Winter care for koi, as the ambient temperature drops, and the water in our koi…
Mating time for koi
Mating time for koi
comes a time in every Koi keepers’ life when he wakes up to the sight of a spawning frenzy going on in his garden pond. Like parenthood, this usually excites the whole family for weeks and provides pleasure and valuable education for all. Father becomes a koi farmer. Mother, the eternal matriarg, worries about feeding and health, while the kids tell everyone about it and hunt for books in the library.
Under natural conditions koi will spawn in the summer months while the water temperature is over 18 degrees. Female koi become sexually mature at the age of three years and will develop a plump abdomen. Triggered by the right environmental conditions the female will lay many thousands of eggs while being pursued by the mature males in the pond. The activity can at times be quite frantic as the males squeeze the female to release her eggs while they squirt clouds of sperm to fertilise it.
All the other koi in the pond will also participate in the fun but mostly for the opportunity of having fresh, delicate caviar on tap. Pond keepers should not be upset by this. They will never be able to hatch or even grow two or three hundred thousand baby koi in an average garden pond! Left on their own, only a few fry will survive the harsh, competitive nature of life in the pond so by end of summer you should have a few more youngsters in your collection.
Some keepers take the process a little further and put spawning mops like pine tree branches in the pond to collect the eggs. These eggs can then be hatched in a save environment where the progress of the fry can be watched and enjoyed. Clean water, sufficient food and lots of oxygen are the basic requirements of these hatchlings, but the trick is to invent ways in which to administer these.
There are many books on the market or in the library that can enlighten the novice about this fascinating aspect of koi keeping. Information is also available on the Internet in the news group rec.ponds.
Written for Animal Talk magazine
Servaas de Kock & Ronnie Watt[TABS_R id=2079]