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Thread: Skin is Everything

  1. #11
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Don't you agree that for a koi to develop to its potential it has to be given good conditions?

    Don't you agree that good conditions should at least bring the koi to optimal health?

    Don't you agree that with health the skin quality of the koi would more likely develop to its potential?

    Yet you "still do not correlate health with how long beni quality can last?" Health has no bearing at all, really?

    So, are you saying it is purely genetics then?

    If so, the koi in unhealthy conditions would just have the same beni quality and equal longevity of excellent beni quality as that of an equivalent koi in healthy conditions? I find that preposterous.

  2. #12
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Mike, you are now talking about koi thriving when given optimal conditions. That is a given. But your example was in your pond where both koi received the same conditions, and same food. Its just that you said that the koi with the better beni or skin translated to better health as compared to one with beni issues.

  3. #13
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sacicu View Post
    Mike, you are now talking about koi thriving when given optimal conditions. That is a given. But your example was in your pond where both koi received the same conditions, and same food. Its just that you said that the koi with the better beni or skin translated to better health as compared to one with beni issues.
    Yes, but with each koi, I have observed changes in skin quality that gave me warning signs that their health was deteriorating.

    The kohaku beni more than two years ago was spotless and even at close-up. Two years ago, there was visible shimi by its shoulder. Closer inspection six months ago reveals there were many patches of hikkui, which may have gone unnoticed. Today it's gone. While it had undergone shimi removal and it may have subjected it to stress, it is possible that this koi was already suffering from failing health, which I say would be indicated by the failing beni. Especially for a koi that isn't old, failing beni for me is worrisome because this isn't failing beni at the kiwa, it is hikkui.

    The tancho lost its head beni quickly. It had to be put to sleep when I realized it was having swim bladder problems as seen by its snake-like swimming movement and inspection revealed there was a large ulcer at its belly from touching the pond bottom often. Before the swim bladder problem, there was a nice head beni. After the swim bladder issue, the head beni was gone.

    Same koi. Before. After. Not the same koi anymore.

    Okay, perhaps I should confine my conclusion on beni, and not the skin quality of the shiroji. Although it's clear that a white koi is a good koi to have to warn of pond bacterial issues, but that's another matter.

  4. #14
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    Yes, but with each koi, I have observed changes in skin quality that gave me warning signs that their health was deteriorating.

    The kohaku beni more than two years ago was spotless and even at close-up. Two years ago, there was visible shimi by its shoulder. Closer inspection six months ago reveals there were many patches of hikkui, which may have gone unnoticed. Today it's gone. While it had undergone shimi removal and it may have subjected it to stress, it is possible that this koi was already suffering from failing health, which I say would be indicated by the failing beni. Especially for a koi that isn't old, failing beni for me is worrisome because this isn't failing beni at the kiwa, it is hikkui.

    The tancho lost its head beni quickly. It had to be put to sleep when I realized it was having swim bladder problems as seen by its snake-like swimming movement and inspection revealed there was a large ulcer at its belly from touching the pond bottom often. Before the swim bladder problem, there was a nice head beni. After the swim bladder issue, the head beni was gone.

    Same koi. Before. After. Not the same koi anymore.

    Okay, perhaps I should confine my conclusion on beni, and not the skin quality of the shiroji. Although it's clear that a white koi is a good koi to have to warn of pond bacterial issues, but that's another matter.
    Here is my observation. I have one three year and half yr old kohaku that is around 83cm now. She is very healthy and perfect body. The only problem is that she is susceptible to shimi( that can be easily removed by fingernail), started having hikui and her beni has already peaked. I reckon she would continue to grow and be healthy for the next few years except that her prime skin quality is no more.

    On the other hand, I also have another 5 yr old kohaku of the same length with still good beni development left but she has had gulping issue when she was still a nisai and now she is being treated with antibiotics for her full blown swim bladder issue and some infection on her side and bottom.

    The point is my observation is exactly the opposite of yours and therefore we cannot conclude anything.

  5. #15
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    I would like to just say also that stress does play a very important factor in skin quality. A good koi placed in a bad environment that is stressful can caused its skin to go down and when placed back in a good suitable environments the skin quality improves again. Meanwhile some koi with good skin quality can adapt without problems to other what maybe more stressful conditions to other koi. When it comes to hikui, there are several theories but hikui does not necessarily mean fatal or a si k koi. Antibiotics will not stop a koi that is prone to hikui.

    This is why IMO all of this still involves genetics.

  6. #16
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Here is my observation. I have one three year and half yr old kohaku that is around 83cm now. She is very healthy and perfect body. The only problem is that she is susceptible to shimi( that can be easily removed by fingernail), started having hikui and her beni has already peaked. I reckon she would continue to grow and be healthy for the next few years except that her prime skin quality is no more.

    On the other hand, I also have another 5 yr old kohaku of the same length with still good beni development left but she has had gulping issue when she was still a nisai and now she is being treated with antibiotics for her full blown swim bladder issue and some infection on her side and bottom.

    The point is my observation is exactly the opposite of yours and therefore we cannot conclude anything.




