Veterinarian Tim Barbé

KOI, your passion
my specialty!


FAQ regarding consultations (communication, operation of the practice,…)

I would like to request a home visit/consultation. How can I do it?

This can be done in several ways:

You can call the practice from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 13:00 (Wednesday until 12:00). If you don’t get an answer or a busy signal, we are busy or on the line with other clients. Please call back later! Please do not leave messages on our voicemail! During busy times of the season, you may be transferred to a medical secretary. They can take your details, check the schedule and let us know so we can make an appointment for you. If it still doesn’t work out, don’t worry – we still have options!

Just keep reading.
After these hours, telephone availability is limited. There is no one in the office to check the schedule and the veterinarian who is working is often busy or talking to clients and does not take calls. During the season, we usually do not answer the phone from 8 pm to 9 am. During the winter period it is from 6 pm.

You can email your request for a home visit at any time of the day. You will normally receive a reply within 24 hours. Please check our fixed routes during the season on our website, so you can more or less estimate the day I will be in your area. Remember which season you are sending your request, as there are no fixed routes in winter. Include your full contact information and a BRIEF description of the problem. We don’t need to know all the details yet, we’ll get those at the consultation.



Through the site, you can fill out the contact form to request a consultation and send it to us. Again, you can expect a response within 24 hours.
The influx of messages through various channels is sometimes unmanageable, unworkable and simply too much. That’s why we centralize all messages on Whatsapp and try to keep it organized and partially automated.
Messages like “Call me sometime” will be ignored. Also messages like “I have a sick fish, what should I do”, “what product should I use for my sick fish” and the like will no longer be answered. You would be surprised how many of these messages we get, no name of the sender, no address or ….. We find this disrespectful and simply do not respond anymore.


What determines the price of a visit?

The price is determined by the following factors

– The amount of work and time required. On average, we charge 20 minutes for a preventative exam, 30 minutes for a regular exam, and 45 minutes for a sick visit. If there is more work than expected, that extra time is charged.

– A standard water analysis and general microscopic examination on site are included.

– Transportation to and from the client’s home. We spend 4 to 6 hours in the car on busy days! We try to keep a standard rate for visits that are on established routes, but if we have to drive extra miles we have no choice but to charge an extra fee. Transportation costs are a large part of the final price and will not improve in the coming years.

– Other supplements include:

o Medication that needs to be applied and that we supply. You should know that large ponds require more medication and that treatment will be more expensive. The price of the products or medications is certainly not more expensive than in a pharmacy or koi shop, on the contrary.

o Sample testing in the laboratory

o On-site procedures that are necessary and not part of the standard examination, e.g. puncture, suture, surgery, injection, blood sampling,….

o On-site examinations that appear necessary and are not part of the standard examination, such as an oxygen level measurement, ultrasound, radiography,….


However, do not stare blindly at add-ons or extras. We will always try to make clear what you stand for, what is needed, what can be useful, and the price can always be questioned.

The cost of an visit and medications or products rarely outweigh the budget of fish swimming in a pond. On average, people spend between 200 and 250 euros per visit. But a golden rule is that the worse the problems are… the more medication will be needed and therefore the more expensive the visit will be. Therefore, waiting a long time to get help is usually not only detrimental to the fish, but also to the client.
Be sure to check out our rates via this link. Our prices include 21% VAT. Each private visit must be paid immediately, which can be done in cash, but also by Bancontact or Payconiq. We do not work on credit.

Why can't I talk to the vet?

I am not often available by phone because I am usually busy. Whether you know it or not, the phone rings at the most inappropriate times (Murphy), and I find it inappropriate to be on the phone for minutes at a time in front of clients. Besides, I can only do my job properly if I am not constantly interrupted. We are convinced that if you respect the office hours, send an email or a Whatsapp message, you will get a perfect answer in a reasonable time.

I urgently need to see the vet.
If one calls to make an appointment you can discuss this perfectly with my assistant. She manages the agenda and can suddenly see what is possible. Please spare my time with this task.
If a fish is not well and needs to be examined urgently, we can also just make an appointment to come and see the problem on site. From a distance, we do not diagnose and certainly do not treat. Very often, it is not the first fish of a pond that enters the

problems or people have already tried all kinds of things before they do start using our services.
In emergencies, for example I just left your place after a consultation and forgot something or fish are reacting badly to a treatment we have set, it is best to send an SMS with a very short description and your name. In such a case, I will do my best to contact you myself as soon as I can. If the name and pond is not known to me, there is no point in trying to get me on the line this way.

