Posts tagged with "goldfish"

How to Properly Move Pet Fish

So your fish keeping friend is moving and has offered to give you all their fish, lucky you!  But how to properly get those beautiful new finds safely from their pond or tank to yours.  Even if this is not exactly the case, there may come a time when you need to move fish, such as because they are newly purchased,  going to a show, or are going for a visit to the vets office. Therefore it is good to do a review of proper fish handling and transport.Seahorse Hippocampus kuda

First of all, fish that have been in a pond or tank for many years are often not kept in the most optimal conditions.  They have often long outgrown the appropriate size for their environment.  Overcrowding equates to poor water quality and a depressed immune system.  Although they may appear perfectly healthy now due to the fish’s incredible ability to acclimate to most any gradual changes, the stress of moving is often all that it takes to push the fish over the edge and allow them to suffer from all manner of illnesses and parasites.  Even fish that are  transferred from presumptively “disease free” sources can potentially be carriers of disease.  Some conditions can be difficult to detect in carrier fish, and some pathogens may go undetected if they have not produced clinical signs in any of the fish.  Do not believe it when the store says the fish have already been quarantined! Brutus the koi fish

To minimize spreading of these potential diseases to your pond; first, acquire the services of a knowledgeable fish veterinarian.  If possible have the fish’s health and environment evaluated before the move.  This can be scheduled while the isolation or quarantine tank(s) are establishing since of course, you do NOT want to move the new fish directly into your pond on the first day.  During those times when it is not possible to have the fish evaluated BEFORE the move, then plan to have them examined within the first week or two in your quarantine facility to minimize the potential spread of pathogens into your pond.

Ideally, fish should be fasted for about three days before being moved.   Some report fasting for up to a week, but this tends to add to the stress of the fish and is not recommended.  Fasting the fish will help minimize waste during transport which will maintain water quality, which becomes more significant with the farther distance traveled.  Caution must be used to minimize stressing the fish during capture and restraint.  Latex or similar gloves should be worn when handling the fish to protect their delicate skin and to protect you from potential pathogens.  No jewelry should be worn.  Fish should be gently guided head first into catch bowls in the water; fish should NOT be lifted out of the water with nets if at all possible.  Any nets used should be of the type which will minimize damage to the sensitive skin of the fish.  Nets are primarily used just to guide the movement of the fish.  The fish should be lifted out of the water in either a catch bowl or a fish sock (fine mesh bag), which is then picked up on both ends and from there the fish is moved into what it will travel in. Goldie

The safest way to transport fish is in a plastic bag with just enough water to cover the fish, and the rest of the bag filled up with pure oxygen.  Fish of any considerable size should be placed in two bags as their dorsal fins, as well as hooks near the anal fins, have been known to cut plastic bags.  The plastic bag(s) should then be placed in cardboard boxes and padded with newspaper to minimize their rolling around.  For trips of less than 30 minutes fish can be transported in buckets, plastic-lined regular or Styrofoam coolers with about 1 liter of water for every centimeter of fish if supplemental oxygen is not provided.  Any container fish are transported in must be covered to protect the fish from injury by jumping out.  Noniodized salt can be added to the water, but must be carefully measured to equal one teaspoonful per gallon. Do NOT add salt if going for a visit to the vet, as this might make it more problematic to locate parasites on the fish when they get examined.

Once at the new locale, plastic bags should be floated in the quarantine tank for around 30 minutes to acclimate to the new water temperature before the fish are released.  If fish are being moved into a freshwater quarantine tank, it should have a separate fully cycled filter sponge or another type of nitrification system, and consider adding non-iodized or sea salt added,  to a level of 0.3%. Salt reduces the osmoregulatory effort of the fish, which is how much nutrition it needs to breathe and digest food.  This level of salinity should be maintained throughout the quarantine period of at least two but preferably 4-6 weeks.  While in quarantine the water should be checked daily to ensure ammonia (should be 0), nitrate, nitrate, and Ph levels.  Use partial water changes to maintain good water quality, and be prepared for a Ph crash.Killer the fish

Other treatments that can be done during the quarantine period are to feed the fish medicated food. It is important to ensure the new fish are eating well, tempt them to eat with food and treats specific for their species.  Random treatment with antiparasitic agents is NOT recommended unless the tests performed by your veterinarian confirm and warrant such treatment.   Monitor all the fish every day to ensure they are eating and swimming well without scale/skin lesions or frayed fins.  Use separate nets and equipment for the quarantined fish to prevent cross contamination, and at the end of the quarantine period thoroughly disinfect all such equipment with diluted chlorhexidine or other net safe solution.

