Series of unfortunate events = sick fish

Discussion in 'Illness and Disease' started by HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    hello everyone. This is a long one but please bare with.
    So we moved into our home in Bedfordshire in November 2015, knew there was pond but the lady we bought the house off said there was ‘a few fish in there’ and there was a pump&filter there but she hadn’t had is working for ‘years’
    We ignored it as had a 10month old and it was winter anyway. Next summer (2016) we saw some fish but only really a white one and a orange one, they weren’t that big and the water was really murky. I was quite pregnant with 2nd baby so again we weren’t ready to deal with improving the pond.

    Summer 2017 and we couldn’t see the white one anymore, just the orange one. A neighbour told us he’d seen a heron on the roof of our shed one morning so we thought that was it and the heron had most of the fish that were in there. With 2 children under 2 we were more concerned about the pond being a potential hazard so largely kept away from it.

    Spring 2018 weekend of April 14/15 - husband is really quite handy at gadgets and gizmos so decided he was going to get the pump and filter working after doing some research. The filter is a OASE Biotech 10 which is obviously an old model but we found a manual pdf and husband cleaned it up and got it working. The pump was a OASE aquamax 15000. So by the time he’d fiddled with it and replaced what needed replacing (there’s a UV filter Oase Bitron 25 on the filter too) it was the evening of Monday 16th April and he decided to leave the filter on overnight in the naive hope that we’d wake to a clear pond and be able to see what was going on in there......
    Tuesday 17th April we woke up to a near empty pond!!!! Only black sludge below the point of the pump was left with a good few unhappy flappy fish. Clearly a stressful event for them. Husband stayed home from work and we scooped out all the fish into so big plastic tubs of tap water and pond sludge. Once we were happy we’d got them all out we pumped up the children’s paddling pool and filled with tap water through the hose and dumped the contents of the big tubs in it. With all the fish in the paddling pool we shovelled out the sludge and husband reattached the pond hose back on the back of the filter. Turns out the hose had come off the back because there was no jubilee clip so water was being pumped out to the back of the shed. Our neighbour is quite pleased as all his plants in that area the other side of our fence have come up really well this year .
    So when we’d filled the pond again we counted the fish (and frogs and newts) we counted 20 fish; 10 big and medium, and 10 small ones. When I say ‘big’ I mean between 7”-12” which I now appreciate isn’t that big at all. And one had barbels so I realised it was a koi - on further research it’s a ghost koi/carp as is black with orange underneath so to speak and more orange on its head. This is our biggest being about 12” long. I also rescued hundreds of damselfly nymphs and being a biology teacher I know these to be a sign of good water quality and a healthy pond so I was happy that despite its neglect the pond up to that point had been fine.
    So we refilled the pond reinstated the fish and with the hope visibility would get clearer with the now working pump and filter we went out and bought some more fish from our local koi place. We got a shiny yellow koi, a Beni kiko(?) a orange one with floaty delicate fins, two little white ones with orange blobs on the top which I think are goldfish. ( I will try to add photos of these).
    Happy days.
    Visibility was getting a little better and we named them. Then a fortnight ago I noticed the new orange/black one with the lovely fins no longer had it’s front pectoral fins!! Well one was missing entirely and the other side it was short and just a stump. I tried to catch it to get a closer look but I didn’t try that hard thinking I’ll try again the next day. I’ve never seen it again . So pretty sure it’s dead and sunk.
    Being on the look out for ‘Magic Mike’ on a daily basis I noticed a white lump on a 8” black carp - on the top section of its caudal fin. I monitored this for a few days and it seemed to be getting worse. Then last Wednesday 20th June - I went out to see them and he’d blown up like a balloon. At this point I knew he was sick and dr google said dropsy/pine cone disease, which said was symptom with several causes one of which is bacterial infection which fits with the white lump) I went and checked the filter behind the shed as husband was at work and it was full with black sludge. I scrapped off as much as I could whilst the filter was off. I was going off on a timer between 1-2pm every afternoon. I know this will have been a bacterial paradise in there so When husband returned from work we took the sponges out of the filter ( only the course ones in the first side the water goes through - 3 green ones) where i’d scraped off the sludge. I also managed to catch the dropsy carp to take photos and it squeaked a lot - I will add the photos, and that when we saw the white lump was dead skin which came off to reveal a hole!
    When we’d fitted them back in and went to turn it back on - the pump broke!!

