Everyone with koi MUST have quarantine tank setups. Even if you are not buying new fish, quarantine tanks are useful when you have a sick fish or when the pond is shut down because of a leak in the liner or drain
Setting up a Quarantine tank:
Buy a 10ft or 12ft round intex pool with metal frames (available at Walmart for $100-$150). Do not buy inflatable types because they leak within a week. This pool can be used as a quarantine tank for a couple of years or more. If you have small koi, 300 gallon Rubbermaid tub will do.
Mark a 12ft x 12ft area. Place 1-inch Styrofoam sheets (foam boards) to cover the entire area. Cover the Styrofoam with a 12ft x 12ft tarp or a plastic sheet. Now assemble the tank over the tarp/plastic sheet. Styrofoam prevents the pool from rocks and other hard objects as well as insulates.
Easy filter system: Put a submersible pump in the center of the pool. Connect it to a 1.5 inch pipe vertically all the way to the height of the pool. Connect it to a T. Connect one end of the T to a 1.5 inch pipe that rests on the pool on one end and another piece on the opposite end. Connect one end to the biological filter and the other to a mechanical filter.
Biological Filter: 55 gallon barrel with 1cu.ft K1 mature media. Incoming water must be set up at 1200gph.
Mechanical Filter:Milk crates filled with clay beads (Hydroton brand hydroponic anchor beads will do fine). But the beads get dirty within a week. So, you can place a filter cloth over it (polyester batting from a craft store would do). But change filter cloth twice a day. You can wash it in regular washer with very little woolite detergent. Drying will shrink the cloth. So, use delicate cycle.
As soon as your koi arrive, open the box without damaging the plastic bag inside. Place a container in the quarantine tank. Pour some water from their quarantine tank. Float the plastic bag containing Koi in the container for 20 minutes. Open the bag and place the Koi in the container. Some water from the bag may spill into the container. Do not worry. Transfer the Koi into the quarantine tank. Remove the container with the bag. Place a net over the quarantine tank. Play some soothing instrumental music (preferably George Winston’s Piano or Chinese music. Pet your Smart Koi. If they ask for food, hand feed sparingly until they recover from transportation stress.
Water parameters: Buy the following test kits and test your pond water and quarantine tank water.
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Total alkalinity or KH = 7dH or 120ppm (if lower, add baking soda to raise it. Goto poolcalculator.com to check how much to add by typing pond volume, current total alkalinity and the target total alkalinity). Alkalinity helps keep the pH stable. About 50% of the time, koi get sick due to pH swings. Simple weekly test of KH and addition of baking soda will prevent this. Do NOT change more than 1dH or 20ppm per day if you already have fish in the pond.
Nitrate = Lower than 20ppm. If higher, change water or add plants
pH = 7.6 to 7.8 (lower pH can be raised by aeration and higher pH can be lowered by adding muriatic acid. DO not change more than 0.2 per day if you have fish in the pond.
Do not medicate for 24 hours. Then follow the quarantine treatment protocol.
Day 0: Measure ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and KH. The first 2 should be zero, nitrate should be below 20ppm and KH should be 7. Otherwise, make enough water change to bring ammonia, nitrite to zero and nitrate to 20ppm, using Pond Prime or Ultimate ( do not use Sodium Thiosulfate or Hypo because it can not neutralize chloramines) as dechlorinator. If your pond has lot of algae, make 75% water change. Terminate will kill algae and reduce oxygen available for fish. Aerate the pond well. Make sure alkalinity or KH is 7. Terminate reduces pH, Algae death also reduces pH. Turn UV off, bypass carbon filter.
Day 1: Do not feed after noon. At dusk, add Terminate according to directions.
Day 2: Do not feed after noon. Measure ammonia and nitrite. If they are zero, change 25% water or else make enough water change to bring ammonia/nitrite to zero (add enough pond prime). At dusk, change water 25% using Pond Prime/Ultimate as dechlorinator. Add Terminate and Praziquantel according to directions.
Day 3: Do nothing. Feed as usual.
Day 4: Measure ammonia and nitrite. If they are zero, do nothing. Or else make water change as on Day 2. Do not feed after noon. At dusk, add Terminate according to directions. If you made water change, add praziquantel to new water.
Day 9: Measure ammonia and nitrite. If they are zero, do nothing. Or else make water change as on Day 2. Do not feed after noon. At dusk, add Terminate according to directions.
Day 10: Turn on UV. Transfer your Smart Koi into Pond.
Do NOT put Smart Koi with other koi until you train other Koi. Only way to train other Koi is to make them accept Smart Koi as their leaders. First allow some days for Smart Koi to trust you. Once they accept you as their care taker, put other koi one at a time. If other Koi are still unfriendly, take them out. Or else, Smart Koi may stop being friendly because they are in a new environment and may think the other koi has more information about you than they have.
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