Temperature ups and downs causing fish illness? - need your help


Joined
Jun 20, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
57
In my introduction post I said my pond had its ups and downs over 30 years. Right now it is having a major down. Our pond is about 800 gallons. I never had any problems with sick fish until now. I do have one or 2 die off yearly, with the others remaining healthy. They are eating, swimming and mating. I never did a ph, or any water testing. (Dummy me? I was told that as a beginner, back then, trying to balance the water could do more harm) I do ¼ water changes, 2 or three times during the summer. The last time I totally emptied it was 3 or 4 years ago. I run a pressurized filter with UV light and a fountain. This winter was too long and very cold in northern Ohio. I used a pondmaster bubbler for aeration and added a pond de-icer. The electric company is very happy.. I let it run long enough to melt a 2 foot square area over the bubbler for every time (almost daily) it froze over to about 1” thick on the surface. I usually have this number of fish without problems.

I started to empty my pond at the end of May and drained it down a 1/3 and removed the potted plants discovering toad eggs. I put the plants back in and refilled it with conditioner. I told the pond I will clean it first week of July. The other day I could not find my fish ranging in size from 8 to 3 inches about 2 dozen. Most of the water plant cover was trimmed back and dead leaves removed when I started the clean-up. I thought maybe they were afraid of open pond surface and were hiding. A heron did swipe one a week ago. When I did spot a few of the solid black comets they had a grayish cast over their bodies. One guy had the stuff streaming off of him. Then I found a few of the shabunkins were listless. I drained the pond half way and put in the water conditioner. I went to a trusted water garden nursery who sold me Tetra Pond –Pond Fish Treatment and 5 pounds of salt. She told me that this spring’s temperature fluctuations has been really hard on the fish stressing them out and they may have fungus. She said it sounds like the same malady hers had. She said her sale fish were quarantined and treated with this stuff (doing well but not for sale) and said I should see a difference in 24 hours. She said the treatment is selling off the shelf this month as lots of her customers have sick fish. I found a fish the 4” size dead yesterday and some earlier this week. (without signs of illness on them strange!) I added the solution and salt per directions and increased aeration by letting the pump cycle the pond water as a sideways fountain. I saw red streaks on the bodies of my large light colored fish now looking pink. That I think is a bacterial infection. The bubbler is still running.

I was fearful to check the pond this morning and got my courage up. The shabunkibns with blood streaks do not appear to be worse, they are still quiet (and alive!) moving a little more, the black fish that I observed seems like the gray coating is less. Most of the other fish are still hiding (maybe dead) I haven’t seen the bodies floating? The orange comets are “surfing” the sideways spray. The ill ones are pushed along by its current. Last evening and thru the night we had too much rain and I hope that it did not dilute the treatment. I am almost ready to take a swig of that treatment to de-stress me.

The detail is for anyone who can advise me. When should I start to feed the fish? Has anyone had good results with Tetra Pond Fish Treatment? I am buying a water testing kit …. Thanks Rose
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Messages
3,211
Reaction score
2,192
Location
North East Ohio-Zone 5
Country
United States
Rose, I don't have much time to respond but it would be very helpful if you use the water test kit and then post your actual results/numbers.

This will help give a good picture of what is going on with your pond and your fish.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
57
I bought a kit and did my testing: PH is 8.0, Amonnia is .25, nitrate is 0, Phosphate is over 2 about a 3. I did a 50% water change Monday night and I am guessing the ammonia might have been higher prior to.
One 2" fish died this afternoon. The fish that were listless are moving now at snail pace, some ate a few fish crisps. The larger ones are still in hiding and I dont know if some fish sink when they die? The guessing is wearing me out. Earlier my 9" shabunkin swam out from under a lily pad thinking I was going to feed him. He looked healthy. I only scattered about a tablespoonful for them.
 
