FAQs on Pondfish Disease 6
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
sick/injured Koi 9/6/2010
We have a small (1100 gal) pond in our back yard we built two
I added 3 new fish at the beginning of summer (June). The plants
are all doing well and the fish seem to enjoy them. The largest
fish is maybe 15 inches.
There are three fish that we purchased when the pond went in and
2 more the following year...thou one is not a Koi, I really
don't know what he is, but he's happy so he stays. We
bought cheap fish from the pet store just in case there were
problems. Well so far everything has gone well.
This past fall we overwintered the fish in the pond. In the
spring, one of the fish from the first year had a ulcer which
they seemed to have a little trouble with, but seemed to do ok
and got over it...except that it still swam a little funny. This
fish always fed more aggressively than the others and would jump
and get crazy over the food, thou it was fine the rest of the
time. It did not grow as fast as the other two, so I don't
know if the feeding frenzy was because it needed more or what. In
August it suddenly took a turn for the worse and has had all
sorts of trouble swimming. We took it out of the pond to check it
and it jumped out of my son's hands and hit the ground. We
noticed blood immediately and put it in a 30 gal drum.
Not sure if the blood was caused by dropping the fish or by an
ulcer, we kept her in the drum. Truthfully I did not
expect it to live thru the night. We added salt & Melafix
the drum and added salt to the pond
...just in case. It has now been about a month and none of the
other 8 fish have shown any signs of illness. We did notice
another ulcer on this fishes side when we pulled it out, looked
like a pencil eraser on the side of the fish. About the same size
and very cylindrical. Since treating, this spot has gone away.
However, most of this fishes tail is missing and still appears
<I think you are right>
After a week of treatment I tried to put her back in the pond,
but she seems to freak out in there swimming like crazy and not
very well. So we put her back in the drum where she is MUCH
calmer. I am really rather surprised this fish is still alive and
I have no idea what is going on with it. I would have thought
that if it was a disease instead of an injury the poor thing
would have died by now, but it hasn't.
<Koi/Carp, Cyprinus carpio, even genetically bunk ones as this
poor "butterfly" specimen, are>
I tried after a couple of weeks to reintroduce it to the pond,
but today I noticed one of the other Koi come out of no where and
knock the tar out of it so I removed it again and she now has her
own 30 gal tank in the living room. Again, she seems much calmer
on her own. My instinct a month ago was to euthanise her, but my
kids throw a fit when I suggest it. So, does any one have ANY
<Yes... this fish does appear to be both damaged, suffering
from secondary (bacterial et al.) infection and to have a broken
rear spine (likely from a physical trauma)... in such a small
pond, it may well not "fit in"... The choice is up to
you to find it other quarters or humanely euthanize it. Read
scroll down to Pond Fish Disease... Bob Fenner>
thanks in advance!! Dee
Re: sick/injured Koi 9/7/10
thank you for our reply!
Koi with bent spine 8/1/10
I have a Trigon 190 corner tank and have about 12 Koi in it of various
sizes. I've kept the first 7 for about 3 years with only 1 fish
dying throughout that time. My dad bought about 5 of the newest ones
last year from the same specialist store he's used for years. They
were very small at the time.
As soon as he brought them home I noticed that 2 of them (with almost
identical coloring) had slightly curved spines which made their tails
point towards to ceiling at 90 degree angles to their bodies. Over the
they have grown (although not a huge amount) and as a result their
curved spine has become more noticeable. Until recently the 2 in
question would simply wiggle to swim and seemed to cope no problem.
They continued to eat and seem perfectly normal.
<That does sound like a birth defect. Or an injury early on.
Unfortunately when selective breeding for color, issues like this do
However over the past week the larger of the 2 has now started
somersaulting and struggling to swim in a straight line without
twisting, whirling or spinning upside down. He still eats (when he can
flip, twist and roll his way to the pellets) but its very upsetting to
see and I'm not sure if the kindest thing to do would be to put him
out his misery (if he is suffering?).
<I've had similar issues, but with sideways bent tails.>
Is this a disease (even though the other "sibling" appears to
be fine and all the other fish are fine too)? He is not showing any
other symptoms which are attributed to Fish TB or anything. Could this
be a consequence of
inbreeding? Will he live long if we let nature take its course, as he
appears to be fine otherwise?
<I do not believe it to be a disease. What to do is up to you. In my
experience they lived much longer than I would have hoped. Get a
feeling for if the fish looks happy or not. If the fish is happy, just
keep him that way with good water quality and feeding. If not, read
Your advice would be much appreciated.
<Hope this helps, Scott T.>
Crooked Fantail tailfin, pond 7/2/10
I have pond goldfish, same ones for about 8 years. The past 2
months I have noticed the goldfish in the picture has a crooked
tailfin. It obviously has trouble swimming but tries, eats and
hangs out with the other fish. What might be the cause of this
and is there any treatment?
<Hello Mike. This is most probably genetic, though backbone
deformities can also be caused by vitamin deficiencies.
<<or traumas. RMF>> In either case there's no
treatment, and provided the fish is happy and feeding, I
wouldn't worry unduly. He's obviously more vulnerable to
predators, so that may be a factor, depending on where this pond
is located. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Crooked Fantail tailfin 7/3/10
Thanks guys, yeah I hope he'll be alright and they are pretty
predator savvy by this point. :)
<Cool. Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Pond... mortalities, reading --
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
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
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
I only get the cheap feeder fish
<These almost always have a plethora of health/parasite
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
Any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong?
<Yes... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdenvdisfaqs.htm
and all the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Sick Koi - 5/22/10
Hello. I love your site. First, I wanted to say "Thank
You!" for offering to help people who are having trouble
with their beloved fish!
<A pleasure to share>
I live in New York. My fiancé© built me a pond about
a year ago so I am a new pond owner. It is roughly 4,500 gallons
(10 feet wide by 16 feet long by 4 to 5 feet deep). We have a
massive water filtration system. We use an
upgraded vortex chamber (275 gallons) a 150 gallon cone brush
chamber, and a 150 gallon biofilter chamber. I don't remember
who makes the system, but a picture of a similar smaller system
can be seen here:
hive%2FCyc2sys.JPG We have a waterfall, but have not turned it on
yet. We also have a air stone in the pond. We have had a handful
of rainy days in the past few weeks. Temperatures have been
fluctuating. Nights from 35f-
65f days from 50f - 80f.
<I hope/trust temperatures do not drop to freezing
I have about 29 Koi that range in size from 1 inch to 24 inches.
I have approximately 14 babies (under 2 inches), approximately 10
fish that are 6 inches or so, 1 Koi that is approximately 12
inches, 3 that are around 18
inches, and one that is about 24 inches.
About a month ago, a friend of mine gave me three Koi (1 12 inch
Shusui, a 18 inch white butterfly Koi with a black stripe down
her back, and a 24 inch butterfly Koi that is mostly black and
orange with a little white).
<Mmmm, I'll comment that you'd do well to quarantine
any new additions... there are a few "stock"
transmittable diseases of Koi about>
I was not aware of how big they were at the time I agreed to
The Koi were in big Tupperware containers and were driven about
20 min.s or so to my house in a small amount of water. Due to the
stress the fish underwent, lack of supplies (i.e. quarantine tank
large enough to hold one let alone all of the Koi that size), and
lack of oxygen, the fish were directly placed into the pond. (I
was not happy to do this since everything I have read has told me
not to-but I was outnumbered and felt I had no other choice). The
fish actually seemed okay. As soon as they entered the pond they
started schooling with the original fish. We tested the water
difference between the two ponds. We had a higher pH (7.5) to her
7.0. We had less
phosphate than she did. Our Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels
were the same (0).
Only my 3 new fish appear to be sick.
The white Koi's fins had started to have a pink tinge to
them. We added Pond Care's Stress Coat.
<Mmm, I wouldn't do this>
Her fins actually turned more red. Now, they are still streaked
red and one of them has what appears to be a small ulcer/tear? Up
until this week, she was swimming with the others. Now, she is
still eating, but stays mostly by herself by the side of the wall
near to the water return except for when it is feeding time.
