Sunday, March 21, 2010

I will take fish food with that warm water

Despite what the calendar says, it’s time for the fish to wake up.   They are waking up on their own, and they are hungry.  Watching the Koi is a good indicator that it might be getting close to the time to start feeding them a low protein food again, but really, its not like the fish stop shivering or put up a sign saying “Feed me!!!”.

I use water temperature as the final guide.  Over the holidays, you may remember I got one of these nifty remote temperature gauges, so I can plan out my Koi Garden days from the warmth of my house.  Nice....  Once the temperature starts getting higher than 50 degrees F, for extended periods of time, the fish will be able to digest the food they eat.  The fish’s immune system also turns on by that time and helps the fish fight the waking bad bacteria and diseases.   The increasing temperatures also allow the beneficial bacteria of the filters to start the Nitrogen cycle.

With all this happening, it is a risky time for the fish, plus I have not even mentioned my personal war with the Raccoon, but again I digress.  In a normal spring, the temperature gradually increases over 50, with multiple dips back into the 40s and even 30s.  I think this stresses the fish and increases the risk of sickness.  Therefore, in the Koi Garden, I try to reduce the risk with the help of an aquarium thermometer which is placed in the external filter assembly.  This has heated the water flowing from the filter to the pond and reduced the fluctuations in the water temperature, especially when the temperature drops below 50 degrees F. 

The heater should also allow the beneficial bacteria to take root and begin to do their job cleaning the water at the earliest possible time.  At the same time, I have also turned off the UV sterilizing filter, to make sure the beneficial bacteria have a fighting chance.  At this time, I am going to put up with green water if it means the filters get started correctly.  Better to have a healthy Koi that I cannot see due to green water than an unhealthy Koi clearly visible in the bottom of the pond…..

Testing the water chemicals during this timeframe is very important as things can change within days.  In the Koi Garden the Ammonia and Nitrite levels have not been too high yet, but if they do rise above safe levels, water changes may be necessary.  I will keep my eyes on this in the future.

1 comment:

Koi Garden Guy said...

Latest update on the accuracy of the electronic temp gauge. Not bad!!! There has been some speculation in the blogisphere about the accuracy of these gauges. I did a test comparing the numbers provided by these and a floating temp gauge. And the result: Pretty good. At least good enough to base feeding decisions on for your Koi!!!