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Thread: Showing Koi in Bags - A Discussion

  1. #1
    Sansai
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    Showing Koi in Bags - A Discussion

    I thought I would start this thread to discuss showing koi in bags. I was at the Koi Unit/Champion show and had a chance to participate in and observe the process. It was a great time and that is receiving excellent coverage in other threads. My comments are based on my fairly new exposure to koi showing (6 shows over about 3 years).

    The set-up for the fish needs to be under shade. If a large canopy is used as was done for this show, I would highly recommend that shade cloth be placed along the top edge of the wall/roof juncture to keep direct sun from entering below the canopy roof. Otherwise someone will have to move the bags as the sun moves.

    Use blue tarps to lay the bags on to provide a good background color.

    Consideration should be given to some type of a table with sides. Regular portable tables, saw horses or mortar stands with wood tops, etc. The sides could be 2 X 4s laid beneath the blue tarp/cover on the table. This will bring the fish about 24" to 30" off the ground. This will make judging easier, viewing by the public easier, and it will be safer for the fish.

    Bags need to be clear plastic. But becareful of what type of bag is used. Some clear bags are inexpensive and more brittle and may spontaineously break. There is a bag that fits the needs of this type of show but it runs $5.00 US per bag. I understand it has a valve in it for adding more oxygen, but I have not seen one and may have the description slightly incorrect. The cost of the bag will certainly be a factor and may dictate higher entry fees.

    Limiting the show size to size 1, 2, and up to 15" for size 3 was certainly a plus for this show. It allowed the bags to be moved with realative ease. Size 4 or 5 would be feasible, but more work and I am not sure how the fish would present. Remember a bag would limit the movement of the larger fish. And there is also how much of the koi would be under water, possibly affecting how the koi is viewed by the judge.

    I would also be concerned about stress. If a person lives two hours from the show site this would be a possible time frame. Catching the fish, bagging, and travel to the show - 2 to 2.5 hours. Arrival time 1 hour before benching ends. Registration, remove from bag, benching, and re-bagging 20 minutes to ???. This depends on how many entrants are there when you arrive. Judging time 2 to 3 hours for 40 - 60 fish. Traditional viewing time until awards are given out 3 hours. Travel time home 2 to 2.5 hours. For a greatly estimated time of 10 to 12 hours in one bag or another. Once again this an estimate of times.

    My conclusion: I believe that a bag show can be a good way for a small club with limited help to hold a Koi Show. I believe that seeing all of the koi of a similar size and class together makes an exciting show. If we discuss the benefits and limitations we can continue to improve this method of showing koi.

    Steve

  2. #2
    Sansai
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    Good Job

    Good job, Steve. You hit on all the relevant points. No further discussion necessary.

  3. #3
    Honmei
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    One More Item.

    I think for a small show, bags are a great idea. Purchasing the more expensive bags that you can add oxygen to should be a given. Water quality can be greatly increased by adding one or two onces of Ultimate water conditioner. This will oxidize any ammonia that may be produced while the fish are in the bags. The ultimate also helps reduce stress.

    Russ

  4. #4
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Can someone comment on the visual accuracy of judging koi in a bag? ...Can you really tell about conformation, for example?

  5. #5
    Honmei Brutuscz's Avatar
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    my personal opinion...don't like it. Color may be dulled and conformation seems hard to asess. I tried it recently when my local koi dealer got in his shipment. As they were acclimating, I was trying to evaluate my potential purchases. Maybe the bags were not the same quality or clarity...but that still wouldn't account for the difficulty evaluating conformation. Light reflection, and bag shape changes due to water motion would make evaluation innaccurate. Nope...like a blue bowl!!! Do it right or don't do it at all.

  6. #6
    Sansai
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    With regard to clarity. There seemed to be two different kinds of bags used at the show. One type was the bag most dealers use for transporting koi. It is clear, but not clear like glass. The other type was very clear, but this particular bag was more brittle. The colors were definitely brighter in the clearer bags. As I understand it, the expensive bags are also very clear and made of a thicker material and more pliable.

    The bags were laid on top of blue tarps. Condensation in the bags is dealt with by turning the bag over gently. Enough water was placed in the bags that the koi were mostly covered. Looking down at the koi from the top and off to the side seemed to be the best non distorted view of the koi. When viewed at this angle there seemed to be very little difference, if any, from looking at a koi in a show tank. However, looking from a lower angle through the curve of the bag produced a magnified view. I think that placing the bags in rows raised to 24" to 30" off the ground with a blue tarp cover on the bag would improve things overall.

    From my perspective as a realitively newcomer I was able to look at the body confirmation and come to a conclusion about it's quality. Color patterns could be viewed with a good degree of accuracy as to sashi and kiwa, especially on the glass-like clear bags.

    This is certainly a new way of producing a koi show. I believe that this show was the first time it has been done here on the west coast if not in the US. If wrong, please correct me and give any impressions you may have gathered.

    I would strongly recommend using bags that are of better quality. The more expensive bags I spoke of above are supposed to be much clearer. For a small club that does not have the equipment or bodies for a full scale show the bag show may be a good way to go for a young koi show.

    It was said by a couple of folks at the event that the use of bags for koi up to about 24" in length is being done in Japan. I have also read where the All Japan Show will be using bags for the 2006 show. I would assume that some of our concerns have been addressed or adjusted to for this show.

    Steve

  7. #7
    Jumbo Bern's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,

    I agree with Carolyn that your coverage of the elements you have described and explained needs no further explanation. They make a lot of sense to me.

    But I could do with your approach to the Registration Procedures - Benching, Bagging and Re-bagging. With particular attention to hygiene procedures to prevent any cross-contamination.

    rgds

  8. #8
    Sansai
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    Hi Bern,

    I have been looking for more information about the Japanese procedures. What I have found so far on the Oregon Koi Gardens site is a brief description:

    1: Owner bags koi at home.

    2: Bag is sprayed with a disinfectant and left to soak for 10 minutes.

    3: Bag is rinsed thoroughly.

    4: Bag is then floated in a tank with other koi of the same size variety.

    5: Koi are then judged japanese style for koi under 25".

    What is implied in the above is that the koi is benched in the bag. This is only part of the information from their site. Most of the other stuff is the same as listed above, just with fewer words.

    The process is certainly a new idea and a big leap from the English style show as that was from the Japanese style. Still not sure in my mind how the larger koi sizes will present within the limited movement allowed in a bag. I would like to find out more about how it works in practice.

    Steve

  9. #9
    Oyagoi bekko's Avatar
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    I love the idea and our club has been dabbling with this approach for displays. It is a great way to do a dry one-day show. Fish are bagged before they leave home and the bag remains sealed until they return home that evening. The fish does not need to go into quarantine when it returns home. With a little oxygen and Amquel, its probably less stressful for the fish to sit in the bag than to be unpacked and repacked. I'm pretty sure it is less stressful for the owner too. Displaying the fish over a blue tarp on the floor is much less expensive than tanks with virtually no set-up time for the organizers. There are no hygiene issues to contend with. No nets, no bowls, no airlines, no splashing, no cooties. Quick and clean.

    -stevehopkin s

  10. #10
    Jumbo dcny's Avatar
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    Do you think benching would be difficult in the bag? If it was close to the upper limit of a size class, it may be bumped to the next one where it's chances at an award would be lower.

    -Dan

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