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Thread: Fasting and Female Koi with Eggs

  1. #1
    Nisai
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    Fasting and Female Koi with Eggs

    Can I fast a female koi with eggs until all eggs are absorbed? Is it possible? If possible, is it dangerous or not good for that female koi in anyway?

    Surapol

  2. #2
    Oyagoi kntry's Avatar
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    You fast the koi in winter when their metabolism is down. If your water has warmed up, it probably isn't a good idea to fast them now.

    Someone that knows more will hopefully answer.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Bridsys: Since you are in Thailand you have even more of a climate issue than I do. I pick the coolest season of the year and fast all of my koi for 6 weeks. They do fine although the water temperature is normally in the temperature range where normal feeding would be occurring. The idea is to try to imitate a true winter. I suggest you try the time of year when the days are shorter, since I do not believe you have a cool season to speak of.

  4. #4
    Oyagoi kntry's Avatar
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    Mike, my concern is that the eggs wouldn't be absorbed once spawning time is here. During the winter, hot or cold, spawning time has long passed so the body would be absorbing eggs that are just starting to form.

  5. #5
    Nisai
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    Mike, are you saying fasting koi in summer is not good for koi? Because they seem to have eggs in summer, if I wait until winter (in BKK, just feeling cooler, a bit like your spring) it will be too late.

    And during your 6 weeks fasting period, did you give them a tiny amount of food or none at all?

    Surapol

  6. #6
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    The natural progression is for eggs to be laid in the Spring or early Summer. When a carp does not spawn, the eggs are absorbed during the summer months. In the Fall, the carp prepares for Winter by becoming especially ravenous, laying on fat for the Winter. At the same time, eggs begin to form for the following year.

    It has been observed that captive carp do not always absorb unused eggs over the Summer. The incidence of absorption problems seems to be greater in warm climates than in climates with a true Winter. It seems to be compounded by the tendency to add fat with the shortening days of Fall. By giving an "artificial winter" through fasting the idea is to replicate Nature as best one can given that the water is not going to be cold. A few years ago, I began fasting my koi for 6 weeks from Christmas Day to Valentine's Day. I have not had an egg-bound female since adopting this practice. I did have an occasional egg-bound fish previously. It does not hurt the fish. Their skin cleans up beautifully and they look great after fasting. So, whether there is cause/effect or not, I will continue the practice.

    It would seem that fasting in Summer could hasten absorption on the same time line as occurs naturally for non-captive carp. I am not aware of anyone doing long fasts during Summer. Short fasts are done if water temperatures rise too high. Most of our thinking about koi is derived from practices and approaches developed in 4-season climates. A Summer fast would seem nonsensical to a koikeeper in a climate with a short Summer. After all, they only have 4 or 5 months of good growth in the best of times. Most of the time, the learning of the 4-season koikeeper is the best approach. After all, these are 4-season fish in Nature. However, at times the limitations of the 4-seasons may prevent us from seeing all possibilities. It could be that in a climate with a growing season of 11 or 12 months, it hardly matters when a fast occurs to help with egg absorption. But, outside the tropical countries, there are still changes in light duration and the angle of the sun's rays. These are known to affect hormonal changes, etc. So, in sub-topical Florida, I would stick to the Winter fasting period. In tropical areas, I don't know if the timing matters too much. It would be interesting to learn about. It seems logical that a fasting period in warm water could likely be shorter than 6 weeks, but I cannot say what length would be appropriate.

    If you try a Summer fasting period, be attentive to weight loss among the least mature fish. And, report back on what you observe.
    ricshaw likes this.

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    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    Bump. Bump. (need 10 characters)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Appliance Guy View Post
    Bump. Bump. (need 10 characters)
    Lets do that again
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  9. #9
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    This is interesting. Bumping for more commentary on egg production and absorbtion. Our koi eat and grow all year long so, should I consider fasting them during our cooler months (70-80s).

    We are currently in the summer months and temperatures have just started getting into the mid to high 80's. 90's are right around the corner. I was worried about our females going gravid after spring time, but to the best of my knowledge, the females that I have (sansai, yonsai) have not shown any egg production. Is this okay? I did separate the males and females to prevent any kind of pond spawn so I feel good about that for now. Do all mature females produce eggs each year, or does it matter on water conditions, temperature, quality, feeding, etc.?

  10. #10
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Mature females will produce eggs every year until they become quite old. The volume varies according to conditions, feeding, etc. I suspect your females do produce eggs, just not overly so. This is good, unless you are wanting to breed.

    In regard to the general topic, we've had several more discussions since 2010 on this board and elsewhere. IMO, what would constitute "best practices" in tropical areas is even more uncertain than they were four years ago. Indeed, we are seeing traditional thinking under challenge in true 4-season climates... the idea of reducing food rather than complete fasting has gained supporters, the idea of using high protein foods year-round is much more evident, avoiding carbs has become an issue. So, what to do????

    First, Akai-san, I'd say that since you do not have any females becoming bloated with eggs, do not go doing something just to have something to do. Be happy when things are going well.

    Second, I have no 'best practice' to recommend for tropical climates. I think there are too many unknowns and insufficient experience to say any one way is the best way. My thinking, however, is that a period of fasting (or greatly reduced feeding) is a good thing. I am in doubt whether in a tropical climate it is best to have the fast in the cooler part of the year or in the hottest. We can speculate about it and come up with what seems logical, but is it right? For example, if I was on the equator (no seasonal variation in sun angles or day length), I think I would pick a time when the water was warmest (if there was one), since the koi are less efficient in utilizing nutrition in high temperatures, and then I'd stick to that period annually as my way of creating a sort of imitation winter. Away from the equator, I might want to fast in the period of shorter days; but, I've been told that this can be when water temperatures are best for growth, which would cause me to make the fasting period during the highest water temperature period. So, what is true? What is best? .... I think you have to look at the successful hobbyists in your climate who have not adopted chillers to alter the climate.

    Perhaps those in tropical area can post about the practices of hobbyists they consider successful in their area.

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