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Thread: How to ruin a good show koi

  1. #11
    Daihonmei
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    "what's a good show koi?" That's a very good question! Some might say a 'show koi' is in the eye of the beholder! Not true of course but marketing and perspective make that definition a moving target!

    If you go to a few of the mass marketing fish stores on line you will see words like "campion koi" for sale. Or 'show koi' at 20% more then pond grade koi!!!

    For the beginner, first there are colored carp. These are simply common carp with the white gene or mutation red gene. they are not so much actual varieties in terms of a show standard, but they are 'kinda like' one variety or another. these can be red speckled fish, white fish witn black speckling, red and white fish etc.

    The next level is a fish is actually a known variety and can be identfied as such based on traits. This gets us to the world KOI from the term colored carp at least. But the grade of this fish might be so poor compared to the current Japanese standard of grades, that it is hard to call these fish good show fish. But they are koi! These fish are great pets and probably good animals to learn general husbandry with.

    Then we have good show koi. "good' is a relative word of course. But so is "snob" , so we need to be careful here. The hard charging advanced hobbyist may only see the 'best' as the only good koi. But I'm here to tell you after judging scores of koi shows, there is a lot to be said for a robust healthy medium grade show fish when up against poorly kept, burnt out high class koi. Equally, it is hard to put down a hot well patterned size two male at a koi show! It is real show fish!! It is not expensive, it has a poor future but it IS a winner in that show based on the criteria to win in size 2.

    So to bring this all home-- a show fish is any fish that is a recognized breed and scores well against a standard. The ranking of that fish then involves how high it ranks, how well it competes and of what grade it is. In those reveiws the idea of " good", "average" " below average" will be determined. make sense? JR

  2. #12
    Nisai cookcpu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    Having nitrate levels "constantly at 50 to 100ppm" is not good IMO. My goal is to stay below 10ppm. During parts of the year, a level of 5ppm can be accomplished; but for part of the year a level of 10ppm requires me to make extra effort. As to your situation.... First, that is quite a range. I would not call it very 'constant' at all. You are describing a doubling of nitrate at a high level. (It is certainly safe from a health perspective, but that is not the same as optimal.) When is at 50ppm and when at 100ppm? If there is nitrate in your source water, there is not much you can do that is practical for the hobbyist. (There are nitrate removal products, but the expense is ridiculous for a pond.) But, if your source water is free of nitrate, you can increase water changes, reduce the number of fish or reduce feeding (or a combination of all three) to obtain lower nitrate levels. Study your water. Take nitrate readings daily for a few weeks and consider your findings in relation to the amounts being fed, volume of water changes, etc. It may be that increasing water changes to 25% or 30% per week is all you need to do to greatly reduce nitrate levels. At the same time, are there other major 'inputs', like leaves from overhanging trees? The most challenging time of year for my pond is when a nearby pecan tree blooms, putting huge amounts of pollen and bloom tassels in the water. The pollen has a greater impact than using high protein foods.
    Thank you MikeM. I will try to monitor more of the nitrate level in relation to the amount being fed and volume of water changes, etc.

    I don't have overhanging tress but I do have daily construction dirt floating on the surface water.

  3. #13
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I'm bumping up an old thread on water changes. Something to think about in regard to nitrate build-up.

  4. #14
    Nisai N2koi's Avatar
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    Awesome thread!

  5. #15
    Tosai
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    JR,

    On the fasting for kois , over here in the equator where water temp moves insignificantly between 26C to 30C ( 79-86F) would it be possible to sync up to the highest temp rather than lowest? Lighthing could be possibly be manipulated by covering the pond. I am suggesting to cut down feeding to only wheatgerm and maybe 20-30% of usual feeding regime , for 8 weeks ? Would it serve the same purpose as fasting in temperate climate for a 4 season fish ?

    thanks
    ts

  6. #16
    Daihonmei
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    Good morning- the issue with tropical carp keeping is well hidden within the fish. After all they grow fast look good and seem very happy in warm water.
    But we know that koi can burn bright and burn out quickly in warm water 365 days a year. I know some hobbyists in Taiwan that run cooler well water in eight weeks a year to deliver change to the fish's internal system (endocrine system and glycogen reserves). I know other hobbyists that stop feeding during the wet season (this is the trigger for most reptiles in the tropical regions of the world, as is the dry season another trigger for hibernation).
    The triggers for the koi are not only water temperature. The triggers include light levels.
    In the typical temperate water /temperate seasons, the high temperature is coupled with high sun light in the sky (broad spectrum and high intensity).
    So fasting when water is warm (and fish are not so hungry and water quality can drop fast) might seem logical but it only addresses the appetite of fish and not the triggers of light and heat.
    Further, a koi is in sync with all around it and its body is operating on the current conditions and triggers of change that send its body into preparing for the next season. This is why it is relevant as to when you even import fish into your country. You must have noticed that sometimes fish (especially mature females) take a long time to settle in some times of the year and no problem at all other times of the year. We often blame this syndrome on shipping, time at the airport and poor shipping technique from the other end- indeed some Japanese shippers are considered gods of shipping due to the fact they only ship certain times of the year.
    So with this in mind, try and appreciate that a koi is one with its environment- including:
    1) The one it was just shipped from
    2) The season it is
    3) The sex and age of the koi
    4) The triggers that tell it to get ready for the next change
    Hope that helps.
    I'd just change the diet (less animal protein, more roughage and veggie) of my koi if I lived in Asian at the coolest time of the year and maybe look into running well water of a cooler temperature into the water for 6- 8 weeks. Best, JR

