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Thread: We are Koi article by Dean Miles: How to Make Koi Grow Well

  1. #1
    Sansai Reza's Avatar
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    We are Koi article by Dean Miles: How to Make Koi Grow Well

    Today I found several Articles in "We Are Koi" Page on FB. I post the article here and wish to get Member's Idea about.
    How to Make Koi Grow Wel


    koi Pond depth also needs to be defined. A pond 2 meters deep is considered deep. A pond 3 meters deep is considered a tourist attraction. A pond 1 meter deep is considered shallow by many enthusiasts. Ponds below 50cm should not have Koi in them. I agree, however, there are many Koi keepers who have ponds and water features that are 50cm deep. They have Koi living quite happily in them.We can confidently define a deep pond as a pond that is 2 meters or deeper. Shallow ponds are defined as 80cm - 1.2 meters in depth. Anything in between is a medium depth pond.What is a problem with temperature, and this has been widely published in the UK, is the length of winters. In order to bring some relief to Koi in long, cold winters, deep ponds are made. At 4*C a peculiar thing happens to water, an inversion takes place. The "colder" water rises and the "warmer" water sinks. This is why ice floats. The middle water is then drawn to keep the lower levels stable and undisturbed. Koi Fish can settle in the lower regions and wait out the winter months in a state of semi-hibernation.Koi Pond Depth Affect Koi Body ShapeThe other information regarding depth and growth is split into camps of different opinions. One claims that the vertical swimming provided by depth is very important for growth and body shape. Another camp claims that it is the increased water pressure of deep ponds that influences body shape during growth. And another opinion is that the air bladder needs depth - i.e. pressure. There is one further theory I have come across about depth - Koi fish need depth because they have to stand on their tails to feed. The exponents of this latter theory claim that because Koi cannot stand on their tails in shallow ponds they cannot feed properly and consequently do not grow (??!).Koi Pond Depth will affect koi body shape to a certain degree, as the muscles exercise against the pressure. Depth will possibly strengthen the air bladder but can someone please explain the theory of vertical swimming having an influence on body shape and growth? Exactly how does swimming vertically improve body shape? Even in the east there does not seem to be consensus on depth amongst enthusiasts as Takayuki Izeki made a statement in Nichirin - " if water is deeper (2 meters) the water pressure hinders growth and a good body shape cannot be hoped for."Another factor not mentioned with regard to pond depth is that, in some countries, it is much cheaper to dig down an extra meter to increase water capacity than it is to extend the surface area for the same purpose.Perhaps we should reach common ground. Is water temperature essential for growth? Yes. We know Koi do not grow in low water temperature. It is easy to see that there will be no growth in a deep pond with a water temperature of 5*C. However, there will be growth in a shallow pond with water temperature of 25*C. Common ground has been reached. Temperature is essential for growth.Water Quality and Oxygen Required For Koi GrowthIs oxygen essentiatl for growth? Yes. The examples in the above paragraph apply here as well. I have come across an interesting claim that it is very difficult to grow jumbo Koi on the high veldt in South Africa (6,000 feet above sea level). If I recall correctly, this persons definition of a jumbo Koi was 75cm or bigger. It was maintained that we cannot get enough oxygen into the water. About 20% less oxygen can be dissolved into water on the high veldt than at the coast. Couple this with the high water temperatures we get in our ponds and he could very well be right. (both altitude and temperature affect oxygen levels in water).


    Is water quality essential for growth. Yes. If the water quality is poor your Koi will probably not be growing because they are dead. Jokes aside, water quality is applicable in all circumstances.Is Koi food, or more specifically nutrition, essential for growth? Yes. A group of Koi in a deep pond that never receive any food will not grow. Koi in a shallow pond that do receive food will grow.Nutrition from birth is possibly the most critical factor in achieving growth other than genetics. Plus the closely interconnecting factors of oxygen, water quality and temperature. I request readers to re-read some of the statements I made in the article on Koi nutrition. One of the most important was - people are underfeeding their collections on quality food, which is one of the main reasons why they do not get growth.It is a fact that Koi keepers are growing Koi to 70 and 80cm, with very reasonable body shapes, in "shallow" ponds of about one meter. It is a fact that jumbo Koi of above 70 - 75 cm are rare, both here and in Japan. Yes, some society members have visited very wealthy Koi keepers in the east with ponds full of high quality jumbo Koi, but relative to the total numbers of Koi in the world and relative to what we can afford in South Africa, jumbo Koi are rare. Recent personal discussions with Takeda san produced the following reply to the question - how many good quality jumbo Koi are there in Japan? The reply - maybe a thousand.This brings us to the crux of the matter - my statement - I have never considered depth to be critical in achieving growth (size).

