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Thread: How to improve white skin?

  1. #1
    Jumbo farne230's Avatar
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    How to improve white skin?

    I am always observing my koi skin color going through changes. I have two kohaku with bright white skin and the third turns gray, later they switch or another time all three look great. The water chemistry is fine the koi seam fine but yet all year long there is a battle of keeping my koi looking there best. I use feed them high price food, temps range in summer from 80f to 85f with steady ph 8.2 to 8.5. How do we improve the quality of our koi's skin if we feel the genetics are there? What environmental conditions influences skin color?
    Bob

  2. #2
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    for one thing....no food with color enhancers...leave thiose products to dealers/breder trying to brighten up fish for sale

  3. #3
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Yep. And, nitrate tends to yellow and age the skin. So, keep nitrate as low as practical.

  4. #4
    Jumbo farne230's Avatar
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    I have been feeding HI-Silk, I do not believe this product contains color enhancers, also the pond is void of algae growth on walls (surface covering only-no length).

    I am coming off a salt treatment, from 3% down to 1500ppm in pond now after a 30% water change. Did note 5ppm before water change.
    Bob

  5. #5
    Oyagoi gcuss's Avatar
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    I've heard that silkworm helps the shiroji. Any truth to this?

    Grant

  6. #6
    Oyagoi mstrseed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farne230 View Post
    I am coming off a salt treatment, from 3% down to 1500ppm in pond now after a 30% water change. Did note 5ppm before water change.
    Bob
    Why would you be using salt????

  7. #7
    Daihonmei
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    I find it is best to understand what koi shiroji is and isn't before applying technique to try and make it look like white skin in the pictures and magazines.
    The look of shiroji is down to age, to season and more fundamentally- to type of derms the individual fish possesses.

    The Japanese refer to different types of shiroji as hard white and soft white. Guys like Toshio Sakai refine this description as cotton like skin and silk like skin.

    The science behind these remarks is even more compelling. There is a difference between protein strands and collagen types in koi. The fibers can be a mass of fibers or the can be uniform n their arrangement within the dermis. And they can be sold and dense or they can be transparent and reflective of light. This is not something that technique can do anything about. But hard white can be made to look harder white and soft porcelin white can be made to glow with luster. IN the end one is superior to the other. Whether one of the superior type is conditioned well Vs. one of the hard inferior type is highly conditioned is what makes a 'horse race'. And this difference is what makes breeder judging decisions different than amateur judging decisions. One picks the fundamental quality and the other picks the best conditioned winner of a beauty contest on a given day. JR

  8. #8
    Oyagoi gcuss's Avatar
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    JR,

    I think I understand what you mean. Would you happen to have any pictures of the two different shiroji types? I'm betting that the shiroji is even harder to tell from a photo than soft vs hard beni... However, a couple pictures might help.

    In my mind's eye, I see the shiroji on my SU as being very soft, bright, but soft and a more understated white. Whereas some of the harder whites have a "Crisper" appearance??...

    I dont as often hear about it, but I imagine the key to a good koi is having the shiroji "finish" alongside the beni, sumi etc for the complete look. It seems to me, that without a nice background, everything else pays a price.... Sort of like a picasso on a plank of wood, instead of canvas...

    Thanks,

    Grant

  9. #9
    Nisai
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    Silkworm and Manda Fu

    Hi all,

    Gcuss,
    Good to see you at the WK&WGS Koi show this weekend - I enjoyed meeting you and talking with you.

    Silkworm is a high protein treat for Koi. It's not recommended for more than 5% of the Koi's total diet. The Silkworm has nutrients that help fight disease - by strengthening the immune system - and helps promote slime coat. And of course, a healthy slime coat is the first line of defense against bacteria and parasites. A healthy slime coat gives the Koi a "glossy" appearance that visually enhances all the colors of the Koi. It doesn't really make the white - whiter - it mainly gives it more shine. There are several brands of Silkworm on the market.

    farne230,
    A good treat, and/or food supplement that helps "whiten the white" is called "Manda-Fu". Manda-Fu is a blend of 50 different varieties of fruit, vegetables, seaweed, and grain. It is 98.2% digestible - so it can be the first food given in spring, and the last food given in fall (depending on the water temps where you and your Koi live). Like with you and me, a healthy diet should consist of a large portion of fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables "flush out" digestive systems - and flushes out livers, kidneys, and other such organs. Flushing out internal organs and the digestive track gets rid of toxins in the blood and tissue that cause discoloration.

    Manda-Fu is like giving your Koi a great tasting, good for you - fruit smoothy. It flushes the system and helps flush out toxins that may be affecting your Koi's shiroji. Of course, Manda-Fu is not a "fix-all", but every little bit helps. And the Koi love it!

    If you want to see Koi eating Manda-Fu, you can see it in the video on our home page. Near the end of the video, my wife, Pamela is hand feeding Manda-Fu to Koi in a Crossover pond at our store. At the end of the video - Koi are eating Manda-Fu right from Pamela's lips in our indoor Koi pond. Its really cute.

    Hope that helps.
    Sincerely,
    John Russell
    www.russellwatergardens.com

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
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    Grant, I think you've got the picture and you are also right in that it is pretty hard to see IN A PICTURE! The reason is, flash cameras, natural sun light vs indoor lights all change the look.

    But try and identify first if a fish has hard shiroji or soft shiroji. Then assess the luster and then integrate that analysis within/against the age and sex of the individual fish.
    There is a high degree of genetic association between the best color cells and/or mixture of cells AND the type of shiroji it is inbedded in.
    In the case of the classic hard white we are typically looking at a higher percentage of males, strong surface color and a tendency to see certain cell mixes like red/purple beni for instance.( the fish we were calling fish #1 on the other thread has hints of red/purple beni on the second step, left side of the fish , as I recall from memory?). If you want to train your eye to this, study goromo- especially budo goromo which almost always have a very hard solid white and a puple beni tone. Eventually you will be able to see this in male kohaku and sanke.

    If you look at enough fish you will begin to see immediately, the nature of shiroji and the grade of that type of shiroji as well as it's current condition compared to an ideal specimen. JR

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