Koi & Goldfish Viral Disorders


If you have a dial up connection: Please wait while these pictures of Koi with KHV virus load:

K.H.V Viral Infection.  On the second picture, notice the yellow mucous on the fish's head... this is a definite sign of KHV.  Note the bloody red fins.  This is a secondary infection caused by Septicemia.

Another fish with KHV, see the mucous behind the gill plate (operculum) and the coating over the eyes:

More KHV pics.  The Koi below is affected by KHV and a secondary infection with Pseudomonas bacteria:

This fish was healed by using the heat treatments and our Koi Fix®





Treatment and Links

A).   Small red to grayish nodules protrude 1 to 2mm above the surface of the skin.  In advanced cases they can have a rough texture Fish Behavioral Disorders Flow Chart

Carp Pox (Herpesvirus Ciprini)

Fish Behavioral Disorders Flow Chart

No suitable treatment known.  This disease is not fatal, but the growth of the fish may be retarded.

If not, look down the chart further

B).   Fish display hemorrhages on the gills, operculum (gill plate), in the mouth cavity and at the bases of the fins.  Internal organs will be affected. Fish Behavioral Disorders Flow Chart

V.H.S. Virus
(Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia)

Fish Behavioral Disorders Flow Chart No suitable treatment known.  Separate affected fish.  Sterilize equipment and maintain healthy water quality.  Do not overcrowd your fish.
If not, look down the chart further
C).   The fish's gills are pale, the stomach is distended.  A thick mucoid substance trails out of the anal vent.  Some fish have loss of the equilibrium and uncoordinated swimming.  Ulcerations and septicemic symptoms may accompany this virus. Fish Behavioral Disorders Flow Chart

Cause: Rhabdovirus Carpio. 

Trade Name: S.V.C. Virus, Spring Viremia of Carp, Infectious Dropsy

Fish Behavioral Disorders Flow Chart Heating the water to 86°F for 7 days has shown to kill this virus.  Secondary infections may be treated with  Koi Fix® -or- Oxytetracycline + Oxolinic Acid in the feed.  Forma-Green may be used in the water if the fish have ulcerations.
If not, look down the chart further
D).  Fish may darken in color and become lethargic.  Excess slime coat is apparent.  White to yellow patches may be observed inside the gills.  Secondary bacterial infections may also be present, as well as internal organ damage. Fish Behavioral Disorders Flow Chart

K.H.V. Virus
(Koi Herpes Virus)
Click Here for KHV Treatment Info.

Fish Behavioral Disorders Flow Chart Heat the fish up to 86°F for 7 days.  Do not treat the fish with anything during the heat treatment as this will stress them out.  After 7 days the secondary infections may be treated with  Koi Fix® -or- Gentamycin Sulfate

Heating the water is most important.


A little more about Koi and viruses.  9 times out of 10, the cause of the disease is due to a gram-negative bacterial infection from the following bacteria: Aeromonas Salmonicida, Aeromonas Hydrophila, Pseudomonas Fluorescens.  Sometimes these bacteria become resistant to traditional treatments, especially if they are not used properly.  People tend to say it is a "virus" in these types of scenario's because the medications did not work.  Remember: If you are using antibiotics, rule of thumb is: They must be used for a 10 day minimum treatment.  Water temperatures are also a big factor.  The Koi will not respond to treatments unless the water temperature is at least 65°F. 

S.V.C. virus, is one that we see every year around springtime.  This particular virus will be unknown to the hobbyist until the fish's immune system is weakened, and secondary infections due to one of the bacteria listed above... invades the fish.  So in this case, you have two things to deal with, a virus, and a bacterial disorder.  S.V.C. virus cannot survive temperatures above 83°F.  We suggest raising the temperature up to 86°F for 5-7 days, then slowly cool the fish down by no more than 2°F per day until the water temperature is around 80°F.  Start the antibiotic treatments at this temperature and continue to treat the fish until all secondary infections have cleared (anywhere from 10-14 days).

Treating a viral infection can be a problem especially if you have a very large pond and no way to heat it.  Many "newbies" to the hobby soon find out that it can become very costly to purchase isolation tanks, or even build a smaller isolation pond, so that you can medicate when necessary.  It is very unfortunate that people are not informed of this by their retailer, and it is absolutely necessary.  Always try to avoid treating your main pond as some of the medications will harm the nitrifying bacteria that keep it cycled and ammonia free.



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