July update

The 3 weeks since my last blog post has gone like a flash! The Lava Rosa Kohaku babies have grown at a rapid pace, and are almost at first selection size after just 3 weeks in the fry pond! My record is 27 days…. And, we might match that!

The heron is starting to take an interest… and so I’m not keen to leave them in the pond any longer than I have to. I'm sure we've suffered some losses and we will need to accelerate the harvests and take the fish in a littler smaller than we'd like to preserve stock.

On the Sharkey Kohaku babies. We’ve completed selection on the first pond harvested. And, we harvested the second pond last weekend and pulled out another good harvest. So, just one more pond of Sharkey Kohaku to harvest, which will be this weekend’s job. As well as selection of the harvested fry.

The good news with the Sharkey Kohaku fry from last weekend’s harvest is their large size… they’ve come out at an average of 1.5 inches rather than 1 inch and this a very satisfying result. There were a couple of shooters in the pond that must be at least 3 inches.

We have far more Kohaku than last year so overall we are tracking to plan in terms of significantly increasing our Kohaku production.

With 5 ponds put to Kohaku, we have been turning our attention to rearing some other varieties. And, we’ve been running other spawnings over the last couple of weeks to move us along with that. The Beni Kikokuryu spawned, but the males let me down… they are still too immature and we didn’t get any fertilisation from them. This was very frustrating indeed – we both wanted to make Beni Kikokuryu a key part of the 25 % of our annual production that is given to varieties other than kohaku. Unfortunately, they will need to wait until next year….

We have a fantastic batch of eggs from our showa female, ‘Little Monster Chops’ – I might have to start calling her LMC for short to save her blushes. She’s not little – she’s over 80cm; we call her little because she’s smaller than an older female we used to call ‘Monster Chops’. Anyway, I’ve given her a place in the best growing tanks for the last year – and she delivered a large volume of eggs. We had a lower fertilisation than I expected and there was a problem rearing the eggs – so what should have delivered us several ponds worth of hatchlings, has delivered us just about a pond’s worth of hatchlings. We’ll take that! We also have a kujaku female that I haven’t talked much about on my blog, and I wasn’t expecting too much from her this year because she didn’t have many eggs. We left her to spawn naturally, and she had very few eggs as I expected, but we ended up with a really good hatch – basically, a pond’s worth of hatchlings! So… as things stand today, we have 2 ponds cycling, and one will be put to showa, and the other to kujaku.

A good % of these showa fry are black, which is promising
I think we will get to re-use 2 more ponds with late summer spawnings… and, we are preparing those ponds currently, and will run spawnings over this weekend and next week to generate some hatchlings to use there. I’ve spawned all my kohaku females already this season so I have to look at the females we have left to spawn. There’s a shiro utsuri (that my youngest daughter wants to spawn), a showa and 2 ogons – the 2 ogons that let me down a few weeks ago!

I expect we’ll be spawning all of those females, and depending on how they go and how much pond space we can create for these late spawnings – I might have a second go with one of the Kohaku that I spawned very early in the summer.

The year of production is starting to take shape, and we are in a good position. That said, we still have a lot of plates spinning! Lots of competing priorities and priority calls literally every day and another busy couple of weeks coming up with more spawnings, harvests and a lot of selection to get through.

A very satisfying moment from the last week was putting the first batch of 2019 fry into the growing on system… That’s one grow on pond filled, and 5 left to go.