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Thread: a close personal friend of mine

  1. #31
    Oyagoi Lam Nguyen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    If I can, and if you don't mind, I'd like to clarify one point you are suggesting and maybe add some dimension to your comment about the beni?

    Beni is not something that 'gets softer'. Softness is a function of the shiroji. When beni of this type is youthful and gathering and when the 'coats' are still few, the beni plate's uniformity of color is at war with the growth rate.
    So a fast growing body thins out the immature beni until two things happen: 1) the coats of beni thicken the plates 2) the growth rate naturaly shows with age.

    Don't confuse yourself with the big 'S' softness, which is a skin condition with the small 's' softness, when trying to explain the opposite of HARD beni. Hard beni is a type of beni characterized by inelastic characteristics ( typically bright but 'breakable' surface beni).

    to bring it all home, your fish is simply outgrowing the concentration of it's current beni cell count within the plates.

    My two cents-- JR
    Jasper, please, I don't mind at all. Just like everyone else, I post on this forum to learn. And I wouldn't be posting pixs of the Toshio Sakai showa if I was afraid of negative comments or comments that challenge my understanding. Clearly I still have a lot to learn about beni and its development.

    If you don't mind, may I pose my understanding of beni hardness/softness. While I understand that the concept of hardness/softness applies mainly to shiroji, I thought that the concept of hardness/inelasticity and softness/elasticity also applies to beni as well. In this case, beni hardness is a concept of the inability of the beni to stretch and instability whereas the beni softness is a concept of the ability of the beni to stretch and hence stability. Please don't confuse beni hardness/softness w/ beni quality, which is a concept of "the layers of paint" of beni. We are strictly talking about beni hardness/softness.

    I kept on thinking that beni hardness/softness is due to the different cells and their pigmentation and that, while it is mainly due to cell type, it is also dependent on water quality and diet as well. Take this showa for example, the first pixs posted by Dick showed a very condensed colored-up koi that was most likely fed color enhancers to bring out the beni pigmentation. It is a koi that was ~11.5" when obtained this past late May, so I don't think that the growth was stunted. Therefore, this koi may have so-called "soft" elastic beni that is masked by color enhancers. When it was kept indoors and fed for max growth, the beni stretched giving it that soft look. But it also lost that hard beni look because it was not fed color enhancers anymore.

    As far as beni quality is concerned, I would give this koi a "4 out of 5 layers of paint" meaning that the quality is pretty good and even throughout the length of the koi. And the thing about this koi is that the sumi is starting to show up more............anyways, this is what I understand about beni hardness/softness. I am sure that it is very basic so I look forward to hearing more input from all of you.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    So sometimes when we use 'feelings' to describe what koi elements are ( or aren't) we get too far off the reservation in terms of what is actually going on physiologically speaking and get into the airy mystical box canyon of unending artistic descriptives. And in that world there is the danger of creating the impression that koi qualities are unfathomable to any but a mystical buda like breeder.

    Koi grow in all dimensions, not just length. And I mentioned in another post they change from babies to juveniles to young adults to mature adults and don't just expand in length and girth. These stages of life bring about different conditions in the skin.
    So shiroji can be 'hard' or soft'. This has to do with the nature and mutation of the dermis.
    The beni, grows as color cells get more numerous, larger and collect in compound groupings. And in different lines this ordering of color cells starts in different zones within the dermis as the dermis itself expands in thickness and complexity ( all as the fish moves through stages of life).
    So your koi showed baby thin skin and a first coat of even cells. As the body expanded and the maturing process continues the beni is thinning and only evident because the beni generating zones ( hoshi) show next years proliferation of color cells and a density of those cells.
    The use of the terms 'elastic' and 'inelastic' is meant as a primer for the beginner to image that the beni will spread as the fish grows. And the term 'hard' beni gives an image of a sheet of imobile cells that can't move and will break/fracture the plate. In truth there is nothing hard or soft about that beni- it is simply one dimensional and prone to move apart as the fish si not genetically blessed with ever growing beni cells ( either from the hoshi 'stars' OR , as in some lines, from the base of the dermis).
    In the end, I think the words hard and soft applied to beni lead the beginner further away from what is actually occuring in the koi's skin. JR

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