Gateways Gateways
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  • Posted on: 15/9/2013 16:48
Fish problems, need help for inexperienced keeper!! #1
Hi All

I some problems in that a few of my pond fish appear to have some kind of health issues but I am unsure how best to help them and treat them.

We moved into our house in May and with it came a pond which was overgrown and had a mixture of brown and lemon goldfish and a young shubunkin. There was another goldfish which died quite soon after we moved in. I arranged to have the pond cleared by a local firm as I really wasn't sure what I would be doing and didn't want to affect the fish or numerous frogs who have also made the pond there home. We had approx 15 frogs of various sizes which were caught when the pond was cleared. I have attached a picture of the pond and the fish which died (Black fish with Orange patches).

Since then no more fish have been lost but over the week or so have noticed various problems with a few of the fish which range from ulcer looking things on their sides to the largest fish who appears to be losing his lips. I have also attached photo's of these.

I have tested the water over the last week and the readings appear to be fine, I will test it again tomorrow. Can anybody please advise what could be causing this and how best to treat the fish. I have purchased some Ponddoctor anti infection on advice from the local fish shop recently but am concerned about just putting this in the pond as I have read quite a few articles and postings on various sites advising against just dosing a pond. Any help would be greatly received as want to do the right thing!!

From the photos the fish with problems are a white lemon goldfish with what looks a bloody nose, an orange lemon goldfish with a lump on his side, a large brown goldfish with what looks like lip damage and a smaller brown goldfish with what looks like an ulcer on his side.

The pond is approx 200 gallons and the water readings on the 10th September were

PH 7.4
KH 8
GH 8
Amonia 0.1
Nitrite <0.01
Nitrate <0.5

I tested the water previously on the 2nd and there was no change and on the 20th August and the only differences were PH was 7.6 and Nitrate <1. I use a JBL test lab to take the readings.

The pond has not filter but does have a fountain attached to a pump which also takes water to a small secondary pool which then falls back to the pond via a stream and waterfall.

Thank you in advance for any help or advice which can be given.
2010 2010
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  • Posted on: 15/9/2013 17:21
Re: Fish problems, need help for inexperienced keeper!! #2
What pictures?

When you have a pond that has fish, the fish will produce waste. This waste has to be "treated" if not the fish will die.
Some folk say you can balance the pond, so do not need a filter, if the pond is very big and there are few fish a natural balance can happen, but often doesn't. What you have is like a swimming pool and no toilet.
You need to either re home the fish, or install a biological filter and UV.
Good quality costs. Bear this in mind before you start.

Sorry if my reply is NOT want you want to hear, but what I have said is true.

We can only go by what you type.

A "thank you" costs nothing, but goes a long way.
Gateways Gateways
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  • Posted on: 15/9/2013 18:26
Re: Fish problems, need help for inexperienced keeper!! #3
Have worked out hopefully how to successfully post the photos.

I was told that for a pond of this size, as long as it has adequate planting then it should not require any other filtering. Is this not correct?

Also, we inherited the pond from the previous home owners so guess they were under the same impression.


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2010 2010
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  • Posted on: 15/9/2013 21:35
Re: Fish problems, need help for inexperienced keeper!! #4
I don't want to appear to be rude, but the pictures you have posted are of no use as they are far too small.

-----------------------------------------------------


Quote:

Gateways wrote:
I was told that for a pond of this size, as long as it has adequate planting then it should not require any other filtering. Is this not correct?


As I said, some folk say you can balance a pond by its plants all the time.

If that were true then people would not use bio filters. So yes, it is NOT correct.


--------------------------------------------


Quote:

Gateways wrote:
Also, we inherited the pond from the previous home owners so guess they were under the same impression.


I guess they were, or perhaps they did not / know or care, we will never know.


If it helps there are a lot of myths about fish, tanks, ponds and fountains.

A few of my favourite examples:

Most people also think that if a goldfish lives 3 years it is old.

Most think a fish will only grow to the size of the tank.

Ponds with fish don't need filtration
Good quality costs. Bear this in mind before you start.

Sorry if my reply is NOT want you want to hear, but what I have said is true.

We can only go by what you type.

A "thank you" costs nothing, but goes a long way.
Waterbug Waterbug
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  • Posted on: 16/9/2013 6:56
Re: Fish problems, need help for inexperienced keeper!! #5
The test results look OK to me. Which tells me you have adequate bio filtering today. Ammonia and/or nitrite level tells me that.

The pond itself provides some bio filtering. Sides, inside of pump tubing, provide surface area for bacteria to convert ammonia and nitrite. Algae consumes ammonium (part of Total Ammonia) directly. Streams and waterfalls are great bio filters. So a pond has a fair amount of bio filtering before the things we think of as filters are added. So a pond can support some number of fish. Ammonia and nitrite levels tell whether true or not for a specific pond at a specific time.