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,935
Reaction score
4,712
Location
Cincinnati, Ohio
Hardiness Zone
6 A
Country
United States
Do you have any pictures of the fish that recently died? You mentioned red streaks....were there any ulcers/ sores? Did you notice what color it's gill's were? I wouldn't worry too much about feeding them right now, or keep it to a very light feeding.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2010
Messages
4,033
Reaction score
3,909
Location
Chicago Area
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
Hi R.Rose. I have similar size pond in the Chicago area. It's really weird but this year I didn't have a single sick fish in the spring. I can tell you some of the things I did. I don't know if will help because it didn't sound like you really did anything wrong. All winter I ran a pump and let water trickle over the waterfall. I have a deicer too but only used it twice all winter for maybe a day each time. I didn't really do much to the pond all spring because it was so cold but in April I netted out some leaves and hooked up my biofilter without the uv light. I started up my second pump in early april to have good waterflow. At most I only fed very lightly with spring/fall diet a couple times a week when the weather was a little warmer. I connected my uv light in early may and started to feed on a more regular basis. From mid April on I started to do 10% water changes a week and did that for two months. I just started to reduce the frequency of the water changes. I didn't introduce any new plants until mid May and have not added new fish or snails. Is there anything I did that is a lot different than what you did? Another thing is I never use chemicals and just rely on healthy water to keep my fish healthy. I have used salt baths in the past but they only worked about half the time.
One question I have is what is the dimension of your pond and what is your bio-load? I have mostly small fish with an average of 3" fish and 28 total. I think the surface area of my pond is close to 1 sq foot per inch of fish and I have mostly small fish.I don't feel gallons is always a good indicator of how much bio-load it can hold if it is too deep and not enough surface area or not enough water movement.Obviously several large fish need a lot more water than a lot of small fish. Are your fish getting too big for the pond?
Sometimes just a few things can throw a pond off. I considered myself to be pretty lucky this year so I am going to keep following the same procedure for next year. Good luck with getting things good again.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jun 20, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
57
I did not take a picture. The fish has black red patches of coloring and the red illness looks like rash without the welts. Yes the gill flaps were outlined in red and it's light color belly was rashed....tiny pinpoints of red I have seen this illness on my gold fish that I overwintered years ago in a 30 gallon tank. I had 4 and they were 4 inches long and also had beginning tail/fin rot and blood streaks in their tails. The water would get bad in 2 days due to their size. I got advice to salt the water and increase aeration. The pet store said it was a bacterial infection from poor water quality. Within the hour with a water change and aeration they became lively and started to heal in a few days. I then found out that they could survive winter outdoors.
Earlier this month I started to drain the pond completely got it down 1/2 way and pulled out a large pot with bog bean that covered 1/3 of the water surface. The wet weight of the pot and plant was 50 pounds. I disturbed the layer of muck and dead leaves from fall and Probably released toxin and parasites? The fish that are white with color patches do have the pinpoint of red dots "rashs" all over too they look pink now.. I found this picture of what the red rash only more intense on my fish. Thanks for your help. If another fish is found I will take some pictures of it.
ill fish.jpg .
ill fish.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
57
CometKeith,
I am happy for your success. Dont fix what aint broken! You started far earlier than I did taking care of your pond with the filter and UV. Do you ever do a total drain and clean? SO this year a total clean out is needed to remove the thick layer of muck and debris. I dont mind getting wet & messy but not in 60 degrees (I step into bottom in the muck to net the fish. Then I use a shop vac on the muck and hand pick out the debris. I then get out of the pond to dump the vac's bucket filled with muck over and over again) I delayed the clean up for June then found the eggs. Spring is delayed by 3 weeks here on Ohio's North Coast.
Pond dimensions are 11 by 8 1/2 feet. Estimated volume 850 gallons. 3 sides have plant shelves 12 " down. The back side was straight down until the tree root grew and wrapped around the back behind the liner with a bulge the length of the backside and created a hiding space under it for the fish. That displaced water by 50 Gallons. The bottom is 30" deep. I have not done a full clean out in 4 years. I drain it down to the shelf level 2 or 3 times during the summer. I use a 18 gph pump that feeds to a pressure Fishmate 3000 filter with UV and I have to clean that every 2 weeks. I have a column fountain serviced by the same pump. I added a pond master Air Pump and it runs all year for the past 5 years. I have a large water lily and bog bean. My pond is shaded by a male mulberry tree. It sheds those pollen 1" puffs in May, i use a net but some do fall into the pond. The female mulberry is in the back of the property and profusely makes berries. The fish: about 2 dozen. Five are 8 inchers = my breeders and the rest are their kids, about 12 that are 6 to 4 inchers and the remainder are 2 - 3". I never had a problem with the quantity of fish. I dont over feed them. A few would die from winter kill in past years, none this year. Frogs and polliwogs are present and come and go at random. I had snails and they slowly died off I dont think I have any now.
Before this mess started all the fish were swimming and doing their mating moves. I started feeding them in late May. I have a problem with my Fishmate. The gaskets for the electric chamber went bad and I discovered this in the fall that water seeped in. The ballast has rust stains but the UV lamp worked. I installed a new UV now and it only sparks and then tried another and the same thing. Local electric shop said the ballast is bad, so I have one on order to replace it and I already put in new gaskets. Hopefully I can get it working next week. I am ordering another pondmaster 18 gph pump for aeration & fountain later maybe a skimmer. Do fish get sucked into the skimmer and harmed? A skimmer would really help. -Rose

