Announcing Hoshiyone Grow-out Event

Hi Koikichi,

This is the second GO organized by hobbyists for hobbyists to study Nishikigoi from an unfamiliar farm. The last one was the Seijuro GO in 2010 which was greatly enjoyed by more than 50 hobbyists, and ever since I started to see dealers brought in fishes from Seijuro.

In the final day of my last Niigata trip I said…

“Lastly, we visited a small and part-time breeder whom I call “the breeder” for now. A tour like this supposed to uncover hidden gems in Niigata and with this farm I can gladly said that I found one for this trip. This is by far my favorite farm for this trip with eye boggling Ginrin Kohaku. They only keep high quality stuffs from a mere 3000 fries each year. The breeder full-time job is to clear the ice on the road!!! I wonder why he chose the wrong career Check this out. >70cm Sansai Ginrin Kohaku” ( See

The breeder I was referring to back then was indeed Yoshiyone Koi Farm, and with my friend’s help we managed to secure 60pcs from the last tategoi culling of the year before they were transferred to mud ponds. These are rightfully called the tateshita (tategoi that dropped out at last minute due to mud pond space constraints). They have not shipped to Malaysia before and not sure they will ever because no dealer knows them. This is an opportunity to grab one as I will be using them to organize a hobbyists grow-out event.

For information on the event, click here. To register for the event, click here.

Beautiful Ginrin Kohaku

Beautiful Ginrin Kohaku

Image from

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A tosai with future

Many friends have asked me to share the growing pictures of the Adult Champion of the recently concluded Asia Koi Show in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Firstly, I must stressed that I am no longer the owner of the beauty from the Japan and the fact that it has won the big prize is a lot down to the effort of its new owner Mr Felix Chuang.

Photo courtesy of

This showa from Dainichi was bought from a local dealer (Atarikoi) in the month of July 2009 as a 29cm tosai. I remember visiting Atarikoi the day after it arrived from Japan and Any Gan and I were talking about its unique pattern. Being an ardent pattern guy, it was selected firstly because of the pattern,  where you see the 3 patches on Beni mirroring the 3 patches of Sumi on the other side. Secondly, as a young fish it demonstrated longish but sturdy body structure which is a good trait of good growth in the later years. Thirdly, its shiroji was good and I certainly didn’t pay much attention on the Beni and Sumi quality at that stage. Overall, a clean-looking fish!

Fast forward two months to Sept 2009. After living in my 6ft fibre glass tank for 2 months, it grew 3cm and had gained girth and Sumi has started to consolidate and so is its Beni. Only the Hi on the head has noticeable differences. The experts believe koi develop its Beni from head first and finish at the tail while Sumi is completely reversed of that. The koi was fed normal Hikari Saki pellets with mixture of growth and color-up throughout this period.

Ever since last photo, the show is placed in my 25-ton concrete pond with 30+ other fishes of various sizes. Growth rate of 15cm in 6 months attained with no special care or treatment allotted to this piece. Occasionally, all fishes in the pond were fed 100% color-up pellet and notable difference I witnessed was this show is not affected by the Spirulina at all while many others experienced yellowish Shiroji. Many experts said this is a testament of a high quality koi.

Another 5cm in 5 months is not exactly a fast growing but I am not an advocate of pushing koi growth too hard too fast. I believe in growing koi slowly while maintain a certain level of Beni quality instead of letting it stretch far beyond recovery. I practice periodical fasting for a week every 1-2 months. I rotate feeds between high growth, wheat germ and color-up. I don’t use expensive koi food, but just the normal but good Hikari pellets. I used Refresh powder occasionally and it does wonder on the Sumi in all my fishes.

Honestly, this koi finally taught me about good skin quality. It’s smooth and silky look. It will be interesting to see how far this beauty will go in the years to come in the koi show.

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Choosing Young Koi With Potential (Part 2 of 2)

Let continue from last week’s article on Choosing Young Koi With Potential (Part 1 of 2).


