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The 80 cm quest vs challenge to over-100 sanke

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  • The 80 cm quest vs challenge to over-100 sanke

    In Koi Bito #6, there is a very interesting article by Mike Snaden about the quest to grow tosai koi to over 80 cm within the age of 5 years. In the 3 ponds described, all have R/O plants and Bakki shower system. Water parameters are very good, very soft with low TDS.

    About one week after receiving #6, I received Nichirin's April issue. In it, there is also an interesting article regarding a hobbyst's dream of breeding by his own sankes that will grow to over 100 cm. He is using outdoor field ponds, indoor 100 tons pond, over 100 cm black carp female parent, pure oxygen for aeration, etc.

    These two similar but contrasting articles make unavoidable comparison. For us who are outside Japan, 80 cm seems to be the ultimate in koi growing and koi keeping; while in Japan, they are now aiming to over 100 cm!

    This show how difference is our koi world to theirs. This also prove that we still have so much to learn.
  • #2

    over the years, while i too am fascinated with the knowledge and quest,
    i can't think of anything more difficult than handling/ caring for this sized
    koi. I've done it for years so i should know. as for koi in my pond. I'll take a dandy 24 incher anytime!
    Dick Benbow


    • #3

      Kiky: I recently read the July 1988 issue of Rinko in which two reknowned koi collectors, Masao Kato and Shozaburo Sato, exchanged views on large koi. Sato observed: "At the Tokyo Show, there were not many good koi among Gosanke of longer than 85cm. The winner of Taisho Sanshoku variety, named "Matsunosuke" ... was 90cm long. There were only four or five koi longer than 85cm. *** Gosanke of longer than 85cm is really rare, about one in a hundred million." Mr Kato responded: "I think jumbo koi are from 80cm to 85cm long at most, for now. *** It's awfully difficult for 85cm koi to retain youthfulness. At present, we are struggling harder to help koi retaining youthfulness than to grow them bigger. I throw more energy into keeping koi's youthfulness than making them bigger. After all, big size is not the only merit of Nishikigoi." Sato's reply: "At present, I think, the vicinity of 80cm is probably the upper limit where Hi will remain without having too much gaps or cracks. There may be one or two exceptional cases ...."

      So, it could be said that the tosai contest in Great Britain is an effort to attain the size and youthfulness that Japan's top hobbyists had achieved 16 years ago. But, that would not be quite fair. Mr Kato went on to give his thoughts on growing large koi, and observed that mud ponds were essential to success and that after 5 years of growing in mud ponds one could hope to obtain a koi over 75cm, which with finishing in an artificial pond for a year or two might reach the 80cm mark. Thus, Mike Snaden's venturers are trying to reach the 80cm mark in less time than it took Japan's best 16 years ago.

      Yes, the top koikeepers in Japan are far ahead of the rest of the world. But, as koi improve in quality and growth potential, and koikeepers improve in their techniques, it is possible for everyone to possess a koi that less than a generation ago would have rivaled the best and most rare. I think all koikeepers should fully appreciate how splendid their koi are, even as they continue their quest for the best and rarest of the day.


      • #4

        In my opinion, a hobby should not be static. To keep interest growing, it has to be dynamic, moving forwards with new findings, new ideas, new 'anything' related to it. While I also would be happy, like Dick Benbow, to have a 24 in (60 cm) beauty in my pond; it would give me more pride if the same koi is over 80 cm.

        But Mike, fortunately we always crave new things. Around my place, hobbyists as recently as less then 10 years ago, never bothered to ask for the breeders when buying kois from local dealers. They also never knew the age, or whether they were male or female until it's too late.

        We should be thankful that with the advance of internet, information and facts can be obtained and shared by everyone the world over, just like what we are doing here!


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