Koi and Pond Care
Here are a few koi and pond care tips I would like to share with you
The quality of the "tap" water you use to fill your pond. If you are using "city water" you must use a water conditioner that removes both chlorine and ammonia. Some city water departments use chloramines to treat the water. Chloramines are made up of chlorine and ammonia. If you use a water conditioner that only removes chlorine, you're leaving the ammonia behind in your pond water which is the last thing you need to keep your fish healthy. Aqua Meds® De-Tox Plus or DeChlor & More are excellent products for removing chlorine and ammonia from your tap water. Testing your "tap water" for pH is important so you know if your pond water needs a "buffer" to increase the pH in order to prevent a deadly "pH crash". (pond water dropping below a 6 pH). Pond Support™ adds carbonates to support your pH. And if you need more our Buff-it-Up works great.
Pond Water Testing: Testing for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, KH (carbonate hardness) and pH should be done every day when your pond is new and once a week thereafter. Using good test kits like API made by Mars will take the guesswork out of your testing results. Plus, a pond water thermometer is a must, knowing the temperature of your pond water determines many factors such as when to do temperature dependent treatments, when to begin to feed your fish in the spring, adding more oxygen to your pond water during the real hot summer days and more.
The "Good Bacteria "GB" in your filter: Known as "Nitrifying Bacteria" is the most important bacteria in your pond filter. However, it's also one of the most delicate and slowest growing bacteria in your filter. "GB" must be "pampered" and treated just like your fish. "GB" needs oxygen, carbonates and food (one food is the ammonia your fish produce), in order to live and they need warm water (over 65 degrees and higher) to multiply. Protecting the "GB" when cleaning your filter is very important! For general maintenance, NEVER, clean your filter or filter pads with "tap water". The chlorine in the "tap water" will kill the "GB". Use "tap water" that has been treated with a good water conditioner that removes the chlorine from the water or use fresh pond water (the best choice). NEVER clean your filter "squeaky clean". Just remove the "sludge" from the filter pads and filter. Leave the "slime coat" on your filter, it's the "GB" and you want to keep them! Note of interest: your fish produce more ammonia from their gills than they do from their waste.
A Ten percent water change once a week: Small water changes more often, are better than a large water change not as often. Don't do your water changes on the same day you treat your pond with
Aqua Meds products
Over Feeding and Over Crowding: Two of the biggest "water quality" busters are overfeeding and overcrowding! You want your fish to be just on the edge of being hungry (no, not starving) but fed just enough to give them all the nutrition they need for good growth, great color and health. Would your choice be a smaller number of big beautiful, healthy fish in high quality water? Or twice as many fish, that are not growing, sick most of the time and have a real water quality problem all the time?
Koi Ulcers, Body Sores
What causes Koi Ulcers, body sores and bacterial infections?
Bacterial infections such as Koi ulcers are open body sores on your koi. Koi ulcers are a secondary bacterial infection. The primary cause of koi ulcers is parasites.
Koi Ulcers and body sores can also be caused by poor water conditions, rough handling of your koi or your koi hitting themselves against sharp rocks or objects in your koi pond. Anything that damages the “slime coat” of your koi fish can cause ulcers.
The "slime coat" of a Koi acts like a suit of Armor. The "slime coat" protects your Koi from millions of harmful bacteria in your koi pond water like the deadly bacteria Aeromonas/Pseudomas from invading your koi fish's body which can cause serious bacterial infections like koi ulcers and body sores.
Koi ulcers and body sores can appear on your koi fish anytime during the year, however, they are found frequently in the spring, when parasites take advantage of the koi fish's weak immune system, which is at it lowest point at this time of the year. Plus, you have the problem of poor quality koi pond water because of lack of filtering, proper care and water changes over the winter months.
Most koi ulcers and body sores start out as just a raised scale that looks slightly pink or red. As they grow the koi ulcers become open infected wounds and will grow larger and deeper if not treated. Please remember, koi ulcers are caused by something else, they just don’t appear for no reason.
If you treat the koi ulcers and don’t treat or correct the problem that is causing the koi ulcers the ulcers will come back. So treating for parasites, correct handling of your koi fish, removing sharp stones from your koi pond and perfect pond water quality is a must in order to keep the ulcers from returning on your koi fish.
Aqua Meds offers three treatments that will help you cure koi body sores and ulcers: Aqua MedZyme. Medi-Koi and Ulcer Aid Rx. Please click on each product for more details.
Koi Care QUARANTINE, QUARANTINE, QUARANTINE!
Many beautiful collections of koi are lost every year because pond keepers do not quarantine their new koi fish.
One of the major causes of koi deaths and sickness this year and every year is the failure of pond keepers to quarantine their new koi. Collections of koi that were family pets for years, to a collection of handpicked Japanese show koi worth over $150,000.00, all gone, because new koi with health problems were introduced to their pond.
Let’s make sure this catastrophe does not happen to you. But first, before we talk about koi quarantine and if you have a nice clean pond full of happy, healthy koi that you have become attached to over the years. Ask yourself this question: “Am I willing to risk the health of my koi and pond for a new koi fish?”
Now there are times when adding new koi to your koi pond is necessary and that’s when knowing how to properly quarantine new koi is priceless because it greatly reduces the risk of introducing koi parasites and bacterial infections to your koi pond.
