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Losing My Favorite Koi - Page 2 of 2

(And Lessons Learned From It)

by Elmer Epistola

Posted: October 28, 2004




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4) Transferring koi to a new environment, even if only temporarily, stresses them to the point of wanting to get out of the water.  Thus, when transferring koi to another pond, try to replicate the old pond's conditions as much as possible and acclimatize the koi to the new pond properly, e.g., float thier container bags in the pond for 20 minutes before releasing them.  Also, take extra precautions to prevent them from jumping out of the water whenever they are transferred to a new pond. 




Figure 2. High pond walls will prevent koi from

jumping out of the water 



My final example of how I lost a favorite koi involved another pioneer of mine, one of the three Sanke koi I bought when I was starting out.  At that time I bought some local (but good-looking) koi from Cartimar, for the simple reason that I was excited to come across local koi that are indistinguishable from Japan-born ones.  Unfortunately, I hadn't noticed that these koi had fish lice (so beware when buying local koi in Cartimar!).


I had the good sense of quarantining these local koi for two weeks before mixing them in with the rest in the main pond.  What I failed to do was to eradicate the fish lice while the fish were under quarantine. Soon enough, most of the koi in my main pond had lice on their head and skin.  I netted out the infested ones and put them in my quarantine pond for treatment. 


The treatment went well for the next seven days.  Unfortunately, one fateful night, the lone pump of my quarantine pond conked out.   Without any form of aeration, the koi in the quarantine pond were dead the next morning.


Lessons learned:


5) Never buy koi that are sick or infested by parasites.  Of course, to be able to succeed at this, you need to be familiar with what to look for when inspecting fish you're planning to buy.  Thus, be diligent enough to learn what symptoms to avoid.  For starters, please check out this link: Koi Diseases. Also, try to choose the koi stores you're buying fish from.  Never buy from poorly maintained stores, especially when there are emaciated and sick-looking koi swimming with your prospective purchase. 


6) Quarantine your newly purchased fish for 3 weeks before releasing them into your main pond. Koi experts have always given this advice - to quarantine new koi to ensure that they're not bringing any unknown disease into your pond.  Unfortunately, it is not easy to comply with.  You need a second pond, albeit a smaller one, to keep the new koi in for three weeks.  This second pond will need its own filtration system as well.  Even the excitement of letting your new acquisitions swim beside your original koi is difficult to contain.  But this is a 'must-do' in order to protect your original koi from diseases that they are not immune to.  Contaminating your main pond will be a much bigger headache in the long run.



Figure 3. Quarantine tanks prevent new fish from

contaminating your main pond




7) Always use a fool-proof and redundant filtration/aeration system. Things break down, and pumps are no exception.  If they do, and the pond is left with no aeration, then catastrophe is not far behind.  Under such a situation, the bigger (and therefore more expensive) fish are most vulnerable to lack of oxygen.  Thus, it is better to have two smaller pumps running your filters than just having a large one.   If one of the pumps breaks down, then the koi have a chance of surviving till morning when you can correct the problem.  Include aerators and bubblers in your pond system to ensure adequate oxygenation of the water.



Figure 4.  Adding air pumps to your pond can help your

koi survive during times of emergency



It wasn't easy documenting how I've lost my favorite koi, but I felt it had to be done for others to learn from these personal experiences.  It also helps to be reminded once in a while of the serious attention the koi keeping hobby warrants.  Although losing a koi happens even to the best of us, due diligence is needed to minimize the losses.  


So it's true.  We only lose our favorite koi.  The best way not to lose them, therefore, is not to lose any.



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