If you are a good caretaker of your koi fish, it is imperative to learn the signs that it is ill or could be dying.
Knowing the signs would help you figure out in time if your koi fish shows any symptoms, and you can prevent its death and nurse it back to health.
Continue reading this guide as we share some valuable tips on ‘How to Save Koi Fish From Dying?’.
Can Koi Fish Die Without Showing Any Prior Signs?
An average koi fish lives up to 40 years. However, they can even live for a hundred years if they are given exceptional care.
Despite their prolonged life expectancy, koi fish are extremely vulnerable creatures. Anything out of the ordinary can make them go into shock and eventually die.
The following are some of the reasons your koi fish could die.
Unsatisfactory Conditions of Pond Water
A koi fish is an aquatic animal that depends entirely on its surroundings for everything it needs to live.
From its environment and temperature to oxygen and nutrients, any slight imbalance in the conditions of the pond water can directly affect koi fish well being and can even be fatal for them.
The most common condition that can cause a koi fish’s death is an ammonia build-up in the water.
Ammonia is an organic substance that is secreted by every animal’s body. It is a toxic metabolic byproduct and is actively excreted by every animal in its waste.
Ammonia is a highly soluble substance, and when excreted by the koi fish, it can dissolve in the water environment or convert into nitrates and nitrites and reach an alarmingly high amount over time.
This can pose a health hazard for your koi fish and other pond animals.
It can burn your fish’s gills and prevent them from breathing properly, ultimately leading to death.
Excessive ammonia can also attack your koi fish’s mucus membrane.
The mucus membrane is a natural defense barrier that prevents the entry of any microbe or parasite into the animal’s body. Once destroyed, your fish becomes prone to many infections.
If the ammonia is present in its unionized state, it can also cause your koi fish’s gills to enlarge.
This is a compensatory mechanism of your koi fish in response to reduced oxygen levels.
Prone to Viral and Bacterial Infections
Many bacteria and viruses in the pond water can potentially harm the koi fish.
If your koi fish is healthy, its immune system can effectively fight any advancing infections.
A koi fish is susceptible to diseases when it is not healthy, as its immune system is already weakened.
Growth of Algae
Excessive growth of algae in the pond water can lead to it utilizing large amounts of pond oxygen for respiration.
This can deplete the already limited amount of oxygen that is present in aquatic environments and could be fatal to your koi fish.
Also read: Do Koi Fish Eat Algae?
Attack by Parasites
A pond is home to many organisms, including koi fish. Sometimes, it becomes a home to parasites such as fish leech, which feed on koi fish.
A fish leech can hook itself to the koi fish and suck their blood, eventually allowing them to die due to an infection or blood loss.
Physical injury can be very harmful to a koi fish. A pond has uneven edges, and the rocks in the pond can be dangerous for koi fish.
During the cold season, when koi fish swim deep inside the pond, their bodies can continuously hit those rough edges and cause painful physical injuries or ulcers.
This is a very common cause of a koi fish’s death.
Tips to Prevent Koi Fish from Dying
Let’s have a look at some tips you should keep in mind when trying to take care of your Koi fish and save them from dying.
Tip no. 1: Buy Better Food for Your Koi Fish
Food gives you the energy to function and perform different tasks throughout the day. If you are feeding your koi fish nutrient-rich food, they will remain healthier for longer.
Make sure to invest in food that has been specially designed for a koi fish’s needs.
Many different brands prepare meals, especially koi fish. This will prevent your pet from eating something that could cause them harm.
A specialized feed for koi fish has the following advantages.
- Nutrients in the exact amount that the koi fish need
- Easily digestible
Along with feeding the koi fish the right nutrients, it is necessary to give those to them in the right amount as well. Make sure that you consistently feed your koi fish as required.
Also read: What Does Koi Fish Eat in an Aquarium?
A koi fish will have different feeding patterns throughout the year. You can discern how much feeding is required by observing a koi fish closely.
If it is finishing its meals on time, it probably requires more. If it is not eating properly, it may not be hungry, or it could be facing a different issue.
In summers, a koi fish in a tank requires feeding two to four times, while the one living in a pond can go for longer times without external feeding.
Tip no. 2: Balancing the Temperature of Water
To ensure that your fish keeps living, keeping a religious check on the environment’s temperature is vital.
Water is the koi fish’s environment, and it has to be inhabitable for it.
A koi fish thrives best in water that is not too warm or not too cold (65° to 75° F). In moderate climates, you don’t have to keep a strict check as the water regulates its temperature naturally.
However, in extreme climates, you will need to ensure that the temperature is sufficient for the koi fish, or it can die.
Although koi fish can even survive very cold temperatures (above the freezing point), there is a limit to how long they can do this.
Koi fish cannot handle extreme fluctuations in temperature as it stresses them out.
You can regulate the temperature by regularly checking the weather forecast and taking temperature readings of the pond.
You can always invest in an automatic temperature regulator if this sounds difficult.
This way, the regulator will sense the temperature, fix it itself, and prevent excessive fluctuation.
Tip no. 3: Regulating the Depth of the Pond
It is best to take a professional’s help with this part of taking care of a koi fish. The living environment of the koi fish matters just as much as the conditions.
Some animals require spacious surroundings with sufficient area to swim around. Enclosed places can make them uneasy and pose a severe threat to their health.
A koi fish’s daily behavior, such as its appetite, will be affected when stressed. If it is not eaten sufficiently, the fish can succumb to death.
Your pond should have a minimum depth of three feet for the koi fish to live. A larger space is preferred, but three feet is enough to prevent a koi fish’s death.
Koi fish require different amounts of space as they age. Smaller spaces or tanks are satisfactory when young, but once a koi fish reaches full maturity, it cannot survive in the small space.
If you want to decorate your pond or tank with rocks and other items, you must ensure that the maximum depth is three feet after the decorations have been done.
Ideally, a space slightly larger than three feet is preferred so it will not become limited after adding ornaments.
Tip no. 4: Keep Your Koi Fish in Shaded Places
A continuos direct sunlight is a common cause behind your koi fish dying.
Direct sunlight can warm the pond water immediately and cause the temperature to fluctuate significantly throughout the day. Indirect sunlight is enough for the koi fish to thrive.
You can take the appropriate steps to fix this problem almost immediately. If your koi fish live in a pond outside, making any shelter over it will prevent the sunlight from falling directly on it.
This can be a fabric shade, or you can even plant a tree over the pond. This will also improve the overall aesthetic of the area.
If your koi fish lives in a tank, you can find a new place to move away from the windows where direct sunlight does not fall on it.
Small amounts of sunlight can be good for a koi fish, but a lot of direct sunlight can be a health hazard. Keeping them in the shade will prevent fluctuation in their water environment and prevent decomposition.
We hope you enjoyed reading this guide on “How to Save Koi Fish From Dying?”. Koi fish are sensitive and you must watch out for early signs of diseases or injuries so you can take immediate action.
Remember that prevention is better than cure. Use the tips mentioned above to keep your Koi fish safe and healthy.
If you have any more tips to add regarding koi fish and how to look after them, please share them in the comments section below. Keep watching this space for more fish-related guides and stories.
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- How to Get Rid of Koi Fish?
- 5 Ways You can Comfort a Dying Fish
- How to Save a Dying Fish in Aquarium?
- How Long Can Koi Fish Live Without Food?
- What to Do If a Fish Dies in the Tank?
- How to Acclimate Koi Fish to New Tank/Pond?
- Can Koi Fish Go into Shock?
- Can Koi Fish Survive Winters in An Outdoor Pond?