There 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
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