Koi breeding :
-TEN KOI BREEDING TIPS FOR YOUR KOI FARM
Although it's possible to buy cheap koi, breeding koi on a koi farm can be a lucrative business. Koi breeding can be profitable in one of two ways: 1) You raise baby koi fish and sell them when they are much larger. 2) You breed purebred koi fish varieties for a living. The latter if a bit tricky but the former is a cinch. Follow some of these tips to maximize the chances of your koi breeding.
Keep your breeding koi well-fed during the month before you attempt to breed them.
Koi breeding is typically most successful in the late spring and early summer.
The quality of the baby koi fish relies heavily upon the quality of the parents. Start with strong, healthy parents and you'll end up with more koi fry that survive until adulthood.
A Koi's prime mating age is between 3-6 years old, but koi have also been able to produce baby koi fish until they are up to 15 years old.
Make sure to give your breeding koi couple some privacy when it's time for them to mate.
Koi need a place to lay their eggs. A fry mat or similar device allows koi to lay their eggs with confidence. Fish breeding can be tricky like that.
Your fish pond water temperature should be between 60-70 degrees F while incubating. Don't disturb the eggs at this time.
Keep an eye on your male koi fish during and after spawning. He may try to run into the female to push the eggs out of her so that he may fertilize them.
Be sure to have a protected area for your baby koi fish when they first hatch. They can't swim and are vulnerable to predators. Use a fine mesh to protect them and prevent them from getting sucked into the fish pond filter.
Breeding koi can be a nice little side business. Koi can grow up up to a foot in about two years, at which point they can fetch up to $100 each. Buy 20 cheap koi fish at PetSmart.com and cash in for two grand two years later. Not a bad way to make some extra cash while being around your pet fish.
Koi Breeding Methods :
courtesy to : www.koiandponds.com/basic-breeding
Figure 1. A curled spawning rope (left) and a close-up of the spawning rope bristles (right); Photo sources: koilogic.co.uk; keepkoi.com
Figure 2. Photo of actual koi spawning
- Breeding Method:
1-Basic Koi Breeding Method
Although more and more koi hobbyists are trying to breed koi using the dry fertilization method (thanks in part to the proliferation of YouTube videos showing how to do it), many prospective koi breeders still prefer the classic method of letting pre-selected koi spawn naturally in a pond. The reason for this perhaps is the simplicity of the classic procedure, which consists mainly of preparing the spawning environment and letting the koi do what comes naturally for them. The steps involved in this basic koi breeding method are presented below.
1. Selection of the Parents. Choosing the right parents for your baby koi need not be difficult, but it can sometimes be tricky too. First things first - you need to know which of your koi are female and which are male. Female koi are visibly rounder than male koi, especially those that are ready to lay eggs. Males are slimmer in appearance, and may develop roughness on their gill plates when ready to spawn.
Choose mature koi only for breeding, i.e., they should at least be two years old (younger koi will produce weak offsprings). Experts say that the optimum breeding age is 2-4 years old. Choose only healthy koi with no deformities whatsoever. Both parents should exhibit excellent body conformation and high-quality colors and markings.
Select the parents based on what baby koi you're after. For example, if you want Kohaku fry, then you need both parents to be Kohaku. Some varieties don't result in nice koi when bred together, so be sure to do a little research on koi variety pairing before doing it (unless you're after the excitement of uncertainty).
Some breeders use two males for a single female during breeding to maximize the yield of the propagation. The breeding act of the koi is very physical and can harm the participants (especially the female if the males are very aggressive), so this ratio of 2:1 must not be exceeded. One advantage of using just a single male is the higher predictability of what the offspring will look like.
2. Preparation of the Spawning Environment. Once the prospective parents have been identified, they need to be taken out of the main pond and isolated in separate and smaller ponds where they can be conditioned for spawning. Males are separated from females to prevent indiscriminate spawning. Many hobbyists start this isolation at least 1 month before the anticipated spawning date.
