Every koi keeper will tell you that the most important aspect of koi keeping is making sure the water they live in is right. It makes a lot of sense, when you live in your own toilet bowl, you have to hope your owner is doing their best to keep it clean. So we started the winter pool with high hopes. Lots of water for the koi, bead filter, fresh water drip, plenty of air and a little bit of heat. For two months the nitrite levels seemed very high (as in the koi theoretically should have been dead) but by the beginning of December we were at 0 to .25 ppm ammonia and 0 ppm nitrites consistently. Yay, only four more months until they might be able to go back to the outdoor ponds….
Mid December, one of the koi began to swim erratically and expired after being removed to a QT tank. Unfortunately it was not the first. After another four died under similar circumstances, we talked to Matt Sklar (maker of Kenzen koi food) and he went through trouble shooting our water parameters and recommending some medication. A few more koi died but we thought at the end of January that all was well. Two weeks after no koi deaths, another one of our koi died. Today another koi looked like it was going to to do the sideways death spiral. We pulled that koi and three other koi that looked a little iffy into the quarantine tank.
In the process of removing the koi to the quarantine tank, the pond digger asked “where’s London?” London is/was a small little goshiki who never showed any signs of illness. Since we could not find him anywhere in the pool or outside of the pool, the pond digger pulled apart the pump to the bead filter. Poor London had somehow managed to get sucked into the bottom drain and died a pretty nasty death in the pipe. We think this may have occurred some time in the last two days but there hasn’t been a spike in ammonia.
Out of the eleven koi I have remaining – four are now sitting in the quarantine tank. Surprisingly, they actually look better and are staying upright in the quarantine tank. Matt Sklar came over this morning and recommended that we start isolating every factor we can about the water in the pool. We’ve stopped the continuous water feed and backflushed the bead filter. Matt also built a temporary charcoal filter for the winter pool. We’re going to wait and see how the koi are looking before considering any medication options for them.
On a happier side note – Matt took me to Bulk Reef Supply http://bulkreefsupply.com to purchase some of the carbon I needed for the filter. What a great place! Matt works intermittently with Bulk Reef Supply so Bridget gave us a tour of their facility. If I didn’t work for my husband, I would love to work here. This is a web based saltwater aquarium supplies store. There is a beautiful aquarium in the front reception area holding black/white clownfish. There is also an aquarium off to the side that has some coral growing and a little nursery of the most adorable orange clownfish (play the video I have embedded here). But wait – these are not the only aquariums you will see here – the entire staff are a bunch of “reefers” (people who keep saltwater aquariums) and you will see one or two aquariums in practically every work space. Here’s a company filled with employees who really are passionate about saltwater aquariums. I’ve included a photo of Bridget’s aquarium and it really sounds kind of easy to keep a saltwater aquarium if you have the right equipment. I think this is where Bulk Reef Supply excels – they really do help their customers with any problems they may encounter, they have live chat, they source quality supplies and they produce some amazing videos. If I didn’t love my koi so much, I might consider becoming a reefer 🙂
and finally – here are the adorable tiny clownfish:
I’m hoping to post in a few days that all the koi are doing well – crossing my fingers!