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Thread: Does hi/beni ever get better with koi growth?

  1. #11
    Jumbo 111whalen's Avatar
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    Jim,
    Breeders;whose got it and who doesn't? I know you can't politically answer that but without sampling all breeders...
    There are so many variables: turn over, fish load, type of filter(s), to name a few. Some people swear by a certain breeders while others disparage the same one.
    When you look in Kokugyo and study the Kohakus:do you think that happens around you (your pond or friends) or are those exceptions? Pg 24, for example, the fish appears to have gained beni as well as quality of red. Pg 28, the first pic shows second hi, and then it's gone. Wow! If only you could count on that.
    Tosai, for me, have become harder to pick correctly. Not sure if it's me or the breeders have gotten better and keeping the top stock. Lots to think about.
    Full Time Koi NUT
    SoCal beats NorCal KOI UNIT
    Mark W
    CKHPA

  2. #12
    Daihonmei
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    lots of sub-conversations around that subject, Mark.

    Beni types , especially modern beni, lends to 'stretch'. It actually doesn't stretch like elastic ( an unfortunate description created by Toshio Sakai) but rather, as the fish develops the dermis gets more billowy and expanded and the chromatophores continue building along the pattern margins.
    But as far as beni goes in general, new looks always excite the koi public. And sometimes those looks are age based in terms of when they look best.
    The classic deep purple beni with very hard white skin is an example of this. But that mix of chromatophores tends to be very short lived as the skin expands.

    The final piece to the puzzle is the pattern restriction. The white ground will open up to reveal certain piebald pattern gene expressions as the hormones and nerves develop in younger fish.
    Bottom line is, there can be lots of reasons and I'd avoid a universal answer to all situations as lines are going to be different in how they develop. JR

  3. #13
    Tategoi JanT's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Good stuff on color, JR. Thanks for sharing.

    Would you talk a bit about surface injury/degradation to the beni ...that has been scraped (surface color removed) due to contact with fine plastic netting. There is no break in the skin (but almost, as there was 'indentation' ) just missing a scale or two in addition to a 'line' of missing color (2") down the side of said koi. It is a Marudo tosai kohaku.

    Specifically, can we expect the color which has been disturbed/removed to regenerate? Is this somewhat dependent, as you talked, on the quality of breeding? Does age of koi play a part in what we should expect to happen at injury sight? (You said something re: "but as the fish ages.....")

  4. #14
    Daihonmei
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    Jan, it really depends on how the fish heals ( what type of skin is created in the scrape) and how much of the dermis/epidermis is involved. IF the koi has a deep distribution of chromatophores then you should see some color return. But it is often a different shade as you are looking at a different depth and distribution. This would be like looking at the beni on the head of the koi and the body. Due to the skin thickness and scale effects, those beni shades always look slightly different. A scrape that healed would likely produce the same effect.
    If you look at a scrap on a koi's head ( especially tancho) you can get a real lesson in how beni is packed in a minute region of skin. On the body it is a little more resilient as the skin wraps the scale and is on top and bottom. So you can expect some return of color- albeit often thin and like a mared area- always a little thinner.
    One of the reasons big perfectly even beni fish are so valuable is because they still are perfect after many years of life ( no dings, dents or bumps). This is special because as we all know- shite happens! JR

  5. #15
    Nisai Seefdro Tvneik's Avatar
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    Excellent

    Hey JR when are you going to write a book (or have you?)....The knowledge is GOOD.....Thanks for sharing.

  6. #16
    Daihonmei
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    Someday. I did do a chapter in Koi Kichi II. The one on water quality is mine.

    I do love this stuff. And I would feel a great sense of satisfaction and physic dollar reward if I could say that I had in some small way something to do with bringing the general level of koi knowledge up to the levels that it is understood in Japan. We are still so far behind them in perspective and general orientation.
    The main areas they excel in and are light years ahead of us still are: understanding koi as four season creatures ( even it they don't seem to practice things the way the Niigata clans do, the southern breeders and hobbyists still respect the reality of the term).
    And the genetics is also a major part of koi appreciation in Japan. Both the science and the tradition give the Japanese a perspective about what it is they are looking at. I love the Japanese mind as it is hell bent on knowing things in great detail.

    But we should feel no frustration I guess? Because we have the journey still ahead of us and that is exciting. Here's to the journey! JR

  7. #17
    Jumbo 111whalen's Avatar
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    Still curious about your attitde about expanding/improving hi. I know you have the Kodama books-rumor is you have every English language book on koi. So what's your take? Inquiring minds want to know.

  8. #18
    Jumbo
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    a couple of samples......

  9. #19
    Daihonmei
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    I'd say it is the exception rather than any rule. I have no personal experience with this phenomena or know of a breeder who produces it. As I mentioned it must be some type of piebald pattern we are seeing possibly lined to hormonal development. It is too much for the marginal spreading we see as flesh/dermis gets thicker with age. And it is the head area that is most perplexing as that is the thinest dermis of all with no subdermal tissue?
    There are many oddities in koi genetics. One is the kanako pattern, a genetic variation/mutation of the complete kohaku pattern. Kanoko is unstable. But I have personally seen a shiro muji grow to reveal a full kanoko pattern and then loose it again a few years later . The assumption of course is that the erythrophores ( red/orange) cells appeared. But did they? Or did the leucophores ( white) disappear, revealing the underlying pattern?

    JR

  10. #20
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I think it useful to think about how Kohaku fry develop. At an early stage of development, there is no indication of Hi. The Hi begins as a blush of color. As the fry ages, the forming Hi expands. At some point, the step pattern is formed, but the Hi within each step is weak and often pale around the edges. Often the individual scales are distinctive and not fully colored. As it develops, we refer to the Hi as consolidating, or thickening. Eventually, the outline of the pattern is relatively fixed, and we can begin to evaluate kiwa and sashi. The typical tosai is at this stage of development. It seems to me that in some koi the process is extended over a longer period. If the Hi is deep (in the sense that it extends through all the skin layers), the immaturity of the Hi can give an almost translucent appearance due to the pigment having not thickened. (I rewfer to the pigment cells within the skin layers not being fully expanded and filled with pigment.)It is easy to conclude that the Hi is weak, because we do not understand what we are seeing. I think this is a poor word choice. The Hi is not "weak", it is just immature compared to what is typically seen in koi of the same age. The 'improvement' is the continual maturing of the Hi. The koi that take the longest to develop... the true tategoi... maintain a more youthful appearance because blessed by slow maturation of the skin and pigment.

    Just some thoughts to add to the mix.

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