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Thread: Growth rates and longevity

  1. #1
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Growth rates and longevity

    Has there been any discussion on the relationship of koi growth rates and the expected lifespan of a koi. I have read stories about 100+ year old carp and 50 year old koi but at the older ages, what kind of activity do they exhibit?

    Also more in line with my post title...Do the growth rates of koi affect the lifespan of a koi? (Being that water conditions are consistantly of good quality) I understand depending on where you live and how the seasonal climate is in your country/city may provide an advantage or disadvantage for growing koi all year long. Lucky us we live in beautiful Hawaii. We do not experience much of a lull in temperatures for growing koi. Speaking with MikeT has openned my eyes to differences in the ability to be able to grow koi all year long. Having Nisai fish go to 24"+ while less fortunate keepers (who work with seasons) maintain Nisai at 12"-16"(I'm sure this varies). Is this faster growth rate GOOD or BAD for the koi? I know that Momotaro caters to pumping up his growth rates with similar methods of growing koi all year long with his lightly stock indoor ponds and awesome drinking quality water...Does anyone have any insights on faster growth rates, larger koi, and the expected life expectancies of these koi? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I think this is one of those topics where the precise question asked is very important. Absent the use of hormones, I cannot imagine how rapid growth occurring as a result of perfect conditions and optimal food could possibly shorten the life span of a koi. However, change it to "more than optimal" food, and the development of fatty tissues etc could certainly shorten life spans.

    A separate question is the effect on life span of warm climates where the koi never experiences a winter resting period. I do not believe there has been enough study (nor enough experience) to have reliable conclusions. Warm climate koikeeping is just not part of the English language literature on koi.

    A further question is determining the "normal" life span of a koi. The stories of 100 year old koi have been de-bunked. But, the notion of carp living over 30 years is not odd. The further one departs from carp to Nishikigoi genes, the less likely such long lives will be lived. Elsewhere JR has posited a life span considerably less than 20 years for show koi of the highest level. Is this due to the in-breeding? Over-feeding? Warm indoor ponds in winter? .... All of these factors and more?

    And, how do we decide if a koi died from "old age" or from the innumerable unkindnesses inflicted by the typical koikeeper? And, to what extent do the pristine pond conditions of the best koikeepers extend life well beyond the natural norm? In nature, most die after very short lives. That is why hundreds of thousands of eggs are released with each spawning. A female living 10 years may have laid several million eggs just to produce a replacement pair of adult carp capable of reproducing. At that point, her time has passed, and further egglaying only means other carp were even less successful in maintaining the species.

    Well, so far I'm not in fear of any of my koi reaching 20 years! The matriarch enters her 11th summer this year. Hatched from an egg in my little lilypond, she has endured my mistakes and the abuses of climate and disasters. If only the good ones were so hardy and lucky.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    I think heavy set (fat) poor nutritioned over fed koi kept in less than pristine water have a better chance to have life shortened them a healthy, non overweight version. My Ake mae is in her upper 20's. Never been sick a day
    and would be the pond pig if I'd let her. I have had lots of koi kichi's criticise my underfeeding because my koi are fit and not obese. But I don't care. The same thing that keeps humans going, mixed healthy diet, proper body fat % and excercise works for koi as well!

  4. #4
    Sansai Arthur's Avatar
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    MikeM and Dick,

    I had the pleasure to have Hoshino-san from Koda Koi Farm around for the last two days and took advantage of his quiet patience to clarify his views on recent hot topics on "the boards".

    As you can imagine, a lot of discussion was around koi health, growth, and also how to deal with these aspects in mud ponds.

    Here is a rather inordered summary of what his thoughts were on the subject.

    He repeated several times that growing tosai to nisai too fast will result in fading hi and in diminished heatlh. Since I want to grow tosai in a mud pond this summer I asked if 10,000 gallons (approx. 38 tons) per fish would be adequate. He responded that this volume would encourage to much growth with the risk of loosing color, and that a slower growth would benefit the koi long term. So I asked what volume per tosai (growing to nisai) he would recommend; he said 4-5 tons per tosai (that's only 1300 gallons). Needs more questions: I would think this is not enough, but I am not the expert.

    About growing tosai to nisai he said that feeding several times a day in small quantities would give the best results. Aside from protein contents according to temperatures, he also recommends to use floating vs. sinking according to weather: sinking food for clear sky and warm weather (spread out in the shallows) and floating food in cloudy/rainy weather. His explaination about this was around the depth that warmer water reaches and the corresponding activity of the koi.

    One other thing he said that I found very interesting is that one must keep mud ponds free of organic material (understandable) but also that seeding mud pond ponds with natural food like earthworms and fresh water shrimps was a waste of time and money. He said there was enough food naturally for the koi to snack on between regular balanced diet pellet feedings.

    Oh, and this will certainly please JR, he also mention the importance of respecting the koi seasonal cycle as a natural way of ensuring long time health and quality.

