How To Tell If Your Koi Are Stressed

March 12, 2012 @ 11:37 am

Fish Pond Care is an important part of Koi keeping. Stress is an unavoidable part of life for any living creature. It’s simply a reaction to something uncomfortable and new. Fish out in the wild would simply swim away when conditions became unstable for them, but in our care they are not able to swim away when the ammonia levels are too high, these fish are stuck. And being stuck topples their anxiety into stress.

Fish do not like changes in their environment of any kind, including temperature. Any changes add stress to the fish and the larger and faster the changes, the greater the stress. Koi can also become stressed from the temperature change when being transferred to another pond. It is not only the temperature the fish need to be accustomed to but also the pH, hardness and alkalinity of it’s new surroundings.

A huge part of detecting stress is observance. Another big part of Fish pond care is knowing what is normal behavior for your Koi. Fins are often the first body part to deteriorate when fish are stressed or unwell so they can give a good general guide to condition. Examine all fins, especially those underneath the fish, for ragged or uneven edges, tears, splits or bloodshot appearance. Red lines in the Koi fins are a sure sign that your Koi is under stress.
Specific examples of things which can cause stress (stressors) are listed below.

Chemical stressors:Poor Water Quality - low dissolved oxygen, improper pH
Pollution - intentional pollution: chemical treatments - accidental pollution: insect spray, spills
Diet composition - type of protein, amino acids
Nitrogenous and other metabolic wastes - accumulation of ammonia or nitrite

Biological stressors:Population density - crowding
Other species of fish - aggression, territoriality, lateral swimming space requirements
Microorganisms - pathogenic and nonpathogenic
Macroorganisms - internal and external parasites

Physical stressors:Temperature: This is one of the most important influences on the immune system of fish. Light
Dissolved Gases

8 Typical stress behaviors and indications to watch for:
Remaining near the bottom of the pond
Lying partially on its side
Failing to snorkel near the surface during feeding time
Trying to hide under ledges or under the waterfall
Rubbing against items in the pond, as if to scratch
Swimming lethargically or with a tighter, almost jerky rhythm
Staying by itself; not joining with others to feed

You no doubt have invested a lot of time and money in your fish. Keeping them healthy should be a priority. Stillman Landscape Design & Installation can help you with all of your fish and pond needs. Call us today to schedule your Spring pond clean out or to schedule a consultation regarding your pond environment.



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