Seeking Help with Sick Fish (Pictures Included)

Discussion in 'Fish & Koi Talk' started by pwncpa, May 6, 2012.

  1. pwncpa

    pwncpa

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    I will provide as much info as I can:
    • Have had the pond for approximately 8 months
    • Purchased this fish with another one approximately 6 months ago
    • The other fish I have are fine
    • The condition has been worsening very slowly over the past 3-4 months
    • The fish does not really scratch himself on the bottom or jump (but I do see others do it very occasionally)
    • I have treated with Proform C at the suggestion of a local koi store (very trustworthy and knowledgeable).
    • I have NOT been as aggressive with Proform C as I could - in other words, the directions call to treat 3 days in a row, but I have treated 3 times, but every other day, concerned about the health of the fish.
    So, based on reading around, it sounds like some kind of parasite that has caused the ulcers, etc. I am guessing or assuming the parasites are gone, but he is left with the flesh wounds (but of course, I have no idea).

    Any recommendations, tips or information from experienced people would be greatly appreciated!
     

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    pwncpa, May 6, 2012
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  2. pwncpa

    Waterbug

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    So why treat at all?

    What are your water test results?

     
    Waterbug, May 6, 2012
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  3. pwncpa

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    first off, what waterbug is trying to say is first you need to be more worried about water quality and treating it rather than jumping in treating the fish right off the bat. MOST fish health issues can be directly linked back to a stress factor, In 9 out of 10 cases water quality is the #1 problem.
    OK so now you have the problem and your working on the fish. First off it's VERY important you correctly identify what your treating. If your guessing probabilities are you probably not treating correctly. So how do you find out for sure what your treating? A microscope! A good reference book, and the most experienced VET/Vet assistance you can find! Seriously, If your dealer is REALLY as trustworthy and knowledgeable as you state they will help you and be able to identify correctly, If they are also guessing then they are guiding you incorrectly. If I had to guess you have multiple issues going on with this fish. I would bet it has has or still has parasite infections. I would bet it has Saprolegnia fungal infection, and it has ulcers. Each has to be properly identified and THEN, which problem do you work on first. That's the no brainier, WATER QUALITY! The chances you will cure this fish is minimal at best, the chances of you saving the rest of your stock is a far better chance if you get on that issue and know your water quality is the best you can provide.
    Oh and one last thing I must say, If the directions are three times a day, treat three times a day. there is a reason that the directions on the bottle say how to treat. The company of the product has researched and developed a product to work at a certain dosage, If your varying from that, Do you have enough experience to know what your doing is going to help or hurt? Probably not, even those of us that have many years of experience don't know that information and don't have the resources to find out what would work better.
    Here is the bare minimal I would do at this point, check the water, Ammonia should read 0, nitrites 0. nitrates should be as low as possible and anything over a 20ppm reading can be one of the stress factors I mentioned earlier, PH should be stable and above 7.0 and below 9.0 those are extreme readings but if it's stable that's the key, you can work on improving that later on. Moving it would be another stress factor. GH and KH hardness should be measured and balanced, Oxygen, should be increased ANYTIME there is a issue, More oxygen means less stress. Salt level should be elevated to at least .3% with plants and could be as high safely at .5% Keep temps as stable as possible and the best range is between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Fungal infections are more susceptible and spread more rapidly in cooler water. last thing, It's a good idea to set up a hospital tank, treating a whole pond is not only a more expensive way to treat, If your other fish are truly healthy, Why treat them? by treating when not needed your NOT helping, your weakening their immunity systems making treating with the proper medications when they are needed far less effective.
     
    fishin4cars, May 6, 2012
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  4. pwncpa

    Waterbug

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    It's also a time saver. It's spring and so lots of fish are in trouble, lots of posts looking for help. Half the time the OP never comes back. Asking for basic info separates the people who aren't that interested in help and people who are. Sorry if that's harsh.
     
    Waterbug, May 6, 2012
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  5. pwncpa

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Any time I turn on my stream which equals water flow into the pond, the fish come over and check it out. I am sure bugs, tads, etc come down and they have a munch festival. The area yours are gathering you said was a run in from your other pond, probably checking out the nice new water. Most likely no pond water issue.

