It seems that every time I sit to write a blog post it starts with, ‘I don’t know where the time has gone…..’.  It’s certainly true on this occasion!

Over the last few months I’ve detailed the build of my Koi house and indoor pond which has been constructed to be part of my wish to breed Koi myself, something which has been firmly in my mind for over 10 years now since I first sat down in the summer in Japan 2008 doing selection with a number of breeders.  Latterly seeing the success of people like Jos Aben at Yoshikigoi in Poland, Scott Purdin and Bill and Maureen McGurk at Purdin Koi Farm in the USA, Mat and Jen McCann at Beni Hanna Nishikigoi in the USA and then on smaller scales Adam and Amanda at Byer Koi Farm in the UK, and Dave Baker a hobbyist local to me, all inspired me to have a go myself.

On Monday 13th May, amazingly now over 2 weeks ago, the time had arrived to put my first parent set together.  I’ve written about the potential parents previously here – http://nishikigoi.life/2019/03/19/my-new-pond-build-part-4/ – however since that post the sex of some of the Koi had required a rethink on what had originally been thought.

The choice of lead female was easy in the shape of the older and larger Marusaka Beni Kikokuryu.

Beni Kikokuryu, Sansai, Female, 56cm, Bred by Marusaka Koi Farm

Beni Kikokuryu,
Sansai,
Female,
56cm,
Bred by Marusaka Koi Farm

Two of the Koi which I had secured without any guarantee of sex, and a breeders suggestion that some were female, turned out, perhaps unsurprisingly, to be female.  On the cold February night when they’d arrived at Koi Water Barn I had been sure that they were male – sometimes it pays to trust the breeder.

Beni Kikokuryu, Nisai, Male (actually female), Bred by AO Aokiya Koi Farm

Beni Kikokuryu,
Nisai,
Male (actually female),
Bred by AO Aokiya Koi Farm

Doitsu Hariwake, Nisai, Male (actually female), Bred by AO Aokiya Koi Farm

Doitsu Hariwake,
Nisai,
Male (actually female),
Bred by AO Aokiya Koi Farm

The Koi below was without question a male. Whilst it came from the same breeder as the female I was confident they were unlikely to be exactly directly related to the point where it would cause a problem.


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Beni Kikokuryu, Nisai, Male, Bred by Marusaka Koi Farm

Beni Kikokuryu,
Nisai,
Male,
Bred by Marusaka Koi Farm

The potential final piece of the jigsaw was the Oofuchi Koi below.  However, I had my suspicions regarding this Koi’s sex, originally bought as ‘probably’ male, and looking incredibly male from the outside, had no oiboshi nor sperm, giveaway signs of a male fish.

Beni Kikokuryu, Bred by Oofuchi, Sansai, Approx 50cm, Now seems female

Beni Kikokuryu,
Bred by Oofuchi,
Sansai,
Approx 50cm,
Now seems female

As you can see in the video below in the end the Marusaka female, Marusaka male and the Oofuchi fish would make the first parent set.

Part 2 below follows the ‘action’ of that first night, 13th May into the morning of the 14th May……..

The first night, despite promising so much in the end delivered nothing.  It became very much apparent that the Oofuchi fish was doing nothing male like in the mix of the 3 Koi, in fact in anything it was somewhat distracting the Marusaka male’s attention away from his intended target.


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The second night proceeded without the Oofuchi fish enabling the small male to give the female his undivided attention…….at least that was the plan……..

With still no action on the second night, day 3 saw the introduction of a male chagoi into the set.  The idea was that the chagoi would encourage things along until the point of the female releasing her eggs and then he’d be removed, for she seemed to be the stumbling block at that point.

Despite lots of signs that spawning would take place throughout the first 3 days it seemed that the female just wasn’t ready to release her eggs at this stage.  A complete rethink was required, and time to adopt plan B.

The 2 photos below were taken when these Koi arrived with me in mid March.  The Doitsu Hariwake always had excellent metallic lustre, coupled with clean even pigmentation, perfect pecs, and neat dorsal scales.  It fitted my parent criteria perfectly.  It had been increasingly apparent that the ‘male’ figure it sported was down to the over wintering in Japan and pre shipment lack of food.  In no time she started developing eggs and her shape became somewhat more feminine.  As she did that, and attracted ever increasing levels of compliments from those that saw her, my thoughts of using her as a female parent increased – unfortunately there was only going to be one spawning planned at she just couldn’t trump the logical choice of the Marusaka fish this year.  I was very aware of Aoki’s use of Hariwake in the development of his Kikokuryu lines – http://nishikigoi.life/2019/04/01/kikokuryu-kin-kikokuryu-and-beni-kikokuryu-part-1-the-foundation/ – and when I had written that article my interests had been piqued by the idea of producing a truly yellow Ki Kikokuryu with the Koi at my disposal.