Here's how to setup a Koi pond fish Quarantine Tank
Koi Quarantine Tank type and size:
Koi Quarantine Tank Type:
One of the best tanks you can buy to quarantine your new koi is made by Rubbermaid®. Their tanks are made for watering livestock and are very strong but light and priced right. Plus, they have a bottom drain that you can attach a valve to that makes them very easy to clean and do water changes. Another good feature is they are deep which will help keep your koi from trying to jump out.
There are portable tanks on the market, however, unless you are keeping the tank inside I don’t think they would be strong enough to protect your koi from raccoons and other wild critters.
Quarantine Koi Tank
You do not want to crowd your koi when they are in quarantine.
One of the best koi quarantine sizes for the Rubbermaid® tanks are 150 gallon and the 300 gallon. With proper care, lots of water changes and testing the water everyday in your koi quarantine tank for ammonia, nitrites and pH, a 150 gallon tank should handle up to four or five 10 inch koi.
Location of your Koi Quarantine Tank:
The location of your koi quarantine tank should be near an electrical outlet, a fresh water source and not in direct sunlight all day.
Note: You should be able to buy a Rubbermaid® tank in most animal feed stores. If you cannot find one, there is a Rubbermaid® outlet located in Wooster, Ohio that will give the name of a Dealer in your area that stocks their tanks.
Koi Quarantine Tank covers, Heaters and Aeration:
Koi Quarantine Tank covers:
All koi quarantine tanks must be covered to protect your koi from jumping out and to protect your koi from predators. However, your koi do need sunlight and open air. Do not use glass or clear plastic because it will increase the water temperature. A strong, heavy plastic mesh with a strong frame should work as long as it is predator proof.
Important: A floating cover ON the surface of the water: Koi can be scared very easily, causing stress, especially new koi. In order to reduce stress, which can cause a weaken immune system, float a piece of Styrofoam on the surface of the water for the koi to hide under. Plus, it also makes a good place for your koi to take cover from the sun.
Koi Quarantine Tank Heaters:
Koi quarantine tanks should be kept at a temperature of 74° to 78°. Higher temperatures increase parasite and bacterial growth and the warmer water contains much less oxygen. At Lower temperatures, the treatments used in the quarantine koi tank are not as effective.
Quarantine Koi Tank Aeration:
Lots of aeration with tiny bubbles coming from the bottom of the quarantine koi tank is very important.
What is the #1 problem pond keepers neglect when using their Quarantine Koi Tank?
You can have the very best of everything for your quarantine koi tank, however, if you do not keep the water in 100% condition, free from waste, ammonia, nitrites, low nitrates and low pH your fish will suffer. You must place an “aged” filter on your quarantine koi tank as soon as you introduce your new koi. An “aged” filter is a filter that has the “good bacteria” already started in the filter. If your filter is not “aged” the water in your quarantine koi tank will quickly become toxic with ammonia. Many times pond keepers think their koi are sick from a parasite or bacterial problem only to find poor water quality in their quarantine koi tank is really the problem.
FAQ: How do I maintain an “aged” filter so it’s ready for my quarantine koi tank?
There are a few of ways to make sure your quarantine koi tank has an “aged” filter.
1- If you’re going to be buying a number of new koi over a long period of time (NOT Recommended) you can set up a permanent quarantine koi tank with a filter. However, you must keep at least one or two fish in the quarantine koi tank at all times so they can produce the ammonia your filter needs to keep the “good bacteria” alive from one batch of new koi to another. Some pond keepers will keep a couple of inexpensive comets in their quarantine koi tank at all times. The biggest problem with this set up is you’re maintaining another “pond” and it’s much more work.
2- Have two filters that use the same “filter padding”, place one filter on your pond and the other on your quarantine koi tank. When you buy new koi, take one “aged” filter pad from the filter on your pond and place it in the filter on the quarantine koi tank, “instant aged” filter for your quarantine koi tank. When you’re done with the quarantine, throw the filter padding out. NEVER, NEVER return the filter padding you used in the quarantine filter back to the pond filter. Add a NEW filter pad to the filter on your pond. It will take two to three weeks before the new pad is really aged enough to add to the next quarantine koi tank filter. When you’re not using your quarantine koi tank shut it down.
3- Buy four sets of extra-large sponge filters that aquarium hobbyist use. A sponge filter works with air. Place two of these in your pond with sponges to age. The other two in your quarantine koi tank with no sponges. When you buy new koi, take one or both of the “aged” sponges from your pond and place it in your quarantine koi tank, “instant aged” filter for your quarantine koi tank. NEVER, NEVER, return the sponges you use on your quarantine koi tank to your pond. Replace the sponges in your pond with NEW sponges.
Note: The “sponge filters” do an excellent job of growing the “good bacteria” you need to keep the ammonia down in your quarantine koi tank, however, sponge filters do not do a good job of filtering the heavy waste. You’ll need another filter or you must vacuum the bottom of your quarantine koi tank to remove the heavy waste (sludge).
FAQ: Now that I set up a quarantine koi tank how do I treat my new koi?
Here are the treatments you’ll need to really “clean up” your new koi in quarantine.
1. Treat for the number one parasite that causes many koi health problems “Flukes”. Safe and gentle treatment: Aqua Prazi
2. Treat for any bacterial infections with Medi-Koi for 10 to 14 days.
3. Check your new koi for fish lice and anchor worm. These parasites are not microscopic and can be seen with naked eye.
4. If your new koi are “Flashing” after you treat them with Aqua Prazi then treat them with Terminate for other parasites.
Just by following these easy steps your new koi will be safe to place in your pond with your other koi.