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Thread: The very best way to buy koi--

  1. #11
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webted View Post
    Hi:
    The 2012 Washington Koi and Water Garden Society (WK&WGS) show crowned a $250 growout fish as Grand Champion. It beat out fish that retailed significantly north of $10K.
    Why? The owner has a outstanding facilities for growing koi to their full potential. I think this lowers the barrier to success that most Koi face. And, of course, there was some luck involved...
    -t
    You mean the 2011 WK&WGS Show?

  2. #12
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by webted View Post
    Hi:

    The 2012 Washington Koi and Water Garden Society (WK&WGS) show crowned a $250 growout fish as Grand Champion. It beat out fish that retailed significantly north of $10K.

    Why? The owner has a outstanding facilities for growing koi to their full potential. I think this lowers the barrier to success that most Koi face. And, of course, there was some luck involved...

    -t
    hows that possible?? The event hasn't happened yet??

  3. #13
    Nisai APOLONASGR36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lam Nguyen View Post
    The very best way to buy koi.................

    1. Is to never buy it without seeing it in person. Koi look so different in person than in pictures and even videos. If you are going to spend $1k or more on a koi, then why not book a $200-$300 flight ticket to fly down and take a look at the koi before purchase? And if you don't have the money to purchase flight ticket then you don't have enough money for the koi. If you don't have a few hours set aside to fly to see koi in person then you don't have the time to raise this potential tategoi.

    2. Is to never participate in a grow-out unless (1) you know the current quality of the koi AND (2) you are just doing it for fun. If you participate in a GO w/ the intention of getting a potential show contender.............let's just have fun with the GO. Keep in mind that you will need to exert time and emotional energy to rehome this koi a few months or years down the road.

    3. Is to know your current koi keeping skills and goals. You are not going to be able to raise a grand champion if you don't know how to bring out the best in your tategoi. Are your goals for now or for later? Are you wanting to win baby champ or are you wanting to 'go for the gold' a few years down the road?

    4. Is to know your pond capacity. Forget about raising a potential grand champion if you have a small pond.....unless you have a hidden mud pond somewhere to board your potential GC in the summer. Think big filtration, large volume of water with large water changes, stability, warmth, impeccable water parameter mgmt and to always stay on the top of your game.

    5. Is to know whether you want to leave your koi with the breeder for a summer or two or to bring her home. This hobby ain't cheap, especially when your goal/aspiration is to win it all. Not that it can't be done, but it would be extremely difficult to win a GC these days when your fellow hobbyists are bringing contenders from Japanese breeders at 30+ inches directly to koi shows.

    6. Is to know what sex you want: male, female or doesn't matter. As mentioned previously, you can purchase males for a small fraction of females but great males aren't cheap either. If the koi has a certificate with 'guaranteed female' or dealer 'guarantees' it's a female, make sure to have something in writing to back up this 'guarantee'. Why waste thousands of dollars on a 'guaranteed female' when it turns out male? Better yet, learn to sex koi yourself and ask breeder/dealer if you can sex it.

    7. Is to know how much you can afford or what your budget is before walking into a dealer or breeder facility and to not exceed that budget. Keep in mind also that there will always be koi that look better and are more expensive than your budget, but keep within your budget.

    8. Is to know the bloodline and development of the koi you will be looking at and do your homework before looking at them.

    9. Is to keep in mind that there will always be a better koi.......so keep looking and if you didn't get the one that you want, be rest assured that there will be another one out there.

    10. Is to have a checklist of things you will need to look for. I have a 3x5" flashcard of things that I look for: spine/mouth/eye/gillplate/fin deformities, broad/big head with eyes set wide apart, large mouth, feeding behavior (shy feeder who eats one pellet at a time or feeder that stays on top and sucks in pellets like there is no tomorrow), potential sex characteristics, body, sumi/beni/shiroji, kiwa/sashi on beni plates, type of beni (hard or soft and how this beni will do in your pond's water parameters). You also need to look at the ventral side of the koi - ask dealer/breeder to flip koi yourself or have them flip it for you.

    11. And last but not least, have mentors and either bring mentors with you or send pics/vids to your mentors for critique and assessment. Ask questions on potential strengths/weaknesses of koi. Ask your mentor whether this is a good investment or an investment that will head south.........

    Oftentimes we talk about how to choose a koi when IMO the very first topic we should talk about is how to build a 'proper' koi pond. What good is being able to select a winner when you don't have a stable pond? Invest in a good pond and build it once but build it well. 'It's a system, folks'.......where is Steve Childers?

    And what better way to learn than to have mentors and be an active member of a koi club, be it AKCA and/or ZNA.
    Lam you are the man! Perfect post!

  4. #14
    Honmei Brutuscz's Avatar
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    Great thread JR. But, I do not agree about buying on the internet or from pictures. I have been doing it for years. It is a gamble, no doubt. Sometimes, they arrive looking better than the pics...and sometimes, way worse!! You try to get video, extra pics and information to tilt the odds in your favor. But...buying in person is a gamble as well. Who has not bought a koi that has been fed tons of color food?? This can be as inaccurate as a photoshopped picture. The idea of a jumbo tosai carries the same level of trickery....your eye's are not seeing the truth. After years of this, wheather buying in person or from pics, I trust my instincts and the eyes of a few koi mentors and friends.


    If your desire to succeed is greater than your desire to fail, then you will succeed.

