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Thread: Winter Work

  1. #1
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Winter Work

    I've been living out of a suitcase lately, but one benefit of traveling on business is having time at night to read materials I pack around. An old article from decades ago included an account of winter travels through the mountains, and the tedious work of koi farmers made so difficult by the cold and snow. But, there is winter work of a less honorable sort:

    "I visited another village where I was told how to wipe out the Sumi markings: first, try to scrape out the surface of the scales. If the result is not satisfactory, hold the scale up and scrape the other side of the scale. If the scale on the Hi disk is taken out, newly developed scales will become weak in its Hi color and never recover its previous color."

    .... and so, there are means to deal with shimmies. The interesting thing is that someone undertook to teach their technique and the writer was not embarassed to publicly share what he had learned. Koikeepers are curious creatures at times.

  2. #2
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Hi Mike,

    Kind of curious where you read this, but I've got a pretty good idea. Some of the stories I've heard would make your skin crawl! Thankfully, many of the folks that were really, really bad have left the business, so most of the more dodgy elements of winter work aren't performed (at least openly) anymore.
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum

  3. #3
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    In light of the discussion concerning the Bakersfield show event, I thought I would bump this up.

  4. #4
    Jumbo Steve Nguyen's Avatar
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    scrap under the scales? wondering who can perform such of procedures with success.

    get rid of the shimmies can be quite tricky. I just don't have a stead hand for that operation.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Nguyen View Post
    scrap under the scales? wondering who can perform such of procedures with success.

    get rid of the shimmies can be quite tricky. I just don't have a stead hand for that operation.

    Steve

    Usually this should be down a couple of months before the show even better in Spring or Summer faster chance of it healing. Anyways, I am sure you'll see some altered fish at the Show next weekend...
    The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.

  6. #6
    Jumbo Steve Nguyen's Avatar
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    right on in term of giving the fish enough time to recover/heal

    I saw someone skillfully removed the shimmie but I can't do it. I created a bigger problem on my fish

    I was wondering if anyone successfully scrap under the scale.

    Steve

    Quote Originally Posted by aquitori View Post
    Usually this should be down a couple of months before the show even better in Spring or Summer faster chance of it healing. Anyways, I am sure you'll see some altered fish at the Show next weekend...

  7. #7
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I think there is a consensus that removal of superficial shimmies is acceptable (forget the 'morality' debate for a moment). Does it matter if the removal requires scraping not just the scale surface, but also the underside? ... line drawing is such a pain.

  8. #8
    Oyagoi Sangreaal's Avatar
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    If a shimmie is an unnatural (unnatural in the sense of it being a reaction to something instead of a part of the fish's genetic makeup) blemish, like a wart or perhaps like a stubborn stain, I see no problems with removing it, even if that means scraping the underside of the scales affected. I know if I got a great big permanent black zit in the middle of my forehead I'd have it removed by any means possible and nobody would blame me. So why not koi?

    However, I feel that it's insidious to alter the natural pattern, coloration or shape of any koi, just like I abhor the docking of tails in draft horses and dogs and the cutting of ears to make them stand up so the canine appears "neater" or more fierce. If one wants a stub tailed horse or a sharp eared dog, breed 'em that way. Don't cut them up to suit your fancy just because it's easier to produce....

    Marie
    Marie

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  9. #9
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Nguyen View Post
    right on in term of giving the fish enough time to recover/heal

    I saw someone skillfully removed the shimmie but I can't do it. I created a bigger problem on my fish

    I was wondering if anyone successfully scrap under the scale.

    Steve
    I have seen deep shimi's removed before, but they usally come back in full force. I know one of my friends locally tired it and accidently removed the scale.
    The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
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    I think we need to be on the same page here. 'Shimmies' is hardly a scientific word! It is a description of a small circular and often slightly raised speck of black. It is always ON the epidermis. The epidermis is on top of the scale but also wraps below the scale. This is a different thing than the genetic sumi that originates in the dermis and epidermis and is most often associated with fat cells.

    BLACK is from the cells that house melanin. Melanin is what gives us black, brown, blue and wild green coloring. And in wild carp this is found in the epidermis.
    A lot of the confusion around the term shimmies could be dismissed it was understood that the clear scale ( as opposed to opique scales) allow us to see deep into the dermis. And that a combination of clear scales and translucent skin makes for the improved sumi we see today.

    So shimmies are surface 'throw-back' melanin cells which react typically to the environment. They can be scaped off with a finger nail! Or accidently removed with handling of the fish. Or reverted with mud pond settings.
    Bits of sumi in the dermis are part of the pattern. They are chacterized by depth and also by shape ( taking on a more typical sumi shape or seen in classic areas of the 'stepping stone path' of sanke sumi).

    There is certainly a point where a specimen has one or the other or both! But you are not going to remove sumi pattern without major surgery and major disruption to the fish's skin. And unlike secondary hi removal in baby fish, you typically can't remove sumi at an early age because it is not yet established itself as the dermis is not developed. And shimmie are a thing of age, and not often seen in fish younger than one year but much more common in fish of 4 years and above. JR

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