Very Sick Koi


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Good morning, This morning I went out to add some water to my 9000 gallon pond and found one of my ten koi (a 3 year old—6 are babies) lying on its side still breathing.
Water testing showed ammonia and nitrates at zero, phosphate at .2.5 and the pH slightly low at around 6.5 or 6.8. Not knowing what to do, I put in about a quart of microbe lift, probably a bit weak as it sat in the garage all summer. I have taken a video of my fish, but it seems to be too large to upload. Anyway, when we touched it with a net it swam to the bottom and and seemed to be acting normally, then to lose its balance a little and start to list. I will be so grateful for suggestions. It is Saturday but I will drive to Syracuse, 90 miles, if I have to to the pond store!
 
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View attachment 116753 Good morning, This morning I went out to add some water to my 9000 gallon pond and found one of my ten koi (a 3 year old—6 are babies) lying on its side still breathing.
Water testing showed ammonia and nitrates at zero, phosphate at .2.5 and the pH slightly low at around 6.5 or 6.8. Not knowing what to do, I put in about a quart of microbe lift, probably a bit weak as it sat in the garage all summer. I have taken a video of my fish, but it seems to be too large to upload. Anyway, when we touched it with a net it swam to the bottom and and seemed to be acting normally, then to lose its balance a little and start to list. I will be so grateful for suggestions. It is Saturday but I will drive to Syracuse, 90 miles, if I have to to the pond store!
 
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Good morning! And welcome to the GPF. Sorry to hear about your fish - I am not a water testing expert but we have some pond keepers here who are well versed in pond chemistry. Hopefully they will chime in. Thank you for sharing your test results - that will be very helpful!

I'm assuming all the other fish are behaving normally? Did you change anything else recently in the pond? Turn off the waterfall, add new fish, clean out plants, etc.? Anything that you can think of may be a clue to what happened to your pond.

@MitchM - hopefully you'll pop in here!
 
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Good morning! And welcome to the GPF. Sorry to hear about your fish - I am not a water testing expert but we have some pond keepers here who are well versed in pond chemistry. Hopefully they will chime in. Thank you for sharing your test results - that will be very helpful!

I'm assuming all the other fish are behaving normally? Did you change anything else recently in the pond? Turn off the waterfall, add new fish, clean out plants, etc.? Anything that you can think of may be a clue to what happened to your pond.

@MitchM - hopefully you'll pop in here!
Hello Lisak1 and @MitchM , Thank you so very much for getting back so expeditiously! Just went out and checked on my fish who was lying on its side but at sight of me struggled to upright and showed some life again.
There have been no changes to the pond in recent months. There is one aerator and one waterfall and while I wonder about sufficient aeration, the fish are not hanging out around the air sources. Now that the days and nights are significantly cooler up here in northern New York State, I find them spending more time near the surface of the water. We have been good about skimming off leaves.
The pond has only been crystal clear for fish viewing for about one or two weeks. This is in spite of daily emptying of the filter outside of the pond and keeping our copper ionizer running fairly consistently. Suddenly occurs that I should check the copper, but I am not sure where that test kit has gone.
 
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Hello Lisak1 and @MitchM , Thank you so very much for getting back so expeditiously! Just went out and checked on my fish who was lying on its side but at sight of me struggled to upright and showed some life again.
There have been no changes to the pond in recent months. There is one aerator and one waterfall and while I wonder about sufficient aeration, the fish are not hanging out around the air sources. Now that the days and nights are significantly cooler up here in northern New York State, I find them spending more time near the surface of the water. We have been good about skimming off leaves.
The pond has only been crystal clear for fish viewing for about one or two weeks. This is in spite of daily emptying of the filter outside of the pond and keeping our copper ionizer running fairly consistently. Suddenly occurs that I should check the copper, but I am not sure where that test kit has gone.
P.S. yes, the other fish appear normal.
 

j.w

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No expert on disease but sometimes fish get issues just like other creatures through no fault of ours or any chemicals in the pond. Could be that it's just that fishes time to go or perhaps it will get better. Could have some internal problems. Sorry I can't help you figure this out. If none of your other fish are showing symptoms which I hope they don't you might just not be able to figure this one out. Others will pop in soon I hope w/a better answer.
 
