Help me please...koi are dying

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Regarding runoff, the areas at the front of the pond where the terrain mildly slopes toward the pond, that is all a relatively thick layer of mulch, and the pond liner lays over that under the rocks that rim the pond. That's why I'm not too concerned about runoff. I might be naive there too though.

The overflow is hiding under rocks around the right of the pond before the right-hand waterfall. It is a 1" PVC pipe. As water level rises and reaches the level of the pipe water gravity drains to a point through the woods about 500' away into the swamp. I'm stepping over the drain point at about 3:54 in the Pond Overview video.

Regarding feeding...Serious?? No feeding the koi is necessary? That kind of blows my mind.

Your closing statement "Anywhere you can circulate water and use some filter material to trap detritus that can then be removed will work", is that referencing a biofilter? If so, I'm strongly leaning toward creating a small pool filled with mesh-bagged lava rock bundles at the waterfall head.
 
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Only my opinion....but I feed my koi.....not a lot, but regularly. I have no scientific evidence it's needed, but I've had them around 13 years now, so something is working.....it's also enjoyable for me and gives me the opportunity to inspect them close up to make sure they're OK.

On the subject of koi food. I couldn't believe it when my koi turned up their noses at a food I'd been feeding them, in favor of one I tried......they actually preferred the newer food ....finicky koi :) LOL
 
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Sweetbeats, Your pond is gorgeous and I am so sorry about your fish. The almost identical thing happened to me three weeks ago and I lost all my fish., devastating :cry: . They looked and acted like yours. Our water levels/tests were all perfect. One thing that was suggested to me was the prolonged heat heat we've had and the loss of a shade tree. Could that be an issue for you?
 
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So, so sorry...I can surely empathize. And no, our pond gets lots of shade, no changes.

Short post...

Still have three koi.

This evenings water test results:

Water temp: 63F
PH: 7.8
Ammonia: 1ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
Salinity: 0ppt
 
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Mmathis

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Sweetbeats, Your pond is gorgeous and I am so sorry about your fish. The almost identical thing happened to me three weeks ago and I lost all my fish., devastating :cry: . They looked and acted like yours. Our water levels/tests were all perfect. One thing that was suggested to me was the prolonged heat heat we've had and the loss of a shade tree. Could that be an issue for you?
@Grin4joy Hi there! Do you mind going over to “introductions” and tell us about yourself and your pond?
 
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So, so sorry...I can surely empathize. And no, our pond gets lots of shade, no changes.

Short post...

Still have three koi.

This evenings water test results:

Water temp: 63F
PH: 7.8
Ammonia: 1ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
Salinity: 0ppt
Add the Prime to your quarantine tank. The amount recommended on the bottle. Repeat the dosage every 24 to 36 hours. No more water changes for the quarantine tank.
How is the water change and testing on the main pond coming along?
Do you have the KH and GH test kits coming?
Are the remaining koi behaving ok? No signs of stress or illness or discolouring?
 
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Hi, MitchM.

I will probably order the KH/GH kit tomorrow along with some other things now that I know a bit more about what I need to start setting up the biofilter. I know I’m past due on this so, sorry. I’m trying to bundle some items to qualify for the free shipping.

I’m going to test the main pond again in the morning. I’ve been doing the water changes there too...I’m using a transfer pump to pump out the 15% each time.

We just got back from being out...almost 1am here...will add the Prime first thing in the morning and test main pond.

Still have three koi.

Oh I also got the plywood off of the QT today after work and replaced with clamped fiberglass window screen. Works well. No more eloping for medium white koi. :)

I’m amazed he’s rebounded as well as he has after jumping out and looking 3/4 dead. That was terrifying. And then when I put him back in the QT he just sank like a rock, eyes looked dead but he was still breathing. Now you’d never know. Amazing. I’m still being realistic he may very well falter, but I’m enjoying the moment.
 
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Ok. You can change the water on the main pond as quickly as you like without any fish in there. That will depend on your wells performance.
 
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I’m thinking I might take this opportunity to properly install the skimmer (i.e. outside of the liner) and if I do that I’ll be draining most of the pond.

Aquascape calls for a “fish safe silicon sealant” to seal the liner the the skimmer box. Anybody know of something like that?
 
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Mmathis

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No more water changes for the quarantine tank.
Is this only because the QT is salt-treated, and you need to maintain a certain concentration? When I didn’t have an already established bio in my QT, I always did water changes. But my QT wasn’t salted (I used baths or dips instead).
 
