Frequently Asked Questions
A: Although they live underwater, fish need oxygen to survive. They obtain this dissolved oxygen from the water via their gills. Your pond should have a dissolved oxygen content of at least 6ppm (mg/L) to keep your fish healthy. Warmer water cannot hold as much dissolved oxygen as cooler water as shown on the graph below. Now add in the fact that some treatments and medications can also lower the amount of disolved oxygen and you could have a problem on your hands.
Q: How do I diagnose a specific parasite?
A: While a combination of symptoms can help to generate a diagnosis, the most definitive way is to use a microscope. A skin scrape is performed by sampling the mucus on a fish using a flat object (like another microscope slide) and transferring to a microscope slide for examination. From here, the difference between flukes and protozoan parasites, such as white spot, Trichodina, Costia and Chilodonella can be determined. Knowing the precise parasite can ensure that the correct medication can be applied, such as Koi Care Flukasol for flukes, and Koi Care FMG for protozoan infections.
Q: Does it matter if my dog/cat drinks water from pond water that has been treated?
A: No. Pets will be fine if they accidentally drink some pond water as the working strength of the treatment in the pond is not harmful to cats / dogs / birds and other wildlife. It is advisable to keep all treatments away from pets to avoid direct contact but in a diluted form it does not pose a high risk to safety.
Q: How long should I wait between applying two different treatments?
A: For medicinal treatments such as Koi Care Malachite or Pond Anti-Parasite & Fungus wait 7 to 10 days before applying a different treatment. If using water treatments there is no specific length of time to wait before applying another different treatment.
Q: What is the minimum water temperature I can use a treatment?
A: The minimum "effective" water temperature when applying a treatment/medicine is 10 degrees Celsius. At lower temperatures, everything happens more slowly. Below this temperature treatments may be less effective. Please note that ALL fish keepers have a duty of care to the fish and it may be necessary to treat anyway.
Q: Can salt and medicines be mixed?
A: Pond Health Promoting Salt and medicines can be mixed as long as the salt level is a tonic level and always refer to product label before treatment.
Q: Why shouldn’t I mix medications?
A: If you are not sure what problem your fish have, it may be tempting to add multiple medications to ‘cover all the bases’. In fact, this is more likely to do more harm than good. For the same reason a doctor or pharmacist will tell you not to mix human medications, fish medications are no different. If one was attempting to mix treatment, there’s a possibility that if two treatments share an active ingredient, the combination of the two could lead to an overdose. There’s also the potential for medication interactions; due to the sheer number of medications available, it’s not always possible to predict what mixtures are compatible.
The one exception to this rule is products which contain malachite green or formaldehyde only. NT Labs’ Koi Care Malachite and Formaldehyde can be used together, but for your convenience we have formulated a product which already mixes these at an appropriate and safe dosage: please see our FMG Mixture for more details.
Q: Why shouldn’t I use Koi Care medications with other pond fish?
A: Our Koi Care range medications are stronger than the medications in our Pond range. This is because koi can tolerate higher concentrations of the active ingredients than other fish. Orfe, for example, are one of the more sensitive pond fish species and can react very badly to stronger medications can result in kinked bodies. For this reason, we only recommend the use of our Koi Care medications on ponds containing just koi.
Q: Do medicines kill wildlife?
A: In some circumstances Koi Care products are not suitable for a wildlife pond as the strength of treatment may harm some wildlife e.g tadpoles and frogs. Products in the Pond range are suitable and as stated on the label are safe for all fish and wildlife.
Q: Why do I need to turn off my UV when using a medication?
A: Ultraviolet (UV) light destroys organic chemicals, which is why they have become widespread as filters. Due to this impressive ability to sterilise water by breaking down organic chemicals, if left on during a course of treatment, it is quite possible the treatment will be destroyed in the same way before it has had time to take effect. Some treatments may even be made toxic by the action of UV light. Switching off the UV during treatment is a sensible precaution. As another general rule, leave UV filters off until the fish have recovered from their illness.
Q: What should I do if I accidently overdose a medication?
A: If you discover that you have accidently overdosed a medication, you should immediately carry out a large water change (50-75%). If you have a UV turn this on as it will breakdown the treatment and/or add carbon to your filtration if possible as this will remove the medication. Monitor the fish closely and be prepared to carry out additional water changes if required.
Q: I’ve missed a dose in the course of treatment, what should I do?
A: If you miss a dose, add the correct amount at the next practical opportunity. Stick with the dosage amount as described in the instructions and do not be tempted to add more to make up for a missed dose.
Q: Why do I need to test my water prior to adding a treatment or medication?
A: There are several reasons for testing your water prior to adding a treatment or medication. The first is that the vast majority of problems have a root in poor water quality. Poor water quality can also result in symptoms similar to those caused by disease-causing organisms. Symptoms of high ammonia (NH3) can include fish gasping and displaying red streaks in their fins which are readily confused with symptoms caused by some bacterial diseases.
When fish are exposed to elevated ammonia and nitrite, their ability to absorb oxygen from the water is reduced. Some medications have a tendency to lower the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. While fish may be able to temporarily withstand either of these scenarios, the combination of both can be fatal.
Some treatments and medications can also be dangerous if used when the water conditions are not correct. Chloramine T, for example, should not be used if your pH or KH are too low.
I’m halfway through a course of treatment and my water needs changing, what should I do?
If you’re halfway through a course of treatment, but have discovered a serious water quality issue, water changes will clearly dilute any medications present. However, in these situations, carrying out water changes and addressing the water quality issue is almost always the correct course of action; you can always restart the course of treatment once you have the water quality back to where it should be.
Q: Why should I mix the medication in a bucket rather than just pouring it straight into my pond?
A: We always recommend mixing treatments or medications in a clean bucket or watering can prior to adding to your pond to help ensure that the product is thoroughly mixed and evenly distributed throughout the pond. When using some of our stronger medications, we’re effectively asking you to dilute them in excess of 50,000-fold. If pouring straight into a pond without pre-diluting, should an unlucky fish swim into where the medication is being added, they could be exposed to a dangerously concentrated medication. Pre-diluting in a larger bucket of water reduces this risk significantly.
Q: When is the best time to treat a fish?
A: Always treat fish when you have time to observe them just in case they react to the treatment. Do not treat fish in very hot weather when there is high demand on oxygen levels or last thing at night.
Q: How long should I wait before re treating with the same treatment?
A: Some infections can be stronger than others. Persistent infections may require the fish to be re-treated, if so wait 7 days before re-administering another dose of treatment. Should symptoms persist seek professional advice from a fish vet.
For help diagnosing your fish, click here to use our diagnosis tool.