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  1. #1
    Junior Member Rank = Fry Terry112's Avatar
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    Koi looking ill and not eating

    Hi,
    I am new to this forum and would greatly appreciate some help. I have been keeping koi for a number of years now but I am still very much an amateur.

    I have a koi that some months ago was rubbing now and again and swimming very erratically and not eating much. It almost looked like it could not flex its back properly and it's whole body was moving from side to side when swimming. I tested the water and all was fine and I scrapped it but found nothing. It had a couple of marks around its mid rift so I tried to give it a salt bath whilst it was out but it quickly started to turn over so I had to get it out.

    Now it is just sitting at the bottom or on a shelf near the top with part of its tail out of the water and to has not eaten for weeks, not koi food anyway. It did look like it was earring algae off the bottom and sides of the pond for a while but it now doesn't even look like it is eating anything. I have a vide of it swimming but I was unable to hide it. Instead I added a few photo's showing the marks on its sides.

    Does anyone have any ideas what I might be dealing with as the way it is going I do not think it will last the winter.

    Thanks

    Terry


    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Whenever I'm asked to diagnose a problem or explain unusual behaviour I invariably give this advice:

    Water parameters are the first thing to check because bad parameters can cause health problems directly or weaken the immune system so that a fish succumbs to a parasite or pathogen it could otherwise have resisted. Even if poor water quality doesn't play a part in initiating a health issue, koi have a much better chance of recovering in good water than in bad.

    The minimum parameters you should check are pH, ammonia and nitrite. Nitrate and KH can also give valuable information to help interpret other parameters. If any water parameter is incorrect then it should be brought to an acceptable value as quickly as possible so as not to unnecessarily delay any medical treatment that may subsequently be needed.

    Once suboptimal water has been ruled out as the cause then the correct procedure is to scrape in order to identify if any parasites are present and choose the appropriate treatment. This is the best approach for the health of the fish rather than the hit and miss approach of trying a selection different cures.

    If you could give those values, along with the pond temperature, and say if you’ve recently added a pond treatment or medication, it would be helpful to determine whether the problem has been caused by incorrect or varying water parameters, or some other cause. It would be especially helpful if you could give two sets; as soon as you can after day break and again soon after dusk.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Rank = Fry Terry112's Avatar
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    Hi Manky,

    Thanks for the reply. I tested the water tonight just after dark. Most important measures seem fine. The KH is low so I will get some buffer up. The readings were as follows: -

    Temp = 16 degrees centigrade.
    PH = 7.5
    Ammonia = 0
    Nitrite = 0
    Nitrate = 10mg/l
    Phosphorus = 5
    KH = 3
    GH = 6

    I will try to take readings one morning but I might not be able to do this easily as I work full time and will need to leave for work.

    Terry

  4. #4
    Thanks for that Terry,

    Those water parameters are well within acceptable limits except for the slightly low KH which you said you would raise. Don't waste your money on proprietary KH increasing products, just use sodium bicarbonate at a rate of 30 grams per 1,000 litres per day until you reach a value between 5°KH & 7°KH. This will also raise the pH so stop if the value increases above 8 (ish). pH values above this aren't harmful but it's usually unnecessary to go any higher than 8 in order to achieve a stable pH (see my article on pH stability on this link if you want more information).
    Alkalinity

    I wouldn't bother to check the parameters early in the morning, the pH is likely to show a variation but, with a 3°KH, that won't be too great and you're going to fix it anyway.

    Fish sometimes have spine problems which cause abnormal swimming and there isn't anything you can do to repair it. However, loss of appetite, resting on the bottom and an abnormal attitude combined with abnormal swimming can indicate an internal illness or external parasite so how confident are you that you didn't miss anything when you scraped?

    Can I suggest that you scrape this fish again along with a few of it's mates in case it's the first one in your pond to succumb to a parasite problem.

    If you're sure there isn't any other cause apart from a spine problem then it's a judgement call as to whether it is suffering and should be euthanised or whether it is coping as best it can and should be left to see out its days.

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  6. #5
    Junior Member Rank = Fry Terry112's Avatar
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    Hi Manky,

    I will look at scraping the koi again at the weekend as I don't have time in the mornings before work and it is now dark by the time I get home. We are away at the weekend but I hope to be back handy on Sunday so I will try then.

