Koi Laying on Bottom of Pond - Please Help

ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)May 21, 2009

This is a modification of my other post w/ more details and a different heading, hoping I will get more help.

16,000 gallon pond in Indianapolis, IN. It's approx 80 degrees F outside. 10 older koi - have had for 4-5 years, and several bluegill. Never have had health issues w/ the exception of a winter kill from fluctuating temps.

Last week added 5 baby koi - 4" or so. Koi were not quarantined (I know...) b/c quarantine tank cracked when I was getting it out of basement and small quarantine tank was accommodated by one koi w/ what i thought was fin rot (not).

Yesterday morning, all fish seemed fine...swarmed to be fed, etc.

Yesterday afternoon, large 20" butterfly laying on bottom of pond...odd for him/her.

Last night, she didn't swarm w/ the others. I parted the lilies this morning and saw her...she moved...swam and then "free fell" to bottom of pond. Every now and then will swim...then free-fall and lay there. Lists to the side a little. Breathing slightly labored but nothing major.

Now there are several others laying around her on the bottom.

It is much hotter here in the last couple of days than it has been.

Tested water...all parameters tested fine. Water quality appears to be ok (and bluegill are canaries in the mine when it comes to quality issues...all are ok).

It is spawning season. I don't know if maybe they are all tired? I don't remember them doing this. Something seems off. I don't know where to begin or what to do... HEEEEEEELP LOL

Aeration is not aggressive right now due to one of my pumps dying but nobody is gasping at surface or anything.

All new fish acting wild and completely fine. It is my 6 largest that seem to be having issues right now.

--Ammonia: 0ppm

--Nitrite: 0ppm

--Nitrate: Don't have a kit for that but have dip strips that say 0

--pH: 8.5-9

--KH: Don't have test for this

--GH: No test for this

--02: No test for this

--Salt: ditto

Thanks in advance.


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Maybe the O2 load is too small. Anyway to bump up aeration? I know you said one of your pumps was bad, but maybe you can get a new one?

Your pond is so much larger than mine, I don't know how to aerate it better. I just use an aquairum bubbler, but I don't think that will work for you.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 3:33PM
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Isn't there a koi vet site where you can get professional help pretty quickly--maybe worth a try.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 4:21PM
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No advice to give other than hang in there and I sure hope thing turn around for you. I'm sure you're very worried.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 5:40PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Andrera, you could isolate the fish and put an air stone in the water to add more O2 as Groundbeef1 suggested.
It would also give you the chance to look the fish over.

I had one recently that was acting lethargic. I could not see any injury etc, until I removed the fish from the pond. There was an infected wound on the underside of the fish that I could not possibly see from above.
Good luck with the fish.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 6:56PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

Tried to catch the fish but the pond is too deep (6') and big (25'x20'). No chance.

The initial one that was acting weird is not to be seen as of late afternoon. The other fish are not on the bottom anymore...but suspended almost motionless in the middle of the pond...all facing toward the falls. SO ODD>

I topped off the pond earlier and noticed that they went nuts when the hose was splashing..made me think oxygenation also.

I went and bought a 6500gph submersible and hooked it up w/ the 3900 I already had. The falls are definitely more rambunctios. All were still hanging in mid-pond when it got too dark to see. So bizarre.

HOrton, if the fish gets slower and I can net it, good call on checking the underside.

I will be sad if I lose it but hope that I don't lose the whole pond full of them! EEEEEK!

(PS why are the new little guys totally fine?????)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 11:03PM
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I know this is a bit unrelated but any koi vets out there know what to do for very pregnant fish that wont release her eggs.. I dont expect her to last through the night but I was hoping there was something I could do.. had another koi spawn so ammonia levels spiked so this didnt help her.. I feel a bit helpless she was one of my first koi.. She is now even more bloated and scales on belly are redening.. No raised scales, just was hoping maybe a manual release of eggs would help her.. I tried pressing her abdomen but was afraid to press to hard.. her privates are also a bit protruding.. its almost like she is constipated and if she could release she would recover.. anyway any advice in case this happens to another fish as I dont think she is going to make it and if it happens to another would like to know some info on what to do to assist..

for your bottom dwelling koi could it be a predator spooked it??

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 11:17PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

kevip, I have posted a link below for you to peruse.
They mention the use of Epsom Salts. I have heard of this previously. It is supposed to relax the fish's muscles and cause it to void the roe.
Have a look and see what you think about it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Egg bound fish

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 7:18AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

Ok everyone...all inhabitants look pretty normal today w/ the exception of the initial koi...I can't see him/her so don't know what its state is at this time. :(

I am happy about the others, though!!! Will keep you posted...thank you!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 8:20AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)


All of a sudden, up pops my "ill" koi in the middle of the pond!!! She didn't come up for food this morning but suddenly was trolling for a snack. I sprinted (literally lol) back to the house for food, threw it in and she is acting completely normal!!!

I think w/ the spike in temperature, I had a low oxygen problem (????). That's the only thing I can figure.

All I know is that I am THRILLED and so relieved!

A million thanks to everyone for working this through with me. :) ;) :) :)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:04AM
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That's what it sounds like. My fish in my pond last spring were suffering a similar issue except they were gasping at the surface.

My pond is small enough that I used an aquairum bubbler and they perked up after a couple of hours. No problems since.

Glad they are doing better.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:10AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

Thanks groundbeef!

I love this forum. You can come act like a freak over a fish and everyone understands. LOL Everyone in "real life" looks at me like I'm nuts b/c I spent the ENTIRE day trying to solve this dilemna.

I'm sure you all understand.......LOL

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:32AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

for pete's sake...she is laying back on the bottom and breathing heavily. Her belly looks fat...i wonder if she is eggbound..>????

going to research (sigh)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:04AM
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I salted the pond.. I dont have another holding tank for her.. she made it through the night and is just motionless now but still alive.. not really sure what else to do at the moment..

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 1:34PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

Well...I don't know what happened but everyone is fine now! I wonder if they were just loaded w/ eggs and feeling fat? LOL

Spawning o' plenty the last two days and everyone is wild and wooly.

WHEW>..drama averted.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 12:44PM
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Hi Ademink:

I raise about 1/2 tons of salmon and trouts and used to raise koi as well. What you have described is sometimes commun when females can not release their eggs for some reason (not enough oxygen, hardness too low, water temp too high, chlorine/chloramine or polutents in the water... During the re-absorption process, it may take a few weeks, it is important to oxygenate the water. My preference is to oxygenate by moving water with a pump, air stone may be more damaging. Oxygen bubbles from an air stone may get trapped in the gills preventing dissolved oxygen to cyrculate properly.

Salting does not solve all the problem...! As a matter of fact may creat others...

Do check your harness and alkalinity as you should anyways. Proper hardness will help eggs in their hardening process, render any polutents especially metals significantly less toxic to fishs, prevent pH fluctuation and along with oxygen helps the bacteria to process waste.

Have you noticed any eggs (white looking stuff) in the plants?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 1:29PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii RT!!! Nice to see you are still around!

My water tends to run hard. Noticed that the koi were eating eggs galore this morning in the plants and my sluggish girl lost about 5 lbs. LOL I'm guessing that was the issue for sure!

I have yet to have any baby koi...these guys don't miss an egg!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 5:29PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Good news Andrea.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 6:01PM
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Have been rooting for you and your koi. Hope all is still good

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 7:52PM
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Hi all we have fairly new baby koi, all ok apart from one baby is struggling to maintain boyancy? Should I stop feeding them for a couple of days? The rest are fine, water has been checked all ok!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 4:50PM
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