McNeary's Ponds and Aquatic Plants
The article below was written on the Arborman web site in 1998. I have modified my methods a little but in general I use the same technique. At the end of the article I will tell what I have changed.
Raising Fry in 1998
Last year (1997) I decided to capture some koi eggs during the spawning and see what developed. I learned some things that are explained in How I raised a few thousand Fry and the follow-up How I killed 990 Fry. Well it all worked out pretty well, and this year I had some surprisingly nice colorful koi. Now you purist don't get upset. As people become interested in koi ponds what usually strikes them are the bright yellow koi and then the long finned or Butterfly Koi. As they become interested and learn about the hobby they start to recognize the Yamabuki ogons and the Hi-Utsuri. Usually they reach a point where they get too many fish and start the selective process of getting better quality fish. Many of these people become the Koi keepers of tomorrow.
I placed parrot feather in the pond and the fish spawned on it. I gathered tremendous quantities of of the plants which were loaded with eggs and placed them in prepared containers. Fish eggs are sticky and adhear to about aything. A week later I literally had thousands of young koi fry. From there it was down hill, but this year I have a better handle on it so I will explain what I did different that makes it look like I will probably have a few hundred koi to cull. (select).
We happen to have some Lerio containers in which we raise plants. Since you need a holding tank if you are acquiring some nice fish then that is one option. Another is to get something that holds at least 30 gallons. You might be able to get a nursery to give you an old thirty gallon plant container and using some EPDM liner tape you can plug the holes in the bottom. I have done that with about a 4 inch by 4 inch patch over each hole.
The next thing to do is set this up a month of two in advance with lots of anacharas or similar plants that will help make a balanced ecosystem. If you have a mosquito problem put a single gold fish in the container and remove it a few days before placing the eggs in the container. If you leave any gold fish in the container, it will eat all the eggs.
Each year I grow a clump of parrot feather all winter and placed this wad which was about 30 inches in diameter in the pond as the fish are starting to spawn. I did not try to catch the fish and mate particular ones together, but I did wait until a favorite female started thrashing around on the parrot feather and netted that parrot feather into a particular container.
The main thing I learned last year is that some fish will grow ten times as fast as others and they will eat their brothers and sisters. I knew that last year but was not able to do anything about it. There is a lot of natural die off and about two weeks after they spawned I netted about 20 young fry and placed them in an aquarium in my office. Most of them are doing well today. Generally the ones in the small pond (container) will grow better, and I started feeding some powdered food after two weeks. I try to siphon the bottom of the container about once a week to get the dead fry and the waste off the bottom. I also check the water and so far have not had any problems. You will find if you are observant that there are lots of other critters that live in the pond. Many of these serve as food for the young fry, and probably are a better diet than anything we can make. This is why I make an effort to get my "spawning" tanks set up well in advance so that some type of ecosystem is established. *
As I started cleaning out containers this year I found some nice butterfly koi in one of them that had survived all winter with not extra aeration, food, etc. They were about four inches long and living with a goldfish or two also. Once I put them in the big pond, they seem to catch up with the others that were raised last year.
If you want to raise a few koi and see what they will look like try this method out. Some of the Butterfly Koi I have raised are as pretty as some I have bought. I have a number of Tatagoi and would not attempt to raise a Koi for show purposes. Like many who might read this, I just find them interesting, and as we experiment, it makes us appreciate these beautiful fish and what it takes to make them survive.
If you have children, you will find that this is really an educational process that teaches the kids a lot about the environment. When children first see the eggs and then a week later can see the eyes forming and shortly the baby koi swimming about, it is quite exciting.
Email to McNeary's Ponds and Aquatic Plants 3521 Monroe Road Charlotte NC 28205
Phone (704)618-6214 E-mail jack(removethis)@jackmcneary.com
I now select certain koi to mate. This year I wanted to mate my yellow butterfly koi with Andy. Andy is named for Andy Rooney who also has big bushy eye brows. I usually provide two or three males and this year I only used two males. The second male koi is one I raised from a baby in 2000. Here is a photo of this koi when it was very small and you could see the metalic scales.
to be continued
Go to the TOP