and Koi owners with a 3500 gallon pond.  We have placed plant baskets over the bottom drain and surface skimmer so water can still go through without capturing any of our remaining comets and Koi's. Sincerely, Ken Brock Douglasville, GA <I wish you life. Bob Fenner>

Pond Goldfish Dying Daily Hi there, <Greetings> I hope you can help me.  I have been looking at the info and FAQs on your site for about the past 10 - days during which time I have lost about 30 goldfish -   hoping to find some answers to my dilemma.  (By the way It is a terrific site and has taught me so much - Thank you).   However, I can't quite find a similar situation to my problem and can't get through anymore reading in fear of there being no more fish left by the time I've covered every FAQ! Firstly I will tell you I live in Australia. I have a 2000 litre fibre glass pond in my back garden  established for 2 years 4 months. I have a Oase Aquarius 4000 E pump with an aerating type of fountain head that I can regulate which takes the pond water to a bio filter and then (by gravity) comes back into the pond by another inlet.  I can control the flow rate of this too. <I understand> I have 3 medium and 2 small water lilies in pots I have a dwarf papyrus and a large tall papyrus again in pots and two small pots of water irises.  I took out my huge pot of grass and much of the elodea and parrots feather with the first two deaths as it had spread so thickly and old growth had died off under the water and I wasn't sure it might not be bad for them. I started off with about 30 goldfish (comets - some with long tail fins, some with short -  plain gold and Shubunkins and two fantails) of varying sizes (mostly under 2 inches as they were the babies which I transferred (without any problems) from my other pond (680 litres) that I have in my front garden when it started to become over crowded. Out of that 30, 5 fish were between 6 and 8 inches long. About 8 months later I purchased 5 more large goldfish (10 inches plus).  Needless to say they bred and the babies grew (now about 5 to 6 inches long including tales and I had about 58 that I could count - Again I thought it was time to put in yet another pond to move some of these to due to overcrowding). <Good> That was until 7 weeks ago. Until then I had only ever lost 1 of my big guys in all that time (dropsy - I brought her back and got her scales down and she lived happily for a further 6 months before she went) and none of the small ones. Late one afternoon while having a regular check I noticed a 2 inch grey baby just floating on its side with the water lily leaves.  It didn't look as if it had been dead for long as it didn't have any marks on it and it's eyes were fresh and clear.  I took it out immediately thinking it must have just been a weak little fellow.   Next morning I checked again and I noticed my big white girl with her nose parked in the large papyrus plants roots about quarter of the way down.  She didn't come with the others to get food (floating pond sticks) On further inspection we thought she was gone so we pulled her up with the net.   Again no marks blotches or anything and eyes so clear and fresh - I figured it must just be a heart attack.  None the less I medicated water with Melafix which my local aquarium recommended in case of bacterial infection and did a half water change. (great - we have water restrictions at present but managed to recycle to the garden!) <Good> The water for some time has been very murky looking.  We have green algae growing off the walls of the pond and also off the underside of lily leaves and stems etc.  The fish pick at it so I have cut them back a bit on their food.  They kind of demand feed.  They see me and I throw a small handful in - maybe sometimes 3 times a day. The food all goes in about 30 seconds. The water usually starts off clear in the morning and then as the sun gets warmer or brighter (because the sun is strong even in winter when the weather temperature is less) it starts to cloud up sometimes to the degree where you can't even see a few inches down.  During the winter I got sick of this and turned the pump and filter off  for a month or so (which I have always done periodically over the 2 and a bit years I've had the pond) because I felt that this just contributed to the murkiness by stirring up the water.  There seems to be enough movement and it doesn't go stagnant or get too many mosquitoes or anything.  But it didn't stop the water from clouding up that much.  We only turned the pump back on and started to operate the bio filter again once we found our first two dead fish. <I see> Then we were OK for about 4 weeks and it was just after Christmas that I found one of my 5 inch gold baby comets just floating. - Again I couldn't see anything wrong and it looked as though it had just gone - I was shocked - Then a few days later another - same size and type.  in the following days they mostly all started to gape at the surface.   very listless not interested in food.  Water still murk central.  I did PH test and came in a little high but not out of the range.  About 7.4. <A good clue>   I noticed that some of my fish had started to get this sort of mucous covering them and eyes bulging and gasping at surface.  Aquarium told me mucous was because they were stressed and there was a problem! with the water.  One guy there told me to completely empty pond and start again.  So we pushed fish to one end and started to empty pond (again) and took it down to about 8 inches. and scooped out heaps of sludge from bottom - <Yes... a root cause of your losses here> (I've got those Dragon fly Odonata things in there which I've never found to cause a problem) <These can be large enough to predate small fishes>   but I couldn't empty it completely as I couldn't get all of the fish out.  Also we cleaned out the bio filter as the aquarium people suggested - to start from scratch again.  We refilled with tap water blasting quite a bit in there to create oxygen (as this is what they seemed to lack from looking at their bulging eyes and gasping) and added the appropriate amounts of chorine and chloramine inhibitors to the water. <Okay> Next day many fish appeared a bit better.  But some still mucousy and gasping at top.  