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My subsequent visit to Yoshikigoi in Poland found a very attractive pond of Koi which rather mirrored what I was envisaging….

There are many ponds of tosai at Yoshikigoi Farm, Poland, some tategoi, some for sale, some small ponds with seperate varieties. One of the ponds I kept returning to with interest was pond number 9.This pond contained Koi of several varieties including Red Ochiba, Hariwake, Ki Kujaku and Ki Kikokuryu along with others.The video clip below shows some close up slow motion video of the ponds residents feeding yesterday afternoon…..hopefully Facebook won't crush the video file too much……More to come on www.Nishikigoi.Life

Posted by Mark Gardner on Friday, 19 April 2019

 

Left, Doitsu Hariwake, Bred by AO Aokiya Right, Beni Kikokuryu, Bred by Marusaka

Left, Doitsu Hariwake, Bred by AO Aokiya
Right, Beni Kikokuryu, Bred by Marusaka

Plan B would see the 2 young and relatively small Koi take centre stage with the chance to be my first successful spawning.  The male had already put in 3 days hard work to no avail, it wasn’t for the want of trying and he had readily available sperm.

Night number 4 would pass by without action, however, just as I was checking the Koi before retiring to bed on night 5, somewhat in need of sleep, things kicked into gear…..

Doitsu Hariwake and Beni Kikokuryu spawning early morning 18th May 2019

Doitsu Hariwake and Beni Kikokuryu spawning early morning 18th May 2019

Doitsu Hariwake and Beni Kikokuryu spawning early morning 18th May 2019

Doitsu Hariwake and Beni Kikokuryu spawning early morning 18th May 2019

Doitsu Hariwake and Beni Kikokuryu spawning early morning 18th May 2019

Doitsu Hariwake and Beni Kikokuryu spawning early morning 18th May 2019

Doitsu Hariwake and Beni Kikokuryu spawning early morning 18th May 2019

Doitsu Hariwake and Beni Kikokuryu spawning early morning 18th May 2019

Be sure to check the video below for some great action video of the spawning occurring through the night of 17th-18th May.


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Whilst the Koi had successfully spawned, my anticipation of numbers of viable eggs and subsequent fry was low to say the least.  In fact, so low that I was resigned to the fact that I would probably be discarding the complete hatch as simply not worthwhile raising.  Koi breeding is very much a numbers game, the chances of getting anything decent from a small number of fry is very low.  The elation of the spawning taking place was very much tempered by the reality of it not actually being a success.

Since the disappointing feeling of the Saturday and Sunday after spawning things have only really got better and better and more and more positive regarding the fry and their numbers.

On Wednesday 25th May the fry started to hatch.  Thoughts of there maybe being a few hundred turned to maybe a thousand to probably now being several thousand.  On top of that they are feeding and growing well.


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The photographs below were taken on Saturday 25th May, exactly 1 week after being laid as eggs.  As you can see there are black fry and white fry, as you would find with Showa, and demonstration of the Kumonryu blood in Beni Kikokuryu.  Again refer to this article for more on the creation of the variety – http://nishikigoi.life/2019/04/01/kikokuryu-kin-kikokuryu-and-beni-kikokuryu-part-1-the-foundation/.  Haruo Aoki at AO Aokiya carries out kuroko selection of the fry to keep only the black ones, placing his emphasis on the deep black colouration, as you can see in the examples at the above link.  It would be a fascinating experiment to separate the 2 styles at this stage and see how they both develop, sadly space does not allow.

Fry photographed 25th May, 1 week after eggs laid

Fry photographed 25th May, 1 week after eggs laid

Fry photographed 25th May, 1 week after eggs laid

Fry photographed 25th May, 1 week after eggs laid

Fry photographed 25th May, 1 week after eggs laid

Fry photographed 25th May, 1 week after eggs laid

One week ago when it seemed as though the spawning would be written off as a failure, contingency plans were made to keep the males and females apart pending a second spawning.  A 600 gallon Intex pool was set up to house the male Koi whilst the females would remain in the garden pond.

600 gallon temporary Intex pool

600 gallon temporary Intex pool

As the spawning failure turned into a muted level of success plans remain to carry out a second spawning towards the end of June, now the dilemma is which female to use.  The Aoki female is developing very nicely is a number of ways, the grey background is becoming a much more defined black, the white on the head very bright, the overall lustre very high, and most importantly seems to be carrying a good volume of eggs for her diminutive size.

Beni Kikokuryu, Nisai, Female, Bred by AO Aokiya Koi Farm

Beni Kikokuryu,
Nisai,
Female,
Bred by AO Aokiya Koi Farm

Close up of head, shoulder and pectoral fins of AO Aokiya Beni Kikokuryu

Close up of head, shoulder and pectoral fins of AO Aokiya Beni Kikokuryu

It’s very possible that this young lady may become female number 2, watch this space………


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