5-Minute Checkup - Guide to Diagnosing Fish Disease

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5-Minute Checkup - Guide to Diagnosing Fish Disease


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Most folks are going to grab whatever is handiest and cheapest for the fish in their ponds. Little thought is given to what kind of food it is and for what purpose. The fact is ornamental pond fish really DO NEED to be fed because Mother Nature cannot supply worms through rubber liners. We, at Pond Doc’s, DO look at the label and size up just what the food does for the fish. Some brands are extremely poor quality and build fat on the fish. Yes, fish suffer from obesity just like humans do! Others are on the other end of the spectrum, supplying the equivalent of our steaks and caviar.
Whenever a fish is netted, bagged and shipped (or driven home) it is a highly stressful adventure for him. He loses his immunity to disease for about 72 hours after the trip. He is weaker than another fish that has not suffered through the same ordeal. During this stressful 72-hour period his general health and body system is at a critical low point.
If it’s spring and the water has just warmed up the first thing that comes to my mind is that your fish have been doing the “wild thing” in your pond. They’ve been spawning. Fish usually prefer to rendezvous at daybreak or at dusk so if the foam sighting is just after these hours that’s a good sign that all is well. Another indicator is if the fish have been wallowing in the plants or if several fish seem to be chasing one. If this is the case the foam you see is actually fish sperm. Lovely mental picture — isn’t it?
I know of people who feed their pond fish catfish food and even dog food. They smile and tell me how cheap these foods are and that their fish do just fine with them. This may be true — for a while. Eventually, however, the "cheap" ingredients in these foods will cause the fish to become obese and die.
If you’ve experienced an extraordinary amount of health problems with your koi and goldfish this year you needn’t feel alone. We’ve seen more ulcer disease, infestation of ich and flukes, internal infections and unaccountable deaths this year than ever before. Customers who have had the same healthy fish for years have been experiencing losses this season of 25% or more without having added new fish or doing anything out of the ordinary.
One of the aspects of fish health that never ceases to amaze us is the resilience of fish and their strange ability to seemingly come back from the dead. Even fish that have jumped out of the pond and are beginning to stiffen have a chance for survival! I know of several incidents when a fish jumped out of his pond sometime during the night and appeared dead the next morning. Amazingly a single shot of steroids brought him back!