Tips and Tricks for Koi Keepers

Spike Cover's picture
Submitted by Spike Cover on Sun, 02/22/2015 - 12:13

The following are some great ideas, collected over the years by Spike Cover.


To improve the effectiveness of Eugenol (or clove oil), put approximately ½ to 3/4 the normal amount into a sealable baggie with some water; shake the baggie vigorously until the Eugenol is emulsified evenly throughout the water; then add the mix to the water in the container with the fish to be anesthetized. Source: Ron Hedrick - UC Davis


A source for inexpensive waterproof digital thermometers is Radio Shack. The probes of their indoor/outdoor thermometers are waterproof. Prices run between about $10 for the low-end models on sale to about $30 for the top-of-the-line with large display and max/min memory. If you put the readout for the Radio Shack thermometer outside, put it out of the sun and somewhere that is protected from water. If such a completely waterproof and clean location is impractical, place the readout inside a baggie to protect it.  Source: Spike Cover


When buying young gosanke, pay for the red and bet on the black and the white. Source: Bob Spindola. [Editor’s note: This is the best, most concentrated fish selection information that I’ve ever heard. Example below: showa with very good red and very undeveloped black. A beautiful tategoi – fish for the future.]


Tubs for viewing and transporting fish often have lips/handles which are inconvenient and/or marginally adequate to inadequate structurally.  Install stronger, easier to use handles by making two pairs of holes in the top of the rim of the tub, each pair being spaced 8 to 12" apart depending on the size of the tub. Using a couple of 7" to 11" pieces of old garden hose, thread a medium sized length of synthetic-fiber rope thru the holes, up thru the hose and under the lip then tie the ends of the rope so that handles are formed between the lip hole pairs. Source: Bob Spindola.


To minimize indigestion in fish being introduced to new food, phase in the new food over several days by mixing the new with the old on 10% per day increasing portion, i.e., 10% new food on day one, 20% new food on day two, etc. up to the desired percentage. Source: Andy Moo


When catching a fish in a pond especially when doing this alone, it is often difficult to position the tub for receipt of the fish. To assist, put a small cord attached to the tub and secure the other end of the cord to something at the edge of the pond.  This way you can handle the net, tub the fish and retrieve the tub without difficulty.  Source: Grant Fujita


   Scope Cord/plug gray, dimmer cord/plug white.

A simple way to gain better control of microscope lighting that is not dimmable in the scope itself, is to purchase a cord-type light dimmer.  I recently found one at Ikea for $12 and it works well with my Unico monocular scope.  Source: Spike Cover


A cheap and easy power backup can be made with a DC to AC inverter (got mine at Costco for about $30). A 400 watt inverter can easily run several small pumps (air or water). Hook up to car battery in a power outage and run extension cords. Cars will idle for a long time on relatively little gas.  Available sizes also include 200 watt and 1500 watt converters. 400 watt model shown below. Source: Spike Cover


Plastic bags can provide and effective and inexpensive way to quickly transfer a slippery fish from one place to another. Using a bag (or a watertight sock net) allows you to take some water with the fish for support and it’s less stressful on the fish (All things considered, fish prefer to be in water, ELJ; Koi Health and Disease). Source: unknown



Small disposable plastic cups are good to hold chems for weighing so that the chems are easy to handle and don’t get on your scales. These can be purchased in bulk at such places as Smart & Final. Note: on scales with a tare function, it’s easy to set the scale to zero with the cup in place so that the desired weight can be read directly. Source: Spike Cover



If you need to leave small pre-measured doses of dry meds with people you help, consider doing it in film canisters.  You can pick them up for free at most any film developing shop. Electrical tape will keep the lids from popping off and moisture from entering the container. Source: Spike Cove

Update: Since film is getting to be a thing of the past (are are many of us are <groan>), consider using old medication containers for this purpose.  Source: Cindy Badder


A koi tub makes a convenient carrying container for a sump pump and hose. Source: Spike Cover


Plastic sheeting can keep insulation from becoming saturated with water when used to insulate quarantine, hospital or stocking tanks. Source: Spike Cover


If you have trouble keeping your koi tubs from sticking together, try putting something like a thick piece of Styrofoam between the tubs. Make sure the piece is thick enough to prevent the “suction seal” between the tub sides by separating the tubs more than they are with natural nesting. Source: Spike Cover



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