With Spring just around the corner, it’s time for a lot of koi keepers to enjoy their ponds again. As the temperatures rise, the fish become more active, they will want to feed more, a larger demand will be placed on the pond eco system, and parasites will quickly take hold if allowed. In this blog post we will cover 6 tips to help your koi survive Spring, a testing time especially for unheated koi ponds, and hopefully enter summer in peak physical condition so you can enjoy your pond and pets.
Although the koi hobby does not stop in winter, we do know and accept for a lot of koi keepers that filter maintenance and water changes become less frequent during the colder months. We recommend to change approximately 10% of the pond volume per week, and this water should be free of chlorine/chloramine which although it’s safe for human consumption, it’s harmful to your prized pets. The easiest way to dechlorinate your tap water is to use a dechlorinator/purifier – usually 1-3 chambers containing a source of activated carbon (which removes chlorine) and sometimes a prefilter to remove sediment. We stock a range of dechlorinators, the most popular being the Evolution Aqua Detox units, for pond up to and around 2000 gallons, or the Big Blue purifier for users in high chlorine areas, for those with bigger ponds, or those changing more water.
If you already have a dechlorinator then you should check the condition after winter – if it’s been left outside it could have possibly frozen and cracked, and you should also check that the carbon is not spent. The Hanna Pocket Checker - Total Chlorine will provide quick and accurate chlorine testing, or if you want a full pond test kit then you can test for chlorine as well as all you other water parameters with the Hanna 83303K Aquaculture Photometer kit.
It’s not only us and the fish that are happy the water is warming. The bacteria in the filter will also slow down the conversion of ammonia and nitrite in cold water. Add to this the fact a lot of koi keepers maintain the filter less in winter and change less water, now is a good time to start testing the water more regularly. In particular if you have carried out less water changes, or had a lot of rain, the Carbonate hardness may need adjustment and possibly pH. We like the Colombo and API test kits for their easy to use test methods and accurate colour charts, or if your colour vision isn’t the best, then you can use electronic photometers such as the Hanna range of pocket checkers and bench photometers.
We offer testing using our Hanna 83303K photometer in store, if you wish to bring in a sample of your pond water in a sealed container.
The koi immune system is closely linked to the water temperature – in Spring water temperature the immune system is much less active than the pesky parasites that will seize the opportunity to take over the pond. Be vigilant during this period as fluctuating weather will cause temperatures to rise and fall quicker than the the koi are comfortable with, increasing stress and vulnerability.
If you find any parasites then we carry a full range of treatments from Kusuri, NT Labs, Colombo, and Vetark to ensure you can react quickly to any parasite issues before they get more serious.
If you do not have the experience or confidence to scrape your own koi, or maybe you don’t have access to a microscope, we offer Koi Health - Home Visit. On these visits we offer full water testing, examination of mucus samples, and general advice
The dietary requirements change throughout the year, and most koi are fed a wheatgerm based food in winter for easier digestion. Various manufacturers produce All Season or Multi Season type foods suitable for Spring (and Autumn, and all year if you have larger koi and growth isn’t a primary objective), and many offer an ingredient list to assist with the health of koi in this tricky season.
The Takazumi Vital for example is a koi food designed to boost the immune system at tough times of the year, but you can feed it all year should you wish.
After a prolonged cold period, and the subsequent subdued immune system, the koi need all the help they can get to keep fit and healthy. As a pond ‘tonic’ or pick-me-up, the Aqua Source Balance Enzyme and Balance Remedy top up different enzymes, bacteria’s, spores, and vitamins to aid the koi immune system in the most testing of times. If your koi have been sat on the bottom or went in to winter in less than perfect condition then the combination of Enzyme and Remedy will help repair any damage and promote healing. Additionally, should you have need to treat your fish, the use of the Aqua Source Vitalize product will help promote faster healing and give them a boost.
Spring time could probably be the most stressful time for koi keepers but there is one thing that is very exciting! It’s the time most dealers import small tosai which were spawned in Japan last year. For many hobbyists, selecting small koi to grow on is a major source of enjoyment, as well as providing good value as they are smaller, sold by the breeders volume, and cost less to ship. If you follow all the above and make sure your water and pond is perfect for your koi collection, make sure that you buy your new prized pets from reputable, licenced dealers that follow excellent quarantine procedures. You can read ours here, so that you can enjoy the Summer season with a healthy koi collection.
We hope you have taken some useful advice from this blog post, and wish you a happy and stress free spring season with your koi pond. If you need any further advice on preparing koi ponds, stocking, filter upgrades, or even home health visits, then please contact us by email or phone or any of our social media accounts.
All the items listed in our top tips are stock items, so available in store or in most cases for next day delivery.
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