We're getting to the exciting bit

There’s no letting up now we’re getting to the crucial part of the season. We’ve run two spawnings, cycled the fry ponds outdoors, and spent quite a lot of time moving on tosai. (the end result of a good harvest last autumn)

We have bank holiday on Monday, which gives us a little extra time this weekend – and it’s going to be another ‘fishy’ weekend; with selections planned on the late summer ’16 spawning. And, we will also be reviewing which fish to take to the South of England koi show, which is just over a week away!

Honestly, I’m a little nervous about the show. Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself. After all, our goal is simply to exhibit some good examples of what we’ve worked so hard to achieve - and achieve a placing. But the bottom line is that, it’s such a brilliant feeling to win some placings in competitive shows that it’s difficult not to reflect on our run over the last 2 years at this show and the great placings we achieved… and I dream of a little more of that.

My main focus right now, is to keep the fish as health as possible and to spend some time with Amanda making the right choices for the show.

I’m not convinced that the early summer ’16 spawnings tosai are going to be good enough on their own, and we may have to dip into the late summer ’16 spawning and to see if we can find any nuggets in there to bolster our showing. It’s one of the reasons why we have brought forward the selection of the late summer spawning.

With work also extremely busy right now, I need the weekend time to be able to review our fish properly. And, that’s what we’ll do this weekend.

Back to this year’s spawnings….

The top fry pond is almost fully cycled and ready for hatchlings. The bottom fry pond is about half way through the cycling process.

The hatchlings from the 2 step momotaro female are doing fine. They’ve grown a bit, and the numbers are still strong. There are more than we can rear artificially, and we’ve basically been nudging them along rather than trying hard to grow them fast – so we put as little strain on our systems while the numbers of hatchlings are high. And, with a bit of luck, the fry ponds will finish cycling in the next few days and we can put most outside to grow on to first selection size.

The second spawning with our 3 step female….. This is possibly the most exciting spawning we’ve run for ages. Our best genetics ,all wrapped up into one spawning. And the hatch was massive. Among our best. It almost couldn’t have gone better….

There have been two hiccups though.

The female had a tough time in the spawning vat though and is sporting some scrapes and bruises. She’ll recover fine for next time, but has lost some of her beautiful pattern. That, is part of the risk when spawning koi.

We split the eggs ; leaving around half in the tank where the spawning happened, and moving half into a different tub. The hatch was equally massive in both places, but we lost the lot in the ‘different tub’. Well, apart from literally 1 or 2! I reckon it was either ammonia, or lack of oxygen. Or even a little of both. Or, perhaps something completely different! And that’s how it goes with breeding koi. That just leaves us with a job now, to empty the tub and jet wash the ropes….

There’s more than enough hatchlings in the spawning vat, so we’re not short – and they are growing really well. I have a good feeling about them.

The next decision will be… which batch of hatchlings will take the first available fry pond! Do we go with the slightly older, and therefore more mature batch from the momotaro female – and lets not forget, they were spawned from our trusty males..who have some track record of delivering us 3 baby champions! Or the other batch which are younger and weaker – but bred from the best individual koi that we have?

These are the ones I decided to go with.

I’ll let you know next time which ones they are...

And on the ducks. We left open one corner of the netting ... and they're back. they love our ponds!