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  • April 30, 2018 2:10 PM | Gerald Ellison (Administrator)

    Annual Friends of Koi Auction

    Saturday, May 19, 2018

    Hundreds of Beautiful Koi from 6” to jumbos will be looking for new homes at bargain prices as well as some gently used pond equipment.

    Held at Freshwater Flora & Fauna David Curtright, Owner
    2137 Via Corte
    Escondido, CA 92029

    Sellers: please stop at the first driveway


    • 9:00 a.m. Viewing of the Koi and used equipment for Sale
    • 10:00 a.m. Auction starts
    • 12:30 p.m. Approximate 30 minute lunch break
    • 3:00 p.m. Approximate end of the auction and your new Koi are available to be picked up. Please note Koi cannot be removed until the end of the auction, without approval prior to the day of the auction.

    Buyers should quarantine their purchases; the club makes no guarantee of the Koi’s health. Bring boxes/coolers to transport your new fish safely.

    Payment is accepted in cash, check or credit card. Sales tax is added to each purchase. Your Koi will be in a new plastic bag with oxygen; all you will need are boxes/coolers for the trip home.

    Bidder registration is $5.00 and includes a lunch & drink ticket for one. Additional sandwiches, chips and drinks are available for purchase.

    Sellers 7:30 a.m. Check in of your pre-bagged Koi and used equipment. Oxygen is available upon arrival, if requested.

    Note each bag received will be auctioned as a single lot; please separate your Koi into individual bags prior to arrival.

    The club reserves the right to reject any Koi for health concerns.

    Please note the 6” minimum size and if you wish to bring more than 20 Koi you must have prior approval; contact Tamsie at (619) 427-9008

    For more information please contact Tamsie: 
    (619) 427-9008

  • December 04, 2017 11:47 PM | Gerald Ellison (Administrator)

    I  hope all of you had a Great Thanksgiving and are gearing up for the Christmas Season.. We as a Club have done some great things this past year.. We successfully held our 30 th Anniversary Koi Show.. There are so many People to thank for making the Show a continued “mmust see”” event.. Without our Volunteers,, the Show would not be the Benchmark that a lot of other Koi Shows judge themselves against.. The Club also held our annual Koi Auction;; it was rough going at times to pull the Auction of f due to the timing,, Back to Back,, Show and then the Auction,, having the auction so close to the show would really tax most of our volunteers.. So we decided to move the auction to a later date.. The move proved to be a success,, and the Club members seemed re - energized and the Auction was deemed a big win.. Our Club cannot survive without our Volunteers,, their helping hands and time are the backbone of our Club.. I continue to ask that as a member of our Club you try to find time to volunteer for the m any jobs//eevents that we have all year.. I hope you enjoyed our Venues and Guest Speakers that we had this year.. If you didn’t att end one of our monthly meetings you missed out on Great Koi Ponds,, Great Homes,, Great People,, Great Fun,, and don’t forget the Great Food.. Thank you to all involved.. 

    As for last month’s meeting, what a cool pond Donna and Vince Hernandez have. If you missed the meeting their pond is state-othe-Art, with the coolest Filter pits around. Their Koi collection is just as good as their Pond. I know Vince has been hard at work trying to improve his Koi knowledge and Koi selecting skills. By the way the herd looks great, seems like Donna and Vince are well underway to be competing in our Koi Show 2018. Keep up the good work!! Hard Work, yup! That’s what it took our monthly speaker Steve Buckles aka Buck to create and put on the final touches on Vince and Donna’s pond. Buck was instru-mental in completing the pond build. Buck also gave a great presentation on pond building. One take away from Buck that stuck in my head is “There are many ways to build a pond.” Great advice. We also had our Photo Contest, thank you to those who participated and voted. The winning photo is eligible to become the cover of our 2018 Koi Show program. As for the winner of the contest, it was no other than our hosts of the meeting Vince and Donna Hernandez. Hmm, Something’s Fishy??? Congrats and I hope the photo makes the cover.

