Unless it’s in a batter, I don’t like eating fish, but I sure do like lookin’ at em.  They’re calming and tranquil.  Like Xanax with gills.

When I moved into my house it came with a fully stocked pond.  Mainly Goldfish and Shubunkens.  11 years later, most of those fish and several of their offspring were  still alive.

Then last summer, they started dying.  Just dropping dead for no apparent reason.  The only thing that I’d done differently was I’d introduced 2 new fish that I bought at our local nursery.  In the words of Julia Roberts in that charming classic where she plays a prostitute … Big Mistake.  HUGE mistake.

NEVER buy  your fish from anywhere other than a fish store.  At the very least, check to make sure they test their fish and quarantine them until they check out to be disease free.  Mine you see … were not disease free.  They were laden with disease.  And not just regular old fish disease.  Deadly almost undiagnosable fish disease.  A certain type of parasites to be specific.

After several MONTHS of phone calls, Internet searches and fruitless conversations with people who claimed to know all about fish but in actuality, DIDN’T – I found the cause and the solution.

I found it with the help of Clarke Koi Ponds.  When no one else could help me, these guys actually diagnosed my fish parasite OVER THE PHONE!  They had probably the most insightful and helpful customer service I’ve ever encountered.

Finally I had a solution.  They told me what I needed and shipped it out to me immediately.  You see things were getting quite serious.  My fish were literally falling apart.  They started with little marks on their gills or the side of their bodies. These marks turned into ulcers which in turn, turned into BIG, GAPING HOLES IN THE SIDE OF MY FISH.

How big?  You could see what they had for dinner inside them. Yes.  You could see their actual guts.   Don’t worry … I have photos.

So … on the off chance there’s even ONE person out there who has this same problem … I have for you … the solution.

It’s a little product called Tricide-Neo.  You use it in conjunction with another treatment plan for your fish.  I’m not going to explain the whole process, but if you have these HUGE gaping holes in your fish … the fish store you buy the Tricide Neo from will tell you how to properly use it.  (make sure you have an expert confirm this is the product you need)

If you have no interest in fixing fish with cavernous holes in their sides and their guts spilling out, you MAY still be interested in this post.  Because it’s completely and utterly FASCINATING.  Real Bionic Man kindda stuff.

You see, Tricide-Neo allows the fish to grow back.  This is how it all went down …

First I had to do a 50% water change in my pond.  So empty out 50% of the water …


fish parasite


And then fill it back up.

fish parasite


Whenever you change the water in your pond you need to add in some Water Conditioner.  This is true whether you have sick fish or not.

fish parasite



Then I added some of this …


fish parasite

… to some of this.  ‘Cause the guy who diagnosed my fish (over the telephone no less) said to.

fish parasite



Mix em together …

fish parasite

… and throw them in the pond.

fish parasite



After doing this sort of thing for 5 days it’s onto the star of the show, the Tricide-Neo.

fish parasite


Tricide-Neo isn’t the sort of thing your corner store will have.  It’s definitely a specialty product.  But I had a specialty problem.

Each and every fish got dipped into a solution of Tricide-Neo every day.  Because I had so many fish who had no interest in being caught … I had to transfer them all into a kiddie pool for the week I did the treatments.  It’s far easier to scoop a fish out of a tiny pond than a big pond.  Even a sick, lethargic fish is faster than me with a fish net.  The pool had to be covered with netting held down with rocks every night to stop raccoons from getting in.

Between protecting the fish, the house and the chickens from the raccoons, I’m thinking it would probably be easier just to keep raccoons.

fish parasite


So every day I had to pull out each fish and one or two at a time put them in the solution for a few minutes.  You also have to aerate the water so I just poured the solution onto itself so it created bubbles for the fish.


fish parasite


So you could see the results, I focused my photographs on one single fish.  I call him “The Fish that is White”.  I treated all of my fish but am just showing the results of the white one.


How to fix a fish

If you don’t want to see the inside of a fish from the outside … don’t go any further.  If your curiosity is peaked … charge ahead.