Eventually the female becomes rounder and noticeably bloated with eggs. Now with a heavy but soft abdomen, she is presumed to be ready to lay eggs and is very carefully moved to the spawning pond. This pregnant koi must always be supported by water during the move, even while inside a net. At this point the male is also assumed to be ready to participate in the reproduction as well, and is moved into the spawning pond a few hours after the female has already been acclimatized to it. Many breeders introduce the male in the evening, since spawning usually happens in the wee hours of the morning.
The spawning pond shouldn't be big - usually with an area of just 6 to 12 sq. meters. It should be thoroughly cleaned and filled with un-chlorinated water to a depth of about 50 centimeters. The spawning pond must have a generous amount of spawning material to encourage the female to lay her eggs on them. Many modern koi hobbyists prefer synthetic spawning ropes (see Figure 1) as spawning material because these are free of parasites, do not easily get damaged, and allow easy handling of the eggs, unlike spawning media of the natural kind. The easy-to-handle feature is important if you plan to move the eggs away from the parents right after spawning is completed. Many old-school breeders still prefer natural spawning material though.
4. Isolation and Incubation of the Eggs. The eggs, being small and immobile, are vulnerable to predation not only by its parents but by pond wildlife as well. Thus, it is necessary to secure the eggs from predators. If you used spawning ropes as spawning material, you can easily lift these from the spawning pond and transfer them to a hatchery (which can just be a vat or tank) where the eggs can incubate safely. If you don't have a separate hatchery and intend to let the eggs hatch in the spawning pond itself, you should transfer the female carefully to another pond.
The hatchery (if one is used) where the eggs will be transferred and allowed to hatch must be of the same temperature as the spawning pond. It must also be aerated very well with no water disturbance. Filtration of the hatchery is not required, but adequate oxygenation is certainly a 'must'.
5. Rearing of the Larvae. Most of the eggs usually hatch 4 to 5 days after they are laid. By the 6th day all of the fertile eggs should have hatched. The newly hatched larvae will look like a huge army of jerking 'commas'. The main challenge in rearing the newly hatched larvae is feeding, which can pollute the water as wastes build up especially since filtration should not be done at this point. The larvae will survive on their egg sacs for the first 24 hours. After that, the larvae must be fed 5 times a day. Do not give dry food to the larvae to prevent water pollution. Instead, give them live natural foods such as daphnia and infusoria. The growth of green algae will also help augment the natural food supply. After a few days the larvae may be transferred very carefully to a larger growing-out pond where they should continue to receive live food until 6 weeks of age.
2-Dry Method of Koi Fertilization (Hand-stripping) :
The spawning pond must also be sufficiently aerated at all times. Strong but silent air pumps must be used. Unlike the main pond, aeration of a spawning pond must not result in water turbulence, since water tranquility is needed during spawning. As such, the aeration system of the spawning pond must be designed well to meet the aeration requirements without disturbing the water.
3. Actual Spawning. The pregnant female shows her readiness to spawn by exhibiting movements that seem to indicate an intention to arrange the spawning material into a nest. The male is attracted to these movements, and tries to force the female against the wall of the pond. If there are two males in the pond, they will attempt to sandwich the female between them.
The thrashing and bumping of the males against the pregnant female causes the latter to release her thousands of eggs into the spawning material (and into other places as well). The eggs are very sticky and will adhere to anything they come in contact with. Simultaneously, the males will release their sperms onto the eggs to fertilize them. A second cycle of the same ritual may be employed if the female still needs to discharge some eggs.
This spawning activity (see Figure 2) can be very physical, or even violent. Injuries to the female may happen, especially if the male koi continues to beat her up. The male should be promptly but very carefully removed from the pond if this happens. It would be good to leave the female in the pond to let her recover her strength. Keep her safe by keeping her properly aerated and preventing her from jumping out of the pond (some females have been observed to be jumpy after spawning).
- Basic Considerations in Koi Breeding:
When starting a koi breeding or koi propagation program, several aspects must be carefully taken into consideration by the prospective koi breeder (note that in this article, the term 'breeder' may refer to either the person breeding the koi or the koi being bred). Some of these important considerations are discussed below.
