Fishdoc.co.uk And Microscope Training

Fishdoc.co.uk And Microscope Training

Over at fishdoc.co.uk there are about ten pages that take you through how to use a microscope. The detail is great, and the author is good at educating a non-technical person. Frank Prince-Iles wrote these tutorials probably 19 years ago. Not much has changed, but the articles were updated with some newer microscope parts. 

You learn about the parts of the microscope, what you can see and learn with a microscope, how to use the different parts and abilities of a microscope and even a suggestion on what to look for in a reasonable student scope

Nothing is left out. There are even movies of all the different parasites you could see. 

It's only going to get a LITTLE better when drjohnson.com uses some of that detail, and couples it with video using a SPECIFIC microscope that everyone should own, at least, anyone thinking about buying a microscope. 

 

https://fishdoc.co.uk/category/the-lab-microscope/

Treating Infections and Ulcers in Koi and Goldfish

Treating Infections and Ulcers in Koi and Goldfish

Besides discovering and correcting environmental problems with the situation, attacking bacterial infections in Koi and Goldfish is a large undertaking. Especially if the infection is impacting the ability of the fish to breathe: The GILLS

The facilities can be very large as in the case of ponds. In fact, so large you can't actually HOLD the fish for treatment. 

The following article discusses how to treat bacterial infections when you CAN hold the fish for treatment, and when you CANNOT hold the fish, also discusses what to do in colder water versus warmer water. 

There are related articles, like how to SHOT GUN parasites in the scenarios with bacterial infections on your goldfish or Koi. 

Always, a microscope is the best way to protect yourself from guessing. 

http://fishtreatments.com/how-to-treat-bacterial-infections-in-ponds-and-goldfish/

We're going to do a video tutorial, step by step using this Celestron LCD microscope. Look for it on drjohnson.com 

 

Thank you for your kind attention! 

 

Fish Diseases Fixed By A Good Environment?

Fish Diseases Fixed By A Good Environment?

It's been said that "If you take care of the water, the fish take care of themselves" and I believe there's a BIG grain of truth in that. 

So much so, that I honestly believe that if you provided 90% of species of aquarium or pond fish with the following conditions, they could survive almost anything:

  1. 78 DF temperatures
  2. High aeration
  3. Sponge filtration properly cycled and 
  4. Tested to prove supported pH and nitrogen
  5. Buffered pH and 
  6. Plenty of space 

And so an article pulls all that together from "soup to nuts" with complete instructions and where to find the best deals on the best gear. 

How To Provide A Perfect Place For FIsh To Quarantine or Recover

Written by fish veterinarian Dr Erik Johnson and recommending ONLY things he has bought and tested in his own home, or fish room. 

If you were to follow this advice, and then treat your fish for their actual illness, I think you could hardly ever lose. 

 

 

New Resources When Treating Fish Diseases

Resources when facing fish health diseases, symptoms of illness like white spot, and parasite treatments.

There is a lot of information on the internet but it can come from inexperienced sources, and in many cases now, may be a 'bad-translation' of stolen content. It's a "thing" these days. 
"Change enough words and it's not plagiarism!" so they say. And when non-English speakers are 'changing words' I've seen some amazing errors.

The best fish health information can be found on DrJohnson.com because it's coming from ONE person and not a panel of self proclaimed experts. (Forums) 
Other sites in the same family include: Fishdoc.co.uk and Koivet.com 

But, sometimes you don't want a computer near the pond, and prefer details in a written paperback format so, perhaps your best bet is Dr Erik Johnson's textbook "Koi Health & Disease" 2
It's written in a cookbook "How to" format that almost anyone could understand. It's been well reviewed. In fact, the ONLY criticism of the book on Amazon.com is that the images inside the book are black-and-white greyscale. You don't lose any information with that, but people expect full color these days. 
Another resource is Fishtreatments.com (A sister site to drjohnson.com) Things are different on that site. 
At that Fishtreatments web site, which calls itself a "What To Buy For That Bug" web site, you get the symptom, plus a brief description and then HOW TO TREAT IT. 
You'll see an emphasis on improving water quality but you're not left wondering how to do that. Everything is spelled out from lighting to filtration, medications and resources on how to use them – 
The site focuses on Amazon.com-availability because they have Prime shipping, which allows virtually overnight delivery of most things. 
You're just LUCKIER when your local pond supplies store has everything in stock. 
Many times they do. 

https://drjohnson.com/thebook/
https://fishtreatments.com
https://amzn.to/2wTqgGR  The Book via Prime

What Goes Into a Fish House Call Kit?

Veterinarian Dr Erik Johnson (koivet) illustrates and explains his housecall kit. From the space saving microscope to the kinds of test kits brought to bear. Everything fits into a Pelican 1500 box. 

The page will be presented live in March, 2020 in North Carolina to a group of hobbyists, vets and retailers along with a Wet Lab and a seminar on "What Really Matters" in Water Quality. 

Here's the Pond Call Kit 

 

Titanium Heaters For the Win – A+ Recommend Affordable

I have owned just about every kind of aquarium heater over the years from the ancient glass hang on heaters to the newest titanium bodied heaters. The price on the titanium heaters has come down to one that is very reasonable and fully worth it. Have a listen to my brief podcast on choosing an aquarium heater and why you should consider buying titanium.
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erik.
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DrJohnson.com Article / Case on Koi Herpes Virus

The following comes from DrJohnson.com about cross contamination of Koi via Goldfish. It was a case in the Ask The Doc section of the site. 

