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Thread: Kentaro Sakai On Raising Koi For Show

  1. #1
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Kentaro Sakai On Raising Koi For Show

    In a recent article in electronic Rinko, Kentaro Sakai (SFF) shared some interesting thoughts on raising koi for show:

    1. After a koi is yonsai, it is best that she be raised in a concrete pond rather than a mudpond. There is less risk of injury, less risk of weather issues, and better ability to observe how the koi is developing in order to fine tune feeding and immediately address any health issue.

    2. After a koi is yonsai, growth will be as good in a concrete pond as in a mudpond. Mudponds are best for the first 4 years.

    3. Skin quality is better addressed in the concrete pond, again because adjustments can be made immediately.

    4. Depth of the pond is not as important as length. A long narrow pond is better than a square pond. The important factor is to give horizontal swimming distance. (Sakai-san uses ponds which are 1.5 meters deep, or approximately 5-feet.)

    Other interesting comments are made in the interview, but there is a lack of clarity, likely due to translation issues and the Japanese tendency to say little and talk in riddles.

    For those not aware of maintenance practices at leading breeders in southern Japan, it should be understood that flow-through systems are frequently used and the stocking levels for large koi can be very generous. No comment on these matters was made in this interview.

    I found Sakai-san's comments particularly interesting because they run contrary to conventional thinking in the U.S.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    In a recent article in electronic Rinko, Kentaro Sakai (SFF) shared some interesting thoughts on raising koi for show:

    1. After a koi is yonsai, it is best that she be raised in a concrete pond rather than a mudpond. There is less risk of injury, less risk of weather issues, and better ability to observe how the koi is developing in order to fine tune feeding and immediately address any health issue.

    2. After a koi is yonsai, growth will be as good in a concrete pond as in a mudpond. Mudponds are best for the first 4 years.

    3. Skin quality is better addressed in the concrete pond, again because adjustments can be made immediately.

    4. Depth of the pond is not as important as length. A long narrow pond is better than a square pond. The important factor is to give horizontal swimming distance. (Sakai-san uses ponds which are 1.5 meters deep, or approximately 5-feet.)

    Other interesting comments are made in the interview, but there is a lack of clarity, likely due to translation issues and the Japanese tendency to say little and talk in riddles.

    For those not aware of maintenance practices at leading breeders in southern Japan, it should be understood that flow-through systems are frequently used and the stocking levels for large koi can be very generous. No comment on these matters was made in this interview.

    I found Sakai-san's comments particularly interesting because they run contrary to conventional thinking in the U.S.
    Are they really contrary to US thinking? Or perhaps it is simply contrary to US application? There is a difference. Remember, a Koi farm is different than a back yard recircuating system. Where long growing ponds can be achieved at a breeder, few back yards can accomidate this style of growing pond. While longer less deep ponds work for breeders, because of a hobbyist's limitations, they must over come space limitations by going deeper and supplying other avenues for exercise (currents and depth verses length/size).
    The views presented are my personal views and not that of any organization that I may belong to unless otherwise specified. [email protected]
    CKHPA

  3. #3
    Oyagoi Eugeneg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schildkoi View Post
    Are they really contrary to US thinking? Or perhaps it is simply contrary to US application? There is a difference. Remember, a Koi farm is different than a back yard recircuating system. Where long growing ponds can be achieved at a breeder, few back yards can accomidate this style of growing pond. While longer less deep ponds work for breeders, because of a hobbyist's limitations, they must over come space limitations by going deeper and supplying other avenues for exercise (currents and depth verses length/size).
    The concrete ponds at Momotaro are rectangular and deep. It works with the Baki Shower system but one big factor is the heating costs during winter in a greenhouse. A shallow pond is going to have a higher heat loss during winter.
    Heating costs in Japan are far higher than in the US.
    Regards
    Eugene

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    I would agree with Kentaro's thoughts. The results are all in the details, the tweaking, and the fine tuning though. Which his comment in #3 eludes to.

    "3. Skin quality is better addressed in the concrete pond, again because adjustments can be made immediately."

    The 'adjustments' are what separates the breeders and hobbyists that are accomplishing excellent results and winning shows from those that aren't. Quality water and quality conditions are constantly being adjusted in a mud pond and also in a filtered holding pond. I think many assume that the 'mud pond' period is where all the magic is,... but a mud pond can also be a very volatile environment, and can ruin a Koi. The magic is in the details, and the tweaking.

    Best Wishes,
    Brady Brandwood




  5. #5
    Oyagoi Flounder's Avatar
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    yonsai

    #2 is a tough one for me to grasp. A yonsai is a koi that have gone through 4 growing seasons, so it is 3 years old. The avg length for a yonsai is about 65-70 cm or 26-28". Growing a koi to 80-85cm in a concrete pond is not an easy achievement unless one has a large pond w/ low stocking ratio & high water Q not something the avg hobbyist can do.

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    Tategoi in mud ponds of Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by Flounder View Post
    #2 is a tough one for me to grasp. A yonsai is a koi that have gone through 4 growing seasons, so it is 3 years old. The avg length for a yonsai is about 65-70 cm or 26-28". Growing a koi to 80-85cm in a concrete pond is not an easy achievement unless one has a large pond w/ low stocking ratio & high water Q not something the avg hobbyist can do.

    40cm (35-45cm) JT/Ake nisai

    60cm (55-65cm) Nisai

    70cm (65-70+ cm) Sansai

    75cm is average at yonsai
    yerrag likes this.

  7. #7
    Oyagoi Flounder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super Kindai View Post
    40cm (35-45cm) JT/Ake nisai

    60cm (55-65cm) Nisai

    70cm (65-70+ cm) Sansai

    75cm is average at yonsai
    Thanks Junichi, I guess the koi that I've gotten were slow grower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flounder View Post
    Thanks Junichi, I guess the koi that I've gotten were slow grower.
    the more koi are refined/evolved (quality & pattern), the more koi grow slower..... but Ryan your fish will catch up becuase of that's bloodline/oyagoi.

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    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flounder View Post
    Growing a koi to 80-85cm in a concrete pond is not an easy achievement unless one has a large pond w/ low stocking ratio & high water Q not something the avg hobbyist can do.
    True, but it is done even in the U.S., albeit mainly in warm climate areas with a long growing season.

    BTW, Sakai-san uses 100 ton ponds, which is approximately 25,000 gallons. This is no where close to the "concrete lake" used by Momotaro. It is a size within the reach of some hobbyists. There is also reference to final finishing occurring in a 10 ton pond for a period of weeks in advance of a show. However, it was not entirely clear that this referred to finishing of the jumbo gals, or only ones intended for entry in smaller sizes.

  10. #10
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schildkoi View Post
    While longer less deep ponds work for breeders, because of a hobbyist's limitations, they must over come space limitations by going deeper and supplying other avenues for exercise (currents and depth verses length/size).
    Yes, everything involves compromises.

    The ideal put forward by Sakai differs substantially from the finishing pond at Momotaro, which has depth and is very wide. SFF has the better record of breeding grand champions. However, prior to KHV, Momotaro was the choice of many top hobbyists in Japan for finishing jumbo sized koi for show. I'm not sure if their facilities are used as much for finishing others koi at this point. (Narita seems to get more than a fair share of late ...or maybe Narita just has better PR?)

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