The project has been ticking along over the last few weeks; this year’s fry are growing on – they are still a long way behind where I was this time last year, but they are now growing and I can see some very individuals with potential. We’ll have to wait for another few months before I get a sense of how good the harvest was overall.
The females tank is getting over the white spot issue and I’ve taken all the tanks through a pretty tough set of treatments over the last month and we’re just coming out of that period now. Elle’s baby kohakus are doing ok in the fry pond outside. Looks like a reasonable compliment of them, and we should get a few thousand - enough at least to sample the genetic combo. They’ve grown well, but are still very small.
|You can spot individuals around most pond margins, but you'd only see a gathering like this in one spot. Suggests there are more than a few hundred, and less than 10's of thousands; hopefully, at least a few thousand.|
And now that we’re in September and with temps dropping – I don’t know whether we can get them up to a size large enough to harvest before the winter sets in. It’s going to be tight, and one things for sure – they will be small going into the winter. I could do with a warm September!
Here's a clip from bank holiday Monday of the kohaku keepers from this year - you can see there are quite a few that will not make the next selection - but there is the odd one that stands out.
So, things are on the up…. well, except for the electricity short – that happened just as we were leaving home to go on holiday, and the fact that both my males and females ponds are now down by 1 pump each and turning over much slower than that should be.
Finding the faulty bit of kit took me two hours – and, the fault was intermittent which made the failing appliance harder to spot. It was one of the pumps I have on the males pond. Not great in delaying our holiday by a few hours but thank goodness the fault happened just before we left rather than while we were away.
In the females pond, I can’t turn one of the pumps on because if I do, then the draw of water through the drum is faster than the drum receives from the pond. Even with a few inches of head difference – it’s breaching the operating tolerances. This glitch has only recently appeared, and the system had been running fine for a couple of months. I guess it must have been near the tolerance, and some dirt building up an obstructing the flow slightly has tipped it over the edge. I can run it for a few days without the problem, but I need a more robust solution. The pump that has to remain off - runs water through the heating system. So, that tank is without heating until I resolve the problem.
And that leaves me with a task that I could really do without - adding an additional bottom drain to the females tank; I’m not sure I can take the upheaval ! – so it may end up being an additional side drain which is far less good for keeping the pond floor clean, but will be easier to implement. Not ideal timing with the white spot issues – and my wanting to run another spawning, and giving the females 2 months of growing on time this autumn – looks like that just won’t happen. I’ve run out of time. Summer has just not been long enough this year! I still want to run another spawning – it’s the shintaro showa. I really want to have that spawned before I go out to Japan in October.
And I guess that’s been the good news. I’ve carved out time from work and the family, and booked my flights to Japan for a week-long trip in late October. I’ve decided to go solo and without a pre-planned agenda, because I’ve had an opportunity to link up with a world renowned koi judge, and club mate, Gary Pritchard for a few days in Niigata. Gary travels there once a year, and gave the club a presentation on one of his trips a couple of years ago. He mentioned there was often a spare space in the car, and … well, I asked if I could take it this year! The opportunity to travel with Gary is too good to miss, seeing the place for the first time with a fellow hobbyis.
I have no pre-set itinerary for Niigata – except for spending some time in the area and travelling around with Gary, and I'm sure it will show me a different side of the koi world and I’ll take pics and report back on the trip through my blog. I’m not travelling there to buy more fish (honest!). And what is more important for me is to absorb some of the Niigata koi scene which I hope will seed me with a few ideas for my breeding project.
So, back to the shintaro showa. I’m thinking of using the same spawning approach as I did with Elle – putting her into the tea cup tank on the males system, and heating the system to 24 / 25C. I’d have done it already but for the white spot issues, being away and the pumps I cant turn on! And with the days in September being eaten up way too fast, I may run out of time. If I can find the time, and if I can still heat the males system sufficiently with drop in heaters, I will have a go – and if we get some eggs and hatchlings out of it, I’ll be trialling a new rearing method, based on manual feeding rather than the natural pond rearing I’ve been using up to now. That’s a lot of if’s.
Along side that - we have the entries for my club's garden show coming up this Saturday. And there's the All England show at the end of September too which I am exhibiting at.