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  1. #1

    Single koi not coming up to feed on surface

    I have a strange scenario and wonder if someone else have experienced the same.

    5 weeks ago at end of Apr I tried the pond with fluke treatments - a lot of it... for 4 weeks. First 2 weeks I did Fluke Solve full dose per day for 3 days, then 25% WC on day 7, then full dose per day on next 3 days. Fish behaviour was on and off - eating better after the Fluke Solve but a few days later spitting and flashing again. The Fluke Solve didn't seem to bother them much. For the next 2 weeks I did Fluke Solve Plus, single dose of 125% strength, with 20g CT per 1000g 12 hrs before. This CT/FSP treatment was repeated each 5 days, so 3 doses in total. The fish got quite stressed by FSP and didn't eat/move around much for 2 weeks. At end of this period I netted and scraped a few fish - no flukes that I could find. I saw a couple of semi raised scales on a Kohaku, so I netted him and put him under and topically treated with tricide neo under the lifted scales, then sealed with propolis. He is a strong fish so I put in a few syringes of sedation water into his gills during treatment so he didn't wake up too early. He had a not so good reaction to sedation and took a good 30mins to swim normally again.

    One day later this Kohaku got really stressed and at this stage the accumulated prazi from 4 weeks of treatment was still in pond. This Kohaku was hanging on surface in the corner behind algae, and struggled to stay upright near waterfall, and even when I touched it it was swimming away very slowly. At this stage I was really worried I might lose it. Given I found no flukes from scraps (I was going to keep the prazi in the pond for a few more days) - I did a 95% WC (not that difficult given I have a 1000g pond only) and all fish perked up immediately, eating without spitting. Except the Kohaku - he has been swimming normally (to my huge relief) since the WC and feeding off pond bottom and side walls, but never came up for food with the rest of the bunch.

    It has been over a week like this. All other fish come up to surface to feed multiple times a day, except for the Kohaku which is looking quite thin (vs other fish putting on good girth). I even tried to throw in food and step far away to observe, but the Kohaku never comes up... there should be some insects on the pond bottom for it to feed for sure, but at 35cm I don't think he gets enough food there and should feel hungry enough to feed on the surface, given water temp is 16-18 degree and all other fish feed well?

    Has anyone experienced this with a super stressed fish before? How long do you think it will take him to recover to feed normally? I could throw in some sinking food but I'm taking an approach to 'force' him to come up to surface to feed if he is hungry enough.

    Pond is 2 year old, 1000g, pump fed to a OASE black box (about 70 gallon, the biggest biotec box OASE does). Ammonia and Nitrite undetectable with API drop test. 6 koi in total - 1 at 60cm, 1 at 45cm, 1 at 35cm (the stressed Kohaku), and the other 3 are 25~30cm.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion RS2OOO's Avatar
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    It is difficult to picture what exactly might be going on here but to answer your specific question I wouldn't worry too much about the Kohaku not coming up to feed, especially if it is picking at the pond walls and floor.

    You could drop in some sinking food for it to graze on, either pellets or something like frozen mussels to see if she'll eat those.

    What was the Kohaku like when eating before all the treatments, was it a big eater? Is it a shy fish in general?

    I have a very shy shusui, 6 years old now and only about 40cm, if it gets startled it can go months without coming up for food, and even when it is happy it will only take 1 or 2 pellets per feed. Nothing wrong with it, that's just how it has always been. It is also a loner, never mixes with the other koi, always wondering around on its own.

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  3. #3
    Thank you RS and thatís reassuring to hear. This is a Nogami kohaku (supposedly a bloodline to improve with ageÖ) which I got in January - it has always been a good eater despite being male - usually on surface looking for food.

    He put on some girth prior to fluke breakout in Apr but now looking thin againÖ all other koi eat very well 3-4 feeds a day on surface begging for food. With water temp at 16-18 Iím just godsmack this kohaku prefers the string algae on pond bottom to saki multi seasonÖ

    Iím planning to open a bag of saki growth this coming weekend when water temp will probably hit 20 for first time. I am tempted to buy some Sturgeon pellets for this sensitive kohaku but donít want the rest of the gang join him on bottom looking for sinking food when I toss in saki growth

  4. #4
    So I bought 1kg of sturgeon food thinking Iíll drop in a few each night with a torch on just for this kohaku - 48hrs later, before the sturgeon food even arrived - this morning when I threw in some floating food, this kohaku surfaced to eat several pellets! Bloody fickle fish! Thatís 10 quid of sturgeon food wasted - Iíll see if I can chuck in some during the night during the heat of summer when water temp is above 20, for all koi to eat it up over a course of a month or so, in addition to the floating saki growth they will get during the day.