1. The Brood Stock. The term 'brood stock' refers to the group of koi that is used for breeding and propagating new koi. It goes without saying that proper selection of the brood stock is very important for the success of any koi breeding program. All koi spawners must be healthy and sexually mature, i.e., they should at least be 2 years old. They must have absolutely no genetic deformities and must possess all the good qualities of excellent koi - perfect body conformation, excellent color quality, balanced pattern distribution, graceful movement, etc.
Koi are prolific breeders, with a single female capable of producing hundreds of thousands of eggs. As such, a breeding program doesn't need a brood stock of enormous size to produce sufficient quantities of fry. It is therefore logical to put emphasis on the quality of the breeders rather than the quantity. The only problem with having limited brood stock is the possibility of genetic inbreeding, so care must be taken to avoid this situation.
The size of brood stock required for breeding depends on the goal of the program. A hobbyist can get what he or she needs simply by pairing two nice koi, while a commercial koi farm that needs to produce millions of saleable fish must have around 100 females and about the same number of males.
2. Propagation. Many of us experienced seeing their first koi fry swimming in the main pond itself. Indeed putting a bunch of healthy male and female koi in a pond with good-quality water and some plants can lead to koi spawning and, consequently, the arrival of baby koi. This is not a good way to propagate koi though. Fry almost never survive in such an environment because they become dinner for their elders first. Fortunately, koi experts have already come up with other ways to propagate koi more efficiently.
Many hobbyists mimic natural koi reproduction under a more controlled environment, following these basic steps: 1) selection of the female and male (2 males may be used but not more than this) for the breeding; 2) preparation of the spawning area including the installation of adequate spawning materials; 3) 'conditioning' of the spawners prior to breeding; 4) introduction of the 'ready' male to the 'ready' female; 5) monitoring of the spawning until the eggs are released onto the spawning material and fertilized by the male; 6) removal of the breeders (or the eggs) from the spawning pond; and 7) adjustment of the pond parameters (e.g., aeration) to achieve successful incubation and nursing of the fry. See also: Basic Koi Breeding Method.
Many advanced koi breeders, however, now employ what is known as the dry fertilization method, wherein a tranquilized ripe female is manually stripped of her eggs, which are collected in a clean, dry bowl. This is done by gently squeezing her belly under dry conditions. The sperms of a koi male are then collected in a beaker by similar methods. The milt in the beaker is then poured into the bowl of eggs so that the sperms can fertilize the eggs. The fertilized eggs are then deposited onto the spawning material in the incubation pond.
3. Egg Incubation. At this point, the fertilized eggs of your prized koi breeders must already be attached to the spawning material, whether this is immersed in an outdoor spawning pond or in an indoor incubator or hatchery. Regardless of egg incubation environment, the water quality must be monitored and maintained at optimum levels at all times. Experts recommend a water temperature of 22 to 25 deg C during incubation. Adequate aeration must be provided but it should not disturb the water. And of course, as any koi hobbyist knows, the water must be clean. Some breeders don't provide filtration during incubation so as not to agitate the water.
4. Nursing of the Fry. Once hatched, the fry are liberated from their confinement, but become exposed to the harsh realities of the outside world. If they are in a well-planned koi fry nursery when they hatch, then they are lucky enough not having to worry about being eaten by predators (mainly their parents). Newly-hatched fry can't swim well, so water turbulence must be kept as low as possible without sacrificing aeration and filtration requirements. The larvae must likewise be provided with high levels of illumination since they are dependent at this point on vision to catch their food. Food supply must also be ample once the fry have hatched. The fry may survive on microscopic organisms in a mature pond. In an indoor hatchery, live food such as Artemia (brine shrimp) nauplii may be used.
One of the nicest surprises that a pond owner can receive is to unexpectedly see hundreds of new baby koi swimming in his or her pond. Many koi hobbyists become fortunate enough to experience this, thanks to the fact that koi are very prolific breeders and will spontaneously spawn in any pond under the right conditions.
Still, given the awesome fecundity of koi, their natural reproduction in a pond is not as commonly encountered by koi hobbyists as should be. The primary reason for this is that koi love eating their eggs and larvae. As such, their young seldom grow big enough for a pond owner to see. People who want to produce their own koi fry, therefore, can not rely simply on natural reproduction in the pond. To increase their success in producing koi fry, they need to mimic the natural reproduction of koi under more controlled conditions using the basic method for breeding koi.
