Spawnings update

It's our most busy period of the year... and since my last post, just 2 weeks ago.. so much has happened. Spawnings, club visit, tosai sales weekend, and even my own club's first koi show.

Looking back at my last blog update - that covered the 'Rosie' spawning. And the news on that is it went brilliantly. The fertilisation rate was very high, and we had a good hatch.

However, good news turned bad quite quickly .. around 1 or 2 days after the hatch, just as the hatchlings were becoming free swimming, the tank became over polluted - in large part because the flow to the filtration we'd added became partially blocked. And, in literally 12 hours.. whilst I was at work, the water quality went so far downhill that we lost most of the hatchlings. Some corrective action when I spotted the issue on my return from work that day alleviated the problem, but didn't stop the losses.

With the years of experience I now have, we decided to ditch the spawning. Having just been through the tosai of 'Rosie's 2017 spawning... and seen lots of great ones coming through. It did not feel good to have lost such a great batch of hatchlings this year that could potentially have delivered us another great batch of tosai next year!

With these kinds of disappointments, the best thing when you are a koi farmer is to clean up, and get on with the next things. So, several hours with the jet washer later... cleaning the cage net and spawning ropes, and we were ready to go again. And, although bitterly disappointed, once everything was clean it's a fresh start.

One of the benefits of specialising in kohaku, is that we have several kohaku brood sets - so there's plenty in reserve if something goes wrong with one, or even two of our sets.

And, the following weekend - we ran 'Sharkey' with the dianichi males, and that's a re-run of her 2016 spawning which itself was a landmark spawning.

And, she didn't disappoint. Spawned on the first night, and lots of eggs. Fertilisation well in to the 90's %. And, a great hatch.

We split the eggs into two batches, and as I write this blog (early Sunday morning... I couldn't sleep last night , with all the thunder and lightning) .. the hatchlings are doing well - in both batches.

Annabel and I moving half of the spawning ropes laden with eggs into a separate tank - to split the risk of failure.

The new lighting we have means we can work into this night if necessary... which is often the case.

You can see just how successful the Sharkey spawning was - most of the eggs are developing hatchlings

As of yesterday -one of our outdoor fry ponds is cycled, and ready to take hatchlings. And today, we have a few customers visiting to take a look at our tosai. And later this afternoon, I'll collect up perhaps 10 or 20 thousand hatchlings and introduce them into the pond.

Yesterday was also a busy day with customers visiting to see our tosai - and mid afternoon, Andy and Stuart were over and fair play, they helped me set up a spawning. It was a little later in the afternoon that I usually set these things off. But, with 2 extra pairs of hand, I think we had the whole thing set up in around 30 minutes. It usually takes me a couple of hours! We're giving our showa female 'Little Monster Chops' her first run out. She's the older of the two showa females we bought - around 7.5 years old now. And the smaller of the two, at mid 70's cm. I have purchased 3 showa males, but 2 of them were late being shipped from Japan to the dealers I purchased through and those two are going through quarantine at those dealers' premises. I have one that I picked up over the winter, and I've used him in last night's spawning. As well as one of my dianichi kohaku males - that I know is a very good spawner.

I'll check on the spawning in another hour or two - I think 50/50 chance that's she's spawned. the late afternoon kick off , and her older age, and the lack of a track record with her means we're starting from scratch with these showa. And, it might take a day or two for her to spawn.. if she is even able to spawn.

If you've followed my blog from the start, you'll remember that in those early years we were running lots of spawnings and not all the females spawned. it's taken a few years to find females that are good spawners and males that will get stuck in and also fertilise eggs. So, when 'Rosie' or 'Sharkey' spawn on the first night - it's several years of experience that enables us to achieve that kind of result.

We are looking forward to seeing if we can produce some showa this year. And, I know many of our followers, and our customers are particularly interested in us doing so. and the efforts started last night.

There's lots more news about tosai selection, and the Witham Valley Koi Club visit to us last weekend - and providing the fish for their grow and show competition. And blog about those over the next week.