What do I do when my fish arrive?

Posted by Blackwater Creek on 1st Dec 2022

What do I do when my fish arrive?

This is probably the most common phone call we get all year round. We know this is old hat to seasoned koi keepers but we find that this can be a stressful moment for a lot of people. Whether its a big mixed box of koi or a Premium Individual Koi you have been saving up for, the process is the same. First thing to remember is we pack our fish for overnight shipping with the anticipation that the trip might be delayed up to 24 hours. So take a deep breath and relax. You definitely want to introduce your new fish as soon as you can but you do not need to be stressed. The process is fairly simply and anyone can do it!

You do not have to memorize this process we have detailed instructions on the inner flap of the shipping box. 

  1. Open the box by peeling the tape or making only a very shallow cut. The fish bag is very close to the top of the box so make sure not to puncture the bag while opening the box
  2. Keep bags out of direct sunlight
  3. Float un-opened bags for 20-30 minutes to equalize temperature. Do not open bags and add water from your pond or quarantine tank to the bag! (See important note below)
  4. After the temperature equalizes open the bags and pour fish and water into a separate clean tub or bowl. Dip fish into tank with a clean net or you can carefully use your clean wet hand. DO NOT put dirty shipping water into your quarantine tank or pond

We recommend maintaining the salinity levels in your quarantine tank at 3-5 pounds of non-iodized salt per 100 gallons as a prophylactic measure.

DO NOT mix our fish, when in quarantine, with those from other Koi farms, pet shops etc. That way if during the recommended quarantine time you see a problem you know where those fish came from and it just makes it easier for us to help you.

  • Maintain fish at 70 degrees or higher for best results. (82 or higher is best for healing)
  • Cover tanks, as new fish are prone to jumping
  • Quarantine fish for 7-10 days prior to moving them to your pond. This is only a recommendation but please be aware that if you don’t quarantine your new fish and just put them directly into your tank or pond with an establish school of fish and something develops we cannot be held responsible for any losses
  • We recommend feeding your fish Aquatic Nutrition diets for optimum growth and color development

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT WATER EXCHANGE DURING ACCLIMATION: You may have purchased fish from a local pet store or garden center, in the past, and you were advised to open the bag and add a small amount of water from your pond or tank to acclimate your fish to their new homes water quality. In situations where a small amount of fish had been in a bag for a short amount of time (transported from the store back to your home) this is perfectly acceptable.

It is NOT advised after receiving fish that have been shipped to you via UPS Overnight.

During shipping the water accumulates two waste products from the fish, ammonia and carbon dioxide. Although high levels of carbon dioxide can be worrisome, in a pond, it is actually of great benefit in a shipping container as it helps keep the pH low. This lowering of the pH keeps the high levels of ammonia in the shipping water in the ionized, non-toxic form. If the bag is opened during the acclimation process the CO2 begins to blow off raising the pH and changing the ammonia to the much more toxic form. If water is added to the bag this will almost assuredly raise the pH as well. This can and often causes great stress in your new fish and can cause gill damage!

That's it! Those few simple steps and a few recommendations are everything it takes to introduce our fish to your ponds and tanks