Sleeping Sickness



After having a good chat with my local guy and describing all symptoms, there is nothing on the slides at all, I came home today to find most of the koi as he said they would be, seems they’re lolling to one side and fall asleep and then come back around. Even looks like there skin is peeling a bit and their eyes are sunken.

It can happen in very young koi, brought on by stress and moving them. With some research the japs actually expose young tosai to it early on, so that when they travel in from Japan they don’t get it after transit.

So, heavy salting and wack the heat up.

Hubby put 5 pint glasses in this morning and the temp is up to 26 with the polly tunnel anyway, might need to get it to 30 according to some.

We’ll see how they fair.

Trying times for these little guys.

The fish I got over the weekend are prob immune as their swimming around happy as larry.

I do have slight ammonia and nitrite reading this afternoon. Not feeding the fish for a bit to see if that also helps. And I’m about to go put some more salt in.

Will keep you posted. And if anyone has any experience with this please let me know anything you can.

Would love a friendly ear to chat too.

Poor little things. Yeah, that is how they’re looking now. So, in one sense it is good they got it, will help them in the long run.

Just so glad there are people about who know what they’re doing and talking about, as I really was thinking last night that there was nothing I could do and that they’d all be dead in a few days.

Will increase the temp up a bit, its at 26 today as it has been warm anyway. And will get it to 30 by tomorrow evening probably.

Thanks again… you never ever stop learning when you keep koi.


You’ve never seen fish as stressed or as sick looking as these. Literally skin peeling off, what were white fish, blood red from stress, all clamped up and just falling asleep at the drop of a hat.

Happy to say they’re much more alert now, and hope will be even more so tomorrow. Although still so pinked up and upset, at least they’re all swimming and not as clamped up. Just the odd one fell asleep while I watched.

It has to be the scariest illness EVER!!

I am so glad for the support network I have with the people around me. It has been very valuable the last 24 hours.

Will keep this post alive. I think everyone should learn about this one.


5.58 am

This morning, although the vat is like a sauna, temp at 28d the fish look better still. Think with some more time and TLC they’ll come around.

Half the stress on them and us is not knowing what is wrong. So much easier when you do know and can treat properly.

I put in a little bit of food, they went mad for it. No floaters, just a couple clamped up.

Will add the last of the salt later and get the temp to 29.

Keep you posted.


Hey there,

So Paul added the rest of the salt, then started flapping this afternoon as the koi seemed to be on the surface gasping for breath, I don’t know as I didn’t see them.

I said perhaps best to add extra o2 and see how they are.

In one sense at least they’re swimming even if they still look asleep. I took a video, uploading now at

Sleeping sickness – YouTube

How long should I keep them at this temp? and when will they start to look better? Will they survive this temp for long enough?

sort of a do or die situation I guess…

Will the salt kill the filter bacteria? I’m only asking as my nitrite has increased again today to orange defo, not just a slight turn. I know the salt will help with this too, but just wondering. Don’t want to face more problems when I need to bring the temp and the salt levels down.

Also any good cheapish salt meters out there, as I can’t gauge the level now that hubby also cleaned the filter and added more water.

Just curious.

still not a happy kanundra, I hate seeing the fish like this, really not nice.


5.46 am

Thanks guys,

First loss this morning. Guess I can’t save them all although I’d have liked too. Most of them look okay when swimming around, it is after a few minutes and they just fall back to sleep.

The salt has knocked the filters back, so I guess I’ll have to use my best judgment and do small water changes and add a little salt. Don’t want the temp going down nor do I want the salt level to change too much.

Keeping my fingers crossed for the rest of them, its pretty sad. But I was informed I introduced it to them by getting the new tosai. We all learn the hard way hey. However, it is a good thing too, because it means the survivers will be the strong ones, and won’t get it. The tosai are thriving in there with the others. crazy.

All water tests this morning are the same as yesterday, just raised nitrite.

Will keep you posted and hope there aren’t too many losses, I’ve got 74 in there now. Hoping half at least make it.



Okay, so we lost another small one.

Nitrite is still in the orange so haven’t fed anything else. small water change and added in some Biorex too. Not so sure how much salt I would need to re-add with each water change, but going to pop some more in again tomorrow I think.

