Could I 'do a Leicester' and win a GC with a home bred ?

You may have noticed a general lack of blogging recently, and I’m afraid this has partly been due to spending a lot more of my spare time watching football.

If you missed the front pages of newspapers around the world this week – Leicester City FC won the English Premier League (that’s football btw); a team that were rank outsiders (at 5000-1) at the start of the season. They went on to beat all the big teams over the course of a season.

I face a similar struggle with my home breeding efforts; trying to breed my own kohaku’s that can compete at the koi shows in the UK against koi bred by the well established, well resourced professional farmers in Japan; and then looked after by hobbyists in the UK who spare no expense on the pond set ups and so on.

Leicester’s victory this week makes me think again about the chances of winning a GC with a home bred - and any sensible person would say that is simply unachievable. I also think it’s unachievable, but perhaps the lesson from Leicester this season is to work hard and take it one step at a time.

Spawning is now imminent. After a much cooler than average May (including sleet and snow in some places in the UK!) , the weather warmed up considerably last weekend and I contemplated an early spawning but held off because I was not fully comfortable with the way the males were looking. I did some prep, like cleaning spawning ropes and so on. I’ve given each tank a dose of MG &F to knock anything back that’s lurking. And I’ll have my first spawning attempts for 2016 this weekend.

Amanda and I have been debating which set to start with. The discussion centres on whether to start with Elle Macpherson, or Sharkey. We’ll make the final decision on the day we put the spawning together.

My best prospect for the South of England show – the two step – is still developing eggs in a lop sided manner, and frankly, is not looking well. I tried to spawn her a couple of weekends ago, which yielded nothing. Starting to get a little worried about her to be honest, not just as a show prospect, but concerned we might be losing her. My second best bet … has a bump on it’s nose! I really can’t believe my luck. My third best bet is looking ok. And I’m yet to go through the tosai… The show is under 4 weeks away!

The water in the growing on tanks has gone pea soup green. The UV isn’t coping and I can’t see how the tosai or the nissai are now developing. This is a real pain, and I’ll try small doses of PP to bring the algae levels down a bit. The females tank is also pea soup green, and again gives me some practical problems in terms of catching the fish for spawning this weekend! If only Leicester City hadn’t been doing so well, and I’d got off my back side, stopped watching the footy and changed the UV a week or two ago!

Other news. You may remember I had planned to bring in 1 more large kohaku female to use as a parent fish. I just heard from Mike Snaden (Yume Koi) who is returning from his spring Japan trip; and he’s found one for me. Always a nervy time making such a purchase, but also exciting as it gives me another kohaku female option from a different line to my existing females. I’m hoping the once it’s shipped from Japan and goes through Mike’s quaranting process, I may have it in time for a late summer spawning.

A few pictures to record how the fry ponds have been changing over the last few weeks:

Top pond, 23rd April (with my brother who's visiting from Australia)

Bottom pond, same date

Top pond, 1st May

Bottom pond, same date

Top pond ,8th May

Bottom pond , same date

Interesting to see how the ponds have changed over the last few weeks, and I think they have 1 or 2 more weeks to go until they are ready. I'm not sure whether that's going to coordinate well enough with the imminent spawnings. So, rather than leave it to chance , Amanda and I are making preparations for the contingency approaches we trialled last year. We don't want a repeat of last year's disaster where we had the pond filled to the rafters with shiro fry and lost the lot because of a lack of natural food or too many predators....