I have an emergency and want to see the vet now!

Emergency cases are those in which an animal is in acute mortal danger and requires urgent medical attention. You should know that unfortunately (at the moment) we do not have a separate emergency service and all the field work relies on 1 person who is constantly on the road and whose schedule from April to October is, let’s put it mildly, quite full. In those cases where there would be time left to add an emergency case to the schedule, it would have to be one that happens to be more or less close to that day’s route. We cannot possibly drive from one side of the country to the other on the same day. If you believe you have an emergency and you can’t reach anyone by phone during secretarial hours, send a text or whatsapp. We cannot guarantee a short-term response. But if it falls within our capabilities, we always try to help where we can.

I sent a message but get no response.

At times we get a lot of messages at once, maybe your message got out of sight. Then send it again and be sure your message contains all information such as name and address because it may be a reason your message is incomplete. Also, please send your message preferably via mail or via the form on our website so that it arrives centralized to us allowing several people to follow it up.

Also, because we do not have a large team of veterinarians who alternate, we cannot be available every day, every hour, every moment. During vacations, we will always clearly indicate when we are closed and who you can turn to as an alternative for cases that cannot wait until after the leave. If you try to reach us on a Sunday or holiday and don’t get an answer please send us an email and we can contact you the next business day. If you do not get a response within a time frame that is plausible to you, then it is best to contact a colleague should they happen to be available at that time.

Kan ik naar de praktijk komen?

In de praktijk kan je eerder terecht voor het afhalen van medicijnen, aanleveren van stalen of bijvoorbeeld met een stervende vis wanneer een huisbezoek op korte termijn onmogelijk is. In de praktijk is iemand aanwezig op werkdagen van 9u tot 13u (op woensdagen tot 12u) maar elk bezoek is op afspraak! Dierenarts Tim is zelf zelden aanwezig op de praktijk aangezien meer dan 95% van de consultaties op verplaatsing gebeuren.

Wat als je zelf niet aanwezig kan zijn tijdens mijn bezoek?
Ik krijg wel eens de opmerking dat klanten moeten werken op het moment dat ik kan langskomen. Doordat ik een route maak en jouw woonst net in de voormiddag/namiddag of avond op die ronde past, kan ik daar meestal niet zo heel veel in schuiven. Ik vraag dan om eerst en vooral te kijken in je nauwe omgeving of er daarvan niet iemand de deur voor mij kan openen. It is unnecessary that the

owner himself specially present during my visit. Ik kan perfect het onderzoek alleen doen zolang ik aan de vijver geraak, materiaal ter beschikking krijg en een beschrijving van het probleem heb. Kan u aanwezig zijn, des te beter, tijdens mijn bezoek kan je mij al je vragen stellen en kan ik onmiddellijk te weten komen wanneer er laatst een vis bij geplaatst is, hoeveel water er in de vijver zit, of de UV-lamp aan staat, of een bepaalde vis er steeds zo uit gezien heeft, enz..

We kunnen ook telefonisch contact met elkaar nemen wanneer ik aan de vijver sta en al deze zaken overlopen. Als we het allebei druk hebben is dat de beste oplossing.

Vind je niemand die aanwezig kan zijn dan is de derde oplossing dat ik zelf de tuin betreed en dat ik doe wat nodig is. Zorg dan dat alles voor mij klaar staat zodat ik vlot kan werken. Schakel de UV reeds uit en geef mij het totale volume water door met een korte beschrijving van het probleem en de historiek. Maak ook dat de vissen vlot te vangen zijn door netten of afdekplaten omheen de vijver reeds te verwijderen.. (tip : de tijdsduur van een consult bepaald mede de prijs)

What does the veterinarian need during a home visit?
  1. A solid landing net that allows me to effectively catch a fish. Maw voldoende groot en sterk. Ik kan geen zieke vis beoordelen van op afstand of door er gewoon naar te kijken. On each visit, I catch 2-3 fish to physically examine them. If I have to use my own scoop net, there will be a charge for hygienic reasons.
  2. Een bowl om een vis te kunnen inspecteren langs onder en langs boven en in de kieuwen, om staaltjes te kunnen nemen van de huid, mest, kieuwen.. Dit kan een kinderbadje zijn, Curverbox, gesloten wasmand, of dergelijke… maar het moet wel voldoende groot zijn en in verhouding met de grootte van de vis. Een te grote vis in een te kleine bowl geeft risico op letsels waar ik bij problemen dan geen aansprakelijkheid voor neem!

