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Thread: high quality genetically small koi

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    high quality genetically small koi

    I have a smaller pond 1000-1200 gallons. I would still like to collect more than 3-4 koi, and can't expand my pond.

    I have heard of respected breeders in Japan that have intentionally bred high quality koi (bonsai) koi. I'm not talking about breeding in high nitrate environments and starving the poor devils, but breeding lines that are smaller and have beautiful proportions, skin, and color.

    Does anyone know of a dealer in the states that specializes in this? I know there's a domestic breeder that does this - http://www.koitogo.com/ - but I'd really like to get Japanese lines...

    If not, here is my plan. Please tell me if it makes sense:

    Buy smaller male nisai.
    Buy male Doitsu Sanke, Kohaku or Showa or maybe Doitsu Shiro Utsuri (I have heard they grow slower)
    Feed high quality, lower protein foods

    Thoughts?
    -Brian

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    1000 gallons is a good goldfish sized pond.

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    I have kept a 3,000 gallon pond for over 10 years. My first year i purchased about 10 koi and kept them for three years before my first 'disaster' not related to stocking density. They were about 15-16 inches at three years old. I now have only 3 koi in the same pond, they're 2 Nisai and pushing the 20'' mark and one is a aka nisai over 16''. I believe you dont need to search for bonsai koi, you can just buy the quality and quantity you want and they are not going to grow very much. Just monitor the parameters well. I think that if you wanted Jumbo koi, in 1,000 gal, you'd be lucky to get one koi to its potential. When 'growing' fish, i have heard it suggested that 1,000 gal/koi is the minimum (obviously parameters and filtration make a difference as well)
    Last edited by inazuma28; 12-09-2013 at 10:30 AM.

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    I went to a pond on a tour a few years back where the owner had a small pond around 1000 gallons and it was at the end of a 25 foot narrow stream. One huge koi occupied the setup. The koi would fly up the stream to get handouts at the headwaters. Very entertaining to see a fish this big jet up the stream. With the top fin out of the water reminded me of a shark on attack.

    It took 2,000 years of genetically altering carp to get todays small goldfish. Its possible to keep koi in a small container but a lot more difficult.

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    I have some koi that are genetically small. Some raised here and some I bought.

    Several came from Japan. They had good patterns and a low price for a good pattern. I suspect that low price is because they had been identified as koi that would have little growth and let go at a low price.

    Perhaps you can find some one who has some runts they want to sell, that do not grow.

    Perhaps you can also look at Kodama website for older koi, that are smaller size.
    Nancy



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    I gave my brother some Kohaku fry and he rasied about 5 of them in a 15 gal aquarium. Two years later they healthy and stunted about 3 inches. This year he took 4 Dainichi 3 month old Showa fry and placed them in a 30 gallon tank. I give him credit because he is enjoying himself. He doesn't know or care about pattern or how much the koi is worth, he just wants to keep them alive for a long time in his aquarium. They seem to grow according to the environment they are placed in. Latter when they old enough he will probably ask me to spawn them for him.

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    I keep six breeder males growing and healthy in a 1,200 lined container with about 700 gallons of water. I just flush the ultima 2000 filter with 1/8 hp external pump daily. The daily change of water keep the water refreshed and nitrate in check. I don't need to add dechlor where I live. Moreover, I keep five females in a separate 5000 gal intex pool with 2,500 gallons of water using the same size ultima 2000 filter and pump. In addition, I have a 500 gallon fry tank with a ultima 1000 and 1/16 hp external pump.

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    Last edited by Roger; 12-09-2013 at 05:07 PM.

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    Maybe ask a hobby breeder....my parent koi are from japan and I have a group of fry from this year where the biggest is 7" and the smallest is a matsukawabake that WILL NOT grow at 1" There are always runts in the litter

    Going to save that one for a while to see what happens...he's obviously not taking up a lot of space lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midorigoi View Post
    Maybe ask a hobby breeder....my parent koi are from japan and I have a group of fry from this year where the biggest is 7" and the smallest is a matsukawabake that WILL NOT grow at 1" There are always runts in the litter

    Going to save that one for a while to see what happens...he's obviously not taking up a lot of space lol

    This is probably the road I'll take. I just can't stay away from koi. Too beautiful.

