After 3 years, and on the 5th attempt, we've successfully spawned 'Sharkey'

We’ve been so busy with the charity fund raiser recently, it’s been difficult to find time to write up what’s been going on with the breeding project.

Here’s a summary covering the last few weeks:

- Both fry ponds outside are in great condition to take new hatchlings; except for a problem with ducklings. We’ve been rearing ducklings in our fry ponds more successfully than koi! Not something we want to continue with…..

- It took ages to find and repair all the small holes in the fence surrounding the ponds, but we finally got there and the ducks are out! Let’s hope that’s final.

- Ran a spawning with ‘Sharkey’ and my two dianichi males. Thinking is – those males pair well with my Okawa female and if I can rear fry using them with another female, it will give me some intel about how to construct brood sets

- The spawning was successful, and we split the eggs across two tubs in the polytunnel, and one cage net suspended in one of the ponds outside.

- Hatch rate was good in all three cases

- In the cage net suspended in the pond outside – released all the hatchlings into the pond

- Filled the other outdoor pond using hatchlings from one of the black tubs inside; using the trusty bucket method for moving them

Moved around 7 or 8 bucket loads like this.

- That leaves me with 10’s of thousands of hatchlings in the other black tub inside. Currently, we’re keeping them going – but we’re tired after a busy few months and with both ponds outside full of hatchlings – we’ll settle for that. And for the spare ones inside, we’ll either use them to repopulate a pond outside if something goes wrong out there; or sell them.

- Overall – I’m chuffed to bits that we’ve successfully spawned ‘Sharkey’ – it’s taken me 3 years, and it was the 5th spawning attempt with her!

As things stand right now:

- Both fry ponds outside are in a good condition for fry, and are full of hatchlings from the ‘Sharkey’ spawning

- The fry from my May spawning are coming along slowly; colour and pattern wise, I’m optimistic. Just wish we could have reared more of them. If both ponds outside had been ready back in May – I’d have stood a good chance of rearing enough from this proven brood set to challenge for a 3rd in a row baby champ award next year. As things stand – I’m not in a good place for that. On the upside – if we didn’t have the contingency plans in place, I’d have lost the whole spawning. And at least a few thousand koi remain…..

- Another upside – I may have stumbed on a way of cycling the ponds faster for a second use situation. There’s always the risk of another ‘Loch Ness Shiro’ event – but I see the slim opportunity to use our ponds for a 3rd time this summer, and I’m going to try and take it.

- I’ve brought home my new 3 step female kohaku from Takigawa, purchased from Mike Snaden at Yume Koi. We’ll give her a run out in the spawning vat late July / early August.

And finally, a few pictures from 'duck gate' :

They look cute, and they make lots of cute little chirping noises.


Not very helpful for my project though, because they are eating my precious fry !