We've called my new brood fish, Elle "The Body" Macpherson

It's been a tough few weeks since the show - the most testing period we've had for over a year. So, before I get to that - lets look at some nice stuff! Pics of my fish from the show:

We've started to give names to our brood fish, and this new one we're calling Elle "The Body" Macpherson, named after the super model. She's our new 82cm takigawa kohaku, supplied by Yume Koi. Others in the repetoire include "Monster Chops" (a large shiro, with a large mouith and appetite to match), and "Sharkey" (another large kohaku, with a body like a Great White shark). I'll show you which ones I mean later in the year. We've tried spawning Elle since collecting her a few weeks ago - but nothing! We'll give her one more go this year and then fatten her up for a proper shot at it next year.

And a selection of pictures of my fish at the show:

This is the size 2 tancho that won a competitive prize, coming 2nd out of 3 in the size/variety class

And, a summary of the tough stuff:

- I've tried spawning both showa females twice, and nothing.
- One of the shiro spawnings and kohaku/showa males spawning; lost the eggs / new hatchlings with poor water quality. To be honest - the fertilisation rate was low, and it didnt get as much of my time as it would have done had this been higher. Nevertheless, I could really have done with those hatchlings now
- Water quality issues in the fry growing on tank - and I've lost a couple of hundred of my keepers. Gut wrenching! Bottom line, is that I've gotten into a vicious circle with being unable to run pumps at full pelt, then waste building up on the bottom of the tank - but being unable to see it. too short on time to change pumps, vacuum properly, add another UV or a few other options that would have sorted it. I now have it under control, but it's taken a few weeks and the fry have hardly grown in that time. I reckon I've lost a whole month of growing on time. (for anyone who's taken fry off us - those fry have been in a different pond system, which has been working well and not linked to the growing on system)
- at the turn of last weekend, we could see the odd dead shiro hatchling in the fry pond outside.... started to get worried we were going to lose the pond... again!

On the upside:
- I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with the growing on system water quality issues - and the fry are starting to build and appetite and their patterns are starting to come through; there are a few there with real potential.
- we can still see some shiro hatchlings in the fry pond outside; and this weekend coming they'll have been in that pond for 2 weeks. And at that stage, they should be large enough to start feeding off the daphnia babies. And there's plenty of them in the pond. It's a nervy time because there's no chance to re-use the pond again this year so it's just a waiting game now to see if the shiro hatchlings have made it to the 2 week point.
- Sharkey, our momotaro kohaku female - we spawned her for the second time this season using my two best matsue males. All three fish sourced from Yume Koi. This kohaku female actually features in one of Mark Gardners video's - I'll dig out the link later this year. Anyway - not many eggs on the ropes, and low fertilisation - but some fertilisation, and I've left them to develop. We'll see whether there are any hatchlings this weekend. At the minimum - I'd hope to have enough hatchlings to run a sample of them in my sample tank; raising a few hundred to 1 inch would give me an idea over the brood set combo. Anyway - as the week's gone by - and the water has cleared a bit - I can see she laid most of her eggs on the bottom of the tank rather than on the ropes. Must be her thing . So I'm more encouraged becasue although there are still very few eggs, they are spread across most of the bottom of the spawning vat and there could be enough there to give me several thousand hatchlings potentially - which might put a different spin on things; I have one fry pond remaining and if there are enough hatchlings, I'll give them the fry pond.

In the meanwhile - I'll also try to spawn Elle again, and as a further backup, I could re-run the May kohaku spawning.

The main problem I have right now, is lack of time.... there will be some lessons from the last couple of months, and I need to reflect on this period before drawning conclusions. But - spawnings, shows, and growing on; I can't do all three simulaneously.