Breeding Koi

Backyard Breeding

Backyard Breeding

Every hobbyist at one point or another thought they might like to try breeding koi.  Most who do venture into this world give up after their first season when they learn first hand the difficulties, time, and money involved.  

Breeding koi can be very fun and rewarding if you get into it prepared and with the proper goals and expectations.  If you think all you will have to do is let them spawn and you will make thousands of dollars from all the baby koi, well you will be greatly disappointed in the experience.  The fact is breeding koi is very hard work and very expensive.  Most koi breeders in the US work 80-hour weeks and barely turn a profit...and they are professionals with years of experience and millions invested in a large scale operation.  So please don't fool yourself into thinking breeding koi will be some sort of income generator.

However, if you are eager for an education and you enjoy some hard koi work, then backyard breeding might just be for you.  Those who become backyard breeders purely for the love of koi find the process very rewarding and some even manage to sell enough koi to break even.

A few things to consider before breeding koi:

1) Do you have the right parents?  You can't just breed any two koi or you will end up with brown ugly mutts.  Start with like to like.  For example, if you want to breed Kohaku, use two Kohaku parents.  You will need to use the best quality parent stock you can afford.  Professional breeders often spend tens of thousands on a single parent koi.  While this is probably not an option, you should expect to spend at least $500 to $1000 or more for each parent koi if you want to get any quality offspring.

2) Do you have the space?  Each female you spawn will produce anywhere from 50,000 to 500,000 eggs.  Most will hatch and be koi fry.  They will need a lot of water if they are going to grow to a size you can sell them.  Where will you put 500,000 koi?  Most hatching tanks are several thousands gallons and the koi are moved into large mud ponds that can be upwards of a million gallons.  You may not need a mud pond, but you will need several large tanks and a thousands of gallons of water to breed koi even on a small level.

3) Do you have the time?   Koi fry require water changes several times a day and they need a constant supply of food.  So don't plan any vacations for at least a couple months and make sure you can give at least a couple hours a day to caring for the fry.

4) Do you have the money?  There is an old joke.  How does one become very rich breeding koi?  Well first you must become very rich.  Caring for the koi fry can be very expensive.  Equipment, medications, food, water, and electricity can add up to the thousands by the time the fry are ready to sell.

So now that you know just a few of the realities of breeding koi you can decide if this is really for you.  If you decide to move forward to will find a vast education in koi development.  You will learn so much about how koi grow and how their colors develop and you will develop a very keen eye when selecting koi.  It’s not for everybody, but for the true "Koi Kichi" it can be a very rewarding journey. 

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