Every pond owner with fish, at some time or another,
will probably have to medicate their pond. Fish are like people, in the sense that
they always carry some level of bacteria or parasites in their body much like we carry the
common cold. Whether or not they develop a problem is more a function of their
immune system becoming compromised. The best preventative for fish health problems
is maintaining excellent water quality.
factors in determining water quality are an unclouded pond environment, adequate
biological filtration, minimal debris / sediment accumulation, and sufficient water
circulation / aeration.
If you notice that one or all of your fish appear to be sick, the
first step is to correctly diagnose the problem. There are a wide variety of
potential life threatening fish illnesses, but they can be broken down into two primary
categories: bacterial infections and parasitic infections. The medications
used to treat the different illnesses are usually very different, so properly identifying
between these two types of problems is paramount.
There are several excellent books that outline the different kinds
of fish / KOI diseases, so we will not go into it in detail here. However, we can
outline several of the most obvious and common symptoms and remedies. For bacterial
infections, the fish will usually exhibit some signs of stress like bloody streaks in the
tail fins coupled with obvious lesions or bloody sores on the body. These are
usually found around the mouth, or on the sides or belly of the fish. Another clue
would be a cloudy haze over the eyes and a lack of energy and appetite. Fungal
infections are indicated by white fuzzy patches or growths on the fish. Treatments
vary, but typically the best treatment is to add
pond salt to the pond, then add a medication like potassium
permanganate, or pond fungus eliminator, and top it off by feeding an anti-biotic feed or
immune boosting food like
In some cases, an anti-biotic injection is required. This is usually the best
remedy, but not many pond owners are comfortable with doing this.
Parasitic infections are not uncommon in fish ponds either.
Parasites can be introduced by new plants or fish in the pond, so always buy your fish and
plants from a reputable dealer. Warning signs of parasite problems include fish
"flashing" or scraping their sides against the bottom of the pond, visible
objects attached to the fish, small bloody spots, and sudden fish death by one or more
otherwise healthy looking fish. Again, the best first course of action is to add
pond salt to the pond. This will
kill many of the free swimming parasites before they can find a host. Other
treatments include: formalin, malachyte green, or a malachyte / formalin
combination. There are many forms of parasites however, and the list of treatments
is extensive so if you suspect you have a problem and cant diagnose it yourself, contact
your local pond professional. We carry a wide variety of pond fish medications, as
well as reference material for diagnosing different ailments so we may be able to help.
Winterizing your pond