    Ok, Ok, now for even more fun and excitement. We have once again been invited to Vista for our Christmas/Holiday meeting!! If you have never been, then you have been missing out on “one of,” if not the best meeting of the year. Why? Just show up and you will know why. Bonnie Mcllvaine has “one of” the best Koi Ponds in the County, not to mention “one of” the most beautiful backyards around. Words cannot describe the entire property. Well maybe I can describe it in two words “One Of”…..

    Don’t forget we also do our Secret Santa exchange, please bring a gift around $25 if you would like to participate. I hope every-one is still reading this, because I saved the best for last. Bonnie is treating the membership to a Catered Mexican “feast,” yup, no Potluck. It was announced at our last meeting that Bonnie wanted to payback the Club because of the Club’s support and effort when her pond was in distress. Both Jack Chapman and Linda Pluth “saved the day,” Bonnie’s koi could have easily died, but thanks to Jack and Linda, the Koi were saved, and now we as Club members get to enjoy the rewards of their efforts. Way to go and thank you. 

    Remember, we have a Club Facebook page, Koi Club of San Diego. We are always posting new photos and articles. 

     Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 

    “Buy Quality to expect Quality” 

    Scotty Yee 

  • October 07, 2017 5:06 PM | Gerald Ellison (Administrator)

    As a pond owner and koi hobbyist you have some growth and color decisions to consider. The general knowledge towards these decisions comes from time and experience as a hobbyist and more importantly some self-education and/or exposure to the principles in play on the subject of growth/color. What do you want your koi to do within the confines of your pond system? I’m going to have to stay with generalities as I introduce you to some points for consideration and while all this stuff has been seen in print or video not all agree with some of the finer points – that’s my disclaimer LOL but I believe in what I’m about to pass along in this article. 

    In the beginning most backyard koi hobbyists want pretty and healthy koi that get bigger with time and are friendly and that can be your continuing goal even after reading this article. 

    Then all sorts of things start to happen over time and for this subject they may include things like: my koi don’t look as nice as they use to; the loss of color; gotten a lot darker; the white is changing (usually not as nice); have a lot of new little spots (mostly black); not grown much; gotten too big for my pond; are skinny or even fat – so what am I doing wrong? 

    Well we need to become a little more familiar in three areas - while asking yourself what do you want your koi to do? They are the individual koi purchase, your pond and water quality and finally nutrition and feeding schedule.

    The koi is a very important part of the puzzle. The more you know the more you can expect certain results. Pick a number say $10/$100/$1000 but on your low end you may not need a host of info to get what you want/expect from the koi. However, with more expensive koi, especially if thinking a show koi - well you need to know a lot more in my opinion – breeder, bloodline, past results of offspring that are now older, etc. This is considered the genetic profile. Folks, there are books covering just this subject and make for some interesting reading. So we now have for your consideration - What are the wants/ expectations in visible terms for a successful Return on Investment. (ROI)? Yes, how long do you want/expect to keep your koi, how big do you want/expect it to get, when do you want or expect it to look its best/what do you want to do with the koi once your ROI has been accomplished???? So you say you have never considered these things – well now may be the time to give it some consideration and what are the things you can do to assist your now established ROI as we move on to the next two important areas.

    Water quality is a major area and is not without its direct effects on both growth and color in meeting your expectations established at time of koi purchase. In general soft water is advantageous to the development of red color and lengthens the time for complete color development, while hard water is said to advance black color and be to some degree responsible for small black spots (shimi) on your koi and generally reduce the time for finished color development. Koi suffering from stress from a host of water quality issues to include long term low level issues are said to suffer both in growth and color. Studies of higher levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) resulting in increased water hardness have demonstrated to reduce growth potential as has oxygen below saturation levels. Japanese koi breeders have expressed that higher oxygen levels increases koi activity leading to increased food requirements and associated increased growth. Higher Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP) readings are thought to be too oxidative and present a (possible) negative effect on koi color pigment cells. I often refer to ORP as your pond’s pollution index. Finally, studies from the UK have reported higher koi grow rates in soft water conditions. So water conditions should be taken into consideration and maybe modify some of your answers or even koi purchases to the questions presented earlier. Bringing all 3 colors of a show quality Showa to up and finished at the same time should not be left to chance. 