The Shusui Koi has some small amount of red streaking on its
fins, but only a little bit.
The biggest Koi (orange, black, and white butterfly 24 inches) is
not doing well at all. When we originally got the Koi, it was
missing a few scales but it looked okay. The fish has seemed
healthy and happy, swimming energetically until recently. On
Thursday, we realized something was very wrong. We actually
thought it was dead last week when we found it resting on the
bottom of the pond. It didn't move until we went to scoop it
out of the pond with a net. Then it sped off and started swimming
around like it was fine. This week, we have noticed its skin has
developed a white/grey tinge and its fins look like they are
deteriorating. There is white film hanging off of the fins and it
has some algae growing. The fish is often found resting now. It
is still eating and swims ( a little funny) around
when we come up to the pond to feed the fish.
We called a few Koi vets, but they are way out of our price range
(i.e.: $420 to just look at the fish and test the water)
So we have been trying to research what we could do to help these
fish. We read that adding the stress coat can actually hurt the
(buildup on gills making it harder for them to breathe) so we
have not added any more of this to the pond. We also read that
salt was good to add so we are slowly adding pond salt to the
pond. We use Morton's Pond Salt.
directions say to add 1 cup per 100 gallons so we added only 5
cups. We weren't sure if we should add the rest of the salt
all at once or if it would hurt the fish so that is why we have
been adding some of it slowly.
We also weren't sure of the water changing requirements after
creating such salty water. I read somewhere that you could keep 3
% salt for 21 days and then do a 50 % water change a few
times.... But I am afraid all of this
could drastically affect my other fish that are currently
I really don't want the fish to die! I have added pictures of
the Koi. I really hope you could help us and our beloved
<At this point/juncture, there is scarcely any further harm
that can/will be done by leaving these Blue Ridge Fisheries
butterfly Koi in place... the markings you describe are/were most
likely resultant from stress and your
treatment thus far. I would not add more salt or any other
treatment... instead just stay observant, remove any fish that
perish. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick Koi update
Thanks for your help. I was able to find a professional pond man
who would look at my fish for $50. He sedated the fish and was
able to show me the damage under the fish's body. He
explained that the fish has a severe
internal bacterial infection and took scrapings and a sampling of
When he studied them under the microscope he found (and showed
me) skin flukes, Ich (he said it wasn't the type that was
white, it was the type that lives inside the body?) and a few
<Mmm... a host of troubles, which could/would have been dealt
with through quarantine/isolation and treatment ahead of
introducing these fish... as you and I know... But I see below a
plan of action to deal with>
He has me treating my pond with 50 g Praziquantel, 50 g
<Do be VERY careful with this amount of Potassium
Permanganate, KMnO3 likely... this compound is a powerful
oxidizer... and can easily burn, and kill fishes, invertebrates,
100# salt and 1 qt Hydrogen Peroxide for this week, 50 g KMN04,
and 75# salt and 1 qt Hydrogen Peroxide next week and then
Medicated Koi food. We are to do a 50 % water change on 21 day
and another 50 % water change a week from that. He also
recommended that I buy medicated food. I bought 3#.
I got home and tried to look up some of the medicated food online
so I can replace it when I run
out, but I wasn't sure which one to get.
<Mmm, medicated for what? The Prazi is for the flukes
(Trematodes) and the Protozoan is likely being treated with the
Permanganate... Are you looking to add Metronidazole here? If so,
it can be purchased as a powder and mixed
in... Please read here for details re making your own medicated
food/s for Pondfish: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm
His are unlabeled. They sink to the bottom. Do you have any idea
of what type of medicated food I can give them when they run out?
He didn't tell me what brand it is and it was $50 for a 3 #
bag. Also, is this treatment going to hurt my biofiltration
<It could well do so... depending on admin., what is in the
Is there something I can/should use like microbe-lift to increase
the beneficial bacteria since the KMN04 is an oxidizer? (I was
told conflicting report of whether oxidizers kill beneficial
<They can kill everything... You may want to read re RedOx
Thank you again for your help!
Goldfish in pond - possible Finrot?
It's early spring in Northeast Ohio, and my pond has started
to come out of winter hibernation. I have approximately a 500
gallon pond that is almost 2 years old with a mixture of
different varieties of goldfish. One of my larger (6 in.) comets
has some black "speckles" on his head and his tail
seems to be slowly deteriorating.
<Can't make out much from your small, blurry pix... but
these markings are likely from "stress" from winter...
and this pond... How warm is the water now? Does the weather get
to freezing where you are? This pond may be such
a small volume that it vacillates too greatly in temp., water
quality en toto>
The tail is not frayed and there is no redness, but it is about
1/2 inch shorter than it was 2 weeks ago with a white edge (see
picture). He is acting fine (swimming, eating, etc.), and all of
the other fish are showing no similar symptoms. I test my water
on a regular basis, the readings yesterday were as follows: 0
ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, 8.6 ph during the day.
As a note, my ph has always been this high during the day. Do you
believe this is Finrot?
<If so, the "cause" is what needs to be
What are the black speckles on his head? I know sometimes ammonia
burn can cause some black spots, but my ammonia has never been
more than 0. If it is indeed Finrot, do I need to treat the whole
pond? I do not have a
hospital tank indoors.
<I would not treat, nor move these fish>
Thank you so very much for your time and advice,
<Likely improving weather will find these fish curing. Please
and the linked files above, and here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Goldfish (RMF?) <<Agreed>> --
I have a goldfish in a 200 gallon pond with 10 other small gold fish
about 5" long. They are all doing great except one. He has one
wart like looking thing on his tailfin and one small one on his body.
He doesn't swim much or eat lately. He sits on the side of the
pre-fab pond liner and kind of leans to one side. I checked the water
and the numbers are all good.
The other fish look great it is just him. I did use Melafix in the
water thinking it was fin/tail rot. What can I do for him.
<Hello Cindy. Without a photo it's difficult to know what's
the deal here, but my guess would be Fish Pox. This looks like blobs of
molten candle wax.
It's a viral infection and cannot be treated. The good news is it
eventually gets better by itself. The bad news is that it only occurs
where fish have been stressed one way or another, so you do want to
check water quality and water chemistry. Ponds are particularly prone
to pH drops if overstocked and not receiving adequate water changes to
top up the carbonate hardness. The same environmental issue that
allowed Fish Pox to get established could be the same thing that's
making him lethargic.
Re: Goldfish (RMF?) 4/15/10
Thank you so much for replying. Sorry to say, Penny did not make it.
Thank you again,
<Too bad. Unlikely to have been Fish Pox then, so do review water
conditions, accessibility of the pond to predators, and potential
toxins such as pesticide sprays. Many pond fish die because of
rapid/sudden pH changes, so do make sure the pond has sufficient
Goldfish are happiest at about pH 7.5, but ponds naturally tend to
become acidic over time, especially if there's a lot of dead leaves
and such at the bottom. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Goldfish (RMF?) <<Not a
Thank you for the information. I will definitely test the water
<Happy to help. Do have a read here:
ORF BENT 3/28/10
Hello, I have a good sized outdoor pond with filters running all year
round, 4 years old, clear clean water, plenty of plants ( including the
horrid blanket weed fished out once a month or so).........Started off
with 4 healthy goldfish, now there's about 14.......And 4 golden
orf, 2 of these went missing possibly a heron........Just 2 orf
left....One healthy has grown to about 14 inches call him
'Moby' as he's massive compared to goldfish.....The other
ones body started to round of the second year and now in the fourth
year is completely bent he is almost an 'L'
shape...................... I call him 'bendy'......... He
eats, he swims about which looks very much a struggle for
him............(They are both very skittish compared to the
goldfish)........I just hope he is in no pain..........Is he ok just to
leave like this and let him?? Just get on with things as he has been
doing???? Or is there anything I can do for him
please.?? I appreciate any reply, thank you. Julie
<Hello Julie. Orfe, Leuciscus idus, are only fair to middling pond
fish and rather more difficult to keep than Goldfish or Koi. They need
fast-flowing, oxygen-rich water and are prone to jumping. They're
easily alarmed if the
pond is too shallow or small for them to feel secure. You really do
need at least six specimens for them to do well, and it's notable
that while your Goldfish have multiplied, your Orfe have died off for
one reason or another. What I'm saying is that these are fish that
require some care, and can't be treated in the same way as Goldfish
or even Koi. Crooked backs can mean one of four things. Firstly, poor
genes. That'll be obvious from day one, and if this Orfe was a good
size and shape when you bought him, then this isn't the issue here.