  3. A towel to dry my hands. Ik wikkel geen vissen in een handdoek om ze beter te kunnen vast houden maar doordat mijn handen regelmatig nat zijn droog ik ze graag eens af met een propere, droge doek om bijkomende zaken te kunnen uitvoeren zoals microscoopglaasjes prepareren, spuitjes klaar maken, materiaal nemen, enz..
  4. Current for the microscope. Mijn toestel werkt in principe op batterijen maar in het geval dat deze net plat zijn of ik mijn vervangtoestel mee heb, heb ik een stopcontact nodig in de buurt van de vijver. Bepaalde apparaten zoals radiografie en echografie hebben ook een stroombron nodig.
  5. Table and chair are convenient but optional.
Kan ik digitaal advies krijgen?
Heb je een vraag en wens je digitaal advies : Stuur ons geen bericht met een ellenlange beschrijving van een probleem met foto’s erbij aub. Het is onmogelijk om langs de telefoon te zien welke ziekte uw vissen hebben, dus maak je bij ziektegevallen best gewoon een afspraak. Soms hebben mensen gewoon een vraag over het levensonderhoud van hun dieren of over het bijsturen van de waterkwaliteit bijvoorbeeld of men wenst een second opinion. Digitaal advies is mogelijk maar mits vergoeding. Bekijk eerst en vooral eens de FAQ op onze site, hier zijn een aantal veel voorkomende praktijkgevallen beschreven met gratis advies.
Kunnen we contact maken via de social media?
Geregeld proberen we een bericht te posten via social media : Facebook of Instagram. Heb je daar een opmerking bij, post die dan gerust online bij het betreffende bericht. We proberen te reageren op vragen of opmerkingen, we reageren echter niet op vragen over onze behandelwijzen en stellen ook geen diagnosen via het digitaal kanaal. Mensen proberen via allerhande manieren toch rechtstreeks tot bij de dierenarts te geraken en sturen berichten via Whatsapp, Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, sms, .. we kunnen niet al die kanalen blijven opvolgen en reageren. Bovendien ben ik de meeste tijd van de dag ofwel bij klanten ofwel onderweg en wordt het gebruik van GSM tot een minimum beperkt. We centraliseren alle berichten naar Whatsapp, deze wordt een stuk geautomatiseerd voor zover dat mogelijk is en wij gebruiken die vooral voor het maken van concrete afspraken ivm bezoeken (bvb een seintje geven als we vertrekken naar een klant), opvolging van ziektegevallen en bijsturen waar mogelijk van op afstand, soms vragen we aan een klant om al een foto door te sturen zodat we de ernst en dringendheid van een ziekteproces kunnen inschatten maar de betrachting van mensen om via deze weg behandelingen en gratis advies in te winnen worden afgeblokt. Bel ons niet via Whatsapp, Messenger of eender welke andere manier ook dan klassiek telefonisch aub!
What does a visit cost and how do you pay?

Click on my rates for an overview. Each private visit must be paid immediately, in cash or by Bancontact or Payconiq. Please note that if you pay by Bancontact with your Visa or Mastercard, a 2% transaction fee will be added (not for regular Maestro bank cards). With Payconiq, the payment limit is 250 euros.

What is my work area?

I move in Belgium, Northern France and Zeeland. Check the map to see exactly where. From April to October I usually follow fixed routes on fixed days. 

These visits can be done at a group rate, which means that the travel costs are shared with other visits. In the winter, there are no group tours and travel is at your own expense.

If there is work in your street or neighborhood, please let me know. Moving is time consuming and every day I run into a traffic jam or detour, so whatever can be avoided to get to my clients on time.


What time will I visit?

Since I’m heavily dependent on traffic and sometimes there are additional visits à la minute on my rounds, I can rarely say 100% exactly what time I’ll be with you. If I make an appointment, it is always with a certain margin of 1 to 2 hours. You can expect me either in the morning between 9am and 12pm, around lunchtime (11am to 1pm), in the early afternoon (12pm to 2:30pm), in the afternoon (1pm to 5pm) or in the evening (by evening we mean after 5pm). So we rarely stop working at 6pm. If you really doubt that I haven’t forgotten you, please send me an SMS.

