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Carl
07-30-2008, 06:35 PM
What gives koi their color? What can damage their color?

My level of understanding is pretty simple, but this is what I have learned. Koi get their color from their genetic makeup, though it can be substantially influenced by environment.

Skin color is created by pigments contained in their skin in cells called chromataphores. All the colors of koi are created from three basic colors: red; black, and; yellow. Of the colors of koi, the red pigment is probably the most volatile as it is similar to Vitamin A and Vitamin D. I have read that because the color red is similar in chemical structure to these vitamins, they behave in a similar way in skin. They are very volatile and unstable and easily effected by oxygen, heat and light.

Fish are capable of producing some colors metabolically without necessarily having to consume something to manufacture it. For instance, black and brown pigments are produced in cells called melanocytes. However, koi are not capable of making carotenoid (reddish) and xanthophyll (yellowish) pigments without dietary assistance. Deprive them of carotenoids or otherwise traumatize the chromataphores responsible for making red, and the koi may not produce the color at all and may lose the ability forever.

Joey S
07-30-2008, 07:04 PM
I know the hardness of the water is either beneficial or detrimental to strong blacks and maintenance of Hi as well. I can change or modify what I feed, but to change my really hard water to soft is near impossible.

dick benbow
07-30-2008, 08:07 PM
A simple thing that all need to be aware of is how the skin of the koi feels.
So next time you net and bowl a koi for whatever reason, feel it and see how it feels. It should feel smooth and slippery. I do lots of benching on shows.
I like to touch the fish to calm them down. If they feel smooth, chances are I will find no open sores or leisons. If they feel rough and gritty, I take extra time to look as something is outa wack.

One of the things that doesn't seem to get discussed but I have noticed over the years. If a fish is purchased from japan where it was born and raised in ph close to neutral. When it comes to hard water and higher PH
( low to mid 8's)
we see dramatic changes. Shimis, weakening in the beni. Fish that come from Japanese parents yet have been born locally as domestics in similar water as the pond they are going into seem to make the change with fewer traumas.The longer a koi was raised in Japan (nisei,sansei,Yonsai) the more the change seems to influence them if the water parameters are dramatically different.

I have found that adding a reverse osmosis machine to my input water with a trickle 24/7 has been a great reducer of transisition problems with my koi from japan as i attempt to minimize the difference between water specifications..

Simple things like different types of algea being eaten off the walls of the pond can also infuence coloration. The more you observe, the better you begin to understand.

Joey S
07-30-2008, 08:17 PM
...
One of the things that doesn't seem to get discussed but I have noticed over the years. If a fish is purchased from japan where it was born and raised in ph close to neutral. When it comes to hard water and higher PH (low to mid 8's) we see dramatic changes. Shimis, weakening in the beni. Fish that come from Japanese parents yet have been born locally as domestics in similar water as the pond they are going into seem to make the change with fewer traumas.The longer a koi was raised in Japan (nisei,sansei,Yonsai) the more the change seems to influence them if the water parameters are dramatically different....Dick, I shortened your quote to emphasize your points about hard water and high pH. You nailed my water. So, recognizing that fact, I have chosen to make the best of it with my fish selections. I want good looking fish and am more than willing to purchase high quality food and provide the best water I can. But, I just can't go the lengths necessary to soften the water and lowere the pH.

So, what variety would do well or at least suffer the least in hard water and higher pH?

Midorigoi
07-30-2008, 08:17 PM
My aunt's koi are in a mudpond (if you dig more than a foot in her yard water starts to come up) and they are so red and their white is fantastic. I always see them nibbling in the mud, along with all the water plants that are in there.
A natural environment works wonders :yes:

premster
07-30-2008, 10:38 PM
Question if the basic colors are red black and yellow hoe do the asagi and goshiki get their blue ?

BillJ
07-31-2008, 01:36 AM
Come on folks. Help keep this thread alive. Talk to us Dick,Carl or anyone else that can help those of us struggling to learn.

Bill

mj_flatrock
07-31-2008, 01:42 AM
I don't quite understand how additional nutrition (color enhancing food) detracts or inhibits the 'finished' color...??? please enlighten me.

