Treatments, Remedies and Cures For Your Koi and Pond Fish
The Koi Care range from NTLabs is a specialist range of high quality products that will ensure an optimum environment for valuable Koi and other pond fish. NTLabs Koi Care range is the complete answer to looking after ponds, pond water, pond fish and Koi. The Koi range has a product for every aspect of Koi Care, all of which compliment one another in maintaining a healthy aquatic system. The Koi Care range from NTLabs encompasses multivitamin, antiseptic, green water and water cleansing products for Koi, to name just a few.
Information On Using NTLabs Products
Recommendations for treating your Koi
Always leave plenty of time to observe the fish after adding the treatment in case they react badly.
Switch off UV lights during the treatment period. UV light can break down the active ingredients and reduce the contact time thus making the treatment less effective. UV light can sometimes react with the chemicals in the treatment to produce toxic by-products.
Remove any absorbent or adsorbent filter materials such as zeolite or carbon during treatment as these can remove the active ingredients from the water.
Before adding a treatment try to make sure you have made a correct diagnosis of the problem and have chosen the most suitable treatment. If possible have the fish examined by an expert who can carry out some tests and microscopic examinations to determine the best treatment for the problem.
Test the water regularly for pH and Nitrite. Keep a record of the results so that you can be alerted to any change which may occur. If you use salt, also use a salt tester to make sure you do not use too much.
Also keep a record of when you treat and with what in case you need to take further advice.
If the treatment does not have the desired effect after 2 courses consult a veterinary surgeon who knows about the fish and who can provide stronger, prescription only treatments should they be indicated.
If your vet doesn't know much about fish make sure he or she finds out so that they can provide the service you require.
External parasites such as Ichthyopthirius (White spot), Trichodina, Costia, Chilodonella, and Epistylis are
frequent troublemakers in the fish pond. They live in the mucus layer of the fish and cause intense irritation as they graze on the skin cells. Infection can be recognised as the fish secrete excess mucus, thus giving them a grey slimy appearance. In a White spot infection, as the name suggests, the parasite forms adult clusters visible as small white spots that resemble table salt grains over the surface of the fish.
All these parasitoses cause intense irritation to the fish, making them scratch against surfaces and sides in the pond, flick and thrash around and even jump out of the water as they attempt to relieve the irritation.
Use Malachite Green whenever the above infections are suspected. If possible confirm the diagnosis by a
Koi Care Malachite Green is also an excellent anti-fungal treatment for diseases such as Saprolegnia. This
fungus commonly infects wounds and ulcers on the surface of the fish. It resembles cotton wool like outgrowths from the infected area. However, microscope diagnosis is extremely important, as the symptoms can appear very similar to Flexibacter infection. As this is a bacterial disease, an anti-fungal treatment will only aggravate the disease. Acriflavin or Gill Wash would be the chosen treatments.
Two scientific researchers called Leteux and Meyer were the first to publish the fact that the anti-parasitic
activity of Malachite Green could be enhanced by using it in conjunction with Formaldehyde. When parasite infections such as Ichthyopthirius (White spot), Trichodina, Costia, Chilodonella, and Epistylis are suspected the best treatment is a mixture of both products. Some external parasites such as the flukes Gyrodactylus and Dactylogyrus are best controlled using Formaldehyde alone. It can penetrate the mucus layer and reach the parasites that would otherwise be protected.
Malachite Green and Formaldehyde, used together, are one of the best treatments for common external
parasitic infections. This is a strong mixture of the two anti-parasite agents that is applied to the pond or treatment tank. The treatment lasts the full five days required to kill all free swimming and emergent ectoparasites. Due to the strength of FMG mixture, it only needs to be applied once. However, this means it is not recommended to be used in ponds containing sensitive fish such as Sterlet, Tench, Rudd or Orfe.
For these species use Pond Aid Eradick - a lower dosage treatment applied daily for five days.
