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Was treating koi - pond drained - HELP


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New User

Oct 12, 2009, 3:19 AM

Post #1 of 7 (4117 views)
Was treating koi - pond drained - HELP Can't Post


I am new but have had some issues over the past two weeks. I had three koi for about 3 years and lost one and then a second several days later. I have no idea about what happened to them other than the second one had blood streaks in his fins and the water quality tested poor (high ammonia and 0.25 nitrites). I did several water changes, used ammo-lock and some Pimafix and 48 hrs after the ammo-lock salted the pond to 0.5. My largest koi is still alive and absent of any visible parasites, bacteria etc and but not eating and swimming normally -- that is a little history of the last week.

My pond is small -- approx 150 gallons -- and was not aware I had water quality problems until now -- I have a basket filter and two spitters -- I have tested my water and was treating the remaining koi and pleco with salt and had just starting changing out the water today to decrease the salinity from 0.5. I had been following the advice of my local pond store who also sell and rehab koi. Everything was going as planned until tonight when we found one of the spitter's hose detached and the fish was in about six inches of water -- just barely covered his body. Luckily, I had about 14 gallons on the side of the pond waiting to exchange out in the morning and my husband added a few gallons more to at least bring the water level up the the top of the basket filter.

The koi is still swimming around normally and seems ok -- now 1 1/2 hrs later -- we did treat the water with dechlorinator and tried to maintain a warmer water temp because we live in Florida and the water in the pond was quite warm (I do not know the actual temp - my thermometer broke and I had not replaced it yet because I had not needed it for so long :().

Should I salt the water again -- I am afraid of going down from 0.5 too quickly?

How much water can I re-add to the pond safely, considering the water temp? I am using a tapwater dechlorinator. I planned to add another 20 gallons in the morning (I have 14 gallons in a container at the side of the pond warming up.

I know the koi should be in a bigger pond -- he has grown dramatically in the last four years and the other two had grown from about 4 inches to about a foot long (since I got the basket filter and UV clarifier which has been off due to the pond treatments) -- I do plan to build a bigger pond in the back to give him a better home but in the meantime I want to give him the best chance for survival.

Please help -- I value any advice you would have to share!

New User

Oct 12, 2009, 4:02 AM

Post #2 of 7 (4099 views)
Re: [tinkymoe] Was treating koi - pond drained - HELP [In reply to] Can't Post

The koi is swimming normally and not eating -- I think I may have misspoke in my original post. Any suggestions regarding my original post??? I am thinking I need to add a little salt during the next water addition. The fish is doing fine so far ...


Oct 12, 2009, 7:08 AM

Post #3 of 7 (4070 views)
Re: [tinkymoe] Was treating koi - pond drained - HELP [In reply to] Can't Post


When you had 3 koi for 3 years I would like to assume that you have a well functioning system until last week. It could be something that you did or something happened the days before. Did you clean the basket filter?

Since you do not know the cause of the problem I do not understand why you want to add salt to such high level and it is not a solution to the problem and you have detected high level of ammonia adding salt is not going to solve the problem. It is not if you should reduce the salinity, salt should not be added in the first place to such high level.

By the way, why do you want to warm the water before adding into the pond? Koi is cold blooded animal the water need not be warmed unless it is freezing. The warmed water will soon be cool to ambient temperature in minutes and it has no use unless you have heaters to maintain the temp. Which part of Florida? North (sub tropical) or South (tropical)? It is not winter.


(This post was edited by stevie on Oct 12, 2009, 7:11 AM)

KOI 969

Oct 12, 2009, 2:46 PM

Post #4 of 7 (4023 views)
Re: [tinkymoe] Was treating koi - pond drained - HELP [In reply to] Can't Post

Itís very hard to hear that you lost your KOI.
Test your water condition Ammonia, nitrite, then finally pH, if you experience high level of any one of them , then you have to change the water in daily basis, otherwise use biological recycle product to consume Ammonia, nitrite. Also try to use / add more air pump to increase the level of oxygen because beneficial bacteria need more oxygen to grow up.
Please let me know if you need anything.

New User

Oct 12, 2009, 3:08 PM

Post #5 of 7 (4013 views)
Re: [stevie] Was treating koi - pond drained - HELP [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Stevie

The oldest and largest koi is my sole survivor and this morning is doing ok -- still not eating but swimming normally. I did have a well functioning system until the first koi died. The only thing different I can think of is we have an unusually large number of frogs inhabiting the neighboorhood and there was some bird droppings near the top of the waterfall. The first thing I did was clean the basket filter and it was dirtier than usual (frogs?)

The high salt level was recommended to treat what appeared to be a bacterial infection of fish #2. Since the pond had almost completely drained, the salinity is going to be much lower. It was an inadvertant 75% plus water change. I have been added (treated) water gradually and as of right now, the pond is 75% full. I will finish filling it when I come home from work.

We live in South Central Florida -- I was afraid the rapid change in temperature would further stress/damage my koi. The water is very warm (in the pond and in the ocean/lakes etc) and what comes out of the hose is pretty cool. I have a large container (approximately 15 gallons) that I have been filling and letting "warm" for 12 hrs and then using it to do a partial water change but now I am using it to add water to the pond and then I add a little more straight from the hose (using a spray nozzle to aerate before it hits the pond).

Thank you for taking the time to respond!! I appreciate your input and advice!

New User

Oct 12, 2009, 3:15 PM

Post #6 of 7 (4012 views)
Re: [KOI 969] Was treating koi - pond drained - HELP [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you Koi 969! I was very upset to lose the koi and hope my sole survivor (the oldest and largest of the three - I have had him for five years!) I have a good drop test kit and will check the water again when I get home from work. I am sure the ammonia will be much better now because of the large inadvertant water change. The last check showed high ammonia and very small nitrites 0.25 but everything else was ok. I have a spitter, small waterfall and have directed the outflow are of the basket filter upwards to create a bubbling at the top of the water (normally that is pointed down to circulate the water).

I still have the UV unplugged -- I assume it should stay that way until the beneficial bacteria has reproliferated?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my plea for help! I appreciate your input and advice!


Oct 13, 2009, 6:56 AM

Post #7 of 7 (3969 views)
Re: [tinkymoe] Was treating koi - pond drained - HELP [In reply to] Can't Post

You were right to warm the water to ambient temperature before adding to the pond.

I suspect you might have upset the balance of the system when you cleaned the basket filter. If the basket filter is the only filter you have cleaning the filter will upset the entire colony of bacteria that breakdowns the ammonia, nitrate and nitrite. Try not to disturb the environment of the pond as much as possible. Once the delicate ecological balance of the pond is disturbed (by killing one species en masse or eliminating a supporting element) the whole living environment can become a deadly environment that no longer supports most if not all other lives. The smaller the environment the more fragile it is.

If I am right, the right thing to do now is to restore the environment of the pond:-

1. Change water about 20% a day for a week and 10% for the following week. This help to clear the ammonia now that the bacteria cannot cope. At the same time allowing the bacteria to multiply.
2. Feed normally or less, never more. Never have uneaten food, remove them.

In future just do backwashing if your basket filter has this function. And if you must clean the only filter, clean partially. Never be too clean.

As said, am only speculating and the recommended water change do good than harm, anyway.


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