Hirogoi
07-31-2008, 01:46 AM
Cause finished color shouldn't be changed?

BillJ
07-31-2008, 01:52 AM
May not be right,but I lump color enhancers in with msg...why do they put it in koi food?

Bill

Carl
07-31-2008, 06:53 AM
I don't quite understand how additional nutrition (color enhancing food) detracts or inhibits the 'finished' color...??? please enlighten me.

More later, but koi don't actually finish, they peak. When we say finish, we mean that they have gotten as good as they are going to get.

The chromataphores that contain the red pigment have been likened to a leaky bucket. If you don't allow the koi to keep filling it, you end up with an empty or shallow bucket. It seems, though, that the better quality the koi, the less the bucket will empty. In other words, the hi on a good quality koi with strong genetics in regard to beni, will not diminish as much or as rapidly as it would in lesser quality koi when you deprive it of sufficient raw material to make the red pigment.

Too much carotene, on the other hand, or a poor source of carotene may spill over into the white portions of the skin that cannot make red, which will make the whites yellowish or dingy. Hopefully, the koi will expel any excess carotene and not let it spill over, but that is a function of the koi's genetics and the nature of the source of carotene or xanthophyll (yellow).

I've put together more info and hope to be able to add more this afternoon.

Carl
07-31-2008, 06:59 AM
May not be right,but I lump color enhancers in with msg...why do they put it in koi food?

Bill

I think that all koi food that is meant to be used as a stand alone diet have color "enhancers," to some degree. That's why in another thread I posed some questions about the subject. The amount and the nature of the "enhancer" differs from food to food, but if they don't provide some source of some kind of carotene, the reds will suffer.

The question I was hoping to get to in the other thread was how much is the right amount of enhancement, and what are the short and long term consequences of over doing it?

dick benbow
07-31-2008, 08:50 AM
Hard waters cause the colors to quickly finish especially those with black in the pattern. So it wouldn't hurt to consider males which tend to finish up sooner than the ladies. Sometimes genetics especially on some strains of kohaku will develop shimi because of hard water. So we go after showa and sanke if that turns out to be the case.

If i was pushed for some kind of analogy to help understanding, I'd say it was like a food product with a shelf life date. But once opened the length of use is shortened. So in hard water we are just escalating and shortening the shelf life.

What it means is that the folks who like to show will probably do best in the smaller sizes.

Since we all seem to turn to japan and the show effort as our goal, by expediting the maturity process of the pattern the fish finish faster.The opposite effort with all the fancy RO machinery is to buy time and slow the finishing process to allow the koi to gain size. Add the female sex and that also buys you some time. But the pond has to be large enough to accomodate growth. Stocking levels and water change, High protein non color food all play a part of it. You'll have to decide if you want to get "hung up" on this criteria.

So in truth if we shoot for baby or junior grand with beautifully finished koi in smaller sizes and gain a reputation as being competitive there. What's so bad with that? Do we all have to have GC in size 7?

another analogy I might use for the ladies, is like purchasing a purse. We can buy an expensibe leather in classic style that will always be in style. OR we can buy a less expensive purse in more modern material that will last but a few years but has the current style and color to match the trends. Both purchases can
be satisfying depending on what we ultimately wish to achieve. So what is it you wish to achieve with your koi. Once the destination is determined, the route to get there becomes a lot easier. There is so much to learn in either types of water that you'll be able to enjoy either goal. If things change ( you move or decide to invest in water management equipment) you can always use the knowledge you learned along the way ( pattern development) bloodlines to be sucessful in your next endeavor ( bigger ponds, females etc. )

Carl
07-31-2008, 09:26 AM
Hard waters cause the colors to quickly finish especially those with black in the pattern. So it wouldn't hurt to consider males which tend to finish up sooner than the ladies. Sometimes genetics especially on some strains of kohaku will develop shimi because of hard water. So we go after showa and sanke if that turns out to be the case.

If i was pushed for some kind of analogy to help understanding, I'd say it was like a food product with a shelf life date. But once opened the length of use is shortened. So in hard water we are just escalating and shortening the shelf life.

