Petsmart baby koi keep dying


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we have a full size koi we e had for 2 years. His partner was taken by a raccoon. We've scared the raccoons away with a good hosing and they don't seem to be coming back. We bought 2 baby koi from petsmart and they both died within a week and a half. Bought 2 more and one just died a week in. Pond is well oxygenated with a fountain. I feed them once a day with 2 handfuls. I clean up all the keaves and pine needles on the pond everyday and we put that enzyme stuff in once a week for the leaves on the bottom of the pond. We e added full size in the past but only lost them to raccoons. Thoughts on what the babies keep dying?
 
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So many possibilities, starting with the chance they are just sickly fish when you get them. Pet stores aren't always a bad source for fish, but they can be dicey. You should be quarantining new fish before you add them to an established pond, or you risk infecting your existing fish.

Just how small are these "babies"?
 

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Hello and sorry about your fish.

There are too many things that could be happening to you fish for us to give you an answer without knowing the whole story -- we need more information from you.

Please go back and read this link from our "fish illness" topic. Answer those questions, then give us as much additional info as possible:

https://www.gardenpondforum.com/thr...-water-quality-algae-fish-problems-etc.12395/
 

Meyer Jordan

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Although it could be many things, What comes to mind is that there may have been a big difference in the water quality parameter levels between your pond and Petsmart's tanks.
 
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It's just strange that we had full size Koi for years with no problems. The babies are about 1" each. Thanks for the link on the newbie questions. I don't know a lot of these, but it tells us what we need to start testing for. I'll work on getting those answers. To start here is what we know:

Water quality
* Ammonia Level (pond) - need to get a tool to measure
* Nitrite Level (pond) - need to get a tool to measure
* Ammonia Level (tap water) - need to get a tool to measure
* Nitrite Level (tap water) - need to get a tool to measure
* Ph Level, pond (If possible, KH, GH and chlorine) - need to get a tool to measure
* Ph Level, tap water (If possible, KH, GH and chlorine) - need to get a tool to measure
* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? - will let you know when we buy all of the above.

Other useful information:
* Water temperature? - will check in the morning, but we live in Portland, OR and it's been around 100degrees this last week. But the first 2 fish died when it was in the 80's outside.
* Pond size and how long has it been running? 1100 gallons. The house was built in '86. I don't know how long the pond has been here. We bought it in 2007 and started having Koi in it 5 years ago.
* What is the name and size of the filter(s)? We wrapped the pump that sucks the water in with that thick black stuff and it goes through a filter that has a gravel bag and we wrapped that too.
* How often do you change the water and how much? We don't change the water. It rains here a lot so it fills up on it's own. When we go through a dry spell we'll add water, but we make sure it tests ok for chlorine before putting it in.
* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? We've never changed the water.
* How many fish in the pond and their type? 1 full size Koi. Sorry, I don't know types.
* What kind of water additives or conditioners have you used? - that enzyme stuff to help get rid of the dead leaves and twigs on the bottom of the pond. We put that in once a week.
* What do you feed your fish and how often? 1x a day - 2 handfuls.
* Any new fish added to the pond recently? - 2 babies a month ago who both died and 2 babies a week and a half ago...one just died.
* Any medications added to the pond? no
* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and pond - none
* Any unusual findings on the fish? Our big Koi was "breathing" at the water line before we got the first 2 babies a month ago. We realized there was a problem with the pond so we scrapped out the bottom with the leaves and twigs and rebuilt the pump/fountain per the above description to make sure he was getting enough oxygen. We also started the enzyme weekly treatment at that time. That is when we got the first 2 babies.
* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Honestly, we've never seen our Koi eat. We sprinkle it out and this Koi nor the previous Koi we have ever seem just gobble it up in front of us.
 
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What's the name of the "enzyme" stuff? Did you double check spplication instructions for dosing? I'm guessing it's bottled bacteria, but maybe not. That could be the culprit. How did you calculate the size of your pond?
 
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Did your big koi's breathing / behavior, improve, after you:

"we scrapped out the bottom with the leaves and twigs and rebuilt the pump/fountain per the above description to make sure he was getting enough oxygen."
 

Mmathis

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@Lisa k koi Just to clarify: you have the one large koi and the baby? If you feed 2 handfuls of food twice daily, but never see them eat.....do you scoop out the uneaten food? That seems like a lot of food, but I don't have koi (only goldfish) so have no concept of how much they eat.

Most of us use this testing kit which you can find at any pet store. image.jpeg As soon as you test your water, get back with us and post the actual results (not that they were OK), or take pictures of the test results as @Harshit has done here.
https://www.gardenpondforum.com/threads/my-fishes-dying.19918/page-2#post-316473 (Scroll down to post #25).
 
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Ok. Got my test kit. Ammonia and Nitrates are great. PH is 2 and should be 0. Phosphates are 8 and should be 7. I talked with our local pond shop today and he said we should clean the filter once a week to keep phosphates better. If that doesn't work by PHOS Down. I told the pond shop guy that I've never seen my Koi eat. He thought he might have parasites and asked us to check him out. Here are some photos. His gills look good, but I'm no expert on the other things. He also said that whatever he doesn't eat I should net out the rest after 5 minutes. Baby #2 is still alive. Appreciate input.

