Koi fish do not always die from parasites, worms, or disease. In fact, one might be surprised to know what one of the leading causes of koi fish death is. This might seem like something small at face-value, but the reality is that stress is a major perpetrator in what may end up killing your koi fish. So, one might question, what on earth stresses out our koi fish? There are a number of reasons:
“Battling” the elements
- The change of season
- Overcrowding in the pond
- Poor water quality (you must make sure you test for KH)
- Not doing partial water changes
- Inadequate filtration or circulation
- Feeding them old food which has lost its nutritional value
- Inadequate nutrition
We are not going to be able to stop the weather from changing or the seasonal extremes. The best we can do is to make sure the pond has sufficient KH (100-200 ppm) so the nitrifying cycle can keep working. For that to work, you need Microbe-Lift/KH Test Kit. In the event that your water is low in KH, then you should also stock up on Microbe-Lift/KH Booster. There are ways of covering the pond in winter to protect the fish from icy winds. There are shade cloths and other ways to protect the pond from excessive heat in summer. A deeper pond will be less vulnerable to daily temperature changes (which stress fish) because the water will be more stable. In-ground ponds more capable of buffering and stabilizing temperatures. TPR’s (tangential pond returns) are invaluable when installing a pond; this keeps the water circulating in all areas, especially if your pond will be free-form.
Doing partial water changes to remove built up soluble waste is very important
You can replace the old water with fresh water for the lives of your fish, but you should always use a good dechlorinating water conditioner. An excellent water conditioner is Microbe-Lift/Aqua Xtreme, which is capable of removing heavy metals such as copper (which may be in pipes), chlorine and ammonia (chloramines in city water), or any other impurities (from well water). An easy way you can prevent nutritional deficiencies is by buying new fish food each spring and throwing away the leftovers in the fall. Some people feed the leftovers to the ducks rather than throw it away; it is much better for them than bread.
Include natural additives to improve fish health
Microbe-Lift also makes two herbal treatments that can help your fish when they may be stressed, but not yet sick! Those are Microbe-Lift/Sabbactisun and Microbe-Lift/Parazoryne. The formulations both act as an expellant to fish that are already stressed. Sabbactisun works with bacterial and fungal infections, while the Parazoryne acts to expel and prevent parasitic infections. For worms or internal cestodes, you have to use Praziquantel. Remember, the best treatment is good prevention. Acting ahead of time can help ensure a healthy, longer life for your koi!
Carolyn Weise is the customer relations manager for Ecological Laboratories, Inc. She studied ornamental horticulture at the State University of New York at Farmingdale.