What it means is that the folks who like to show will probably do best in the smaller sizes.

Since we all seem to turn to japan and the show effort as our goal, by expediting the maturity process of the pattern the fish finish faster.The opposite effort with all the fancy RO machinery is to buy time and slow the finishing process to allow the koi to gain size. Add the female sex and that also buys you some time. But the pond has to be large enough to accomodate growth. Stocking levels and water change, High protein non color food all play a part of it. You'll have to decide if you want to get "hung up" on this criteria.

So in truth if we shoot for baby or junior grand with beautifully finished koi in smaller sizes and gain a reputation as being competitive there. What's so bad with that? Do we all have to have GC in size 7?

another analogy I might use for the ladies, is like purchasing a purse. We can buy an expensibe leather in classic style that will always be in style. OR we can buy a less expensive purse in more modern material that will last but a few years but has the current style and color to match the trends. Both purchases can
be satisfying depending on what we ultimately wish to achieve. So what is it you wish to achieve with your koi. Once the destination is determined, the route to get there becomes a lot easier. There is so much to learn in either types of water that you'll be able to enjoy either goal. If things change ( you move or decide to invest in water management equipment) you can always use the knowledge you learned along the way ( pattern development) bloodlines to be sucessful in your next endeavor ( bigger ponds, females etc. )


I think you raise some wonderful points. The hobby is geared towards females because they get larger and finish later, and therefore do better at shows in the more prestigious categories. However, if we don't have the facilities to get them there, should we be focusing so hard on purchasing females and trying to bend our inadequate facilities to attain a goal we cannot realistically reach?

PapaBear
07-31-2008, 09:55 AM
Avoiding color enhancers altogether is near impossible and not advisable unless you are wanting to specialize in purachina and shiro muji.

The question is how much is too much.

MOST of what Koi eat in a natural environment will have natural colorants in it. In a wild setting they would consume crustaceans, blood worms, algae, various green plants, etc... as a matter of course. In a mud pond it is common to find many small species that make up a portion of their diet that are natural color sources so even the relatively inexpensive food most of them get in the mud is low in colorant content, they still come out looking rich.

What you want to avoid is typical cheap color enhancers that may tend to yellow the shiroji and turn the beni toward yellow at the same time. Food with spirulina, shellfish/shrimpmeal, krill, etc... will serve them well if not overdone.

Good water is every bit as important as diet though. Without stirring up any controversy from a thread on another forum it is undeniable that water chemistry plays a large role in the way Koi are able to metabolize their food. With every breath they take via their gills they are passing their environment through their bodies and naturally micronutrients in the water column are injested along with the pellets we feed. Mineral content, both alkalinity and gh, play a role in the osmotic function of all cellular structures. Maintaining a healthy water column that promotes good osmotic function not only maintains good health and vitality of the fish internally, but in their skin and scales as well.

This is observational speculation on my part, but here's my take on hard water...
Harder water SEEMS to act as somewhat of a "fixative", which can cause color to become a bit like a one way street. The cell walls seem to allow color and nutrients in well enough, but the "used up" material seems to have a hard time getting out. Osmosis is a 2 way street that needs to be able to exhale as easily as it inhales. If the "worn out" material has a hard time being purged cellular degradation will begin to take place and the skin will become hard and old looking. "Brittle" might be a good word to describe it.

Carl
07-31-2008, 10:55 AM
Avoiding color enhancers altogether is near impossible and not advisable unless you are wanting to specialize in purachina and shiro muji.

The question is how much is too much.

MOST of what Koi eat in a natural environment will have natural colorants in it. In a wild setting they would consume crustaceans, blood worms, algae, various green plants, etc... as a matter of course. In a mud pond it is common to find many small species that make up a portion of their diet that are natural color sources so even the relatively inexpensive food most of them get in the mud is low in colorant content, they still come out looking rich.

What you want to avoid is typical cheap color enhancers that may tend to yellow the shiroji and turn the beni toward yellow at the same time. Food with spirulina, shellfish/shrimpmeal, krill, etc... will serve them well if not overdone.

