I f you have read the content on the previous pages under the three sub-headings, by now you will have realised that this site is about the three sub-headings of ‘POND; ‘KOI’ & ‘KEEPING’ with reference to ‘proper’ aspects of each one.
I am not being ‘elitist’ at all but, once again, there is a world of difference between a person who needs a few colourful fish for his/her garden fishpond and a true Koi enthusiast. In view of this when I mention the term ‘Koi Keeping’ it is directed at the true Koi enthusiasts out there.
Before I did the layout and texts for this site, I had to bear in mind the newcomers to the hobby because these people are of the utmost importance to the future of the hobby. As a result the older information within the site, which are the truth and knowledge gained over 30 years of daily Koi keeping, is still vital to those coming into the hobby today because they should be encouraged and provided with the most up to the minute information available.
Again, it is often said that –
‘To be able to understand the present, one must first have a full understanding of the past’.
Although this site has only been active for a few months, the many kind comments from Koi enthusiasts the world over has been quite staggering. A couple of these emails have referred me to Koi forums in parts of the world where a few comments read – ‘It’s Waddy again regurgitating his old stuff that I’ve read before’ – or similar. These very few comments are made by those who have either not read the information, either now or before, or have not understood the information because I guarantee it was all written in 2009 with today in mind – if anyone knows this, I do, because I wrote it all in 2009 and will continue throughout 2010!
Once again, it is directed to everyone who has a love for the hobby irrespective of the time they have been involved.
I will try and keep this summary as brief as possible but knowing myself and, knowing also what I need to say, this brevity will be a failure as usual. But here goes –
Since around 1998 in the UK, there have been many Koi imported which were of a far higher quality than those ever seen before on our shores. Koi dealers for future retail sale purchased some – very serious collectors who visited Japan with their Koi dealers in order to check out these Koi first hand purchased others. I assure you, this raised the old-style ‘bars’ as far as standards were concerned and many of these specimens have been seen at Koi shows in later years.
Alas, many of these collectors are no longer with us and no longer are their Koi seen at shows. Some give reasons for this as follows:-
1. KHV – it has to be borne in mind but I personally know of only one high-end collector who has given up because of this but there were also other reasons in this case.
2. The World Recession – this has played a part, especially in terms of exchange rates that are truly suicidal to purchase ANYTHING from Japan with Sterling at this present time.
3. Substantial increases in UK utility charges and road fuel charges that the UK has had to face and accept over the recent years have doubtless added to the expense of keeping Koi.
4. Costia and the old archenemy White Spot – probably even much more deadly in the numbers of lost Koi than KHV. I have yet to hear or know of any high-end UK collector who has lost their specimens through these parasites.
5. Lack of demand for high class Koi over recent years – for me, this is the real reason that we see so many of those true enthusiasts sadly leaving the hobby and never returning.
Whilst items 1 to 4 do not help the situation at all, in my daily experiences it is item 5 that can be said to cover 75% of the reasons.
So why then is there this ‘lack of demand’ for high class Japanese Koi?
I believe I know EXACTLY why!
Let’s go back again to the guys in Japan who breed the finest Koi in the world for starters. Go to the Japanese breeders in autumn and look at the freshly harvested stocks for sale and what you will find will blow your head off! More to the point, it will never stop blowing your head off despite the number of times you return. There you will find Nishikigoi in many varieties and sizes, you will also find them in just about every price band possible. As to skin condition, pigmentation and health aspects – the word ‘perfection’ springs to mind here for all stocks, irrespective of their ‘place’ in the quality or beauty stakes.
Now look at the few higher-end specimens on display over there, the ones similar to those that have been purchased by some avid overseas collectors for some years now. One can inspect these ‘one-offs’ in a bowl close-up and every single aspect of what you witness with your own eyes says it all. It is the overall vision before you that blows you away, the soft beni pigmentation dazzles and tempts, the skin shines; the body vibrancy calls and the condition says ‘I’m bursting with health – don’t touch me or I’ll bite your bum’!
It is at that time that the ‘pure descriptive terms’ bandied about by many such as kiwa, sashi, ojime, kamisori, maruzome, atarashi plus a few thousand others that are merely ‘terms’ rather than requirements – all of these take a back seat way down the line because the entire painting before you and seen with your own eyes is a true work of art and that is what Nishikigoi is all about! It is impossible to begin to capture this feel on any two-dimensional camera or video imagery.
If you have read the earlier pages on this site you will know that these true masters of world-class Koi production manage to breed just a few of these specimens every year with decades of experience behind them. They do this with a combination of the numbers game; VERY good luck; significant experience and a fine concentration on their art, which is breeding world-class Koi.
That’s their job and that’s what they do and that’s what they have always done, they breed the finest Koi in the world – BAR NONE!
(Be under no misconception, these guys today are far from being ‘country hicks’ which was once true but all of that changed many years ago – they have some of the most modern fish research laboratories in the world behind them that they can consult at any time. Many of the younger Nishikigoi breeders of today have also studied at Fisheries Universities around Japan.)
Their indoor concrete systems are designed and built by outside contractors and they are ‘basic’ to say the least but all their FOUR INCH bore drain lines are flushed to waste from both ponds and filter chambers EVERY SINGLE DAY AND WITHOUT FAIL!
These concrete systems are used for only NINE MONTHS IN ANY GIVEN YEAR – after that, they are pressure-cleaned thoroughly, every speck of debris is flushed away and then are left to dry throughout the golden 90 days whilst their stocks have the luxury of a summer holiday in the field ponds. These same field ponds are drained fully after harvest, many have the mud sides and bases re-packed by machine and may just as well be BRAND NEW when more Koi are added the following June.
After the autumn harvests, their concrete systems are started up again – BRAND NEW! Don’t just take my word for it, go over there and witness it all for yourself.