    So Thursday 21st June I went first thing to the Koi specialist up the road and sort their advice. I came home with a Pondlab 200 test kit and a packet of Cloverleaf Absolute-cT. test results are as follows:
    pH7, NH3 0, NO2 0 NO3 0, KH 8, GH12.
    So felt confident that the water quality was good enough to start a course of Choromine t, after my husband had been able to replace the pump which I also had to purchase. So that evening he swapped out the broken aquamax 15000, for a Superfish pond eco plus RC 15000. I chose this one on recommendation of the koi place and the fact we could vary the flow rate in the winter. Also the instruction manual for the biotec 10 which I took along with me to the specialist said the max recommended pump for that filter is only 10000. I didn’t want to replace with a 15000 just in case the flow rate was too high for the water to have adequate time in the filter. So it’s now on setting 4 which is 10,000 l/h.
    The specialist said the dropsy carp was probably a dead fish swimming and I should look to the other fish for signs that the c-T was working. I was pretty certain the original orange goldfish had an abrasion on the side so was told this was the one to watch.

    An online pond volume calculator told me the volume was about 1006 gallons so have added 10g in a litre of tap water every morning (thurs,fri,sat,sun) - haven’t added today because it said to only do 4 days.

    So today is day 5 and ‘Mr Orange’ the orange goldfish has been sad all week hiding in the reed roots and only swimming about when he realises the others are feeding, and he does come and feed. Today I see (in the much clearer water) that he is pineconing as well so has gotten worse. Also there is a small fish that’s had gill rot as I can see I bright red patch of gills on one side only. And the ghost fish has got some loose or missing scales only on one side - well I’m interpreting loose scales as are about 5/6 grey scales.

    So that’s the info, here are my questions!!
    Do I need to empty out part of the water and refill to be of some benefit? Do I need to wait a few days and then do another 4days of cT? Or do i need to get another product because the bacterial strain present is resistant to cT? Should the gold fish have gotten better or could it be that his abrasion was too extensive to allow him to heal effectively so he has taken on water regardless of the bacterial count being reduced? The dropsy black carp is still going strong and swimming about like nothing is wrong with him which I’m surprised at seeing as magic mike disappeared overnight without developing dropsy! His hole wasn’t getting better but neither was it getting worse but I think he must have caught it somehow over night as the caudal fin has now ripped from the hole to the end. Also today when I fed them and he came to the surface bubbles of air came out of his gills! I’m guessing this is a very very bad sign and he is close to deaths door.
    Also could it be parasitic instead of bacterial, but I’m not seeing them rubbing up against things or wriggling about?

    Now having written this mammoth essay I’ve now got to get the photos up for you to see the pond and fish in question.

    Thank you in advance to all those who make it to the end and are able to respond to help me out. I’ve gotten quite attached to these guys now and would hate to see them all go.
     
    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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  2. HillfootPond

    Sparky

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    My advice involves some work if we’re saving fish. I’ve always been taught, treat the fish, not the tank. My guess is restarting the pond kicked up a lot of nastiness from the bottom. Left alone down there it was fine but once stirred, a chain reaction occurred. The sick and injured need to be quarantined. If your not aware of that process, there’s tons of info out there on how and what to do. As far as pond cleanup, the folks here have dealt with this before and the knowledge here is second to none.
     