    So that leaves us with nutrition and associated feeding schedules, for which there are again books on just this subject, but in general how you have answered the earlier questions should assist you with your feeding plan. Nutrition is obviously directly related to both growth and color but it has been said that when a koi is getting pounded with growth feed components it cannot keep up with color at the same time and that color has to catch up later and sometimes falls short of goal. Your koi goals are of significant importance especially your answer to when you want your koi during their life span to be their best and what you initially purchased. Males are said to finish sooner than females and if your koi purchases are already farther along with color development (very common) then they are going to finish sooner and they may need to be moved along to our club annual auction after just 4 to 6 years. It’s been said many a time that no baby champion has ever been a later grand champion. But you decide when your ROI has been accomplished and time to move a koi along. A lot of backyard koi ponds are not large ponds and while koi will still under the right conditions grow large in small ponds it may be desirable to keep growth below the koi’s potential and nutrition is a way to do this to some degree. Yes, you need to establish in spring a good estimate of pond total koi mass (weight) and for okay survival feed 1% of total weight; for limited growth and maintain color feed 2% of total weight and for maximum growth and color 3% of total weight as a daily feed requirement. I don’t want to complicate this but the aforementioned feeding schedule is for adult koi (say 4/5 years old) and for young koi you double the percentages. When the daily feed amount is divided into several feedings per day growth rates are said to improve. Unfortunately, when you have koi of all sizes in your pond the little ones may not get their fair share of the feed as the big koi quickly scoop up surface food. I think I’ve observed less of a problem with this when I do my twice a day sinking food feedings. Growth note: when your 9 to 11 inch one year old koi grows to 16 or18 inches in one summer you have not had an outstanding growth year, but only average at best as koi’s largest growth rates are realized in the first 3 to 4 years of life.

    So with a koi ROI plan coupled with an ongoing increased attention to koi knowledge, water quality and nutrition your level of hobby satisfaction will be increased and hopefully keep you involved in the hobby, while sharing your gained knowledge with fellow club members.

    While growth and color are an impossible subject to cover in this basic introductory article, I hope I’ve tweaked your interest to further explore the subjects and give some consideration to the info as it affects your next beautiful koi purchase and that it exceeds your established ROI.

    koi jack 

  • October 04, 2017 6:14 AM | Gerald Ellison (Administrator)

    Amazing, Amazing, Amazing! When you look out the windows of our September meeting home, I’m sure Amazing is one of the words you used to describe the View. Thank you Augusto & Colleen Angelucci for opening your home up to our members. “Amazing”…Our Guest speaker for the meeting was Michael Hernandez of Tomigai accompanied by his lovely wife Gleci. 

    They are part of the International Koi World and we were lucky to have them speak at our meeting. We were also treated to a “mini” Koi Auction. Gerald Ellison was gracious enough to have some of his prize koi auctioned off to our lucky attendees. 

    As for our Annual Koi Auction held in Escondido, I would like to thank all involved for putting the event on. It takes numerous volunteer hours to put on this type of event. BIG shout out to everyone who continues to help out. I hope you purchased a Koi at a great price or you got to thin out your crowded pond. 

    We also had our annual Japanese Friendship Garden Filter cleaning. If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Garden, it has a World Class Koi pond that is maintained by a few dedicated Club Members. A few members that need special acknowledgement are our very own Jack Chapman, Greg Ruth and Linda Pluth. Thanks for all you do! 

    Have you noticed the weather is changing? Please make sure you read Koi Jack’s articles regarding Koi Care. As for “learning” here is a bit of advice I gave the members in an article that I wrote last year. 

    “Have you ever heard the words "Koi Kichi?”? If you have a Koi pond or just love Koi, you might be a Koi Kichi. Koi Kichi basically means KOI CRAZY. Yes, I am Koi Kichi but not a Koi expert. It takes many years of studying the Art of Koi, and many trials and tribulations to develop how to best keep Koi. Even after many years of studying how to raise and how to purchase koi, I will never probably be satisfied that I have this koi passion fully figured out. That is why we have Club meetings, Koi Shows, Steering Committees, Auctions, and once in a while a Koi Seminar (I heard our club might host a seminar in the future). Another good place to do your "Homework" is the Internet. There are so many articles, forums, newsletters that you can find if you have a Koi related question”. 

    Remember we have a Club Facebook page, Koi Club of San Diego. Phyllis Spoor has at least 60 pics of our past September meeting, JFG Cleaning and Koi Auction posted on our page. I encourage you to “like” our page and continue to support our Club.

    “No Bad Days”
    Scotty Yee
    President Koi Club of San Diego

  • September 04, 2017 11:01 PM | Gerald Ellison (Administrator)

    I hope you had a good time at our August meeting. Dr. Bob Adler was a great host. If you don't know Dr. Bob will be our Show Chairman for our 2018 Koi Show in March. This will be Dr. Bob's 3rd year as the Show Chair. We can't thank him enough for all he has done since he has joined the club. If you didn't make the meeting his home is located in Beautiful Bonita. He has a very nice Koi pond as well as a few horses and a "Fleet" of Hummingbirds. I have never seen so many in my life. We held our Koi Show Pin contest, the members in attendance voted on the winning design. The winner of the 2018 Pin contest was Dr. Bob, Congrats. His design will also be considered for the Design that will potentially grace the front of our Koi Show T-shirt. 

    Talking about the 2018 Koi Show, it’s right around the corner, hopefully you are going to enter a few koi in the show or help volunteer. As for Volunteering or participating in our Club events we have a few coming up if you haven't heard. 

    1. We have our Japanese Friendship Garden Filter cleaning September 16th. If you would like to help out please contact Linda Pluth (619-200-4146, FYI, this is a great way to see the Garden before it opens and your help is your admission into the Garden. (Please enter by the back gate).
    2. Our annual Koi auction is September 30th. If you have some koi that need re-homing or you need a Koi at a Great price, this event is for you. Please contact Tamsie Pierce for more details. (619-427- 9008, 
    We have a full slate of meetings and events coming up. Linda Pluth, Jack Chapman, Susie Woods and Gerald Ellison have worked hard to get us great venues and speakers so I hope to see you soon. To find out about more events and more koi info please visit our website Gerald Ellison has done a good job with our new website. There is a member area that requires you to sign up. There is some good stuff and I hope you do so. We also have a very active Facebook page Koi Club of San Diego, thanks to Phyllis Spoor for some great pictures. 

    "No Bad Days" 

    Scotty Yee

  • August 28, 2017 10:52 PM | Gerald Ellison (Administrator)

    Well my pond temp is now above 72, so it’s time to start feeding my koi some additional protein in their daily diet. After water quality, I think nutrition is the second most important thing you can do to ensure the health and growth of your koi. You should be feeding your koi at least twice a day now and at 72 degrees you can consider three times a day. At 76/77, I’m feeding 6 times a day. The quality of your koi food will have a direct effect on solid waste, nitrogen and phosphate levels in your water. The digestibility of your koi food can be observed by the amount of solid waste you see in your pond (best time early AM). Non digested koi food or uneaten koi food left in the pond will lead to increased oxygen demand; additional ammonia-nitratephosphate; decreased performance of filters; increase in microbial growth (some bad for koi - aeromonas); and even toxic hydrogen sulfide gas for some poorly designed or poorly maintained ponds. 

    YES, you can overdo protein (been there more than once). The major source of nitrogen (Ammonia-Nitrite-Nitrate) for the average pond is protein found in your koi food. For each gram of ammonia produced by your koi the pond and its filter system will produce about 4.4 grams of nitrate. Carp raised as food fish are fed a diet containing 31 to 38% protein to max their growth with the carp’s metabolic capability to assimilate proteins. Bottom line – If you feed your koi more protein than they can metabolize, it just passes through the koi and becomes part of the fecal material. 

    You pay a higher cost for food and the undigested protein reduces your water quality. Don’t forget you have additional ammonia from any other decomposing organic matter in the pond and don’t forget your source water will also have some nitrogen products (be it low levels). With raised phosphate levels in your pond the koi will do okay at first but algae growth may become an issue leading to conditions that can (depending on fish load) result in fish loss. Koi require phosphate in their diet – but they have a harder time and reduced assimilation rates from fish that have a stomach (i.e. no production of hydrochloric acid). 

    Got to stop somewhere as this is a complex subject with multiple environmental issues that directly affect this subject matter. 

    I’ll close with the following thoughts for your consideration: 

    • Don’t keep more than 3 months’ food supplies on hand at any one time.
    • Keep all food in a cool dry place. (Very important) 
    • Feed your koi a variety of food items (subject for another article).
    • Observe your koi eating habits. (Best time to observe mouth problems).
    • Broadcast food over large area (so the little guys can get some food). 
    • For me, if all food is gone in 8 minutes I’m happy. 
    • Remove any food left on the surface after 10 minutes. 
    • Keep the food out of any skimmer during feeding. 
    • What about using an automatic or on demand feeder?? 
    • For the science nerd the feeding interval is: 
    Interval = 40 times the square of W divided by T Interval = time between feedings in hours W = body mass, grams T = temperature, C (RAS 2nd edition; Timmons; pg506) 

    r/koi jack

  • August 09, 2017 7:33 AM | Gerald Ellison (Administrator)

    Summer is in Full Swing and I hope all of your Koi are enjoying the Warm weather. If you missed last month’s meeting, it was another terrific meeting high atop Point Loma... Thank you Carl and Shirley Elswick for hosting. If you don’t know, Shirley has been involved with our Club for many years and is a very dedicated member. She has served as our President and is very active with the Japanese Friendship Garden as a Docent. 

    Our July meeting had our very own Galen Hansen as our guest speaker. It is always a treat to listen to Galen speak and gain valuable knowledge from him. I encourage all of our members to attend our monthly meetings. Some of the benefits of attending the meeting are:

    1. Get to interact with people of similar interests

    2. Share and Gain knowledge of Koi Keeping

    3. Great Food

    4. Great Venues

    5. Terrific raffle/drawing

    Get to Relax and treat the meeting as a mini vacation ....maybe I’m exaggerating.......
    There are some events coming up in the next few months that you might want to attend and or participate in.

    We have our annual Koi Show Pin contest. Anyone that is an Active KCSD member can participate. The winning design must incorporate last year’s KCSD’s Grand Champion Koi. Entries will be accepted via E-mail and or hard copy. You can turn your entry to me at the August monthly meeting or e-mail me Entries must be submitted to me by the August meeting or simply bring it to the meeting. Just take a look at last year’s winning koi on our website and sketch your entry on a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. The winning design will grace the front of our Koi Show 2018 T-Shirt.

    On September 16th we will have our Japanese Friendship Garden Filter Cleaning Extravaganza.....It’s a great way to support the Club, the JFG and a great way to see the inner working of a Norm Meck gravity Koi Pond filter...Please contact Linda Pluth (619-200-4146) for more info, or go to our website

    September 30th.....If you didn’t hear, our Annual Koi Auction is back on. Same location as last year in Escondido. If you have Koi you would like to have Auctioned, or if you’re interested in purchasing a koi at a huge discount, this is the event for you... We still need volunteers. Please contact Tamsie Pierce for more details on volunteering.

    All these events don’t happen without your support, I hope that you sign up or attend one of our events. Remember our Club relies on Volunteers, and any help is much appreciated.

    Hope to see you soon,

    Scotty Yee

  • August 08, 2017 12:28 AM | Gerald Ellison (Administrator)
    Tribute Pulled from the K.O.I. Website

    Ken Austin passed away on July 28, 2017

    Ken was the Chairman of the Board here at K.O.I., and was the Instructor for Construction, Transport, Pond Modifications and Show Water Quality - all of which he helped write. He was our go-to guy for research, and had an extensive Koi library and an un-ending thirst for scientific knowledge. He brought professionalism to everything he did. No job was too big or too small. He jumped in and helped with all K.O.I. projects, and was the driving force in setting up the Drupal version of the K.O.I. web site. Ken loved teaching and sharing his enthusiasm for Koi pond science. Ken developed and ran a hands-on learning session about Koi anesthesia at the K.O.I. lab held at PNKCA in 2015. Ken engineered his own pond and many others in the El Paso area. He loved his pond and Koi, and built a Japanese-style pagoda of his own design to serve as a lovely place to sit and drink coffee and feed the fish. Several years ago, he decided he wanted to learn more about aquaponics, so he set up a hoop-greenhouse, and grew a fascinating array of pond plants and few household vegetables using the nutrients from a tank of Koi he had rescued. He frequently gave away (or sold for pennies) his extra Koi and plants to local Koi club members. Ken hosted club meetings yearly, and along with his wife Susie, they provided an amazing food extravaganza, and a wonderful garden to visit. He was famous for raiding his own stash of supplies in order to measure out a correct dose of a medication and deliver it for free to a pond owner in need - just because he could help. Ken was a master with his Big Green Egg, and started a BGE club in El Paso where other enthusiasts could share recipes and techniques. Ken generously shared his time and knowledge of all his hobbies with his friends, neighbors and Koi club members. He has left a legacy that few 'experts and Koi professionals' can match - because he actually researched and accomplished projects rather than just pontificating about how things should be done. And he did it all with good will, humor and a joy in learning that was unequaled. Thank you Ken! Karen Pattist

    Ken was a thoughtful and effective worker for Koi Organisation International where he served as Chairman of the Board since the organization’s inception. He strongly valued truth and once said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not to their own facts.” He was a mentor to his students, a lecturer at conventions and club meetings and a significant contributor to the advancement of the Koi hobby. And maybe more importantly, Ken was a nice guy. He will be missed.
    Spike Cover

    Ken was a very important member of the Southwest Koi and Pond Association. His title was Second Vice President and in addition to his VP duties, he designed and printed our monthly News Letter, which is circulated to all our club members each month. Ken was a graduate of the Koi Health Advisor program and an Associate member of the Koi Organization International (K.O.I.) where he served as an instructor in the training program. During his association with these programs, Ken became very knowledgeable of everything associated with Koi and Koi Ponds. He was a very valuable member of our Koi Club, where he served as our expert person to go to when Koi and pond problems occur. Our Club Members will really miss Ken as a technical resource and most of all as a personal friend to all our members.
    Don Harrawood, SKAPA

    Living in the UK, I only met Ken in person once, when my wife and I attended the PNKCA Convention in Spokane. I found him to be a very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful man, both in person and in the many emails we had exchanged over the years. Albert Einstein said, “The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.” Ken was a man who freely gave his time, enthusiasm and his considerable knowledge in order to help others and to help increase the general pool of knowledge in the Koi keeping hobby. He was a genuine person who gave, not because he had to, but because he wanted to. Sue also sends her condolences and regrets that we were not able to accept Ken’s invitation for us to travel over and stay with him. Rest in peace Ken, you will be missed and remembered.
    Syd Mitchell

    I very much appreciated Ken as an instructor as I went through the CKK studies, and I am learning all the time more about all of the behind the scenes work he did to help create and maintain our Organisation. I certainly extend my deepest sympathy to all of his family, friends, and loved ones, and will continue working to strengthen the organisation that he loved so much.
    Jeff Rasche

    Ken was the warmest guy or instructor I ever have. My deepest sympathy to his family. Words cannot express my sadness. May the comfort of God help us through this difficult time. He is Forever Remembered, Forever Missed.
    Tson Dang

    Ken was such a great, generous spirit! I'm glad I got to 'skype' meet him. Katy Shanafelt

    Even though I never meet Ken, I have been privileged to know him through all of the wonderful educational information he was able to give to us Koi kichi people. People like Ken don't come around often, but when they do, they make a wonderfully huge impact on those around him. His legacy will live in the minds and hearts of all that love these beautiful creatures called koi. My heart goes out to all of his friends and family. He will be very much missed in this community. Rest in peace dear friend.
    Barb Flowers

    All of us in the koi world will miss his knowledge.
    Diana Lynn Rehn

    Ken was my Koi mentor While I was trying to take the Certified Koi Keepers exams, he was very friendly and patient with me. He was also always available to address the issues we had with ponds in our local club. Ken impressed me with his advanced expertise in a lot of engineering applications, and his common sense and creativity to figure out how to improve our ponds. It was a pleasure to work with Ken on editing numerous publications for Koi Organisation International. We will miss him dearly.
    Marc Descollonges ¸.·´¯`·.´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸><)))º>

    I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Ken in Idaho when he was helping with the PNKCA Convention. Had a chance to sit across from him at dinner, and then had a chance to watch him at work during the wet lab. I also took the pond construction class from Ken, and can attest to his willingness to encourage and to be patient. This is a huge loss for the koi community, and K.O.I., of course.
    Nancy Moore

    Ken was very helpful in helping me pass CKK and solving a problem with my pond.
    Ed Broomfield

    Ken was very helpful in helping me pass CKK and solving a problem with my pond.
    Ed Broomfield

    On behalf of the Koi Club of San Diego, Ken you will be missed.

  • July 13, 2017 12:42 PM | Gerald Ellison (Administrator)

    What should you know about Ammonia NH3???

    So from past articles and discussions at our club meetings, I hope you have a better understanding of how stress to our koi shortens their life span and reduces their growth with subpar coloration. With all other things being equal your koi normally get bigger each year placing a larger ammonia load on your pond filter, which can lead to an increase in the residual levels of pond ammonia. This results in added stress which can lead to the above mentioned items plus increased illness/disease and loss of koi. Strange as it may be, I think of ammonia sort of like diabetes in humans in that both can demonstrate harmful effects on just about any part or system of the physical bodies in question and both can cause serious problems short term and long term collectively both leading to pre-mature death!

    Yes, this is a serious water quality issue that needs your attention and constant vigilance. While I cannot cover the subject adequately here, I hope to get you started thinking about it and what’s going on in your pond and your koi with respect to ammonia. So let’s get started.

    Ammonia is the number 1 waste product of koi and is said to be excreted from your koi’s gills for about 75% of total production, while the remaining 25% comes from the kidneys. They are always breathing and as they get larger the production of ammonia is exponential – so a koi growing from 6 inches to 12 inches does not now excrete twice the ammonia but closer to 3 times as much as when it was 6 inches. At the same time, any organic matter in your pond that comes from a protein source will release ammonia as it decays in your pond (more on this later).

