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Thread: How to ruin a good show koi

  1. #1
    Daihonmei
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    How to ruin a good show koi

    There are many ways to wreck a great prospect!
    Here are a few things you should avoid:
    1) Do NOT feed color food to very young fish. Yes, it will color them up in the red but it will negatively affect the rest of the fish! It might also effect the plate development in a negative way. So if you have a nice young male that you want to show at age 0- 2 pour it on! Otherwise avoid color foods
    2) Do NOT think that PP or any other short sighted techniques keep water 'perpetually young'! Nothing can substitute for a water change. This lowers nitrAtes and nitrAtes are the kiss of death for good skin development
    3) Do NOT over feed! I probably should have put this one first as it is the universal common mistake that most enthusiasts make when it comes to priming show fish. Overfeeding is linked to point # 2 and it is also linked to ruining body conformation and possibly encouraging ulcers, which is the very quickest was to wreck a show fish.
    4) Do allow your show fish a cooling period/fasting period for a few weeks a year. This is important to internal health and since a good show fish should be a healthy show fish, this will help both the skin glow and presence of a fish in the show vat compared to its competitors.
    5) Do keep bacteria count down in a good show pond environment. In Japan, many hobbyists keep their lesser fish in a garden pond and their show fish in fish houses for the winter.
    6) Do keep you show koi stress free. This means -- no overcrowding, no breeding, no 5 months of winter, always quarantine, always do your maintenance.
    If you so these things, accidents will still happen and an occasional fish will come down with some internal disease or problems. They are after all living things and there are no guarantees.
    In the end, you are your show fish's best alley and also you can be their worst enemy. This is why you should always see yourself as having a learning curve and should NOT take on expense high end koi until you have mastered the smaller show fish and its needs. Hope this helps someone out there. JR

  2. #2
    Sansai almostgeorgia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    There are many ways to wreck a great prospect!
    Here are a few things you should avoid:
    1) Do NOT feed color food to very young fish. Yes, it will color them up in the red but it will negatively affect the rest of the fish! It might also effect the plate development in a negative way. So if you have a nice young male that you want to show at age 0- 2 pour it on! Otherwise avoid color foods
    2) Do NOT think that PP or any other short sighted techniques keep water 'perpetually young'! Nothing can substitute for a water change. This lowers nitrAtes and nitrAtes are the kiss of death for good skin development
    3) Do NOT over feed! I probably should have put this one first as it is the universal common mistake that most enthusiasts make when it comes to priming show fish. Overfeeding is linked to point # 2 and it is also linked to ruining body conformation and possibly encouraging ulcers, which is the very quickest was to wreck a show fish.
    4) Do allow your show fish a cooling period/fasting period for a few weeks a year. This is important to internal health and since a good show fish should be a healthy show fish, this will help both the skin glow and presence of a fish in the show vat compared to its competitors.
    5) Do keep bacteria count down in a good show pond environment. In Japan, many hobbyists keep their lesser fish in a garden pond and their show fish in fish houses for the winter.
    6) Do keep you show koi stress free. This means -- no overcrowding, no breeding, no 5 months of winter, always quarantine, always do your maintenance.
    If you so these things, accidents will still happen and an occasional fish will come down with some internal disease or problems. They are after all living things and there are no guarantees.
    In the end, you are your show fish's best alley and also you can be their worst enemy. This is why you should always see yourself as having a learning curve and should NOT take on expense high end koi until you have mastered the smaller show fish and its needs. Hope this helps someone out there. JR
    Nice run down of some of the essential points of good koi husbandry, JR. Though you aimed your comments at those who would be prepping fish for a show, I would go a bit further and humbly suggest this list applies to some simple good points about koi keeping in general.

    As a relative novice to this hobby, I'm always amazed at the reaction when I discuss the finer points of such basics as the merits of a 20-25% minimum water change weekly vs. a small drip/daily fresh water 'flow through'. To some even veteran koi keepers I've met, the idea of periodic water changes, especially on what they consider such a 'monumental scale' is a totally foreign, and to them, excessive, exercise.

    But of all your points made here, the one I personally find most 'troubling' to get my head around is what amount to feed my koi. I've heard some experienced and very successful koi keepers suggest feeding all your fish can comfortably consume on a daily basis is the best way to raise large, healthy fish relatively quickly. I'm not discussing the merits of high protein vs .vegetable matter, etc., here. I'm just quoting a general, 'feed 'em often and feed 'em well'. Yet I read that others such as yourself caution against overfeeding. The trick is, what IS overfeeding?

    I suspect like everything else, there are many complex angles to such a simple statement; We all know overfeeding can quickly increase dissolved solids, increase the stress on filter systems, etc, and not to mention what it might do physically to the conformation of the fish. I'm clear on the concept that too much rich feed can result in such things as 'pigeon chest' or just 'pouchy belly'. (My wife says I might want to read up on that in regards to that last physical anomaly myself ) I suspect where your fish are, age wise, is also a very strong indicator of what amounts to feed. It doesn't take a genius to know a tosai (a 'teenager' in human terms) will need more high protein feed and more of it than a 12 year old oyagoi. If you would, JR, please expand on how you balance between good, strong, relatively rapid growth and 'over feeding'?