    Depth may have a minor influence on body shape of some Koi. Depth may have a minor influence on the rate of growth in some well fed Koi. But a deep pond cannot and will not guarantee you size. In most cases depth can easily be compensated for by exercising the Koi against a current to achieve the ideal body shape. While it is wonderful to have the best - i.e. a pond of 2 or 3 meters deep, is this pond depth critical to the growth of the fish? The answer is no. There are other factors that can be classified as critical to growth.At some point we must ask ourselves - do we want to attract people to the hobby with reason and reality? Not everyone wants or can afford a tourist attraction. Not everyone wants a pond with hundreds of thousands of litres of water. We therefore, have to weigh up the pros and cons of recommendations on pond specifications from a practical point of view that will accommodate the wishes, needs and budgets of the vast majority of Koi keepers.

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I agree with the comment that depth may have a minor influence on growth. That is, as long as there is reasonable depth for the size of the koi, I do not believe depth is much of a factor. However, depth influences water temperature and water temperature has a major impact on growth rates. The deeper the pond, the more likely water temperatures will change moderately. In cold climates, the water will remain in optimal growth temperature ranges longer. In warm climates, excessive temperatures are avoided by the cooling effect of the surrounding ground.

    The key factors for optimal growth are temperature, food and water quality. Experiments with various species of fish raised in crates suspended in natural water bodies (i.e., excellent water quality at all times) have established that excellent growth can be achieved through optimal feeding although the fish have little room to swim... as long as the water temperature is in the range suited to the particular species. Body form, however, is a different question. It is commonly stated that exercise, whether due to depth, pond size or currents, enhances body form. I am not aware of any study of koi performed on a scientific basis to test this notion. However, it seems logical, and I think all have personal observations of very poor body form being more prevalent in small, cramped ponds than in large volume ponds.

    I think the most important thought in that essay was: "At some point we must ask ourselves - do we want to attract people to the hobby with reason and reality? Not everyone wants or can afford a tourist attraction. Not everyone wants a pond with hundreds of thousands of litres of water. We therefore, have to weigh up the pros and cons of recommendations on pond specifications from a practical point of view that will accommodate the wishes, needs and budgets of the vast majority of Koi keepers." .... Crazies like me long for huge koi. I no longer consider a 75cm koi to be 'jumbo'. I once did, but no longer. Nearly all of my koi reach 80cm. For me, 'jumbo' is somewhere around the 90cm mark. For most people, a koi around 65cm is huge enough and suits their pond size far better. There are far more quality koi available that will not exceed 65-70cm than those that will reach 85cm or more. And, IMO, such koi are the best choice for all but a fairly narrow segment of hobbyists. In beauty, price and suitability for the typical hobbyist's pond, a koi that is unlikely to become very large will end up giving the most enjoyment for the most people.

  3. #3
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    IMO the key factors for optimal growth are genetics, water quality, water temperature, & food in that order.
    MCA and bobbysuzanna like this.

  4. #4
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    Agreed. Good nurture (water, temp, food) can give good nature (genetics) the opportunity to reach max potential. Poor nuture can train wreck good nature.

  5. #5
    Sansai Reza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    I agree with the comment that depth may have a minor influence on growth. That is, as long as there is reasonable depth for the size of the koi, I do not believe depth is much of a factor. However, depth influences water temperature and water temperature has a major impact on growth rates. The deeper the pond, the more likely water temperatures will change moderately. In cold climates, the water will remain in optimal growth temperature ranges longer. In warm climates, excessive temperatures are avoided by the cooling effect of the surrounding ground.

    The key factors for optimal growth are temperature, food and water quality. Experiments with various species of fish raised in crates suspended in natural water bodies (i.e., excellent water quality at all times) have established that excellent growth can be achieved through optimal feeding although the fish have little room to swim... as long as the water temperature is in the range suited to the particular species. Body form, however, is a different question. It is commonly stated that exercise, whether due to depth, pond size or currents, enhances body form. I am not aware of any study of koi performed on a scientific basis to test this notion. However, it seems logical, and I think all have personal observations of very poor body form being more prevalent in small, cramped ponds than in large volume ponds.

    I think the most important thought in that essay was: "At some point we must ask ourselves - do we want to attract people to the hobby with reason and reality? Not everyone wants or can afford a tourist attraction. Not everyone wants a pond with hundreds of thousands of litres of water. We therefore, have to weigh up the pros and cons of recommendations on pond specifications from a practical point of view that will accommodate the wishes, needs and budgets of the vast majority of Koi keepers." .... Crazies like me long for huge koi. I no longer consider a 75cm koi to be 'jumbo'. I once did, but no longer. Nearly all of my koi reach 80cm. For me, 'jumbo' is somewhere around the 90cm mark. For most people, a koi around 65cm is huge enough and suits their pond size far better. There are far more quality koi available that will not exceed 65-70cm than those that will reach 85cm or more. And, IMO, such koi are the best choice for all but a fairly narrow segment of hobbyists. In beauty, price and suitability for the typical hobbyist's pond, a koi that is unlikely to become very large will end up giving the most enjoyment for the most people.

