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Thread: Matsue Takigawa Kohaku for critique

  1. #21
    Daihonmei
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    Maybe I can try this another way so that we can shake some myths about jumbo fish---

    two questions:

    1) how long does it take to create a 'bloodline'.

    2) What is the definition of a 'bloodline in koi'?

    - Mr Hyde

  2. #22
    ppp
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    Interesting questions indeed, how about starting a new thread to discuss this?

  3. #23
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Ah, JR, I didn't use a smiley-thing, so my sarcasm came across as serious. Although there was a little seriousness in it. I have the impression that the very experienced can reach a high percentage of correct sexing decisions on about half the tosai they examine. The other half are indeterminate. But even with the group that they believe they know the sex, some turn out different. So, no, tosai cannot be sexed 100%. ...I have a male Kohaku that went through very experienced hands as a female when nisai. As sansai, it was definitely a male, although looking like a small female to the eye of most. "Guaranteed female" is only as good as the seller's ability and willingness to replace with an equivalent female.

    Now, for bloodlines ... first, I think someone needs to define what they mean by a "bloodline". If they think there is any bloodline in koi that gives a purebred as in dog breeding, they need to think again. Even in the most refined Kohaku there are shiromuji and benigoi produced. The real question for the breeder is the success of oyagoi pairings in producing the most profitably marketable quantity of offspring. Sakai of Hiroshima succeeds due to the incomprehensible millions of fry produced each year. Out of 50 million fry, something good is likely to show up if you have the eye to recognize it. Mat McCann told me that a pairing that produced one of the best offspring he has obtained is not being repeated because there were so few marketable out of the match. A different match producing many marketable offspring is preferred, even if that match does not produce an individual koi at the level of the one-off. Perhaps a Sakai can use the resources of mud pond space and long afternoons of culling to produce a single marketable fish of special note, but not many fish farmers can take that risk. Can a person say there is a bloodline when over 90% of the offspring are worthless and get tossed by the side of the pond to feed the ants? ...It may be a bloodline in the sense that some genetic characteristics are more observable in the offspring of a certain match than in others, and maybe there are even certain traits that are prevalent. But, unlike dogs and racehorses, bloodlines in koi are more marketing than real. Is there any highly regarded breeder who does not regularly acquire new breeding stock from unrelated lines to try for improvement? A famous female may be touted as the parent fish, but check the males. They are often unrelated "bloodlines". ...the resulting fry can hardly be said to be of any "bloodline". Perhaps instead of saying a koi is "MagnaBeni Bloodline", it would be more accurate to say: "It took 8 gene pools and 3 generations to get this fine fish."

  4. #24
    ppp
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    Yes, Mike. I'm told that the male should NOT come from the same bloodline as the female as such an "incestuous" pairing would result in gradual degeneration of the gene pool. In other words, regression. If I'm not mistaken, mothers are generally chosen for their body size and structure, whilst fathers are chosen for their colour strength and body structure. Good skin quality would be ideal for both parents.

    There's so much to discuss about what really constitutes a bloodline, I think it warrants a new thread altogether as we've really gone off topic on this particular one which has probably run its course!

  5. #25
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    Blood line is not correctly used in koi IMHO. Blood line tend to breed true , as Mike said. Perhaps a better term is STRAIN. A strain would be a group or colony based on anscestry and that is bred to maintain certain characteristics like color type, pattern or size. And in truth, a 'bloodline' of koi is probably really a sub-strain of kohaku, or sanke.

    The original approach to creating a 'bloodline' is similar to that of strains and that makes for considerable confusion. That is, you begin with established lines or strains and set a new standard or dream as a goal. You sell off all stock that does NOT fit the standard you have created and keep all fish that exhibit the trait you want. From here you inbred, line bred and out cross. This is the establishment phase of a bloodline. But under this definition, koi never seem to get all the way to the expected results when compared to the uniformity and reliability of all domestic mammalian bloodlines. In effect, they are a bloodline that never really gets fixed or even well established. A strain on the otherhand is focused on a defining trait, such as sumi or beni type or size. And we have seen that many times.

    In bloodlines, the foundation stock has the ability to produce a large percentage of certain desired traits. In substrains, the results are similar but only one defining trait or two links the group. And it is said to take 20- 40 generations to establish a strain.
    The final test to all this bloodline concept is that the offspring resemble the parent and one another and most importantly they have the ability to pass those same traits onto THEIR offspring.
    This is where koi strains created by marketing hype, fail the public- and the definition. It is very rare to have sold offspring produce the same or better traits than the foundation stock fry. In fact, many a breeder has been sunk when just one oyagoi dies. The whole 'line' can crash. This is because the illusion of 'bloodline' was based on only foundation stock and the test of 'bloodline' fails in all other definitions and areas of the term. Having multiple pairs can keep the illusion of bloodline alive.
    You can have substrains that are genetically large, but forced growth and culling intensify the illusion of bloodline. JR

  6. #26
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    JR,

    What you say makes sense....to me anyway. You say that offspring seldom match (and even less surpass) the oyagoi's standards. I agree with this, but what I'd like to know is your opinion as to the typical "discount factor". Eg if the oyagoi is 90cm and no longer growing, can we expect its better (ie higher priced) offspring to at least reach 80cm? What if the oyagoi is 1metre? I know there is a discount factor, but in my mind I have been using 10-15%. Maybe this is too low? I haven't kept koi long enough to know.

