Do’s and Dont’s for Successful Koi Quarantine
Just because you have a new koi in your quarantine tank does not mean that you should start dumping chemicals on it one after another in an overzealous attempt to ‘make it healthy’. Do you have any reason to believe that the new fish is unhealthy? Have you observed its activity enough to know if the fish has symptoms indicating illness or parasite infestation? Have you preformed skin scrapes and found any parasitic activity? Quarantine should be a time of recovery and adjustment, and the opportunity for any latent pathogens to emerge. Don’t rush the quarantine process.
Do’s and Don’ts for Koi Quarantine
- Do set up your quarantine tank at least 1 week prior to new koi arrival. Establishing a bio filter can take up to 3 weeks.
- Do maintain salt at .3 ppt. (3 lbs./100 gallons) Purchase a salinity meter.
- Do use chlorine remover. Buy extra and keep it on-hand at all times.
- Do run an aerator 24/7. Any time without a bubbler can induce stress or become fatal.
- Do monitor water quality. Test for ammonia, nitrite and pH daily. Purchase a test kit or new supplies.
- Do perform regular water changes of 10-15% every day.
- Do provide a hiding place for koi. A submerged piece of PVC will make a good hideaway. Float a piece of Styrofoam on the surface; it will provide shade as well as protection.
- Do skin scrapes on the third day of quarantine, whenever parasite activity is suspected and 3 days before the quarantine period ends.
- Do maintain water temperature between 74°-78° F. Buy a waterproof thermometer and hang it in the tank for quick reference.
- Do cover the quarantine tank to protect your koi from predators, or jumping out of the quarantine tank.
- Don’t quarantine a single fish. Koi are very social and will sulk when isolated which can increase stress.
- Don’t use chemical treatments indiscriminately. Ask a knowledgeable koi professional if you are unsure of the remedy for a problem encountered.
- Don’t use the dip or concentrated bath method to administer any treatment to new koi.
- Don’t over feed fish in quarantine. Offer food on the 3rd day of quarantine and only a small portion once a day thereafter. Quarantine is a good time to give medicated koi food.
- Don’t allow unsupervised visitors access to your quarantine tank.
- Don’t allow feces or debris to build up in the quarantine tank. Use a siphon or wet-vac to remove any accumulating debris.
- Don’t ignore the fish while in quarantine. It may be better to put the new fish directly into your pond if you are not going to monitor its health, maintain water quality, etc.
Treating koi in quarantine:
Use salt as a first step to eliminating parasites. Begin with a 3% level (3 lbs. per 100 gal.) and increase by 1% for three days to reach 6% salt level if needed. Keep at this rate for three days then reduce with water changes until the level is down to the 3%.
Chemical treatments during quarantine
Perform skin scrapes and use a microscope to check for parasites. If any are discovered then use the following products, and always follow manufacturer’s directions.
- Use Praziquantel for gill fluke, skin fluke and internal worms.
- For Costia, Chilodonella, Ich, Oodinium, fungal infections and for salt resistant parasites Treat with TERMINATE®. Another option is ProForm-C Broad Spectrum Disease Treatment. *Note that salt level must be below .1% when using these products.
- Chloramine-T is a good product for the control of bacterial gill disease, body fungus and bacterial infections.
- ProForm-LA is a great remedy for anchor worm and fish lice. A microscope is needed to detect either of these varieties in the larval stage, but as adults will been seen attached to a host koi.