Last roll of the dice

Summer is rapidly disappearing. Looking at the weather forecast today, supposedly there are only 2 more weeks of meteorological summer left! I desperately need those to be warm and sunny weeks…

Last Saturday, we put the other half of the August ’16 #2 spawning hatchlings into the bottom fry pond outside. No shortage of hatchlings from that spawning.

We took out 4 bags like this one ...

Here's a close up, showing what's in the bag :-)

I floated the bags for around 20 mins before releasing the hatchlings , so allow the water temperatures to align

On the Sunday, we caught up the August ’16 #1 spawning hatchlings and as I suspected, there are far fewer that have made it from that spawning; roughly a quarter of the number of hatchlings compared to the other spawning. We’ll grow the #1 spawning hatchlings inside…

Perusing the fry ponds later that day, we could see a noticeable reduction in the number of hatchlings visible in the top fry pond compared to the previous day . They were put out on the Wednesday night, and still plenty there – but, a big reduction nonetheless. Everything in the pond seems to be down… including the amount of daphnia we can see. So, perhaps that pond is going through a downward cycle? All is not lost.. and we can still see fry around the margins on each side of the pond. In the past, that has been a precursor to a good harvest. The hatchlings we can see appear to have grown a bit, which is a good sign.

The other pond seems to be faring much better; with far more pond life visible and hatchlings are still abundant wherever you look.

The use of the bottom pond this time around, is my best guess at a preferred approach for using the fry ponds. We went with the quick turnaround system – emptying, drying, then refilling. And, the fry went in just 2 weeks after we started filling – which coincided with the clear water stage.

I wanted to try this approach with the top pond, and it went through the same process a month or so earlier – but, the coordination with hatchlings went wrong. You may remember the 3-step spawning didn’t produce the numbers of hatchlings that I hoped for. So, we left the pond full, and it’s been changing week on week. With no hatchlings at the right time…. and then hatchlings ready, but after the pond has over cycled…. I’m trying to make best use of it.

If the 3 step spawning had produced a decent number of hatchlings, then I would have been able to test out my current view on the preferred cycling approach far earlier in the season on the top pond. But, on the upside – at least I get to try it once this year, on the bottom pond… albeit, at the end of summer.

It’s frustrating that these are my last ‘goes’ with the fry ponds for another year. I’ve been testing different techniques with the way we use them, and I’m making progress…. But clearly, not quite there yet.

Plenty still going on in the Polytunnel , and I’m starting to think about second selection on the fry in the growing on tanks and also selecting through the tosai that will soon be nissai – I need to whittle those down a bit to give the keepers the best growing conditions in the females tank.

So much to do, so little time.