One disadvantage of this old method for breeding koi is its dependence on the cooperation of the koi being bred, i.e., the female must be induced by the male to lay eggs and the male should be able to fertilize these eggs.
A more dependable method for koi production is known as the dry method of fertilization. This method induces the female and male koi to release their eggs and sperms, respectively, through 'hand-stripping' under dry conditions (which is how it got its name). The steps employed for the dry method of koi fertilization are as follows:
1. Collection of the Female's Eggs. Put the ripe and ready-to-spawn female koi in a small container that's filled with a tranquilizing solution (e.g., 100 ppm Benzocaine). The transfer must be made very gently using a soft net since the koi is heavy and can be easily injured out of the water. The tranquilizing solution anesthesizes the female koi.
Once it is calm enough, take it out of the water carefully and wipe it gently with a soft towel until it is dry (see Figure 1). The female koi must be dry prior to being stripped of its eggs because the eggs will pre-activate if it comes into contact with water before they are fertilized. A helper must clog the genitals of the koi to prevent it from releasing eggs prematurely during this procedure.
Figure 1. Prior to hand-stripping, the koi must first be dried with a clean and soft cloth.
Figure 2. Collect the eggs of the female koi in a dry, clean bowl during hand-stripping.
After the koi has been dried, it is ready for hand-stripping. To do this, gently massage and squeeze the swollen belly of the koi while holding it over a dry, clean bowl. The gentle squeezing will cause the female koi to release its eggs in the form of a brownish fluid, so make sure that when this happens the fluid will fall directly into the bowl to avoid spillage (see Figure 2).
2. Collection of the Male's Sperms. The sperms of the male koi is retrieved through a similar manner of hand stripping, except that the milt is usually collected in a glass beaker. Alternatively, a glass bottle with a large mouth may be used. Again, wipe the male koi until it is dry before squeezing its belly and letting the milt fall into a glass beaker. Another method for extracting milt is through the use of a plastic syringe, which can conveniently and cleanly suck the milt out of the male koi. The milt collected by the syringe can then be easily transferred into a glass container.
Dilute the milt with 0.9 NaCl solution at a ratio of 3 parts saline solution for every part of milt. The same procedures for retrieving the milt can be applied to additional male koi if genes from different male koi are desired for the fertilization of the eggs.
Figure 3. The milt of a male koi may be retrieved using a plastic syringe and collected in a glass bottle.
3. Mixing of Eggs and Sperms. Once the milt of the male koi have been collected and diluted, the solution can be poured directly into the eggs inside the bowl. This causes the sperms of the male koi to fertilize the eggs of the female koi. The fertilization can be made more effective by gently mixing the mixture by hand using a large plastic spoon.
Figure 4. The milt of the male koi is mixed well with the eggs of the female koi to maximize fertilization.
4. Degumming. Degumming is the process of removing the stickiness of the fertilized eggs. Koi eggs are by nature sticky to allow them to adhere to surfaces for incubation after natural spawning. This stickiness needs to be eliminated when the fertilized eggs are to be hatched inside artificial incubators that employ running water. Otherwise, the sticky eggs will form clumps inside such incubators.
Degumming is achieved by rinsing the eggs with three different solutions done in succession. The first rinse is 4-5 minutes of continuous mixing with a Woynarovich fertilization solution (3 g NaCl, 4 g Urea, 1 L water). The second rinse is one hour long and uses a modified Woynarovich solution (3 g NaCl, 20 g Urea, 1 L water). This second rinse requires that the eggs be mixed only every 10 minutes, with the rinsing solution being replaced with a fresh one after each mixing. The third and last rinse, which is done to harden the egg shell, is just a quick one (a few seconds) with tannic acid solution (1 g tannin, 1 L water) to be followed by a washing with water.
5. Incubation. After degumming, the non-sticky eggs can then be placed in artificial egg incubators without the problem of egg clumping.
