I've run some test spawnings

Reflecting on spawnings over the last 2 years, I've put a lot of effort into the spawning process and to be honest, not found a mechansim that gives me a good enough rate of repeatable success. Part of that is the uncertainty around the pairings I run with, but part of it is also the overall process.

So this year, while the weather is too cool to run spawnings like I've done in the past - I'm trying some alternative approaches and started with some test spawnings last weekend, the first one giving my matsunosuke female shiro a run out in a cage net suspended in one of my growing on tanks.

I put her with two omosako males

Good thing that I suspended the cage net in the middle of the growing on pond because the nissai male wasnt having any of it and jumped out of the cage net, and landed in the pond.

I left the other male to it, and they spawned after just one night. Last year, the eggs from that female shiro didnt develop and it was a white out - most of the eggs looked very small and I asked around and there was a view that she might have been too young. This year, I wanted to see if they would be small again - and thankfully, they appeared normal size.

I split the eggs into 3 batches - 1 batch went into a show vat with 2 day old water taken originally from the tap. 1 batch went into a large inspection bowl filled with growing on pond water. I put aquarium heaters with both these batches to keep the water at 20 C, +- 2 C. The last batch went into a fine mesh cage net suspened in my daphnia pond just outside the polytunnel.

All 3 batches seem to have gone wrong - I'll know for sure in a few days whether there are any hatchlings.

The main draw back with the cage net is fin rub, and the female suffered badly and its going to take a month or two for the pecs to recover fully. She's a stunner though and potential candidate to taking to a show later this year perhaps as a chapperone for some of my home bred kohakus. She fared well in the Kangei garden show last year winning the best shiro utsuri prize and coming second best non-go sanke overall. She's only sansai, and already 65cm.

I've also run another shiro spawning - this time in the green vortex tank that's connected to the growing on pond system. Theory being that there's no cage net so less risk of fin rub. I put 3 males in - 2 omosako ones, and my trusty CKF male that a stud in the show vat - always in front of the others in past spawnings when there's a female around. Plus he's a long track record at the shows placing 1st or 2nd at the All England show the last 3 years in his size and variety category. Last year he came 2nd out out of around 13 I think in size 4 shiro - which is an excellent result, especially considering he's a male.

It also gave me some certainty - because I've used two of those 2 males with that female in the past and achieved good fertilisation and hatch rate in 2013 with them.

When the spawning was finished - Amanda moved the spawning ropes from the green vortex tank and into a spawning vat that we had set up, with water taken from the fry ponds outside.

We'll know tomorrow what the result is, but looking at the eggs this evening - its looking very promising. The spawning ropes are laced with eggs - as many as I've seen on the ropes. Amanda picked up some extra aquarium heaters today to help us maintain 20C +-2C over the next few days while the weather is bringing in the chilly air.

I'm fascinated to see how these eggs develop - they're from a tried and tested spawning combo, and if the green vortex approach works, it will revolutionise the way I conduct spawnings. It would be almost too good to be true, so I'm cautious. More on this when I have some news.....