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Winter Water and Koi Health
How you feed your Koi in the fall and winter can have a huge impact on their health through the winter to the spring. Springtime is a time when Koi are less hearty from winter and the fluctuating temperatures add to there stress level, making them vulnerable to disease. As cooler temperatures arrive, you'll want to start getting your Koi ready for the winter ahead. The only way you can possibly feed your Koi correctly as the weather cools is to know the temperature of the water. If you do not have a thermometer, it's time to get one. When the water temperature in the pond decreases to the low 70's (F), it's a good time to mix your Koi food with a wheat germ base that is lower in protein and easily digested. When water temperatures drop to 60*(F) it's harder for Koi to digest food properly, the stable food should be switched to wheat germ-based foods exclusively. When pond water temperatures decrease, the nutritional requirement of hardy Koi change. Koi metabolism and the ability to properly digest and extract nutrients decrease as water temperatures plummet. Wheat germ diets are much easier to digest than other foods, making them the ideal food choice during periods of cool water temperatures. The wheat germ diet can continue to be fed all winter if the water temperature doesn't get below 40*(F). Even though your Koi need to bulk up for winter, be careful not to overfeed. You can feed less but more frequently, Feed whatever they'll eat in 5 minutes or less, then remove any uneaten food. Stop once the water temperature fall's to 40*(F).
Plants are not good to have in with Koi as they harbor many parasites. If you do have plants, It's always a good idea to trim and remove any dying plant material as it appears, so it does not add to debris build up. Fall is a great time to divide and repot plants. The mild temperatures will give the plant time to heal its root system before cold temperatures arrive, and will most likely provide more blooms the following summer if properly fertilized. In our northern climate when temperatures get below 60*F, tropical plants should be brought inside or disposed of, along with surface and submerged plants. Trim the bog plants back and pull lilies out to trim them before frost. Then set all plants out of the pond, prepare a place protected enough to keep the roots from freezing. ie. Buried tub, barrel or frost protected area.
All this moving about may stir up things so it's a good time for a water change. You'll need to remove some of the excess debris or it will continue to decompose, using up oxygen and producing hydrogen sulfide; a toxic gas. A fine weave aquarium networks well to sift out excess sludge. No need to completely drain, but remove all the mud and debris that you can. A water change can be done anytime in the fall but will create less discomfort to you if it's done before the water temperature goes below 60**F. If a 50% water change still leaves the water murky the next day, try another. Remember to use DeChlor & More if your tap water contains chlorine. Now that the plants, mud, and debris are out of the pond, it's time to treat our Koi & water for fall.
Elevate our Koi Health
The first step is our water.
First: Treat tough salt resistant parasites with Terminate (Malachite Green & Formalin). This is a three-day treatment and it will not set back your filter. Terminate can be used in water temperatures as low as 50* Fahrenheit, allowing you to treat in fall and spring. Add 3.5 oz. for every 1000 gals. pond water.
Second: On day three mix with Terminate, Praziquantel this will increase the power of both. Praziquantel is a powerful treatment for flukes and internal worms. Add 1 gram per 100 gals of pond water.
Third: Wait 7 days and treat for anchor worm. This parasite is not affected by Terminate or Praziquantel. I threat with ARGENT Trichloracide (dry) 1/2 teaspoon per 100 gals. or CYROPRO (liquid) 1 oz. per 312.5 gals in pond water. Re-dose every 7 days for three times, this kills both the adult and babies hatching. Anchor worms thrive on plants, females attach to Koi, suck blood, drop off have babies and the cycle goes on. The best part is, all this treatment will not harm your bio-systems.
Forth: Starting with the beginning of water treatment shift from the staple Koi food and feed Medi-Koi for no less than 14 days. This will build the Koi's immune system to enter winter at full health. Shift back to the staple food with your ponds water temperature.
We use Mostly Dry Concentrates. I think they work better for the Koi keeper, as they can be used as needed and are not geared to shelf life. Dry concentrates are more cost-effective, we are not buying heavy water or shipping it. Un-plug U.V. sterilizers during treatment.
# 1: I use Sludge Remover to dissolve Koi waste, leaves, bird droppings and all other sludge. Use 1 oz. per 100 gal pond water on bi-weekly bases. Un-plug U.V.
# 2: Pond Support Is added as beneficial bacteria to stimulate the biosystem for peak performance. just a few of the other benefits are: By removing toxins we get healthier Koi, Helps clear pond water, Stabilizes pH, Reduces ammonia and nitrites. The list goes on. Dose at 1 oz. per 1000 gals. on a bi-weekly treatment. Un-plug U.V.
# 3: Aqua MedZyme this one's for the Koi, as it helps prevent bacteria infections by reducing Aeromonas, Pseudomonas to levels so low they cannot harm your Koi. Un-plug U.V. Mix 1 tablespoon (enclosed scoop) with some pond water in a pail, let stand for 10 minutes, then, re-stir and pour around the pond. Repeat every three days for three treatments, then 1 tbsp. each week for two weeks. For maintenance: ponds up to 2500 gals. use 1/2 tbsp. every two weeks, for larger ponds up to 5000 gals. use 1 tbsp. every 2 weeks. This treatment renders the bacteria that infect your Koi harmless. This system of treatment has and is working for Michigan Koi bringing our Koi through many long winters into spring without Koi mortality. When water quality is at peak Koi are healthy. You take care of the water and the Koi will take care of themselves and love you for it!