Although pattern has always been the first to look for many koi hobbyists. You should always choose quality first. A fish with good pattern, but low quality, will please you only temporarily, particularly when you notice no improvement in quality over the coming years. However, by choosing a koi for its quality, you may not particularly like the pattern at first, but in time you will come to admire it as it grows and blossoms in your pond.  Consider also that some patterns will suit a small koi very well, whereas others are what I would call a ‘big fish pattern’. A flowery pattern with large amounts of white can look beautiful on a small koi, but as the koi gets big, it can start to look somewhat bare.

Take a look at the pattern of a Kohaku for example, and observe how far down the side of the koi the pattern falls. Let’s assume that we have an imaginary Kohaku with a continuous hi pattern (not particularly desirable) but this pattern falls relatively deeply (in places) down the side of the fish. Throughout the length of the fish, the pattern is crossing above and below the lateral line numerous times. In a small (20cm) fish, this would hold little interest to most people, as it would appear to have no pattern, just a continuous hi.

But, what happens when the koi grows up? Well, the pattern will obviously grow with the koi, but the koi will also gain weight considerably with size. What will inevitably happen, is that where the koi would have been relatively ‘flat sided’ in appearance as a small fish, it will put on weight and the body will become much thicker and tubular in profile. Because of this, any areas of pattern that fall above the lateral line will appear shallower with the areas of white ground becoming more apparent as the pattern is seemingly ‘pushed upwards’. Any pattern falling below the lateral line will appear to wrap towards the underside of the koi.

The overall effect would be that the same pattern seen on our imaginary small koi, would look considerably more interesting on our big koi. Remember that in two high-class koi of exactly the same quality, pattern can make one fish ten times the price of another. The main point to our ‘imaginary koi’ is not to convince you to rush out and buy a koi with a bland pattern, but to emphasise how a heavier pattern will often suit a big koi better than a small one. It is often the pattern that pushes the price of a koi beyond people’s reach.

Sumi Quality

Sumi quality is all too often misjudged. It is very easy to buy a koi such as a Showa that looks like a fantastic prospect for the future, with an loads of underlying sumi. However, all too often the underlying sumi will never develop. Several different types of sumi exist, so we will keep this section as simple as possible. Two main words are used for describing sumi. One is ‘Honzumi’, which is a very high quality glossy black, and the other is ‘Nabesumi’, which is low quality and dull.

When looking at the sumi, it is  important to be able to see at least one scale of good sumi in order to assess the likelihood of future sumi developing. Assuming that the koi does have one scale with decent sumi, it should be very ‘black’, shiny and ideally darker towards the centre of the scale. In many cases, the outside edge of the scale will be darker than the centre (looking like a reticulation of sumi), which is an indication that the sumi isn’t
as good. Such sumi will often fade if the koi i s subjected to stressful situations, like being viewed in a bowl for a minute or two.

In the case of ‘Kage’ sumi, the sumi that starts from the centre of the scale is the type that will develop well, whereas the type that starts as a reticulation will often stay as ‘Kage’. Beware of koi that only have sumi showing on top of the red pattern, and in such cases, pay particular attention to the quality of even the slightest bit of sumi that is showing on white ground – completely disregard how good the sumi looks where it falls on top of the hi pattern.

When looking for Motoguro (sumi in the base of the pectoral fins), a completely black pectoral fin has a chance of staying completely black, but if the front ray of the pectoral fin is white, there is a much higher likelihood of the sumi receding later on to become beautiful Motoguro. Motoguro can also develop from seemingly nowhere. If the fins are white, take a look at the very base of the fin, or even the ball of the pectoral joint. If there is even the slightest trace of sumi there, then there is hope.

I hope this article and the previous one is to help you find koi that you will enjoy keeping and growing greatly for many years. But please remember, you get what you pay for, so if you have a small budget, and become very fussy after reading this article, then the chances are that you won’t be able to find a koi that will meet your requirements.

(Some parts of this article was extracted from the Koi Carp magazine)

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