In the Koi world, we say “Quarantine, quarantine, quarantine.” This should be rule #1, but it is often the most overlooked by koi owners. We want to stress the importance of good quarantine skills and will be covering how to setup your koi quarantining tank. In this article, we’ll cover these essential koi quarantine questions:
- Why do I need to quarantine Koi?
- What might happen if I do not quarantine?
- How do I setup a koi quarantine tank?
- What are important tips for koi quarantine procedures?
- What are your recommended koi quarantining products?
Why is it so important to quarantine new Koi in a tank?Imagine you just got a beautiful new Koi. You are excited to see and feed the new Koi in your pond.
But wait!Do not introduce the new Koi to your pond yet. Keep the new Koi in a separate tank and monitor it for several weeks. It is critical to quarantine any new Koi from other ponds because the newly purchased Koi may carry parasites, bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Your Koi providers, whether you buy Koi from your friends or a store, did their best to eliminate them; but all it takes is to overlook an unhatched egg of a parasite, which is microscopic. You do not want it to break out in your main pond and make all your other Koi sick. Even if if a new Koi is all clean and healthy, it is often exhausted and stressed from the journey to your home, especially if it is shipped overnight from a dealer. It is usually weak from the trip and has low immunity. So if introduced to the main pond too soon, it could get infected from something that your other current Koi are already immune to. In short, the purposes of quarantining are to:
- protect your current Koi in the main pond
- nurse the new Koi back to full health before it dives into your main pond
What might happen if I do not quarantine?If you deal with a few dealers that you trust, most of the time, nothing may happen when you introduce a new Koi to your pond. But 1 out of 100 purchases, a new Koi may come with an egg of a parasite in tow. If it hatched in your main pond, your other Koi will feel itchy and start scratching themselves. If you catch the symptoms early enough, treating them is easy, but if you are late to react, it will worsen into a secondary bacterial infection from the scratching. And this new infection will spread to other Koi. Whether a secondary infection or not, once infections spread, not only will it be more difficult to treat, but it may also damage your Koi’s beauty. The worst is if a Koi should happen to carry KHV (Koi Herpes Virus), you might potentially lose your whole collection of Koi. I do not mean to scare you, but do want to inform you about the serious hazards to your pond without a protective quarantine process!
How To Setup Koi Quarantine Tank SystemThese quarantine items help protect your koi from outside invaders and disease. To set up a quarantine tank, see the illustration above showing a completed setup. You can use the following lists to ensure your quarantine tank and accessories are complete.
5 Koi Quarantine Procedure TipsAs you can see by now, a good quarantine procedure is a life line in this hobby. To fully enjoy the hobby, you need to learn how to play it safe. Setting up a quarantine system is pretty simple. You can set up a temporary version without a filter or a more permanent version with filter system. Either version will do the job, but you need to keep the following in mind.
Check water parameters constantlyQuarantine tanks are usually much smaller than your regular ponds and therefore water parameters can change very quickly, especially if you use a temporary version with no filter. For a quarantine tank with no filter, I recommend you feed no or very little feeding. Feeding will increase ammonia and nitrite level and you will be forced to change water often.
Manage water temperatureKeeping water temperature warm is another important quarantine tip. Your Koi’s immune system works the best when water is over 70° F. At this temperature, they can more quickly recover from the stress and exhaustion of the journey to a new environment. It is also important because the most dangerous disease in Koi hobby, KHV (Koi Herpes Virus), appears only in warm water temperatures. And it takes about 2 weeks to break out if there is any.
Add a small Koi from your pondThis is also a good way to tell if the new addition to your pond may cause any issues. If new Koi carry any bugs, it should affect this Koi. Or vise versa. Koi in your pond may carry something but already immune to it. If your new Koi are not immune to it, you will see the problem in the quarantine tank. So the Koi plays the role of a canary in coal mine. Plus, Koi are social animal. They always do better when they have companions. It will help new Koi adapt to the new environment. If you set up a more permanent quarantine tank with filter, these canary Koi will keep your biological filter going.
Recommended DIY Koi Quarantine Products For SaleTo make quarantining your koi easier,
Quarantine Tank Kit – Premium
Quarantine Tank Accessories
How do you Quarantine New Koi into a Tank?Once you receive a new Koi, please release it in a separate quarantine tank. Then follow these abridged instructions:
- Add 3 lb salt/100 gal water to your quarantine tank (0.3% salinity)
- Observe the new Koi carefully to assure it does not develop disease for 14–21 days
- If your quarantine tank has a filter, please feed the Koi lightly. Manda Fu is ideal.
- If your quarantine tank has no filter, you may still feed them lightly, but do a partial water change every 2–3 days (about 25%). Add salt to maintain 0.3% salinity.
- After 3–5 days, if the Koi looks well, you may use Koi Prazi and Ich-X to deal with any potential parasites
- Throughout the quarantine, check the pH, ammonia, and nitrite levels regularly
- Maintain a water temperature of 65–78 F, ideally 70+ F.