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Thread: Genetic Predisposition to Shimis in Kohaku

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbradleybradley View Post

    Do Shimis appear on the head?

    Do they appear below the lateral line?

    Can you get shimis in Akeme Kigoi?

    Is there a shimi equivalent in other fish species?

    The answers to these will suggest much.
    Yes, they do appear on the head often.

    I have seen shimi below the lateral line from time to time but perhaps these account for less 10% of the totals I have come across.

    I have never seen shimi on any other pigment than the beni although in some cases the shimi has spilled over to the white ground slightly.

    I have never come across shimi on Kigoi or Aka-Me Kigoi.

    Sorry I have no experience with any other species of fish.

  2. #42
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    Yes, we see 'shimmies' on species like discus. It is often referred to as 'peppering' on the pattern. If you look at those shimmies however you will see it is scattered melanophores. these represents a reversion or atavism trait. Discus are also a man-interrupted gene pool that is heavily based on natural mutations. And in lesser breedings and certain individuals ( even from good breedings) a percentage will show the desired mutation color and pattern but areas of weakness - the weakness is really the strength of the wild melanophore attempting phenotypic domination. In short they are Wr/rr genes. If you look at some strains of swordtails you will see clusters of shimmies on key areas of the fish ( typically behind the head and nose). This is also a reversion condition and is seen when they are placed in very aged water ( high in nitrates).
    Being an idiot savant is a valuable thing, as Peter has just illustrated, but broading one's perspective by studying other man made species of fish will help the more serious koi student to understand in a deeper way, what fish genetics is capable of and not capable of. Studying wild type species or extreme unique wild species will, on the other hand, cause the perspective to become unfocused.
    Perspective combined with intense exposure to many koi can fast track the koi enthusist's eye regarding such things as shimmie's nature and cause. JR

  3. #43
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    and BB I think I get the point you are making regarding WHERE shimmies are and aren't. True shimmies ( an epidermal melanophore) is random but often found in 'favorite areas' of the body. Similar to the discus ( in the shoulder) or the swordtail ( in the shoulder and peduncle).
    But the sumi markings called shimmies that form more of a bloch than a circle in the epidermis and upper dermis are usually sanke like. This is then an obvious link to genetics ( link bred trait) and variety type and not atavism.

    I'll leave the subject of sumi appearance and water conditions to Steve as this is his subject. JR

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by waddy View Post
    Ah, thanks for all the information.

    So it's really only a simple combination of 'melanin' together with 'the silica/silicates where hypermelanistic enhancement is desired'.

    Is that it?

    Sounds a little complex for a layman like me but I'll give that some serious thought especially seeing it has come from the Japanese scientists mentioned.

    And yet once again, the question nags -

    Do the Japanese breeder's, and indeed several other ponds I know of, have some kind of 'by-pass' to all this monetary devaluation of many Koi?

    Just a thought.
    G'Mornin' Peter.
    I know that the information I posted didn't really "inform" any of the current participants in the conversation, but we often have more "readers" than "posters" and for some this is all a brand new revelation. Breaking it down for the newbies benefit is a courtesy

    I think it also valuable to step back from a "single cause/effect" tendency just far enough to examine other factors that may feed into the picture. It is entirely too easy to get tunnel vision once we settle on an opinion. Taking it "back to the basics" now and again can broaden the view.

    Here's the condensed version of what I see.
    Koi are Carp and are capable of processing color in highly refined ways compared to their wild cousins.
    Their level of refinement varies wildly and many recessive traits may only reveal themselves if certain environmental conditions are in play.
    General water conditions have a major impact on how Koi skin maintains its quality including the way it processes and maintains color.
    General diet also has a major impact on overall health and color nutrition is a major contributor to the results we can expect in any given scenario.

    You've dropped some pretty good hints about water conditions linked to hikkui being a potential player in shimmie formation as well, but I see shimmies more commonly than hikkui so I don't necessarily think we're looking at the same factors in this scenario.
    A possible contributor to a bigger picture maybe? That I can certainly see as a factor.

