Koi Care: The Doctor’s In
Being a koi owner means keeping your fish happy and healthy. To do this, you need to give your koi a good home and keep up with maintenance. Even with responsible care, these resilient fish can sometimes succumb to sickness and disease. Keeping a close watch on your koi is the best way to catch any problems early. Get a good, up-close look at your fish while they feed – its the best way to observe them and watch for abnormalities. If you think disease may be plaguing your fish, don’t fear! Read ahead for our guide on koi care.
When koi fish are stressed, they undergo a physiological reaction that weakens their immune system. Koi become susceptible to disease when they are stressed, when their nutritional needs are not being met, or when they are placed in an unsuitable aquatic environment.
Stress that weakens the immune system leads to disease. Koi fish are affected by both infectious and noninfectious diseases. Microorganisms can cause infectious diseases and environmental factors can cause noninfectious diseases.
Environmental factors can cause sickness in koi too. With the changing of seasons, koi ponds can see outbreaks in fungi and parasites. Pond plants may also add too much oxygen in the water. Faulty water pumps may cause an excess of nitrogen in the pond water as well.
You can take steps to prevent disease in your koi fish. Make sure that your pond’s dissolved oxygen and toxicity levels are in a healthy range. This prevents unnecessary stress in your koi’s life – stress that could cause gill and organ damage, not to mention the potential infections that could follow.
Recognizing the signs of stress and sickness is the first step in keeping your koi healthy. Stress shows in a koi’s lack of appetite, poor reproductivity, a slowed growth rate, and exhaustion.
SIGNS OF SICKNESS
There are several signs you can watch for to monitor the health of your koi. One indicator of health is your koi’s activity. Both hyperactivity and an overall lack of activity are signs of a health problem. A fish that is swimming a super speed may be reacting to an imbalance in pond water, especially with the pH, chlorine, and ammonia levels. A fish that is sluggish or practically comatose may be suffering from a parasitic infection.
Also watch the ways your koi swim. Koi are a graceful fish, but if you notice any clumsy swimming it may be because of neurological damage. Koi that linger at the bottom of the pond may suffer from bladder infections, while koi that remain at the surface may have gill damage.
Color is another indicator for koi care. Typically known for their vibrancy, any signs of dull or graying hues in your koi is a red flag. These are due to a parasitic infection. A reddening of the capillary veins is the result of stress or high blood pressure.
Koi are a social fish. If you notice any koi suddenly becoming elusive and solitary in your pond, they may be experiencing high levels of stress from predators. Check out our post on koi predators to see how you can protect your fish.
Luckily, there are options if you think your koi are under the weather. Many medicines and treatments are available from your local pet store, koi breeder, or pond and garden center. And seeking out an aquatic veterinarian is always an option too.
Take preventative action to keep your fish friends healthy and happy! Make sure water levels are safe, that machinery is functioning properly, and keep your koi safe from predators. These fundamentals to koi care reduce stress in a koi’s life and will keep them swimming for many years to come!
Do you have any tips for keeping your koi healthy? Let us know via the contact form!