FAQ about sick fish, symptoms, behavior, conditions ….

I have a question about a sick fish or a problem.

We do not diagnose fish over the phone and are not legally allowed to treat a fish without seeing it. We can only give correct advice during a consultation. Usually this is done at the customer’s home, in exceptional cases you can bring 1 fish to the office.
For general advice concerning water quality, filtration, non-medical interventions, nutrition, etc., you can request a paid digital consultation. Prices start at 5 euros. Please Click here

If you can’t judge for yourself whether a home visit or consultation is necessary and/or there is a danger in the pond/aquarium, please check first if your question is not already answered in the FAQ list.
If your fish are already being treated by us after a paid consultation, the easiest way to get advice on the course of treatment or to adjust the treatment is by email ( This digital or telephone consultation will not be charged. However, if we are unable to help you from a distance, a new (paid) consultation is required.

What can I do myself if my fish seem sick, or what can I do awaiting your visit?

The first thing you can always do yourself when you notice that something in the pond is not going as it should, is to test the water. If you don’t have your own test kit, or it’s expired, or you don’t trust your own measurements, take a water sample to a professional pond supply store or bring it to our office. They will be able to test your water. In any case, make sure that at least the following parameters are evaluated: pH, KH, nitrite, ammonia. If these are good, there may still be a problem with the water quality, but more specific tests may be needed, such as oxygen measurement (in warmer weather, for example), analysis for heavy metals,… but this requires the necessary equipment. It is also never a bad idea to do a water change, e.g. drain 30% of the water and replace it with fresh city water (tap water, not rain or well water), which you spray into the pond with a jet to give it extra aeration. Adding products for diseases, parasites, and infections is of little use if the cause of the problem is not known. In fact, some products can make the problem worse because they affect the fish’s mucous membranes, making it harder for them to recover.

I have a dead fish in my pond, but can I keep it for a few days for further examination?

Once a fish has died, it decomposes rather quickly, especially if the water temperature is warm rather than cold. If the home visit is within 24 hours, keep the fish in a cool, dark place with plenty of fresh water. Always take pictures of the fish as you find it, and pay special attention to the skin, fins, and especially the gills! You can show these pictures during my visit or send them in advance via Whatsapp after consultation. Spots can become discolored, gills can become more and more pale after death, the mucosa can become loose, parasites will die when the host has died,… In this case, it is always important to have some fish from the pond examined in addition to the standard water quality measurements. With bacterial problems, the others may seem perfectly healthy and nothing abnormal can be found. Then the history of the visit is extremely important to determine whether or not intervention is needed (Have any new fish been added in the last month? Have any fish died recently? Has anything been changed in the filter or in the pond? etc.) It is often a good idea to cut out a piece of the gills from a dead fish , whose gills are still red/pink, and store it in the freezer. If the gills of a recent died fish are still red/pink, it is often a good idea to cut a piece out of the gills and store it in the freezer. This can be used for further analysis in the laboratory. Don’t forget to take some pictures. 

My fish are being treated, but I feel that it is not really going in the right direction.

First of all, it might be best to make another appointment to look at the problem again. New elements may have appeared in the meantime, additional developments may have occurred in the course of the disease …. Ideally, you should call 0477/640674 during office hours (9 am-1 pm)) so that the assistant can schedule a new appointment immediately. If this does not work, please send an email to or use the contact form on the website.

Alternatively (preferably only if the other way does not work) send a message to my number (Whatsapp) and I will see if a new visit is necessary or if I can still help you from a distance. In such cases, a small photo via email or Whatsapp can be useful.

My fish are behaving normally, but I see white candle wax-like thickening on the skin or fins.

This is most likely carp pox. This is also called winter pox because it usually occurs before winter, either in winter itself or in the spring. It is caused by a herpes virus and a weakened immune system in the fish. The first thing to do is to check if there is a cause for the weakened immunity, is the water quality ok? Are there any parasites? Chances are that everything is fine in this area, but you are still seeing these pox show up. Fluctuating water temperatures and stress can also cause this phenomenon. In this case, it is especially important to build up the fish’s immunity and eliminate the cause of stress as much as possible. Compare it a bit with cold sores in humans, you carry the virus inside you and it expresses itself in times of weakness. Sometimes it goes away after a few weeks, but some fish have it all year round. There is no vaccine or specific medication yet. As long as conditions are good, there is no danger to other fish. Products that support the fish’s resistance can be of added value at such times.

