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Since everyone is talking about Kohak, what do you look for when buying?

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  • Since everyone is talking about Kohak, what do you look for when buying?

    Since everyone is talking about Kohak, what do you look for when buying? Plus what are some of the signs to tell you to pass....?
    The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.
  • #2

    Originally posted by aquitori View Post
    Since everyone is talking about Kohak, what do you look for when buying? Plus what are some of the signs to tell you to pass....?
    Conformation, and if the koi is a Fingerling, A HUGE head...Indicates big growth, have to be careful with this though. Because if it grows to much, than the color and future pattern can be in jeopardy.

    Comment

    • #3

      Good question Tonio!

      I'm sure JR would shed some very intuitive thoughts and info on this subject. At least I hope he does.

      As for me, I'll try to give you an example

      Scenario - There are 50 nisai kohakus placed in front of me. I have already asked the breeder about the keito and have seen them. First thing I would do is select for bone structure - looking predominantly at the head, shoulders and ozutsu. Let's say I find 10 promising bodies.

      Second, I would look at the skin quality and how the shiroji looks. Is it somewhat transparent? Is the head clean and white? Is there a break at the odome?

      Third - How does the beni look? Is it uniform or homogenous throughout the ENTIRE body? Do I see the deeper insertion of color at the center of EACH scale? Does the beni have a "soft" look to it? If sashi is present in this bloodline, is it uniform across the entire hi plate and the same on all hi plates? What does the kiwa look like. If Kamasori, are all edges sharp like a razor? If it's Maruzome kiwa, does it have or does it appear that all the scales will be completely finished to the edges? Within the hi plates, are there individual scales that appear to be a yellowish tint?

      Lastly - Does the pattern appeal to me? If I want to grow the fish out, does it currently have a "big fish" pattern? I personally like a more "unique" pattern versus a standard two or three step. The patterning has to be more artistic than static if you get my meaning. Also, when I look at the fish as it swims towards me, does it's overall appearance appeal to me? It has to stir my emotions immediately otherwise I will become bored of it's look all too quickly when looking at it on a daily basis. I don't concern myself with the question of whether it will win a show or not. I have to see it EVERY DAY and if I'm not happy with it, then what's the point. Because someone else or a judge on any given day will appreciate it? That's not my main goal anymore. I used to be caught up in all that and worry about what others will think. Not anymore.

      Comment

      • #4

        One of the Things I learned from Sakai-san.

        Does the Nishikigoi have a greater distance between the Lips to the Fins?

        heres and example (attachment)

        If it is, the koi will grow substantially more than others, and will become bigger, but if it grows to quick the pattern will go to crap, because the pattern cannot keep up with the length growing so much, Kinda like me, Im super tall and I cannot eat to mirror my metabolism, so within about 30 minutes I am hungry again, In other words I grow to much.
        Attached Files

        Comment

        • #5

          Originally posted by lilhelper View Post
          One of the Things I learned from Sakai-san.

          Does the Nishikigoi have a greater distance between the Lips to the Fins?

          heres and example (attachment)

          If it is, the koi will grow substantially more than others, and will become bigger, but if it grows to quick the pattern will go to crap, because the pattern cannot keep up with the length growing so much, Kinda like me, Im super tall and I cannot eat to mirror my metabolism, so within about 30 minutes I am hungry again, In other words I grow to much.
          Bad example Grasshoppa, I will give some examples later...Plus Loran is a special fish that goes beyond any conventional selection process....
          The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.

          Comment

          • #6

            If it looks like a ranchu then you should pass! Seriously though are we talking tosai or nisai or overall? I would think there would be a difference in what you are looking for at each age.
            Koi-Unit

            ZNA Potomac Koi Club

            Comment

            • #7

              One of the things i think should be brought up is what kind of a pond is the koi going into? Doesn't make sense to buy a perfect tategoi with tremendous potential and then put it in a pond where none of the breeders talent can be realized.