Pond measures 11 feet by 8 not a perfect rectangle.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 20, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
57
DSCN0641.JPG
DSCN0642.JPG
DSCN0377.JPG
DSCN0181.JPG
100_3075.JPG
pond layout.jpg
Hi Dieselplower,
The Nitrate is 0.

I uploaded some pictures The fishmate is under the false rock. Frog and the green fencing is laid over the entire pond (eyesore) to protect from predators and the spaces are
large enough to allow frogs to get to the lawn and return. The hawk is above the pond watching our fish. Pond in back of bird feeder. Taken in Jan 2014. Pond spring view prior to yard work. My pond profile.
DSCN0641.JPG
DSCN0642.JPG
DSCN0377.JPG
DSCN0181.JPG
100_3075.JPG
pond layout.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
57
Duplicated pond picturesI I dont have clue how that happened Maybe the forum manager can removed the duplicates?...Im very upset and will figure out later how to correctly upload.

Update on fish illness, graphic pictures not for the squeamish folks
Its past 48 hours since the Tetra pond pondfish treatment and salt has been added. I took pictures of the living and a newly deceased fish.
The dead fish shabunkin about 4 inches had no signs of red streaks, there was a brown line mid center from chest to anus. I pulled back his gill plate and they are light pink nothing else noticed. After bending him slightly to view inside the flap to get a picture his guts popped out at the brown line. Sorry for description. This has to be real serious problem.

The black comets fan tails look frayed and the grey matter is hanging off their bodies and the skin that was under the grey matter looks improved. I have seen the grey stuff (no red rash) on some of the shabunkins since the water got clear and the sun was out and they are foraging for food.

I put a tablespoon of crisps in to see who would be interested in eating and to lure out the MIA's. No show.

The large shabunkin looks less pink, red rash is still there. He is moving around improved over yesterday and swims away when I point the camera at him. He was interested in the fish crisps The red marks look less intense. There is a black dot on a gill, otherwise they are light pink. This fish's color is white with black and red dots. So i cant tell if it was foreign or pigment. Fins are less clamped. His skin looks rough not pine coned yet. I tried to net him to look for the brown line on the belly but he got away. After he escaped he violently flashed against the water.surface. I must have "removed some slime coating exposing the irritated skin with the net. He went hiding after the netting.

The black comets and few of the shabunkins did eat a little. The ones that were dragging have perked up and swimming normally and scavenging for food.
I am prepared for the worst and will be happy if half of them survive. I still haven't spotted the others yet. I am resisting the temptation to take the plants out to find the MIA's that might be too stressful for all the fish.
The heart ache is in the "not knowing" what happened. If I could pinpoint the cause and know what happened I can kick myself and move on.
 