    So roughly this kohaku stayed low on bottom eating algae for two weeks before coming up for food again. If anyone experience similar issue in future I hope this post will help

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  6. #5
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    it depends on if the fish usually feeds confidently?
    i have a shy fish that never used to come up for food, and would just grub around on the bottom.
    after a few years it eventually got a bit bigger (though not very fast due to the little it ate.) and now feed from the surface but is still skittish.

    if it used to feed confidently from the surface, i would suspect a problem.
    either a digestive or health problem, parasites, bacterial... or attempted predation.

    in either case i would try to tempt it into feeding again feeding treats like mussels ect... as they sink,
    though mine never get to touch the bottom as they get eaten so quickly

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  8. #6
    Thank you Dave. You may have missed my posts above - it was a good eater prior to prazi treatment which really stressed him. This morning out of the blue it started eating from surface again and cleared about 10 medium/large size pellets I threw at him. Hopefully that means heís back to his normal self now

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  10. #7
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion RS2OOO's Avatar
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    Young males are definitely more skittish and nervous than females, more so if stocking is low. I have found Kohaku aren't the most confident variety either.

    Hopefully it is just a result of stress, especially seeing that scrapes are now clear.

    See how it goes over the next few days/weeks and hopefully it will go back to feeding normally.

    I bought a young male Showa, jumped out and nearly killed itself on the day I bought it. A couple of weeks later whilst still healing from its injuries I had the net in the pond for another fish which startled the showa and it jumped out again, injuring itself so badly I thought I was going to lose it. Took many weeks before it started coming up for food but was easily startled and would swim away if it got glimpse of me by the pond. Over the next couple of years it would watch me dropping the food in (I could see it's eyes following my hand movements), but kept its distance, would grab a few pellets and swim off.
    I've had him 4 years now and this year he's the first up for food, eats loads, and hand feeds from me no problem, but will not hand feed from anyone else.

    Strange creatures for sure, but gaining trust to interact is the best part of the hobby for me.

    Fingers crossed its a similar situation with your Kohaku and nothing too serious.


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    Last edited by RS2OOO; 09-06-2023 at 12:38 AM.

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  12. #8
    Thank you RS for sharing your similar experience! My kohaku is eating totally normal now and heís taking both the floating pellets I threw in during the day, plus the pinch of sturgeon pellets I threw at him during the night (with a torch on)! He must be really hungry coming out of 2 weeks of self inflicted starvation 🤩

    I now have another problem - last Sunday I picked up a tiny baby Kin Shōwa about 13cm from a dealer - out of kindness I also bought from the dealer a 2KG bag of saki growth pellets in small size. Now I bought this 2KG bag just for this baby koi - but hey during the day he hides in corners on the bottom, and during the night he swims around the perimeter of pond - only to swim away from the pellets I chucked in for him! How annoying is that?! The smell of saki growth got all other koi wondering whatís going on and soon they discovered the pellets and chased the baby koi away and gobbled them all up (thought I do think small saki pellets are just too small for koi bigger than 12Ē - sometimes they just pass through the gills without being swallowed.

    Itís been a week like this - me with a torch on every night looking for that Kin Showa baby - and he only took the pellets once! There must be plenty of food on the bottom and behind algae string - how else can a baby koi not feel hungry with water temp above 19d?

    I donít know what Iíd do with the rest of the saki small pellets (1.95KG left of the 2KG bag) - should I just feed them to the larger koi (7-24Ē) or put it away waiting for the baby koi to get a little bigger and more confident feeding from the surface?

  13. #9
    Senior Member Rank = Jussai Tom Koi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS2OOO View Post
    It is difficult to picture what exactly might be going on here but to answer your specific question I wouldn't worry too much about the Kohaku not coming up to feed, especially if it is picking at the pond walls and floor.

    You could drop in some sinking food for it to graze on, either pellets or something like frozen mussels to see if she'll eat those.

    What was the Kohaku like when eating before all the treatments, was it a big eater? Is it a shy fish in general?

    I have a very shy shusui, 6 years old now and only about 40cm, if it gets startled it can go months without coming up for food, and even when it is happy it will only take 1 or 2 pellets per feed. Nothing wrong with it, that's just how it has always been. It is also a loner, never mixes with the other koi, always wondering around on its own.

    Sent from my Pixel 6a using Tapatalk
    I've an ogon that's exactly the same, so I started using a pellet pump that sinks the pellets and I've seen a massive difference over the last month/6 weeks and it seems to be getting more social as well.

    Its funny though, cause the same fish was always first to the feed when I was growing him on in the tank, but he started to get shy after I took some fish out and his fellow ogon's and a Chagoi got bigger and left that fish behind and I moved them to the main pond.

    I bought some fish off Byers Farm to put in grow on to see how I got on with keeping them, some I moved on and kept the Chag and the 3 ogons and all 4 have grown, but are all different sizes, Karashigoi, Chag and Orenji in that order, the Karash is the biggest at nearly 60cm's lovely fish, delighted with the progress they've made, even the little fella is coming on now.

