How to care for Koi

Problems with Koi

To keep healthy koi it is imperative to keep the water quality in the pond to the highest standard you are capable of, if the water environment deteriorates then it can have an effect the koi with symptoms such as disease, stress and a decreased resistance.

There is a multifaceted association between fish and the disease organisms that they can be infected by, many fish living in the wild can be found upon closer inspection to have a disease although they are not showing any clinical signs of the disease. It is very common for new koi to be purchased and appear disease free, the stress of the move and transport into your pond can effect them and lower their immune systems responses and they can soon after develop the growth of a diseased organism. Their immune system defences naturally protect the fish; as long as they are in good health then it can combat and prevent any development of the disease.

The reaction of stress in a fish is similar to that of human, when a fish is caught in a net or someone reaches their hand into the pond the fish will have a physiological response similar to our fight or flight response. The koi will undergo various internal complex changes to allow it to react quickly in situations of immediate danger. If the episode of stress is relatively short then the organism will return to normal and will show no ill effects, if the episode lasts long or is constantly repeated you may find the koi can become exhausted. Stress has a great effect on the health and immune system of koi so stressful situations should be avoided as best they can.

A diseased fish will often demonstrate certain behavioural signs that can help in making a tentative diagnosis. The first thing to do is perform a series of tests on the water to rule the problem being related to poor water quality. If you do find the water is contaminated then the water must be changed immediately. If the water test comes out ok then you can start to look to see if the problem has been caused by a bacteria, fungus, viruses or parasites.

There are many diseases that are easy to diagnose by observing typical behavioural changes or lesions on the body. However, parasites can cause lesions that are similar in appearance so it is important to be able to recognise the parasite so you can confirm the diagnosis. You must carefully examine to koi for any signs of disease, look on the tail, for parasites on the body surface, ragged fins, cloudy eyes, tumours on the head or abrasions on the snout.

Once you have identified the disease you should follow with the appropriate course of treatment. It may be that you need to treat it with an antimicrobial agent or one that is specifically designed to eradicate a certain parasite. There are some medications that are designed to go after a specific parasite while others are broad spectrum and are used to treat a wide range of pathogenic organisms.

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