This is a ready prepared solution, so there is no need to worry about weighing out granules and having
accurate scales. Pottasium Permanganate Dip is a treatment widely used and very effective against active parasites. As a dip, it is also excellent at cleaning ulcers and wounds and destroying any parasites and bacteria, which
may be eating away at the wound. During the dip treatment, any Argulus lice will drop off the fish, thus removing another source of stress and illness.
When returning the fish do not return the treatment water as it contains the parasites that have been removed. Permanganate Dip also destroys dissolved organic material. In the process, the active permanganate is itself destroyed, making the water brown instead of pink. For this reason, we principally advise the use of this product as a dip where the concentrated solution is diluted in a koi bowl containing clean, dechlorinated tap water and, therefore, retains its strength throughout the treatment time.
The skin of fish under dip treatment may appear brown, this is because the mucus on the skin has neutralised some of the permanganate. It is harmless and will soon disappear.
This is a new treatment available since September 2004 which has generated some excellent feedback. The skin and gill flukes Dactylogyrus Sp. and Gyrodactylus Sp. are notoriously difficult to treat directly in the pond. This is because they are protected by the natural mucus layer on the fish and by causing the fish to produce more mucus by irritating the skin and gills. Successful treatment depends upon ingredients which can penetrate the mucus and reach the parasites. The correct dose of BDS Fluke treatment penetrates the mucus layer and persists in the water long enough to destroy the various stages of the parasitic life cycle which may otherwise remain to re-infect treated fish. The added bonus is that BDS Fluke treatment does not affect the filter bacteria or the plants.
When administering these treatments there are certain points, which need to be noted:
- Always remember that most chemical reactions require oxygen so ensure your pond is well aerated in order to cope with this increase in demand.
- Remove any absorbent filter material, i.e. Carbon, Zeolite etc.
- Switch off your UV steriliser.
- Allow plenty of time to observe the fish during treatment.
- Do not mix treatments unless instructed to by the product information.
- Leave 10 days before re-treating, if no improvement is seen.
- When using any treatment it is advisable to add Filter Bugs in order to give your biological filter a boost by adding beneficial nitrifying bacteria.
Always be happy that you have diagnosed the problem correctly (water quality as well as a scrape). If you have identified a parasitic infection then treat the whole pond with the appropriate treatment e.g. FMG Mixture (or as individual chemicals) or BDS Fluke treatment. If individuals still show symptoms of parasitic infection
and if they can be removed from the pond with the minimum of stress, then dip them in Permanganate Dip or a Pond Salt Plus dip. If symptoms seem to indicate a gill problem, check the water quality, inspectthe gills and treat with Gill Wash. Always quarantine new fish and Dip them in Permanganate Dip. Always follow the correct method of application (listed above).
Good Aquatic Management
Prevention is the best method to maintain a healthy koi pond. Regular maintenance of your pond equipment
will reduce or eliminate the risk of system failure becoming an indirect cause of stress, making your koi
susceptible to infection. Check each and every stage of the pond weekly, from bottom drains to filtration.
As discussed in the last issue, removing excess detritus and regular monitoring of the water parameters will help provide a healthier environment for your fish. Poor water quality may result in irritation for your koi, which can lead to scratching and secondary bacterial infection. Good solids removal can reduce the ammonia loading by up to 30%.
The stocking density of your pond defines the risk to your fish of getting an infection. An overstocked pond can result in increased competition for food, increased waste production, greater fluctuations in water quality parameters, increased stress, reduced immunity and easier transmission of infection. Ultimately your aim is to provide the healthiest environment for your koi by keeping stress to a minimum. This will ensure the immune systems of your koi are working as efficiently as possible in order to fight infection. If you achieve this then it would be a shame to introduce a bacterial problem into the pond. Always ensure that any new fish you are introducing undergo some form of quarantine procedure.
