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My koi didn’t spawn last year. How can I get them to spawn? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: My koi didn’t spawn last year. How can I get them to spawn?

Q: My koi didn’t spawn last year. How can I get them to spawn?

Judy – Springfield, MO

A: Sounds like your koi were being a bit coy last year! If you want your fish to get frisky this spring and produce a brood of colorful fry, break out the bubbly and try out these tips and techniques that will create the perfect mood for love.

  1. Create Ambiance – Your koi don’t need soft candlelight and rose petals for romance, but they do prefer an aquatic environment that’s as pristine as possible. Perform regular water changes – that’s changing out 10% to 20% of your water every two weeks – to help keep things clean and clear. Once water temperatures climb back up to 50°F, you can also begin adding the water-quality-boosting products found in DefensePAC®, like Seasonal Defense®, Nature’s Defense® and Clarity Defense®.
  2. Heat Things Up – Temperature and time of year matter when it comes to koi feeling amorous. The fish typically spawn when water temperatures are 65° to 70°F. In many ponds, this typically happens between May and June – in late spring and early summer, when the birds and bees start to get busy!
  3. Give Them a Love Nest – Like you and me, koi like their privacy when it’s time for them to mate. Before spring settles in, make sure you give them plenty of cozy spots and hiding places. Plants, tunnels, and Nycon Koi Kastle Fish Shelters will provide excellent coverage for them. In addition, give them a safe place to lay their eggs, like a fry mat or similar device.
  4. Know the Signs – When you see the male koi chasing after the females, you’ll know the game of love is on. Keep an eye on their behavior; however, because the males might try to run into the females, or push them into the rocks and the side of your pond to try to get them to release their eggs. Another telltale sign: Cloudy or foamy water accompanied by a distinct odor.
  5. Keep the Fry Safe – Once the fry emerge from their eggs, they can’t swim and will need a protected area that’s safe from natural predators, like tadpoles, frogs and koi. Make sure you give them plenty of coverage with water hyacinth, water lettuce and other aquatic plants. You might also consider using a fine mesh tent, like the Nycon Fish Spawning Incubator, to protect them and prevent them from getting sucked in and lost in your filtration system.

With a little staging and encouragement, it’s not too difficult to convince your koi to spawn. Follow these tips, keep the brood safe once they hatch and, before long, you’ll have a pond full of small fry! Good luck!

Pond Talk: Have you successfully spawned your koi? What worked – and what didn’t?

All-Natural, Complete Pond Care System - Pond Logic(r) DefensePAC(r)

8 Responses

  1. Hi there – Hoping you can help. My largest Jumbo Koi (Champ) normally has a healthy appetite. Not sure if it is a female or male. It is spawning season, and I saw Champ swimming around real fast, around and around at the surface for a few days. Now Champ has been absent mostly from the surface for a couple of days, and when I feed, mostly not eating. Goes right past the food. I am very worried. What do you think is going on? I cannot see the bottom, and not sure what is happening down there. Four feet deep. No new fish have been added. No other changes.

    • Hi Susan – If you don’t notice any sores or unusual bloating or wounds on the fish then there is probably nothing to worry about. With the warmer weather your fish may just be hiding out more or if Champ was the koi being chased by others she may just be recuperating from spawning season. Here is an article that may help you identify if you have a male or female koi.

      • Hi Kathie – I have been watching for Champ. Finally saw the cause of the reduced appetite. Champ has a 6 inch in diameter bad bruise on one side behind the Dorsal Fin. It is looking a little better today. Still barely eating. My guess is the she is being chased, and is scared to eat when the others aggressively crowd up for food. I add Prime when doing water changes (on a well, so no Chlorine, but like the reduction of metals and slime coat help). Should I add in a little more salt and Prime? Thx

      • Hi Susan – If you’ve recently added water conditioner you shouldn’t need to do it again. Adding a little more salt couldn’t hurt, fish can tolerate salt levels up to 6% short-term. If you have plants however, you would want to keep the level in the pond below 1%. As long as she is healing I would let her be. If you see the sore start to worsen you may want to isolate her in a separate tank with some of the pond water and raise the salt level. Spring is a rough time for female koi but they generally pull through just fine.

  2. My pond fish, including Koi, lay their eggs in my pond plant basket. The next thing I see is the Koi with their tails in the air eating the eggs out of the plant baskets. In nine years I have never had any fry. Sounds like I need to do some separation frm the plants, but don’t know when to do it.

    Last year their feeding frenzy attracted Herons!.

  3. Where can I purchase female Koi?

    • Hi Bert – It’s difficult to sex koi. In the spring, when they are about to spawn, sometimes the female koi are rounder due to the eggs. Also, during spawning, the male koi are the ones doing the chasing. To purchase koi, I would recommend searching for specialty fish stores in your area or contacting a local pond club. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

  4. And I wish I could get my Koi to stop spawning. LOL

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