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How can I get my mature koi to spawn?

I have been a koi keeper for five years now and I haven't bought any koi for the last three years. My pond is approximately 3,000 gallons and has nine koi. They are all between three and four years old and range from 20cm to 45cm in length. Everything is running very smoothly at the moment, the filters are well matured, the fish feed well and are happy and healthy. I am now at the stage where I would like to take on a new challenge. I would like to start breeding my own koi but I'm not really sure how to go about it. I have read some books on the subject but I still feel as though I need a lot more information. Can you help me out?

  • Assuming that you have a mix of both males and females, your koi will by now be sufficiently mature to spawn.
  • The koi that are in your pond will respond to environmental cues in the same way as career broodstock do in Japan, so where possible, to help you understand the spawning process, I will touch on some tricks that the professionals use when farming koi.
  • If males significantly outnumber ripe females then females in particular can become quite exhausted and physically damaged as the males drive and bash at the swollen females in their attempts to expel their eggs.
  • This can lead to loss of scales and permanent scarring and when I used to farm koi, I had regular contact with a number of koi keepers who wanted their females to be induced and stripped artificially to release their eggs in a controlled manner.
  • Koi spawn in late spring/early summer in response to environmental stimuli which signal that their environment will provide their fry with the physical conditions and natural food supply so crucial for their good growth and survival.
  • Even though koi are in-bred selected descendants of wild carp species, they have retained this biological clock from their ancestors, and it is something we can capitalise upon when trying to stimulate them to spawn.
  • Water temperature will fluctuate at comparable dates from year to year, whereas photoperiod is far more consistent.
     

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