Over at fishdoc.co.uk there are about ten pages that take you through how to use a microscope. The detail is great, and the author is good at educating a non-technical person. Frank Prince-Iles wrote these tutorials probably 19 years ago. Not much has changed, but the articles were updated with some newer microscope parts.
You learn about the parts of the microscope, what you can see and learn with a microscope, how to use the different parts and abilities of a microscope and even a suggestion on what to look for in a reasonable student scope.
Nothing is left out. There are even movies of all the different parasites you could see.
It's only going to get a LITTLE better when drjohnson.com uses some of that detail, and couples it with video using a SPECIFIC microscope that everyone should own, at least, anyone thinking about buying a microscope.
Besides discovering and correcting environmental problems with the situation, attacking bacterial infections in Koi and Goldfish is a large undertaking. Especially if the infection is impacting the ability of the fish to breathe: The GILLS.
The facilities can be very large as in the case of ponds. In fact, so large you can't actually HOLD the fish for treatment.
The following article discusses how to treat bacterial infections when you CAN hold the fish for treatment, and when you CANNOT hold the fish, also discusses what to do in colder water versus warmer water.
There are related articles, like how to SHOT GUN parasites in the scenarios with bacterial infections on your goldfish or Koi.
Always, a microscope is the best way to protect yourself from guessing.
Thank you for your kind attention!
It's been said that "If you take care of the water, the fish take care of themselves" and I believe there's a BIG grain of truth in that.
So much so, that I honestly believe that if you provided 90% of species of aquarium or pond fish with the following conditions, they could survive almost anything:
And so an article pulls all that together from "soup to nuts" with complete instructions and where to find the best deals on the best gear.
Written by fish veterinarian Dr Erik Johnson and recommending ONLY things he has bought and tested in his own home, or fish room.
If you were to follow this advice, and then treat your fish for their actual illness, I think you could hardly ever lose.
There is a lot of information on the internet but it can come from inexperienced sources, and in many cases now, may be a 'bad-translation' of stolen content. It's a "thing" these days.
"Change enough words and it's not plagiarism!" so they say. And when non-English speakers are 'changing words' I've seen some amazing errors.
The best fish health information can be found on DrJohnson.com because it's coming from ONE person and not a panel of self proclaimed experts. (Forums)
Other sites in the same family include: Fishdoc.co.uk and Koivet.com
But, sometimes you don't want a computer near the pond, and prefer details in a written paperback format so, perhaps your best bet is Dr Erik Johnson's textbook "Koi Health & Disease" 2.
It's written in a cookbook "How to" format that almost anyone could understand. It's been well reviewed. In fact, the ONLY criticism of the book on Amazon.com is that the images inside the book are black-and-white greyscale. You don't lose any information with that, but people expect full color these days.
Another resource is Fishtreatments.com (A sister site to drjohnson.com) Things are different on that site.
At that Fishtreatments web site, which calls itself a "What To Buy For That Bug" web site, you get the symptom, plus a brief description and then HOW TO TREAT IT.
You'll see an emphasis on improving water quality but you're not left wondering how to do that. Everything is spelled out from lighting to filtration, medications and resources on how to use them –
The site focuses on Amazon.com-availability because they have Prime shipping, which allows virtually overnight delivery of most things.
You're just LUCKIER when your local pond supplies store has everything in stock.
Many times they do.
How old am I?
I just couldn't say,
I lived in the moment,
For each day to day.
All I've known
Is chase, and play
Guarding you, to
Do as you say.
It's been so great
to be in your Pack
Included in all things,
We each "got our backs"
But then life got harder
I gladly endured,
For the love of my family
It kept my heart moored.
Then like a pen,
I ran out of ink,
It got harder to move
Even harder to think.
And when it got bad
My people took note;
"We should send him to Heaven"
Came the merciful vote.