              Since females take longer to bring around to a finish state and need a bigger
              gallonage to create the growth and volumn, a small pond or medium can do very well with male koi. They do well till about the third year or until such time as a female's body starts to influence the decision making. But if you have a small pond and want to compete in the smaller sizes then you fall into a different category in the selection process.

              Koiczar had a lot of good points..to add to it regarding pattern...when a koi gets up around 24-25 inches....quality becomes more evident and the pattern does not have the same sway as it does in smaller sizes especially under 20 inches. What that tells you is you need to have a very special pattern in smaller sizes....in bigger koi ,pattern is nice if you have that too but now quality begins to have it's effect...this understanding will help you
              make better selections for your specific situation.(yes a great pattern and quality is best but that may be out of our league $$$$ wise atleast for me)

              birdman will appreciate this: Back when I used to race pigeons, I had the choice to win the shorter races or the longer. I was drawn to the longer and i bought my bloodline accordingly. While i sent youngbirds out their first year in races my loft never did well. But during old bird season, especially in smash races (lots of storms) I did exceedingly well. Knowing my dream and my facilities I was able to make a good choice...and it works for me in my koi experience as well...match the koi to your dreams and your ability/facility
              Dick Benbow

              Comment

              • #8

                I know that technically,we all will say bone structure first. But...how many of us really do that? I know my eye is always drawn to pattern and skin/color quality first. If I narrow down to a final few which all have patterns I like...I will then pay close attention to the bone structure to make a final decision. But, it is rare to look at a large group of fish and think bone structure first. The eye candy always distracts!!!
                sigpic

                If your desire to succeed is greater than your desire to fail, then you will succeed.

                Comment

                • #9

                  Brutusz

                  The longer you spend in this hobby and the more (thousands) of fish you see, you WILL be able to concentrate on the more important parts first. A single trip to Japan will simply whet your appetite. Subsequent trips will spoil your eye. It's like apples and oranges. Once you've seen the apples there just is no other fruit like it.

                  Dick,

                  I totally agree with your asessment of taking pond size into account. Forgive me, I left that off. It is of major importance to this discussion. However, I was just giving "my point of view" and that includes having the gallonage to support the size. Lest we forget more humble beginnings!!

                  Mike

                  Comment

                  • #10

                    *cough cough* Ok guy's, while I understand some or most of this, some of the words being used this person does not understand..... yet!

                    Is there a break at the odome?
                    sashi is present in this bloodline, is it uniform across the entire hi plate and the same on all hi plates? What does the kiwa look like. If Kamasori, are all edges sharp like a razor? If it's Maruzome kiwa, does it have or does it appear that all the scales will be completely finished to the edges? Within the hi plates, are there individual scales that appear to be a yellowish tint?
                    I'm not sure exactly what is being reffered to here..
                    ~Kathy

                    Comment

                    • #11

                      Kathy in another thread on this board JR used a term that I wasn't familiar with "Jitai" meaning the white background on gosanke that is the canvas that the other colors are displayed on. It prompted me to start a thread here: http://www.koishack.com/forum/index.php?topic=4781.0

                      You will also find this link helpful: http://www.japan-nishikigoi.org/dictionary.html

                      It's nice to have this kind of info close at hand.

                      Rick

                      Comment

                      • #12

                        Good Link

                        Some of us speak english, a few speak japanese, but not many of us are fluent in Koi . I appreciate Clay and Tamianth's inquiries as they beat me to the punch .
                        On to the question at hand. Thus far we've been fortunate. We have "accidentally" acquired and/or bred Koi with decent bodies for the most part. Learning the bone structure signals came much easier than the rest. Working on an eye for excellent skin quality and color depth is proving more difficult. One of the things that is helping our education along is observing the development of our "keepers" from last years spawn. Ours is good gosanke water and the chance to see several dozen fry of several varieties morph toward maturity has been both entertaining and educational. The good reading on this forum has made it possible for us to actually understand the wherefore and why of what we've been observing, and my wife and I sometimes talk about the changes we're seeing in individual Koi in order to try and apply what we learn here.
                        If we went shopping today for a new Kohaku, the excellent points already made here would be at the forefront, but in all honesty I'm sure we would see patterns we thought had potential and then weed out those with lesser body conformation from that group. Once we saw good bodies and pattern potential it would be the more difficult task (for my eye anyway) of zeroing in on the best skin quality and beni depth. That aspect of selection is still the one I feel most lacking in personally.
                        Larry Iles
                        Oklahoma

