How to Protect Your Resident Fish During a Rebuilding or Major Maintenance Project

By Ron Boedeker

Many people get into trouble by not providing adequate facilities for their fish during a major project. It is all too common for a project to last much longer than was anticipated, so the system must be designed to function for an indefinite period of time.

When the fish are in inadequate temporary quarters, the combination of stress and deteriorating water quality will quickly destroy a koi collection. This can happen in a short few hours in hot weather.

You need to set up an adequately sized holding facility for the fish to stay in during the project. This system must be out of the sun, have lots of aeration, filtration, and preferably a constant flow thru water change system.

It’s important to monitor the ammonia and KH at least daily as they can change rapidly in a small overloaded system.

I like soft sided tanks with as few hard objects in the water as is possible. When you are packing a lot of fish in a small space it is very easy for the fish to injure themselves on any solid object in their path.

The tanks need to be protected from big temperature changes, securely covered so the fish cannot jump out and in as quiet of an area as is practical.

The holding system cannot survive a power outage, so great care must be taken to be sure extension cords are secured out of the way and that the electrical circuit can easily handle the additional load. It is also wise to have a second source of power from a different electrical breaker identified.

One very important thing to consider is using this opportunity to reduce your fish load by giving away as many fish as you are willing to part with. This will take a load off your temporary quarters.

Also, the fish should not be fed at all during the first week and then only a very small amount of low protein wheat germ food every third day.