The second reason is physical damage, and in the case of Orfe, throwing
themselves against solid objects is not beyond the realms of
possibility. The third reason is malnutrition, but this would have to
be pretty severe and unless you were using the cheapest possible
pellets isn't very likely. Orfe are somewhat carnivorous in the
wild, feeding on insects and suchlike, so their diet needs to be fairly
rich. But a good quality pond fish pellet should be adequate. The
fourth and BY FAR the most common reason Orfe become deformed is the
pond is too small. What you think is a good sized pond may not be what
an Orfe thinks is a good size pond! Realistically, you need a 7500
litres/2000 gallons to keep Orfe
successfully. Such a pond would need to be at least 5 metres/15 feet
long and not less than 1 metre/3 feet deep. Orfe are big fish, as
you've seen, with an average length of 45 cm/18 inches in
captivity, and quite a bit more than that in the wild. They are also
fast, active swimmers completely unlike the lazy bottom feeders that
are Goldfish and Koi. Provided the "bent" Orfe can feed
normally, no, he's not in any pain and there's no need to
euthanise him. But he is a clear sign something is amiss with this
pond, at least in terms of maintaining Orfe, so you should reflect on
that and act accordingly. One last thing. Please don't send
messages in ALL CAPITALS next time. Re-typing your message into a form
I (and visitors to this site) can read without doing my (their) head in
took some time, and on a Sunday, when the clocks have gone forward and
I'm feeling robbed because of it, well, that's just not nice.
Normally we bounce back messages written this way, so please don't
do it again. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: ORF BENT -- 3/31/10
Reply really appreciated, thanks very much,
<You are welcome.>
after taking in what you have said I think the possibility that Bendy
the Orfe damaged himself possibly by leaping, jumping and throwing
himself about as they do. I guess I come to this conclusion because his
friend Moby is so
fit. Cos the pond is 3 meter by 2.5 meters across and a meter deep in
<Probably too small for Orfe, unfortunately.>
has a water fall and fountain meaning plenty of oxygen all year round.
Also 2 foot of the pond has a deck area overhanging over it, which they
go under out of harms way.
<Again, a potential hazard for these jumpy fish.>
They are used to me and come to me to be fed although as an Orfe they
are still jumpy. They are fed March to October with good pellets and
flakes and also live food in summer, pretty soon all the frogs-spawn
will hatch and no doubt they will feast on tadpoles, because suddenly
this year 4 frogs have made themselves at home.
So Bendy I hope although a disabled fish I hope is having a good life I
will keep an eye on him..........once again thanks Neale I have enjoyed
looking at your site and reading all the information, my hobby has
become my pond and fish I love them.
<Enjoy your fishkeeping. Cheers, Neale.>
Koi With Eggs in Fall 12/12/09
I have a koi (approximately 16" long) filled with eggs. The
temperature has dropped dramatically in the past few days, and all the
fish including this female have settled to the bottom of the pond. Is
there anything I should do about this fish.
<Mmm, no. Leave it be as it is. Likely the eggs will be resorbed...
Moving this fish, manipulating its environment at this time of year
will only harm it>
This is my fourth year with this pond, and this has never happened
before. They have always spawned in the spring/summer. Thanks for
<Perhaps more evidence of change/s in our weather. Peace to you (and
the world). Bob Fenner>
Re: Koi With Eggs in Fall
Thanks for your advice. That is my plan; hopefully, she will be fine.
As you say....Peace!
<Have occasioned this first and other hand on several occasions.
Keeping all... the fish/es, system in status quo, allowing time is
prudent. Cheers, BobF>
Swim Bladder Disease in Koi
I have a rather large Koi...approximately 18 inches long, and around 4
pounds in weight.
He appears to have swim bladder disease and can use some help. I have
read several articles about this over the past 4-5 days and still
remain confused about what I can do to try and bring him out of
<Hmm... do understand that most swim bladder disorders (I don't
like the word "disease" in this context) are more to do with
other issues, particularly constipation. See here:
He began irregular swimming about 5-6 days ago. I live in an area where
the outside temperature has been fluctuating ranging from moderately
cool nights 40's and 50's to warmer daytime temps in the
50's to low 70's.
<Take care not feed these fish while it's cold; here in England
at least, Koi aren't fed between late October and the beginning of
Temperatures below 10 C (about 50 F) prevent their digestive systems
from working properly, and any food in the gut rots and promotes the
growth of bacteria.>
My pond has been established for 8 years, and I have never lost a
The other 5 fish in the pond are smaller, no larger than 9-10 inches in
length and no more than 1 pound in weight. None of the smaller fish are
experiencing any problems.
<May be a clue... bigger fish eat more, have longer digestive
tracts, are perhaps more sensitive to water temperature/digestion
On the warmer days, I have lightly fed the fish (a high quality Koi
staple food), but not on a daily basis.
Over the past few days, the evening temps have fallen into the high
30's, but still warming during the daytime into the 60's on
<Much too cold for feeding.>
With the exception of an elevated Ph level, all water conditions are
excellent. I have slowly reduced the Ph level to normal about 6.4.
<That's actually pretty low for carp. A neutral to basic pH is
optimal; aim for 7.5.>
I have also been treating the pond with Tetra Pond Treatment which
contains Quinine Hydrochloride.
<Do be careful not to use a "scattergun" approach:
medications are poisons, and if used without reason, can end up causing
even more problems. Always identify the problem first, and then
medicate. Medicating first, and hoping that cures something tends not
to be a viable approach.>
I am not sure that my Koi is not simply constipated or really does have
swim bladder disease, and I realize from reading it isn't always
easy to distinguish one from the other.
<Quite so; but if the fish is defecating (easiest seen in a holding
tank) then constipation is unlikely.>
My fish has a swollen abdomen, and there are some slight areas of blood
streaks on the swollen area, and also on one dorsal fin.
<Ah, I see. Again, cold can cause problems, especially if you have
any water features running (these cool the water further). Frost damage
in the fins leads to inflammation and eventually Finrot-type
He remains mostly laying on his side and does not move much at all.
He has not been feed for the last 5 days, and I have to tried to get
him to eat any peas, which I understand could relieve the constipation,
if that is the problem.
<Do also add Epsom salt to the water, as indicated in the above
article and associated FAQ. Epsom salt relaxes the muscles, allowing
blockages to pass out more easily. Possibly easier to do if the fish
can be moved to an aquarium or holding tank.>
Is there a water treatment I can try that may kill a bacteria
infection, if that is what is causing the problem.
<Generally, adding antibiotics to ponds isn't practical or
especially effective. There's just too much "ecology"
going on there for such drugs to work. Antibiotic foods can be better,
since they're going into the fish, but for things as big (and as
valuable!) as Koi you need a vet to comment on this. He/she will either
calculate the appropriate food dosage, or else inject the fish
directly. If there is one fish on the planet that veterinarian science
has a good handle on, it's the Koi, so finding a vet able to do
this shouldn't be too hard.>
Something that I can use in the pond along with the other fish?? I do
not have a hospital tank (but could set up something if it may help).
Also, with a hospital tank, how much trouble will this cause give the
change in water temp.
<Don't expose the fish to massive temperature changes, but by
all means fill the tank with water from the pond, and let it warm up
slowly as needs be.>
The pond water temp has to be around the mid to high 40's or low
50's at this point, and I don't want to traumatize the fish
with a large temp change to warmer water.
Any assistance you can give me with this would be greatly appreciated,
as I do not want to lose my prize Koi.