                        Comment

                        • #13

                          Looking for the ‘right’ kohaku can be made easier if you know what it is you are looking for?! Or put another way, what you WANT the kohaku for? This may sound weird at first. But koi can be bought for many purposes and reasons:
                          * to show this weekend
                          * to raise to show in three years
                          * to raise to show in six years
                          * to add to a koi collection for color
                          * to add to a small pond
                          * to add to a large pond for display
                          * for a future breeder
                          * any of the above on a tight budget, any of the above on a unlimited budget

                          It would be Soooo easy if one fish filled all these requirements - but that is not possible! Each kohaku has a date with destiny in which it will peak at a certain time and then hold or decline from there. Some peak in two years, most in four years and some in six to eight years.
                          So the KILLER one year old will likely be ‘passed sell date’ buy age three
                          And the tategoi may be ‘perpetual tategoi’ for all it’s life. This is known as the ‘heartbreak of koi’!
                          It has been my experience , and the experience of almost every advanced koi keeper that I know, that you will ultimately be put off by koi with poor figures and always find a koi with pleasing body lines a thing to admire and enjoy- therefore conformation is the number one thing to look for. Usually to get a great conformation you are looking at females and females of a certain grade. So this is a fish that is not cheap. But it is also a fish that doesn’t have to break the bank either.
                          After than, it is white ground that is most important for long term enjoyment. If the white is great, the red tends to be acceptable in almost any grade of fish. NOW the big dollars start to be added on based on pattern and beni quality.

                          A word about price. You can buy a small one year old kohaku ( or a ‘held back’ two year old) that is finished, crisp, lustrous and bright, and with a pattern ready to win best of size in a koi show THIS weekend. So it is a special animal worth some serious money. But not too much money! This fish is likely male and will likely be past sell date in two more years. So the price must be considered against the ‘use’ of the fish. Personally I think paying over $500 for such fish is nuts?! Maybe $150- $350 is a fair price. But I see dealers selling such fish for $750- $ 2000 dollars and suggesting that the fish can win baby GC and then as it ages, win young GC and then down the road overall GC! Koi are for ‘dreaming on’ but not for living in a dream!
                          In the other extreme, Jumbo tosai has been a greatly abused concept in the last five years. Big murky babies marketed as jumbo tosai or nisai suggest that the track will continue and that you have a real tategoi on your hands. And the prices are quite shockingly steep. This is the highest form of speculating as you have no idea if these are simply forced grown fish. Often I have seen these fish turn out to be male and they simply slow down at age three and become regular sized males as other fish around them who are simply growing normally, catch up by age four! In this case, a $2000 ‘tategoi’ becomes a $250 adult male- ouch!!!
                          Perhaps the most satisfying fish and what many consider the ‘sweet spot’ for buying koi is the three year old koi. A little more expensive but a lot less gambling is involved. Here you can set your eye with a greater degree of confidence as to what it is your prospect will turn out like. The beni is real or not and the white is mature. The odds of shiro muji is much lower and the body line is there. And of course, the fish can be sexed much more reliably at this age.
                          The exception to this advice would be for those interested in color for a collection or those with a small pond. In that case, males can be bought at age two and enjoyed as part of an overall collection and the advantage is they will not likely get too large for the pond or stick out as over sized in a uniform collection.
                          JR

