Veterinarian Tim Barbé

KOI, your passion
my specialty!

Research techniques

Before any treatment can be given, a (presumed) diagnosis must be made. It is a golden rule to start treatment only when you know exactly what needs to be treated. Certain techniques and tests are required to make a proper diagnosis.


A microscopic examination of the fish is essential. First, samples of the mucosa, gills and faeces are examined. At a later stage, cytological examination of blood and organs may be useful. The standard microscopic examination is included in each visit fee.

Water Analysis

The second essential test for assessing fish health is a thorough water analysis. At each initial consultation for a problem case, the following parameters are analyzed (oxygen and metal ion measurements are extras):

Additional parameters may be determined:
Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Aluminum & Oxygen

The standard parameters determined during a consultation are already included in the price of the visit.


Also known as echoscopy, is a technique that allows us to evaluate organs using sound waves. In fish this is especially useful to see if the swim bladder is inflamed, if the egg structure of female Koi is normal, to look for growths, cysts, ….. Since I have such a device at my disposal, it can be used immediately if necessary, the result is known immediately.


This technique is used to take X-rays. It also makes it possible to take pictures of the inside of the body. Bone tissue is relatively opaque to radiation (radio-opaque) and appears as a white structure on the x-ray. Air, which is highly permeable (radiolucent), appears black.

Blood, fat, muscle, and organs take on a gray tint. Especially useful for diagnosing a swim bladder problem & bone problem. This device can be used immediately, but the scan has to be further processed in our practice at home.

Blood test

Many things can be assessed in the blood: coagulation, organ function, water balance, hormonal balance, inflammatory processes, etc. Consider parameters such as hematocrit, leukocytes, creatinine, Na+, cortisol, trace elements, etc. Unfortunately, this examination is less valuable than in other pets, but it can certainly be useful in fish that are in poor condition, listless, etc. Again, this is a technique that can be used immediately and you will know the result in a few days.


When a fish dies or is euthanized, an autopsy may be useful. For example, the organs can be visually assessed, and samples (tissue, fluid, blood) can be collected for bacteriology, virology, cytology, coprological examination, histology ….. More explanation of these techniques elsewhere on our website.