<I bet. These are lovely fish, and worth going the extra mile
Re: Swim Bladder Disease in Koi
(RMF?)<<You're spot on>> - 11/07/09
Thanks so much for the reply.
I agree that "disorder" is a better term when talking about
swim bladder issues. Your comments have caused me to think more about
my Koi's problem.
I realize there are a number is things that can cause the swim bladder
to malfunction, such as constipation, a tumor, a bacterial infection,
injury, genetic defect, just to name the most obvious.
<Indeed. A vet can narrow these down some more, but from my vantage
point on the other side of the Atlantic from you, the best I can do is
mention some of the possibilities.>
I have to some degree examined my Koi's abdomen and it feels
pliable, no hard spots that may indicate some sort of injury or
<That's good to know.>
I believe I am ruling out a bacterial infection, since the other fish
in the pond show no signs of any issues.
<Hmm... would be careful about this. Genetic variation in fish, as
in humans, does affect predisposition to disease.>
Unless the large one's immune system was somehow depleted, I would
think if it is bacterial, viral, or some other organism causing the
problem, the other fish would also be effected.
<Perhaps. Broadly, yes, it's true that if water quality was bad,
several fish would show signs of a suppressed immune system (e.g.,
Finrot). But this doesn't have to be the case.>
I have also looked at some different pictures of examples of
Dropsy....and my Koi doesn't look like any that I have seen. There
is no overall swelling of the body, and only a very few scales that are
slightly protruding on his abdomen where the swelling is located, but
not to any degree it gives the appearance of Dropsy.
<This is also good news. Dropsy tends to be difficult to treat,
since by the time it appears (it's a symptom rather than a disease)
whatever disease is at work has progressed a very long way. Again, vets
can help, particularly where Koi are concerned since they're big
enough to treat. But even with Koi, the prognosis is mixed, at
This brings me back to the constipation, and since I had given then
food during more colder weather than I normally do (on those warm days)
when they were swimming around giving me that look like, don't just
stand there give us a bite to eat!!
<Resist! Or at least, provide high-fibre foods that'll get
shifted through the gut quickly. Plant material is the obvious thing,
and a clump of Elodea thrown into the pond would make a find snack for
If I create a hospital tank using the colder pond water...would it be
ok to bring in side and allow to warm to room temp?
<Yes, this is fine. Do put the tank somewhere cold though, like a
garage, shed or basement. Or even an unheated spare bedroom (which is
where, funnily enough, I overwinter my carnivorous plants that, like
Koi, need a cool winter).>
Or should I be more gradual than that?
<The more gradual the better, but don't get paranoid about this.
Provided filtration and if necessary aeration are adequate to the size
of the fish and the aquarium being used, Koi handle this sort of thing
I will have to figure something out as far as filtration and
circulation....and I think I have enough resources to get the proper
amount of Epsom salt in the water.
<You certainly can add Epsom salt to ponds, but you'd need an
awful lot, and getting it out again afterwards would mean changing all
the water, and that really isn't practical with most ponds.
That's why it's better to do this using by moving the fish to a
hospital tank. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Swim Bladder Disease in Koi
Thanks again for all of your help.
<Happy to help.>
Unfortunately I lost my big guy last night.
<That's too bad.>
I did get him in a hospital tank over the weekend, set up with aeration
and filtration and a heater...but I guess I was too late, or it was
something that just wasn't going to be cured with the resources I
had and my level of knowledge. I am just glad I gave it my best
<Indeed, sounds like you did.>
Thanks again, and I truly appreciate all of your assistance!!
<Good luck with your remaining fish! Cheers, Neale.>
Koi with bent tails 10/29/09
hi, i am looking for help with koi with bent tails. we had 1 fish that
developed a bent tail, gradually over period of 2 month became severely
bent. Eventually this affected his ability to swim upright!! He
lodge himself between pond liner, in order to stay upright, or else he
would mainly flap about trying to correct himself. We have since
humanly put him out of his misery (2 wks ago) now i have noticed 2 more
fish who have developed this same problem, tail only slightly bent
right now, but this is how it started with other fish. Any help on this
would be appreciated,
Kind regards, Gilly
<Hello Gilly. It's quite common for fish to be born with bent
spines, and good breeders cull deformed fish long before the fish are
sent to the shops. But for fish to develop bent spines once mature,
that's a whole
other thing. It's typically caused by some problem in terms of
The most common reasons are physical injury, dietary shortcomings, poor
water quality, and certain (apparently Mycobacterium spp.) infections.
I'd consider each of these in turn. Koi aren't likely to
physically damage themselves given a sufficiently large pond since they
aren't that active, and this is more of a thing with, for example,
Orfe, which tend to be skittish and prone to flying into things.
Dietary shortcomings are a real problem with Koi because they need a
very carefully balanced diet with lots of green foods, or at least
processed foods based on plant material.
They're acutely sensitive to Vitamin C deficiency. A key problem
here is that Vitamin C isn't stable, and if you buy a big tub of
Koi pellets, over time, once open to the air, the vitamin content can
drop alarmingly. A vet can help by administering vitamin booster shots,
but it's better to avoid this problem by regularly augmenting the
diet of your fish with some fresh green foods, such as cheap pond
plants or certain green foods from the kitchen. Poor water quality is
another major problem with Koi. While their ancestors are famously
tough, Koi are so inbred that they're astonishingly
sensitive to non-zero nitrite/ammonia levels, and continual exposure to
high nitrate levels will do them harm as well. Check the filter is
doing its job, and double-check you aren't overfeeding and that the
overstocked. Finally, bacterial infections. These will almost always be
triggered by some kind of problem in terms of care, so while bacterial
infections might shift the immediate cause in a different direction,
ultimate cause is still likely to be down to injury, diet, or water
quality. There isn't much you can do about Mycobacterium infections
using off-the-shelf medications, even antibiotics, and you will need a
diagnose such a problem and devise an appropriate treatment. Do
deformities heal themselves? Generally not, but if the deformity is
slight, the fish may adapt, and as it grows, the problem will be less
noticeable. Again, a vet will probably be the best person to balance
the severity of the deformity against the quality of life. If
conditions in the pond can be improved, there's no reason to kill a
Koi with a mild deformity. Indeed,
some people learn to love such oddball specimens! But still, it's
something to avoid, and you want to think long and hard about
what's wrong in the pond such that you've had to deal with at
least three deformed fish.
Koi problem... reading
I have a 2-year old koi in our pond that has developed a problem. I had
put leaf mesh over the top of the pond, and the next day found the two
koi on top of the mesh. Mr. Big, the older of the two koi, is fine.
Carmen, is not.
Today she was swimming on her side or upside down. Is it bloat?
<... a term w/o a specific cause... A symptom>
The pond is 120 gallons, and we have a heater. I'm hoping that we
aren't going to lose her.
<This volume is too small to keep Nishikigoi>
Would putting Epsom salts in the pond hurt? There are other fish in the
pond as well - 4 comets.
<... not a good idea to mix...>
Thanks for any help you can give me!
<Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Koi, hlth. 10/15/09
I have a pond about 1/3 acre and have had koi for many years. I
lost one this
summer, and found one dying this morning. it had a swollen
stomach, blisters on its side, it back was arched from swollen
stomach. its anal port was swollen and popped out about the size
of a silver dollar. would you know what may have caused this?
<Frightening for sure... there are a few possibilities here...
leading likely to bacterial involvement. Have you had a change in
the operation of the pond in recent times? An influx of water,
some spraying of pesticide
nearby? How do the rest of the livestock there look? Please see
here re Aeromonads:
and the linked article linked above re pond fish/koi disease.
re: Koi, hlth. 10/16/09
Thank you for responding, the only thing is we had to disturb the
pond and had a backhoe dig out part of bottom in the water to fix
a leak. maybe that was enough to cause damage, I see a little
hydraulic residue on the water when it was done.