    Thanks Maike;

    In case of pond depth, I think as Dean mentioned and you agreed "....Not everyone wants a pond with hundreds of thousands of liters of water", but I remember in a video from Japan koi Export asks a question about concrete pond depth from Izumiya koi farm and get reply that "average concrete ponds in japan have 1.5 meters depth." pond depth become matter on the way hobbyist keeps fish on winter and summer for prevent its damage by low temperature in winter and sun burning on summers. Depth of pond will give more toleration possibility to fish. I also think that should be keep in mind that deep pond need deep pay attention in creation and maintenance.

    About the effect of pond depth in fish body shape, I have no knowledge about but I think this happen in mud ponds in japan not in indoor ponds.

    Water temperature from 18 ~ 25C activate metabolism of fish and koi is warm water fish. In this situation koi grow well if it get enough high quality protein contain food. here is other question, how long should be kept fish in this condition? 12 months of year or it should be kept according to the seasons?

    In the last one thing I had to say to Maike, I don't see or remember a person who like small koi. every koi hobbyist tries to help their koi grow bigger year after year. Believe me, maybe 1oo years later (if planet earth exist) jumbo koi concept and size is more different than what we know now. As it is exist now and has difference from the age that jumbo tosai concept was not exist.
    Last edited by Reza; 06-07-2016 at 05:05 AM. Reason: correction

  6. #6
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    There has been debate for many years about 'four season koikeeping' vs 'perpetual summer koikeeping'. If you do a search for the term 'perpetual summer' in old posts on this forum, I think you will get numerous comments by JR about the negatives of not keeping koi in a 4-season environment and much discussion about the topic. JR was a strong advocate of the 4-season approach to koikeeping. However, in his advocacy against 'perpetual summer', his comments were often aimed at particular points made by others and were not complete. Folks often lost sight of the bigger picture if they focused too much on the details argued over. Consider that the introduction of greenhouses in Niigata for the over-wintering of koi was one of the most important steps in making the production of quality koi economically viable; that exposure to extreme cold for extended periods leads to koi deaths from parasites and disease; that long term exposure to water temperatures above 27C (82F) adversely affects pigments and skin quality, with adverse health effects as temperatures rise further; that long term koikeeping at optimal growth temperatures with growth maximizing food results in increased instances of egg-bound koi, bloated bodies, fatty liver disease and shortened life spans. The negatives of 'perpetual summer' are mostly seen in sexually mature koi. Tosai do not have the same problems, as long as adjusted gradually when moved to a 4-season climate.

    All sorts of details can be reasonably debated, but I think the main elements of sound koikeeping are established by experience. Koi are a 4-season fish that develops best in a 4-season environment, but the extremes of winter and summer are to be avoided. If I could affordably do so, I would have my koi experience a winter with water temperatures getting to the 55-59F range (12-15C); and in summer the water would not exceed 78-79F (25-26C). Their winter would last about 2 months, and their summer would be similarly short. Feeding would be according to the water temperature, being very low during winter (with a complete fast for perhaps a couple of weeks). You will find all sorts of material referring to 10C as the lowest the winter temperature should go, and much comment that a summer temperature as high as 28C is OK. I view these as the outer limits.... temperatures that should not be exceeded if at all possible. They are like the oft-stated recommendation that there should be weekly minimum water changes of 10%, with people just hearing '10% weekly water changes are sufficient', and not focusing on that being the minimum recommended. Koi are hardy, but why put them to the test? ...We should not, but the climates in which we live and our financial resources do not allow many to achieve optimal year-round conditions.

    You are correct that koi hobbyists are always getting excited about the growth of their koi. I do. But, irrationality is something koikeepers share with alcoholics and drug addicts. Yes, even my rather aged meter-plus Sanke is grand due solely to size, and the 90+cm Kohaku stands out despite her beni becoming flat and a few shimmies re-appearing, but I can see with my eyes that my most beautiful koi are moderately sized.
    Last edited by MikeM; 06-07-2016 at 01:15 PM. Reason: typo
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  7. #7
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Many factors that I can control, and many that I cannot. I control those that I can, and those I can't I try to minimize the adverse effects of these. In the tropics, I have high temperatures of 29C for half of the year. I don't want to chill my pond, as it is very expensive and I can't justify the expense. When I go to koi shows, I know almost all the koi on show are raised in a similar situation, and competing against them, for me, is worthy competition. Being able to raise a koi large and beautiful would be a challenge, but I don't consider it impossible. But maybe, if I'm competing against a newly arrived koi from Japan, raised in arguably better conditions, I may feel disadvantaged. Then again, I have never bought koi that are top of the line, as tosai or nisai, and raised them. It would be interesting to do that one day. Right now, 4 years into the hobby, I'm still making dreadful mistakes in pond care that I don't feel ready to take that plunge.

    I'll be ready soon though, I think.

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