@Tula - Yes! Nemo (the big Koi) went below water and stopped breathing at the surface after we cleaned the pond, filters and got the fountain back on again.
@Lisak1 - the "enzyme stuff" is called Microbe Lift/SA - Sludge Away. We put it in once a week. The guy at the pond shop calculated gallons for us on the pond size. It's a kidney shaped pond that is about maybe about 16' long and 5' wide...and 1 1/2' deep. He estimated 1100 gallons. I hope that is right because I just put in PH stuff based on that amount.

Our pond is under at on of trees. We live in Portland, OR. It should have been built with a skimmer, but was not. I am starting to skim it myself daily. Also, the pond shop guy said that getting baby koi from pet stores means I should quarantine them for a while before putting them in the pond and that is probably why they aren't making it. He said koi fish from pond places are already quarantined. Input?

Thanks for everyone's help. I'm an incredibly busy person who runs her own business and has a 3 year old. My life is full of more stress than I can handle frankly. I'm enjoying making our pond my new hobby for stress release.
 

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Meyer Jordan

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Ok. Got my test kit. Ammonia and Nitrates are great. PH is 2 and should be 0. Phosphates are 8 and should be 7. I

Whoa!!!
That must surely be a typo on the pH and Phosphorus. There is no conceivable way that a pond would have a pH of 2. I think that you may have meant to post that the pH was 8 and the Phosphorus was 2. In that case the Phosphorus is high but does not pose any danger to fish and a pH of 8 is a good level.
I still stand by my original assessment that the water parameters of the Petsmart tanks and your pond were of sufficient difference to cause acute stress in these small fish. Young animals of any specie do not tolerate any significant level of acute stress very well. The one that has survived was strong enough to survive until its physiology could adapt to the pond's parameters.
 
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@ Meyer Jordan - you are right. I mixed them up. Phosphate is 2 and PH is 8. How do the photos of my big boy Nemo look?
 

Mmathis

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Please clarify..... We asked for the numbers for your test results. What are your ammonia and nitrate numbers -- "great" doesn't tell us anything. And did I miss nitrites? And I hope that was a misprint and your pH isn't really 2!!!! That isn't compatible with life!

We usually recommend doing water changes when any results are off, rather than adding additional chemicals. When you clean your filter, be sure to use dechlorinated water (or pond water). What kind of filter do you have?

And 2 handfuls of koi food twice a day still seems like a lot, esp if he isn't eating it, which is why I suggested scooping out the uneaten food.

You should always quarantine any new fish, no matter where they come from, even if they come from koi shops/breeders. Do you have anyone who can do a scraping of your fish for a microscopic exam? Symptoms are helpful, but the best way to tell is looking for the "bugs" under a scope. Maybe someone else on here can tell something from your pics (thanks for posting those).
 
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Why do you think I've never seen my Koi eat? It's 90 degrees here and the water has been above 60 for months now.
 
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Please clarify..... We asked for the numbers for your test results. What are your ammonia and nitrate numbers -- "great" doesn't tell us anything. And did I miss nitrites? And I hope that was a misprint and your pH isn't really 2!!!! That isn't compatible with life!

We usually recommend doing water changes when any results are off, rather than adding additional chemicals. When you clean your filter, be sure to use dechlorinated water (or pond water). What kind of filter do you have?

And 2 handfuls of koi food twice a day still seems like a lot, esp if he isn't eating it, which is why I suggested scooping out the uneaten food.

You should always quarantine any new fish, no matter where they come from, even if they come from koi shops/breeders. Do you have anyone who can do a scraping of your fish for a microscopic exam? Symptoms are helpful, but the best way to tell is looking for the "bugs" under a scope. Maybe someone else on here can tell something from your pics (thanks for posting those).

Ammonia was 0. Nitrate 0. How do you quarantine a new fish? If we decide to get a full size fish from a Koi breeder (which is where we got this full size one) how is his pond different than my quarantine tank vs. my pond? Is the quarantine to have them be alone? If so, what is the purpose? Thanks for more input.
 
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Meyer Jordan

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The purpose of quarantine is to minimize the risk of introducing a pathogen into your pond that your current fish have no immunity to. By quarantining new fish you are allowing any latent health issue that they may have, whether parasitic, bacterial or viral, to manifest and be appropriately treated and neutralized before the new fish is introduced to your pond. This is primarily for the protection of your current fish.
 
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If you get a full size Koi where do you quarantine them? Also, what if you buy 2 full size at the same time? Do you need to quarantine them separately?
 
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Mmathis

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Ammonia was 0. Nitrate 0. How do you quarantine a new fish? If we decide to get a full size fish from a Koi breeder (which is where we got this full size one) how is his pond different than my quarantine tank vs. my pond? Is the quarantine to have them be alone? If so, what is the purpose? Thanks for more input.
When you quarantine (QT) a fish, you are basically keeping it separated from your other fish for a period of time so you can observe it for / and treat for any diseases or parasites that the new fish could be carrying. Other people here can explain it better. And you can do a search on GPF as there have been many good threads about QT. Opinions will vary as to the length of time, but bare minimum is 4 weeks. Some people never QT and get by fine, but it's a ticking time bomb. But you have to keep in mind that changes will stress your fish. Stress can lead to illness. An apparently healthy fish, under stress, can become ill. And I say "apparently healthy," because you can't look at a fish and say it's healthy just because it looks healthy. Which goes along with what @Meyer Jordan has been saying about the new fish coming from a different tank environment where the water parameters may have been different.
I hadn't been scooping it out, but am going to start doing this.
Do you know how much food was being left uneaten? Maybe that's a better way to phrase that. IOW, is any of the food being eaten at all? You should only feed as much as your fish will eat.
 

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