Tuesday, July 28, 2009

They're Still Swimming - Just Not Very Many

In my post on June 30th, I excitedly reported that we had literally hundreds of swimming koi fry. Things progressed swimmingly up to the post I wrote on July 7th showing a picture of hundreds, really probably thousands of koi fry. In that post, although I was a very proud koi mom, I did express some trepidation about the likelihood of bringing so many to adulthood or even teen hood.

There was a good reason for that. I planned to post pictures weekly to show their progress but then something bad happened. They started dying. It seems like it should have been simple to figure out what went wrong but it was so complicated. Everything I read was either vague or contradictory. For example. Koi babies are very hungry and must eat at least 5 times a day. BUT don't overfeed them because koi babies will eat until their tiny abdomens literally burst. Oh no.

Then, there was the problem with aerating. Koi babies and koi eggs need lots and lots of air. But when we put two aerators in, the tiny little bodies seemed to get bounced and battered all over the place. Some hid on the bottom or in the corners but most seemed to swim around in this never ending circulation. Later I would realize that a lot of those swimmers circulating around were dead. Oh no.

Then the filtration question. We covered the vent on the filter intake with mesh so that nobody would get sucked in but guess what. The first day that I cleaned it there were probably fifty koi bodies stuck to it. Well, if they're dead it's good to get them out of there I thought; so I cleaned it and put it back in and guess what. I watched as live koi bodies got stuck to it and couldn't get away. So we invented a large cage covered in mesh so that we could get some filtration but no bodies would stick to it. That sort of worked but I think the filtration we're getting is so minimal that it's questionable whether it's worth it.

Then, the problem of water changes. Most sites I visited stressed the importance of doing a partial water change every day. I tried that but there was difficulty getting the precisely correct amount of dechlorinator in the tap water. Some sites suggested adding pond water. I tried that but I wasn't convinced that our pond water was healthy enough for these fragile little babies. So I tried a combination of the two. I don't think that was the answer either.

I don't know what spelled doom for so many babies. All I know is that I don't have it figured out. I suspect now that overfeeding was the main cause.

Anyway here are pictures of where we are now. This is not to show how few there are left (although it will) but to show how they're changing. And, knock on wood, the numbers seem to be stabilizing. You'll want to double click on the pictures to see what they really look like.

So you can see that the tank isn't real clean (we had to take the algae eater out because in additon to algae they eat anything they can get their mouths on including koi eggs) but they are starting to look more like fish and we have maybe 40 or 50 more in the tubs outside that didn't get as much tender loving care so they had a better chance of survival.

I'm still thrilled to have koi babies though. And I'll keep you posted. Literally.


  1. Mother Nature can be so fickle. You have done your best, so be proud of the ones you have. They are pretty cute now.

  2. It just sounds so darned hard to raise those babies. Almost easier to have a human baby at home....lol It sounds like you are doing great though and the baby koi that you have left are SO CUTE!!! Maybe you should put little tiny diapers on them!!!



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