When it comes to transporting and relocating fish in late autumn/early winter, a few people have asked us if it would be better to wait until spring when the water is warmer. The assumption being that as the temperature drops, fish become relatively inactive and their immune systems become suppressed, thus the added stress of a relocation would be bad for their health.
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This is partly true: if water temperatures are cruising just above freezing, it really could be a significant stress to the fish. However, when water temperatures are in the high 40‘s to low 50‘s it’s a perfect time to move fish. Not only is there is more oxygen in cold water vs. warm water, but more importantly fish are typically strongest going into winter because they've been bulking up for winter the entire year.
Just acclimate them to their new home as you normally would, exchanging water in increments so all of the water quality parameters are adjusted gradually. Slowly introducing water from the new pond to the fish bags before eventually releasing them into their new home will enable the fish to smoothly acclimate to the new Ph and any other differences in the water. This adjustment to changes in water chemistry is just as important as adjusting to changes in temperature, if not more so.
With that said, let's face it: transporting your fish will impact their immune system. Some studies have shown that the fish’s immune system is completely suppressed for up to 72 hours after being moved. Other studies show that certain segments of the immune system remain suppressed for more than a week. Regardless of temperature, that lapse in immune function is an opening for the fish to break out with gill diseases and other issues. This is especially true if there are breaks in the integument or skin. By knowing the proper precautions to take, we can do our best to minimize the impact a move will have on your fish.
If you're in the South Jersey and would prefer to have a devoted professional handle the transportation of your fish to a new home, call Lisa Oren at 856-768-9404.
Here are some tips for successfully relocating fish, especially large and valuable koi:
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