    Your question about older ponds where the same fish reside continually has legs. Many ponds that are several years old are allowed to go a bit "soft" on maintenance which may cause the general conditions to deteriorate even if the appear superficially "clean". Hormone buildups in the water, gradual increase in organic contaminants, accumulation of "undesirable" elements, and the gradual decline of desirable ones.

    Add all of that to a Koi with a genetic predisposition toward "the wild side" and it could cause shimmies to occur more often (as well as other issues).

    What makes this more difficult to pin down is the wildly varied experiences we see from different people. Steve's experiences with radically different water parameters yielding different results makes a good case for hardness being a huge factor. Same ponder, same quality of Koi (high), same approach to water management, etc... I seriously doubt that Steve got "dumb and lazy" about taking care of his Koi in this location and suddenly "bright and energetic" when he moved elsewhere.
    What Mike has described with his Kohaku (with the "come and go" shimmies) adds another consideration. Mike likewise has high quality Koi, has a well established pond, maintains his water carefully at all times, and has ONE fish with semi-seasonal shimmies that are not confined to any particular location on the skin/scales.
    That kind of throws a monkey wrench into the "hidden enemy within the water" scenario.

    There are several things in play here that can't be packaged up neatly in a tidy little box of thoughts and opinions. Steve's pond description of "its a system" applies just as well to the Koi themselves as it does to the pond and filtration.
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    and BB I think I get the point you are making regarding WHERE shimmies are and aren't. True shimmies ( an epidermal melanophore) is random but often found in 'favorite areas' of the body. Similar to the discus ( in the shoulder) or the swordtail ( in the shoulder and peduncle).
    But the sumi markings called shimmies that form more of a bloch than a circle in the epidermis and upper dermis are usually sanke like. This is then an obvious link to genetics ( link bred trait) and variety type and not atavism.

    I'll leave the subject of sumi appearance and water conditions to Steve as this is his subject. JR
    Hey now, don't leave this to me. I admit freely that Koi Physiology is not my strong suit and I think your input has been excellent. Understanding the differences in types of shimis is great. While I stated as water conditions playing a major role, I think environmental conditions (including water hardness) may be a better description. I still wonder though at the genetic predisposition for shimis depending on these conditions. Talking with one breeder recently, he discussed how some oyagoi pairings yielded offspring more likely to throw shimis (in his water conditions) than other pairings in the same conditions. Makes one think.

    Larry, Thanks for the compliment. I'd like to think I don't slip in my pond maintenance but we all do from time to time. The difference is that my worst pond days are typically better than most folks best days. Some Brit drilled it into me (smiles at Peter).
    The views presented are my personal views and not that of any organization that I may belong to unless otherwise specified. [email protected]
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  6. #46
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    Right.
    In the early minds of koi keepers the problems encountered in koi must always be with the introduction of other fish or from the environment. This simplistic view attempts to 'blame' shimmies, hikkui, parasites, infections etc on something external.
    In this thinking it becomes natural to identify an offending agent for problems.
    Now don't misread me! I was the guy who introduced into the hobby;

    1) the concept of survival parameters Vs ideal parameters

    2) the concept of the closed system as it pertains to BASE LINE parameters/ readings. It gives me great satisfaction when I read another's posts and/or articles about closed systems as being a place where certain pollutants/toxins build up and other elements are used up!

    So I do appreciate environment! But sometimes the 3000 pound elephant in the room needs to be acknowledged! And genetic traits ARE what makes a koi a koi and not a carp.

    What is pollution in koi terms? ANY parameter, normal or abnormal, that stresses the koi. Skin is perhaps the first indicator of robust health in koi ( some would argue behavior or appetite). It can tell us so much about the stress in a koi, it's inability to adapt or it's general well being.
    The culprits are typically those things that get deposited in the closed system and/or those things that are used up within the system.

    When Peter lead us all down the road saying that salt was evil and that koi are not salt water fish and that baking soda was bad for fish ( it took me years to sort that one out!) we naturally believed in the observations of an idiot savant ( that's a compliment and not a shot).
    But the truth is, living water or water that koi live in ( two different things) is very complicated. And very often it is the underlying parameters in combination that cause the problem- a problem that demands a thoughtful solution and not simplistic culprits.