Calcium Bentonite Clay
Water quality is the most important factor in a Koi pond or water garden. Koi and other aquatic life can survive in less than ideal conditions. One thing pond hobbyists can do to help their fish thrive instead of merely surviving is to make sure that the minerals and trace elements found in natural ponds are in the water of their Koi ponds and water gardens. In almost all cases, the water used to fill our beautiful ponds is deficient in most of the minerals and trace elements needed to allow our Koi to reach their maximum potential. What little minerals you have in your pond water are quickly absorbed by the fish, plants and even the bacteria that colonize your filters. Unfortunately, most of the water used for our ponds comes from the tap, which is a poor substitute for providing a healthy aquatic environment for your Koi. Minerals and trace elements are necessary for the optimum health and development of our fish. The only way those minerals can be replaced or introduced is through water changes and additives. Koi with the highest qualities in the world are raised in mud bottom ponds. Even the top Koi breeders have to add fresh clay to their ponds to replace the minerals and trace elements needed to raise these incredible living jewels. The leading Koi experts in the world agree that the clay that contains the most minerals and trace elements is Bentonite / Montmorillonite clay. There is very little, if any, Bentonite clay in our yards and gardens. This type of clay has to be mined and processed to a consistency that will allow you to add it to your pond. Michigan Koi clay can be sprinkled on moistened Koi food pellets or added to homemade paste foods. If you moisten the pellets you can also put them into a plastic bag containing Michigan Koi clay and shake it so the clay powder evenly covers the moist pellets. Spread them out onto a window screen to dry and you can feed them later. Feeding your koi calcium Bentonite clay aids in their digestion as well as removing toxins from their bodies. By improving your Koi's digestion it decreases the amount of waste they produce which in turn reduces the load on your filter thus improving water quality. Within two or three weeks you will see an improvement in your water as well as the skin quality of your koi. The colors will be more vivid, and the white ground brighter. Your Koi will show increased appetites and vigor. The reason Bentonite Clay is so effective in doing this is that it has a negative charge, and most toxins have a positive charge. We learned in Physics class that opposites attract. So it makes Bentonite Clay so useful in binding to toxins. Bentonite Clay can absorb any toxic substances imaginable: impurities, harmful bacteria, poisons, pesticides, pathogens, parasites, etc. This acts as a clumping agent, Attract, Cling, Fall to the bottom and filtered away. Michigan Koi clay will provide the proper minerals for your Koi when used according to our instructions. Try it and you will see the difference in your water and your Koi. Our clay is most effective when used on alternate weeks with other treatments.
Oxygen gets into water by diffusion from the surrounding air, by aeration (rapid movement), and as a waste product of photosynthesis. Everything in our pond needs oxygen, most the time ponds without added aeration are low on dissolved oxygen. Plants give by the day and take by night, don't be fooled by plants in a Koi pond, they do more harm than good. Koi waste and decomposition of organic matter all remove oxygen. Most Koi die just before daylight of oxygen starvation, because of all the competition for oxygen. So add aeration. The most affordable way is with 20 cu. in. air pump and a 14-inch membrane diffuser. This setup only takes 20 watts to run, oxygen for pennies per day. Waterfalls, streams, and spitters cost much more to operate and add much less oxygen by any comparison. The size of the bubble counts. There are 10,800 fine perforations in this membrane, literally 1000's of fine bubbles per second. This air can be directed to the bio-system, bottom of the pond, top of the drain. The water will sparkle; your Koi health will improve. They will be more active when not stressed from the lack of oxygen. The bio-system will be much more effective ridding the water of toxins. The water will clear easer and all the treatments will work best with a high Dissolved Oxygen level. There is no need to add a pond heater in our cold winter, no need to try and heat Michigan. Pond heaters cost much too much to operate and are an electrical danger to our Koi. (1500 watts/20 watts) Let the bubbles work for you, the ice will stay open. This raising air column will bring toxic gases up and exchange oxygen.
Winter Water Care
As fall arrives so do the falling leaves after we cleaned and treated our ponds we need to protect them from falling and blowing debris. A net with small 3/8 mesh over the pond and enough above the water so netting is not in contact with water. We don't want to soak the debris we trap, as that will add toxins to the water.
Cold Water Treatment
Arctic Blend Protects your Koi from poor water quality all winter. 50* to 30* water now can be treated for all the things that kill our Koi in winter under the ice. Arctic Blend works the same as Pond Support beneficial bacteria but works in very cold water conditions. No other pond product on the market can remove ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphorus, and digest organic waste in winter conditions with water temperatures less than 39 degrees F. This product was developed from arctic bacteria that live best in this cold temperature range, all the bacteria we use as Koi keepers die and are rendered useless in the high 40's. With our Koi going into winter with there healthy immune systems at there peak they will winter with ease. Start treating your pond as soon your fish stop eating for the winter. Just one easy treatment every other week and your Koi will come out of winter in perfect condition! For Koi ponds up to 5000 gals. First Dosage - 4 oz. every other week for 2 treatments. Maintenance - 3 ozs. Every other week until water temperatures come back to 55 degrees F. For Ponds 10,000 Gals just double the dosage.
1. Begin Winterizing Your Koi High temp Protein food. Cool temp Wheat Food.
2. Plant Care Remove and protect plants.
3. Water Change Change dirty water.
4. Elevate our Koi Health Parasite Treatments.
5. Water Treatments Dry Concentrates.
6. Calcium Bentonite Clay The Wonder Elements.
7. Dissolved Oxygen The overlooked Treasure.
8. Winter Water Care Cover up protects.
9. Cold Water Treatment-Rest easy this winter.
“Thank you for your interest in our living Jewels"...............................................................................
Nancy and William W. Risher