Two had red streaks in there tails and I continued to treat the pond with MelaFix. (they died) But  the pond water even murkier and more sort of brown.  I noticed that most of the algae had gone from the walls of the pond too. <Likely mainly cycling signs...> Two more fish dead the next day.  And my first baby ever (now 7 inches and fat) - gone.  I couldn't find her in the pond.  It must be dead and trapped under something.   She was very covered in mucous just before she vanished.    I decided to go back to local aquarium and get tests for ammonia nitrate and nitrite and hardness. <Good> which they did - only ammonia a little up.  I purchased Zeolite Ammonia Remover bags and  put in the bio filter. Also some water conditioning salt to get the water a little harder (didn't need much). Over the next few days more fish started floating some had been dead a while and just surfaced by the looks of them and some only freshly gone. Still many of them looked so perfect without marks.  I started to identify the ones that I thought were going to die as they seemed a little disorientated and gaspy at the surface.  So I thought I would transfer them to small Hospital pond I had readied so I could keep a closer eye on them. NOW THIS IS WEIRD. As I took them out of the pond and put them into the bucket containing water from their own pond to transfer to hospital pond they started to flip and turn upside down and jump out of the water and then lay there - They would be dead within seconds. <Sounds like something in the way of a residue was in/on the bucket>   I did this to two slightly sick 5 inch comets that I thought I may be able to save if moved them out of the 'poison pond' quick enough and they were dead with in seconds.  I thought it must be some weird co-incidence and a day later tried it with another fish (small 1 inch long) same thing.   Jumped all over the place gasping in the water and just died in seconds. Then I tried it again with another but didn't remove it from the big pond with a net.  I scooped it out in a small container without it leaving the water at all.  This survived a little better for about a day then died in the hospital pond. (jumping again.)  It looked like I'd thrown them into a pot of boiling water or that they were being electrocuted.  After scouring your site I thought it may be gas bubble disease and something to do with gas pressures inside and outside of fish -  although I could not find any evidence of little bubbles on them some did have slightly protruding eyes.  And I don't have anything aerating the water from underneath only from the external fountain head! This morning my big 12 inch red and white girl was floating.  She looked perfect.  Fresh eyes and brightly coloured.  The mucous (which traps the algae particles) that covered her body  yesterday seemed to have left her  and she looked very clear and bright.   Water still murky maybe a slight smell too. <Something like rotten eggs, or at least a dank, dirt-like smell?> I can't even see many others in there - I know I have 5 largish ones left 3 of those I haven't seen today.  I can glimpse a couple of red shadows moving around under the water.   They seem to have gone quite deep.  They sometimes come up for food a bit.  But they seem to 'dart' quite a bit swimming fast and incoherently down in the deep.  Two have got tail rot.  (I am still Melafixing).  So I went back to the aquarium this afternoon and got them to redo there tests again today's (10 days after the last) and they are clear.  NO AMMONIA. <Be aware that ammonia is quite transient... by the time you take a sample to somewhere it can well have evaporated>   Everything else normal too except water which could be a little harder.   They are at a loss.  I came home and two more 2 inch babies were floating - one of which I recognize as being one of the fitter and healthier ones two days ago.  I know I'm going to lose my big fantail next (I've had her for 6 years) - she is one of the ones that has fin rot and her eyes are bulging. - I am frightened to take them out of the pond to transfer them to hospital pond now as I think I will kill them due to that darting and freaking out business I mentioned above.   PLEASE HELP. Thanks -  I know it's a long email but I'm trying to paint the whole picture.  Oh yes the other thing in the last few weeks it has been very hot here.  I have tried to shade the pond a bit with garden umbrellas - I don't know if that's relevant or not. I've seen in FAQs that the heat can have an effect depending on the condition. Thanks again Carol <Thank you for your careful relating, good notes. You appear to have some source of chronic poisoning at play here... most likely the soil and/or what you have used for fertilizing your potted plants... the low pH (it should have been much elevated by daytime driven photosynthesis) is evidence here as well as the order, size of your fish losses, and their timeliness... the move to reduce the sludge was a good one... as was the addition of salt. The Melafix I would hold off on, as this is working against you more than for... stalling biological conversion... A few things going forward... A five hundred gallon/2000 litre system may seem large, but it should not be overstocked (yours was)... particularly during the warming months (Australia for folks in the N. hemisphere) has its seasons switched of course... winter here is summer there... With the warming water you need more biological filtration than the Oase unit can provide... or as a corollary, much less feeding... I would re-pot your aquatic plants... blind potting them per here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/Pond%20Sub%20Web.htm and re-add the floating grasses (Elodea...)... You may be able to discern the cause of the acute poisoning in the bucket you mention... through PolyFilter use (it turns colors per source metals)... or taking it to a lab, college... but I would definitely exclude its use around your ponds... Much to do, relate in turn... there could be an/other source of poisoning here... agricultural, pest likely... am hopeful that by cleaning the pond out (get rid of those Odonatans) and re-potting the plants, either low-stocking or adding/building a bigger filter, you will have renewed success. Bob Fenner>

