Vigilance is Key
As the temperatures start to slowly rise it can prove a tricky time in the koi hobbyists calendar...
But staying vigilant ensures we can avoid potentially turbulent waters!
We’ve all done it, the sun begins to shine, we spend some much craved time in the garden and start to feed our koi a little more than we should, especially with Covid19 boredom!
In most cases it’s ’too much, too soon.’
Remember, for those of you that aren't heating your ponds to much warmer temperatures, your biological filtration will not yet be firing on all cylinders and although the sun may be shining, water temperatures can still be relatively low. You can also expect to see temperature swings during the colder evenings. Getting carried away and feeding too much during a day of sunshine and boredom will not do your water quality any favours and we all know that spikes in water parameters can trigger issues...
Maintaining great water parameters is always important but during this temperamental period, it is VITAL. The immune system of our koi is still quite delicate coming out of the colder months and they are particularly susceptible to parasites and bacteria, the odd outbreak being common for many hobbyists. Dealing with any problems will be made all the more difficult by poor water quality - so mind your feeding!
Consider too that even if you are heated to warmer temps, feeding a little heavy too early on in the season can trigger females to increase egg production, which can lead to complications...
For the many hobbyists who have unheated ponds, a good plan of action is to very slowly introduce small amounts of low protein food a few time’s a day, build up as the temps rise and stabilise, monitor your parameters closely and keep on top of your filter maintenance. It's very easy to neglect manual filter maintenance when the weather looks a bit miserable - DONT!
Rain or Shine, water needs to be maintained - we are ‘water keepers’ after all!
Despite taking every precaution many ponds will still suffer with parasite outbreaks as we come out of early spring. Of course this can be unnerving and incredibly troublesome but it’s best to pull up ones socks and sort it ASAP - no burying heads in the sand please!
As ever the ONLY WAY to deal with parasitic outbreaks is to correctly identify the parasite using a microscope, then use the appropriate course of treatment to eradicate them. "Guessing" (because you think you can) and pouring in random treatments is not good practice, we’ve all heard devastating horror stories, please don’t give yourself such a tale to tell!
However, we must also appreciate that some hobbyists don’t have the confidence, equipment or the 'know-how' to identify and treat infestations in such a way - And that’s perfectly OK!
This is where you must seek professional help. Call your local koi dealer, they might offer a 'call out health service,' or locate a koi health professional. If this fails, reach out to your local koi community or koi club and find an experienced hobbyist who is willing and skilled at such practices. The wonderful thing about the koi hobby is that there are many knowledgeable people willing to help out. You are not alone!
Spring can be a tricky period, especially for the many hobbyists who don’t heat or cover their ponds, but as ever common sense and a bit of caution will prevail...
Keep your water in top condition by maintaining your filters.
Check water parameters regularly.
Introduce food slowly.
Monitor the weather forecast and keep pond covers on until temperatures stabilise.
Observe the behaviour of your koi.
In unheated ponds, avoid introducing new koi too early in the season.
If you do see something untoward, strike fast and take the necessary action!