    That is one huge pond plenty of fish room
     
    addy1, May 6, 2012
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  6. pwncpa

    pwncpa

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    Thanks for the really great information Fishin4cars! I will definitely go get all of those water measurements and post them up here for your input. The reason I did not treat as aggressively as the label, is that I was told by a different store I have only been to once (but again, seemed great) that I should not be as aggressive. So, I thought I would start out a little less aggressive just be safe. Again, I will take your recommendation and just do it three days in a row.

    Finally, again I am new to this hobby (my son and I started this based on his interest) and we have really been enjoying it. I would sure value a community where I can grow in my knowledge and expertise, and not feel gun shy about sounding naive when I ask questions. I sure hope this might be that forum.
     
    pwncpa, May 6, 2012
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  7. pwncpa

    sissy sissy

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    we just hope your fish get better and all is well .You sure nothing has been attacking them .Trying to get them out of the water and injuring them
     
    sissy, May 6, 2012
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  8. pwncpa

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    Please don't feel gun shy, just in the post above I learned your new to the hobby, It's little tid bits of information that can be taken and used to your benefit. We welcome you and want you to not only learn from the forum but in time to teach as well. I apologize if I sounded agressive in my remarks. as a group this is a very friendly and helpful community. I learn from it daily. Being new, I recommend you giving as much detail as possible. Possibly even going as far as to starting a showcase thread and telling us more about your pond. It's not uncommon for some of us to respond in great detail to a issue only never to hear from the person again, then there are those that come here to look for a answer and not be part of the community. We don't know the level of their experience. Waterbug, Addy, Myself, and many many others have many years experience. yet we too ask questions to others for help. new or experienced it's a ever learning hobby. The purpose of the forum is a community of pond keepers to have a place to come to that want to talk and discuss ponds. Many of us are here to help others for the simple satisfaction of helping other ponders to avoid mistakes we have made along the way. A test kit is a vital piece of equipment in pond keeping. Sooner or later if your going to be sucsessful you will have to use it. Might as well invest now and start learning what and how to make the water "Good" and what measurements for your pond are considered good. I will make a recommendation, API master Pond test kit is a very affordable test kit that is a easy to use and can be picked up at many pond stores, petsmart, Petco, online, etc for around $40 it doesn't test all the water parameters but it does at least cover the most important ones.
     
    fishin4cars, May 7, 2012
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  9. pwncpa

    pwncpa

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    Ok, here are my water stats as of today (I hope I got them right):

    Chlorine: 0
    PH: 8.5
    Amonia between 0-.25
    Tempurature: 68%
    Total alkalinity: 300
    Total hardness: 75
    Nitrites: 0
    Nitrates:0

    Thanks again!
     
    pwncpa, May 9, 2012
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  10. pwncpa

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    Ammonia level is a little high, not that alarming high considering you have been medicating but certainly noy "GOOD" either. I would watch this closely (at least once a day) as your PH is on the high side making any ammonia reading even more toxic. The rest aren't way out of line but I would really expect more nitrates with a pond as old as that, and with as many fish as you have. Waste from fish is constatly being produced and unless you have done some serious water changes in the last few days, I think the reagents that were used for that test may be old. A very good reading you should be getting a reading of 5-20 ppm. O is telling me you may NOT be getting true readings.
    Has there been any improvements to the fish? What else have you tried? Is there a hopital tank or are you treating in the pond?
    Temps need to be raised to above 75 degrees, that and salt should raised to at least 3% that should at least slow down the fungal infection and possibly help slow down or kill of a good # of different kinds of Parasites. although not 100% effective by any means it could help and won't hurt anything at this point. Then next step is trying to get a scrap on a slide and get it to someone that can check it. That will be a key move in trying to figure out the next plan of action.
     
    fishin4cars, May 9, 2012
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  11. pwncpa

    pwncpa

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    Thanks again fishin4cars! I have been doing a lot of water replacement over the past few weeks and that might be why those readings are so low. I have not seen any improvements to the fish - although he really does not have any other symptoms other than the wounds you can see.

    So, I guess I have a few more questions:

    1. How do I lower the PH level?
    2. It sounds like the recommendation is to set up what you are calling a hospital tank. Is there anything to that, other than just taking water out of my pond and putting it into a kiddie pool or something like that? I don't really have anything like that, but I do have a large metal trough - assuming it is out of the sun, is there any chemical reason not to use a metal container?
    3. I do have plants and would rather not kill them off by using salt (at least so I have read). If I bring it up to 3% will that kill off my plants?