<It might well be that this is the cause Wade, or at least a
contributor... Best to overfill the basin to float off any
"residue", keep whatever aerator/aerating mechanism
going continuously (e.g. a destratifier). BobF>
Here are some pictures that might help. thanks
<Mmm... these non-emarginated sores do look like Aeromonad
involvement... but there are almost always environmental
mediating factors in such instances... I would not be feeding
these fishes if your water temperature is staying below 55F.
Re: Koi, hlth. 10/16/09
I'd concur with your message about not feeding koi while
it's cold. Here in England, it is well known you need to stop
feeding once water temperature approaches 10 C (about 50 F). The
explanation given is that while the movement of food through the
gut of the fish slows down with its metabolism, bacterial decay
of the food doesn't slow down as much. So you have lots of
potential for serious problems, including symptoms like those
described by your correspondent. I believe the same holds true
for hibernating reptiles and amphibians. In England at least,
goldfish and koi are not fed between October and about March. If
they do need to eat, they have access to algae and organic
material in the pond, and there's seemingly much less risk
from those than from high-protein pellets.
<Thank you for this. Will compile. BobF>
golden Orfe with unidentifiable disease,
i- Having spent hours trawling through a variety of fish diseases
possible in pond fish and coming to no conclusions am hoping your
expertise can help
<Do our best!>
ii- Have a 550 litres pond with 4 golden Orfe and 2 comets- all brought
as babies and all ( were) thriving and growing rapidly and seemingly
happy. Am novice fish keeper and pond in place for approx 16 months.-
filter, fountain and solar air pump ( Orfes like lots of oxygen/fast
flowing water )
<Yes they do, and most mortality of this species, Leuciscus idus,
occurs when kept in slow, sluggish water conditions. During summer,
Orfe often become stressed because oxygen concentration drops, and the
addition of extra pumps to increase aeration or circulation can be
Literally overnight my biggest Orfe -- apprx 6 inches- has appeared
with what looks like a white collar around his neck- not fuzzy looking
nor white spots- and on closer inspection it looks as if he has
overnight lost colour on his scales here .
<Can happen with many Cyprinidae, including Goldfish and Orfe. In
part, because "golden" Orfe are a man-made variety, genetic
throwbacks can lead the reappearance of their normal silvery-brown
colour. Also, certain types of physical damage can lead to changes in
He has isolated himself from rest of fish and not feeding.
Both extreme changes of behaviour as Orfe go round in shoal and he was
always first to feed and was at point was take food from hand. I really
want to help him but cannot see what problem is.
<Nor can I, from the information given. One possibility is
predation; cats and certain birds can, will attack Orfe given the
chance, and even if unsuccessful, their claws or beaks can do physical
damage. If not too serious, this will heal. Physical damage is always a
possibility. Orfe are prodigious jumpers, and if there are solid
objects above the water, like a bridge or decking, they can injure
themselves. Diseases such as Finrot and Fungus are usually distinctive,
and often appear on the fins before the body. Consider both, and
compare what you see to the symptoms indicative of these
Am planning on 30% water change and test water ( although do this
regularly and has been fine) . Currently other fish seem fine. Would a
salt bath help?
<Possibly; Orfe, or at least wild Leuciscus idus, are salt-tolerant,
occurring in brackish water in parts of their range. So a low dosage in
a suitably cool aquarium (around 3-6 grammes per litre) across a few
weeks might help by reducing the chances of bacterial infections.
Simply taking the fish and dipping it in salty water would likely
stress the fish rather than do any good, so personally, wouldn't
Bit nervous about doing this- have read cooking salt dissolved and fish
in bath for 20 min.s- but willing to do what it takes just do not want
to stress him more ? Wary of medications as Orfe sensitive to some
<Quite; antibiotics should be fine, but things with copper and
formalin are more risky. Tea-tree oil (e.g., Melafix) should be safe.
Ideally, ask a vet.>
Only other possible thought is- we have a chicken wire frame over pond
as two doors down have had a heron stealing their beloved fish- I am
wondering if some how heron has got beak through the gaps ( possible
have heard they are tenacious) _ grabbed him and then dropped him as
couldn't get through wire- in which case he has bruise/wound which
I am not sure what to do with
<A very plausible suggestions.>
iii- Think this is an excellent site by the way
<Kind of you to say so.>
Sorry for length but would really appreciate any ideas/advice
<Thanks for writing, Neale.>
Re: golden Orfe with unidentifiable disease
Thank you so much for informative answer.
<Happy to help.>
Have had a few developments over last 24 hours. Think Orfe definitely
got trapped in wire netting ( either jumping/heron) and sustained
injury which now very much looks like fungus - white cotton wool
appearance on injury site.
Have now got some medications to treat pond for fungus /bacteria which
have put in- slightly worrying has turned whole pond green!
<Normal; the medication you're using sounds like one of the
organic dyes such as Malachite Green, and being dyes, they colour
but other fish all seem fine and info says is fine for all pond
fish/plants/filter- have to treat over 5 days so will see how we go.
Will give salt bath idea a miss- didn't really like idea of
<Actually, though it sounds harsh, the use of salt is *by far* the
mildest way to treat many diseases. Adding salt randomly isn't
something I recommend, despite many "old school" hobbyists
doing this without
understanding why. Because many fish are tolerant of salt, at least to
a point, it's much safer to use than many medications, such as
those containing copper or formalin, which are outright toxins and
fish to some degree. Malachite Green for example is a known fish
poison, and becomes more toxic at high temperatures and/or acidic pH
levels. So don't be surprised if some/all of your fish begin to
show signs of stress.
Not all fish react negatively equally quickly, and in most cases the
Malachite Green breaks down in the tissues and water before any serious
harm is done; but some fish, notably catfish and loaches, have been
reportedly poisoned by organic dyes even at "therapeutic"
doses. Hence when treating these fish for Whitespot, we tend to
recommend salt and raised temperature rather than the more risky, if
widely sold, Ick medications. As for Orfe, I don't know, but would
watch for signs of distress and act accordingly. All this said, while
brackish water can suppress fungal infections rather well, you'd
need to add a lot of salt, and though the Orfe would adapt, the plants,
frogs, etc. might not.>
Have raised netting so if Orfe jumps again ( they do to catch flies-
which is quite impressive) hopefully will be OK
You live and learn
Thanks again for great info and advise
Goldfish (pond; gasping Oranda)
Hello, I have a question regarding my Orandas. They are approximately 5
years old, live in an outdoor pond, just the three of them, which gets
heated in the winter. All have been fine, they eat peas, oranges, pond
plants, and some commercial food. This past week the biggest has been
hovering near the surface all day.
<Check the temperature, water quality, and pH. Goldfish don't
like very warm water, and in hot summers a source of shade (like a
pergola) is essential. Water quality is as important in a pond as in an
check the nitrite concentration, and make sure the filter is working
properly. A pond may not need a filter when the Goldfish are small, the
plants and sediment housing enough bacteria to do the job. But as the
pass, the Goldfish get bigger, and inevitably there comes a point when
a filter becomes essential. As for pH, Goldfish like basic water, so
the pH should be between 7 and 8. If the pH is dropping below 7, i.e.,
becoming acidic, it's a good sign your pond needs a thorough clean
to remove the organic matter producing acids. Goldfish can be killed,
quite quickly, by prolonged exposure to acidic conditions.>
He is eating, but then will go back to hovering, he is usually quite
active. I'm concerned he's dying. I've checked the water,
all seems okay,
<Define "okay"; I need numbers!>
it has been particularly hot here in No. Calif, but the pond does get
some shade. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in
I need ur help with a koi
I just notice that my koi has a very red gill--I cant tell if its
moving or not. I'm really worried about it Help thanks Judy
<Is the gill cover red? As in damaged or infected? The gill cover is
the large, plate-like structure that moves in and out when fish breath.
