Koi fish which are under stress is often blamed to be the main cause leading to stunted fish condition. From the picture attached herewith, you can see that the fish appears rather listless and the overall growth from head to tail is rather imbalance and out of proportion. Other potential threats when subjected to hardship condition are development of life-threatening disease and you will risk losing you precious pet. Compiled here in this article, you will find 6 common reasons that you will need to avoid at all cost, which I will explain and elaborate going into details on every one of it.
Overcrowding normally happens when there is an overwhelmed enthusiasm taking place as a result of the owner trying to stuff as many fish as possible into the small pond. What they do not know or realize is that with more and more livestock trying to cramp into such limited living space, it will mean less natural foods to go about and stiffer competition to get precious resources such as oxygen and nutrient and all these can cause the fish to become stressful. Overcrowded condition will also mean higher generation of fish waste and water will get dirty and murky due to the buildup of unwanted by-products. Sometimes it is good to have enough hiding spot made up of plants for the koi to rest and stay away from attention but if you have too many of them living so close together this is certainly not healthy at all.
Water is the lifeline of your pond system and I would say that how healthy and active your pet fish is generally depends on how well or how superior the quality of water that you are providing. Water with presence of ammonia is toxic to aquatic lives while fluctuations in nitrate and nitrite levels can cause unhealthy condition leading to stress affecting your fish. Your pets are more likely to feel jumpy or agitated if the level is at the extreme side and if these conditions are not corrected immediately, it will cause them to fall sick. Usually in order to avoid it, make sure that you perform routine water changes, conducted periodically and one should stick to the schedule and never miss it. Other than that, you should also watch out for pH changes especially a sudden shift which can also be fatal. Finally, don’t forget that the right living temperature plays a main role that determines how healthy your koi can be.
Choice of Pond Mates
Not all fishes can coexist in harmony getting along with each other. Some are aggressive species that will eat smaller fish while others with their natural behavior is a bully and will pick on others until they become too frightened even to come out. There are certain species that will enjoy nipping on the fins or scales of other fish although those are actually not their main source of foods. Fish that get hunted down and bullied upon will often hide for fear of their lives and sometimes the one that get injured may eventually die. This is something that you should always put into consideration and if your intention is to set up a koi pond, I would suggest keeping only combination of koi, goldfish and certain species of catfish all staying together in the same confinement. Some varieties like the Chagoi are often friendly in nature and hobbyists are known to introduce them specially to get all the fish to harmonize and swim together when it comes to feeding.
Poor or Unbalanced Diet
Another root cause of stress affecting the aquatic system can be related to diet which are the foods that you provide to your fish. Diet which is lacking in certain basic component or nutrients will cause your pets to experience stressful condition normally related to low immune system and thus appear less healthy. I’ve always believe and advocate the importance of providing a varied diet combining live foods and pellets but if you prefer to stick to the feeding regime of providing only packed dried fish pellets for you koi, make sure that you select and choose different brands so that you can be sure that your pets are getting the best, just in case one particular brand is lacking in some nutrient and others will make up to it.
Always be careful on where you decide to dig and construct your pond. Choosing location close to a heat vent will cause the water temperature to rise rapidly to an uncontrolled level. When this happens your pets will have a hard time adjusting and adapt to the new environment. At times if you have kids that like to run around the house and having a habit of stirring the pond water and throwing things into it, this will definitely make your fish startled and scared. Certain people make the mistakes of placing their pond close to glaring light source which can make the koi fish feel insecure because of the glare and sudden light movements. At times, other creatures such as cats or birds can also cause stressful condition to your pets which will definitely swim away in fear.
Poor Maintenance of Pond Equipment
One of the main problems that can cause undue stress to your koi fish is the improper usage or lack of servicing to some equipment such as pumps and filters. Accumulation of debris that clogs up the bottom drain system and pond decorations can sometimes lead to proliferation of bacteria that comes from decaying organic material that get trapped in between the small gaps. Also make sure that the filter media located in the compartment is regularly cleaned and sometimes a barren pond bottom without having any gravel is much better as it can save you a lot of time especially during water changes. I would always suggest a simple and plain-looking setup for your pond will do unless you have a superior self-cleaning system or you are willing to commit time to regular maintain it.