1. How do I adjust the total alkalinity of pond water?
Goto poolcalculator.com Type your pond volume. Type the current total alkalinity and target total alkalinity. You
will get the amount of baking soda (by weight or volume) to be added. If the total alkalinity is higher than 7dH or 120ppm and your incoming water has lower total alkalinity, you can make a water change. If incoming water has
higher total alkalinity, maintain pond water at that number. Koi can tolerate higher total alkalinity as long as it is not more than 20ppm than the current alkalinity.
2. Water looks cloudy. What should I do?
Check Ammonia and Nitrate levels. Dead biofilter can increase ammonia levels. If you don’t have a biological filter, time to
buy or make one. Clean water is important for Koi growth. If you fed high sugar/carb food, water can look cloudy for a while. Suspended algae can also make water cloudy. Change UV bulb. Any suspended particles,, even pollen, can reduce
the dissolved oxygen levels in water. Make a significant water change using a dechlorinator and appropriate amount of baking soda.
3. Fish are rubbing their sides and gills. Are they sick?
Either there are irritants in water or they are infected with parasites.
a. Check ammonia, nitrite and nitrate
levels. Change water to bring ammonia and nitrite to zero and nitrate to 20ppm or less.
b. If they are rubbing their sides only in the early morning and late evening, pond water may have high pH swings. If you have plants in the
pond, especially floating plants like water hyacinth/water lettuce, they can cause the pH to jump to 9.5 after sunrise and drop to pH 6 at night. Koi are comfortable in stable pH and can tolerate changes of 0.2 without feeling stressed.
Adjust the total alkalinity or KH to 7 by adding baking soda. High kH can absorb the pH swings, maintaining the pH between 7.8 to 8.0.
c. If a and b are not the reason, you must treat the water with Terminate and Praziquantel
combination. Add Terminate on the first day. Add Terminate + Prazi on the second day. Add Terminate on the 3rd day.
4. Should I add salt to my pond water?
No. Salt reduces koi digestibility and appetite. Majority of the parasites are salt resistant. You cannot treat with Formalin &
Malachite Green (Terminate, Proform C) if there is salt in the pond. If only one or 2 fish are sick, you can lift them and give them a 2-3 minute salt bath in 0.3% salt water (water from their pond). However, during salt bath, fish shed
their mucus. if the pond water has parasites, they will attack the fish with no mucus. So, you cannot put the fish back into the pond after a salt bath. Instead, you should transfer it into a quarantine tank (using pond water) and treat
the water with Terminate and Praziquantel. But then, you didn’t have to give a salt bath if you were going to treat them !
Salt bath has advantages but only in certain situations. If a fish has stubborn infection, salt bath can reduce the parasites. If a fish has fungus, salt can kill the fungus.
But salt treatments should be done only when fish are in quarantine tanks.
5. Fish have their mouth at the surface. And mouths are moving.
First check if there is pump/aerator failure. Then check KH. If pump/aerators are working and KH is 7dH or
120ppm, situation may not be serious. Fish might be trying to eat something (pollen, mosquito eggs) on the water surface. Offer them something to eat. If they don’t come but continue to gasp, check for ammonia and nitrite.
6. My fish are sick after heavy rains. Why?
Rain water runoff may have brought pesticides, lime. Rainwater is acidic. If the total alkalinity or KH of pond water is low,
rain water or lime can change the pH quickly. This is why it is important to maintain the KH at 7dH or 120ppm. Rainwater can also drop temperature of pond water. Fish farmers treat their ponds for Ich parasite (Terminate) after rains.
7. Fish are jumping out of water or gulping and releasing bubbles
Check water quality (cloudiness, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH). If everything is normal, fish may be
infected with flukes. Treat them with Praziquantel and Terminate combination. Terminate does not kill flukes, praziquantel does. But addition of Praziquantel can release costia (fast killing single cell parasite) from fish intestine.
Cosita can then infect the fish and kill them. Terminate kills Costia.