                          Comment

                          • #14

                            Originally posted by johnsmith View Post
                            Looking for the ‘right’ kohaku can be made easier if you know what it is you are looking for?! Or put another way, what you WANT the kohaku for? This may sound weird at first. But koi can be bought for many purposes and reasons:
                            * to show this weekend
                            * to raise to show in three years
                            * to raise to show in six years
                            * to add to a koi collection for color
                            * to add to a small pond
                            * to add to a large pond for display
                            * for a future breeder
                            * any of the above on a tight budget, any of the above on a unlimited budget

                            It would be Soooo easy if one fish filled all these requirements - but that is not possible! Each kohaku has a date with destiny in which it will peak at a certain time and then hold or decline from there. Some peak in two years, most in four years and some in six to eight years.
                            So the KILLER one year old will likely be ‘passed sell date’ buy age three
                            And the tategoi may be ‘perpetual tategoi’ for all it’s life. This is known as the ‘heartbreak of koi’!
                            It has been my experience , and the experience of almost every advanced koi keeper that I know, that you will ultimately be put off by koi with poor figures and always find a koi with pleasing body lines a thing to admire and enjoy- therefore conformation is the number one thing to look for. Usually to get a great conformation you are looking at females and females of a certain grade. So this is a fish that is not cheap. But it is also a fish that doesn’t have to break the bank either.
                            After than, it is white ground that is most important for long term enjoyment. If the white is great, the red tends to be acceptable in almost any grade of fish. NOW the big dollars start to be added on based on pattern and beni quality.

                            A word about price. You can buy a small one year old kohaku ( or a ‘held back’ two year old) that is finished, crisp, lustrous and bright, and with a pattern ready to win best of size in a koi show THIS weekend. So it is a special animal worth some serious money. But not too much money! This fish is likely male and will likely be past sell date in two more years. So the price must be considered against the ‘use’ of the fish. Personally I think paying over $500 for such fish is nuts?! Maybe $150- $350 is a fair price. But I see dealers selling such fish for $750- $ 2000 dollars and suggesting that the fish can win baby GC and then as it ages, win young GC and then down the road overall GC! Koi are for ‘dreaming on’ but not for living in a dream!
                            In the other extreme, Jumbo tosai has been a greatly abused concept in the last five years. Big murky babies marketed as jumbo tosai or nisai suggest that the track will continue and that you have a real tategoi on your hands. And the prices are quite shockingly steep. This is the highest form of speculating as you have no idea if these are simply forced grown fish. Often I have seen these fish turn out to be male and they simply slow down at age three and become regular sized males as other fish around them who are simply growing normally, catch up by age four! In this case, a $2000 ‘tategoi’ becomes a $250 adult male- ouch!!!
                            Perhaps the most satisfying fish and what many consider the ‘sweet spot’ for buying koi is the three year old koi. A little more expensive but a lot less gambling is involved. Here you can set your eye with a greater degree of confidence as to what it is your prospect will turn out like. The beni is real or not and the white is mature. The odds of shiro muji is much lower and the body line is there. And of course, the fish can be sexed much more reliably at this age.
                            The exception to this advice would be for those interested in color for a collection or those with a small pond. In that case, males can be bought at age two and enjoyed as part of an overall collection and the advantage is they will not likely get too large for the pond or stick out as over sized in a uniform collection.
                            JR
                            Jr, when is the book coming out. If you just collected all of this stuff that you have been giving away for free for years, organized and bound - there would be many will to buy it. Count me in when you publish it, but please sell it for a reasonable price and not $200 a copy. It would still be worth it at that price but many more could enjoy it at $35 to $50 retail. Just a thought for your consideration on the book. Always enjoy your bring the hobby back to a realistic point of view that the advanced hobbyiest and the newcomer can both read and understand.

                            Rick

                            Comment

                            • #15

                              Excellent info JR. I learn more from you everyday I read whatever you write. Please put me down for one book.

                              Comment

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