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Is this only because the QT is salt-treated, and you need to maintain a certain concentration? When I didn’t have an already established bio in my QT, I always did water changes. But my QT wasn’t salted (I used baths or dips instead).
No, we've been trying to get the salt concentration down to zero, which it is now.
We want the fish to live in a stable water environment and not have their kidneys constantly work to re regulate their bodies.
Every time you perform a water change, the fish's bodies need to readjust.
Also, as any new well water is added and aerated, that will drive off carbon dioxide, raising the PH, which is what we don't want.

What we're watching out for next is what's shown in the table below.
There's a calculator available, but you get the idea.
The present ammonia reading is still in the safe zone but the conditions could change during the day and the test may not be precise.

ammonia toxicity.jpg
 
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..

Aquascape calls for a “fish safe silicon sealant” to seal the liner the the skimmer box. Anybody know of something like that?
Perfectly fine to use.
How long do you anticipate the main pond could be drained for?
If it's too long you should get some kind of mechanical filtration running on the quarantine tank. A pressure filter for example. Even a basic milk crate over the pond with some filter pads would work.
 
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The only water tests we're concerned about now are temperature, PH (and approximate time measured), ammonia and nitrite in the quarantine tank.
In the main pond, PH (and approximate time measured) and salinity.
Saves you some time without the other tests.
 
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...

The overflow is hiding under rocks around the right of the pond before the right-hand waterfall. It is a 1" PVC pipe. As water level rises and reaches the level of the pipe water gravity drains to a point through the woods about 500' away into the swamp. I'm stepping over the drain point at about 3:54 in the Pond Overview video.

Regarding feeding...Serious?? No feeding the koi is necessary? That kind of blows my mind.

Your closing statement "Anywhere you can circulate water and use some filter material to trap detritus that can then be removed will work", is that referencing a biofilter? If so, I'm strongly leaning toward creating a small pool filled with mesh-bagged lava rock bundles at the waterfall head.
That overflow is unusual, and possibly illegal.

The 1" pipe sounds like something that would clog easily but if your pond ultimately drains into a natural wetland and some natural waterways, that means there's a chance some domestic fish offspring could escape and spread disease and non-native fish which could in the end mean big legal troubles for you.
I would have a look at that and plug the overflow pipe and construct an overflow that drains off into your yard.

As far as fish feeding goes, yes I'm serious. The fish will constantly forage in the ecosystem for things to eat during the day. That's what they do. If you provide them with enough commercial fish food which is concentrated nutrition, they will not forage in the pond. That means more pond maintenance for you.
Commercial fish food also contains a lot of phosphates which contributes to nuisance algae growth.

Tula makes a good point about using feeding time as a chance to visually inspect the fish. Sparingly is fine, and everybody's pond is different. Your pond has a lot of diversity for food choices. Let your fish use them to their (and your) advantage. Some ponds are essentially bare swimming pools with fish. In those cases, fish depend on an outside source for food.

With the water circulation and filtration, all that is needed is enough water circulation to suspend detritus until it can be mechanically trapped and manually removed. I consider the biofilter to be the biofilm that covers all submerged surfaces and mechanical filtration to be a filter material that can trap detritus, be removed, rinsed of the detritus and put back into place so it can trap more detritus. Sometimes the terms get muddled together. Biofilm will also cover the wet filter media.
 
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Perfectly fine to use.
How long do you anticipate the main pond could be drained for?
If it's too long you should get some kind of mechanical filtration running on the quarantine tank. A pressure filter for example. Even a basic milk crate over the pond with some filter pads would work.
When you say “perfectly fine to use” are you saying any silicon caulk/sealant is okay to use?

I’m thinking the main pond might be drained for up to a week what with work schedule and a host of conflicting priorities.

Im a visual guy...is there a resource here with pics/examples of what a pressure filter is or what a filter pad is and how that would work?

Regarding the overflow drain on the main pond I think I’m misrepresenting the outlet. I’ll put up a short YouTube video to better explain the setup.

And A-OK on the tests to run at this point. That will help.
 
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On second thought...too much. I’m going to hold off on reinstalling the skimmer right now.
 
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Just google “pond pressure biofiltet” - there are lots of brands to choose from. (I’m on my phone or I would post a link!)
 
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