Heating Koi With KHV Koi Herpes Virus

When confronted by KHV, you can expect high mortalities. In other words, a realistic expectation would be that more than fifty percent of your fish are going to end up perishing.
Should that scare you? No. It should “aware” you. If there’s something you can do to stop the losses, should you? Would you?

The Israelis want to make fish immune to KHV. It takes about 21-30 degree days to do that. No Koi can live that long with KHV. So they gave them KHV and let them break – then heated them into the low eighties, killing the virus. The re-infected the Koi and did the same thing again. Then they re-infected the Koi a third time and created immune Koi because they had seen the virus long enough to become immune, without dying.

So you’d say: How do you know they killed the virus?

It’s simple but no one gets it…..IF THE VIRUS LIVED THROUGH HEAT THEY WOULD NOT HAVE TO RE INFECT THE KOI. The virus would just reactivate when cooled!!

But what if the Koi had already become immune because of the heat, and the virus DID reactivate? THEN THE KOI WOULD NOT BREAK WITH THE VIRUS SYMPTOMS AGAIN (but they did)…(obviating the need for three “infections”)  (See also)

What is so hard to understand? How hard would this be to actually test?

Now, as a result of the increasing incidence of this virus among Japanese import fish, a couple of Koi dealers are preemptively establishing a monthly testing regimen for KHV in their livestock offered for sale. I highly doubt that any more dealers will follow suit because it’s a pain, and it costs more, and they frankly don’t care much if YOUR fish die as long as theirs don’t. Since the virus can hide, I’ve thought it is important that dealers test all fish, even the same fish, each and every month. If the virus rears it’s ugly head, it’s caught quickly and that group of fish can be torched.
I’ve (ELJ) been managing a few cases of KHV this winter. The most notable case used cooling to stall the disease progression, slow the losses, and then whenever possible, used high heat to push the fish up past the virus-optimal temperatures and save the fish. It’s worked in the majority of cases: which lived long enough to go through it.

Heating Koi With KHV Koi Herpes Virus

Feb 8, 2003 – “My kohaku (Matsonosuke) you told me to bring in is in the sun room, and was very sick as you know, before. He is doing great and eating every day …. Also, I brought in a orange gin rin Ogon who got completely better too!!!!!! No torn fins, sores etc.”

So, why do some fish get warmed and die, and others get warmed and live wonderfully?

The answer lies in the virus action, combined with the concurrent presence of infection by bacterial opportunists.

First, the virus is devastating to the structure and integrity of the internal organs. Victims report that the insides of the fish are positively liquefied. Also, damage to the gills can be severe and so, when these fish are warmed, oxygen exchange becomes crucial to a fish which is unable to sufficiently respire.

Secondly, when one tries to “warm a fish past the virus” consideration should be given to the fact that very few of these fish are free of bacterial secondary-invaders. Simply, most of these fish also have Aeromonas or Pseudomonas infections. So, CONTROL of these bacterial secondaries will enhance the success of heating KHV.

If one started the heating regimen with a careful examination, observing severe gill damage could portend a failure (death) during the heating regimen on that particular fish. And, without heating, the chances for that fish are dire anyway. But at least a prediction could be made for a more realistic expectation.

Heating Koi With KHV Koi Herpes Virus

Heating Koi With KHV Koi Herpes Virus
Heating Koi With KHV Koi Herpes Virus

The crucial element is taking it very slowly, employing increased aeration and reduced feeding at least at first. Do NOT pull on Superman’s cape when it comes to dissolved oxygen!

Warming a fish up:

Fish in winter ice water sometimes need to be warmed up for various treatments or to rescue them from genuine cold water illnesses such as “Laying Over”.
To avoid shock, the fish should be put in a very large vat of their own, icy pond water in your garage. I repeat, you’re going to use the icy pond water from your pond, that the fish is used to.
This vat should be at least 75 gallons in size or the temperature will equalize too rapidly and kill the fish. They cannot climb up more than 10 degrees F per 18 hours without serious stress or death.
Let the vat slowly warm to garage temperature using the ambient room air. USE NO HEATER. Do nothing to accelerate the warming process. It’s meant to be slow!

They cannot climb up more than 10 degrees F per 18 hours without serious stress or death.