It's also called an operculum. Or is the gill cover damaged or
curled, in such a way you can see the bright red (blood red) feathery
Damage to the gills is sort of serious, because the gills are delicate,
but that said, otherwise healthy fish can live long and happy lives
with a missing gill cover. Gill curl, when the gill cover curls back,
is usually a
sign of prolonged stress, typically water quality problems. Hope this
re: I need ur help with a koi
yes the cover is red- I did notice that it is moving if i need to get
meds do i put him/her in a tank alone or will it be okay. tried to get
pic to send but fish wouldn't pose LOL thanks
<If the gill cover is red, then likely physical damage (with pond
fish, often caused by cats and other predators). If water quality is
good, should heal by itself quite quickly. Treatment with a suitable
antibacterial or antibiotic is recommended. Cheers,
1 sick koi 7/19/09
I have a koi pond in my back yard, about 6500 gallons that I hand-dug.
One of my koi, he is about 17 inches long and about 7 years old,
can't go fully under water. He is moving around fine, eating well,
but part of his back is above the water line.
<Hmm... most likely constipation; do review here:
While Koi aren't goldfish, they're every bit as herbivorous,
and a common mistake is to give them too much high-protein food and not
Failing that, review water quality; Koi are sensitive to poor water
quality, and issues like high levels of nitrate or sudden acidification
can cause problems.>
I think it may be a swim bladder problem or a leech problem. I've
noticed some leeches in my filter medium pads and have picked them out.
I ve also tried to trap them with beef liver in a can with holes in the
sides; Koi's have eaten through the coffee can to get to the meat!
I will try a metal can next.
<Most leeches in most ponds are harmless, assuming of course
you're not looking at Planarians (flatworms) and calling them
leeches! Planarians are also mostly harmless. You need only suspect
dangerous leeches if you can see three-toothed bite marks on your
I know that I can try Epsom salts, but if I do 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons
of water, then that would be about 433 tablespoons of salt. Any clues
as to how many cups that would be?
<Surely you can do this yourself? Get a measuring cup, count how
many teaspoons it takes to fill. You might find it quicker to do a
half-cup measure if you have one, and double it to get the per-cup
amount. Either way, say you get 30 teaspoons per cup. If you needed to
add 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons, then a 30-teaspoon cup would do 30 x 5 =
None of my other fish are affected. I would truly appreciate a reply. I
don't want to destroy my fish if I don't have to. They are all
at the breeding age and have had two years of fry. I have regular
domestic koi, butterfly and black Malaysia. I feed them Blue Ridge
Color food. You can see a picture of my pond at:
Koi in trouble after a rainstorm Likely
toxic water\Need more information. 7/13/2009
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.
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
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
<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
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
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
Hardness-150 GH ppm
Alkalinity-80 KH ppm
<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
<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
Thank you for your help and information the rest of my fish are doing
well so far and they are acting normal again.
Mysterious koi illness... study, application...
I have searched every website I can find and ask several pond
specialist in or area but have not found the answer to my koi
problem. All of my water test are good except salt witch I've
been told to add sea salt instead of pond salt specifically for
<I would not add salt period... not often useful, but quite
The problem started after I added three large comets from a
<Mmm, not a good idea to mix goldfish and Nishikigoi... The
reasons are gone over on WWM's pond subweb>
Their pond is a very stable, healthy home to many large and small
comets. Since adding the new fish one of my koi had a black spot
behind the gills. It grew to the size of a nickel then all the
scales fell off. Then I notices black spots on the other koi but
they haven't lost any scales, yet. The first koi has now lost
scales farther back on it's tale the same size as the first.
The only other symptoms I have noticed are the over all color has
changed to a dull orange and it seems to stay on the bottom
sometimes. It still comes up to feed very vigorously and swims
around with the others. The only answer I have found so far is
some kind of disease that there is no cure for that is carried by
gold fish to koi. I'm told that the gold fish do not show any
signs of disease they are only the carrier. One of the pond
stores I use lost $1,800 to this disease. Of course I can't
remember the name of it only that it starts with "P"
Before I learned about this mystery disease I treated with
for 14 days with no benefit what so ever. I have now purchased
Tetra Pond fish treatment at the recommendation of a local pond
specialist. They told me they hated to even sell me the Tetra
treatment since we have no idea what we're treating.
<... then why not find out? A simple microscopic examination,
skin scraping... perhaps with a dye...>
Do you have any idea what this is or how
to treat it from my pictures and my description?
<Can only guess... there are a few Protozoans... Likely a
Ciliate... maybe read re Chilodonella, Costia... and the
treatments for such>
The pictures below shows the first koi that showed signs of the
disease. If you can tell it has lost scales on the left of
it's body just behind it's gill and on the right side you
can see where it has lost scales at the end of the top fin before
the tail. It also has more black spots on top of it's body as
you can see. The only other fish that show any signs of anything
out of the ordinary is the comet to the right of the koi with the
white head. That comets head wasn't always white and it has
spread with time.
<"Something" eating it...>
None of the other comets show any signs of disease and I
didn't notice that one until after I realized the koi had
black spots. This pond is over a year old the only other guess I
could make is we may have over stocked it with the addition of
the last 3 big comets. I'm told that would not have caused
this kind of disease.
Please help I hate not being able to do something for them.
<Read on Ruth, read on... Bob Fenner>
Pond Goldfish 6/28/09
Please see my re-sent question in normal text sorry for the one in
capitals I misread your info page.
I wonder if you could help me with the following problem.
<Will do my best>
I have a 2500 gallon pond in which my koi and goldfish have been happy
and disease free till about two years ago.
Many of my goldfish have been lost to very bad ulcerations on their
<Mmm... Viremia? Viral? Environmental?>
however the koi have not been affected at all. I have spent rather a
lot of money using various treatments from major aquatic retail stores
and have listened to their advice but to no avail, I have lost 3
goldfish in the
past 2 weeks. I have even taken them out and tried to treat them but
with no result. Rather than let them suffer I now extract the fish from
the pond and dispose of them as and when required.
The ulcers/sores would be classed as MRSA in humans,
and wonder why the koi are not suffering the same fate?.
<Mmm same family, different genera... though not too different...
can cross breed... But there are differences in susceptibility to other
contagions known twixt these species>
Any advice to eradicate this problem would be very much
Regards Gordon Vaughan
<Mmmm, likely your best "bet" here is to seek out the
services of an "aquatic veterinarian"... perhaps the Yellow
Pages... you may need to refrigerate (not freeze) and send a specimen
or two out... Bob Fenner>
Losing Koi... paucity of data 6/19/09
Hi my name is Vicky
last year i started my pond its 20' by 12 and about 3 1/2 feet
Well this spring got it all set up have a waterfall and pump in middle
and a uv filter box i had about 8 to 10 fish in it and everything was
fine, a week ago i went and bought about 12 fish 3 medium and the rest
were little including some babies all koi. My 3 bigger ones are dead
now and have lost 5 more that were smaller.
<Yikes... no quarantine procedure?>
Some of the fish that were dead had cloudy eyes the others looked like
their scales were coming off and some looked fine. My concern is the
ones that already were fine and doing good like my large butterfly koi
i am really scared i might lose him, anyway i did a fifty percent water
and put some pond salt back in and water conditioner and I have been
using megafix and PimaFix
<... please... follow directions... and search/read on WWM ahead of
writing us. These two "compounds" are worthless>
for bacterial and fungus disease with my uv filter turned off. I have a
lotus plant and lily plants in there also with some floating plants
too, since i turned off my uv my water is real green too. Do you think
what I am doing will help?
<... There's insufficient useful information here to help you...
Please read here:
Especially the sections on disease... and write back with water quality
test measures, some close-up, well-resolved images...
Re: Losing Koi, still not reading... 6/20/09
I have been checking my water for about 3 weeks now, today i checked
again nitrate 0,nitrite 0, GH in-between soft and hard looks more hard,
KH 80, ph in the range of 7.8 to 8.4 says alkaline?
<Yes... and this is too large a range if shifting. You need to
address the algal issue... which is driving this variation>
From what i have read the nitrate and the nitrite are most
<Mmm, no... of nitrogenous issues, ammonia is paramount, with NO2
well its 6:00 Cincinnati time and I don't see any fish dead they
all seem to look well moving ,eating and from what i can tell i cant
see any signs of cloudy eyes or fin rot or any thing else tomorrow i am
going to get in and check a lot closer but i want to turn my uv back
<I definitely would do so>
like i said earlier i was treating it with those 2 products the last
treatment i did was about 7:00 Thursday night do you think it has been
long enough so i can turn my uv filter back on?
