That was the weekend that was

When we harvested around 50k fry from the August 16 #2 spawning … it was a moment to savour. 4 years of trial and error finally coming good. And, a slither of excitement when you consider the fry come from a parent set that is regularly producing competitive show prizes in size 1 and 2, and has some successes in sizes 3 and 4. When you also consider the parent set produced the baby champion of this year’s All England show too… out of around 30k fry…. Mathematics dictates that if the quality of this year’s late summer spawning is similar to last year’s, and with almost double the number of fry to start with, we stand a good chance of finding a few more prospects for the shows next year. Lets not forget, I also have some fry from the May 16 spawning growing on nicely – and these too are from the same parent set.

Ok, that’s the exciting, future-thinking, blindly ignoring all the risks for winter grow on and other husbandry jobs leading up to the 2017 shows part of the brain talking….

Last weekend was the nitty gritty… Hours upon hours of hard graft. Mind numbing work, and yet it’s one of the most important stages – cutting down the numbers by around 90%, and despite the monotony, it’s so important to maintain focus for every pan nets’ worth of fry so that you don’t miss the really good ones…

The kids spent the weekend at their grandparents, leaving Amanda and I free to carry out the first selection. And it took us the whole weekend. Both days, in full. Dawn till dusk, and on the Sunday – we worked really quickly, but had an agonising few thousand left to select through at dusk, so we set up some artificial lighting and finished off at 20:45.

This was Amanda’s first experience of first selection, and in the first few hours, she was expressing all the things I remember thinking and questioning in my first effort – it took me back a few years and reminded me how far I’ve come, and also, the massive amount I still have to learn….

It was a bit of a marathon, but knowing that the same parent set has produced 3 open show baby champions over the last 2 years gave us extra motivation to keep going.

Some pics from the weekend:

We spent time at the start of the weekend setting up a selection station.

selection consists of looking through every one of the 50k or so fry, and picking out any that we feel has some potential

only 50k fry to go!

this one deserves a closer look...

this close up of a pan net's worth of fry pre selection gives you a sense of what we're dealing with

keepers went into the small blue bowl on the table. we used cage nets to line each bowl used so that we can catch up the fry easily

unselected fry in the large grey tub, fry are selected in pan net placed on top of buckets, keepers go into the small light blue bowl on top of the table, and the others go into the large blue bowl under the table

some potential... white nose, white peduncle, some pattern on it's back, most of the pattern above the lateral line, good size,

We ended up with around 4 batches of keepers like this. probably around 4k keepers in total

Another pic of the selection station
As light started to fade on the Sunday, we set up artificial lights, and the enormity of the task was starting to take hold

we took regular breaks, and peering into the tank growing on the June 16 babies was always light relief

almost there... a few hours under artificial light on sunday cracked it

the last pan net, at around 20:30 on sunday evening. phew.