  14. #10
    Senior Member Rank = Jussai Tom Koi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davethefish1 View Post
    it depends on if the fish usually feeds confidently?
    i have a shy fish that never used to come up for food, and would just grub around on the bottom.
    after a few years it eventually got a bit bigger (though not very fast due to the little it ate.) and now feed from the surface but is still skittish.

    if it used to feed confidently from the surface, i would suspect a problem.
    either a digestive or health problem, parasites, bacterial... or attempted predation.

    in either case i would try to tempt it into feeding again feeding treats like mussels ect... as they sink,
    though mine never get to touch the bottom as they get eaten so quickly
    Mine were very wary when I first started feeding Mussels after a friend suggested that I feed them to get them to hand feed, some eventually cottoned on and fed confidently from my fingers, now I've half a dozen or more that will feed from my hand, Kujaku is the greediest and the fattest, the Chag, Karashigoi and other's will, but I think feeding the mussels once a week as brought on the little fella as well, not sure what type of Ogon he/she is but has got lovely reticulation, mate reckons it could be another Chag its a coulor is between Orange and Yellow.
    I was gonna move it on, but after seeing its current progress, I'm interested to see on how well it does come on.

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    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Koi View Post
    Mine were very wary when I first started feeding Mussels after a friend suggested that I feed them to get them to hand feed, some eventually cottoned on and fed confidently from my fingers, now I've half a dozen or more that will feed from my hand, Kujaku is the greediest and the fattest, the Chag, Karashigoi and other's will, but I think feeding the mussels once a week as brought on the little fella as well, not sure what type of Ogon he/she is but has got lovely reticulation, mate reckons it could be another Chag its a coulor is between Orange and Yellow.
    I was gonna move it on, but after seeing its current progress, I'm interested to see on how well it does come on.
    yeah mine cottoned on fast with the mussels,
    i tease them sometimes by blending some mussels with a little water and pouring it over some pellets, let them soak it up, and then add them to the pond
    they start going nuts thinking they ar getting mussels... but still eat the pellets as they have the flavour...

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  18. #12
    Senior Member Rank = Jussai Tom Koi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davethefish1 View Post
    yeah mine cottoned on fast with the mussels,
    i tease them sometimes by blending some mussels with a little water and pouring it over some pellets, let them soak it up, and then add them to the pond
    they start going nuts thinking they ar getting mussels... but still eat the pellets as they have the flavour...

    Clever and crafty that is

  19. #13
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion RS2OOO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NamoAmituofo View Post
    Thank you RS for sharing your similar experience! My kohaku is eating totally normal now and heís taking both the floating pellets I threw in during the day, plus the pinch of sturgeon pellets I threw at him during the night (with a torch on)! He must be really hungry coming out of 2 weeks of self inflicted starvation Single koi not coming up to feed on surface

    I now have another problem - last Sunday I picked up a tiny baby Kin Shōwa about 13cm from a dealer - out of kindness I also bought from the dealer a 2KG bag of saki growth pellets in small size. Now I bought this 2KG bag just for this baby koi - but hey during the day he hides in corners on the bottom, and during the night he swims around the perimeter of pond - only to swim away from the pellets I chucked in for him! How annoying is that?! The smell of saki growth got all other koi wondering whatís going on and soon they discovered the pellets and chased the baby koi away and gobbled them all up (thought I do think small saki pellets are just too small for koi bigger than 12Ē - sometimes they just pass through the gills without being swallowed.

    Itís been a week like this - me with a torch on every night looking for that Kin Showa baby - and he only took the pellets once! There must be plenty of food on the bottom and behind algae string - how else can a baby koi not feel hungry with water temp above 19d?

    I donít know what Iíd do with the rest of the saki small pellets (1.95KG left of the 2KG bag) - should I just feed them to the larger koi (7-24Ē) or put it away waiting for the baby koi to get a little bigger and more confident feeding from the surface?
    Just feed them the rest of the Saki, they'll get used to it.

    Will be gone within a week at current temps!

    Sent from my Pixel 6a using Tapatalk

  20. #14
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion RS2OOO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davethefish1 View Post
    yeah mine cottoned on fast with the mussels,
    i tease them sometimes by blending some mussels with a little water and pouring it over some pellets, let them soak it up, and then add them to the pond
    they start going nuts thinking they ar getting mussels... but still eat the pellets as they have the flavour...
    I have one that doesn't like mussels.

    He's actually frightened of them.

    Accidentally sucked one in once and spat it straight out then stayed away from the feeding area for a good few hours after!

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  21. #15
    Fed must be 6-8 times today! Growth sandwiched with multi season/wheat germ mix. Nearly all pellets hovered up no sign of any spitting thatís really good consider this is 2 weeks after prazi treatment finished and at current temp Iím cautiously optimistic no fluke eggs either.

    At end of day I have a slight ammonia reading - API test shows a very slight green tinge - no nitrite spike yet perfect blue color - will reduce feeing tomorrow a bit to let filter catch up

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