(sung to the tune of "That's Amore")
When the males hit your side --- And there's nowhere to hide --- That's Amore (That's Amore)
When your belly is fat --- When they're through --- it is flat --- That's Amore.
I will swim --- far from him --- find a nest --- get some rest --- tired of mating (It's deflating)
Spawning done --- Now it's fun --- Time to eat --- What a treat! (It's elating!)
The call comes in.
One of our customers is on the phone. His fish are acting strangely. Two of them are beating up on a third (poor fish) and he’s had one jump out of the pond. Fortunately it was found in time and survived the ordeal. There’s a strange foam on the water...
What is wrong? What CAN he do!!!?
This is a common and so very natural occurrence. His fish are not ill they are in love.
Goldfish and Koi have very "active" sex lives. To put it in laymens terms, the male chases the female in a rather brutal show, literally to beat the eggs out of her. Then he fertilizes the eggs. Many times you will notice several males "courting" one female. This can be stressful to the female and can be a cause of injury. Many females, frantic to get away from their suiters, jump during this time and injure themselves against rocks or simply jump out of the water and onto the ground.
Mating activity usually happens whenever the water heats up rapidly and is more apt to happen in the morning and evening hours. If you wake up to find your pond full of white foam chances are your fish have been "up to no good". The white foam is a by-product of their escapades.
In large lakes fish go into the shallows to mate. The "shallows" in a pond could be your favorite bog plant if the surface of the pot that houses the plant is near the surface of the water. To help them out during this time you can give your finny pets a "shallows" of their own by filling a lily pot up with large round egg rock and placing it on a shelf. It may be construed as spying but it is entertaining to watch em go!
It becomes dinner (or breakfast) time when the mating ritual ends. Goldfish and Koi are not cannibalistic by nature, however, until a fish recognizes small fry as another fish, the fry is a pretty tasty meal, especially if it is an egg and not yet hatched. All the fish in the pond are treated to "caviar" just after the eggs are laid and they will soon all gather in the "shallows" to grab a tasty morsel. Eggs look like tiny pearls scattered all over the black pond liner and clinging to the plants. The fish generally are full after spawning occurs and they feast on the eggs so don't expect them to eat fish food for a couple of days.
If you remove the homemade "shallows" and place it in a bucket of de-chlorinated water before the adults have had a chance to pick it clean you may be in for a treat of your own when the eggs hatch in about 7 - 14 days. If the mating grounds go undisturbed and you let nature take its course the fish will eat most of the eggs. Mother Nature controls fish populations this way and somehow, with a little luck, a few babies may survive. You can help the babies survive in their home pond by providing hiding places in the roots of floating plants and throwing in the powdery stuff that falls down to the bottom of the fish food bag for them to easily eat.
Goldfish mate and produce young earlier than koi. A koi must be about 3 years old before he or she can produce offspring. Goldfish are the "hussies" of the pond and are always "going at it" no matter how old they are or what time of year it is. Koi, on the other hand, are more selective about the times and generally spawn only once or twice a year and it is during times of water temperature change. It's not unusual for a group of koi to spawn during a koi show after being transported from their home pond and put into show tanks.
Do Goldfish and Koi Interbreed? The answer is yes but the offspring arent what you would call show quality. In fact, they are not the prettiest of fish and thank goodness they are sterile.
Unless you are interested in becoming a breeder of fish we recommend letting nature take her course. Youll find that a few babies will survive although odds are against it. These generally will be the stronger of the brood. One of Murphy's Laws states that the baby koi and goldfish who survive are not going to be the prettiest of the bunch but it's rather nice to watch a baby born in the pond as it grows to maturity.
Got Foam? Get rid of it quickly...[../../Store/WaterTreatment/DocsPrescription/Defoamers.htm]
From The Pond Design Edition of What's
Up, Doc?, August, 1999
© Copyright 1999, The Pond Doc's Water Garden Center. All rights Reserved. Reproduction of this article prohibited without prior consent of The Pond Doc.
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