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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11316
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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I have a 12 year old large koi who is in a fixed position

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Hi - I have a 12 year old large koi who is in a fixed position nose down in our pond. The other koi are acting normally. We always over-winter the fish in our pond with a waterfall, aerator, de-icer. Water is gin clear. It has been like this for a week. What should I do?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the Koi's name?
Customer: Lol Kamakazi
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the Koi?
Customer: No I stopped Feeding in October. Normal activity till now. I have not examined the fish.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist witha special interest in fish. I'm working on some information for you now, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.

Thank you for waiting. There are several potential causes of this symptom, but most common is a bacterial infection. A swim bladder disorder may also be involved. The swim bladder is an organ that enables the fish to properly orient itself in the water. When something goes wrong, the fish may float, swim upside down, or at an angle. We can treat for both.

It would be best if you can isolate the sick koi in a hospital tank. A large tote, such as those made by RubberMaid will work well. Use water from the pond and set up a filter or pump with an airstone. Once there, there are a couple of things that may help the ailing fish. If it will eat, give it a couple of thawed out and peeled frozen peas. Normally, you don't want to feed in cold weather, but the peas can sometimes get things moving again, and ease pressure on the swim bladder. I would also add one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water. Don't use table salt - it sometimes has toxic additives. Keep feeding nothing but the peas for a few days. To treat for potential infection, I would use Maracyn 2 or Melafix according to package directions. Both should be available in larger pet stores.

If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope your koi will be able to recover.


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Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Ok. I am about to net my sick koi from the pond and place her in a 100 gallon cooler top open with pump and airstone. I live in Colorado so leaving the cooler outside to minimize temp changes. She swims normally in proper position when something is going on in the pond such as our adding water and doesn't seem to be in distress. Btw, she is approx. 30" long and 14 years old. I have a bottle of Melafix so will use that if there is nothing more appropriate. I wonder if she will revert to the nose-down posture when she can move much. How important is trying to get her to eat the peeled frozen peas?
If she won't eat the peas, don't worry about it. Their purpose is to relieve any constipation that may be pressing on the swim bladder. In this situation, it is more likely to be a bacterial infection. That means an antibiotic is more important. Maracyn 2 is a little stronger than Melafix, but either is fine.You could also have a fish vet examine her. That way you could get a certain diagnosis and the best possible treatment. If you want to do that, let me know and I can give you a link to a directory.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Day 2 so far so good. Koi is in a 25 gallon insulated cooler with salt and melafix and a bubbler. The top is closed with a "window" in the top open a few inches to allow gas exchange. However the water she is in must be colder than the water below the thermocline in the pond. Do i have to worry about it getting too cold as it is getting down to single digits here in colorado? If this is a new topic please let me know so i may pay an additional fee. I thought that i needed to make our pond over 2 1/2' deep to allow the fish to safely overwinter. That isn't possible in the cooler. Should i move the cooler into the garage or even the house? Then i worry about the temperature change. Am i freezing my fish in the cooler?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
As there is no water movement in the cooler and the koi is 2/3 the length of the cooler, do i need to worry about her needing to have eater flowing through her gills?
If your pump is doing a good job of aerating, no you don't need to worry. If the pump is too small, you might want to move up to bigger pump. You do need to move the cooler in to a place where it won't freeze. Single digit temperatures will cause the cooler to get way too cold. It might even freeze.The questions you are asking are follow-ups, so you certainly do not need to pay again. If you started a whole new subject, then you'd need to open a new question. Even after you rate my service, you can still come back to this question at no additional fee. Just keep the link to the question.I was not online at the time you posted your question over night, so that's why there has been a delay.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Anna- i finished keeping my koi in a container tub in my attached garage which kept the aerated water from freezing. I dosed her with melafix daily per the bottle's instructions. When returning the fish to the pond i placed a gallon of water every 20 mintes into the tub to buffer the temperature change before netting it into the pond. The koi looked great in the tub and net. Very active and color is good; however this morning she is back in the same head-down position and her color is much paler. Is there anything you can think of that i might try before i lose her? Thank you for your help. You have been great.
I'm sorry to hear this happened. She was doing so well. Do you have any interest in having her seen by a fish vet?Just as a precaution, you might want to test the water in the pond. It would be logical to think other fish would be affected if there's a water quality problem, but it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes larger koi are affected when smaller ones aren't. Some fish are simply less constitutionally strong than others. The strips you dip in the water are not accurate. The kits with test tubes and chemicals you add to water samples are more reliable. The API Master Test Kit is one good one. If you can do that, let me know the results for ammonia and nitrites in parts per million, and also the pH. It may be a long shot, but I think it's worth checking into.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thanks. I will test the pond water tomorrow. If we decide to go the vet route, do you have anyone in mind?
I have some directories I can check, but I will need your location.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you longmont co 80504 a half hour north of denver
Thank you. I'll see what I can find.

There aren't very many aquatic vets in Colorado, but there is one in Denver:

Jena Questen DVM*****B
Denver, CO, 80211
USA(###) ###-####br />*****@******.***

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