Most pond plants will also consume ammonium, but not as well as algae only because algae grows faster normally and has more total mass. Potted plants would generally add more ammonia and nitrates from decay and stuff coming out of the media, than they would remove. Too close to call.

Plants and algae aren't reliable however. When an algae bloom is growing good you'll generally measure zero ammonia and nitrates, it's sucking it out of the water as fast as the pond can produce it. But when a bloom dies the decay will increase ammonia and nitrates.

Testing tells you what's going on.

The ulcers on the fish is a serious problem of course. No way to tell what the cause was. Ulcers are more of thing that happens after the problem. For example fungus can be the problem, damage skin, cause sores that get infected with bacteria which create ulcers which is what I would call what was described. Or parasites could start the process, or virus, lack of food, lack of O2, anything that stresses fish, lowers their immune system and bacteria can get a hold and then ulcers.

I don't really have any good simple advice. There are some good sites like KoiVet, that can help you work thru all the possibilities, but it's not simple at all. My best advice is to spend some time reading. It's faster and more effective for you to read and look at pictures and tell what's going on than trying to describe it in text to other people.

I normally don't recommend trying cures without having a good idea of what you're curing. More harm than good. But in this type of case the fish sound in pretty bad shape, more than one fish is involved, and a 200 gal pond is more treatable than a 5000 gal. I'd probably try something. What that something is...I really hate to guess based on some text. Even pictures aren't a big help, hard to get good pictures. This stuff is hard enough to figure out in person.

By the time things get this bad it's pretty hard to fix without a fair amount of experience imo. Hard to talk people thru it. And once bacteria eats away things like lips they won't bounce back all the way to normal. Scars and loss of tissue are often forever. So it's just a tough road even if the fish live.

What I would do, not saying you should, is maybe put down the fish that look in the toughest shape. Like once fish start losing lips or ulcers look deep or cover a lot of the fish I throw in the towel. Then I remove all muck and decaying matter from the pond. Repeat that daily or even a few times a day for a week or two. Even if you're not getting much the stirring helps break down what remains.

For a 200 gal pond a simple minnow net and just scooping around the bottom works great.

Maybe I might get an air stone going, but I seriously doubt that would help much given the pond size and you already have a pump. More of a covering all bases thing. From the pictures the fish look well fed, I'd continue. Keep testing water just to be sure nothing changes. Smaller ponds can go from good to bad fast.

Hope it works out.
Gateways Gateways
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  • Posted on: 16/9/2013 14:49
Re: Fish problems, need help for inexperienced keeper!! #6
Thanks for the advice, that is a great help. I will read up more on treating the poor little things and hope they can recover.
Violet Violet
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  • Posted on: 16/9/2013 17:18
Re: Fish problems, need help for inexperienced keeper!! #7
I'm a tank girl as opposed to a pondy but if it were me, I'd be swotting up on bacterial infections - what different types look like i.e. how they manifest - clear pics are a must for us here.

There are bacterial meds for ponds but as already mentioned, medding without a diagnosis can do more harm than good sometimes when a fishes immune sytem is already under stress.

Fins crossed.
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Gateways Gateways
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  • Posted on: 16/9/2013 19:13
Re: Fish problems, need help for inexperienced keeper!! #8
Hopefully this size of photo will be better for you guys to try and help

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finnipper finnipper
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  • Posted on: 16/9/2013 19:33
Re: Fish problems, need help for inexperienced keeper!! #9
I agree with everything Waterbug has mentioned, but as a starting place all the symptoms listed fit a fairly common type of infection caused by columnaris bacteria.

Do some research on columnaris and see if it fits what is happening in your pond. If it is then there are plenty of remedies to treat the condition but an established infection like this doesn't always respond very quickly to treatment and stronger medication may be called for.
Waterbug Waterbug
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  • Posted on: 16/9/2013 22:16
Re: Fish problems, need help for inexperienced keeper!! #10
violet reminded me of something...one of the reasons I came to this forum.

I'm a pond dude for many years, never had an aquarium. I'd bet 75% of the good info I've learn over the years has been from reading aquarium forums and sites. Water Garden keepers aren't too much into testing, data, so myths pretty much rule. Koi keepers are a lot more serious, but I've never found any info that's as good as from aquarists, by far. And it's almost all relatable back to ponds.

For treating pond fish we transfer sick fish to a hospital tank, which is nothing more than an aquarium. From there treatment is exactly the same as how an aquarist would treat the same fish.

The only reason I didn't suggest transferring to a hospital tank is you probably don't have one and a 200 gal pond is about the size of a Koi hospital tank so I wouldn't see a reason for a separate tank. Just look at your pond as an aquarium.

If you search aquarium sites and focus on Goldfish (maybe any cold water fish?), and any help violet and others here can provide, you could do no better imo.