    An interesting perspective from a successful breeder and I sure wish I had time for more questions, but will follow up on some via e-mail.
    Arthur

  5. #5
    Sansai
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    Your question on longevity will be a tough one to answer at least from the hobbyists point of view.

    Remember most hobbyists have limited pond space and their constant search and purchases (and hence constant replacement of kois) for better kois will mean that most kois will not last long enough in their ponds. It is not uncommon to see kois still alive in their teens in our hot weather. I have highlighted "alive" because to me, a more relevant question should be how long a koi maintain its beauty before they go downhill. Many hobbyists, myself included, would replace any koi which is on the downhill as there is nothing more to look forward to, and it is no fun seeing them go downhill.

    Despite our warm weather and given good water/food conditions (and probably the right bloodline) we can still have kois at their best at age 5-10years old. What about your experience with kois having the luxury of the wintering effect?

  6. #6
    Sansai Vogata's Avatar
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    Age and debunking

    Dear MikeM and other readers of this friendly board. Sorry but it has been that time of life again and even living in the land of plenty we have the daily things to take care of. Now in the midst of a national holyday everything winds down. What is left undone just have to wait. Have therefore read through three pages off threads and are now closing up on you all from behind.

    Still amassed of the sheer number of willing and volunteer persons on this board. Much of the topics here would by some bee regarded as secrets of trade. As a mechanical engineer and consultant I often come across the same attitude. I find it mostly wrong since there are no license or control of the biggest resource, your self and the human brain. The value often lies in between this and a specific setting. Everything else can and will bee duplicated, moved and ultimately improved for the best of all.



    MikeM

    Her is the start of a story I’ve read over and over again. It’s the kind of story I for one would like to believe so it has the tell sign of a god hoax but I have not gotten any information to such. Yes I am aware that seasonal disturbance will give some misreading in age (like in trees) but it doesn’t account for the lifetime of people surrounding the plot.

    Is this one of the debunked stories? If not ill keep it one my computer to read and pick my spirit up again after one of those “they told you so” occurrences.

    "THE STORY OF HANAKO
    The following is an english transcript* of Dr.Komei Koshihara's, President of Nagoya Women's College, radio broadcast to the whole Japanese nation over the NHK radio station, 9:15 p.m., May 25, 1966. "

    YS
    Petter
    Tone - Truls -Petter
    Vogata NI

  7. #7
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
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    Arrow

    I have an old book called "Live Jewels" General Survey of Fancy Carp by Masayaki Amano. In this book tells the story of Hanako the Red Carp...It's kinda hard to believe that the fish was 217 years old in 1968. But still interesting is that there were other Nishikigoi in the same pond with ages from 141-170 years old.

    Here's her stats: Hanako (Scarlet) in 1968.
    217 years old; born in 1st year of Horeki (A.D. 1751); in the proceeding year there arose an internal feud in the Kaga Clan; and the birth was 25 years before the Declaration of Independence of America (A.D. 1776, 5th year of An'ei)
    weighed: 7.5 kilograms
    length: 70 cm

    If you can get your hands on this book, get it! It's kinda interesting to see how this hobby has come so far. Also, very one in this hobby should now this little story about "Hanako".


    Quote Originally Posted by Vogata



    MikeM

    Her is the start of a story I’ve read over and over again. It’s the kind of story I for one would like to believe so it has the tell sign of a god hoax but I have not gotten any information to such. Yes I am aware that seasonal disturbance will give some misreading in age (like in trees) but it doesn’t account for the lifetime of people surrounding the plot.

    Is this one of the debunked stories? If not ill keep it one my computer to read and pick my spirit up again after one of those “they told you so” occurrences.

    "THE STORY OF HANAKO
    The following is an english transcript* of Dr.Komei Koshihara's, President of Nagoya Women's College, radio broadcast to the whole Japanese nation over the NHK radio station, 9:15 p.m., May 25, 1966. "

    YS
    Petter
    The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.

  8. #8
    Oyagoi koifishgirl's Avatar
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    Yep carp can live to be very old. I see thirteen every weekend in my boyfriend mothers pond, they are hugh and I am sure they are over 100 years old. They make her mad eating up all the food for the brim and bass that she has in the pond and want them out but they are so big the only way she is going to get them out is to drain the pond. They are hard to catch and if you do you have to have a very strong fishing line because they break it a will. Snap and their goes your fishing story

  9. #9
    Oyagoi bekko's Avatar
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    I do not believe in Santa Clause or 100 year old koi.


    -steve

  10. #10
    Tosai
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    Steve-Shame, shame!
    I believe in the spirit of Santa Claus and the possibility of a 100 year old carp (koi).
    But then I believe tomorrow can be better than today, and that you can always "do over"-but you have to start from scratch!
    These things keep me smiling even in the face of adversity and cause a bunch of people to think I'm nuts.

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