Early Winter Woes

I’m not doing too well with my koi this winter. I lost two of my largest koi to illness and another koi is recovering from a mysterious injury/infection.

On our last trip to our North Carolina home the pond builder was looking at the indoor pond camera recordings and he said “I think we have a dead koi.” Sure enough there was a koi next to the bottom drain. We pinpointed what we think was the window of death but none of the earlier recordings gave us a clue that this koi was ill. Our daughter / house sitter (who has never wielded a koi net) carefully removed the koi and disposed of the 28+” koi. I think she was a little traumatized.

Since we were long distance, we had her add some Pro-Form C to the pond. Taking a look at the koi in the plastic trash bag a few days later did not reveal any ulcers or injuries.

Once we returned, most of the koi were looking fine. I did notice that the large kohaku seemed to float close to the surface most of the time and wasn’t swimming around with the rest of the koi. However, in the winter pool, this type of behavior seems common. Each koi often spends a little time away from the rest.

A few mornings later I flipped the aerators off to take a better look at the koi. I noticed the large shiro utsuri who is always hungry had an alarming lump and pineconing by her right pectoral fin. Waaaah let’s help this koi out! I am not sure what she did but it looks like she somehow injured herself. Then again, maybe it was a little injury that turned into a large infection. Her behavior gave no clues that she was sick or injured.

Thankfully it’s been about a week and she has improved significantly. The pineconing and lump have gone down but I can still see signs of injury. We’ll have to keep an eye on her. Still a mystery how she got this in the winter pool.

So let’s go back to the large kohaku. Her left side was getting slightly swollen and she was starting to develop some red areas making me think that she was battling with something internal. Sadly she did not respond to treatment – another dead koi 😩.

Fall photo on left; Sick day on right

When you lose koi in such a short time, you would suspect that water might be an issue. We did our tests and the parameters came out just fine. Thinking about how these koi did this year, they did not gain any significant length. Our outdoor feeders were not always reliable this year and the battery powered back up feeder also seemed to have some operational issues. On top of that, I was feeding the smaller sized pellets since I had a few tosai in the mix. Totally unscientific but I think I might have messed up their feeding and the larger koi just did not eat enough for good growth or health this summer. Perhaps being a little weaker made them more susceptible to anything that came along.

We purchased a new battery powered feeder for the indoor pool and switched out to the larger sized pellets.

So it might be my imagination but I think the koi are doing much better at meal times. They seem excited about eating again and more of them are choosing to eat. It’s interesting to watch how some of the koi struggle to eat floaters but pass on the sinking food. There’s always one or two koi that choose not to eat but I think they snack on the algae.

Meanwhile, the pond builder has been the pond destructor. We moved the lower pond’s RDF out of the concrete area, cut the electricity off to the area and started breaking up concrete. This is certainly back breaking, hard work. I can see at some point we’ll be bringing in some equipment to help us and a dumpster for this material.

That’s it for the last few weeks – crossing my fingers that the future is boring and uneventful.