All ponds contain billions of bacteria. These include helpful species that breakdown the toxic fish waste in the biological filter system, and convert it into nitrate, which is then taken up by the plants. However, other bacteria that live in the pond are opportunistic invaders of stressed and wounded fish, including the species Pseudomonas and Aeromonas. These will infect any cut or abrasion on the surface of the fish, and can also invade the host across the gut wall during gastrointestinal problems. Acriflavin, when added to the pond, will significantly reduce the numbers of these opportunistic bacteria in the pond, thus lowering not only the chance of infection, but also the intensity of disease in already infected ponds. It is ideal to use in hospital or quarantine tanks, but it is unwise to constantly add the treatment to the pond when the fish are healthy. This is because a background level of bacteria is essential for healthy fish to maintain their immune systems and you will never be able to sterilise a pond. Bacterial problems that cause body wounds and appear not to be healing should be treated both in the pond and directly on the fish. Firstly ascertain whether the fish can be caught easily. If so, get everything ready to hand that you will need. Do not remove the fish and then start rushing around for swabs, tissue etc – be prepared.
Catch and remove the fish from the pond and sedate in a koi bowl using the natural fish sedative Koi Calm. After approximately 10 minutes the fish will be calm enough to enable easy handling and examination without any further stress. Place the fish on a soft, clean, moist surface or in a koi cradle and cover the eyes to help calming. Now you have the opportunity to conduct a thorough inspection of the fish looking for other signs of bacterial or parasitic infection.
Ulcer Swab is a very powerful yet soothing antiseptic cleanser that kills any infectious organism present in
wounds or damaged skin prior to further topical repair work. Brushed directly onto the wound or ulcer and around the affected area, it provides a clean, debris-free surface for the application of the third treatment. Allow Ulcer Swab to become tacky before applying Wound Seal.
Antiseptic Wound Sealant & Food Additive
NT Labs Propolis Wound Seal is the waxy substance produced by bees to line their hives and protect the precious contents from infection. It forms a waterproof barrier with antibacterial properties and has been known as “Russian Penicillin”.
Supplied as a thick, dark brown, liquid Propolis can be spread over cleaned and dried ulcers and wounds. When the fish is gently lowered back into the water, contact with the Propolis instantly forms a waxy coating which sticks to the wound forming an antiseptic, waterproof barrier which protects the fish from osmotic shock and re-infection. NT Labs Propolis can also be added to food to help boost resistance to infection. Simply coat pellets with Propolis and, when they hit the water, the waxy coat will form allowing the Propolis to be ingested with the food.
Supplied in 50 ml plastic dropper bottle for ease of application to both
wounds and food.
The wound is now ready to be sealed. This prevents osmotic shock and any further infection whilst allowing the fish’s own defence mechanisms an opportunity to work. Wound Seal is a sealing paste/cream that binds to the fish, forming a thin membrane. Wound Seal contains antiseptics and aloe vera and should be applied around the affected area with a clean cotton bud. Once the paste has been applied, return the fish to the pond or an observation tank. After 21 days the wound should start to show signs of repair, particularly around the fringes.
The Paramedic Kit has been developed to treat any cuts, abrasions or ulcers on the exterior body surface of koi carp, and all other types of fish in all types ponds. It contains Koi Calm, Ulcer Swab and Wound Seal. When used as directed, these products will provide a safe and fast-acting wound treatment package to disinfect, seal, and promote the fish’s natural healing process.
The Paramedic Kit also contains detailed instructions on the wound treatment process, together with a guide to aid rapid recovery, and most importantly discover the reason for the wound arising, so the problem can be prevented in future.
Always be happy that you have diagnosed the problem correctly. If you have identified a bacterial infection, treat the whole pond with the appropriate treatment e.g. Acriflavin. If individuals still show symptoms of bacterial infection i.e. ulcers, fin rot etc and can be removed from the pond with the minimum of stress, clean and repair the affected area using the Paramedic Kit. Always quarantine new fish and dip them in Permanganate Dip. Finally, always follow the correct method of application (listed above).
Thanks to Paul Hooper of NTLabs and Koi Carp Magazine