Fish Hiding - what is normal?

Athens, PA

It has been so long since I have had small fish. Perhaps someone can help me with this.

The first week in April, I bought a 5" platinum koi. We put her into the pond. She hides and she does not come out until dusk. I felt badly for her, so about a week or so ago, I added another 3 koi (I did not quarantine - I probably should have). Those fish are hiding too. I have only seen 1 of those babies come out and the platinum still only comes out at dusk.

This tells me they are scared. How long does this typically go on? I seem to remember young fish hiding for several days, but I had others in the pond swimming around.

What can I do to bring these fish out? I am questioning if there was a predator, however the platinum has hidden from day one.


I was thinking about trying to feed at dusk, but I get the impression they are afraid of me.


Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Small fish are usually very skiddish. Koi farmers mention that they will many times fly through the air and land on the banks of the pond when startled. I would feed them in broad daylight, so they see you and associate you with something positive. Eventually they will response positively when you are walking around the edges. I think it's just a matter of time.

Athens, PA

Thank you MM. I know that koi can go quite a while without being fed as they will eat algae. I will start to do this. When I have fed them, the food all just flows into the skimmer.

The waterlilies are starting to put out some leaves. It is only a matter of time for the leaves to start reaching for the surface of the water. I am hoping that the waterlilies give these little guys some sense of security as well.


Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

My tropical water lilies have been blooming like crazy. They are in a smaller pre-formed plastic pond, so the water is shallow and stays warm.
Try geting some goldfish flake food for your koi. It begins to sink when it gets wet, and often times lures them out to eat. I put a little in at a time, so they see me stand there while dashing to the sinking food. Then add a pinch more when they're running out. If you do it for a month or so, then add a little pelleted food with it, they eventually work their way back to the surface to eat.

Athens, PA

Funny you say that MM. I was thinking that I need to get something that sinks too. Thank you so much. I am going to try that!

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Recently I bought a bunch of little fish to replace what died in small pond. Most of them swam around right away but 2 little ones hide in the rocks for a few days.
Give them time to get used to their new surroundings. Most of these fish are shubunkins so Jeff bought some very small grow food which I can't even see once I throw it in but I can see them waiting for it to fall and gulping it down.

Starting all over again isn't easy but you will make it cause I know you love the fish.

Now our big ones are sickly. I've consulted with a bus. call Aqua Doc and come to find out what I have been doing is right. First I tested the water every day same time. PH is fine and no ammonia. Sludge buildup this year has been heavy so I vac. and did water change. I am putting in salt until I hit 80 pds. Also just ordered medicated food. One of my pretty butterfly had a blood look at the bottom of her dorsal fin but the salt seems to have cured that. Many of them are laying on the bottom but come up once in a while to swim around. I ordered a large aerator which should be here by Fri. I've given Webb's a lot of business in this past year ad now 2015. Good delivery and courteous phone serv.

Also, every day I am running in some fresh water under pressure and they love to swim in the bubbles. I think more oxygen will help them, can't hurt anyhow. Water is clear but that doesn't always mean quality. Our well water has definitely changed and we don't filter outside faucets through water softner. Too expensive.

I'm really watching them closely every day and testing water. Abrupt weather change could have something to do with it also. Did my usual spring clean up, Proform-C, Microblift PL, and washing filters often. They will either live or croak. I no longer get all stressed out about it cause that's just part of owning fish.

BTW my 2 originals, Blondie & Goldie have remained strong and still eating but some of the others aren't eating. I'm feeding them very lightly. Hope they will eat the medicated food. I ordered that locally so we can get it by tomorrow.

Good luck Carolyn & MM with your fish.


(Zone 9a)

Bonnie, have you had the water out of the well tested?

Athens, PA

Thanks Bonnie. Good luck with yours too. Please keep us in the loop.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

It could be that you've had a bit of spawning and missed it. This is definitely the time of year, and with a fin injury and not eating for a couple of days, both of those are signs of spawning.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Just got home from visiting with Audrey. Never had well water tested as that costs a fortune and don't know where I could get it done actually.

Fish all look good and are eating medicated food and a little reg. food.

Aerator seems to have made a world of difference. They play in the bubbles.

Yes, I think they may have spawned. Bloody veins on fin are all gone. Don't think it was due to damage. Looked like it came from body and moved up onto fin. All clear now. Everybody looks happy again and swimming around.

Very relieved.

(Zone 9a)

Bonnie, this site mentions it costs between $20 & $70 dollars to test for bacteria and nitrates which, if too high, are toxic to Koi. It says you can call your county health dept. for info.

We lived in an area once with extremely high nitrates and nitrites. It was difficult to keep fish there and we never realized it was the well water causing the problems.

At the cost of koi, if you could get your water tested for a reasonable amount it might be worth it.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Will check into it Ardesia as I want the water healthy for us also. We have had a lot of building around here in the past few years and that causes a large draw on the aquifer and sure makes a difference.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Just remembered our water softner company tests our well water every time they come to change in house filters which is every year.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Then certainly don't spend the extra money! If it's healthy enough for humans, it's healthy enough for fish. You only need to eliminate the chlorine and chloramines with city water...but if you have well water, I doubt there's anything to worry about (maybe ph / water hardness)

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

My fish are very hesitant to come out of their caves in the spring. I see the smaller ones every so often and have seen one of the larger ones (about 14") several times. Always in the deeper end. I have some floating rings that I put black garbage bags over then set them to float over the deep end. That way they feel they have some coverage. My order from TWL should arrive any day but with our temps in the high 20's at night I won't be able to put them out. Keeping them in a bucket in the garage will be a real pain. I need to get to the nursery here and buy some water lettuce to put in the rings also. It costs like gold ($25 for a large clump - about the size of a four cup measuring cup. ) The smaller ones are still $15 ea. And they don't do very well here but will multiply a little and grow long roots. The fish feel safe swimming under them, munching on the roots and babies hide also. Lots of babies from last year are out and about this spring. Black ones from 1" up to 4". Hard to see them with the reflection on the water and the black liner. Food and more PL is coming along with filter media for the skimmer.

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