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ZNA shiro study at Quality Koi

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  • ZNA shiro study at Quality Koi

    So back in June some of the ZNA Potomac and ZNA Tri-State members headed to Quality Koi to participate in a shiro study. Mat had a batch of 5-7 inch shiros for us to look at. They were broken into 9 different groups. Heavy sumi, hardly any sumi, yellow, motoguro, no motoguro and some others (hopefully some one else took notes). So at that time we were offered a shiro slot for $300 (only for full ZNA members). All of the shiros we looked at would be placed in a mud pond for the season and then we would pull the pond and each get to pick our shiros. The picking order was drawn at random. I had pick 7 and pick 26. So today we pulled the ZNA pond. They went in at 5-7 inches and came out at 15-18 inches. Here are my two. I'll post some more pics of the event in a bit.
    Attached Files
    Koi-Unit

    ZNA Potomac Koi Club
  • #2

    Some more pics
    Attached Files
    Koi-Unit

    ZNA Potomac Koi Club

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    • #3

      Wow, those are really nice looking utsuri and a bargain at that price.

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      • #4

        Jim, like your second one. Curious if the genetics are from INC and his marusome sumi?
        Dick Benbow

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        • #5

          Originally posted by jnorth View Post
          So back in June some of the ZNA Potomac and ZNA Tri-State members headed to Quality Koi to participate in a shiro study. Mat had a batch of 5-7 inch shiros for us to look at. They were broken into 9 different groups. Heavy sumi, hardly any sumi, yellow, motoguro, no motoguro and some others (hopefully some one else took notes). So at that time we were offered a shiro slot for $300 (only for full ZNA members). All of the shiros we looked at would be placed in a mud pond for the season and then we would pull the pond and each get to pick our shiros. The picking order was drawn at random. I had pick 7 and pick 26. So today we pulled the ZNA pond. They went in at 5-7 inches and came out at 15-18 inches. Here are my two. I'll post some more pics of the event in a bit.
          Thanks for posting. I also have a couple of utsuries which I put in my mud pond in June. Matt picked me a selection of fish so hope they are all there when I harvest the mud pond next week. I did see some of the showa and sanke. Just shipment quarantine can set fish back but will measure them when they come out.
          I do not think that mine will be that size but were 9to 10 in going in.
          Regards
          Eugene

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          • #6

            Jim: What can you say about Shiro Utsuri development? Any observations to share?

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            • #7

              Originally posted by MikeM View Post
              Jim: What can you say about Shiro Utsuri development? Any observations to share?
              I'll have to see if I can get the "before" bowl pics we have. The keys that Mat was focusing in on was some of well known "facts" about shiro tosai. Like that yellow heads mean male. Wasn't the case... Finished means male...once again not true and on and on. Let me see if I can get some of those before photos.
              Koi-Unit

              ZNA Potomac Koi Club

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              • #8

                Originally posted by jnorth View Post
                I'll have to see if I can get the "before" bowl pics we have. The keys that Mat was focusing in on was some of well known "facts" about shiro tosai. Like that yellow heads mean male. Wasn't the case... Finished means male...once again not true and on and on. Let me see if I can get some of those before photos.
                Yep. Last Spring I started a thread about selecting Shiro Utsuri, asking about their development. I really did not have an understanding of them and I did not learn a whole lot I could use from what others posted. After going to NKF for the harvest and seeing the 555 Shiro Utsuri nisai come out of the mud, and checking out the small ones in the greenhouse tanks, I still do not understand Shiro Utsuri. Whether tosai are yellowish seems completely irrelevant. Whether there is considerable sumi or not seems irrelevant most of the time, unless truly extreme. I do think quality of sumi is a key factor, but it takes a very good eye to distinguish it in tosai. Trying to figure out skin quality while ignoring yellowish color is a challenge beyond my eye, which means that I'm at a complete loss of what to think about a large percentage of a batch of tosai. Pattern is of least importance in judging, or so we are told. (I tend to think the impact of pattern with SU is greater than with other varieties, even if the judges are trying not to give it too much weight.) But, pattern in SU is very important to most hobbyists. With SU, the pattern displayed as tosai seems fickle. The basic structure of the pattern may remain as nisai, but sumi coming up in other places and down in some can change the aspect quite a bit. And, that pretty much leaves body form.

                It did seem to me that as nisai, SU could be sexed with a high percentage of accuracy based on whether the shiroji was truly white or yellowish. But, that idea comes from observing a limited group of fish and as nisai sexing them is not particularly difficult anyway.

