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Thread: Fasting warm weather

  1. #1
    Tategoi bobbysuzanna's Avatar
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    Fasting warm weather

    Having the mildest winter in North Carolina in decades and have never had a winter where my water temperatures have not dropped below 50 degrees F. Question to the group is how long you would fast the koi in such warm water?
    I was planning on six weeks and am currently 10 days into it now.
    Fish are very active. Also what about feeding citrus during this time to keep vitamin C levels up and help with immunity?

  2. #2
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    Being in a part of the country where winters are always unpredictable I've had to learn how to deal with this by trial and error along the way, so here's my advice for what its worth.

    When we have a long and cold winter I've always fasted long and completely, never rushing them to come out of spring with food, and never intterupting their fast with "treats" of any kind. They don't need it, don't benefit from it, and it makes no sense to me to make myself feel comforted when they get no value in the process. What I've notice from these long, cold fasts is that the do NOT burn up their eggs as much as we may wish they would. When it is that cold for that long they simply don't utilize enough energy to make a dent. This has been true even after a 3 month fast during a hard winter.

    When we have a moderate winter, their fast is obviously much shorter and emergence from it is driven by behavior as much as temperature. I look for two things. First off, if they've literally eaten the carpet algae down to nothing they are definitely "ready" for some real food. The next thing I look for is females beginning to lose weight... If a female enters winter with a good start on an egg mass she'll wait for spring feeding to begin the work of finishing their growth and development. If I stretch the fasting long enough to see the egg mass appear to diminish somewhat I am certain that her metabolism is creating demand, and MODEST feeding can begin. Loading them up too fast will only tend to rapidly re-build the egg mass and potentially mess up the spring startup for the biofilter by overloading it. Slow and steady will bring the filter along at a reasonable pace while keeping their metabolism satisfied just to the point of "enough" without ramping up egg production.

    The results have boiled down to this (by trial and error).

    Long Cold Fasts always produce heavy spawning behavior unless I extend it well into spring to burn off eggs.

    Short warm fasts usually give us a serious break from spawning activity, so long as we go slow and easy when feeding time resumes.

    Hopefully Brett, Brady, Matt, or one of our other breeder contributors will chime in with their advice, but that's my ha-pennies worth.
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  3. #3
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    I am sticking to my standard game plan. No food to April 1. They are not starving by any means. They graze on the wall algae. When the food starts again, it will be small amounts of wheatgerm with some liquid vitamins from Costco or Sams. I want both the koi and the pond system to all have a nice slow start in the spring.

  4. #4
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Since my pond water has only recently got down to a low of 55°F. I am only doing a short fast and feeding lightly during the winter when water temperature is 58°F or higher. My biological filters seem to recover faster in Spring without the long winter no food fasting.

  5. #5
    Tategoi bobbysuzanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    Since my pond water has only recently got down to a low of 55°F. I am only doing a short fast and feeding lightly during the winter when water temperature is 58°F or higher. My biological filters seem to recover faster in Spring without the long winter no food fasting.
    Why did you chose 58 degrees to start light feedings?

  6. #6
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbysuzanna View Post
    Why did you chose 58 degrees to start light feedings?
    Because I do not expect for it to get much lower than 55 degrees F this year and the experts say some fasting is beneficial.

    Why are YOU planning on six weeks?

  7. #7
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    While seemingly not a viable comparison, It came to me as an "AHh-HAa"
    movement during a conversation with an international bonsai teacher. We were discussing soil mixtures and he quickly added that he does not recommend his mix developed here in the Northwest to any place else in this world because things are different and needed to be "tweaked" for exact micro climates. Closely related is the use of chemical or organic fertilizers for the trees. So whether your feeding fish or trees, there are different components to consider as well.

    I think of this often as i see folks sharing learned knowledge for their particular position of the globe and how it relates to caring for their Koi.

    For example, I believe ponds which have strictly female and those with mixed sexes have different responses to conditions created by us or mother nature. These little differences can make quite the difference in learned response in addition to location on the globe.

    So while i wouldn't suggest we not share what we believe to be right for our own ponds, for those relooking at their own situations, I think you have to consider what makes sense at the moment but always in the back of your mind knowing that no two situations are EXACTLY the same.

    I have also been using bonsai design, with elements of flow and tension to rethink the kodama method of Pattern balance in Koi. If anything I think attempting to grasp the what and why elements of many hobbies Japanese, has given me a better understanding for each individual one.
    Dick Benbow

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