Sudden Pond Fish Deaths I have had an outdoor fish pond (150 gallons) for the last 4 years. I only have comet goldfish in my pond. I came home to find the 3 largest fish dead. <<Marina here, I'm sorry to read this.>> I have had them for the last 3-4 years. One of the larger fish was still alive but floating on his side and gulping for his breath. <<In need of oxygen, possibly too much carbon dioxide or worse in the water.>> I tried to save him, but was unsuccessful. I have 4 smaller comets that were their offspring (2 yrs old) that are still alive and they do not have any signs of sickness. I am puzzled as to why the larger fish have died. I have never had any of the Comet fish to die. Our pump messed up and pumped about 70% of the water out the night before they died and we had to fill the pond up that morning.  <<Oh man, there you have it my friend. This is how I lost a whole pond full of fishes once. >> We were afraid that it would mess up while we were at work, so I did turn the pump off.  <<Bad juju - you simply ensured that it would end up the same whether or not the pump "messed up".>> The fish were fine before I left and seemed to enjoy the water change. <<I'm sure they did, especially if it's been a long time since you've done any maintenance on the pond. A build up of mulm/detritus on the bottom would be another reason for sudden deaths - anaerobic conditions may very well have been created with such a buildup, the gasses then build to the point where they are released into the water et voila'! Dead, gasping fishes.>> The outside temperature was around 73 degrees the day they died. I don't know if they died from lack of aeration, but I have left it off before without any problems.  <<It wasn't that, it was such a large change without following aeration. For one thing, the water out of the tap has a great deal of gasses in solution. When you take that water out of the pipe, the pressure that kept the gasses in solution is gone, thusly, the gasses turn to bubbles, hopefully BEFORE the fish breathe them in. If not, they got the "bends" in a manner of speaking. NEVER refill a pond this way with fish and NOT ensure aeration and/or turbulent water movement to ensure this doesn't happen. Let's not forget that if on municipal water chloramine is likely present, bond between chlorine/ammonia MUST be broken chemically.>> I have also done water changes greater than 70 % without any problems.  <<Did you leave the pump off after doing such a large water change? In a situation such as this we cannot ascribe the deaths to any ONE cause, but more likely a chain of events, several root causes coming together for a lethal combination. Do some maintenance on the pond if it hasn't been done already, check the pump and replace if necessary. I LOVE Eponds.com by the way. Fantastic service, incredibly fast shipping, incredible deals on product.>> Any ideas as to what happened to my large fish (10 -13 inches long)? <<Whoa.. they got THAT big in just 3-4 years?? As above, a combination of factors is my best guess here. If you have plants then they help prevent these sorts of problems. If you don't, consider adding live plants. Marina>>   

Aquatic Gardens

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

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: