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Threat to my Koi?

I was cleaning string algae from my stream and waterfall and I noticed a LOT of black streaks covering the rocks. I looked closely and to my amazement, I realized that the rocks were COVERED with thousands of small black worms that had attached to the surface of the rock. I scrapped a few off and photographed them. Do you know what they are? Are they a threat to the pond and or fish? Please advise ASAP.

Stuart, Grass Valley, CA

Investigation of Stuart's black streaks revealed that they were not a threat at all to his pond or fish and that they are called Black Fly larvae.

Black flies live as larvae in shallow, clear, fast-running water in rivers and streams. The black, spindle-shaped larvae live on the stream bottom attached to rocks and other submerged objects and feed on tiny bits of organic matter, algae and protozoa. Larvae transform in the water to adult flies that rise to the water surface in a bubble of gas. The adult flies are usually present for about 3 weeks before they die. The adult Black Flies are not known to bother humans out west, unlike their northeastern US relatives.

Submergible vs External Pumps

Submergible pumps really make ideal small pond pumps. Simple to use, hook up and no fancy PVC plumbing required. Just slip on the hose and lower pump away into the water with the hose end flowing over the water feature.

While they are cheaper to buy then an external pump, this may be a mistake in thinking that you are saving money. Submergible pumps use more electricity to operate then external pumps. It it very important to consider the watts or amps any pump draws when running. Since pond pumps require running seven days a week in order to maintain the bio filter, it is important to factor in how much it will cost each month or year for electricity. It does add up over the years as you can see from our comparison below. (If ease of installing is a factor, then consider paying a plumber, and you will still end up saving money.)

Comparing the following two pumps may help:

External Pump
Pumps 5280 GPH
Draws 10 amps.
1 year warranty
Costs $206.00 to buy.
Costs $750.00 a year to run.
1st year $956.00 - Total costs
2nd year $750.00 - To run
3rd year $750.00 - To run
Artesian 1/3 hp
Pumps 5652 GPH
Draws 3.7 amps.

3 year warranty
Costs $590.00 to buy.
Costs $279.00 a year. to run
1st year $869.00 - Total costs
2nd year $279.00 - To run
3rd year $279.00 - To run
Total costs for 3 years $2456.00 + another pump?

Hmm... If it has a 1 year warranty and burns out after that, then you would need to buy one or more pumps during a 3 year time. Not so with the External pump!
Total costs for 3 years $1427.00

1st year savings for purchasing external over submergible. $87.00 2nd year savings $471.00 (And ea. year there after!) Total savings after 3 years $1,029.00 +
Imagine going to Hawaii every 4-6 years just because you choice an external pond pump...

The above electrical costs were conservative at 0.075 cents a Kilowatt-hr (your savings could be more or even double if you live in Calif.) Or just "click here" to use this quick chart.

Submergible pumps also require removal in order to unplug the pickup area when they become plugged up.
Submergible pumps usually have shorter warranties and burn out faster then external pumps. This then means you end up buying another pump or two during a three year time. Were as the external pump is warranted for three years and is likely to last twice that. And the PerformancePro pumps use a Baldor motor that can be repaired to extend the life for possibly another five or seven years again.... Even more savings!

Blue Heron deterrents

Many if not all Koi pond keepers in time will see a Blue Heron either considering some prize fish in a pond or flying away with one. It can be a heated discussion when talking to someone that has experienced Koi just disappearing or who have watched a Blue Heron flying away with one of their Koi in beak.

Many things work and some better then others depending on your point of view.
Wires like a fence around the pond about 6 to 12 inches off the ground. (Trips them)
Wires strong through the air in some sort of grid. (Trips up the flight)
Plastic Life like Heron. (Some believe they are territorial and won't land around another)
Dogs (A dog in the yard or in a dog run close does help as long as the dog is awake)
Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler (3 second water sprinkler activated from motion)

Killing Flukes on Koi with a simple Vinegar dip?

I recently discovered white vinegar (5% acidity) kills Flukes (a parasite) that are often found on Koi. I scraped one of my Koi which had stress lines and missing scales and placed the sample under my microscope to identify the parasite as Flukes. I then added one drop of white vinegar to the slide and the flukes died instantly.

I thought of vinegar because I own a blue and gold macaw and a breeder suggested I add a small amount of raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (purchased from health food stores) to her drinking water once a week to prevent parasites. After verifying my results under the microscope several times I decided to dip my Koi up to the gills in straight vinegar. I did another scrapping of the scales and found no flukes remaining on the fish.

I kept the Koi in a smaller tank for 10 days and dipped them again to kill any eggs that might have hatched. My pond is 13,000 gallons and I have city water so I didn't want to add Formalin and salt and have to further stress my fish with water changes. I’d like to pass my findings on to others who want to save their fish from parasites rather inexpensively.
Susan Bush, Indiana Susan has not only shared this info with us, but has also passed this info onto Dr. Johnson, which was impressed to hear about her findings. Doc operates the web site www.KoiVet.com. This really is very impressive and your findings are sure to help many. Thank you Susan.

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