  7. #17
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I am not in a tropical area, but do deal with comparatively high water temperatures year round. (Thanks to a cold spell the last two evenings, my pond temperature has at last fallen from the mid-70sF to 58F; and will undoubtedly rise to mid-60sF over the next couple of days. I left the Bakki shower and aeration in full operation during the cold snap to encourage lower temperatures.) I concur with JR, and would supplement his suggestion with cutting back on total calorie intake. Feeding a reduced protein diet will typically also be reduced calories, but not necessarily. Look for low fat content and cut back total volume of food. In warm climates there is usually significant algae growth on the walls of the pond. Let the koi fulfill their need for full stomaches by consuming that algae. The nutrient content is not readily obtained by the koi digestive system, but their bodies will work at digesting it, triggering the process of converting fat stored in the organs into the energy needed by the fish. ....My thinking on fasting for 6 weeks each year originated with JR's rambles on the subject, and has been reinforced by my independent reading and recommendations made by Japanese breeders. My personal observations are pretty much limited to the fact that I have not had a koi die from egg bloat since adopting an annual fast, but I did before then.

  8. #18
    Tosai
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    JR, Mike ,

    Here with water temp's limited range (79-86F) we do know and hear of many big kois (expensive show winners from Japan) imported that did not last more than 1 yrs hence your timing of shipping back needs serious consideration. Not to mention the many tosai/nisai that goes downhill once arrived. Many kois dealers and koi hobbyist employ water chillers to ease the transition and in raising them. But none i know use it to "trigger the change" necessary for a four season fish but rather use it to maintain the endless sweet summer at 22-25C , and push for growth. We see kois with health issues once reaching 4-5yrs old raised from nisai , with egg impacted, sinking issues , gulping and bulging eyes are common place.

    Mike ,

    i have been running sort of long term fast with few months (2 round of 2 month each) feeding of high protein/heavy feeding up to 1.5% while the others month are gradual change to wheat germ only at 0.2% for 2 months. All the while weekly provision of fresh veges. i never had kois dead from egg but neither do i have kois with body that look like those GC even after so many years. I do have quite a few that reaches above 75cm, few even above 80cm raised from tosai , and healthy but again no GC body. With my 60 ton pond i can't afford to run a chiller full time but possibly could afford to run it just to get that " trigger " going and do a proper fast.

    ts

  9. #19
    Daihonmei
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    Interesting. I know that a chiller for koi keepers and quite a cost to buy, install and run. I wonder if a chiller could be run on solar panels? Now THAT would be interesting for some ambitious Asian dealer!!
    Chillers of course are used regardly at public aquariums and big reef systems as the need for intense light and high circulation pumps has lead to very hot water temperatures. And so chillers are needed to bring temps down. In other cases, the species kept NEEDS cool water to survive and so chillers are a standard piece of equipment.

    So here's the JR challenge ( maybe I can include this in the magazine I write for in South East Asian)?

    Lets see if someone can get a chiller to run on a generator hooked to solar panels and lets see if cooling the pond down ( goal is 65 F) for just 6 weeks is an affordable idea. This could do wonders for thet washed out look that many tropical koi get after age five. And might save the margins of color plates from unraveling as they tend to do with hot kept koi. JR

  10. #20
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    TS, it is a simple truth that koi are not made for such high year round temperatures. I do not have your situation, but still see that my koi are "off" at the end of the long, hot summer. They are at their best after water temperatures decline. I am aware that koikeepers in tropical areas use shading to help prevent extreme highs, and a constant trickle of lower temperature new water can moderate the extremes.

    I believe the main factor is the lower oxygen level in warm water. Higher oxygen levels increase the robustness of the fish, and their appetite. Using a chiller to reduce pond temperatures from 30C (86F) to 22C (72F) has to be very costly. I think it would make a real difference if a chiller could be used to just keep the pond from going over 27C (80-81F), but the expense may still be extraordinary. I think lowering the temperature to 19C (66F) for just 6 weeks would be very helpful, but I do not have personal experience so my thoughts are not something to rely upon. I think you should really investigate what practices are being used in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. to see if there is an affordable middle ground approach that has given good results. It would be regrettable to go to the expense of installing a chiller and operating it on a limited basis, only to find out that such an approach is insufficient.

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