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Thread: The wrong way, the 'right' way and the enlightened way--

  1. #1
    Daihonmei
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    The wrong way, the 'right' way and the enlightened way--

    The wrong way, the ‘right’ way and the enlightened way----

    How to keep koi, the wrong way—a complete guide to a short term hobby; by James ‘beginner’ Reilly
    Keeping koi the wrong way (also known as water gardening keeping in the 1970s) is not hard. To begin with, we need a shallow pond that will accommodate plants as the leaves of water lilies should be allowed to float on the surface. If needed, add some concrete blocks to compensate for depth. We will need an in-pond filter hidden below cider blocks so that the uneaten food can be collected and removed at the end of the season. A small pump is needed for some water movement but not so much as to disturb plants. We will need some fish of course and enough plants so that our natural system will never be short of oxygen. We will need some snails to eat uneaten koi food and a waterfall to give a natural look and to provide more oxygen to the water so that at night time, when the plants are not providing oxygen, the water fall will. Finally we need algaecide for controlling green water and slime algae floating at the surface as well as some chemicals to ‘eat’ mulm and chemicals to make the water safe for fish. We need a cattle bin heater to keep ice off of the pond surface in one area so that gas can escape in winter while our koi sleep below the ice. We need a pond vacuum for getting mulm out of the pond bottom and a net for catching fish to treat wounds and sores. We need a paste for putting on those wounds and medicine for adding to the water. We need a PH kit and baking soda to stop fish dying from pH crashes and we need new purple products for killing the diseases that get into our ponds from new purchases. We need shot gun type methods or chemical cocktails for parasite control. We need a list of newer remedies for ‘resistant’ parasites. We need new antibiotic tips for resistant bacterial infections that are killing entire ponds on the web. We need a cure for the KHV that is killing internet ponds weekly. We need websites for nightly chat regarding dead or dying fish and nets to keep killer birds from eating our fish. We need pictures of parasites and a list of all the dog and cat products that kill fish parasites. We need a website to walk us through the routines needed to prepare our ponds for spring startup and a list of chemicals to add to kill the bacteria and parasites that come with Aeromonas ally! We need a primer on Aeromonas alley! J We need a list of natural algaecides and details on technology that kills bacteria and viruses that cloud our water. We need a remedy for cloudy water. We need bigger more powerful UV tubes and bulbs. We need to add fertilizer to the flowering plant pots but also a better algaecide that kills green water afterwards. We need a bigger, more effective vacuum cleaner than the hand pumped ones. We need barley straw decay to end the green water once and for all. We need salt to kill excess bacteria and to stimulate under achiever koi int0 producing more slime coat to protect them from parasites. We need salt in the water to protect koi from parasites that birds bring into the pond. We need nets to cover the pond to keep birds from dropping KHV into our ponds. We will need to have medicated koi pellets on hand to keep the Aeromonas at bay in the spring. We need PP for keeping our water fresh and clean. We need more information on the internet about water dips and hospital tanks for sick fish. We need floating baskets for isolating sick fish from our herd so that they can get enough food at meal time. And we need a new source of KHV free fish for our ponds. We need to learn more about fish autopsies and dissecting knowledge so as to determine why fish died lately. We need special tools for doing autopsies like the pros have in order to be better koi keepers. We need better, greater and larger worldwide koi organizations dedicated specifically to fight koi diseases and koi suffering around the world.
    In short, this IS a wonderful hobby filled with wonderful medical health challenges and very rewarding once you have been educated on the natural pond and the support needed to keep our wet pets happy and healthy from one season to the next. J JR tongue firmly in cheek.

    ( to be continued)

  2. #2
    Sansai
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    That made me laugh

    "blocks so that the uneaten food can be collected and removed at the end of the season"

    Very good

  3. #3
    Daihonmei
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    not really trying to be mean as most of us stated with this perspective. But we do need to move on from this stage and not live on the learning curve in a state of constant arrested development.
    It was actually Bob Finnegan who had me in an epiphany moment when he said to me " there is something odd about folks who want to focus on fish diseases as what the hobby is all about". That got me thinking and I changed my approach on these type postings some 7-8 years ago now.

    The stuggling years should only be a phase. Not a hobby. Now I know that some folks keep koi really only so that they can play with filter designs and water quality! I know because I was one of them! But at the end of the day, filters are a necessiary thing and once you get to the summit, the quest is over! Then the focus on the koi begins again.
    In the case of disease hobbyists or DHEs ( Disease Hobbyist Enthusists) We see an odd breed indeed. Kinda like the self appointed preacher.
    Now I was also one of these folks so I get the thinking-- to a point. Not to blow my own horn, but I was closely linked to the old BKKS health committee and helped start the copy of that program with the MAKC and the Health Hotline. Every weekend I was at a member's pond doing injections, scrapings and general water treatments ( in the early 1990s ). I introduced the vet at the Baltimore Seminar back then, was first to inject koi on the east coast and the first to routinely use a microscope to diagnose and then inject fish ( an unheard of practice back then). I was also the first to use an ORP meter for PP treatment and was a consultant to the early AKCA health program ( then called KHV - koi health volunteers). So I'm NOT anti- health! But I find I am anti- disease focused as it pertains to koi. But I digress------

    The wrong way to keep koi is way too focused on pushing back on disease and parasitic 'wild fires' rather than focusing on 'who' the koi are as living creatures, their needs and their requirements. If these things are addressed, the rest is just about marketing un-necessary 'stuff' and that odd focus/frustration regarding why the fish keep dying no matter how many compounds are used. And no matter how good we become at antibiotic trivia or autopsy technique. In effect, these 'needs' are a sign of bad approach and bad koi keeping. maybe the title of this post should be " the well meaning yet misguided approach to bad koi keeping?"

