Thursday, October 20, 2011

Devin's Vlog

Check out my new vlog! In it you will find the reason for my decision to start a vlog as opposed to writing in my blog. I talk about the first annual Koi Acres' Mud Pond Harvest, along with the events leading up to the big day. Including the importance of the diet the koi are being fed to bring them to their full potential. Enjoy!!!


If you've been following my blog through the years, you'll find there are periods where I go stale and stop writing, often because I'm out of inspiration. I like to think I'm a really good writer, but sometimes it just doesn't come out as good as I thought it would. And since Mikki started writing a blog and I married her and all, she's actually a pretty good writer I think. She likes to think otherwise. And I'm afraid I can't compete, there's just no comparison in her writing skills to mine. So that's the end of my blog writing. How does that saying go? Something about something or other, if you're not good at it just give up and try something new. So I think I'll try a vlog, because personally, I think I'm much more interesting in person than Mikki is.

I'd like to talk about the Koi Acres First Annual Mud Pond Harvest today. From the beginning of construction of mud ponds, we got a little bit later of a start than we'd hoped to due to road restrictions not allowing us to get the heavy machinery in as early as we wanted to to dig the ponds. We'd initially planned on digging the ponds in April. Unfortunately, we were tied up with building a pond down in Tennessee this winter, and by the time the pond build crew got home from building the pond, road restrictions were on so we could not move in machinery without some serious fines if we got caught. So we got off to a late start. The ponds were completed, I think, around mid-May and the fish were moved out on June 12th.
In between the completion of the ponds I had to get them filled and the water conditioned properly before I moved the fish in. So throughout the summer, unfortunately, I didn't have any auto feeders this year. Hopefully should have some next year. So everything was hand-fed. When I was home, not out at koi shows during weekends, I was feeding them six times a day. Other times, it was my mom I had to rely on to feed. I hope she fed them three times a day, but I'm thinking maybe she only got around twice on some days. But as you can see, I'm very happy with how the fish turned out even without the aid of auto feeders with consistent feedings every day. I did not expect the fish to grow to the size they are. I think the largest growth we got is around 20 or 21cm, and the smallest 11cm which is great considering the conditions, first year mud pond, no auto feeders so we're just relying on humans to try to stick to a set time schedule for feeding them. And the consistency of the food being fed. I was pretty consistent because I weighted the amount of food and split it up over the feedings per day, and I tried to tell my mom how much to feed, but I don't know how consistent she is.

I chose ToMiGAi because it's a very nice, high-protein food. It's manufactured here in the US. So as far as a feeding regiment goes in the mud ponds, in both of the ponds that I harvested there was mixed Gosanke with Shiro Utsuri. The best thing to do would be to separate, have a pond itself of Shiros and a pond of Gosanke, so I can better control the diet of each fish. But since they were mixed, the Hi is one of the more delicate colors of the fish so I want to cater to that, to make sure I'm keeping the Hi from breaking down, losing its quality. So for the ponds, throughout the summer, when the temperature was above 70 degrees Fahrenheit I would feed half ToMiGAi spirulina, and half ToMiGAi wheat germ. Those are both high-protein foods, 50% each, so it gets good growth out of those foods too along with the Spirulina helping to maintain the Hi and make it better. Because there's a big misconception I believe here in America in the Koi industry, that everybody's afraid of using color-enhancing foods or whatnot because it's just going to destroy the red on the fish. But that's not true at all. The fish are not going to naturally synthesize carotenoids in their body, so they need to take it in from an external source whether it be from algae in the pond they're eating that contains carotenoids or through their food. I think that's something a lot of people don't quite understand. So it's very important to feed Spirulina to your fish, or make sure, if they have red patterns, they're getting some form of carotenoids. Because without it, it's like painting your house once and just letting the sun burn it up and never putting a fresh coat on.

I think another misconception too is a lot of people don't realize what the breeders are feeding the fish in Japan. During my time there, I spent extensive time refilling auto feeders. I know exactly what these fish are being fed. And typically through the summer months, they were fed half growth food, half color-enhancement food or whatnot. So trying to debunk the myth that color-enhancing foods are bad for the fish, it's just proof to show you. It's needed for the fish. Without it, the fish are not going to develop to their potential. In the future I'd like to pull up some fish and do individual breakdown on the fish, how it's developed. Right now I'm just letting them de-stress, watching them now after the pull. They've only been out of the pond about four days, and I started feeding them yesterday. But so far everything is looking very good. The fish speak for themselves. You can see the results. I didn't think the fish would turn out so good, but I attribute a lot to the food, being that it's fresh. Just look at the fish, they're amazing.

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