<... the products mentioned are shams... Again, read... on WWM
I hope i have gave enough info that you can try to help, but this is
all confusing to me. By the way 3 years ago I had a smaller pond in a
different town and the only problems I had were with fish getting
caught up in the pump, its funny i did not have to do anything I mean
anything to the water just let nature that its course i guess and all
my fish were fine and till one day 13 fish were just gone totally
vanished. I thought some of the neighborhood kids took them because we
had a few bad apples but for all I know a raccoon and other animal got
<... Turn the UV back on and read. BobF>
Pond Goldfish with Dropsy -- 06/15/09
I have had problems in the past few years with cases of dropsy among
the goldfish in my small (125 gallon) pond--about one case every two
<Likely environmental: for a pond, this is rather small, and if you
don't have a filter, then water quality, pH stability and oxygen
availability are likely very variable. There's probably a reason
the deaths are periodic as
well. A fish dies, so the pond load is reduced and the fish are
healthy, but then the fish grow above a threshold size, the pond is
overloaded again, and another fish dies, and so on.>
The affected fish actually survive in an increasingly bloated state for
over a year, beginning to show symptoms one summer and finally
succumbing at some point during the following summer. This is the
beginning of summer number two for one of the fish, and for the first
time ever a second fish is showing signs of being affected
concurrently. I have dealt with any and all environmental issues that
might contribute to this problem and, after hours (probably totaling
days) of researching the web for info, I am currently dosing the pond
with Maracyn 2 and Epsom salts.
<While antibiotics such as erythromycin and Minocycline can help,
and Epsom salts may reduce the swelling, the prognosis for Dropsy once
it is established is generally pretty poor. It's more important to
review the causes, and usually euthanising the fish while fixing the
aquarium or pond ends up being the way forward.
The Epsom salts ratio is presently 1/8 tsp per 5 gal of water, as I
have read that this ratio will not harm the other healthy fish in the
pond. I have also seen recommended doses of 1 tsp per 5 gal, and even 1
to 2 Tbsp per 10 gal,
<1 teaspoon per 5 to 10 gallons for Dropsy.>
however I haven't found any clear info re whether those stronger
ratios will harm (e.g.. dehydrate) the other healthy pond fish or if
those doses are for hospital tanks only.
<Won't do any harm to healthy fish. Goldfish are very tolerant
of hard water, in fact they need it, and do very badly in soft/acidic
Feral Goldfish are found in brackish water too, which underlines their
preference for mineral-rich rather than mineral-poor
I'm trying to avoid a hospital tank if I don't need one, since
catching the darn fish isn't easy and is stressful not only to the
fish being chased but to all the other fish who think they're being
chased (not to mention the
person wielding the net). Could you clarify for me what the maximum
Epsom salts dose for a pond or aquarium containing a general population
of healthy fish would be, and whether or when the dose should be
Thank you very much.
can you please help my fish? (Goldfish, dropsy) --
Hello my name is Amanda and my goldfish needs some serious
<Indeed it does.>
My goldfish (im not sure what type of goldfish) is in trouble and
i would like to take it to a vet. or a specialist on fish but my
parents do not care much about the fish and, in their words,
"don't want to waste time on it".
I was wondering if there was anything i could do on my own to
help save the fish. My fish is extremely bloated and its scales
are standing up but he is not floating at the top of the tank.
There are clear bubble like sacks coming out all over its body
and there are little white dots on his head that look to be
potentially harmful to him. I know that cleaning the tank is a
start since it has been a while since it has been cleaned. but i
was wondering if there is anything i can do to save him. what do
I would greatly appreciate your help.
<It's almost certain your fish has Dropsy, also known as
Oedema, a condition caused by organ failure. Usually this happens
because water conditions have been bad for a long time, so you do
need to review how your fish are being kept more generally. Is
the tank big enough? Is the filter strong enough? Do you change
enough water each week?
In any case, curing Dropsy is very difficult because the damage
is done before you see the symptoms. Antibiotics such as
erythromycin or Minocycline may help, and you can buy these from
US pet stores under brand names such as Maracyn and Maracyn 2. As
well as using antibiotics, if you ALSO add some Epsom salt at a
dose of 1 teaspoon per 5 to 10 gallons and raise the temperature
to around 82 degrees F, the antibiotics usually work quite a bit
Otherwise, Euthanasia is the only option, as described here:
Re: Pond Goldfish with Dropsy
Thanks, Neale, for the information. Half our goldfish are about
twenty years old and the rest--their offspring--are eleven, so I
guess it's not overly surprising that the odd one would
suffer from some ailment or another at this stage.
<Be open minded: while I agree that at this age, some may
simply be dying from natural causes, a wise aquarist take any
deaths as possible clues something is amiss. Review stocking,
filtration, circulation, etc.>
Thanks again. Mary.
New Pond, New Fish: Pond System\Water Conditions\No Useful
We have a new pond and 4 new fish, Koi.
They been in the pond for about 2 days and they don't do a lot of
moving around or eat, every once in a while they do eat. How long will
it take for the fish to get use to the pond.
<Need a lot more information than this. How big is the pond, did you
test the water? What were the results of your water tests? What kind of
Do start here:
and read the articles and the linked pages on top.>
POND FISH NOT MOVING 5/22/09
We have a new pond and 4 new fish, koi. They been in the pond for about
2 days and they don't do a lot of moving around or eat, every once
in a while the do eat. How long will it take for the fish to get use to
the pond. Troy
<Hi Troy, Mac here with you today. Koi are some of my favorite fish
in the world and they are absolutely great in ponds so you have made a
great choice. But you haven't told me. How big is your pond? What
is the temperature of the pond and the outside area? Have you got water
movement? So let me tell you a little about what I have seen with Koi.
First, they get to be big fish, sometimes up to 18 inches or 2 foot
long. They need a very large pond. Depending on where you live
you'll need to have a pool that is at least two feet deep so in the
winter they have a place to be safe where it doesn't freeze. You
might already know lots of this so pardon me for repeating. They tend
to do better with top food which is
food that floats and they tend to be better eating when the weather is
warm but in my experience mostly at the end of the day. Wet web media
has lots of information on koi so I encourage you to look it up and get
as much info as possible. Oh and it might take a couple of days for
them to settle in.
They will start coming to the top of the pond.
Best of luck,
Koi problem. No data, reading 05/23/09
I bought a Koi about a week ago. I just start noticing its not swimming
smoothly ,Tail seams to be drooping and looks a little stiff. I never
had a Koi do this before. It eats very well. What could be wrong ? Is
there anything to do, will it die? thanks
<Umm... need more info... Read here:
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>
Pondfish hlth. reading 5/16/09
I have a 700 gallon pond with 12 goldfish and 1 koi the koi is about
14inchs long. I noticed that at night he is wedging his nose in between
the rocks.?? I have a waterfall and an airstone in my pond for years =
I'm wondering if its oxygen?
<Mmm, no... otherwise the goldfish would do so also>
all of a sudden? I live in ny - he eats during the day and swims around
and I am also seeing some other fish just hanging out like they are
sleeping at night only?
<Do rest nocturnally>
my ammonia is fine my ph was 7.8 someone told me that was a little high
so I put in the ph down. I don't know what to do?
<... Please read:
and the linked files above. Not enough information presented to begin
speculating... Read, observe and report back with data as others have
in your reading. Bob Fenner>
Orfe with green growth 5/2/09
Recently added (5 weeks ago) two Orfe (4-5 inches) to an established
pond (10 years+), both appeared to have settled in well. The pond is a
mix of Koi and Orfe.
<Sounds lovely! This time of year the Orfe should be nice and
active, swimming about all over the place. Great fish.>
All readings are fine, with good water clarity.