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                • #9

                  As much as I have studied shire Utsuri; after reading your post Mike, I find myself saying "you read my mind". Two years ago I purchased 3 shiro. One with heavy sumi fully up, one buried sumi for the future, and one somewhere in the middle of those two. The koi with full sumi was not favored by the judges at the last show. The koi in the middle is yellow, and the shiro for the "future" has very nice shiroji. Perhaps another few years will teach me something.
                  Matt Sklar

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                  • #10

                    I did my study on SU a few moons ago. Like any fish for show, I always looked for the best skin because they either have it or they don't. my favorite line to select from was "panda" from omosako. It would have some sumi up, enough to judge the quality and some yet to appesr. Since then I have studied alot of other breeders. seki, where i went thru 200 of his tosai with mr Kodama, he sharing what to look for in this man's fish as they were friends for a very long time. With his advice I remember pattern wise trying to discern no more than half the face to develop black in the future and like any good kohaku, looking for a nice white odome. I've shared before on what to look for with motoguro, all black fins with white leading edge for example will in time, reduce and become very nicely sized. earlier I asked on a thread about Mat's fish if they had come from INC's marusome sumi. reason I did was to be able to contribute some knowledge on how the sumi develops and what to look for. It's different than other lines. You don't hear much about igarashi kazudo's SU. A decade back I was able to get into his tategoi SU. The tosai were all jumbo and all white. Second year as he was preparing to put them in the mud he would find enough sumi showing to judge the quality. I was told that it was when they reached three years old, that you could determine what you were buying. So it all comes down to knowing your lines, and keeping up with what the breeder is doing.Not as much now as before, but it's still good to chech the head length with the length of the body. This keeps you away from what I call a football looking end result. You look at the head and measure it's length with your eye, and then take that length and run from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. You need a minimum of 4 and a half lengthd to avoid a football shaped result in the end. I could keep rattling along but hopefully there are a few things that I've shared that will help you in your tosai selection. With those tosai that have very little sumi showing at present, get permission from the dealer/breeder to roll the fish over as if attempting to sex, and notice the finage underneath. If you fins sumi showing then it's presence indicates a better chance of more sumi developing in the future. Clear fins indicate more of what you see is what you get. Sumi in the tail and dorsal at a young age is also a hint of the strength existing with potential in the future. Lastly finding motoguro on each side that mimicks each other for amount and shape indicates a strong possibility to have a siyetrical patern develop on both sides. there is something very shiek about good black and white.
                    Dick Benbow

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                    • #11

                      Thanks for the tips, Dick. It sure helps to have them to increase my batting averages, if and when I should make another attempt at picking one from a pool of tosai. Still, the relative unpredictability of a shiro makes its development one where surprises lie in store. An unappreciated ugly duckling could blossom while a much admired shiro with strong expectations could shirk and sink hearts.

                      My one shiro started out bozu but now has sumi emerging at its nose at the lateral half where sumi is lacking and gives me much hope. But I am resigned to accepting that a red eye may never go away.

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                      • #12

                        funny you'd mention red in the eye. the nicest patterned and quality fish I ever saw was an SU with red eyes. At the time i couldn't see past it and if i saw the same fish today I'd have to have it. back then I was more into pattern, today I'll take quality every time.
                        Dick Benbow

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                        • #13

                          That gives me great comfort and encouragement Dick. Did the red eye add to the overall quality or was the SU so well developed and beautiful that the red eye hardly mattered?

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                          • #14

                            I bought a 10" tosai Shiro from Eastern in May of 2013 and she is now (guessing) about 24". It's normal for them to grow that big in a short time and it's a sign that this one will get really big ?

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                            • #15

                              Originally posted by vipertom View Post
                              I bought a 10" tosai Shiro from Eastern in May of 2013 and she is now (guessing) about 24". It's normal for them to grow that big in a short time and it's a sign that this one will get really big ?
                              Any koi growing from 10 inches (25cm) to 24 inches (60cm) in six months has to create an impression. I do not think it is normal. It is abnormally good growth. Whether it indicates continued growth to a 'really big' length, I can only guess. Few Shiros grow past 80cm. I've only seen 90cm Shiros in photos. So, the chances of getting a jumbo Shiro are not as good as with some other varieties.

                              I've had tosai of various types that were very strong growers their second season, but not particularly strong growers thereafter. Males can do extraordinary things growing from tosai to nisai, and then they are pretty much done. Females are an entirely different story. If they remain on the thin side from the growth, I think further significant growth is a real possibility. If they fatten up with eggs, growth slows down considerably. The largest koi I've raised from tosai were all females which initially were not the fastest growers. Males in the same batch of tosai most often faster at first, but as the long growing season in Orlando draws out, the males' growth would slow and the steady, constant growth of the females would result in them being longer.

                              I'll cross my fingers and hope you get a monster female Shiro.

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