So, again I'll stand tall,
with The Dog's endless spirit
To serve as a new pup,
The one who endears it.
by Dr. Erik Johnson
Dr Johnson writes a brief article with video of the phenomenon, as an explanation for why overweight cats often "chew the air" (and anything else they can reach) when you scratch the top of their tails.
Here's a link to "My Cat Bites Me or The Air When I Scratch His Tail Top"
Excerpted from this candid and accurate article:
"When a dog is eventually at a healthy weight it will get PICKY about dry dog food. If we left it at that, our dogs would never get fat.
At that point it’s your call whether you mix something in the dry food to coaxe a lean dog to eat, or simply let her eat per her needs, and stay lean.
“She stopped liking her food. She just wouldn’t eat it.”
This is because they don’t NEED many calories when they’re mostly indoors, lean and healthy."
Dr Johnson goes over how a dog should eat and describes the "figure" most dogs should have. This makes it easier for owners of "heavy" dogs to recognize the problem.
The Top Ten Things You Need To Know and Master For Success With a Koi Pond
Figures out all the following:
Inventories quality, informational resources for a deeper understanding
But the most successful garden-variety hobbyist:
Feeds decent food, redundantly supplies their pond electrical, supports lively water movement and intercepts temperature impacts, knows their water's quality via periodic basic water testing with strips, feeds sparingly and never gets new fish. Removes excess fish each year and avoids any drastic changes in population or water. If new fish are in the plan, quarantines new fish before deploying.
You should have one inch of fish per ten gallons of pond water. You can have a bunch more koi than that IF the filtration and water quality will support them. To calculate pond volume figure out approximate length, width and depth in inches. Multiply them thusly: Length inches x Width inches x Depth inches = Product then divide the product by 231 and there you have US Gallons. If you have a mess of small fish, like goldfish and under 6" you can have a lot more than an inch of fish per ten gallons. But the larger koi have more "mass" and oxygen requirements and put out more wastes and so they push the number down to one inch per ten gallons.
2. New Fish
The main source of parasites / germs is new koi. For the most part, "closed collections" don't get parasites as a "new thing". To avoid parasites and even some germ infections, quarantine is imperative which stymies the pathological "impulse buyer" but you know, live with your decisions.
3. Their water:
Water Movement is probably the most important thing in a pond. Most of the time when fish have poor body language, clamping and lethargic, it's a lack of aeration and water movement in warm weather. How much water movement is needed?
Aeration is the single most important parameter with a close second being pH because of 'crash'
Another area NOT to be ignorant of is water chemistry. Seriously. Flying blind is just ignorant unless your collection of koi is entirely expendable. MOST people have their koi and pond problems from chemistry, especially pH.
Nitrogen is represented by Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. You should understand the basics of all of these. You're not going to do "okay" for very long without understanding how Nitrate comes back to bite you in the butt. It's the SINGLE MOST COMMON cause of chronic illness in the ponds of "know it all" pond and Koi keepers. They do a LOT correctly except they make VAST assumptions about their water quality because they think they can eyeball water quality.
Water needs to be turned over and replaced with new water from time to time. At LEAST 10% per week. I run a constant slow water drip all the time. That's because I'm lazy and don't like to change water. Topping off the pond is not a water change unless the pond leaks. Evaporation CONCENTRATES chemistry. Doesn't dilute it. When you replace water "fill and drain style" you need to apply a chemical "dechlorinator" to neutralize caustic chlorine that's added to city water to disinfect it. If you're using well water it's not a "thing" but you might check the pH of the well water to know if it's low.
Pond location and impact of temperature
If your pond is in the shade then it might get lots of leaves in it. And if it does, those leaves will decay and reduce the pH. If the water gets stained a "tea color" with leaf tannins (from leaves on and off the tree interestingly) the tea colored water will usually have a low pH, will slow healing of wounds in the Spring, and never grow algae. Tannins are anti-algae.
A pond in full sun is prone to algae blooms, won't have leaves in it, will not have much in the way of leaf-pH dynamic. But the water will be warmer and WARM WATER carries less oxygen so water movement and aeration are critical. If water movement fails in the hot pond in mid summer because, say, power outage, the Koi are gonna die.
