Fish Emergency Part
The first thing to do when treating
sick fish, is to correctly identify what is bothering them or making
The best resource
I've found for correctly identifying koi and pond goldfish ailments is
Doc Johnson's book 'Koi Health and Disease' which you can find on his
website at www.koivet.com.
In my case, I had identified the fish as suffering from
Nitrite Toxicity, from overfeeding my pond in the early Spring.
As you can see from the test tube at the top of this
page, my Nitrites were well into the 'Unsafe Change Water' range and
very close to the 'Deadly Change Water' range.
The very best and first thing you should do if you find
that you have elevated Nitrite levels is to add salt to your pond!
Adding salt, or Sodium Chloride, to your pond water greatly reduces
Nitrite Toxicity. Something to do with the Chloride preventing
Nitrogen absorption in the fishes gills, but you'll have to read the
book for the details.
What I did is start raising my pond water salinity from
.1% all the way up to .6%, while I also stopped feeding entirely. I
didn't want to keep adding to the problem by creating more fish waste,
and the fish weren't really eating at this point anyway.
You can buy rock salt in bulk at Home Depot (water
softener salt) but make sure it's free from any
impurities.. Or you can buy our Pond Salt
which is made from only evaporated sea salts (best)
I recommend only
raising the salinity .1%-.2% in a 24 hour period, so best to raise it
slowly over a couple of days, unless it's an emergency like this, in
which case I raised it over a 2 day period.
monitor and test my salinity, I use and recommend a digital salinity
meter like this one. It's fast and easy to
read, but a little bit expensive.
There is also an inexpensive
liquid salinity test made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals that works
pretty well also, which is pictured at the right.
Either way, we definitely recommend the use of salt in
your pond either as a disease preventative or at higher levels for
bacteria and parasite control, or to de-toxify Nitrites.
Once I got the salinity raised, and the Nitrites under
control, I immediately noticed that the fish started looking more
alive and feeling better..
not quickly identified the real cause of their distress, and treated
them appropriately 'the right way', I might have started losing fish
and had a very bad start to this pond season.
This is another reason it's essential to have a good
kit, to monitor your water quality. This is the first thing you should
test in case of a suspected fish health issue, and is a good idea to
test regularly anyway.
information about our test kits,
In next month's issue of PondStuff, we'll
continue with Part II of 'Fish Emergency' where I'll go through what
to do in case of an expected bacterial infection (including more on
how to inject your fish with antibiotics!)
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