DO WE OR DONíT WE QUARANTINE....?
This has always been a controversial topic among Koi keepers as to how serious quarantining is.
Here are some DOíS and DONTíS , you make up your own mind....!
1) Do have a quarantine facility ready for your new arrivals, the bigger the better.
2) Do regular water changes.
3) Do test for ammonia and nitrites regularly.
4) Do take scrapes if possible to ensure proper treatments for parasites.
5) Do have appropriate aeration
6) Do monitor your new Koiís behavior.
7) Donít use chemicals on new arrivals until they have settled in correctly.
Donít quarantine fish alone, they are social creatures and need company.
9) Donít subject your new Koi to fluctuating temperatures.
Koi is affected by stress, much like us human beings, which can result in all kinds of diseases and viruses. By netting, placing them into bags and transporting them are all stressful situations for them.
When we buy new Koi from reputable Koi dealers, the Koi should be parasite free and healthy, but due to the stress, the fish are affected and so are their immune systems, making them susceptible to all kinds of "nasties".
Even if your new fish are bought parasite free and declared "clean" a week or so later, your fish could appear sick and full of parasites due to the stress or low immunity.
WHY DO SOME HOBBYISTS NOT QUARANTINE?
1) They loose fish during quarantine or;
2) They donít have a quarantine facility or otherwise donít have the space for one.
We believe in QUARANTINE all the way. In view of the threat of KHV, you have to.
It is just not worth losing all your Koi that you have had for years, due to two new fish you have just added to your pond that is riddled with parasites and bacteria.
Especially in view of the KHV (herpes) virus which can kill all your fish overnight, you can not take chances. There were quite a few recent KHV outbreaks in South Africa and it is a reality also in our country, contrary to popular belief. There is no treatment available, and you can not diagnose KHV with a microscope as with parasites. It can only be diagnosed in Germany properly, although there is a facility in Durban who can test your fish and diagnose KHV with adequate certainty. It requires at least 18 degrees celcius to show its colours, and therefore the temperature of your quarantine facility should be at least 18 degrees celcius. The ideal way to trigger KHV is to take your temperature slowly to 23 degrees and maintain it for a few days. Thereafter bring it slowly back again to approximately 16 degrees and take it up to at least 26 degrees. Do not take it to above 28 degrees as this might kill the KHV but the fish might still be a carrier of the virus.
WHAT IS REQUIRED FROM A GOOD QUARANTINE FACILITY?
One must ensure that the environment for quarantining is good. The following are some guidelines:
1) have an adequate sized quarantine pond, which is covered with a net to prevent the fish from jumping out (they tend to jump†during the first few days). In the winter when you need to increase the temperature with a heater, use a plastic cover to maintain your heat.
2) filtration, although some hobbyists feel that the turbulence of the water might stress them further;
3) a well-aerated pond;
4) correct temperature, a bit higher than your main pond to almost force possible outbreaks; (at least 19 degrees celsius)
We feel that a kids size porta pool that hold approximately 1000 litres of water is sufficient.
Some hobbyists quarantine their new Koi for four weeks. However, you should look at various factors when deciding how long. Factors to be taken into account are the temperature, the season, whether you bought from a reputable dealer, do you have the peace of mind that the fish are parasite free, etc.
One must also always remember that during the quarantine period......
Do not over medicate;
Always monitor the behavior of your Koi carefully;
Check that your filtration system is working correctly;
Test your water regularly;
Do not unnecessarily handle or disturb your fish in quarantine, they are there to adjust, relax and recuperate;
It is advisable not to feed your fish for at least the first two days in quarantine, to allow them to settle in. Thereafter, feed once a day and limit the food.
Watch for the fish rubbing against the sides, this could be an indication of the fluke parasite, also for any sores that appear or red markings.
If all goes well, you can safely move your Koi to the main pond within four weeks.
You should always have a quarantine pond available, not only for new fish, but also for existing fish. A quarantine pond is quite valuable for treating individual fish that have injured themselves or that have become ill. It is better to remove these fish and treat them individually than to treat the whole pond.
We believe that it is a good idea to keep "feeder fish or tester fish" in a quarantine pond, as Koi does not like to be alone. This also serves to keep the new fish calm and secure in their new environment as well as keeping the biological filter active.
If you donít have a quarantine tank, it does not mean that you cannot buy Koi. Ití is just that the risk of infecting your other fish is greater, and really, can you take that chance?
A word of advice,,,,, try to invest in a microscope, whereby you can take a scraping should you suspect that your fish is carrying parasites.†
HOW TO QUARANTINE NEW FISH
1) Once the fish has arrived to its new home, float the bag in the quarantine pond for about 10 minutes for the fish to adjust to the new water temperature. Most people say 30 minutes, but we believe it is not advisable to put the fish through another 20 minutes of stress inside a bag full of Ammonia. After all, the fish must get used to various other water conditions conditions for example possible Chlorine, PH, etc.†
2) Open the bag and gently with your hands or a net and release the fish into the water. Do not allow the water from the bag to flow into the quarantine pond, as this may be infected and will contain ammonia.
3) Float something large on the pond or net the top. This is to prevent the fish from jumping out. After a week or so, it should be safe enough to take it off.
4) Try not to feed your fish for two days to allow them to adjust to their new surroundings.
5) On the 2nd day you can treat the pond with salt (5 kg per 1000 liters) and potassium permanganate.
6) Do a 10% water change every two days from water in your main pond to limit any ammonia or nitrite build up and to enable the fish to get used to the new water, and to introduce them to bacteria present in the main(target) pond.
7) Test the water regularly for salt content, ammonia, nitrite and ph levels.
Make sure you have enough aeration, especially when using potassium or other medication.
9) After the quarantine period, give them a final salt bath at 5 kilograms per 1000 liters, take a scraping, and if there are no parasites and the fish looks happy, place them in the main pond, ensuring that the temperature of the quarantine facility and the main pond is the same. If there are more than 4 new arrivals, introduce only four at a time over a period of a few days to enable your main pond's filter system to adjust to the new load.
10) Limit feeding in the main pond for a day or two.
11) Increase the level of salt in your main pond and observe the new arrivals and the fish in your main pond carefully for a few days.