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Thanks for the response - so often people post questions and then never come back for further interaction.

I'm not saying that this is the case, but whenever a fish struggles to stay upright, you consider swim bladder issues. That can be the result of other infections or illness and unfortunately can be very difficult to treat. It can also be related to gastrointestinal issues. Again - not an expert on fish illness, but something to think about.
 
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No expert on disease but sometimes fish get issues just like other creatures through no fault of ours or any chemicals in the pond. Could be that it's just that fishes time to go or perhaps it will get better. Could have some internal problems. Sorry I can't help you figure this out. If none of your other fish are showing symptoms which I hope they don't you might just not be able to figure this one out. Others will pop in soon I hope w/a better answer.
Thanks, j.w.. Not sure how to proceed, I have enlisted the help of my girlfriends who practice Reiki.
 
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Well, so a bit after sunset I went out to check on the ailing fish. It was on its side with labored breathing and it appeared a gill was in the air. I thought it appeared more listless. It seemed that the other fish had gathered around it. Anyway, I leaned over to instinctively express my sympathy and say a few words. The fish leaped into the air, or tried to, and swam to the bottom, twice! Then resurfaced and continued to list.
Lisak1 asked if there have been changes and I realize that this past weekend we removed 5 water lilies and took them to the basement, and cleaned out the water hyacinths, but they were all on their last legs anyway.
 
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Your water tests look ok, but I would test the KH and GH to be sure.

If the fish is moving down to the deeper areas when disturbed, it could be a temporary health issue with the swim bladder.
What foods are you feeding them?

I've had fish behave similarly and after a week or so they went back to being fine.
Unfortunately, as they're floating at the surface, they are stressed and vulnerable to predators and sunburn.
Are you able to remove the fish to a separate container and inspect him/her?
If so, post some pictures of any areas you have a concern with.
 
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I'm a bit further south then upper state but even here the temps have plummeted very quickly. I wonder if the temps of the pond and the fish starting to shut down for the winter may be the issue. Are you still feeding the fish ? if the fish can't digest it may have a digestive issue. it may work it's way out. But this time of year I would also shut down your copper ionizer algae's certainly aren't exploding this time of year.[/QUOTE]
 
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I missed the copper ionizer.
They do not benefit a pond whatsoever.
They are only used for aesthetic purposes and will kill off not only algae, but the plankton and invertebrate organisms that keep a pond ecosystem in balance. Copper ions will also harm vertebrates, namely fish.
The only organism that will benefit from the use of copper ionizers are dinoflagellates, a bacterium which will smother the healthy peripohyton layer.
I strongly recommend removing the copper ionizer.
 
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Dear Pond Squad, MitchM, GBBUDD and Lisak1,

I am so very grateful for your knowledgeable, thoughtful feedback! I am very eager to maintain a healthy pond and happy fish.

Now, yesterday morning – Sunday – when I went out to look at the pond I was astonished not to see my ailing fish floating on the top. Same thing last night. Checked with my Amish next door neighbor who is the only one who might have removed it and he reported that he had not removed it either. I am sure that no predator took it away as the pond is covered with a net.

So, I am speculating that the infusion of microbe lift and reiki may have tilted the balance in the favor of my ailing fish. I am planning to order and add some more and maybe tweak the pH?

Then, this morning, when I stepped out to obsess about the pond, to my dismay I found a small fish had died. It had not floated to the surface and was on the ledge about 8 to 12 inches down. The pond is 3 1/2 feet deep at the center. I did photograph this fish, then carried it out to the field for the vultures. It did not occur to me at the time that it might make a vulture sick.

Early summer, I ourchased six small koi and put them in without quarantine. Not too smart, I now know. Of those six smaller fish, all grew to about double in size and now one has passed… that takes my total of koi down to nine which, from what I am hearing, is about max for our 9000 gallon pond.

