Article - Koi Spawning Time
Uh-Oh, Koi Spawn
My koi spawned again. I guess there’s nothing new about that as they do it every year. It’s a little disappointing that they did “it” about two weeks after we emptied the pond to remove all the unwanted fish from previous spawns… But that’s what fish do, don’t they? They absolutely live to reproduce and nothing more. They do not live to enjoy themselves, to see the world, to go to koi shows, or to have a great meal (even if it is Microbe-Lift Variety Mix followed by ML/Krill Treat!) They have tiny brains and can only concentrate on one thing in a lifetime—spawning. To the fish, it matters little if the parent fish survive the process. No, fish do not spawn for fun. Fish sex is not an enjoyable process for the fish or the pond owner.
Since my pond is not a traditional koi pond—no plants—and the fish really think the plants are there to be used as breeding mats, I generally have an over-abundance of fry as a result. I also have an excess of plant debris to remove from the pre-pump baskets and skimmer. The vortex will collect the remainder of dislodged plants and plant remnants. In a traditional koi pond, no plants would be collecting eggs and no skimmer would be filling with plant debris. As it is, I have to empty the skimmer and baskets twice a day, at least, to keep the system functioning, throughout the spawn. Luckily this year, having reduced the amount of fish in the pond two weeks earlier, the spawn lasted one short week. The parents spent a few days during this time devouring eggs, but hundreds will survive. Within 2-3 days the new fry will enter the pond world.
There are drawbacks to breeding in this type of setting. Once the fish have spawned, there is no way to cull. So, it will be survival of the fittest and I have no control over which fish will live to the first birthday. Therefore, most babies born in this pond, which survive, are Magoi. The rest are either eaten by larger fish, larger brothers and sisters, or predatory insects and frogs. That’s why this year I decided to take a few plant pieces and put them somewhere I can better watch them. I put them into the birdbath! I never thought they would hatch. Yes, I could see two eyes in some of the eggs, but figured the eggs wouldn’t survive the unclean, unfiltered birdbath.
SURPRISE! There are about 50 fry in that birdbath today. What am I going to do with these 50 fry? They can’t possibly live in the birdbath. There are surely another hundred or so in the pond. And I put a few pieces of plant into the quarantine tank while I was at it, jolly good fun, right? I can move the birdbath bunch into the stream and pond. Surprise! We can do all this cleaning out again next year??? Oh, boy….