Last edited:
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jun 20, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
57
Graphic pictures.....
I messed up with pictures previously so on a this separate post their pasted here.
I am going to have a good cry, then wash the bathroom with bleach to rid the fish smell from my hands and put it in God's hands. Thanks for trying to help. Rose
 

Attachments

  • DSCN2282.JPG
    DSCN2282.JPG
    110 KB · Views: 301
  • DSCN2284.JPG
    DSCN2284.JPG
    112.2 KB · Views: 318
  • DSCN2292.JPG
    DSCN2292.JPG
    133.6 KB · Views: 302
  • DSCN2286.JPG
    DSCN2286.JPG
    105.8 KB · Views: 384
  • DSCN2295.JPG
    DSCN2295.JPG
    92.4 KB · Views: 292
  • DSCN2287.JPG
    DSCN2287.JPG
    155.1 KB · Views: 325
  • DSCN2299.JPG
    DSCN2299.JPG
    182 KB · Views: 364
  • DSCN2301.JPG
    DSCN2301.JPG
    142.3 KB · Views: 325
  • DSCN2302.JPG
    DSCN2302.JPG
    201.6 KB · Views: 325

callingcolleen1

mad hatter
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
9,431
Reaction score
8,125
Location
Medicine Hat Alberta, Canada (zone 2/3)
Hardiness Zone
4a
Country
Canada
So sorry to hear of your fish loss Rose, I hope things get better quick for you. I saw in your last picture that your pond is totally covered with floating plants? Is that right? If your pond is totally covered with floating plants that can smother your pond and cause the pond to over heat and then bad things happen quickly from there. You need to have lots of open water so that the gases can escape and oxygen can circulate proper. If you invest in sedges like rushes, cattails, iris and grasses, they grow upright without smothering the pond like a blanket. Get rid of half of those floaters and do a half water change. Good luck!
 

callingcolleen1

mad hatter
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
9,431
Reaction score
8,125
Location
Medicine Hat Alberta, Canada (zone 2/3)
Hardiness Zone
4a
Country
Canada
PS, twenty some years ago I used to just have floaters, and all the goldfish died off for me too, looking back now I know that my pond was smothered back then and as the fish got bigger they needed more oxygen and cooler water. If you could also add a water spitter or some splashing water that would help cool the water down. If the water is always cool then you will have less problems generally speaking. Goldfish and koi are cold water fish and I try to keep my water very cold here in Canada during the summer, and the spring for that matter. I never have had sick fish since that lesson many years ago. Think of trout, they are so good to eat cause they come from cold lakes and they taste fresh. But if you eat whitefish or Pike from a warm shallow lake, they taste terrible and can be full of worms! When cold water fish get too warm, they tend to get sickly too, and remember the warmer the water is, the less oxygen that water can hold....
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Messages
3,211
Reaction score
2,192
Location
North East Ohio-Zone 5
Country
United States
normal healthy gills should be bright red, not light in color (usually means bacterial infection)

from the photos it almost looks like I can see ick on at least one of your fish (I'm just glancing through as I am at work now)

I am in Willoughby Rose, where are you?

Luckily I didn't have any sick fish and everyone is eating and happy at this time (it was the first winter I left them out. I had been bringing them in and keeping them in a stock tank over the winter)
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Messages
3,211
Reaction score
2,192
Location
North East Ohio-Zone 5
Country
United States
Not familiar with the Tetra Pond Treatment but looked it up and the ingredients are: "Formaldehyde, quinine-hydrochloride" and It claims to: "Controls external parasites, bacteria, and fungi that can cause infection." I'm not so sure this is going to be enough to help your fish. It may be okay for early treatment but I think your past that point (I'm no expert, just my opinion)

If these were my fish I would be feeding a medicated food, treating them with a broad spectrum antiparasitic medication and doing more frequent water changes.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
57
Thanks for the caring words. The fish are beautiful and when I posted these pictures it hit me....What have I done?. I checked on them later in the afternoon and they are more active Some were foraging for food and I tossed in a wee bit and they scrambled for it. Dottie my large shabunkin in the pictures also showed interest and ate. No more dead fish found yet. A few that were MIA came to the surface to eat. Before I checked this post Dottie looked less red and her gills were red. I am not holding my breath I kind of expecting Dottie, & some smaller ones to pass over night. The grey stuff is sloughing off of them but they look ragged. I saw Dottie's friend Freckles near the bottom moving around. Thunder also good size and 7 years old, he is a shubunkin black with red splotches( his coloring) came to the surface to eat.

