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Posted 09 May 2004 - 09:55 AM
Common Name/s: Koi Carp.
Scientific Name: Cyprinus carpio.
Maximum Size: The size of Koi can vary, some Koi like Ghost Koi will max out at 15-20" will other breeds can reach 30-35" and sometimes abit more.
Care: Koi need a large pond of at least 1000 gallons. They also require a large filtration system that can cope with their waste. They need good water conditions to thrive and grow.
Feeding: Koi can be feed a wide variety of commercail foods including high protien foods for growth and wheat germ through the winter months.
Sexing and Breeding: First you need to sex the fish, females, especially in season are far more rounded than male fish which tend to be slim at all times. The pectoral fins of male fish tend to be larger and more pointed than the females, but this is by no means always the case. I find the only sure way to sex fish is to watch the fish. The ones that lay eggs are female, the ones that chase are the males.
Spawning usually takes place 1-3 days after introducing male to the female. It can take place at any time of day or night, unfortunately, typically spawning seems to happen around two in the morning. Spawning can be triggered by temperature changes, change in water conditions, introducing new fish or barometric pressure changes.
Separate males and females for at least one month before you intend to spawn the fish. Provide a reasonably small pond, ideally 2 x 3 x 1 metre deep. Or use a spawning net in your main pond. Don't feed the parent fish for a few days before you expect the fish to spawn either. Prepare your growing on pond/s.
Koi will spawn when the water temperature reaches around 18+. As always, you need to ensure prime water conditions with zero ammonia and nitrates. To achieve and maintain the necessary water temperatures earlyish in the season (late May) it is a good idea to provide heated conditions so that you can achieve a spawning as early as possible to maximise the length of the growing season. I recommend using purpose made spawning ropes. These are soft and easy to handle. Don't use blanket weed it is too difficult to collect the eggs without damaging them. A good quantity of media is required to collect all the eggs and encourage spawning IME. Remove eggs as soon as they are laid to prevent parents eating them. This is obviously easy to do if you have used spawning ropes. Move eggs on ropes to a separate tank for hatching. This should contain water of approximately the same temperature as the spawning pond and should be well oxygenated. It does not however need to be filtered. Eggs introduced straight into growing on ponds are vulnerable to predators such as snails, tadpoles and dragon fly larvae etc. Having worked so hard to achieve the spawning in the first place, don't use them as a food source for the local pond wild life!
Comments: Contrary to belief, Koi are not indigenous to Japan. They are believed to originate from eastern Asia, in the Black, Caspian, Aral Seas and China. The earliest written records of Koi were found in China. Koi were believed to be introduced to Japan with the invading Chinese and a first account of them being kept by an emperor in Japan, apparently dates Back to AD 200.
Carp fossils have been discovered in South China dating back about 20 million years. Some varieties are known for their hardiness, which records claim can live for 266 years, see this thread.
Koi, or Nishikigoi. - Japanese for "brocaded" carp - were first described in writing from a Chinese book written during the Western Chin Dynasty, 265-316 A.D. At that time they were described as white, red, black and blue.
What happened to Koi between the 2nd to the 17th century is still a mystery, but many suspect Koi gradually spread through the orient, possibly by way of trade to and from the middle east.
The farmers in the rice-growing region of the Niigata Prefecture started raising magoi (carp) to supplement their winter diet. They raised these carp in the ponds they used to flood their rice paddies. About 200 years ago one of the farmers noticed a carp with some red color. Some of the farmers started separating the fish that had different coloration's, and breeding them together.
The interest in this pastime grew and more color variations were developed. It wasn't until 1914 that some of the most beautiful varieties were shown at a show in Tokyo. Now many keepers often show their Koi in Koi shows or at their local club. Nowdays some Koi can raise very high prices on the market.
Some Koi breeds:
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