Breeding Koi

Spring brings the time for love in the pond and if you have the right setup the koi will do the rest.

Late spring to early summer is the time for your Koi to breed. Should you want to get into seriously breeding quality koi, there are thousands of articles online that can help you with that. Maybe you’re a pond owner who just wants your koi to breed for the joy of babies.  It’s nice to say that you have had some fish that have lived their entire lives in your pond or sell them off to cover the cost of food and chemicals for the pond.

There are behaviors that signal your koi are ready to breed.  If you want to recognize these and plan appropriately, you need to tune into your fish so you know what is normal behavior. Just by observing your fish over time, you will be able to note changes that may indicate the onset of breeding behavior.

There are a few things that you can do to set the mood and get your little swimmers going.

Gender Identification of your Koi:

In order to figure out if you have male and female koi in your pond, please see sexing your Koi. I have found that it’s better to have more females than males when breeding. The males will run the girls into the rocks/side of the pond competing for the right to breed.

Finding a Breeding Ground:

Breeding groundThe first clue that egg laying is imminent is when the females start looking around the pond looking for possible spawning sites. You may also find that the male(s) are hot on her trail just in case it’s that time.

So help her out, if you have a liner only pond (no rocks in the pond) then you are going to need to insert some artificial spawning grasses/egg brushes. But if you have a water garden (rocked with lots of plants) you may have already set the groundwork for her without knowing it. The shallow planting areas are prime for her to swim up into and deposit eggs that the male can fertilize.  This will give the babies the best chance of survival as they can hatch and hide in the rocks and plants.


Water Quality:

Changes in environment, such as water condition or temperature changes will also be a mood setter.

Water quality is important for successful breeding. It’s highly recommended that you get the water quality as good as possible to encourage spawning. Water temperature around 65 degrees is best with as little ammonia as possible. Koi are most likely to breed when they feel that the environment is the best it can be for their babies survival.


Keep the Kids Safe:

Baby koi cartoonIt’s important to know that a large number of your eggs and babies (fry) are not going to make it. Nature is a brutal, violent place after all. Fish eggs that don’t stay attached in the spawning ground may float free into the skimmer. Also lets not forget that eggs are a favorite snack for just about every predator around, including snails, tadpoles, dragonfly larvae, frogs, and even their own parents. Once they’ve hatched it’s still an up hill battle swimming for their lives, and only a small percentage will reach adulthood.

Note: With a liner only pond when the fish are done spawning if you are using fake breeder plants or brushes you will need to transfer them into a holding tank so that the babies can hatch and survive.

Note: In the water garden pond after the eggs have been laid try not to disturb the planted areas so the eggs stay attached and have a better chance of hatching.

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