I would like to put something else in the pond but not sure if it mixes well with current treatment. The treatment i used recommends repeating in 7 days with a water change. The label says do not mix treatments. The pond and fish specialist at the garden store told me it will work and add the salt. If they do not 100% get well repeat in 7 days. I was shopping on line at Drs. Fostr and Smith and there is Melafix and it's companion treatment to restore skin and fins and boost the nutrition. The other product is scary being so strong you need to add the counteragent and it says be prepared to drain pond if fish start jumping and flashing. I put the Tetra pond treatment in because it was available otherwise I would have to wait 3 days for the other ones to ship from the on line stores and that would be too late.

When I brought my first goldfishes in the house to winter in the tank by the third year they were large and fouled the water quite fast and got ill. I was trying to determine what was wrong and the fish med box had a chart to ID the problem. It said that the illness can evolve to look like something else and use caution in selecting treatment. All of your postings are appreciated and the illness Id.
These medications i can order and get by Tuesday to change from the Tetra pond.
13 results any suggestions to choose? I will buy medicated food.

PondCare Pond Salt
As low as $11.99


PondCare MelaFix & PimaFix for Pond Fish
As low as $8.99


Blackwater Medicated Food
As low as $9.99

Medications are sometimes necessary to treat unexpected illnesses. Help ease the treatment of koi and other pond fish with our selection of effective medications. ... Read more


Premium Pond Salt

As low as $5.59


Tetra Pond Pond Fish Treatment

As low as $9.89


Microbe-Lift TheraP
As low as $20.76


Ecological Laboratories Microbe-Lift Lice & Anchor Worm
As low as $11.96


Microbe-Lift Praziquantel by Ecological Labs
As low as $17.56


Pond Solutions PraziPro Praziquantel Treatment
As low as $67.49


MedFinn Medicated Food

As low as $19.49


Dr Tim's Koi-Pure Re-Fresh

As low as $22.89


MinnFinn®

As low as $54.99


MinnFinn® Mini

As low as $14.99


Price isn't an option if it will save them.

Melafix has good reviews. Not sure what to use now.

Maria - I am in Strongsville and can walk to southpark Mall.
CallingColleen - Canada is a lovely country. Fished up near SudburyvOntario there as a kid with folks. Ranger Bay on the Upper and Lower Sturgeon Lakes. Stayed at the Hotel Bonjoursieur (good day) cabins. Went to Toronto for the Honeymoon!

The plant is a bogbean and is in a pot. I cut it back in spring it is a fast grower. My pond is shaded by a large tree. The angle of the picture makes it look overgrown. Will update tomorrow everyone thanks...Have a Good Weekend!
 
Last edited:
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Nov 11, 2010
Messages
4,033
Reaction score
3,909
Location
Chicago Area
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
R.Rose. I'm very sorry about your sick and dying fish. I have never done a 100% clean out without having disastrous results. Once I put a new liner in during the summer and lost half my fish as a result. Also there was one in year in particular a few years back where it got very hot in March and then coId after that and my fish did poorly. I think the fish started producing too much ammonia and the pond did not cycle until a long time later and the ammonia hurt the fish. I have learned to never feed or do too much cleaning early in the year no matter how warm it is and how tempted I am to do something to the pond. I think the worse muckiest water is healthier than cleaning the liner and changing all the water. Just wondering was the water smelling bad when you changed it? If that is the case then you had a lot of anaerobic decay. Typically this will foster bad bacteria. By keeping my waterfall running all winter I have avoided anaerobic decay and my water is much fresher and healthier coming out of the winter. My guess is once you cleaned your pond, ammonia and maybe nitrites took over your pond and there was not enough beneficial bacteria to keep it in check. I did not see anywhere where you did tests on the water and am curious what they were. This year I did not rush to plug in my UV light and I feel that having more algae in the water helps reduce ammonia levels. It's really funny that every year just when my pond cycles all my string algae disappears so the algae definitely utilizes ammonia and helps reduce it. I agree with Colleen about the importance of O2 but feel that oxygen deprivation typically results in sudden kills of fish and not necessary the type of disease your fish have. My opinion is the best cure for sick fish is to improve the water quality and this is better than all the medicine you can buy in the store.
 
Last edited:

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top