At the end of the quarantine period, release the new fish in the pond or tank to join the current residents, and enjoy the freedom of knowing you have done everything possible to ensure the best possible outcome for your new additions!

If the fish are not going into quarantine, but just being transported to visit the vets office, be sure to bring with you another container with the water the fish is acclimated to, so that there is fresh water for the fish to travel back home in.  For smaller fish, I usually recommend transporting the fish in a plastic bag, and then having at least the same amount of water in another plastic bag just in case of bag breaks, a bucket spills, or whatever the case may be.  You can never be too careful about when transporting fish. I also prefer them to come to my office in a cooler, as this minimizes temperature fluctuates no matter what the weather outside,  which helps keep stress to a minimum.

In summary, with a little preparation, it is easy to safely transport your pet fish for whatever purposes you might need. I am here for you to do housecalls in and around Denver, Colorado for your fresh, salt, and pond water fish. You can even book me on line here http://www.drkoi.com. Best wishes for you and your fishes!

Want New Fish? Read This!

Whether you have had huge tanks your whole life, or just want to get a little goldfish, there are a few important things to know to set you up for success.

1) Evaluate your current situation, and decide what you need.  If you have a small pond, then only plan to get another one or two small fish.  Remember, the more water + the less fish = higher chance of success, less work and costs for you (in general).  How much money do I have to spend on this new fish? How much more time do I want to spend caring for my fish? Is the tank or pond that I have now in good working order, or should it really get some upgrades before I commit to caring for a new life? Also ensure that what you want to get, will get along with the fish you have.

2) Be prepared to, and quarantine, the new fish, period.  Saying that the person, shop, auction, whatever, already quarantined the fish, defies the very definition of quarantine.  The fish has to be in YOUR environment, exposed to YOUR temperature changes, YOUR water source, etc. for a set period of time, ideally 4-6 weeks, before any decisions can be made about the health of that animal.  Diseases and parasites, (such as a herpes virus you or I might get as a fever blister when we work too many long hours), often lay dormant within the animal, even for years, but then overtake the fishes immune system and become a problem during times of stress i.e. moving to your house!  And then gives it to the fish you already have, and then, you have a big problem, which could have been avoided in a quarantine tank.  Have another set up, a tank from a garage sale (or I got my last one at the local thrift shop), get it cycling and have the water quality in it going great, and put your new fish in there.  Preferably your 2 new fish, as they really like to have a friend and will do better in at least a pair.   It’s a little more work, but so worth it, for so many reasons.  In fact, if everyone did this one important step, there would be almost be no need for me as a fish doctor!  So go ahead,  I dare you to try and put me out of business! Quarantine those new fish!  And no I do not recommend prophylactic treatment with a bunch of chemicals, dewormers, antibiotics, etc.  Just use this opportunity to bond with the new fish, up close and personal, before they are introduced into the main system.  Observe them and check their water quality carefully, every day, and then treat any problems as, or if, they arrive.

3) ONLY then should you begin to look for your new fish.  Of course if goes without saying to get fish from a reliable source with a great reputation.  Word of mouth is the best.  But also use your powers of observation.  Choose the fish that chooses YOU!  Not the little lonely one in the back corner with the torn fins who is all alone…he is for the shop owner to assume accountability for. Look carefully for torn fins, being interested in you and the surroundings, swimming strongly with the other fish, showing a strong interest in food, with a bright color and no visible marks, bumps, or other abnormal bulges or discolorations. You want the one (s) who can’t seem to want to swim over to you fast enough and say “Hey Buddy, What’s UP? YOU look awesome, want to hang out with me?”! And if your not lucky enough to have experience this with pet fish, and I hope you do, then at least pick one who seems the most vibrant, to you.

4) Safely transport the new fish home.  Proceed directly to already established quarantine tank.  Get the assistance of whoever you are getting the fish from, with the safe transport of your new friend. But if you want more help, I have an article for that which I can provide you with.