    I just called kodama, and they said that the koi will grow to the size of the pond to an extent. that avoiding massive water changes can help with this. something about pheromones.
    maybe this, along with smaller males will help.

    I already have 3 koi in the pond from kodama. have no idea what sex...
    -Brian

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    I have been to breeders in Japan that keep fish small as there are many hobbyists in Japan that have very limited space. Like in growing bonsai trees, the key here is simply reducing the environment to restrict growth. Sakazume is one of them and he sells many "bonsai Nisai" especially Goromos. But, I don't know of any breeders who actually have genetically stunted fish. They just keep them in crowded conditions to keep them small. Size isn't everything and is not a indicator based on prices either. Some bonsai koi can be rather expensive relatively speaking. I have seen and know of some hobbyists however, who can actually grow koi in small 1000-1500gal ponds, with a heavy stocking load and still get fish to grow to 25+" as well. It does have something to do with what Kodama stated about Pheromones but I wouldn't reduce the water changes to make this happen.

    Yes, there are many varieties of Doitsu fish that do tend to grow slower than their wagoi counterparts, but not always and males, in a small environment would be your best bet as well. As to needing 1000gal/fish to get good growth, this has more to do with growing female fish to very large sizes and for competition mostly. 250gal or more is more the norm for the average hobbyist and 500 is more of the ideal all around number.
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by koiman1950 View Post
    I have been to breeders in Japan that keep fish small as there are many hobbyists in Japan that have very limited space. Like in growing bonsai trees, the key here is simply reducing the environment to restrict growth. Sakazume is one of them and he sells many "bonsai Nisai" especially Goromos. But, I don't know of any breeders who actually have genetically stunted fish. They just keep them in crowded conditions to keep them small. Size isn't everything and is not a indicator based on prices either. Some bonsai koi can be rather expensive relatively speaking. I have seen and know of some hobbyists however, who can actually grow koi in small 1000-1500gal ponds, with a heavy stocking load and still get fish to grow to 25+" as well. It does have something to do with what Kodama stated about Pheromones but I wouldn't reduce the water changes to make this happen.

    Yes, there are many varieties of Doitsu fish that do tend to grow slower than their wagoi counterparts, but not always and males, in a small environment would be your best bet as well. As to needing 1000gal/fish to get good growth, this has more to do with growing female fish to very large sizes and for competition mostly. 250gal or more is more the norm for the average hobbyist and 500 is more of the ideal all around number.

    Thank you Mike. This is very helpful.
    -Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by koiman1950 View Post
    I have been to breeders in Japan that keep fish small as there are many hobbyists in Japan that have very limited space. Like in growing bonsai trees, the key here is simply reducing the environment to restrict growth. Sakazume is one of them and he sells many "bonsai Nisai" especially Goromos. But, I don't know of any breeders who actually have genetically stunted fish. They just keep them in crowded conditions to keep them small. Size isn't everything and is not a indicator based on prices either. Some bonsai koi can be rather expensive relatively speaking. I have seen and know of some hobbyists however, who can actually grow koi in small 1000-1500gal ponds, with a heavy stocking load and still get fish to grow to 25+" as well. It does have something to do with what Kodama stated about Pheromones but I wouldn't reduce the water changes to make this happen.

    Yes, there are many varieties of Doitsu fish that do tend to grow slower than their wagoi counterparts, but not always and males, in a small environment would be your best bet as well. As to needing 1000gal/fish to get good growth, this has more to do with growing female fish to very large sizes and for competition mostly. 250gal or more is more the norm for the average hobbyist and 500 is more of the ideal all around number.

    How about diet? Is there a strategy that would involve maintaining good health, immunity and color but slowing growth?
    -Brian

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    My smaller koi are not kept in an environment to keep them small. They have been kept with some koi that have reached 30 inches.

