Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A death in the Koi Garden

Spring is a risky time in the Koi Garden.  The water temperature rises and with that, so does the risks for the fish.  While rising temperatures allow internal immune systems to take hold, it also allows viruses and harmful bacteria to grow and flourish as well.  In some cases the harmful bacteria grows faster than the fish’s ability to fight them.  This can lead to diseases and even quick deaths.

This is what has happened to some favorites in the Koi Garden.  Rhu, a great looking Kumonru died very quickly this week.  One morning he was found dead in the pond. Cause unknown.  Call it Spring Fever.   A great loss. Rhu was introduced to our readers in previous posts and will he will be missed.

When dead fish are found in the pond it is very important to remove the fish very quickly to reduce the chance of any disease transferring to the other fish.  A detailed review and analysis of the dead fish must be made to get some idea of the problem.   Do not touch the fish with bare hands.  Gloves should be worn; gardening gloves work well for this task; and they should be thoroughly washed afterward.  The fins should be checked for any problems like fin rot, ich, or any other malady.  Pry open the gills; the color should be a nice reddish, pink color.  The gills should be complete and healthy looking.  If the gills are damaged in any way, it could be an indication of the disease that the fish succumbed to.   It is also very important to test the water as well.  Watch out for high levels of Ammonia and Nitrites.  They can stress the fish and extended periods of stress can cause death.

This is the time where good reference materials are a must.  In previous posts, I have talked about a favorite book of mine.  In my gift recommendations I have talked about a few good books that could be a great help.  This is the time to talk to your Koi gardens friends.  In the Koi Garden one great resource I have is Oasis Water Gardens.  Diane Torgenson is a great source of assistance to any problems I might have.

In the case of Rhu, it might be of interest that the fish did change color.  It was almost not possible to recognize Rhu.  Readers might remember that a Kumonru is a fish that can change color based on temperature, water chemicals, and other factors.  When I pulled Rhu out of the pond he had a lot larger amount of red coloring, far more than he normally had.

Rhu was placed to rest with a burial in a corner of the Koi garden.  It is the same area where I have placed other fish that have died in the past.   While I never like to lose fish, having them give nutrients and growth to a nice Hydrangea is at least something positive out of the whole thing.

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