If you keep a pond of healthy koi carp then sooner or later they will do what comes naturally and produce more koi carp!
This can be very rewarding for the koi keeper, as seeing the colors and varieties that your own koi produce can be very exciting! It is also a sign that your koi are living in good conditions and you are maintaining your pond well.
But how do koi carp mate? Read on to learn the basics of how koi mate and what signs you need to look out for.
The basics of koi reproduction
Koi carp reproduce via a process of spawning, where the female koi will lay a large number of eggs.
The eggs may be laid in various different areas of the pond, including on the base, on plants, and on the sides of the pond. Often, the number of eggs laid by one female can number several thousands, but not all of these will hatch into fry!
Once the eggs have been laid, the male koi will fertilize them, and the future koi will begin to grow and develop; if they are not eaten by the adult koi first!
The mating behavior of koi
There are several signs that your koi are ready to mate. You just need to know what to look out for!
The male koi are usually the most obvious to display the signs that mating is imminent, so keep an eye on your males for changes in their normal behavior. When they are ready to fertilize eggs, the mail koi will undergo some physical changes that are quite easy to spot.
The males will develop “breeding areas” on their pectoral fins and head. These are sometimes mistaken for an illness known as “Ich” by inexperienced hobbyists, as they can be quite similar in appearance.
The males will also begin to chase the females around the pond, which can be mistaken for aggression or bullying, but is in fact part of the breeding dance! The male will appear to head-butt or bump into the female repeatedly, in order to encourage her to release her eggs for fertilization.
When the female is ready, she will release her eggs around the pond, which the male will then fertilize.
It is not uncommon for adult fish to eat spawn and newly-hatched fry, so you might need to consider blocking off areas of the pond to prevent this, or separating the spawn from the main pond.
However, assuming that some of the fertilized eggs get the chance to grow and develop, you can expect your brand new baby koi to hatch anywhere between four and seven days after fertilization.