    I bought a decent Apex microscope, looked at some youtube video's on scrapping fish, scrapped it up both sides and started with the microscope in one corner and covered the whole slide. That said I am inexperienced at this as it was only the second time I have done this so there may be a chance I have missed something. I may ask my local koi dealer for a quote to scrape it just to be sure.

    I have attached below a link to a file in my google drive showing the fish swimming erratically as the video may assist, though it if moving very little now.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sSB...ew?usp=sharing



    Thanks

    Terry

  7. #6
    Sorry for missing this and not answering earlier Terry,

    Bearing in mind that you can't diagnose a parasite infection from a photo or video and that the correct procedure now is to scrape to identify if parasites are present, my gut feeling is that the fish is trying to rid itself of something that is irritating it - i.e. parasites. How are the scrapes going?

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  9. #7
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Grand Champion john1's Avatar
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    Hi Terry,
    Agree with Manky in all of his statements and maybe more scrapes.
    When you did the salt baths what was the dosage?
    I use 3oz per gal for 10 mins and it has cured a lot for me but none have keeled over and do it once a day for a couple of days.

    On the video it looks like something is really annoying him havnt seen one behaving like like before,keep in touch.
    John

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  11. #8
    Junior Member Rank = Fry Terry112's Avatar
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    Hi Manky/John,

    Thanks for the replies. I did not get back in time last Sunday to do any scrapes before it went dark. I may look to do this tomorrow or Monday as I am off work both days. My pond is not heated however and is now down to just over 10 degrees.

    Do you know what temperature parasites are active down to as the koi is now just sitting at the bottom and I don't want to stress it out looking for something that may not now be present at 10 degrees but at the same time if it is ill and the winter may see it off and there is something I may be able to find and eradicate then I will carry out a scrape tomorrow or Monday.

    I was advised by a local koi specialist to mix a salt bath with 1.2lb of salt per 5 gallon of water for 2 to 5 minute. This works out at about 4oz per gallon so slightly stronger than your mix John but not so much so that you would expect the koi to start turning upside down within a minute.


    Terry

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  13. #9
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Grand Champion john1's Avatar
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    Hi Terry,not too sure on that one but i would scrape if possible,i know i dont like catching in these temps but needs must and you can go from there.
    That does sound like a strong mix of salt,would have thought 1lb per 5 gal would be max,but i am not an expert Terry.

    Let us know how you get on tomorrow if you scrape and maybe we can help.
    John

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  15. #10
    Junior Member Rank = Fry Terry112's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I have scraped the ill koi today plus another. I did one scrape down each side on both fish. On the ill koi there were around 5 to 6 fluke on each slide. On the other koi 1 or 2 on one of the 2 slides. I seem to remember reading somewhere that a few fluke were nothing to worry about but I would be interested to know your views. Only 1 of the fluke were moving at all and even that one was only slightly. This was despite putting the slide straight under the microscope but the temp is now 9 degrees. (see attached photo's)

    My wife's uncle helped me as he gave me the fish that is now ill, along with 19 others when he scaled his pool back a couple of years ago to fit a conservatory in. He has kept koi for 35+ years so I am fairly confident we have scraped them properly.

    Similar to my observation in my first post he commented that when it was swimming slowly it looked like its whole body is moving from side to side, rather than just it's tail so he wondered if it could be something internal, such as a spine problem or muscular. It has got an ulcer in the middle of its back which I treated with some malachite whilst it was out (see attached photo).

    Any further ideas would be greatly appreciated.


    Terry
    Last edited by Terry112; 29-10-2018 at 10:59 PM.

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  17. #11
    Hi Terry,

    Probably of no use and maybe coincidence but I had a Koi swimming exactly as you describe, almost like how a shark would swim using its body instead of its fins.

    In my case there was long term high nitrites (2 ppm) but I don't attribute this as being the cause.

    The fish in question has some strange marks/dents along the midriff region towards the rear and some marks/creases around the anal area which look historic but don't appear to cause any problems. Again I don't know if this was contributory.

    I fed high protein food quite heavily the day before temperatures rapidly dropped below 10C for the fist time and I suspect this to have been a possible cause. The Koi sat on the bottom for a couple of days and appeared to struggle slightly in its attempt to reach the surface for food (swimming in exactly the way you describe). Its appetite had dropped significantly and it didn't really eat much for that few days.

    4-5 days later temperatures perked back up again to around 16C, after which the Koi slowly improved over a 2 day period and is now completely back to normal.

    Whether a gradual raise in temperatures would help I don't know, but if your feeding circumstances are similar it might be a consideration.

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