  5. #15
    Daihonmei
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    Morning B, This is not a matter of opinion! LOLs. Buying fish from pictures is a mistake. trust me, the entire 'inside' koi world knows this. It is an unfortunate downside to the omni-present internet.
    You need to see a koi move to make a judgement. You can't see disease, skin condition and bodyline in a photo. You would think a video would be better as you do see a live koi moving and swaying. But there, the color is often distorted.
    In the 1980s and 90s Japanese dealers would sell fish that the breeders wanted 'out of country'. That produced many a great purchase in terms of nice koi with nice patterns but a remarkable number of bent fish and females with tumors. now the Japanese are a pretty honest people generally speaking. But the letter picture thing always allowed for larsony and greed to creep into dealer's hearts.
    Today I can go on Ebay and show you some fish with serious defects for sale. Nice patterns in some cases, but problems in many cases. A beginner just isn't going to see the inperfections.
    This may surprise you Brutus, but koi attracts people seeing easy money . they say the antiques business is like the koi business in that regard. The dealer knows there is no price and that the newer the purchaser the less they know. This is ripe for abuse. add 'distance' and the inpersonal nature of internet transactions and you have to be nuts to buy koi over the internet via emails and pay pal.
    If you are buying cheap koi then I guess it doesn't matter. But then again of you are buying cheap koi, why not just get them locally and not pay shipping?
    I do agree with you that experienced helpers can help and also a known dealer such as one that shows up at local koi shows, backs his/her products and is known to the amatuer koi community as a real person is different and probably safe to buy from based on their recommendation.
    This is why I started the ZNA supported dealer list. Not to get their ad dollars or donations-- but rather to create a recommended source for such things as mail order purchases.
    the requrements there are simple-- a good reputation, a known good quality stock and the right attitude about koi kichi ( being one themselves) . JR

  6. #16
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    If everybody could (and would) photograph koi as well as Brady, I'd disagree with JR. But, unfortunately, not many like Brady.

    I do strongly agree with Brady's point about the importance of building a relationship with a dealer/breeder. The 'good guys' will spend as much time teaching as selling. They will learn your likes and dislikes. They can direct you toward choices that will make you happy, and let you know when they do not think a fish is right for your pond/water/goals.

    Being in Florida, where we have one dealer just starting to aim toward better quality koi, all the established reputable dealers are long distance. I could blow a full year's budget flying around and renting cars to check out fish... and might be able to squeeze a trip into one day on the East Coast, but going to CA is a 2-day trip minimum. We have to rely on the internet and photos, but before purchasing it is time to talk to the dealer/breeder. If a relationship has been built, that conversation is more important than the eye candy on the internet.

  7. #17
    Sansai
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    You mean the 2011 WK&WGS Show?
    Oops.

    That ought to get the conspiracy theorists going.

    I hope an expensive fish wins this year....

    -t

  8. #18
    Oyagoi Lam Nguyen's Avatar
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    When I think of purchasing koi online I think of the quote, "There is a sucker born every minute". Buying koi has a lot to do with feeling and emotions, especially to those new to the hobby. And no matter how reputable and trustworthy the dealer is, there will always be differences in how the purchaser interprets the dealer's description of the koi. After all, it is human nature and we are all humans. Come to think of it, if I was a reputable dealer, then I would be very hesitant to sell an expensive koi online. I would strongly encourage my client to come and see the koi in person for fear that I would lose the client if there are differences in how the client interprets my description of the koi.

    IMO, no matter how good the HD and video technology is, nothing will replace viewing the koi in person. Just to put things into perspective, if a koi in your care lives 10 yrs and you have a 10k gallon pond and you religiously follow the 1 koi/1k gallon rule, then technically you will only be purchasing one replacement koi per year. Why not spend one day to fly and see the koi knowing that that koi will reside in your pond for the next 3,650 days.

    I know of a dealer who I perceive to be very reputable. Every time I call and ask him about a particular koi that he has posted online, he would say to ask a friend in the area to view the koi for me. I respect him for this because he is upfront with me and, if the description does not match my perceived interpretation, then it wouldn't ruin our dealer/client relationship.

  9. #19
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I cannot disagree with your recommendation being the best approach, Lam. It is just that traveling across the country just does not work for most folks.

    Nonetheless, the idea of having someone in whose judgment you have confidence view the koi for you is an excellent one. I have done that a few times, usually after speaking with the dealer and getting his thoughts on the positives and negatives of the fish. The fact is that most of the leading dealers in the U.S. are on the West Coast. There are kichi in all of the geographic areas where dealers are more or less concentrated, and they love a good excuse to go visiting dealers to check out the more costly offerings! A person is not going to do it for a complete stranger. They do not want the responsibility. It is good to get to know folks first! LOL. You have to have confidence in their ability to evaluate the fish, not just look at it. I have gotten back information that caused me to pass on a fish that looked good on the internet, and I have had my impressions confirmed.

  10. #20
    Daihonmei
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    This is another added value of ZNA membership. You can have a fellow member look at the fish in question for you. No motives, no fish to get stuck with, just another opinion you can trust.
    ZNA strength is at the level of the chapter. Take advantage of that. Next season we will have Japanese chapters and members hooked up with US chapters and members as direct communication sources. In the past I have had Tokyo members look in on koi in Yamakoshi for me and give me a report. That chapter has their own buying trips set up during the harvest. You call see the caravan of cars coming up the mountainside! JR

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