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Thread: Winter Care

  1. #11
    Oyagoi Eugeneg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    Thanks Mike.

    I guess the next question for some of us is would cutting the amount of Koi food way back for 4 - 6 weeks achieve the same results as 2 - 4 week fast?
    Simple solution 0c right now here and we have a warming spell. My fish allready had a 2 month fast so we could swap houses and you could bring your fish here
    Regards
    Eugene

  2. #12
    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugeneg View Post
    Simple solution 0c right now here and we have a warming spell. My fish allready had a 2 month fast so we could swap houses and you could bring your fish here
    Regards
    Eugene
    Your conditions are much different than mine. I'm 62dF water temp and my koi are swimming around consuming energy.

  3. #13
    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appliance Guy View Post
    Your conditions are much different than mine. I'm 62dF water temp and my koi are swimming around consuming energy.
    Typo- it's 52dF. Cold but still feeding...

  4. #14
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    One day of opened food left. So Tuesday will be the lat meal for ~ 3 months. I won't tell them about the sealed bags in the storage room.

  5. #15
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCA View Post
    One day of opened food left. So Tuesday will be the lat meal for ~ 3 months. I won't tell them about the sealed bags in the storage room.
    What is the pond water temp?

  6. #16
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    48F this morning.

  7. #17
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    Thanks Mike.

    I guess the next question for some of us is would cutting the amount of Koi food way back for 4 - 6 weeks achieve the same results as 2 - 4 week fast?
    I do not know, Ric. The first question is whether winter fasting is even a good idea. Matt Sklar has reviewed scientific studies showing that food carp continue to eat over winter even at very low temperatures. His advocacy of continual feeding has been misunderstood by some. He cuts back the quantity considerably as the water cools. When he gets to the point of just a couple of pellets per fish per day, there isn't much difference compared to a total fast (but, Matt would tell you that the protein in those couple of pellets may help the fish maintain its immune system). [BTW, Matt Sklar's thoughts on feeding should be taken as a whole and not in pieces and parts. For example, his regimen is based on high protein foods, not high carbs.] On the other hand, one of the early lessons I was taught came from Toshio Sakai, who believes koi should have a minimum 6 week fast. [I do not know if he still advocates that position, but I think I would have heard something if his view had changed.]

    I have been intrigued by Matt Sklar's study of the subject. But, I've not been willing to discard the practice that has come down from the elders of koikeeping. I think Matt is correct in his reading of the studies. But, those are mainly studies of european food carp. I do believe the in-breeding of nishikigoi has affected their strength. For at least 30 generations, koi have been over-wintered in unnatural conditions. Since the 1970s, the over-wintering has become increasingly in greenhouse ponds with no feeding and no 'naturalized' food sources. (The 'perpetual summer' style of keeping has been reserved for just a few koi, and many of these are fasted.) Has this separation of nishikigoi from carp made a physiological difference affecting how feeding should be handled over winter? ...I do not know. I think it has, to some extent. I do know that egg impaction deaths do occur with nishikigoi, particularly in warm climates. Dick Benbow has pointed out that he is not aware of any magoi-based Matsunosuke Sanke having egg impaction issues (a 'non-observation' I share). Egg impaction conditions are not reported among food carp (which does not mean it does not occur). Food carp are in-bred, but not nearly to the extent of nishikigoi. These observations are consistent with the idea that nishikigoi genetically distant from wild carp are different, but hardly sufficient to prove the point.

    Would Darrell's Gin Matsuba have avoided her death if he had fasted last year? Nobody can say. But, I do know that after I commenced fasting for 6-7 weeks each year, I no longer had any fish die from 'egg bloat'. It did occur prior to then. The correllation does not establish anything. I also have not had health issues in the period after the fast ends. So, why am I doing things differently this year when my old routine worked? ...Good question. I generally recommend that folks not deviate from success. Undoubtedly, I would not be trying a different approach if Matt Sklar's thoughts had not made an impression on me. Plus, a few folks whose views I especially respect have tried the continual (but reduced) high protein feeding Sklar has advocated and have found they like the results. After two years of reading about the approach and reading about happy experiences, I am ready to see if it can give better results. But, I am not ready to plunge in. I'm doing the two-week fast anyway. And, I will be giving very reduced feedings thereafter, even though the water temperatures will likely be within the 65-75F range often considered optimal for feeding. Egg bloat deaths are a real issue in Florida. So, what I am doing is not at all the Sklar approach. I borrow from his ideas, such as using high protein year-round, and I am much influenced by his take on the limited science regarding unused eggs being an early source of protein when fasting occurs. But, it is still not his approach. It is very much a compromise between Matt's ideas and Sakai's injunction. If there are improved results, great. If not, then I'll go back to fasting for 6-7 weeks without regard to water temperature.

  8. #18
    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    So are these numbers of deaths common? Was thinking- If Darrell lost one koi after not fasting for one season, let's assume that Darrell has 15 mature female koi (just a guess), well one passed, so that's almost 8% mortality rate. If he had only 10 mature female koi than the rate would be 10% mortality. So Mike has lost some koi too. Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but uh, don't the eggs come from the females? (Yes I know, but follow with me here...) So are we saying that breeders are losing upwards of 10% of their oyagoi female stock each season? After all, they aren't fasting the oyagoi females. So how come I never hear about those losses? Is 8-10% loss normal? Surely that can't be.

    (BTW- is there a Japanese term for the female oyagoi? Male if ya know it too please- thanks.)

  9. #19
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appliance Guy View Post
    So are these numbers of deaths common?
    No, it is not common. Wide spread egg bloat related deaths are not occurring, even in the warmest climates. If it was occurring, it would be the talk at every club meeting and on all the boards. It occurs in isolated instances. Any loss from any cause has an emotional impact on the koikeeper. And, it should be kept in mind that we do not know the root causes in these instances. Whether tumors are involved is an open question. Post-mortems simply are not performed very much and the few that are performed are not performed by qualified persons. So, it is largely a concern arising from hobbyist chatter. Such anecdotal evidence is not much evidence of anything. Still, the correlation exists. Those who fast their koi report fewer egg bloat deaths occur. In the old days before I thought of fasting, I did not lose a fish every year. But, it occurred regularly enough that I do not think I went with no such loss for three years running. After commencing an annual fasting regimen, no losses have occurred from egg bloat conditions. Perhaps the real reason is that I was also learning better koi care practices during that time.

    In regard to fasting oyagoi, I do not know the practices of all breeders. I believe oyagoi are fasted the same as other koi receiving standard winter care in cold climates. The eggs released in late Spring spawnings mostly develop in early Spring (although the cells that become eggs begin forming in the Fall). Feed heavily with high protein in early Spring and the emphasis on egg formation is obvious.

  10. #20
    Sansai nivek's Avatar
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    Good discussion and info. Over here where its a constant 28-30 degrees celcius all year round, we do see quite a number of kois having egg bound issues. I've just started fasting 2 of mine today (both 3 years old) for the first time and will see how they come out of it when we hit Valentine's day

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