 White Fish – Day 1 Tricide-Neo Treatments


fish parasite

White Fish – Day 3 Tricide-Neo Treatments


fish parasite

White Fish – Day 7 Tricide-Neo Treatments (the final dip … the remaining photos show how the fish progressed once treatment was over and they were reintroduced to their regular pond.)


fish parasite

White Fish – Day 12 Tricide-Neo Treatments


fish parasite

Day 15 Tricide-Neo Treatments


fish parasite

Day 30 Tricide-Neo Treatments

fish parasite

One year later the fish are moving so fast I can’t even get a clear picture of them. Trust me when I tell you the white fish is looking picture perfect.  Even though I don’t have the picture to prove it.

It ended up costing me about $400 to fix my fish.

$100 for the products that worked, and about another $300 for all the products that I tried prior to it.

Next time I think I’ll just look into the cost of some batter.


  1. Marcus Cummings says:

    Wow! Amazing story. Me and my dad were trying to figure out what the problem was for so long! This is just what we needed! Thank you soo very much for the time and effort that you put into this post!

  2. MartiJ says:

    Batter. Now you’re talking.
    Why is it when I say “dumplings” for your chicken problems, you get all defensive? Yet fish problems and you suggest batter? I begin to think you are discriminating against white fishes. And probably orange ones, too, come to think of it.

  3. Ashley says:

    Hey Karen! I just stumbled on your website from Pinterest, and I had to comment on this. I’m a first year student at NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine, studying aquatic medicine. A lot of people don’t “get” why I’m choosing to spend my professional life taking care of aquatic animals, so it’s so great to see a fish owner that takes awesome care of their fish and understands they they deserve medical attention too. Thanks for that! And if you ever need a professional consult, my advisor at NCSU is Dr. Greg Lewbart. He’s an amazing, amazing fish doctor and a really great guy to boot. Thanks again for taking such good care of your fish :)

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Ashley! Yeah, I’m a sucker for pretty much any animal type thing. That Tricyde Neo is GREAT stuff. And thanks for the fish doctor info. I’m glad you found my site! ~ karen

      • Ashley says:

        Ha. Yeah, that and the Praziquantel that you used are pretty awesome meds. If you’re ever concerned that an infection is breaking out, you can also raise the salt level in your koi pond to around 3ppt (you can use simple rock salt or get fancy and use salt designed to mix saltwater for aquariums). The salt actually reduces the stress on the fish, helps them heal, and will also debilitate a lot of really nasty parasites and skin bacteria. Yay for happy fishies!

  4. jen says:

    Yes, agreed…tricyde neo is AMAZING. It saved a several fish of mine after nothing else helped. I keep a lot of it on-hand just in case. I’d suggest it over everything else…

  5. Trysha says:

    OMG your poor fish!!

    I’m equally fascinated and grossed out.

  6. beevil says:

    You’re a good fish mother, Karen. I’m glad you cared that much, & that you shared this with us. Who knows how many other fish lives might be saved?
    Thank you, & bless you.

  7. Those wounds/ulcers were nasty – curiosity MADE me look.
    Wonder if the fish were hurting, or maybe too sick to care about pain?
    Delighted the treatment worked.

    • Karen says:

      Mimi – The fish definitely weren’t feeling good at all. They were barely swimming and not eating. They were just sort of hiding in corners. This went on for months before I finally got a proper diagnoses and treatment! Sick, sick fishies. ~ karen

  8. Christina says:

    WOW. It is remarkable that they were that sick and could return to full health. If I saw a fish like that I would assume it was going to die in no less than 20 seconds. It looks like a bite has been taken out of it! I really am so impressed that you put so much effort into saving them. Lucky fish! I would love to have a fish pond one day. :)

  9. I cannot think of anything worse than contracting a flesh-eating disease.

    You’re sweet to take such trouble to save them when most folks would probably just buy new fish. Good on you.

  10. cheri says:

    Not only YOU are impressive, Karen (I’m a massive animal-of-any-kind lover) but everyone who posted a comment is OK in my book, too. i also love animal lovers. Sweet.