As the fish warm up, they will become more active. Make sure the vat is covered.
Once they have been in the mid sixties for 24 hours, you can raise the temperature with a commercial aquarium heater or a paint-bucket warmer, by five degrees per day til in the low seventies.

Thermostat https://amzn.to/34JcS3q
Heater https://amzn.to/2Nv8tLv

Past that, if heating KHV, simply aerate the dickens out of the water and jack it up five degrees per day until you’re keeping the fish in the low eighties.

Enter your email address for a free PDF of this article including its images.

Enter your Email Address

My Favorite Amazon Recommendations

Items and content will not show in "Reader View" check your browser.

This is The LCD Screen Scope
We Did The Tutorial With. I did a twenty page tutorial (Here's the tutorial) with video, audio, images and even little parasite movies to show you how to use a microscope. 

This Filter is Good For BIG Dirty Tanks
I've been wrestling with water quality with the turtles. The sponges work GREAT, but in THOSE turtle systems where they eat MICE the poops are bulky. This filter can handle it. In "Tortu's" tank, it's got an 800 gph pump and it rocks. 

PraziPro for Flukes
They nailed it. Figured out the solubility and worked out the dosing. It works. 

Buy Some Good Koi?
No, this isn't really for the 'high end' collector y'all. But for someone who isn't near a decent garden center, here are "good-to-quite-good" Koi you will like at a very good price. I know these guys personally.

Best Food, Ever
It's made for (and I discovered it for) my Blood Parrots but the small size, intense color enhancers and excellent formulation make it superb young-Koi food. Oh, and it's AMAZING on color-cichlids like Flowerhorn and Blood Parrots. 

Pro Air 60 Aerator is a VERY high output air pump pushing my whole fish room (17+ drops), and I have one at home driving everything there, and I have one as a back up. 

Formalin Malachite (Not dilute)
There are formalin malachite preparations at 10%, 22% and 37%. There's economy in the concentrates. Hard to get Prime shipping because air transport is curtailed. This is a good value on 32 ounces. 

Topical For Koi and Pond Fish Ulcers
I like 7% tincture of iodine because it stains but it's hard to hurt anything with it. Used with a WOVEN gauze, this works well to clean and disinfect a wound. Only use ONCE. Do not 'repeatedly' scrub wounds. 

Confectioner's Glaze 
Is the way to bind a medication to fish food. Gone are the days of paste food and oil. The write up is done, it's RIGHT HERE.

Koi Health & Disease
Hopefully this link takes you to the newest edition by PRIME to get it to your house the fastest. 

I have over ten of these Titanium Heaters in my fish room and at home. They're a paradigm shift in aquarium heating. They're titanium and 400W for under $30! Whaaaaaaaaat?

CyroPro by Hikari is safe and easy for Anchor Worms and Fish Lice.

Whatever heaters you use, back yourself up with a temperature controller, it'll turn on, and off your heaters. If your heater seizes "on" at least the thermostat will stop a tragedy. 

LifeGuard by Tetra is a tablet version of a tame 'chloramine-t' or 'halamid' compound that's easy to get and good on bacterial infections, in baths. 

Antimicrobial
If you're making medicated feed for a larger group of fish, this will come in handy. Dosing is available in the site. 

For me, filtration-of-choice
For aquariums, even small Koi holding facilities or small ponds. These sponge filters are cheap, easy to clean, and they clear hazes very well when used with some Accuclear or similar.

Rubber sided, round, nettable tanks
Make great hospital or quarantine facilities. They SHOULD cost about $200-300 depending on size, but this, lower quality unit (while panned in some reviews) may be good. Don't overfill and make sure it's propped up.

1200 Watt heater, on a thermostat held securely above the waterline, works GREAT as a large tank heater. That's all I'll say because there's risk of electrocution and all that. But then, even in a bucket you could get killed. Sound like fun?
I have several of these ALLIED PRECISION stainless ones that are a couple years old. Working still. 

Potassium Permanganate 
500 grams could be a lifetime supply but it's 50% more than the 100g cost wise, for 500% more amount. Dosing is in the site and the book.

What Does Ajax Eat?
I looked for something well formulated, with meat as the first ingredient. Something UNDER $2/lb and something they could deliver for free. And this was it. He looks and feels great on it.