I have a fish with an ugly skin change. The fish does not seem to be suffering, but it has been there for a long time and now it seems to be getting worse or spreading to the other fish in the pond?

If a fish has had a wound for months or even years and it doesn’t seem to be healing, chances are your fish has hikui. That’s the Japanese name for a skin condition that, until recently, we had no real explanation for. Recent research has shown that it is a form of skin cancer for which there is little that can be done. There are several forms. The fish never suffer from it and it is not contagious, but it cannot be ruled out that some fish in your pond may have or get the condition. Ponds that are in the sun will suffer more from it and it only forms in fish that have/had red pigments in their skin. Sometimes it is helpful to clean the skin locally as loose scales will form on which algae can begin to grow. Do not confuse this disease with another phenomenon called hole disease. This is a bacterial infection of the skin in which the scales swell, open sores develop, active inflammation develops, and may be accompanied by fin rot or mouth rot. Unlike hikui, this disease develops progressively over a short period of time. When in doubt, it is best to request a home visit.

My goldfish has a very strange position in the aquarium and I have read that it could be due to the swim bladder, what can I do?

There can be several reasons why fish hang abnormally in the water: head down or head up, sometimes on their sides. It can be an infection with parasites or bacteria and weakening of the fish. More often, the fish’s skin is a bit duller, the fish is often a bit leaner than normal, and there is usually redness or swelling in the scales. Always check the water quality, as ammonia, nitrite, low pH, lack of oxygen can also be a cause. If only one fish is showing these symptoms (while the other fish in the tank are doing fine) and the fish itself is still struggling to get food, then a swim bladder problem is very likely. This is a known phenomenon in ornamental goldfish, and the problem is that the fish are bred to have an undersized or unbalanced swim bladder. In the pond we also see this more often with single colored Koi (Chagoi, Soragoi, Kigoi, Magoi, Karashigoi) because they often grow very fast but the swim bladder remains relatively small. A radiograph can give a better idea of the situation because it allows you to look inside the fish. A consultation can also provide more information about the diet and temperature in the aquarium, as these also play an important role in the development and treatment of the phenomenon. The prognosis is certainly reserved and there is a possibility that the fish cannot be helped.

It's a mild winter or fall, can I still feed my fish?

In winter, the pond is quiet and the fish take it easy. However, it can be so warm that the fish do not go into hibernation and swim around happily as in spring. Up to a water temperature of about 6°C we can continue to feed the Koi with light digestible food, but then sparingly. It is best to feed the fish only a few times a week, depending on their activity level, water temperature and their appetite. On a gray, rainy day the fish will automatically have no appetite or less, when the sun shines through the clouds they will more easily look for something edible. By feeding, the Koi will not have to draw on their reserves too much and will come out of the winter better conditioned. Feed only when the fish ask for it. Use sinking food so the Koi don’t have to waste energy swimming to the surface! In a planted pond the fish will find enough food to survive the winter. Sturgeons can continue to be fed up to about 5 degrees, but use sinking wheat germ, for example, if the Koi also take a grain. This will prevent intestinal problems.

Our fish has a very fat belly and cannot get rid of its eggs, we suspect. Is there anything we can do to help?

Fat bellies can have several causes, first of all we have to ask ourselves if the belly size is within normal limits or not. After all, fish can be fat due to gluttony, and in addition, female fish with eggs will also have a slightly larger belly size. But in these cases a fish will rarely “explode” as we say. If the size of the belly is very noticeable and seems to become quite abnormally thick, there may be more to it and we have to consider that besides eggs there may be another, often less favorable, cause.

If the scales are open from behind the head, abdominal dropsy could also be a good reason for a fish to be fatter than normal. If the belly is quite thick at the bottom and behind, there may be an air sac; these fish usually have difficulty swimming and the tail tends to rise. We also often see internal cancers in fish at the level of the genital tract (especially in female fish, sometimes in male fish)… these can also cause the fish to grow enormously. Female fish usually develop cysts on their ovaries, which are large bladders filled with fluid. Other organs can also develop cancer, such as the liver, and grow so much that the belly increases in volume. So if a fish has a fat belly, the first thing we need to do is investigate what might be causing it, often using ultrasound. Fortunately, if the eggs cannot be laid, we can do something about it at the right time. Unfortunately, the prognosis for cancer is much worse.