“In 2006, fish meal prices reached levels that were previously unimaginable and nearly double the high end of the normal range over the past several decades” – the opening statement by Prof. R. W. Hardy, Director Aquaculture Research Institute, of the University of Idaho makes frightening reading for koi keepers.

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The definition of quarantine is: "A period of time, originally lasting 40 days, of enforced isolation or restriction of free movement imposed to prevent a contagious disease from spreading."

This idea of enforced isolation can be used on fishes moving from country to country and also from area to area within a country.


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It is a fact that throughout the history of fish keeping there has always been a possibility that the introduction of new fish to an existing pond may mean the introduction of a disease or parasite infection. This is not a foregone conclusion as many new fish have been introduced to koi collections without any problems what-so-ever. Therefore purpose of quarantining is to protect your collection.


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This is a most important chapter and koi keepers should note the contents.


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Once your pond has been up and running for some time now, and you are in a Koi shop, and "Oh, my gosh look at that beauty; I must take it home." When you get home with your new pet you would want to put it into the pond ASAP.

It does not matter what the dealer tells you, BEWARE, the new pet could KILL all your fish in the pond within a week or two. Even if the dealer has put some medication into the bag.

Unless the dealer has Quarantined the fish in a separate pond prior to selling them, and has assured you that they are clean. But then he needs specific nets that are used for that pond only, as the babies can easily be transferred from one pond to the next by using the same net.

YOU MUST QUARANTINE your new Koi: How: Where: How long. There is an answer to all of these questions. Many a keeper has lost fish by failing to quarantine them. It may go well for a couple of times then, WHAP you loose most or all your fish. This has happened to many Koi keepers.

Firstly you should at all time have a small pond / container at hand that could be used to house a sick or new fish. The easiest way is to go to buy a small Portapool. If you are handy you could make it yourself with material from the local hardware shop. Please ensure that you also acquire a net to cover the pool, as fish tend to jump under stress.

Now you need a small air pump or a small water pump to circulate the water If you use a small water pump you can also now filter the water. Get yourself a 20Ltr plastic bucket drill some holes in it. Insert another smaller bucket inside where the pump will fit into, also drilled with holes in the sides, Now between the two buckets you place some shade cloth, this will act as the filter. And place the pump in the center bucket. Fix the return pipe onto the pool inner perimeter provide some small holes in it so that water will splash onto the water surface,- even mist sprayers work well picking up oxygen in the process.

If you clean the filter you need to wrap this whole thing in a plastic bag, lift it out of the pond and wash it off. NOTE if this system is being used for the first time you will have to decontaminate the whole system. And after each use as well. There are also ready made units available at your local dealer,

Fill this pool with dechlorinated water, then place the plastic bag with your Koi inside to acclimatize water temperature and release them into the water as described above. If it is only one Koi in the pond PLEASE provide him with a friend or two as fish do like company of there own kind- a common gold fish or two will also do the job. Also please provide them with some cover to hide under. You could try a pellet or two and if there is no interest remove them, and try again the next day.

It has been suggested that you quarantine them for a whole season, but generally in summer 6 to 8 weeks should be fine. You must however change approx 10% of the total portapool water with some dechlorinated water every second day or so to dilute the Ammonia build up.

If you detect no problems with the new arrival after the 6 to 8 week period AND THE WATER TEMPERATURE IN THIS TIME HAS BEEN OVER 18ºC you may transfer them to the main pond, once again being aware of the temperature and Ph difference and equalizing it. If you detect a problem during this period, go to your dealer, describe the problem to him and he will be able to help you with something, he could even do a scraping of the fish and see what the problem is under a microscope.

You must however keep a watchful eye out during the quarantine period for any abnormal behaviour. Please note the fish are in a strange environment and will not be at their ease, but they will settle down after a week or so if all is fine. If it is a sick fish that you are treating / quarantining it does not need a friend, but provide it a place to hide as it will feel more secure in hiding. If you do not have a quarantine facility and are unable to follow the above procedures then at the very least it is suggested that you treat the new arrivals in a short bathe of Permaclear ( obtainable at dealers) following the recommended dosages, oxygenating the water heavily through airstones and observing the koi all the time for 30-45 minutes.

Remove them on any signs of stress. NOTE: This is not recommended in place of quarantining. Any Koi with KHV for instance, will not be disinfected by this procedure.