It’s difficult to emphasise the importance of sending our Koi into the winter months in the absolute best condition possible. While this may necessitate a bit of effort on our part, those efforts will pay big dividends next spring.There are two areas where this is especially important and where our efforts are most effective: our systems and our Koi.
The reality is that as the days shorten, and the temperature drops, so do our maintenance regimes. With this in mind, it is worth making one big maintenance effort towards the end of October, to make sure there is no residual accumulation of organic waste material. If not removed, they will be a breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria that can, and often does, come back to haunt us in the Spring.
If you’ve ever wondered why it seems like every spring you have problems with your Koi, un-removed organic material in filter systems, bottom drain runs etc is a recurring cause.
It’s not pleasant, it's not fun, but get your marigolds on and get stuck in!
At the risk of stating the obvious - Koi are very rewarding but challenging fish to keep. The problem is that often the real cause of subsequent problems are impossible to see with the naked eye. Parasites are an omnipresent challenge for Koi keepers, and this time of year even though temperatures and activity levels might be dropping, these opportunists little tinkers, are still capable of reeking havoc in our systems.
The only way to effectively identify if you have parasites or not is with a microscope. We recommend all Koi keepers have a microscope and learn how to use it. If you don’t, local clubs and your local Koitalk.com dealers will be glad to help. The only thing that's not an option is doing nothing.
Even more of a problem perhaps, is that any parasites that remain undealt with as we go into winter will quietly slow down but reappear with a vengeance early next year. Worse still, because they are well able to function, reproduce and multiply at temperatures well below those where our Koi are active at, and also below temperatures at which nitrifying bacteria function. So while our Koi and filtration systems are struggling to “come round” after the long winter, parasites are “up and at em” !
The real kicker, however, and why parasites in low temperatures are a potentially deadly problem, is that while parasites and pathogenic bacteria are capable of infecting our Koi at temperatures as low as 5˚C the crucial...the immune systems of our Koi are effectively inoperable below 12˚C.
This revelation has significant implications for us all. It also goes along way to explaining the seemingly annual bacterial problems aka “Aeromonas Alley” that we see every spring. The good news is, however, that armed with this information you can now consider what winter strategy is best for you and your Koi. As is always the case when it comes to Koi - ignorance is never bliss!