<Impressive; Koi by their nature make water cloudy, which Orfe hate,
so there's a real balance here that you'll need to maintain via
filtration and keeping the bottom of the pond relatively
Last week I noticed signs of a green 'weed like' growth on one
of the Orfe, fins have a stringy growth (almost weed like) and there is
a slight fluffy growth on the sides of the body, limited to were the
fins meet the body.
<If fluffy, does sound like a Fungal infection. I've never heard
of green fungal threads, but grey and brown are certainly possible, as
well as the usual white. Do consider possible alternatives though, in
Columnaris, a bacterial infection that can form thread-like
I removed from the pond and treated with Para-Pure and salt, no
improvement. (2-3 days) I then moved onto a Anti fungus and Bacteria
with salt again, and have continued with this. Whilst the growth is not
getting any worse, it is also not improving. The fish is not eating.
Having searched the web and checked with local suppliers I cannot
identify what this growth is.
<Ideally, I'd use something capable of treating both Fungal and
Bacterial infections, since both are possible. Use something based on
some cocktail of antimicrobial, antibiotic and/or organic dyes; avoid
pseudo-treatments like tea-tree oil and salt, which really don't
work reliably. This said, I suspect a Fungal infection more probable,
and if forced to choose, would target that first. Treatment in a
hospital tank is the ideal scenario, though remember not to use carbon
while treating. Since Orfe are sensitive to low oxygen levels, ensure
the treatment tank is well filtered and aerated.>
If you could help identify what it is or suggest a treatment, I would
be most appreciative.
Thanking you for your assistance in advance.
Re: Orfe with green growth (RMF?) <Mmm, at times an oaf,
but not an Orfe> 5/10/09
I thought I would update you with news of the Orfe. Finally treated him
with a product called Acriflavine. An intensive 'soak',
followed by several days of slightly higher than recommended does in
the holding tank. The growth cleared up, in about a week, and we
returned him to the pond this morning, his first act was to eat!!
To confirm it was definitely a green growth that the Orfe had.
Many thanks for your assistance.
<Hi Peter. Acriflavine is a chemical (rather than a brand) used in
many anti-fungal medications. It is, as you've observed, very
effective. Now that you've established the problem was likely
fungal, your next step is to figure out why the Orfe became infected;
fungal infections primarily affect fish after they've been wounded
or damaged in some way, typically through fighting or handling, but
sometimes in pond fish via predators, frostbite,
etc. Cheers, Neale.>
Possible Tumor? Pondfish 4/28/09
Hello WWM Crew,
We have had an outdoor pond for 6 years now. It is a 500 gallon pond
with a filtration system that over turns the water every hour and is
also ran through a UV light. We clean the filters regularly and float
Hyacinths during the summer. Our water is crystal clear with no odor
and we never add chemicals...never! We live in Kentucky and our pond is
shaded with a roof so there is plenty of sun and shade. Water
temperature is good and they get plenty of oxygen due to a three tiered
water fall. We actually do not do anything to it but replace evaporated
water about every two weeks or so.
<All sounds ideal.>
Our fish are growing great, very active, get a long well with each
other, and reproducing fine. Color is bright, breathing normal, scales
good and beautiful. Not sure of breeds but believe comets and koi.
Problem--6 years ago my friend gave me 2 fish (I don't know what
the are...maybe comets?) They have long tails similar to butterfly koi
but they do not have the [whiskers] that Koi have. They are reddish
and white in color.
<Most likely Goldfish of some sort, if they lack whiskers.>
They are approximately 10-12 inches from mouth to tip of tail. They
were approximately 4-5 inches when we got them. But one of them last
summer looked like it had a scale sticking up above it's right eye.
Thinking it would fall off, we decided to leave it alone. Over the
winter it grew. I netted it tonight for investigation and discovered it
is at it's nostril.
It doesn't seem to bother it. It acts just as happy as ever and
still as beautiful as it has always been. This is the only area of the
spot and it is the about the size of an adult pinky finger tip. No
other fish has this
or anything else. Is this a tumor?
<If only on one side of the head, then it is likely either a tumour
or a cyst. Malignant tumours are rare in fish, and usually benign
tumours or cysts only cause problems if they obstruct something
important, like the
mouth or anus. The nostrils aren't terribly important to fish,
since they only smell and don't breathe through them, so provided
the swelling wasn't getting in the way, I'd not worry over
much. A vet should be able to remove the thing without much bother.
It's not something you can treat at home (unless you're a vet
or surgeon, of course). The alternative explanation is Carp Pox, a
viral infection very similar to Lymphocystis seem in tropical fish,
particularly marine fish. Carp Pox tends to look like hot wax has been
dribbled onto the fish and left to go solid. Like Lympho, it's
basically untreatable but not usually fatal. Given good conditions, it
eventually goes away, but like Lympho, this can take months or even
Carp Pox is usually related to overstocking and poor water quality, but
may have other causative factors as well.>
Does it sound fatal?
Should I have it removed?
Should I quarantine it for any treatment?
Is this common in these fish?
<Not common, but does happen, just as with people. The reasons are
obscure, and likely partly genetic, partly environmental, just as with
Please help! We love all of our fish but this one is special because it
is one of our originals!
<Good luck, Neale.>
Strange looking white area on orange-red Koi
Dear Crew: I have corresponded with you several years ago regarding
Shrimp... Koi with a kinked tail. He has since totally recovered and
marvelously swimming "wit da fishes". My concern is now
Marigold, a 10
year old orange-red butterfly Koi. I noticed white marks on her head
when we opened our pond for the season yesterday. We are in Ohio and
temperatures range from 50/39 (this week). We have pond and aerator
<I would take care to not do much with this system, its occupants
till the water warms up considerably>
When I first entered your site today, I found something that was
similar to my question, but then couldn't find it again. There is a
definite "line" dividing koi head/body (where scales begin).
I guess it would be the very top of head, opposite from nose. There are
white marks there, smooth, not cottony, not raised, no prominent
"edges"... only white and smooth, looking like someone took
three fingers or an eraser and removed her orange color.
She is the only one. I called my regular "pond guy", nice,
but really limited in koi health/diseases, and he said perhaps she swam
under a low rock and scratched off the color. She is too large for me
and has been in the same pond since she was eight inches long... now
nearly 30" long.
I can't find anything in Dr. Johnson's book, nor in others I
have, the white marks are smooth, not raised or "cottony".
Can you please help me?
None of the fish are doing too much swimming right now... it's 37
degrees, and they are huddled at the bottom, as in winter. All were
quite active this past weekend when we were cleaning up leaves, etc.,
around the pond and cleaning filters.
<Mmmm, I would NOT do any of this till the water was staying in the
mid 50's F... can cause real trouble...>
Anything you can offer regarding Mz. Marigold will be greatly
Thank you. Barbi Morell
<Please, don't "do" anything at this point... Just
wait for a month or so... then try to take a few good pix... and send
them along. Really, best to not fool with the system, the Nishikigoi at
this juncture at all. Bob
Re: Strange looking white area on orange-red Koi
Dear Bob... thanks so much for the prompt response. When you said
"don't do anything" to the system... we already put in
the Microbe-Lift PL and tested for everything. We also did a 10% water
<... Don't do anything further... Again, please read my writings
on WWM, the TFH book I penned re... >
We needed about 14 cups of salt to bring it to the correct level.
That's been done "so far". The next thing will be another
one-fourth of the Microbe-Lift PL in four weeks.
<I would NOT...>
Soooooooooo... just the pump is running now, not the aerator or the UV
Light/Pump. Shall we just "stand down" till we start
averaging water temp of 50-55 degrees?
Sorry to again have to write, but the guy who put in our pond 10 years
ago is really our only source. Can't really manage to find
"good" info on the net... your site was the only one that has
given us proper information. Thanks again, and hope you'll let me
know about the above. Don't want to be a pest!. Barbi Morell
<No worries. When, where in doubt read...:
Waterfalls & Fountains:
eBook on Amazon
Volume 1. Design & Construction
Volume 2. Maintenance, Stocking, Examples
eBook on Amazon
by Robert (Bob) Fenner