What’s wrong with this winter pool???

Koi health has not been too good since mid December. We struggled for some time getting the water parameters right and once that occurred our koi have gone through a roller coaster of health issues. Most of it looked like a version of swim bladder disease. All the koi had skin free of lesions, spots or ulcers…and gills looked healthy.

So here’s the sad roll call…

Marius – a 12″ showa starts to swim oddly… a little uncoordinated, jumping up from the surface. We remove Marius from the pool into a quarantine tank and Marius dies within 12 hours.

London – a small goshiki is pulled since the swim pattern looked odd…a day in QT and as of today, doing fine.

Athos – a 14″ goshiki starts doing the side stroke after Christmas…spends two days in QT and as of today, doing fine.

T2 – a 21″ karashigoi is found laying at the bottom of the pool…spends two days in QT and as of today, doing fine.

Lefty – a 13″ showa is swimming oddly, swims into the side of the pool…removed from pool and spends a week in QT before dying. While in QT occasionally looks ‘okay’ and then floats around on side or back. It was really cold at this time and I’m not sure if we had the heater too low or too high. I’m sure the inconsistent temperature did not help out poor Lefty.

Tarzan – a 25″ asagi starts doing the side stroke the evening before we have to leave on a trip. We removed Tarzan from the pool, placed in QT and crossed our fingers. Unfortunately when we returned, Tarzan was dead. Not sure if the outcome would have been different if we had been able to stay home, do more frequent QT water changes.

Ika – a 16″ shiro utsuri (who looked fine on 1.24.2016) is pulled from the pool on 1.26.2016 since it was lying at the bottom, looking quite dead. Since it twitched, we placed Ika in QT.
As of 1.29.2016, Ika is not looking too good and spends a lot of time playing dead on his side.

Slash – a 11″ showa was struggling to swim so we placed him in the QT on 1.26.2016. About 24 hours later, we returned Slash to the winter pool and as of today, doing fine.

Blackhawk – a 12″ shiro ustsuri (who also looked fine on 1.24.2016) is found spiraling down on 1.27.2016. Blackhawk dies within 12 hours in the QT.

Paco – a 11″ doitsu showa starts swimming upside down 1.29.2016. Paco is removed from the pool and placed in the QT. Stays upright the first two hours and is now upside down again.

What’s the problem? We’ve been wondering if our koi were tired, if there was some virus/bacteria thing going on, were our koi just weak from not eating?

Our pool water is about 55 or warmer so our koi should be eating. However somewhere along the way, they all seemed to stop eating. Every three days we’d throw a few pellets in and they would still be there two days later. Some times the pellets would be half gone. Some times all gone. No one certainly seemed interested in eating. Since I was worried the koi might be weak from lack of food, I went to Petsmart and picked up some Hikari and brine shrimp. I threw a little into the pool and while I saw a little stirring, no one was eating – until I went away. At some point, someone ate the food. After two feedings of the Hikari, the koi now seemed to swim to the spot where the food was thrown. So I switched back to the sinking Kenzen pellets. They wouldn’t eat in front of me but it disappeared over the next 12 hours. Today I threw in the Kenzen again and after 6 hours, maybe a third of the food was consumed. Not sure how the koi live on three pellets avery few days…So we think we have a good chance that the koi might be eating and their immune systems will improve.

Thinking about where the bacteria or virus could come from…we haven’t introduced any new koi since November 28. Then we thought about the bakki type of shower we had created and while we think it’s probably not that cause, we decided to dismantle it. Plus we could use the space for a larger quarantine tank. The water in the pool looked clearer the minute we took our structure off line. The koi also looked perkier. The larger quarantine tank is being set up and we’ve moved Ika and Paco over. Paco is looking pretty good, Ika looks mostly dead with bouts of manic swimming.

So our next step is the kind assistance of one of our fellow koi club members, a great friend and resource to us. He thought it might be time to innocculate the koi with some medicine. Another new adventure some time later this weekend. I had to go get some syringes and needles from the local pharmacy. They’re kept behind the pharmacist counter because I’m sure they’re worried about people using these items for recreational drugs. The first pharmacy said ‘no, I would need a prescription.’ The Walgrens though were much more accommodating and while I could only buy a pack of ten syringes/needles – the staff was quite helpful. I did show them video of my sick koi to reassure them that I wasn’t a druggie. Two Walgrens, 20 syringes/needles in hand.