  11. karenagain says:

    Bless you Karen for saving your fish. Every little being deserves the best efforts. I had an indoor goldfish a couple years ago. She lived in a lovely bowl on my kitchen counter. One day she was floating upside-down and fighting for her life. I called my super-smart doggy groomer and she told me to feed her chopped up frozen peas to fix the gas imballance. It worked!

    But then she died a couple months ago but not of that really upsetting upsy-downsy thing. She just died and looked like a normal dead fish. It was still sad and no more fish for me.

  12. AnnW says:

    Is there ANYTHING you don’t know or won’t try? This is a fascinating blog. I don’t have fish, and probably can’t have them because of the wildlife, but I read every word and studied every picture. By the way, I think you should enter your chicken coop in some chicken coop building contest. It is the best looking backyard structure I have ever seen. Maybe you could design a shed that looks like that for the chickenless people. Ann

  13. Jenn says:

    I love how you are branching out into an animal husbandry blog!

    Very impressive that you saved this fish. I would have thought that injury would be a write-off. Lucky, lucky swimmer, he!

  14. Yasmin says:


    I especially loved your description of relaxing fish, “They’re calming and tranquil. Like Xanax with gills.” Brilliant!

  15. Chau says:

    Bless your heart & effort, Karen. We have a pond in our backyard but my husband gave up on koi and fish long time ago after all of them went belly up one summer (of heat exhaustion, our guess. Now we have plants and occational visit from frogs in summer. Good job!

  16. Shauna says:

    You go girl!! Good work for being persistent to heal the fish!! That’s amazing, most people would let them die! I’m grossed out and yet completely interested at the same time!

  17. Nancy says:

    “Bolt Ons” – HA!! I know what you mean about the animal thing..every stray cat within a fifty mile radius shows up at my door..I think they telepathically transmit my address to the others..”hey..we found us a real sucker food and lots of hugs..come on over”..good job Karen..

  18. Tess says:

    Hey Karen…you made it onto Homepodge again today! Yippie!

  19. Wow. Good timing on this article Karen. I too have a pond with fish. Well, usually there are fish instead of “a fish. The month old pond heater quit in February and pond froze solid before it was noticed. One large goldfish survived, all frogs did not.

    There are four frogs right now and the fish. I tried adding 12 more feeder fish earlier this year but they must have been sick when I bought them. Thirteen dead ones were “recovered” within 2 weeks. Either an extra survived the winter or either the kid at the fish store, or (most likely) I can’t count.

    I am actually going to a different store (Big Al’s) today and get a half dozen more feeders. We’ll see how they do. It is a little late for them to fatten for winter but as feeder fish at least these will have more a chance in my pond than someones piranha tank.

  20. Linda says:

    Oh those poor little fish! That looks so painful. What a good fish momma you are. Now I know that I don’t want a fish pond. :)

  21. Beth says:

    Well good on ya for actually taking the time to heal them up. I know a lot of people would have just bought new fish :(

  22. Matthew says:

    A few years ago at the Japanese Gardens in Spokane, their Koi population got infected with fish herpes (seriously). There isn’t a cure for fish herpes and their numbers dropped from 50 to 6.

    Glad to hear that your were able to get your fish healthy again. I am also surprised that they survive through your winters.

  23. Maureen says:

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. Anyone that walks into my sunroom would think I was a mad scientist due to the amount of chemicals and testing kits stored there! I am currently recovering from the loss of six of my fish within two weeks. One lost to suicide and five were eaten by a heron. I had to tent a net over the pond and took down the “all you can eat buffet” sign. The heron has been back a few times, but just stands around moping. Luckily, the fish it left are ones that are too large to fly with. I love my fish. I loathe that bird!

  24. Jennifer says:

    I’m going to go ahead and warn you that chicken beaks break off! I noticed one of mine yesterday and I told my fella that she had to go! lol! Then I found out this happens and they grow back just like finger nails. Who knew!

  25. Lou Cinda says:

    LOL!!! Got it!