    Sparky, Jun 25, 2018
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  3. HillfootPond

    Tula

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    I agree with treating the fish, as opposed to the whole pond....if possible. Could you set up a hospital tank, it will be work....filtration, aeration etc., but will allow you to view the fish more easily and it's less expensive to treat a hospital tank then the whole pond.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd use my 110 gallon live stock tank ( be sure to cover with a taunt net, as the fish will jump ) , buy a small pressurized filter and / or, make a DIY shower filter and an aerator. Not sure how to advice you on using pond water, as you've medicated it etc....might be best to start with fresh water. With new filtration you'll be losing your "good" bacteria, so will fight ammonia ....so you'll need to test the water at least once a day ( maybe twice ) and do partial water changes. I assume you add de-chlorinator if your tap water has chlorine - chloramines ?
     
    Tula, Jun 25, 2018
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  4. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    Oh no, doesn’t sound good so far
     
    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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  5. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    This is the pond - and we don’t have any sort of back up. I’m guessing a paddling pool as a quarantine is just not going to cut the mustard!
     

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    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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  6. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    Here are the fish in question. I will be going back to the koi place tomorrow to see what they say about going on from here as I really don’t think a whole new quarantine pond is a viable option for us
     

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    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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  7. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    Thanks so much for your help... how much is partial? I hope to have my husband clean off the sponges in the filter again tonight and then he could let some water out and replenish then too. 1/3??
     
    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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  8. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    Thank you for your advice, if I had know that would be the case then I would have made sure all the sludge was out and we could have treated the pond at the time. Alas I was ignorant to all this
     
    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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  9. HillfootPond

    Lisak1

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    Welcome @HillfootPond ! Stick with us - you’ll get some great advice!

    I didn’t see you post how many gallons this pond is - any idea?
     
    Lisak1, Jun 25, 2018
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  10. HillfootPond

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Hello and welcome! Wow, quite a story!

    So you estimated your pond at just a little over 1000 gallons. You had 20 (good-sized) fish to start out with, a sick fish or 2, then you added more fish? I hope that you have underestimated the size of your pond, because if not, you might be overstocked. And it sounds like you added the new fish without quarantining them first.

    Just MHO, but don’t assume that it’s the sludge that was causing the problem. The fish that were there for those years seemed to have done well and adapted. It sounds more like a combination of issues, and I wonder if you were trying to fix too many things at one time which messed with the balance of the pond’s ecosystem.

    For now, just take things one “problem”at a time. Other than treating the sick fish, don’t worry about trying to fix anything else for now. Make sure your water is filtered and clean, and that you have a lot of water movement in the pond. Do you have an aerator to add bubbles?
     
    Mmathis, Jun 25, 2018
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  11. HillfootPond

    qclabrat

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    Welcome, your fish do not appear to be too large, if getting a 100G stock tank is difficult, try a 40-50G tote you can find in the department stores. They are not very strong but if you lead one side on the something stationary and brace the other side with sand bag it will hold water well for a temporary hospital. Have a few together to keep the fish comfortable. Make sure you have aeration and a means to clean the water if possible.
     
    qclabrat, Jun 25, 2018
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  12. HillfootPond

    qclabrat

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    Just looking at the pics your fish may have Dropsy, a bacterial infection for poor water quality and needs to be treated, right away. Here's a quick summary I pulled off the internet, perhaps others can debunk if I'm off.

    Diagnosis of Dropsy
    • If your goldfish has swelling in any part of the body (especially their eyes and stomach) it’s very likely to have dropsy.
    Before we discuss the technicalities and actual treatment, it’s important to understand one crucial aspect of the “disease” itself. It’s not a disease, but a bacterial infection that causes excess waste and fluid to store in the stomach or kidneys of the goldfish.

    Generally early signs include
    1. a bloated appearance
    2. swelling in multiple parts of the body
    3. lethargic or slow movement of the goldfish
    If the disease is treated in very late stages, the chances of reversing the condition and potentially saving the goldfish are low, so the earlier treatment is started, the better the chances of survival.

    There are a few approaches to treating this condition.

    Before treating your goldfish for Dropsy illness it’s important you take precautionary steps

    Step 1: Check Aquarium Conditions
    Often dropsy is caused by internal bacterial infections. It’s important to monitor your aquarium conditions often to prevent any deficiency that can potentially lead to dropsy.