    The variables in water from region to region is great and we see koi survive in some conditions, flourish in others, hang in in yet other situations and doing damned poorly in other situations.
    And unfortunately the observations of koi in Japanese mud ponds and concrete holding houses helps us very little in the end. We can gain certain perspective for sure, but sweeping statements are hard to make.

    JR

  7. #47
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    Lots of information has come in of late and I have no doubt that we all are aware of exactly WHAT a shimi is now.

    Although shimi and hikui are totally different I did mention in my original post that the questions raised could apply to both conditions.

    So I'll assume that we all know exactly WHAT hikui is also.

    However we still have not come up with an answer as to WHY I have NEVER seen either of these conditions (apart from one isolated instance of hikui that can be explained) either in Koi being harvested from field ponds or those kept in the breeder's indoor systems.

    It should be painfully obvious that no one will wish to purchase any Koi showing either of these conditions and so once more my question is WHY!

    Any takers?

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by waddy View Post
    As a matter of interest, the pond that the nisai went into - how long had the pond been running for since inception?
    The pond was constructed in April 2005. The Kohaku in question was acquired in late Spring 2008 as a 55cm nisai from Maruyama. (Supposedly going to be grown in the mud to sansai, but I figured that was hype.) She had an extended quarantine in California before being shipped to me, arriving in July 2008. She had her first shimmy by November 2008. We typically have a 10-month growing season in my area of Florida. Water temperatures are only rarely below 16C (60F), so some would say they grow year-round. Water turns over through multiple separate filter systems every 40 minutes. It is highly aerated. Water changes are 35%-40% per week. Water has a pH ranging from 7.8 to 8.1 depending on the year and season. There is very little fluctuation during the day, or from day to day. General hardness is in 160-180ppm range.

  9. #49
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    Koi coming out of field ponds without shimmies is no big surprise. I don't think I've ever seen it in freshly harvested Koi even in American field ponds with water harder than that typically found in Japan.

    The Concrete ponds in the breeders facilities are obviously incredibly well filtered with semi-flow through systems being fairly common. Momotaro's constant 10% exchange comes immediately to mind. All of these things combine to constantly remove any undesirables from the water.

    The other factor that comes into play is the absence of "direct" sunlight in both cases. Murky, muddy water in the field ponds and "filtered" sunlight in the greenhouses. In both cases you have removed an element of skin response to heavy sunlight as a "stressor".

    That thought brings me to something I thought about earlier but did not mention until now. We've all seen how some Koi (and especially wild carp) change can alter the depth of their coloration as a "chameleon-esqe" response to their environment. The ability to "blend in" is deeply rooted in Carp physiology and the thought that even their highly refined Koi cousins can have a "melanin" response to their surroundings would not be surprising in the least.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by waddy View Post
    Lots of information has come in of late and I have no doubt that we all are aware of exactly WHAT a shimi is now.

    Although shimi and hikui are totally different I did mention in my original post that the questions raised could apply to both conditions.

    So I'll assume that we all know exactly WHAT hikui is also.

    However we still have not come up with an answer as to WHY I have NEVER seen either of these conditions (apart from one isolated instance of hikui that can be explained) either in Koi being harvested from field ponds or those kept in the breeder's indoor systems.

    It should be painfully obvious that no one will wish to purchase any Koi showing either of these conditions and so once more my question is WHY!

    Any takers?
    Not sure I am a taker or not but I will comment that I don't think anyone really knows "what" Hikui is or is not so the "assumption," at least in my regard is not valid. Some will say a form of cancer while others say that it is fungal (both types of cells can appear under microscopic examination to be nearly the same). So, depending on ones position on that point, opinions can vary as to the contributing factors which bring it on. Under both trains of thought, mud ponds could act as a positve influence for the koi but the "exact" logic of "why" still remains a mystery I think.
    The views presented are my personal views and not that of any organization that I may belong to unless otherwise specified. [email protected]
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