    From the start, I've been advised that I should buy koi based on bloodline - this is the single most important and overriding factor. Within this, then we choose specific koi based on body structure, colour and skin quality and then pattern. I think this still holds true despite what you say about there not being really true bloodlines in koi, am I right? Perhaps we should just substitute the word "lineage" for "bloodline".

  7. #27
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    I think it is wise to buy from a known established breeder for sure. It is the only way to know something about what your koi will turn out like. Looking at the one, two, three and four year olds is very helpful in seeing the traits that repeat in that population of selectively bred fish. I think it is also very enlightening to see the tateshita that are produced as well. It is very interesting and educational to see the failing fish as well as the winning fish in the same facility.
    As far as strains goes, it is very hard to find any breeder who is not using dainichi/sensuke blood in kohaku or matsunosuke blood in sanke.

    People on this site were offended to no end a few years ago when I still was not willing to see Momotaro stock as 'his line' yet. Suggections were made to me that I was too much of a Niigata group fan and could not see the big picture. When in truth, Dainichi is a well established strain with highly predictable traits. And Matsunosuke ? who among us can't recognize a Matsunosuke sanke? I simply made the point that Momotaro was using Matsunosuke fish to build a line and it was not long enough to call it a Maeda/Momotaro line as of yet. I find it very hard to fell 100% comfortable with a Momotaro strain based on size. The reason being , all fish are part genetics and part environment. The old ' nature vs nurture' argument. The grow out facility and technique is unique and a big factor, I think, in creating an impression of trait. I have an unsettled impression as a result.

    I also have this strong orientation around the concept of innovator and imitator.
    Innovator being someone with a unique vision that takes existing strains and makes something unique and different and those unique traits are indeed passed to the upper 50% of all offspring. A look, a beni type, a head shape etc.
    I also believe in imitators. This is not a pejorative! In fact, an imitator can bring an innovator's initial results to new heights. And they can also intensify the good traits of the strain. Both types of breeders can be admired, respected for their contributions and need to be supported in their efforts thru sales.
    So against this we have marketing machines ordaining patrons as bloodline breeders. Not all of them can be bloodline breeders! They are using other lines and either continuing them and bring them to new heights ( imitators) or they are creating something new ( innovators are very rare). Throw in grow out technique, tricks of the trade and hard work on husbandry compared to yesteryear and it is hard to separate the facts from the promotion aspect.
    There are three guys from Niigata that are regularly promoted as producing their own line. They do not. They produce good examples of others lines.

    Just my thoughts- JR

  8. #28
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    JR,

    As a GENERAL guide, what kind of discount factor should I apply as to potential size of an offspring from a 90cm oyagoi?

    And what do you think of kagura as a bloodline?

  9. #29
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    I'd say,
    1)Know your breeder and assess the potential from existing stock.

    2) still, look for all the general indicators for jumbo potential as you would with any koi- bone structure, head and mouth size, shoulder height, tail tube thickness and length, fin size etc.

    3) ask about how the fish was raised to date.

    This will improve your odds tremendously. Still, 'koi is a gamble' and the younger the koi, the greater the gamble. This is why I buy three year olds mostly, it is so much easier to pick what you want to see eventually as the fish is already so far along. It is also a fish that is now putting energy into sex organ growth as opposed to pure length type growth, so I can get a sense of conformation as a full adult and what will come on in girth and how the body line will be effected. Length is one thing, but conformation and body line is everything!

    To answer your question, I think that if I'm buying a three year old dainichi sanke, I'm 80% confident as to what it will turn out like. But that three year old, represents maybe 5% left of the original spawn of three years ago! And the point here is these are the remaining fish that exhibited the best traits of that strain as envisioned by the breeder. At some point in the culling process, the animal becomes the dream and the dream becomes the animal.

    If I was buying for size only, I'd assume that the odds of picking a tosai that will be as large as one of the Oyagoi is 2- 5 %, all things considered. If it is a Sansai I'm looking at and buying just for size, the odds go up to maybe 10% ( or higher if I'm willing to give up on pattern), for the reasons I mentioned. Assuming that I have the facility to grow a fish that size and also assuming that this fish is not the total product of intensive aquaculture technique. - JR

  10. #30
    ppp
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    Thanks JR. It's always been a trade-off between risk and price. A top quality sansai would cost a real bomb. As far as I know (but correct me if I'm wrong), if a hobbyist pays USD10,000 for a top tosai tategoi, it may be worth USD30,000 or even more when it reaches sansai IF it develops according to expectations. Following this logic, USD10,000 would not be getting a fantastic sansai (although a decent one) because the fantastic ones have gone up to USD30,000 already. Of course the IF in the 3rd line is a big IF as there is every chance the koi may not perform to expectations. That is the risk one has to take when buying smaller fish. Higher potential quality and hope/expectations versus decent but slightly lower quality and much lower risk.

    I'd love to know your opinion of maruyama kagura as a bloodline, JR....or anyone else for that matter.

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