    Several years ago I bred 2 female butterfly koi. One was young and quite small at the time, but had eggs. I do not know if some of the smaller butterfly koi came from that female or not. But all were grown in the same pond. Some have are quite small, others seem to have normal growth.

    I have a Showa that originally came from Ray Abell. I got him from a friend of Ray's who was breeding his own koi and I went to a mud pond pull there. When I saw the Showa, I immediately knew he did not spawn that one because it was a much higher quality than the other fish in the tank. When I asked if he had bred that one he said Ray had given it to him. I knew that if Ray had given it to him to put in his mud pond there was a reason. I just figured he had been sick or did not meet Ray's standards. This is one of the smaller koi in my pond. I have had him for many years and he has had very little growth. Now I feel the reason he was a Ray cull, is his lack of growth.

    I am sure there are many koi that do have poor growth even in those from Japan. I would guess most of those with poor growth are included in their culls, deemed not worth their time for further growth.

    I also have a Hi Showa that a dealer said would be a better choice than getting a Hi Utsuri. It is a nice looking koi and had a great pattern when I got it. Not as expensive as I would have expected it to be for such a nice pattern. It is also one of my koi that has had very little growth and is already smaller that the Hi Utsuri that I got that was from a 2011 spawn.

    So there are koi that do not grow large, and they do not have to be stunted by starvation and small tanks. Finding them may be the difficult part, since I am sure good breeders do not keep such stock.
    Nancy



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    Actually, there are some breeders who will keep fish that don't grow large IF they are very high quality. There is a serious market in Japan for them as I stated before, many hobbyists there do not have much space for larger ponds and choose to keep koi in very small quarters. Do you actually think that all the small fish in the All Japan Show are tosai/small Nisai? They are not.

    It is true, not all koi will grow large, some/many that are exported are not going to get to jumbo proportions. They actually will stay smaller, usually less than 20-24", especially the males.

    There is no secret as to what to feed to keep them small, it's the environment provided and the AMOUNT of food that can help determine growth in many cases.
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by koiman1950 View Post
    Actually, there are some breeders who will keep fish that don't grow large IF they are very high quality. There is a serious market in Japan for them as I stated before, many hobbyists there do not have much space for larger ponds and choose to keep koi in very small quarters. Do you actually think that all the small fish in the All Japan Show are tosai/small Nisai? They are not.

    It is true, not all koi will grow large, some/many that are exported are not going to get to jumbo proportions. They actually will stay smaller, usually less than 20-24", especially the males.

    There is no secret as to what to feed to keep them small, it's the environment provided and the AMOUNT of food that can help determine growth in many cases.
    Ive wondered about this, as even the wealthy in Japan live in much smaller houses and land lots compared to Americans. Wish I knew japanese they must be dealing with this challenge regularly
    -Brian

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    I am starting to see this concept!


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    Quote Originally Posted by BWG View Post
    I am starting to see this concept!


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    That's it! That's all I'm asking!
    -Brian

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    Since i have never seen a bonsai koi fully grown, i have to wonder about the conformation. Has anyone ever seen a fully grown bonsai koi with the limited length but correct proportions of an adult?? is it possible to get the impressive looking proportions in a koi under 20''?

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    I have a sansai Dainichi sanke male that is only 19". It is never much of a grower. It will soon be the smallest koi in my pond getting taken over by my aka-naisai's. I have never heard of Dainichi having a bansai line so I guess the small size is just genetic accident from too much in-breeding.

    Can a breeder purposely breed smaller koi? I think the answer is yes. Just like how most breeders want to breed large size genes into the line, some breeders can do the opposite.

    I should ask Russ to find me a bonsai Karashi; a small and friendly fish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by inazuma28 View Post
    Since i have never seen a bonsai koi fully grown, i have to wonder about the conformation. Has anyone ever seen a fully grown bonsai koi with the limited length but correct proportions of an adult?? is it possible to get the impressive looking proportions in a koi under 20''?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9ejw21CRkY
    -Brian

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