  4. #4
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    When the internet started to take hold, what was the foremost U.S. koi forum? ...KoiVet. How to keep them alive was the central focus. I recall having a real sense of accomplishment when I went a whole year without a fish dying from some disease. Once a person gets past just keeping them alive, the real enjoyment begins. Many lose interest before reaching that point. Still, despite recessionary economics, it is easier now to learn fishkeeping skills than ever before. So many have learned what it takes and share their experiences on the boards, the relative newcomer can catch up quicker than could be done just 10 years ago. Yes, the chatter about potions to add to the pond is all around, but not as dominating as it once was. Even the internet boards populated with garden pondkeepers exhibit a greater understanding of water quality. It is rare anymore to have postings about successfully keeping koi in ponds without bottom drains and cleaning out leaves once a year. 10 years ago, there was a rather substantial number of people who really wanted to believe those things. There are still plenty around (and there are plenty of manufacturers of bottled potions), but they do not speak up so much.

  5. #5
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    You left out the herd of frogs for target practice.

  6. #6
    Sansai WayneB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    When the internet started to take hold, what was the foremost U.S. koi forum? ...KoiVet. How to keep them alive was the central focus. I recall having a real sense of accomplishment when I went a whole year without a fish dying from some disease. Once a person gets past just keeping them alive, the real enjoyment begins. Many lose interest before reaching that point.
    Very true. I have not stopped to learn. Amazing hobby.

  7. #7
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    When the internet started to take hold, what was the foremost U.S. koi forum? ...KoiVet. How to keep them alive was the central focus. I recall having a real sense of accomplishment when I went a whole year without a fish dying from some disease. Once a person gets past just keeping them alive, the real enjoyment begins. Many lose interest before reaching that point. Still, despite recessionary economics, it is easier now to learn fishkeeping skills than ever before. So many have learned what it takes and share their experiences on the boards, the relative newcomer can catch up quicker than could be done just 10 years ago. Yes, the chatter about potions to add to the pond is all around, but not as dominating as it once was. Even the internet boards populated with garden pondkeepers exhibit a greater understanding of water quality. It is rare anymore to have postings about successfully keeping koi in ponds without bottom drains and cleaning out leaves once a year. 10 years ago, there was a rather substantial number of people who really wanted to believe those things. There are still plenty around (and there are plenty of manufacturers of bottled potions), but they do not speak up so much.
    Its true. We as advanced hobbyists owe it to beginners to help them past that phase. And the general knowledge available today is far better then when we were all back giving advise to ponders on koivet. So people should be starting from a better place with better understanding then back then.
    I would like beginners to be helped but not locked into the mindset that struggle is the hobby or that the hobby is largely about coping with disease as the 'fun part'. JR

  8. #8
    Nisai cookcpu's Avatar
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    It might sound stupid question....so what is the enlightened way of koi keeping.

  9. #9
    Daihonmei
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    Good morning Cookie, the right way is the 'enlightened' way because the only way you can get there is with perspective. And that unfortunately only comes from experience. trial and error, a long learning curve and some pain and expense!! The other way is to get close to experienced hobbyists that made that journey and are willing to give back. The only place for this is ;
    1) the printed word. Note, I didn't say written. Printed. If you find something in a dedicated magazine or publication, you are reading something that has been submitted and accepted and the author has signed their name to. In other words, it is a responsible source.

    2) hanging around with experienced chapter members who talk the talk and walk the walk. Your local ZNA judge for instance, is a wonderful source for such perspective. And afternoon with Dick Thomas, Junichi, Ray Jordan, etc is worth a year on the internet.

    3) when you so read the internet look for details on what koi are and what they need. Not what to add to water or how to constantly combat health problems. Consider that odd area of koi interest to be the land of the lost. The 'pond of the damned'. Instead, look for posts about koi as living creatures--what they need-- indeed what it is they want to stay healthy and long lived.

    4) associate with trusted dealers. ZNA has a 'best dealer's program' and it is not a financial based relationship. Dealers that are koi kichi and approach their business with a love for the fish is who we recommend. If you learn to see koi through their eyes, you will pick up on the right ways and wrong ways to provide for your purchases.

    I will go into these things in more detail over the next few years and I hope you will check in and ask questions or provide your perspective. JR

  10. #10
    Nisai cookcpu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    Good morning Cookie, the right way is the 'enlightened' way because the only way you can get there is with perspective. And that unfortunately only comes from experience. trial and error, a long learning curve and some pain and expense!! The other way is to get close to experienced hobbyists that made that journey and are willing to give back. The only place for this is ;
    1) the printed word. Note, I didn't say written. Printed. If you find something in a dedicated magazine or publication, you are reading something that has been submitted and accepted and the author has signed their name to. In other words, it is a responsible source.

    2) hanging around with experienced chapter members who talk the talk and walk the walk. Your local ZNA judge for instance, is a wonderful source for such perspective. And afternoon with Dick Thomas, Junichi, Ray Jordan, etc is worth a year on the internet.

    3) when you so read the internet look for details on what koi are and what they need. Not what to add to water or how to constantly combat health problems. Consider that odd area of koi interest to be the land of the lost. The 'pond of the damned'. Instead, look for posts about koi as living creatures--what they need-- indeed what it is they want to stay healthy and long lived.

    4) associate with trusted dealers. ZNA has a 'best dealer's program' and it is not a financial based relationship. Dealers that are koi kichi and approach their business with a love for the fish is who we recommend. If you learn to see koi through their eyes, you will pick up on the right ways and wrong ways to provide for your purchases.

    I will go into these things in more detail over the next few years and I hope you will check in and ask questions or provide your perspective. JR
    Thank you, JR. I will alway check in and hopefully I will be able to pick up a few pointer here and there.

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