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Fish Spawning – How to help your koi have a successful spawning season | Learning Center

There is a ton of information available for selectively breeding koi and raising fry. Purchasing fry holding tanks with separate filters, specific breeding media or even choosing the perfect fish to mate. If you are like most homeowners you are not looking to dive in to serious koi hatching, however, there are a few things you can do to help your koi still have a successful spawning season.

Provide Spawning Areas
The leaves, stems and root systems of underwater plants give your pond fish safe places to spawn and lay their eggs. And when those tiny fry hatch, the plants provide protection, food and a comfy place to call home.

Submerged plants are easy to add to your water garden or fish pond. Simply fill planting baskets, like the Laguna Planting Baskets, with planting media, add some oxygenators, and place the planted basket on the bottom of your pond or on a plant shelf on the side of your pond. The planting baskets allow the plant’s roots to branch out and find nourishment while containing it and preventing fish from nibbling on its root system.

Wait for the Right Season
Temperature and time of year matter when it comes to koi breeding. 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!

Time to Spawn
When koi prepare to spawn, you will see the males chasing after the females, nudging her sides with its mouth and fins. This is to encourage the female koi to lay her eggs. Once the eggs have been laid, the male koi will fertilize them, and the future koi will begin to grow and develop. You may also notice cloudy or foamy water accompanied by a distinct odor.

Keep Your Pond Clean
It is important that you keep the water in your pond clean and free from disease while the fry are developing. Perform regular water changes and use Pond Logic® Stress Reducer PLUS when adding new water to remove any chlorine and toxic heavy metals from your tap or well water. Be sure you are adding pond salt to the water to keep fish stress down and also help prevent diseases.

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 lost in your filtration system.

As your new additions began to grow, there will be added ammonia and nitrates in the pond. If you plan to keep these new koi make sure you are providing adequate filtration in your pond and you are not deviating from a practical fish load for your size pond. Having more fish in your pond than your filtration can handle will lead to additional more severe algae blooms and muck accumulation. It is important that you keep adding beneficial bacteria such as Nature’s Defense® or Muck Defense® to break this waste down.

With a little staging and encouragement, it’s not too difficult to convince your koi to spawn. Good luck!

6 Responses

  1. Thanks, Kathie. Sorry, I just now saw your response. Guess I wasn’t looking in the right place… So, a bluegill will eat eggs? I have seen the current fish eating them, but will the blue gill eat more than the koi and goldfish? And, are they all compatible in a 500 gallon pond?

    • Hi Linda – The bluegill may be a little more aggressive at eating the eggs than the other fish and should do just fine with koi and goldfish, but only stock 1 so they do not reproduce.

      • Thanks so much, Kathie! We incorporated a pond into our deck last fall – it’s much different than the 7,000 gallon pond we had at our previous house, and we didn’t have many pond options at this house, but we’re having fun with this set up. The baby fish population explosion happened because we had to remove the adult fish from the pond for about 3 weeks because we were having work done on the house and didn’t want to stress the fish. We didn’t realize eggs had been laid, so in the 3 weeks, all those eggs hatched with no “predators”. I’ll consider getting one bluegill, and hopefully, in the future, there will be more attrition after spawning takes place.

      • Hi Linda – Yes removal of the larger fish would definitely give the new spawn the advantage. Happy to hear you were able to still incorporate their enjoyment in your new location!

  2. Hi, What can I do to PREVENT spawning? We have a new (since last October) 500 gallon pond and 6 fish, and this is the first spring the fish have been in an outdoor pond. How often will they spawn in a season? We’ve already had two egg-laying sessions. We now have about 75 small fish from the first spawn that I’ve moved to an an aquarium to grow, and eventually they’ll move to a pond at our friend’s golf course. When I saw them spawning again, I squished as many eggs as I could that I found on plants and roots (sorry! but I had no choice). Your thoughts? Thanks!

    • Hi Linda – Take it as a compliment that you have created a healthy pond. The fish will only reproduce under the ideal conditions so if those conditions aren’t met than you are not as likely to have spawning. Since you don’t want to disrupt a healthy pond you can either remove the eggs or add a fish (like a single bluegill so they won’t reproduce) to the pond to eat the eggs.

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