So when you start out or you inherit a pond, the "filter" might sound simple but usually it's not. They need maintenance of some kind. And they may or may not be "big enough" and an assessment is needed. I use ecosystem ponds with plants and gravel and a waterfall, happily. It takes MAJOR maintenance once yearly. I also run some systems on Bead Filters which pass the water through beads to clean it. VERY easy to clean, but frequently, and they can jam up suddenly, they die in the sun if the power goes out, and are a little expensive.
In "ecosystem" ponds like Aquascape's, the filter is actually PART of the pond and is invisible.[/caption]
In any event, you should learn about filtration in earnest. For the beginner, an ecosystem installation or a bead filter would be your two best, scalable options. Cleanliness and maintenance of said filtration and water are paramount. Get educated by a knowledgeable installer or retailer of filters.
When filtration is needed or not
Well if the pond is large and the fish load is quite small, you probably won't need a filter. If there's a lot of water movement and the water is clear and there's not a bunch of cloudiness or particulate clouding, you might not need a filter. If the water tests okay with dip tests, you might not need a filter.
Overfeeding is super common. Just don't. Koi do best when you have a ten year old feeding them and they forget to feed every fourth day or so. Underfeeding is better than overfeeding. If your koi are fat, something's wrong and your water quality is probably paying a price. Fat koi are just fine. Feed twice a day, tops. Feed what they wanna eat in under ten minutes. Five minutes would be even better. Don't feed near the skimmer or it'll take the food and give it to the filter unnecessarily.
What to feed. Feeding the right food is pretty important but really, in the scheme of things, it's uncommon for a poor food choice to kill or sicken fish. Even catfish chow (while really inadequate) will just result in fatty livers and increased vulnerability to disease, not kill them. Here's where to learn all about Koi foods, and even some recommendations.
When Not to Feed and Why. So if your pond is large, natural and has ecosystem forage (plants, tadpoles, swimmy bugs, stuff like that, and the fish load is light, you might not need to feed. If the pond is a tech-pond without plants nor gravel you need to feed. There's no natural forage.
Koi and pond fish body language is just an Early warning system for disease or poor water quality.
Here are some pointers:
Survival is suggested by at least some willingness to eat, moving around.
Body wag is probably a goner.
Where they come from? Parasites CAN "just happen" and they can be "carried" for a long time without causing disease until Winter reduces the fish's immune system. Or, more commonly, parasites are not a "thing" until you buy some WITH PARASITES already on them. Quarantine fixes and prevents that. It's easier to treat in quarantine and keeps your existing koi safe. VIDEO ON QUARANTINE
How'd you know they had them? Poor body language is an indicator something's not right. Usually that's a sagging pH and or a low dissolved oxygen. But if those two aren't going on, maybe parasites are a "thing". Fish will scratch on tank / pond surfaces and rocks, like "flashing" and they'll also show up with red skin, red veins in their fins, stop eating and develop a slimy skin. (All those symptoms happen in pH crash, too)
-Water quality is 3 to 1 over parasites for the source of illness. Yes and that's annoying. People OFTEN contact me and ask what medicine to use for this or that symptom they're seeing. Or the medicine isn't working. The koi gets worse. So I ask them what the pH is. What the Ammonia is. What the Nitrate is. And they get back to me with a number WAY out of range, they fix that, and no medicine was even needed.
What sores mean: Sores just mean the fish have "gone through something" that broke their immune system. Cold water, over crowding, high nitrogen levels, a low pH, wintertime, low dissolved oxygen, cold water, excess handling and parasites chewing on the skin are all very common causes. Just exposure to bacteria (even the baddest of the bad) don't CAUSE bacterial infections.
