SVC Testing

Testing for SVC (Spring Viremia of Carp) and KHV (Koi Herpes Virus)

These are very nasty diseases that affect Cyprinids (Koi and Goldfish are part of this Minnow family). KHV is fairly widespread around the world with outbreaks happening each year in various places.

If your fish contract KHV your fish will die (most of them at least). Some say its curable, but other disagree. Bottom line; we don't believe there is a protocol that makes "curing" this virus 100% safe. Don't practice promiscuous fish keeping (buying fish from all over the place). Just like kissing too many people, eventually you’re going to catch something. 


Those honest people who have unfortunately gotten KHV in the past have opted to euthanize their fish rather than risk spreading this disease. There is a lot of good information on KHV out there. It's not a reportable disease. This means the feds will not swoop in and quarantine your location and depopulate (kill) your fish. If you buy fish from a lot of places (that also buy fish from a lot of places) you increase your risk of getting KHV

If you don't completely isolate your new fish in quarantine above 22C/72F, you greatly increase your risk as well. KHV can be prevented. On the producer side, there are many costs to taking precautions against getting KHV. On the retailer side, it’s a bit less costly, but still necessary.


If your fish get SVC your fish will die (most of them at least). This disease is a "cool water" disease that typically occurs when water temperatures are less than 18C/64F, and is most common in the spring. SVC is an OIE notifiable disease and is caused by Rhabdovirus Carpio. Not only do your fish die, but here’s the worst part.  The feds will come in, surround your place, stop your business, kill any remaining susceptible species and quarantine your place by requiring drying of your ponds and all equipment for 2 YEARS. Can you afford this risk? We cannot so, we take precautions to prevent both KHV and SVC.


What Blackwater Creek does to Prevent Diseases

  • We only produce Koi and Goldfish.
  • We maintain separate farms with separate brood-stock, equipment, trucks and employees.
  • We keep a detailed log of who visits, when, and why.
  • We use only well water, no city treated surface waters for our ponds.
  • Our farms are protected from predatory and migratory birds.
  • Our farms are located long distances from any other fish farms.
  • We keep current on (and have served as advisors on) APHIS regulations and other government agencies’ regulatory rules and processes.
  • We never bring back our own fish once they leave the farm - there are no returns on fish. Once they leave our farms, either to customers or to shows, they are never brought back to the farm.

Back in 2001 we got to thinking. We were importing fish from a few places in Japan, moving through hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hey, we were Koi dealers and if you’re not buying imports, well you’re just not a true Koi dealer, right? Yeah okay. We bought fish from a few dealers here in the USA as well. Everything went okay, however it seemed that when mixing fish from different farms, there was always something wrong happening. I would buy some beautiful Koi from Marudoh, or Yamazaki, etc., put them in the tanks with the others, and one year Marudoh's fish do great, the next year’s shipments, Yamazaki's do great etc. But never do all of them do great mixed together. I figured out that this person’s fish didn't like the microbes of that person’s fish, and we always had to battle something. So the choice was made very quietly to stop bringing in fish from outside sources and to produce ourselves. 


This was kept quiet at first, as many people felt only imports were the way to go. But what we found is that in the last few years, a lot of other people are doing the same thing. We now boast about being one of the first in the USA to do this and our decision was correct. The following is a letter from Dr. Kathleen Hartman, D.V.M., In which she has outlined the testing history of Blackwater Creek Koi Farms:


Mr. Pawlak (Blackwater Creek Koi Farms, Inc.) has participated voluntarily for several years (2003-2008) in a Spring Viremia of Carp virus (SVCv) surveillance program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant and Health Inspection Services (USDA APHIS). All samples collected as part of this surveillance were submitted to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, IA and all fish from his farm sites tested negative for SVCv. Since then Mr. Pawlak has been submitting (voluntarily) Koi from his different farm sites for SVCv testing as part of a University of Florida grant project to determine the prevalence of SVCv in Florida commercially reared Koi and goldfish. The protocols followed during this project are in line with recommendations for SVCv fish sampling and virus detection from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for establishing and maintaining freedom of disease. Koi from Mr. Pawlak's Blountstown site have been sampled in 2007 and 2008 where 150 Koi were collected.


To date all samples submitted have been negative for SVCv

-Kathleen Hughes Hartman, D.V.M., Ph.D. Aquaculture Epidemiologist


Since the above letter was written in 2008, Blackwater Creek has continued to voluntarily, and at great expense, submit to field collections of sample fish from representative ponds and tanks at each of the three Blackwater Creek Koi Farms.


As a result of our years of testing negative for these deadly Koi viruses, the blood serum taken from our Koi was selected as the “Baseline Standard”, For Koi, from one of the top Aquatic testing Labs in the country:


“Kennebec River Biosciences sourced serum from Blackwater Creek Koi as part of our development of a diagnostic assay for Koi Herpes Virus. The Koi from Blackwater Creek have a long history of being specific pathogen free and provided negative material needed for our work.”


Bill Keleher
41 Main St Richmond ME 04357
Work: +1 (207) 737-2637 ext.202
Mobile: +1 (207) 841-1835
Fax: +1 (207) 737-4504


We know what diseases our fish have (or don't have) and can put our name on the line in saying that they are strong, healthy fish that have not been compromised by being exposed to any exotic diseases. All of the testing we do has also given us “the Stamp of Approval” from Canadian authorities and our fish are available for import into Canada and other countries.