May 21, 1997 Season2
How I Raised a Few Fry (thousand)
It seems everyone who has a pond decides that it would be nice to raise a few goldfish, fantails, or koi. It seems the fish do it on their own pretty regularly and there are books and articles about the subject many of which come out every spring. In my case I discovered a number of years ago that the 100 gallon containers I had at the time always managed to breed a few goldfish. The young fry where able to hide in the vegetation and stay away from their cabalistic parents and relatives. It seems there is enough food in the way of microorganisms to make healthy fish. So my plan this year was to have nothing but plants in five containers all which ranged from 100 to 300 gallons in size. There were water lilies, anachris, parrot feather, hyacinths, pickerel weed and acorus. If I looked closely I could see other little "thingies" swimming in the water. I presumed these organisms plus algae would feed the young fry until they would be able to eat dry food. I also had the option of serving them brine shrimp which are supposed to be pretty easy to grow. Since I had some spawning in past years I was somewhat prepared as the early may days started to warm the water. When the temperature reached about 68 Fahrenheit, and the males were chasing the females, I placed a large clump of parrot feather about 3 feet by 2 feet in the middle of an Iris that was growing in the shallow end of the pond. I had prepared the mat of parrot feather and knew that the fish would eat it if it was in the pond just floating around. About an hour after I placed the parrot feather in the pond I came back down and it was literally strewn about the entire pond. I netted it up and placed parts of it into each of the five containers. There were koi eggs stuck all over the parrot feather and since it was warm in three days hundreds upon hundreds of baby fry had hatched. The seem to be feeding on the algae on the edges of the containers and my next project is to figure out how to cull the fish. May 21, 1997 is the date today and the fish are about 3/8 of an inch long.
How 990 Koi Fry Disappeared
In early June 1997 I had lots of baby koi in all the five tanks where I had placed the parrot feather loaded with eggs. (see previous article above from May 21st.) I watched the fry grow and purposely had lots of plants in each container since that created a good micro environment for the young fish, so I thought.
Well I thought I detected fewer fish about the middle of June but was getting ready to go on vacation for a week and did not have time to deal with culling the fry. I would wait until I got back home.
Well guess what, I arranged to look at the fish on the Saturday after I got back so that meant two more weeks elapsed. I pulled all the plants out of the 300 gallon tank which was some chore. Those pots get heavy and the water became quite dirty from the mud. But I was excited because I knew that I would find a bunch of baby koi even if they were not going to be of great quality.
I found two fish. One was half dead probably from being bumped by a plant container and the other one was healthy and doing well. Since he was about 1 1/2 inches long (24 cm) he was about 3 times as big as the smaller fish which would have been about 1/2 inch (8cm). I saw absolutely no signs of disease but think this fish had consumed all the rest.
Some of the other containers had lots of fish so I still have a couple of hundred to cull. This turned into a somewhat disappointing experience because I now have fewer fish to select from and the hopes of getting some nicely colored fish are diminished. Well there is always next year and I think I have a nice Yamabuki ogon that I can pair up with some other nice ogon.
I will report later developments this summer.