Fish Health Management 2002 This is the abridged Fish Health Management Course Manual from NCSU in 2002. Abridged meaning that material that was excluded by copyright limitations is already gone but there's TONS of good data in this. It's a read-online e-book for non-commercial consumption.
Raw Diet 2019 In 2019 I researched and wrote 6 raw diets from scratch. I dug up AAFCO feeding wisdom, canine nutrient requirements, the amounts of these nutrients in the raw ingredients and then put it together with feeding rates and amounts.
Resources From March 2020 Presentations at Garden State Koi
The first download is the presentation for the hour on “Important Water Quality Issues” in which I do give some time to the nitrogen cycle and pH – – but spend the most of the time talking about the clinical significance of “hazes” and their cure, oxygen versus carbon dioxide, bioseeding, constant water replacement, how to measure nitrogen to best effect, crowding as a water quality parameter with room for questions.
We’ve almost forever known that our gut contains germs.
We learned a little more recently that many of the germs in our gut a “good” and necessary.
In the recent past, science learned that we can implant / transplant beneficial germs to the gut.
Very recently, we realized that if we put “good germs” in the gut while we kill other germs with antibiotics, that the gut remains “pretty healthy” in spite of the antibiotics. Yeasts are less likely to overgrow and the bad germs left in the gut don’t get “the upper hand”.
So until lately, science has been putting milk-based germs (lots of lactobacillus) species into the guts to pretty good effect. They’re easy to get, to grow and to give. But they’re by no means “native” germs. They’re still “outsiders” and just holding a place.
VERY very recently, science has started growing colonic germs (poop germs) commercially in the lab and those are actual REPLACEMENTS that benefit the gut. Since the germs are grown in petri dishes, it’s not like anyone’s being exposed to poop anymore than someone giving lactobacillus are being exposed to milk.
And so the probiotics that are the best have germs (in addition to the standard-bearer Lacto’s) germs that are ‘native’ or nearly-so, to the animal’s own gastrointestinal tract. Germs like:
L. Acidophilus, E. Faecium, L. Rhamnosus, L. Plantarum, B. Bifidum, B. Longum, B. Breve, L. Casei, B. Coagulans, B. Lactis, S. Thermophilus, L. Fermentum
When you see a germ with “faecium” in the name, go ahead and get grossed out, because that’s a poop germ, but it’s also a HERO among germs because it literally belongs in there.
So while some companies are using the trusty old Lacto-team, which is GOOD, more progressive companies are adding actual “proper poop” species. Species that literally belong there.
What else is in a good probiotic?
FOS. Fructo-Oligo-Saccharides. This is “inulin” (not insulin) – – a soluble fiber from a lot of sources. Chicory was at one time the most common source but Jerusalem Artichoke is coming on. Inulin is literally “all that’s good” about soluble fiber. When you eat a pumpkin, sweet potato or black bean, you get some “inulin” soluble fiber. When you eat chicory root, or jerusalem artichoke, ALL you’re getting is “inulin” so you can see that FOS Powdered Chicory Root is a the best, purest source for inulin. Better than pumpkin or anything else.
But pumpkin is tasty. Dogs like it. So, we go with that.
What are Probiotic s made with, besides germs?
A great “vehicle” or “powder” to mix your probiotics in is FOS, or inulin powder and that’s often from Chicory or similar as listed above.
Other probiotics are mixed in oat powder. I say “Meh, okay. Overpriced oat meal with some germs in it.”
And some are based on Whey. Which is good. I would be HAPPIER seeing FOS/inulin as the base vehicle / powder, but whey has distinct palatability advantages.
So when you go over to Amazon.com you want to see:
Ingredients only from America. (Not Italy, not China.)
Based on Whey or FOS/inulin. (Not wheat, oats or any other grain)
That contains E. faecium and S. thermophilus at least.
Which is the best one? (Best germs but Whey based, more tasty)
Which is the SECOND best one? (Most of the same germs but FOS based)
Runner Up With a Twist: I’m including this because this company has done a little more research and decided: “You know what? Screw the milk germs, all a dog’s actually gonna benefit from are native species anyway, so give ’em LOTS of E faecium!” and so they did. Then they chocked it full of Vitamin C and Taurine, zinc and other goodies. They’re one of VERY few manufacturers who “put it in writing” that their germs are LIVE. Sadly, there’s no inulin, or soluble fiber, or whey in it, but it’s a good one:
Dr Petty has uploaded a mess of parasite videos to a Youtube channel. Some of them are really very, very good. I’m linking from here because I just stumbled onto them, and it seems that very few people have found them. I suspect it’s because she didn’t put “All my fish died” “I’m getting out of the hobby!” or “Exotic Species Unboxing” in the title of the videos.
Also, she doesn’t wear a bikini while presenting the videos. So, per Youtube: “Nuts to that!”