Link to the full article on DrJohnson.com 

Dr Johnson,

I got your address from my friend Jason who you recsrc=https://drjohnson.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/koi-970339_1280_koi_pixabay.jpgently helped with a pecan nut problem.

I may or may not have a KHV problem. If I can give you the story I hope you can tell me if there is anything I should do.

I dug a pond last fall and have 2, 5 inch koi doing fine in it. I have 5, 4 inch koi inside doing very well.

I have a lotus in a whiskey barrel that I've had for sometime and put cheap goldfish in for mosquitoes. They usually die quickly and I never thought much about it until I started reading about KHV and saw pics of Koi with KHV. I remember one of the gold fish having a dark patch on its gill cover that looked like a post mortem shot of a koi with KHV.

I have wintered umbrella palms in the lotus barrel.

So my questions.

1. Should I be concerned

2. Is there a nucleic acid test that can test water

3. Is there a non-invasive nucleic acid test for fish

4. At what point should I bring the outdoor fish to you before I move the indoor fish out.

5. Should I throw out the plants or is it safe to put them in the pond

If there are any products I need to purchase from you, please let me know.

Thank you

My Answer:

Koi Herpes Virus is not a legitimate liability to goldfish owners.
Testing is a mixed bag – – because if you test and it's positive, you have to (by law) go on record with the Federal Government. It's a "legally reportable" disease so the testing agency has to 'tell on you' and that COULD POTENTIALLY mean that you have to surrender your fish to the Fed and the pond gets drained and closed.

Any Koi that carries KHV in cold water will "break" with it when it's warmed to 70-78 DF
Any Koi that is infected with KHV will 'get over it' when it's warmed to 84 DF.
They're not considered ''cured''. By anyone but me, and also everyone in Israel.

The plants (left without fish for a week or two) will bring no diseases with them to a receiving facility. I can say that with even more certainty if the plants are in the seventies DF when you quarantine them.

So if you think the Koi outdoors are harboring KHV all you have to do is bring one up to 75 degrees and give it a week to break.

And if it doesn't, you're golden, on the KHV issue.

Besides a few recommendations on Amazon.com about heaters and air pumps, I don't officially "sell" anything so you're good there 🙂

Doc

Stop Water Changes and Go With Water Replacement

I've been through some aquarium filters. And I do keep coming back to sponge filters. And I have powered them with air, and also with water pumps. 

Right now, and for the last two or three years, I am depending on CAF250 Sponge Filters. They are built to handle 250 gallon systems and I found them on Amazon at a typographical price. They've always been $27-$35 dollars.  Then I found someone selling them for $10 and I've bought like, twenty of them. 

I like sponge filters because: 

  1. They run via airpressure, and airstones will oxygenate the tank while the sponge cleans it
  2. The sponge filters can't suck up food or a fish
  3. The sponge filters host tons of beneficial bacteria 
  4. The sponge filters are easy to clean. VERY easy to clean. 
  5. Sponge filters last a VERY long time. 

In this article (link) I've shown you the filters, and linked a way to get them for $10. It's February 2020 so I don't know when you're reading this or if the sponge filters will still be ten bucks when you look. 

But they're called CAF250 Sponge Filters. They're made by AquaTop. 

If my link is broken in this article, please pop over to DrJOhnson.com and let me know using the contact form. (Ask the Doc) 

Thanks

 

Doc Johnson

The

 

Top Ten Things Anybody With Koi Should Know About

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.

1. Crowding

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.

LINK TO CROWDING DETAILS

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.

LINK TO QUARANTINE VIDEO AND HOW TO DO IT AND FOR HOW LONG

3. Their water:

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.

Ammonia Discussed: When it happens, looks like, what to do.  (Video)

Nitrite Discussed: When it happens, looks like, what to do. 

Nitrate Discussed: When it happens, looks like, what to do. 

pH and pH crash are perhaps the most common water "quality" problem. Newbies won't succeed long without a handle on this. Link to Video.

New Water

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.

Well water video

Dechlor video

Pond location and impact of temperature

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.

koi

In "ecosystem" ponds like Aquascape's, the filter is actually PART of the pond and is invisible.[/caption]

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.

Ecosystem ponds

Excellent bead filtration I

Excellent bead filtration II

When filtration is needed or not 

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 not a 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.

What to feed.  Feeding the right food is pretty important but really, in the scheme of things, it's uncommon for a poor food choice to kill or sicken fish. Even catfish chow (while really inadequate) will just result in fatty livers and increased vulnerability to disease, not kill them.  Here's where to learn all about Koi foods, and even some recommendations.

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.

7. Parasites

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)

Parasites may be controlled by several medications, such as Salt, and API's General Cure.

-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 you can do: A video introduction to the major categories of parasites and some treatments worth knowing.

8. Bacterial Infections – Rot

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:

Ulcer Disease I, II, III

What you can probably not do: You can't save fish that are:
-Too far gone
-You may not be able to obtain or give injections of antibiotics but they work great. Perhaps you could find a vet that can help. Injections for really valuable ones
Water treatments for other cases like Potassium permanganate or Chloramine T.

9. Viral Infections

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.