A word of caution though - the procedures discussed above require a high level of skill and should not be tried by a novice on expensive koi (or any koi for that matter). In fact, even expert breeders prefer to let their expensive koi spawn naturally instead of hand-stripping them of their gametes. The article above only presents what the dry method of fertilization is and is not a guide to be followed for an actual operation. It must be emphasized that improper hand-stripping can cause damage to the koi being stripped.
Maintaining a Koi Brood Stock
A group of mature koi used for breeding and propagating new koi is known as a 'brood stock'. Not every koi hobbyist maintains his or her own brood stock. However, those in the business of selling koi (especially commercial farms) can not do without one. This article discusses what people in the koi business do to maintain a viable brood stock.
Having a reliable and viable brood stock is the foundation of any koi production business. Without it, a koi production business will not have a steady supply of millions of koi fry from which to select the genuinely sellable koi. For a koi business to have a good reputation, it must only sell good koi, and we all know that not all koi fry will grow to be 'pond-worthy.' It is for this reason that a large percentage of every generation of koi fry born must be culled - so that only the best koi will grown and sold to solidify the reputation of the business. Thus, a business must produce much more koi fry than it intends to sell every month.
So how many koi must your brood stock have? Well, it depends on how much koi fry you want to sell every month. Let's do the math. According to experts, it is fair to assume that only 7% of koi fry born will have a marketing potential. Thus, you can only sell 7% of the koi fry you successfully hatch - all others are presumably not good enough to sell and should be culled.
Koi produce about 100,000 eggs per kilogram of weight. Now, assuming that each of your female koi is medium-sized and weighs 2 kgs., then each of them can produce 200,000 fry every spawning. Thus, you can expect to get 14,000 koi fry to try to grow and sell for every female that successfully spawns.
This means that a small brood stock consisting of 3 medium-sized females and 3 medium-sized males can give you 42,000 baby koi every year, assuming that each female is made to undergo just a single spawning annually. This is a conservative number for an annual production since in reality, efficient koi farming methods and multiple spawning cycles will allow a koi enterprise to produce 3 million koi fry a year with just 70 pairs of koi. By the way, experts say that one has to take into account the fact that 25% of the brood stock needs to be replaced every year due to unforeseen losses for various reasons.
Your koi brood stock must consist only of mature (2 to 4 years old) and healthy koi with absolutely no deformities. Brood stock koi must also possess all the best qualities of a koi, from perfect body conformation to high-quality colors and well-distributed patterns. Excellent koi will still produce unacceptable fry, but there's a higher chance of getting great koi from great parents. This is why koi show champions command extremely high prices.
Once you've selected and acquired your initial brood stock, you can just add more as needed and replace those that are lost or become unfit for breeding. The important thing is to keep your entire brood stock healthy and fecund at all times.
Koi can spawn naturally twice a year, with the first spawning usually being more productive than the second one. The second spawning is also referred to as the 'late spawning'. Since temperature plays an important role in koi reproduction, the time of the year during which they spawn may differ from country to country. In tropical and subtropical countries, the first spawning of koi usually occurs during the months of March or April while the second one usually occurs in the months of July or August. Isolation of the spawners in preparation for actual spawning must therefore be done in February and June for the first and second spawnings, respectively. To read more about the basic method for koi breeding, see Basic Koi Breeding.
After every spawning activity, the spawners must be returned to the main pond where they are maintained until it's time again to isolate them for spawning.
Koi brood stock must be properly fed in order to stay healthy and prolific. They must be provided with a balanced diet that includes various nutrients and vitamins on top of protein. The food must make the koi healthy but not obese, since obesity is also bad for koi. Complementing koi pellets with natural foods is recommended. Koi that have just undergone spawning are exhausted (and possibly injured), and will therefore benefit the most from proper nutrition which will aid in their fast recovery.
Nursing Koi Larvae :
Four to five days after koi eggs are fertilized, the eggs will hatch into koi larvae and reveal their first signs of life to onlookers. At this point, the happy owner of these newly hatched koi can't help but feel a well-deserved and overwhelming emotion of pride and success. But there's still one important task left at hand - nursing the larvae to health until they can properly take care of themselves.