What you can do: You have to diagnose what happened, what "they went through" and then fix that. Provide an optimal environment. And then perhaps apply antimicrobial treatments to the water, in the food, by injection. Literally everything you would NEED to know in order to deal with bacterial infections is at my DrJohnson Youtube page. But also:
What you can probably not do: You can't save fish that are:
-Too far gone
-You may not be able to obtain or give injections of antibiotics but they work great. Perhaps you could find a vet that can help. Injections for really valuable ones
–Water treatments for other cases like Potassium permanganate or Chloramine T.
What viruses are there, in general: If you don't get more fish, viruses aren't a "thing" for you to worry about. But there are viruses out there which will kill almost all your fish. The main one is Koi Herpes Virus. It depends on water temperatures to kill fish. Under 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it's inactive. Above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it dies off. Fish are saved. If you quarantine fish according to the video mentioned above, and the fish achieve a temperature in the low eighties, Koi Herpes Virus is a non-issue.
Other viruses include viruses that cause warts, little waxy droplets on the skin, and are not lethal. Spring Viremia of Carp is a common disease that appears to be endemic (in everything) to north America and causes depression of the immune system potentiating bacterial infections. You wouldn't know if your fish had this, because if you test for it, you're likely to get a positive, and then you will have your pond closed, killed off, and quarantined.
When not to feed: Koi and pond fish do better in very cold water WITHOUT food in their tracts. It's a good idea to suspend feeding when the water temperatures sail down below 55 DF — IF you can anticipate the temperatures are going to decline FURTHER like a typical temperate climate. (North American near freezing) – However in Portland and other geography, the ponds might hit 55 and NOT go down, so those aren't "heading to icy" and so if the temperatures are going to hover above 40 DF you should feed Cheerios.
When to shut down the filters? You can keep your filters running unless it's going to freeze and you have to "winterize" the filters, so you ought to talk to your installer or filtration manufacturer about how to deal with temperatures prevailing in your area. If your filter has a return under water or which won't super cool the pond, you can leave it on. The biological activity of the filter will be sadly lacking so feed less, or feed Cheerios.
How to turn water over
-When you don't really have to: When water is in the low forties and lower, it carries all the oxygen it can. So water movement isn't a "thing" at that point. I mean, SOME water movement is important but that's mainly for gas release (CO2 etc) rather than Oxygenation.
-Striking the ice – It is a myth that if you strike the ice over pond fish, they will die or go deaf. In fact, sometimes fish die under the ice and that had NOTHING to do with someone breaking the ice. Usually it's the fact that they even HAD to break ice. Ice need to have a hole or gas exchange gap in the surface. If you have to use a floating cattle trouble heater, do it.
-What Springtime means: Springtime is tough on Koi and pond fish because typically:
Did You Know that the "Pharmacy" operating within Chewy, Petsmart, PetcareRx and Petmeds is the same company? To be honest, I felt like Chewy (especially) really sank to the next level when they hopped into bed with that clan.
The most annoying thing about these p.o.s. "pet" pharmacies.
When you see their advertisement on TV and go to their site, people start looking around and they see stuff they think might be good for their pet.
So they order it. Because you can. You can order anything those pharmacies sell, of your own volition.
But often, it requires a prescription, so the Pet Pharmacy (supposedly a human being there, ha ha ha!!!) sends me a prescription to authorize.
And it's for something that would kill the client's cat SO FAST, it wouldn't even get to my office in time for stomach pumping.
It doesn't work that way at human pharmacies: People can't just walk up to a human pharmacist and say "I think my pet needs this, please send prescription authorization to my Vet." Pet Pharmacies oblige this CONSTANTLY. What idiots.
I get prescription authorizations for:
There's more, except the number of instances is rarer.
One of these days they'll go in and take the licenses away from the "pharmacists" working in those shops. But tbh I doubt that would impede the big wheels turning in that industry. So I said all that to say this: Use a human pharmacy instead of a "pet" pharmacy. There are SEVEN human pharmacies that do animal products. They're on my website. They're VIPPS accredited (not just dot-pharmacy domain holders) and they're legitimate.