    BTW, living in Florida in what amounts to 'perpetual Summer' for koi, I'm also a strong adherent to the school of fasting for at least a couple of months each 'winter'. That's for my fish, not ME! But even this, too, is another hotly contested concept in warm weather land, and MANY koi kichi I know still 'sneak' food to their wards all year 'round down here.

    Thanks for any general thoughts you might have on what constitutes 'overfeeding'.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei
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    yep, the over feeding bit is a mistake for many reasons beyond show koi prep.
    Over feeding is for the owner, and not for the koi because a koi can't;

    1) process and use digested food at certain temperatures

    2) digests and utilizes food at different rates of efficiency based on time of year

    3) due to 1 and 2 , the koi dumps any partly digested food back into the water column, resulting in poorer water quality and that in turn, acts as a fed back mechanism on the koi's digestive process.

    4) what is not used for energy is stored. And what is stored has the potential to ruin conformation and internal organs such as the liver. Storage is part of the carps survival strategy so it is good, bit if ot managed becomes a health rish as koi store fatty tissue in internal organs.

  4. #4
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by almostgeorgia View Post
    BTW, living in Florida in what amounts to 'perpetual Summer' for koi, I'm also a strong adherent to the school of fasting for at least a couple of months each 'winter'. That's for my fish, not ME! But even this, too, is another hotly contested concept in warm weather land, and MANY koi kichi I know still 'sneak' food to their wards all year 'round down here.
    I live in a warm area (it is 80F today) and pretty much feed year around.

    Fasting for a few weeks a year is different from fasting for a couple of months a year, especially in a warmer temperate region like Florida and Southern California.

  5. #5
    Daihonmei
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    Someone will need to explain that to the fish's physiology!

    Adaptation is a very real thing and carp are masters at it. But physiology is another very real thing- it's the result of 40,000 years of survival refinement. Placing a four season fish ( temperate species) into mild climates and even tropical climates would seem to be an ideal setting for a fish species that had survived harsh winters for tens of thousands of years. This is however, a case of " be careful what you wish for" as endless summer can have serious effects on a four season species if it isn't fed right. A word to the wise--- JR

  6. #6
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
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    JR- I think you need to define "good show koi" before we attempt not to ruin them for a show.....

  7. #7
    Nisai cookcpu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    There are many ways to wreck a great prospect!
    Here are a few things you should avoid:

    2) Nothing can substitute for a water change. This lowers nitrAtes and nitrAtes are the kiss of death for good skin development
    ow fish and its needs.

    Hope this helps someone out there. JR
    I wish to ask does nitrates in the pond measure constantly at 50 to 100 ppm affect the Hi plate of the koi since high nitrates also not good for the skin development.

    Some background information in regard to my pond water.

    With daily flushing(estimated water volume is 2%) and weekly water change (20%). Source of water is direct from the tap.

    My pond is one year old, the pH is around 7.8 now before that it is hoover around 8.0.

    I realise that sumi on the koi in my pond tend to grow darker but the Hi tend to fate. Pond temperature around 28 to 30 celsius.

  8. #8
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    S
    Adaptation is a very real thing and carp are masters at it. But physiology is another very real thing- it's the result of 40,000 years of survival refinement. Placing a four season fish ( temperate species) into mild climates and even tropical climates would seem to be an ideal setting for a fish species that had survived harsh winters for tens of thousands of years. This is however, a case of " be careful what you wish for" as endless summer can have serious effects on a four season species if it isn't fed right. A word to the wise--- JR

    So which is better for a domesticated carp... fasting for a few weeks or a couple of months a year in a warmer regions?

  9. #9
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookcpu View Post
    I wish to ask does nitrates in the pond measure constantly at 50 to 100 ppm affect the Hi plate of the koi since high nitrates also not good for the skin development.

    Some background information in regard to my pond water.

    With daily flushing(estimated water volume is 2%) and weekly water change (20%). Source of water is direct from the tap.

    My pond is one year old, the pH is around 7.8 now before that it is hoover around 8.0.

    I realise that sumi on the koi in my pond tend to grow darker but the Hi tend to fate. Pond temperature around 28 to 30 celsius.
    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.

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
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    Ricshaw, if you accept that a koi is a temperate water species then you are half way home, in that, you can address the need for 'change' in one of several ways.
    There are many species of fish that fall in this catagory, speckled and brown trout for instance, that man has moved all over the world. These species persist in those areas but interesting enough they tend to remain persistant without restocking only in those areas that in some way cater to their physiology. So in south America, for instance, brown trout can be found in certain mountain streams as a stable population even though they were put there 100 years ago by Europeans looking to spread the sport fish throughout their empires.

    In the case of California, you simply sync up your coolest, least sunny part of the year with a fasting or low calorie feeding cycle. In addition or alternatively, you can shift the animal protein levels in the diet during this time. You can also do a drip flow of cool water into the pond during this time of year. aif you have the ability to shade, this is also a good time to reduce lighting. You only need 6-8 weeks to reset the koi's biological clock. Think of this as a health tonic or as suppliments.
    The fish are conditions for water temperatures dropping into the high 40's for a period of the year. But I have found that a 20 degree swing from the hottest water of the year ( say 82 F) to the coolest water of the year ( 62 F) is adequate.
    The only issue then is how much you can fast or if you can fast at all ( rather reduce calorie intake and protein mix) depending on how low you can realistically go in low temperatures -- temperatures low enough that the fish's metabolism experiences statis.

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