Koi larvae do not have a developed swim bladder and can not control their buoyancy in water. They swim vertically by twisting their tails and require frequent rests, which they get by attaching themselves to substrates immersed in the water. Because of their inability to swim well, the water in the tank of the larvae must be kept tranquil, i.e., they must not be subjected to harsh water movements. Severe agitation of the water can easily sap the larvae of their energy, or worse, harm their fragile and sensitive bodies. Newly hatched larvae can be easily sucked into water filters too, which is why water filtration is not done at this point.
Although water tranquility is a 'must' for koi larvae, it must also be emphasized that there should be adequate and unimpeded aeration in their tank because they need an ample supply of oxygen at all times. They do not have gills and have to rely on the diffusion of oxygen through the entire surface of their body in order to 'breathe'. As such, they are very sensitive to oxygen depletion as well as the osmotic pressure resulting from the water in which they live in. Because oxygen is more easily depleted in 'dead corners', some experts recommend that a circular tank be used for hatching koi eggs and nursing koi larvae. This circular tank must be provided with silent-type air pumps that can continuously circulate oxygen around the tank.
Aside from providing a tranquil but adequate aeration to the larvae, another challenge is feeding them. Newly hatched larvae don't have a functioning mouth yet so they don't need to be fed. They will get their nourishment from their yolk during their first couple of days or so. Only when they have fully consumed their yolk will there be a need to feed them. Koi larvae normally begin their active quest for food on their third day.
Koi larvae must have ready access to food. Unfortunately, dry foods can not be given to them because these are still harmful to them. Dry foods will also pollute the water quickly, especially in the absence of water filtration. Instead, live and natural foods such as infusoria, daphnia (see Figure 1), and brine shrimp (Artemia) nauplii must be provided to the larvae. By the way, koi larvae rely heavily on vision to hunt their food so they should be provided with a high level of illumination during each feeding, which is done 5 times a day.
Figure 1. Daphnia is a recommended food for koi fry.
After 6 to 8 weeks of live feeding, the koi fry should be ready to eat dry foods. If everything went well up to this point, the koi fry are well on their way to growing into healthy koi adults and the koi keeper can finally relax.
Other websites about Breeding :
How to Breed Koi
Further Reading : - Books about Breeding -
- Koi: Everything About Selection, Care, Nutrition, Diseases, Breeding, Pond Design and Maintenance, and Popular Aquatic Plants (Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals)Paperback – September 1, 1995
by George C. Blasiola (Author)
by Shmuel Rothbard (Author)
- Koi Breeding For Fun And Profit: Enjoy The Fascinating Breed Of Koi Now And Gain Serious Income From A Lucrative Koi Business Paperback – May 26, 2010
by K M S Publishing.com (Author)
by ZHAN JIA ZHI DENG (Author)
- Practical Techniques of Koi Breeding-Revised Edition (Chinese Edition) (Chinese)Paperback – September 1, 2011
by zhan jia zhi (Author)
Breeding Koi or Goldfish (Step by Step) - Part 1
Many books you can find in the Internet based libraries and bookshops like Amazon.com ( Click Here ) ..
But first look for the best prices at Book Finder.com
Breeding Koi or Goldfish - Part 2 (Taking Care Eggs in My Spawning - Hatching Pond)
KOI hand breeding
KOI hand breeding 2
Koi Spawning Demonstration 3: Artificial Fertilization of Eggs [CC]
Koi Spawning Demonstration 4: Development of Embryos and Larvae [CC]
Koi Pairing For Spring Spawn
How to Breed Koi Fish at Home Setup
Koi Spawning Demonstration 1: Selection of Fish for Spawning [CC]
Koi Spawning Demonstration 2: Hormonal injection [CC]
Marugen Koi Farm - Koi Breeding & Spawning Preparation - Sakai Tancho Kohaku
Koi Spawning / Mating Behavior
This is what the first thing to do in koi fish breeding you need to know
Breeding Koi or Goldfish (Step by Step) - Part 1
Harvesting thousands of Japanese Koi fry and breeding methods tips