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Thread: Light in winter

  1. #1
    Nisai
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    Light in winter

    Is it okay for koi to be kept in total darkness over winter?

  2. #2
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    It certainly will not do anything positive for them. They are temperate zone fish....not from the cold dark frozen lakes like pike or muskie.


    I think you will find most folks who bring koi indoors for the winter usually provide some type of lighting as part of the indoor tank and filter system.

  3. #3
    Tategoi lypope's Avatar
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    I keep an always-cycled quarantine tank in a large insulated metal shop building. After the first year I noticed that the colors on the kohaku that I had in there had faded - added skylights to the building to provide natural light, and watched the colors pop back up quite quickly. Koi need light.

  4. #4
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by 300wby View Post
    Is it okay for koi to be kept in total darkness over winter?

    Total darkness is an extreme. But six weeks under a 60 watt light bulb is Ok and maybe even a kind of 'tonic' for koi as it positively effects their pituitary gland.
    In Japan, for 70 years, koi lived in vaults in the ground that were covered with bails of straw and boards. This was then covered with snowfall for many months at a time. Sometimes as much as 12 feet of snow! Koi MUST have been tough back then!! LOLs
    Today they are held mostly in 'cold houses, built by a specialty company ( several of them actually). They are wood frame and have semi transparent windows. The roofs can have some transparency but the heavy snow load has to always be considered in Niigata. I have seen the snow piled so as that the transparent walls were no longer transparent.
    There is something 'cozy' about entering a koi fish room in Yamakoshi in winter! The air is warm and the humity is high but comforting on a bone chilling day. And the fish below your feet make you think of the spring!

    In 1992, Peter Waddington, Dennis and a few of us, found an old style 'vault' in the ground along side a natural mud pond. We removed the boards ( it was early spring) and inside were two purachina, some small yamabuki and a dozen small showa. They looked as healthy as horses! That is the wonder of Japan, many things advance and some things remain as they always were and seem to mock the new ways by their very existance. JR

  5. #5
    Nisai
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    Total darkness is an extreme. But six weeks under a 60 watt light bulb is Ok and maybe even a kind of 'tonic' for koi as it positively effects their pituitary gland.
    In Japan, for 70 years, koi lived in vaults in the ground that were covered with bails of straw and boards. This was then covered with snowfall for many months at a time. Sometimes as much as 12 feet of snow! Koi MUST have been tough back then!! LOLs
    Today they are held mostly in 'cold houses, built by a specialty company ( several of them actually). They are wood frame and have semi transparent windows. The roofs can have some transparency but the heavy snow load has to always be considered in Niigata. I have seen the snow piled so as that the transparent walls were no longer transparent.
    There is something 'cozy' about entering a koi fish room in Yamakoshi in winter! The air is warm and the humity is high but comforting on a bone chilling day. And the fish below your feet make you think of the spring!

    In 1992, Peter Waddington, Dennis and a few of us, found an old style 'vault' in the ground along side a natural mud pond. We removed the boards ( it was early spring) and inside were two purachina, some small yamabuki and a dozen small showa. They looked as healthy as horses! That is the wonder of Japan, many things advance and some things remain as they always were and seem to mock the new ways by their very existance. JR
    So what would be the difference, why can't u do that here? I have a friend who puts his in a stalk trough in his garage with a bubbled and covers it and leaves them in there from November till April with no trouble. They have great color in the spring.

  6. #6
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by 300wby View Post
    So what would be the difference, why can't u do that here? I have a friend who puts his in a stalk trough in his garage with a bubbled and covers it and leaves them in there from November till April with no trouble. They have great color in the spring.

    Well koi keeping is an art and not really a blue print in every detail. And it is these details where the 'grey' exists that make for the challenge.

    Koi are weaker versions of wild carp and even weaker than a lot of domestically reared food carp.
    The main reason for this of course is because they are selected and bred for color and pattern primarily. over the decades we have a beautiful result just not a ' can't kill'm with a bull dozer' carp!

    The second thing we judges teach in ZNA chapters is that there are ponds, conditions, diets, seasonal care etc that allow koi to survive, and there are parameters of the aforementioned that allow/cause koi to flourish. A very different goal and result as it turns out.

    So consider us as treating todays fancy show koi not as carp or even yesterday's koi with kind gloves. We could treat them as strong koi/carp of course and a majority might do fine-- but maybe not all. And it is always the 'most refined' ( AKA most expensive) that seem to decline/die first!)

    In regards to darkness: you will find that my statements about survival are just that-- a good survival tonic for life thru the seasons. But the colors like red and yellow might not hold up thru that conditioning.
    reds are sensitive to both diet and metabolic processing of 'imported' ingredients into the skin from diet. This malfunction happens or doesn't happen based on many factors or light and temperature are key. It is the cold blooded metabolism that determines ( based on level of activity) how well the food will be processed into color or even maintain color.
    What I'm saying here is, If one is going to reduce light to zero, one should also cool the fish and not feed the fish for 3- 6 weeks. Better to give mild lighting, less than survival challenging cold, great water quality and no real food other than an odd feeding here and there and always with the right kind of foods. JR

  7. #7
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    looking back over the decades, I'd have to say two things stood out that made a BIG difference in the looks of my koi. A continuous feed of declorinated water
    and the removal of the shingled roof on my indoor koi pond and replaced with
    a plexiglass one that allowed for full flooding of natural light.

    it used to be that putting away the koi inside in fall with beautiful beni, would find them faded in the spring when they went back out to the outside pond. This back and forth used to really IRK me. Now with full light inside or out, the fish look their best year round. I would NEVER encourage anyone to deliberately
    keep them in the dark.
    Dick Benbow

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