Monday, March 28, 2011

Koi with eggs

My koi is full of eggs how long before she lays them? We noticed on Friday and its now Monday and no sign of the eggs yet. - Sage

Koi usually lay their eggs in late spring or early summer.  Changing temperatures are usually the trigger for the spawn.  You will notice that a couple male Koi are banging into the female one to get her to expel the eggs.

If your Koi's abdomen becomes abnormally large, it may be the sign of a tumor.  Only a trained vet can diagnose and remove a tumor.

New 5,000 gallon pond - Should I put rock in it?

I am building my 1st Koi pond - 5,000 gal. I have done a lot of research and feel I am ready. I have someone who will excavate the hole, and place the liner. He majored in landscape design at an excellent university and has been working for about 7 years. He recommends after the liner is placed to cover the bottom with pebbles, and stack cobblestone sized rocks up the sides to cover the entire liner. This is for esthetic reasons, especially since the pond will be lighted. This sounds like a great idea, but I can't find anything that either recommends or discourages this design. I am concerned about debris getting trapped between the rocks and not reaching the bottom drains. Any suggestions? - Bill

You are correct, the rock on the bottom of the pond will trap debris and it will prevent the bottom drain from working correctly.

Fish waste and leaves will slide across the liner on the bottom of the pond and into the bottom drain, but if there are pebbles on the bottom, they will catch everything.  Koi fish love rooting around at the bottom, expect a lot of pebbles to end up in the bottom drain.

Any rock on the bottom of the pond will need to be cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis. When fish waste builds up and fills the small spaces in between the rock, it creates perfect conditions for anaerobic bacteria to grow: a low oxygen environment with tons of nutrients. Anerobic bacteria release hydrogen sulfide, which is poisonous to fish. Hydrogen sulfide gas smells like rotten eggs and is released into the pond if the rock is disturbed.

To clean the rock at the bottom of the pond, you will need to:
  1. Catch the Koi and place then in a temporary tank
  2. Drain the water out of the Koi pond
  3. Power wash the rock on the bottom
  4. Fill the pond back up and let the water dechlorinate for a few days
  5. Place the Koi back into the pond
To summarize, you can put pebble rocks on the bottom and clean the pond out often, or you can leave the bottom of the pond open and let the bottom drain do all of the work for you.

Aesthetically speaking, algae will cover any surface in the pond.  Both liner and small rocks will end up looking the same after a year or so.  It is ok to place the larger stones along the pond walls.  They won't capture debris and will add to the water scape.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sudden Fish loss

In about 12 hours all my koi died. We had done nothing different with the pond, the water seemed normal, pump working. Since I'm in Southern California, near the beach, the temperature range is narrow. We have had the pond for 11 years. What could have caused this? - Helen

Did you leave your hose running?

The most common cause of a pond die-off is the fish being exposed to chlorinated water.  Chlorinated water kills organic tissue of the fish that it comes in contact with.  Gills are sensitive tissue, and when the chlorinated water comes in contact with them, the cells start dieing off.  The Koi fish then suffocates because is will be unable to breathe.

If enough chlorinated water is added to the pond because the hose is left on, it will overpower the dechlorinator and will cause a die off.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Shy Koi won't bottle feed

How do you get Koi to start feeding from bottle? Mine are a little shy. - Babs

I would start by getting your Koi fish to eat from your hand before you try to get them to eat from a bottle. You "train" them by being near the pond when they eat. Move a little closer each time you feed them until you can kneel next to the pond. When they are comfortable with that, put your hand in the water while they are eating. Start keeping some food in your hand, they will eventually eat from it. Pretty soon they will start to associate your hand with being fed, so they will come right up to you. Then train your Koi to eat from a baby bottle.

Things to remember

  • Not scaring your Koi is very important
  • Introducing a Koi that will eat from your hand into your pond will make your other Koi in your collection more likely to hand feed

Friday, March 11, 2011

8.9 Earthquake in Japan

An 8.9 magnatude earthquake struck off of the eastern coast of japan.  The epicenter was about 231 miles from Tokyo and only 201 miles from Nagaoka. No word yet on the condition of the Koi farms in Niigata.

More info on the USGS website here:

Edit: Reuters is now reporting that a 10 meter tall tsunami wave has hit the port of Sendei, Japan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Frozen Koi

I have 3 Koi and 3 gold fish and live in Michigan we had a extremely cold winter. We just had a break in the weather and the thaw produced one frozen dead goldfish and a half frozen 15 in Koi. The Koi worked his way to a shallow 18 in deep part of the pond. The other fish are moving around fine, but the frozen koi is moving when pushed and for the most part is laying on his side. The water temperature is still at 32 degrees, a heater and aerator are still running. Will this Koi recover? Is there something we can do to help the frozen Koi? - Chris

You should move the Koi to a deeper part of the pond.  Koi can live in a wide temperature range, but 32 degrees F is too cold.  34 degrees is the absolute minimum that a Koi can withstand.  The temperature at the bottom of the pond will be warmer, it will be closer to 40 degrees.  The chances of the Koi recovering are greater if it wasn't in the shallow area for too long.

Koi eggs left behind

We clean our pond and we take out the Kois we put them in a plactic drums and in the morning we found out that the female Koi laid thousands of eggs. We took the Kois back to the pond, but what will happen to the eggs? - Mariz

If the eggs were fertilized, there is a good chance that they will hatch into the Koi fry. If not, then nothing will happen. If you notice fry appearing in the tub, keep the water quality pristine until they are large enough to move to your pond.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fish Story

In an article entitled "Koi story Pair raise and rescue colorful fish" in the Clarion Ledger about a couple that raises "domestic" Koi fish, they claim that Koi can grow up to five feet long in Japan.  It is common knowledge that Koi can only grow to three to three and a half feet long.  A five foot long Koi would be ridiculous.  A quick internet search reveals that the only available five foot long Koi in Japan are the Koinobori, the carp wind socks that are brought out on Children's Day (May 5th). Sounds like they fed the reporter a fish story.

Read the full article here:

2011 Central Florida Koi Show

The 2011 Central Florida Koi Show is happening this weekend.  It is put on by a group of the finest Koi clubs from all Over Florida.

They include:
  • Florida East Coast Koi and Pond Club
  • Gainesville Koi Club
  • Orlando Area Koi & Pond Club
  • Rainbow River Koi Club
  • Southern Koi Association
There are several seminars to attend.  The speakers are:
  • Steve Childers
  • Joe White
  • Dr. Richard and Luanne Porter
  • Joe Sprinkle
  • Bill McGurk
  • Stan Ellis
  • Henry Culpepper
  • Ray Jordan
Don't miss this show.  It will be a great opportunity to see some of the best Koi in the region.

International Palms Resort & Conference Center Orlando
6515 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

March 11, 2011 to March 13, 2011

For more information, visit:

Thursday, March 3, 2011


My Kois have been scratching their backs at the bottom of the tanks recently. I have read up on Ich, but I can't see the white sand like salt on them? Also what product should I buy to cure this? -Sam

There are a whole range of parasites that can live on a Koi, including ich.  Ich will have the tell tale salt "spots" and since you don't see them on your Koi, they probably have another parasite that is bothering them.  You can try using a broad range parasite treatment from a pet store.