    Lou Cinda

  26. Lou Cinda says:

    Oh Karen, so glad you saved them! I would have done the same thing….they are like family members after 11 years! lol The only creature I hate enough to get someone else to step on…are these HUGE black grasshoppers that we get down here in the summer! They are AWFUL and HIDEOUS and scare the shit out of me!!

    Fixing to google “bolt-ons”…

    Lou Cinda

  27. elaine says:

    Go Fisherwoman! When I was young we had lots of aquariums and one was always set aside for new fish that we put some blue looking stuff into the water, kept them in that tank for a couple of weeks before introducing them to another tank. What was it? Heck if I know that was over 40 years ago. Jeesh I sound like my dad.

    BTW, I read your problems of having a loose screw – try a product called “Plastic Wood” from DAP, exterior use. It may save you from having to sacrifice another green twig. Which of course will just dry out and make that loose screw problem start all over again.

    • Karen says:

      Elaine – Thanks! Yes, I have plastic wood now, the green twig was just an example of what to use in an emergency situation to get it fixed quick. :) ~ k

  28. martha says:

    Fascinating! Your perseverance and hard work paid off. Way to go Karen!

  29. Brigid says:

    ‘…I’m thinking it would probably be easier just to keep raccoons.’ That made me laugh out loud! The rest of the post made me ooh, ahh, eeek, awww, and wow! Good on you for saving the little guys!

  30. Amazing. Same thing happened to me, but different disease this past spring. I introduced two fish my son won at a carnival and then the fish started dying off. I just ended up restocking.

  31. Astex says:

    Having gone through something similar (though cheaper) with indoor fish, I have decided no matter how reputable the fish shop/store, a month quarantine before they go into the main display is mandatory….esp. when I actually like my current fish. It is so upsetting to lose fish you’ve had forever to your own stupidity.

  32. Karen J says:

    Wow! Informative and heart warming:)
    When do you have time to sleep?
    P.S. girls with “bolts ons”???

  33. Robyn says:

    Great dedication and patience for getting your fish back to health! I’m sure many would have just given up and started all over again!

  34. Leena says:

    That’s remarkable! That hole is huge, if I would have a hole as big as my whole stomack I’d never survive even with the best brugs in the world.

    Can you enlighten me? I have no experience about outdoors fish. Do you leave them out on winter? Does the pond not freeze? How do they get oxygen then, it’s still such a small pond?

    • Karen says:

      Leena – The pond is a few feet deep. The fish stay there all year long. In the winter, I run a pump which keeps water circulating enough to maintain a hole in the ice at the top. This allows gases to escape and oxygen to get in. ~ k

  35. Adrienne Audrey says:

    haha I had to google “Bolt Ons” the Urban Dictionary explains it quite well. Does anyone actually like bolt ons or is it something girls think guys like?
    Anyways, glad your fishies are doing better :)

    • Bobbie in Oregon says:

      I too had to look that one up. I loved the “after market body parts” explanation. So funny, Karen thanks for continuing to blog. Always starts my morning off with a laugh. Cheers!

  36. Marti says:

    Totally impressed!

    First, as ever at your GORGEOUS backyard with its water effects.

    Second, that you’ve been able to keep anything more than a houseplant alive for ten years.

    Third, at the care you showed. Great job, Karen!

    Keep that fella away. Something tells me he favors the batter. (Any thoughts of battering up one of the raccoons? I’ve heard they might be tasty, too.)

    • Karen says:

      Marti – Thanks. It was a HUGE pain in the ass, but crazy impressive to see how that chemical worked to heal those fish. I’m a sucker for animals. Oh! And … the fella hates fish! I’d eat it, but he “loathes” it (as Madonna says). He also hates hockey, watching sports, and girls with “bolt ons”. You can take a guess at what that is. The fella is in fact very unfella like. ~ k!

  37. Kate Moore says:

    Poor fishies! I’m glad you went through all the effort to save them and get them feeling better :)

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Kate. I’m a bit of a sucker for saving animals. Butterflies, fish, cats … whatever happens to cough up on my front porch. ~ k

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