    Let's see. 3.5 year old female, 83 cm., perfect body, shimi, hikui - I "reckon she would continue to grow and be healthy for the next few years" - Crystal ball at work?

    5 year old female, same length, good beni, now has swim bladder issue (gulping issue since nisai - please elaborate) - Will her beni stay as nice down the road, given what she is going through?

    Your still need to give yourself more time to observe these two koi. Case is not closed.

    I would like to just say also that stress does play a very important factor in skin quality. A good koi placed in a bad environment that is stressful can caused its skin to go down and when placed back in a good suitable environments the skin quality improves again. Meanwhile some koi with good skin quality can adapt without problems to other what maybe more stressful conditions to other koi. When it comes to hikui, there are several theories but hikui does not necessarily mean fatal or a si k koi. Antibiotics will not stop a koi that is prone to hikui.

    This is why IMO all of this still involves genetics.
    No one is denying that genetics play an important role. Some koi are more hardy and could withstand more stress than other koi. You see the case of a koi getting diseased and dying while the rest still thrive - all living in the same pond. I would be likely to consider genetics having a big role here, but I will also say that my pond keeping skills can stand to be improved. If my pond keeping skills get better, that one koi that died may have survived. If my pond keeping skills get worse, or if it stayed the same but the pond evolves to require more care from me and I failed to provide that care, I may have more than just one koi dying as a result.

    But if part of my koi (and pond) keeping skills include being observant, and to spot markers or clues that alert me to stressful conditions in the making, I would be able to take corrective steps before any koi's health reaches crisis proportions.

    While it's said that no one could be certain about the cause of shimi and hikui, one should not readily point the finger at genetics. Otherwise, this would dispose a koi keeper to keep searching for good genes rather than to focus his efforts on improving the care of his pond and his koi. If one is disposed to blame himself than the koi's genes, his chances of avoiding shimi and hikui would be much, much better.

    The practice of blaming on genes is a bad habit that needs to be kicked out. It is a habit shaped by going too much to a doctor's office and being told we, like koi, are genetically cursed with a condition, and that certain prescription drugs are the only answer. If we accept that as a fait accompli, then we won't go looking for cures but instead become a lifelong customer of their drugs.

    The implication here is that the same cycle could happen with koi. You will be purchasing new koi every few years because the prior ones failed because you were unlucky to buy koi with flawed genes, with hikui and shimi being one of those flaws. Instead, put money, effort, and time towards improving your water and koi husbandry.

    I agree in spirit with PapaBear about making things simple, but correct, instead of relying on complicated methods that are based on wrong ideas and principles. Elegance is in simplicity. You can ask any fool to make things complicated, but simplicity requires genius. Don't go for Rube Goldberg solutions.

  7. #17
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post



    Let's see. 3.5 year old female, 83 cm., perfect body, shimi, hikui - I "reckon she would continue to grow and be healthy for the next few years" - Crystal ball at work?

    5 year old female, same length, good beni, now has swim bladder issue (gulping issue since nisai - please elaborate) - Will her beni stay as nice down the road, given what she is going through?

    Your still need to give yourself more time to observe these two koi. Case is not closed.

    [/COLOR][/INDENT]
    [/COLOR]No one is denying that genetics play an important role. Some koi are more hardy and could withstand more stress than other koi. You see the case of a koi getting diseased and dying while the rest still thrive - all living in the same pond. I would be likely to consider genetics having a big role here, but I will also say that my pond keeping skills can stand to be improved. If my pond keeping skills get better, that one koi that died may have survived. If my pond keeping skills get worse, or if it stayed the same but the pond evolves to require more care from me and I failed to provide that care, I may have more than just one koi dying as a result.

    But if part of my koi (and pond) keeping skills include being observant, and to spot markers or clues that alert me to stressful conditions in the making, I would be able to take corrective steps before any koi's health reaches crisis proportions.

    While it's said that no one could be certain about the cause of shimi and hikui, one should not readily point the finger at genetics. Otherwise, this would dispose a koi keeper to keep searching for good genes rather than to focus his efforts on improving the care of his pond and his koi. If one is disposed to blame himself than the koi's genes, his chances of avoiding shimi and hikui would be much, much better.

    The practice of blaming on genes is a bad habit that needs to be kicked out. It is a habit shaped by going too much to a doctor's office and being told we, like koi, are genetically cursed with a condition, and that certain prescription drugs are the only answer. If we accept that as a fait accompli, then we won't go looking for cures but instead become a lifelong customer of their drugs.

    The implication here is that the same cycle could happen with koi. You will be purchasing new koi every few years because the prior ones failed because you were unlucky to buy koi with flawed genes, with hikui and shimi being one of those flaws. Instead, put money, effort, and time towards improving your water and koi husbandry.

