Article - My Fish Are Flashing
Being a newcomer to this hobby, pond keeping and fish keeping, can be nerve wracking at times. Occasionally a fish may die, but as long as the pond owner lives through it, everything is fine. The goal is to gain experience and become a pond “expert”. I promise you, if you do not give up you will instinctively know how to handle these things which now baffle you. And you will immediately do a water test before you add any salt or other chemicals. You will stand there at the side of your pond, watching quietly, taking mental note to see if it is one fish or a lot of fish that are flashing. You will know that one fish may simply have an itch and need to scratch, but a lot of fish flashing usually means trouble.
After checking pH, nitrites, nitrates, ammonia, chlorine, Total Hardness, Alkalinity, oxygen levels, and anything else in your tool box, you will compare these numbers to the base numbers you have put together before, when there were no problems. You may decide to do a water change at this point, or you may decide to drag out the microscope (or call a friend with a microscope), catch three fish, anesthetize them with oil of cloves, and do a scraping to see if there are any parasites to blame. It’s important to find out which ones, if any, so you can treat accordingly. Not all parasites respond to the same treatment, or at the same levels. Salt will kill most of the more common ones, but something stronger like Potassium Permanganate or Praziquantel might be necessary. I never treat before I’ve diagnosed positively, under the microscope.
It’s your pond, so you know if your filter is clean, or in need of cleaning, which can affect the fish. If addingmedications, you may need to remove any carbon (charcoal) first. If adding salt, you will remove the zeolite you put in to help with ammonia. (If not, by adding salt you will release all that ammonia back into the system!) You are totally in control… it’s your pond! You will realize that some fish simply won’t live, no matter how wonderful the pond and filter may be. And some fish just won’t die, no matter what. You know which fish is which and what type food they prefer. You didn’t learn this because somebody told you. You learned it from your FISH.
Whatever you DO, just don’t give up. Koi and pond keeping is a journey, to be savored and experienced as you go. Nobody can do it for you and nobody can reap the rewards that your pond will give back to you.