    To make matters worse ammonia is more toxic to your koi as the pH levels in your pond go up starting around 7.3 and at above 8 just about all ammonia will be in its de-ionized form and very toxic to your koi. Why you ask – at pH below 7.4 ammonia NH3 will start to ionize (pick up a hitching H-ion) and become ammonium or NH4. To put it simply it came out of the koi as ammonia NH3 but at a pH below 7.4 there is an abundance of extra hydrogen ions in the water looking for a home and NH3 becomes NH4. Now the important physiological fact – as NH4 it will not cross the gill membrane and re-enter the koi causing ammonias (ammonia poisoning). This is why in my opinion that any level of detectable ammonia (even trace – below 0.25ppm but not zero) in your pond needs to be addressed as long periods of even low level exposure is not without its consequences. Koi stress caused by ammonia will lead to gill hyperplasia (extra fluid around gill tissue – reduced oxygen absorption) and caustic burned gill tissue which, just to make matters worse at the same time, is a reduced immune response. Or as Dr. Johnson DVM has written “…depress the immune system (via the cortisol stress-response on vitally important immune fighter cells).” Yes, there is a chart based on pH/Temp/and your NH3 reading that will tell your toxic un-ionized ammonia NH3 level.

    Now to the “more on this later” above remark. Crazy as it may seem, your feeding practices may add to the pond ammonia problem. First, any undigested food excreted (nice word for koi poop) will add to the protein organic decaying matter in your pond while providing an additional food source for the disease causing bacteria and a lot of other things growing in your pond. It’s the excess protein you may be providing that is ammonia producing. When your koi don’t use or need the protein for growth or reproduction purposes then your koi will use the extra protein in the diet as an energy source instead of the available fats and carbs. When proteins are metabolized a resulting byproduct is ammonia due to protein having a nitrogen component. When a koi uses fats and carbs for energy no ammonia is produced as a byproduct. Dr. Nicholas Saint-Erne uses the term “… protein-sparing effect” when fats and carbs are utilized as an energy source. This may not be a major point for you but as pond size goes down and fish load goes up (along with other factors) this could be a larger player toward ammonia levels in your pond.

    I would suggest doing weekly ammonia testing for established ponds. Koi suffering from ammonia poisoning will most often develop redness at the ends of fins followed by visible red lines in the fins followed by fin clamping to the body and sitting on the bottom of your pond and a few will start to isolate themselves and upon examination have an excessive amount of slime. I’ve actually smelled the ammonia around koi tanks and smaller ponds with overloading of koi and poorly maintained water quality.

    So what’s a koi hobbyist to do? What’s one of my favorite sayings? “The solution to pollution is dilution” but this time it comes with a serious caution. You don’t want to change the temp or especially the pH that will result in the remaining ammonia becoming MORE toxic to your koi because your water change raised the pH resulting in higher levels of ammonia toxicity – but water changes are the number one treatment. Other important considerations: Temporarily reduce feeding schedule like stop feeding for a week or two – reduce fish load – reduce your pond water turnover time – increase your biofilter capacity – and a little salt might assist the koi in dealing with the ammonia issue. In worse case situations you may want to consider pH management (with chemicals) in the downward mode and chemicals to bind the remaining ammonia – but this stuff gets me to thinking a temporary holding tank to save the koi, while you correct the problems identified with the pond. 

    I hopefully have covered most of the major points and given you some food for thought as to why ammonia is such an important issue for koi in the closed system of our koi ponds. A web search will provide a wealth of information on the subject and most koi books have something to say about the subject. If my crazy analogy between ammonia in a koi pond and human diabetes makes a little more sense now then my job here is done LOL. 

    "Koi" Jack Chapman

  • July 07, 2017 6:03 PM | Gerald Ellison (Administrator)

    It’s that time of year again!! Time to take apart one chamber of the bio-filter, squish out the gunk and replace UV lights. This is a good opportunity to come and see one of Norm Meck’s filter designs and rub shoulders with your fellow Club members. 

    We will meet on Saturday, September 16th at 8:00 am and finish around 10:00 am. Walk up the service driveway behind the Organ Pavilion, also the best place to park, to the back gate of the Garden and someone will let you in. Bring a towel and wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty or you can just watch the rest of us. 

    We usually take a picture of the crew that sometimes ends up in Koi USA so be there!! 

    Any questions, call Linda Pluth (619-200-4146) or email: We hope to see some new faces this year!

    Linda Pluth

    Directions to Japanese Friendship Garden

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