    I agree in spirit with PapaBear about making things simple, but correct, instead of relying on complicated methods that are based on wrong ideas and principles. Elegance is in simplicity. You can ask any fool to make things complicated, but simplicity requires genius. Don't go for Rube Goldberg solutions.
    It is fairly natural for any koi especially high quality skin to go from tategoi stage to finish stage to deteriorating stage. Nothing will last forever. With very good koi keeping skills combined with condituons that may be favorable to the skin of the koi( clean cooler waters), one can indeed prolong the condition of the skin quality no doubt. But koi is like a cut flower. Some beni develop early and does not last as fast as 2 to 3 yrs. Some koi have beni that average 6 to 8 yrs with todays feeding regine. Some koi will last even much longer as much as 10 to 15 yrs with right environment. What is evident and trending now is the youthful skin of a young jumbo koi that has an advantage in koishow compared to an older koi with a longer lasting beni. This is the same as in womens beauty. A younger beautiful girl will always have an advantage against an older mature woman who is equally beautiful.


    Hikui is actually more evident in much older koi past their prime but also finds its way in younger koi. I do agree though that hikui and shimi is somewhat genetic and somewhat caused by environment(water quality and sunlight). In fact some experienced breeders and middleman do know if a certain beni or bloodline can be more prone to hikui. They know that the quality is so high also that extra care is needed and that sometimes the short term reward can be worth the risk to take. What is certain though that breeders that found out that an unusual number of quality beni koi that comes out would sooner or later opt not to use the parent combination. This only means they are in belief that it is also has something to do with genetics. Do take note that I have said before that what was observed by the dealer was that a big percent of high quality koi coming from a particular breeder has a short quality lifespan in terms of skin which created a fear among hobbyist to eventually stay away from what the breeder offers leading the dealer to also stay away until such time the breeder proves his.newer oyagoi offsprings are better.

    Do take note that I do not discourage hobbyist to improve on their system or on their koi keeping skills. In fact it is the opposite. But a hobbyist must learn that in this hobby, it is a combination of how fat is your wallet, how skillful one is in koi keeping, and just luck. For a hobbyist to manage death of koi, one must accept that koi is a livestock and anything anytime bad can eventually happen. No one is exempted. Not even the best farms of Japan.

  8. #18
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Is it correct then, to think of hikui as a degenerative condition that will happen sooner or later with koi that has beni patches? That it is accepted like death and taxes, and wrinkles (in people)? That seeing hikui as a problem pertains to relatively young koi, whose skin has prematurely degenerated and "aged?"

    As to money, skill, and luck, I think money is the only thing needed when it's a question of winning GC in koi shows, when you can import fresh from Japan and enter a koi show. Skill is not necessary. Luck, or rather the avoidance of bad luck, perhaps.

    But money becomes a crutch when it becomes a hindrance to the development of skills needed in caring for koi. Haha, look at the Iraq war - all money, no skill, especially at the beginning.
    sacicu likes this.

  9. #19
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
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    Interesting points of view on both sides, no one is right no one wrong. Saw a lot of big koi at this past weekend koi show that needed more conditioning than others which would probably set them higher than the winner. Seasoned hobbyist don't want to bring their koi out "just because".....Also, depending which judges come out to judge your koi be it Shinkokai or ZNA you are going to see a difference on who wins.

    In regards to Hikkui, I have seen a Showa win GC with minor Hikkui take the title at Gardena several ages ago...hahahhahaha.
    The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.

  10. #20
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    It is an interesting discussion, but I must admit that I am uncertain if I comprehend some of the points attempted to be made.

    Some personal observations...

    Hikkui does not necessarily reflect on the overall health of a koi. I re-homed a large koi last Fall which had a serious hikkui problem for several years. She was in robust good health otherwise... despite being over 10 years old. Whether other health issues may contribute to hikkui advancing more rapidly is something I have not studied.

    Shimmies have nothing to do with skin quality or health. They can appear on genetically predisposed koi that are of excellent quality and in their prime.

    Skin quality and pigment quality are inter-related, but independent traits. A koi with excellent skin quality can have weak pigment. A koi with mediocre skin quality can have thick, stable pigments. Together, excellent skin and pigment quality give the highest level of 'gorgeousness' (a term I only see in translations of Japanese commentary, but it does convey meaning). Deteriorating skin very often coincides with deteriorating pigment, but this may well be related to aging, poor husbandry or both.

    If you follow a breeder's efforts over a period of years, I think you will find that many, if not all, have a tendency to focus on a particular trait, which gives a bias to their culling. For some it may be pigment thickness, for others it may be size or body form, and still others may give greater weight to skin quality. Some more quickly eliminate a 'short head' despite other factors, while others are more forgiving of a 'short head' when other positives are present. Toshio Sakai has often spoken of wanting to produce koi that retain their beauty for 12, 14 or 20 years even if slow to reach their peak. Sakai Fish Farm has rather obviously focused on Kohaku that are magnificent around age 7, with no particular weight given to enduring past age 12. These differences are what gives the koi produced by the established breeders a look that can be recognized by those who follow them. It is a fundamental aspect of the breeder's art. If it were otherwise, all Showa would look like those of Dainichi, all Kohaku would be like those of SFF, and every Shiro Utsuri would look like those of Omosako. ....All grand, but we hobbyists would lose choice.
    Brian and Akai-San like this.

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