5) Feed, love, care for, and check temperature, ammonia, nitrites,  nitrates, and Ph, AT LEAST, on this new fish, every single day while in quarantine for the next 4-6 weeks.  If problems arise, consult me, right away.  I have seen Ph crashes kill thousands of dollars worth of fish in less than a day.  Don’t wait and see, this is what the quarantine period is all about. One month later and all is good? No problems or concerns whatsoever? Then congratulations on your new addition!  It is now safe to introduce the new arrival to the rest of the gang, of course ensuring that the water in the main tank matches what your new fish has been is, especially as far as temperature is concerned.   

So there you have it folks, everything you need to know about getting, and keeping, a new fish healthy and happy, in 5 simple steps!  And I remember, I am DrQ, here to help YOU, keep your animals happy, and healthy, years longer.  What other questions do you have?  Connect with me on Facebook #jenaquesten, Twitter @drquesten, Linkin, Google+, and almost everyone else you might like to hang out, and I will answer. Have a great day, and, best wishes for you and your fishes!Goldie

 

 

 

Have you ever accidentally killed a pet fish?

Have you ever accidentally killed a pet fish?  Even a 50 cent goldfish can leave a stabbing pain in your heart when you realize you were not even able to keep something so small, and seemingly simple, alive. Up to now, the problem has been, not knowing what you did wrong, and then, not knowing where to turn, for answers.  The internet is full of advise, but sometimes it is hard to sift it down to just the most important stuff you need to know, right now.  The pet or aquarium store can be helpful, but it depends on who you ask.  You are embarrassed because you don’t know, and feel silly because it’s JUST a goldfish.  But true animal lovers know you can’t put a price on a relationship, and it doesn’t matter if the fish cost $3 or $75,000, this is YOUR pet fish, your responsibility, and most importantly, your friend, who is counting on you, to do what it takes to keep him or her safe, and healthy.

One piece of advise, most of the time the problem with fish is water quality. Unfortunately most people start with toxic medications and water additives, at the first sign of problems with their fish, rather than checking the water  The good news is, you don’t have to be a chemist to evaluate your fishes water,  really!  All you need is to invest in a water test strip kit from the pet store, and use it, at the first sign of any problems.  If something does not look right, then 20% water changes, once or twice a day, until the numbers are in range again, does the trick, MOST of the time.  That’s it! This one little piece of advise could save thousands of little fish, and the people and children who love them,a lot of heartache.

However, if you have fish now, or want to get fish again, and want to know more about how to keep them healthy, then my upcoming course “Wet Pets”, is for you!  This will be an introductory course of all things related to keeping the most common pet fish safe, healthy, as well as the basics of what to do if you detect problems. This course is designed for veterinary technicians who hope to one day work with an aquatic veterinarian, but, it is a great introductory course for anyone fascinated by fish, and wanting to learn more about their anatomy, basic body functions, basic tank designs and functions, as well as an introduction to common diseases,  how to recognize  them, and when to hire an aquatic vet.

I promise you this 4 hour investment of your time, on Saturday November 8th, from 10-2:30 pm, will be time well spent learning fascinating facts about these wonderful creatures, and help break the myth that the cost of an animal does not in any way equate to the amount of joy sharing your live with such an exotic creature, can bring! Class size is limited, and slots, as usual,  will fill up fast.  Please forward this email to all the fish lovers you know!  Registration for the course is $175, and registration is  directly through Bel-Rea School of Veterinary Technology (where the course will be held)  at 1681 S. Dayton St, Denver, Co 80231,  phone (303)751-8700.  Thank you, and, best wishes for the fishes!Abby's Koi pic (2)

Dr. Questen featured in the Denver Post Today!

Dr. Jena Questen, also known sat Dr. Koi, is a veterinarian at the Denver Holistic Pet Center where she specializes in doctoring fish.

Photo courtesy of the Denver Post

Please check out this GREAT article by the Denver Post telling all about the FASCINATING world of aquatic veterinary medicine!

“Jena Questen — more popularly known by the nickname Dr. Koi. She is a classically educated veterinarian (Colorado State University, 2001) who later trained herself to treat ornamental fish because she saw so many of them dying needlessly.”

Obviously with a LOT of help along the way from many of the BEST fish doctors in the WORLD! Thanks guys and gals, you know who you are!
Read more: Fish veterinarian known as “Dr. Koi” keeps patients feeling fin – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/homegarden/ci_25247904/denver-fish-vet-known-dr-koi-keeps-patients#ixzz2ufVhuAFo
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