Should I be trying to change more water to get rid of the nitrite? Or will the salt help them to not get Brown Blood Disease as well?

I really feel like I am fighting a losing battle for the little guys.

Some of them look better, others don’t. Still struggling for air at the surface.

We added 3 more small airstones. Which seems to have helped most of them more off the surface and to swim around.

I just hope we don’t lose too many more… or I’ll be at my wits end soon.


It is really so disheartening. Paul is outside now trying his best to save his fav fish. I don’t know if it will survive the night.

I’ve spent the last 30 mins crying as it just really does suck. It’s like fighting a loosing battle.

But I can only hope that some are strong enough to survive. After all the japs introduce it specifically so some must be strong enough to take the beating.

I guess its just harder when you’ve only a handful of pretty selected koi, where as they’ve prob got thousands.

Will keep everyone posted, although this is about as sucky as koi keeping gets. Losing fish you’ve raised for 12mths is really heartbreaking.

I just can’t put words to the page much at the moment.

: (

9.08 pm

Will do a good refill today not to sure I can get it from the main pond but I can try

All but about three are back to the middle section of the tank. Which is a good sign. No deaths from yesterday.

It was indeed a sad day, but I really didn’t think I could save them all. Just got everything crossed for the rest of them.

Will defo keep you posted,



So we’ve not lost one today, but I decided to put one out of its suffering. It’s white skin had all come away, it looked the worst of the bunch. All the others now are back to normal. None are gasping any more for air, fresh water is going in. I couldn’t risk putting pond water in, as it has a PH of 8.4 where the baby tank is only 7.5 so fresh water is going in from the dechlornator of course.

Prob changed about a third, this morning and filling it slowly. So we’ll see how it goes.

Tests are,

PH 7.5
KH 3 (will add some bicarb in a while)
Gh 10

Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite 0.3 (orange) so there is some showing.

Will try my best now to keep these going.

Would it be worth while trying to add a drop of formalin to bind the ammonia? can’t put anything else in as there is salt in there. But that will help with the nitrite.

Pretty tough time for these fish at the mo.

But I do have everything crossed for the rest, although stressed to the nines, for us both I do think we can save some.

Thanks to everyone for being here, this really has been an awful awful week.


So yeah, dumped a load and been trickling it in,

No2, almost at 0 so is the ammonia.

Will check it tomorrow and see how all if doing.

You have no idea how much you guys here have helped.

Thank you so much….

9.48 pm

Again, thanks so appreciated. After all, I don’t think anyone would want to see their koi like I did.

The one we pulled out today really did look as my mum said, ‘fish fillet’ or as I’ve said, ‘deep fried’ you don’t ever want to see a koi like that, that is still alive. Yeah, maybe it might have pulled through, but it must have been in agony. No skin… really…

Do the koi go through that in japan, or do they introduce it when temps are already at the 26+ mark and they really know where and when they can push things.

I feel like we’ve pulled them from the edge of death, fingers crossed for survivors.

I wish I’d taken a picture, but then again, I don’t. Because it will haunt me forever.

Best Friends Web series

I should have been blogging more. But I’ve had such a month of stuff. 

First off, my dad got married 25th May in bonnie Scotland. It was a glorious day, and we stayed in a beautiful hotel. 

I really do have lots more to add and talk about, but I think it will have to wait for another day. 

I’ve had a few problems with my koi, getting into breeding season. And we had a massive flux of blanketweed, which caused massive Ph swings from morning to night. My fish weren’t happy at all. Finally got it under control with the help of some great guys. 

I’ve been busy busy with the writing side of things. Melvin and I have written 7 episodes for Best Friends. A couple of them were a little difficult due to restraints and re-writes, but one more to do over the weekend and we’re waiting then for filming to start in July, casting calls have already gone out (to which over 250) have applied for. Wow, can I call myself a writer now…. pretty please? 

It has been great fun though coming up with plots for the girls and their families. Lets just see how it all pans out now. We’ve all got high hopes for the series, so I’ll be bugging you all to stop and watch it.


Here’s a link to a short interview with the girls. 


And if you check the Facebook page, you can see some shots of the set…. 


Gotta run, so much more to do.