On the topic of feeding, I stopped a few weeks ago as I noticed they simply were leaving the food on the surface of the water. The actual feeding window up here seems to be really small. They only get enthusiastic to eat when the water is quite warm. However, they do seem to be nibbling all the time at algae or water lilies or whatever is on the bottom of the pond.

On the topic of the ionizer, thank you for the heads up. I will turn it off. But, why is the pond not crystal clear at this time of year? I just have one external filter and, honestly, do not have the money I would need to redo the pond with filters at the bottom. Maybe just removing some of the water and replacing it at more frequent intervals would be good? I understand that it it is not wise to do a massive pond cleaning which would disturb the normal growth of things beneficial to our fish.

It is incredibly fortunate that up to now, knock on wood, we have had no animal predators at the pond.

Over the last two winters, we lost one fish per winter and found it under the ice when it thawed in the spring. We kept holes in the ice but never got more than 5 to 7 inches thick. At first we used a deicer and then the aerator did the trick. I am wondering whether I should double up on aerators for the winter?

And now, I am wondering if an eyeball of my small, dead fish would reveal anything.

Thank you so much!

Evelyn
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Don't worry about making the vultures sick - nature has provided them with an iron gut to support their diet of dead and decaying things. :vomit:

OK - 9 relatively small fish in a 9000 gallon pond is definitely not a fish load problem And that fish looks really good - for being dead. That's not a koi, however. That's a goldfish - looks to be a good sized one, too, although there's no scale in the photo, so it's hard to be certain.

The other one may have died and sunk or perhaps it managed to hide somewhere where it can keep itself from floating - time will tell.

Did you say what kind of filtration you have on this pond?
 

Mmathis

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Don't worry about making the vultures sick - nature has provided them with an iron gut to support their diet of dead and decaying things. :vomit:
So true! And I feed any dead fish to my box turtles. That’s exactly how they would feed in the wild. Their adaptive abilities are phenominal! Just an FYI, wild box turtles are not fit for human consumption — because they can eat many substances (such as poisonous mushrooms) that are toxic to humans!
 
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It did not occur to me at the time that it might make a vulture sick.
NOT LIKELY, they eat what we would never contemplate even being in the same room with.
although there's no scale in the photo, so it's hard to be certain
you are correct it's a large gold fish the nail head on the board says it was probably full grown and around 5 to 6 inches long
 
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Goldfish?! That was one of six fish that was said to be a Butterfly Koi at Walmart! It grew to double its original size this summer. It probably was five or 6 inches by now.

Unplugged the ionizer.

Prowling around the pond just now with my Amish next door neighbors, we found a third sick fish. It was lying on its side and appeared unresponsive. Shortly after we lay it on the rock and took a picture we noticed the mouth moving so put it back in. It uprightrd itself and with effort swam towards the bottom of the pond.

This was one of seven fish said to be koi, purchased at Walmart in 2015 . This remains the smallest of the seven original fish and the only one almost uniformly orange in color. I confess I have wondered if it really is a koi fish. But, when I read that the males were significantly smaller than the females I thought that perhaps it was a male. The fish is around 11 or 12 inches. It’s sometimes hard to know how fish really look seeing them in the water but I have the impression that this fish may have become bloated. Seeing it from above, the body appeared more elongated.

I have ordered a microbe lift product from Webb’s Water Gardens recommended for winterizing the pond.

The water in the pond comes directly from a drilled well over 60 feet deep. On circulation it goes through two UV lights, one leading up to the waterfall and the other inside of the filter. We have been very conscientious about keeping them changed.

The only water filter that we have is free standing beside the waterfall. We churn the water out daily when it is in use. And, my Amish next-door neighbor frequently opens it up and rinses out the filtration sponges.

Do you think it might help to empty some of the water and refill the pond? The water coming up from the well is very cold but our temperatures here now are ranging from the 30s up to the 40s.

I am assuming that almost certainly there must be something wrong with the water, unless something contagious could be getting to the fish?

THANK YOU!
 
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