“We recently built a pond in our backyard and soon added pond fish. We had lots of questions! This book was a real lifesaver for us! We never realized there would be so many questions. “How many fish should we put in our pond? What kind? Do they get along? What do they eat? Do we need to feed them? How do we know if our pond is a healthy, balanced system for keeping fish?”
Those were just some of the beginning questions. Soon we were asking, “What are those little white spots? And, what are those wormy looking things?! Why is that fish acting like that?” You can search on line for the answers, but this book puts it all right in your hands! What a great resource to have on hand!
Of course, it tells you many things that you don’t even know you need to ask. It lists good and bad fish `body language’ to watch for. It tells you what the various aspects of water quality mean and how to test for these and change them. It has a long section on common fish illnesses, both parasites and infections and what to do about those if you see the symptoms!
In short; unless you’re already a fish expert this is a great resource to have!
To find your copy available “after market” new and used: Click
The Top Ten Things You Need To Know and Master For Success With a Koi Pond
The Super Basics of Koi
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.
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.
Chemicals like pH, and nitrogen.
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.
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.
4. Koi and Pond fish filtration:
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 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.
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 nota 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.
5. Their feeding
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.
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.
6. Fish Body Language
Koi and pond fish body language is just an Early warning system for disease or poor water quality.
Here are some pointers:
If the fish are moving around, curious about food they’re probably okay
If the fish are NOT using their pectoral fins (the ones behind the head) they’re sick.
If the koi are wagging their bodies to swim, and not using fins at all, they’re about to die.
If the fish have clamped fins but then swim normally when you show up, something’s going on. Like a too high temperature or a sagging pH.
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 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.
10. Shutting down for winter
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:
The fish have gone hungry all winter
The fish have been cold and their immune system is warmth-fired.
Parasites don’t care if it’s cold and can strike in cold water with extra vengeance.
Water bacteria (purification bacteria) are largely dormant so water quality is at it’s lowest.
A winter’s worth of fish excreta and plant material / last year’s mulm are all suspended in time, and break down as soon as water temps rise. It’s a surge in algae / bacterial nutrition.
I’m angry, that in order to have anything to say, vendors and organizations have to treat everything like an epidemic. I got a newsletter with the topic “Keeping Up With Pet Food Recalls” as if this was a “Big Thing” and we were in a hail storm of recalls and pet food disasters. So much hysteria.
In this “Issue” I am going to introduce you to a couple issues and if you’re interested you can jump over to the web site to learn more, but HERE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS I THINK ARE REALLY IMPORTANT:
The Dilative Cardiomyopathy (DCM) from the food “thing” is real, but not really huge.
They’ve figured out that “grain free” diets based on Peas and Lentils are scouring Taurine from the digestive system of dogs. If you’re feeding a Peas and Lentils diet WITH grains, you’re okay. If you’re feeding grain free WITHOUT Peas and Lentils you’re good. But if you feed Peas and Lentils you need to have GRAIN (rice) or added Taurine to balance that out. (Click To See What DrJohnson.com Has On This Issue)
Nevermind all that, Doc. I don’t have time for all that.
We’re having ridiculously good luck with Cytopoint injection. It’s safe and works great. If you’re using steroids or Apoquel, you really need to discover Cytopoint and ask your vet. It’s a vaccine against one of the enzymes that help create inflammation in the skin. Without that enzyme, redness and itching can’t occur. Case reviews presented.
I Found a Pump To Push My Whole Fish Room (And All The Tanks At Home, Too)
So if you’re having a disease outbreak and you have to move fish to quarantine or you’re buying fish and need a fast quarantine, or your system is new and not “broken in” you can “borrow” beneficial germs from a donor system. Hopefully, a healthy on at equilibrium. There are some drawbacks discussed. I’ve even borrowed germs from my local pet shop. I am of the opinion that SOMETIMES, pet shop germs are better than no germs at all! (Bioseeding Video)
If You’re Not Replacing Water Instead of Changing It – LISTEN UP
Trickle Systems are where it’s at. It’s running a dribble of water ALL THE TIME – and it makes fish bulletproof. I documented the whole thing from what it is, how to do it, the gear you need and even did the math on the Chlorine “thing” people worry about unnecessarily. There’s one article, that has a “See also” so be sure to look at the second one, too. (Trickle Systems)
I don’t reach out much. But when I do I try and make it matter.
Look at this sponge filter. Click this link. You should find one of Amazon’s BEST typos. It’s a sponge filter for 250 gallon tanks. This sponge filter is the filter I’m using in ALL my tanks, even down to 30 gallons. They’re amazing. And they sell from $25 to $45 depending on how proud the vendor is. Then, THIS guy selling them for $9.99 Something’s wrong with that. So I ORDERED AND RECEIVED 15 of them. And, I continue to order 3 a week. It’s legit.