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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11540
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Hi I have a six year old koi. He is about 2 feet long. While

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Hi I have a six year old koi. He is about 2 feet long. While I sprinkle Tetra pellets for all the small fish, I squeeze a large amount into a cylinder shape for my two large koi, and they suck it out of my hand I have been doing this daily for several years. This past week or two, the largest koil I will take the cylinder into his mouth and swim off with it within 10 to 20 seconds I see it floating back on the surface of the water immediately comes back to me asking for more upon noticing the problem, I give him smaller and smaller chunks. Yesterday and today though, he swims off and spits out the smaller chunks, continually coming back for more food but not digesting it .. other than that, his actions, personality, appear normal all the other small fish, plus the one other large fish, all have normal appetites. Is Big O Fish is my buddy, and I am worried that there may be something wrong with him. The pH, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, levels are all fine temperature here is mild, and the filter is clean and flowing properly

I'm sorry to hear your Big O fish is having a problem. While there is no way to be certain based only on an online description, the feeding behavior you have described is often a sign of something being caught in the mouth or throat. Because fish breathe through their gills, they don't choke as a mammal might. A fish with this problem may also sometimes swim head down or try to shake its head to dislodge the object. It could be a rock, a piece of stick that has fallen into the pond, or any of a number of foreign objects. Sometimes a fish will finally manage to get the object out, and many pond keepers do nothing. However, a fish can become greatly distressed from this and eventually die of exhaustion. To help, you'd need to catch the fish. Wrap it in a wet towel, and hold it head down. Rub the throat in one direction - toward the mouth- to see if that will dislodge the object. If that doesn't work, you can open the fish's mouth, and using round-ended tweezers very gently take hold of the object and dislodge it.

If you don't see anything, there could be something further into the esophagus. In that case, there won't be anything you can do on your own. You can wait to see if the koi will be able to get rid of it, or an aquatic vet could remove it. A polyp or tumor in the throat or esophagus could also cause this symptom. You would need a vet to take care of that, too. If you need a vet, these links will take you to directories of fish vets:

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope Big O will be fine.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. However, all of his other actions, hanging out, interacting with the other fish, swimming around, all are perfectly normal he doesn't display any signs of stress, personality wise, or showing any physical problems, such as any kind of blockage. I am worried, that bring him to a vet, would cause some real stress, and possibly kill or hurt him do vets make house calls?
Many aquatic vets do make house calls. You would have to call those in your area to ask. However, you might want to look in Big O's mouth before resorting to a vet. Since he isn't displaying any symptoms except the eating problem, you could also give him some time to see what happens. I would observe him closely for any other symptoms during that time.

If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
You don't know anybody in the Westchester area who could come?
Fish vets are few and far between. There isn't likely to be one extremely close to you. The only way to find out if they do house calls is to call and ask. I live far away from you, so i'm not personally familiar with any of the vets. Here are all of them I found in Michigan:

Alissa Smitley DVM
Milwood Animal Clinic
5942 Lovers Lane
Portage, MI, 49002

Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, Inc.
32831 Southfield Rd.
Beverly Hills, Oakland, MI, 48306

Steven Burns DVM
Walled Lake Veterinary Hospital
1501 East West Maple Rd.
Walled Lake, MI, 48390

Jeffrey Fortna DVM
Pawsitive Solutions
Rohr Rd.
Orion, MI, 48359
+1(NNN) NNN-NNNNnother of our experts had another idea. Are you certain that Big O is a male? Females will behave this way just prior to spawning.Anna
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