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Thread: Spring Tosai Season

  1. #1
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
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    Spring Tosai Season

    I have suddenly been getting notices from dealers with new shipments of tosai or shipments on the way. It is that time. In the Fall, huge volumes of tosai are constantly showing up. Harvested tosai have to culled through quickly to reduce the volume to what can be over-wintered. The breeders make their easy decisions then. Now, as the Niigata snows melt and breeders get prepared to release their best tosai to the mud to grow on, they begin shipping out the keepers that fell short. Since this is also when many U.S. koikeepers are ready to buy a couple of new koi for the Summer season, there really is a chance of getting a young koi that came close to being grown to nisai. Pricing may be a little higher than in the Fall, but higher quality is also a real possibility... assuming you are not looking at the leftovers from last October's shipment!

    When looking over the new arrivals, I'd suggest keeping in mind what the breeders are likely doing when they decide not to grow-on tosai that they deemed to have enough potential to be worthy of winter-keeping expense. First, any likely males will get sold. So, if you do not want a male, beware deeper hued, finished colors. (They may all be on the thin side.) Second, any with higher risk of the Hi breaking up will be sold off. Look closely at the edges of the pattern, and turn away from any that have a 'hanging fringe' on the lower edge of pattern steps. This is often an indicator of a loss of pigment creeping up the flanks. Weak areas within a red patch are definite negatives. Another factor is size. Breeders try to stock ponds with similarly sized tosai, and everybody wants koi that grow large. If most of the tosai in the sales vat are 8-9 inches, but there are a few that are just 6 inches, don't ignore them. It could be that those under-growing 6" ones are the highest quality in the bunch, but did not make the cut mostly due to being under-sized compared to standard set for the mudpond. Perhaps they are not destined to become huge, but is that really important to you? Which do you prefer, a lower quality koi that potentially could become 80cm in your pond (if female), or a higher quality one that may only reach 65cm? Dealers tell me that if they have a vat of 9-10" tosai, another of 7-8" tosai and a third of under 7" tosai, everyone goes to the larger tosai first. But, bigger is not always better.

    Tosai are fun to raise up. There is so much enjoyment to be had in watching their development and dreaming of the possibilities. And, that old notion always lingers that the breeder let a real jewel slip into the group getting sold off. Maybe, but I think the odds are better of winning the cost of a new car with a lottery scratch-off card. If there is a jewel to be found, I think it most likely that she will be among the smaller tosai.

  2. #2
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Jul 2013
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    Nice tips Mike, especially with finding gems with the smaller-sized tosai. Never thought of it that way- that they got culled because even if they're nice, they're small.

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