Koi Pond Medicating Techniques

Hospital Tanks

Any new fish to be added to the pond should be observed for at least two full weeks.  Always assume a new fish is diseased with bacteria or parasites.  Be especially careful if adding "feeder goldfish" to the pond.  Since these fish are bred to be part of the food chain, less care may have been taken to ensure their good health.  If the new fish are the only fish in the pond, the entire pond may be treated.  Try to avoid treating the main pond as it contains crucial nitrifying bacteria, which may be destroyed by medications.  It is always more manageable to treat fish in a smaller, more observable body of water such as a glass aquarium.

A glass aquarium may be set up as a hospital tank.  It should be equipped with an aeration device, usually an air pump with an air-stone attached.  A re-circulating filter may be used, but make sure that it only contains filter floss or foam... not activated charcoal.  Activated charcoal will remove many medications that you may need to treat your fish.

To determine the fish holding capacity of the hospital tank, compute the square surface area of the tank in inches.  Divide this figure by 30 to determine the number of body inches the tank can accommodate.  Since overcrowding is also stressful, it is important not to add this factor to an already stressed and sick fish.

Using Med's In The Hospital Tank

New fish should be treated with a broad-spectrum anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic medication as a preventative.  Antibiotics should never be used unless a specific disease is noticed.  Some preventative medications include: Acriflavine Neutral, Copper Sulfate, Forma-Green, Malachite Green, Methylene Blue, Praziquantel and De-Los.

One or two tablespoons of salt per 5 gallons will aid in relieving stress as well as in treating for some parasites.

The water temperature in a hospital tank should be maintained at a stable level close to that of the pond.  However, if a salt only treatment is being used to destroy possible parasites, you may want to use an aquarium heater and heat the tank up to 86°F.  The temperature must not be raised more than 1 degree per hour to avoid stressing or damaging the fish.  This high temperature will kill most parasites, and also kill S.V.C and K.H.V. viruses.  Make sure that you allow the water to cool down slowly, back to the temperature of the outdoor pond before you transfer fish into it.

Also make sure to sterilize all equipment and nets with a watered down bleach solution, that were used to transfer the fish into and out of the hospital tank.  Cross contamination can be a significant problem.


Temporary Fish Quarters

In treating a large fish or a number of fish, the use of an aquarium may not be practical.  Temporary quarters for fish may be built of wooden planks supported by concrete blocks to accommodate a water depth of 9 to 12 inches will facilitate volume computation for medication dosages.  A double sheet of polyethylene is draped and secured in the frame.  Shade should be provided in warm, sunny weather.  A net or a screen over the top will prevent fish from jumping out and predators from getting in.  A small pool pump or aquarium air pump helps to maintain an oxygen supply.

Using Antibiotic Treatments

First of all, you never, ever want to use an antibiotic treatment for a preventative.  You can create problems, and actually make the fish antibiotic resistant by doing this.  Also, never use an antibiotic for less than 10 days.  If you do, you may create a resistant strain of bacteria to develop.  Antibiotics should never be used as "dips" either.  These drugs must be used as a long-term bath for 10 days to be effective.  Antibiotics may have to be used longer than this, especially if you are treating an outdoor pond that contains cooler water.  It is always better to remove the fish to a heated hospital tank or pool for treatment.  This will speed up healing time.

Adding Salt To Your Pond

Salt is pretty amazing in it's ability to control algae, detoxify Nitrites, kill parasites and it's antiseptic qualities.  Salt is a great item to use for your water quality, but first... you need to know how much to add.  We feel that a 0.1% continual salt bath is a good level to run at all the time.  To achieve this level, add 1¼ ounces of salt per 10 gallons of pond water. 

The maximum level of salt that you can run without major damage to the fish is 0.3%.  This high salt level is used for treating fish wounds and parasites.  To achieve this level, add 3.8 oz. of salt per 10 gallons.  This salt level is better suited for a bath, or in a hospital tank. Never ever take your main pond up this high as a long term bath in a high salt concentration is very bad for your fish, not to mention your biological bacteria.  You will ruin your pond and slowly poison your fish with all of this salt.  Trust us, around 50% of the calls we are getting are salt-related problems.


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