    Step 2: Isolate The Fish
    In most self-help articles and clinical research regarding Dropsy in fish, isolation is recommended. Most fish suffering from Dropsy will act very differently to their healthy counterparts. By isolating your goldfish you can treat him or her in a controlled environment without dealing with exterior factors.

    Treatment for Dropsy
    There are several known treatments for Dropsy, however, none have proven to be 100 percent effective. Therefore trying different treatments over a period of time can increase your chances of successfully curing your fish of this condition.

    Treatment 1: Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate)
    To treat the entire aquarium the recipe is to add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water for every 40 liters of aquarium water. This salt is known to potentially cleanse, and reduce excess waste accumulated by the goldfish. In this treatment it’s important to use the correct measurements to avoid any danger to the fish.
    • You can bathe just 1 fish in epsom salts. In this case use 10grams per liter of aquarium water. Bathe your fish no longer than 30 minutes. This can be done once or twice in a day.
    Treatment 2: Regulate Water Temperature
    Some bacteria can reproduce or spread faster depending on the temperature. Water temperature is one of the many attributed causes of dropsy. It is important to regulate the water. The temperature range for goldfish is 68 to 75 degrees, and some prefer even warmer temperatures.

    Treatment 3: Using Augmentin
    Unlike the first treatment, Augmentin is directly fed to the goldfish. These medicine tablets have been shown to successfully cure dropsy. It’s important to enhance the effect of this treatment by also offering your fish medicinal food.
     
    qclabrat, Jun 25, 2018
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  13. HillfootPond

    ShawnInfirmity

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    They stated the best they could estimate using a pond volume calculator was about 1006 gallons.
     
    ShawnInfirmity, Jun 25, 2018
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  14. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    Yes thank you, I just an online calculator that took into account the width, length and max depth and without being the ones who installed the pond and not knowing the exact shape of the bottom of the pond this is the best I could do.
     
    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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  15. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    Yes thanks for this but I have already read information to this effect. I know 2 have dropsy as I have stated on the photos and in the OP, but as that’s a collection of symptoms, I’m interested in diagnosing the underlying cause. As I said I will go back to the koi specialist tomorrow
     
    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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  16. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    Of the 20 fish only 3 are about 12” then there’s about 5 which are about 8-10” the new introductions were 2 which are 3” and 2 were 5” the rest are all little sprats of about 1-2” which we assume are the production of spawning last summer which we knew nothing about.
    I’m not sure it’s overstocked! ‍♀️ You can see the biggest ones here at the top

    And we were assured by the koi specialist that they had been quarantined by them and followed the instructions they gave for introducing them to the pond. So we did the best we could with the information we had been given. ‍♀️
     

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  17. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    Thank you for this, I will look into it
     
    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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  18. HillfootPond

    Tula

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    I don't want to steer you in the wrong direction and as I'm conservative, I'd replace only 10- 20 % of the water volume at a time, letting your water tests be your guide....that means if your tests show the presence of ammonia , do a water change.

    Just looked at the picture of your pond and it's lovely, looks like a formal koi pond, Water movement, via an aerator or pump ( or both ) is a big help in maintaining water quality and fish health.
     
    Tula, Jun 25, 2018
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  19. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    Thanks - I will ask at the koi supplier tomorrow about aeration as only have a pump to the filter but that comes back down into the pond via a little waterfall and I don’t know if this is adequate in terms of incorporating O2 into the water. We now know the owner of the house previous to the lady we bought it off constructed the pond - and he still keeps Koi in his new house (he still lives in the village) - so I assume he built it especially to keep koi.
     
    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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  20. HillfootPond

    HillfootPond

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    This was Magic Mike - the fish that vanished after I noticed his pectoral fins had all but gone. - looking at his caudal fin, does anybody have an opinion on whether he already had a degree of ‘fin rot’ and might therefore have been the source of bacteria into the pond.??? This was what he looked like on day of purchase back in April this year.
     

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    HillfootPond, Jun 25, 2018
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