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Thread: Shiro Utsuri

  1. #1
    Sansai Gallagher's Avatar
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    Shiro Utsuri

    Would anyone buy this fish for $50, $100, $150, $200. You name the price.
    I was shpping for some African Cichlids and found this in a tank. the store owner sd it was from japan but didn't know the breeder.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Shiro Utsuri-shiro-4.23.2004.jpg   Shiro Utsuri-shiro-4.23.04.jpg  

  2. #2
    Daihonmei
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    so what did you pay for it......
    it is going to be too dark but the head pattern will be of merit, and the Shiro is going to be very clean and white

  3. #3
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I would not take up space with this one, unless I knew that the breeding stock produced quality Sumi that develops like this one is. I think this will be weak Sumi for life.

  4. #4
    Daihonmei
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    gallagher,
    would you please take a closer picture of the right ide of the fish, where the Sumi is darkest, and if you could have some of the underlying sumi in the shot as well.
    I can see how Mikem would say that about it when looking at the second pic. But the first pic looks to have a spot of quality black, get us an upclose pic real upclose and in focus.

    MikeM, Figure in that that fish has probably been in the petshop's tank all summer..it is going to be too black in a year or two.

  5. #5
    Jumbo Tom C's Avatar
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    I think it would come down to where I was in the hobby. A few years ago I would have added this koi to my pond. Now it's just not something that makes me say I much have it. I have a few in my pond that will be going soon. I still think it's a nice koi.

  6. #6
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
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    I would like to know how long the shop owner kept the fish? Well anyways, I would not probably pay no more than $100 for it....

  7. #7
    Sansai Gallagher's Avatar
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    Luke I paid $50 for this fish a yr ago.
    Mike I didn't know it at the time (not much experience with shiros) but you might be right about the sumi.
    I'll still hold on to it and see. Here's a pic from yesterday
    Jim
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Shiro Utsuri-shiro-10.8.2005.jpg  

  8. #8
    Sansai Gallagher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM
    I would not take up space with this one, unless I knew that the breeding stock produced quality Sumi that develops like this one is. I think this will be weak Sumi for life.
    Mike or anyone else will you share some of your knowadge about how sumi develops?
    I understand that hi develops inside out and if a color bar exist in the middle of the scale the red is still developing.
    How do you know if sumi has potential or not?
    Thanks,
    Jim

  9. #9
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Jim, I wish I could accurately predict such things. You'll note that I gave myself an "out" above by saying I might feel differently if I learned that the subject fish is from a gene pool that develops differently. I am no expert by a long shot. I can only share what I have read and my personal experience, which is very limited compared to other contributors on this board.



    In one sense, there is only one type of Sumi ... black pigment. How the pigment shows itself depends on how it is "captured" in the layers of skin. That varies, with two basic types. (The Japanese have at least a half-dozen terms for describing Sumi and the range of expression of Sumi.) The preferred type is a lacquer black derived from Bekko/Sanke blood. It may rise quickly in some bloodlines or slowly in others, but is marked by a deep sheen, very thick and opaque. When viewed under a layer of skin, there is a blue tone to the color. The non-preferred type is referred to as Nabe Sumi. This summer I heard a ZNA head judge refer to it as "country sumi". This is a weaker Sumi that has a sooty quality to it. It does not thicken like the lacquer black. The sooty Sumi is what early lines of Utsuri possessed. You will see fish with good looking black that fades to gray tones whenever stressed by movement, water changes or the like. This compares to the Sanke-derived lacquer black which generally remains intensely black without regard to the usual stresses of fishkeeping. There are ranges of Sumi within these extremes (and some will disagree with me on that point), which I believe relates to the genetics of the individual fish ... the genes determining molecular structure of the pigment-containing structures within the layers of the skin.

    In Showa-type Sumi, there is what I refer to as a watercolor effect. The pigment appears to fill in the scales over time, being thicker at the edges of the scales and gradually shading the whole scale. Actually, the pigment is in the skin layers. This compares to Sanke-type Sumi which appears as blocks of solid color overlaying one another without a necessary relationship to the scale ... I refer to these as "chips" of pigment. It is kind of like black confetti pieces laying over the top of one another, rather than a weak watercolor that builds in intensity over time. But, keep in mind that all Sumi develops over time. We are trying to predict how thick and glossy it will be when it reaches the zenith. (And, to add to your likely confusion ... and mine ... lacquer Sumi that expresses itself as Maruzome edges (i.e., aligned perfectly with scale edges) now exists in a few rare individuals. JR has a great photo of it!)

    Luke referred to seeking some one area of the subject fish with intense lacquer black. It has been observed that if there is glossy lacquer black on a koi, often appearing along the backbone, the chances are greater that all of the Sumi will develop to that intensity. Cases of "arrested development" are known, so it is not a guarantee, just a positive indicator. On the other hand, the more the fish looks like black watercolor was painted on, but then ran and pooled along the scale edges, the more likely the Sumi will not become solid lacquer black.

    Think of the difference between watercolor and high gloss polyurethane paint. Both will be black, but when seen side by side, one is charcoal gray and the other is truly black.

    I hope those more hands-on experienced will chime in here. The subject of Sumi is one that fascinates. There is much to be learned. My small collection is now dominated by Showa with different types of Sumi, and I've enjoyed watching them develop over recent months. Some seem to make no progress in Sumi development, but as Dick Benbow has taught me well (and often!) one must have patience. It can take many years to see what a koi's genes are capable of producing. Sometimes, however, I have to breathe deeply to remain patient... and learn the lesson the fish is teaching.

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
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    MikeM,
    That was pretty good stuff...I didn't know that the "good" indicator usually appeared along the backbone..i just look for some ANYWHERE, with fingers crossed.

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