Koi Ponds: Osmosis, Diffusion in Koi Ponds

Page Summary:  Diffusion is a general principle guiding many natural and also synthetic processes. Consider a cup of tea to which you add sugar but do NOT stir. Over time if left long enough the sugar will diffuse itself throughout the mass of coffee. Because we dont have all day to wait we stir the cup of tea to get even mixing more quickly. In a still pond oxygen enters the water at the surface and slowly diffuses throughout the body of pond water. Diffusion is a kind of gentle mixing without external energy being applied to effect the mixing. Osmosis involves the transfer of material in solution across a permeable membrane. Let my friend William Kelly explain

Osmosis in Koi Ponds

Imagine now that youre a Koi. Your salty blood that is separated from the pond water by a membrane one cell thick is going to have a lot of water zipping across that membrane due to osmosis. Your blood is salty, the water is not, hence the natural osmotic process takes place. If the Koi did not get rid of all this extra water through constant urination it would explode. So this means that the water in the pond is being constantly circulated through the Koi.

IMPORTANT: Can you see how important water quality is to successful Koi keeping?

Diffusion in a Koi Pond

The process of diffusion is ‘passive’, which means it happens naturally, with no energy input needed. Molecules in fluids simply spread out until they reach a point of equilibrium, where the concentration of molecules in a fluid is uniform.

Diffusion is different to mixing which is normally the result of external energy being applied (eg wind factors).

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Koi Osmosis in Pond Water

Osmosis also has a big impact in our koi and goldfish pond. Similar to diffusion, osmosis is the passive movement of molecules through semi-permeable barriers, like the gills of koi and gold fish. Koi have to work hard at osmosis, as the tissue in their gills is so thin that only water, not salts and sugars, pass through it easily. The meaning of this is that koi and goldfish are constantly attracting water in their bodies, making it difficult for them to keep a stable balance of body tissue. To compensate, koi excrete huge volumes of diluted urine.

You can assist your koi by adding salt to the pond water. This helps koi and goldfish, not only as an antiseptic that reduces infections from parasites, but also works to lessen the rate at which water passes through their gills by koi osmosis.

Koi Osmosis as a Treatment for Ulcers and Parasites

It’s possible to treat a number of ailments by harnessing koi osmosis. Normal treatment for koi fish that have ulcers is to add salt to the pond water, as it forces the fluids in an ulcer to diffuse outwards. While this certainly helps the koi’s recovery, bear in mind that increased levels of salt will have an effect on the diffusion of the salt and other minerals in the water into all the other organisms in your fish pond. Every action you make will have a knock on effect, so you need to take care.

Osmosis can also work with parasites. You can place koi in a ‘salt bath’, water with high salinity, to force water to be expelled from parasites, putting them under considerable stress and usually killing them, sometime even making them implode. However, such practice will also cause stress to your koi, so you must always be very careful when doing this.

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Osmosis can also work with parasites. You can place koi in a ‘salt bath’, water with high salinity, to force water to be expelled from parasites, putting them under considerable stress and usually killing them, sometime even making them implode. However, such practice will also cause stress to your koi, so you must always be very careful when doing this.

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