    Finally, I think I can take the fish to my local koi dealership that is well respected, and they can look at the cells in a microscope, so maybe that is what I need to do.

    Thanks again!
     
    pwncpa, May 9, 2012
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  12. pwncpa

    Telkwa

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    Temperature 68%? Is that percentage in F or C? :)

    I'm sort of new to this hardness issue, but what do you mean by total alkalinity vs. total hardness? AFAIK KH is the term for carbonate (also called temporary) hardness, and GH is the term for total, or general, hardness. Is that what you're referring to? We need to get everyone on the same page.
     
    Telkwa, May 15, 2012
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  13. pwncpa

    Waterbug

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    "replacement" or "changes"? Meaning, do you have a leak and keep having to top off, or are you pumping some water out and adding fresh?

    If changes...how big a change? 10%, 20%...

    The supply water is chlorinated? That could explain the ammonia. Did you add dechlorinator?

    The 0 nitrate level bothers me too. I'd want to figure out how that could be. Please understand, not saying you're doing this, but sometimes people like to "say" a certain number thinking that will get us off their back and we'll tell them what they want to hear...that secret medicine that can be added to the pond and make everything right.

    Unfortunately I don't know where the pond is located...but going by the 68F temp I assume this is someplace where you have a freezing winter? In general lots of fish are in this condition this time of year. Generally the cause is not a single thing that can be treated, but rather a combination of things.

    Having to ask means you shouldn't attempt any adjustment in pH. If you want to mess with pH you should first at least understand "pH buffering" via Google. Then decide. Messing with pH with sick fish...not good.

    Larkin was referring to, I believe, that you have ammonia. Ammonia becomes more toxic as pH and temp rise. So if you had said your water was 7.0 pH and temp was 55F, the ammonia would be much less of a concern. Also, if you added a dechlorinator the ammonia would in theory be safe.

    The 0 to 0.25 ppm range in ammonia is a concern because 0 is safe and 0.25 ppm is lethal over a period of time, and pH and temp. So it would be good to get a better number.

    The fix is not to lower pH, but to lower the ammonia, or as a short term fix, make it safe by add a dechlorinator.

    The absolute best advice I can give, and the most ignored, is don't do things until you understand what it is you're doing. The fish are far better off being left alone than having a bunch of stuff thrown at them.

    Hospital tanks should only be used by people who know what they are and how they are used. You can start learning about these now for the next problem, but it's not a good idea to learn with a sick fish.

    Salt is used at specific doses for specific lengths of time to treat specific things. Adding some salt to a pond is normally only a treatment for owner anxiety. Before treating with salt you first have to find the problem. Also, salt as bad interactions with some medical treatments.

    Sounds like a good idea. Even better if they can treat the fish. Unfortunately these issues are complex and can't really be learned quickly unless you really have the time to devote.

    On the other hand, the fish has made it this far. The ulcers don't appear deep yet, if that's what they end up being, water is warming (assuming northern hemisphere), so the fish could cure itself.
     
    Waterbug, May 16, 2012
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  14. pwncpa

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    All very well explained.
    3% salt will effect plants, kill them, most no. But they will suffer some. That's about the border, of where you can treat and still maintain plants. any higher and you'll need to trat in a hospital tank. Metal and salt will react. metal and some medications wil react. It can be used as a QT tank but as a hospital, probably not the best option.
     
    fishin4cars, May 17, 2012
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  15. pwncpa

    CometKeith

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    Plants will help lower the ph over time. Anything over zero ammonia is bad. If your pond hasn't cycled yet you might want to only lightly feed to keep the fish waste and ammonia down. You can also lower ph by removing any cement products from the pond or adjacent to it that are releasing lime. Portland cement doesn't do that, but brick pavers will create a problem. My ammonia shot up this spring because the weather went from very hot to very cold. My fish were active in the warm weather and started releasing a lot of waste that the pond couldn't handle because it never cycled. I lost a few fish, but really focused on water quality and did a lot of water changes and the rest of them are fine now, even some of the ones that did not look good. I never used any meds at all. I have used salt baths before, but always took the fish out to do that and then put the fish back in after the bath. I think this does a lot more good than adding a lot of salt to the pond itself. Hope this helps.
     
    CometKeith, May 19, 2012
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