Good water is every bit as important as diet though. Without stirring up any controversy from a thread on another forum it is undeniable that water chemistry plays a large role in the way Koi are able to metabolize their food. With every breath they take via their gills they are passing their environment through their bodies and naturally micronutrients in the water column are injested along with the pellets we feed. Mineral content, both alkalinity and gh, play a role in the osmotic function of all cellular structures. Maintaining a healthy water column that promotes good osmotic function not only maintains good health and vitality of the fish internally, but in their skin and scales as well.

This is observational speculation on my part, but here's my take on hard water...
Harder water SEEMS to act as somewhat of a "fixative", which can cause color to become a bit like a one way street. The cell walls seem to allow color and nutrients in well enough, but the "used up" material seems to have a hard time getting out. Osmosis is a 2 way street that needs to be able to exhale as easily as it inhales. If the "worn out" material has a hard time being purged cellular degradation will begin to take place and the skin will become hard and old looking. "Brittle" might be a good word to describe it.

I think your point about healthy water is well taken. The koi has to be healthy and his bodily functions have to be performing well for him to be able to use the nutrients to create color, particularly red. However, presuming that ph, gh and kh are all where they should be and the water has cycled, the ability to produce color, and particularly red, should be a function of genetics and giving them the appropriate food they need to do the job well.

Beyond that, we would need to consider things that damage the the skin itself or the koi's metabolism, such as sunlight that could damage the former, and stress that can inhibit the latter.The creation of red in a koi is a delicate, but not a subtle process. It needs the genetic ability and the raw materials. With the right genetics and sufficient raw materials, red is produced. Give it too much raw material and the materials should pass thru their system or it might bleed into the shiro. Shock the system and you may lose the hi entirely.

six6guy
07-31-2008, 11:50 AM
An interesting color related morsel I ran across not long ago, I think it came from Dick B, is that a silica sand filter will help the sumi on showa. I did a quick search on this and found some additional positive discussion on it, but... it left me with a few lingering Qs.

Silica is a component in gH, but is this the one or dominate gH component that effects sumi development? Is silica hard on beni? or is that a different component of gH? Why is the discussion on silica always showa and not sanke? I know that showa and sanke have different origins for their sumi, but can that make it include or exclude the effects of silica?

Brad

PapaBear
07-31-2008, 12:24 PM
I don't know that the Silica discussion is particularly exclusive to Showa. I've read and participated in a number of discussions on it relative to sanke/bekko type sumi as well and my personal "anecdotal" observations would indicate the effect on sanke/bekko is equally beneficial.

Silica/silicates are one relatively small component of gh in most waters and the hardness numbers need to be broken down into their specific parts to get a good "scientific" read on how they influence color in general and sumi in particular. Unfortunately I'll have to leave it to those who have done more detailed research on those specifics to take it much further.

One thing I have observed is that "Silicates" is a much broader word than "Sand", and the influence of many different forms of silicate play distinctive roles. One good example would be the use of bentonite in water and/or Koi food. Bentonite (smectite) clay is not something we would think of in the same way as sand, but the silicate content is one of the valuable components when used in our ponds and fish food.

BillJ
07-31-2008, 05:41 PM
The silica discussion addresses one of my questions. Please keep the info coming. My second question is,and I read this on another forum, that the nutrients that koi use to make hi is not in the food but absorbed from the water through the skin. True or false?

Bill

PapaBear
07-31-2008, 05:48 PM
The silica discussion addresses one of my questions. Please keep the info coming. My second question is,and I read this on another forum, that the nutrients that koi use to make hi is not in the food but absorbed from the water through the skin. True or false?

Bill

If you are looking at the "other forum" thread I'm thinking of you completely misread it. Food and water go hand in hand with genetics to supply proper nutrient and color intake to color cells. You can have great water and genetics and feed pearl barley (colorant supply virtually nonexistent) year 'round and still lose color. If the water, food, and genetics aren't working in conjunction with each other things break down. "Balance" is the key.

BillJ
07-31-2008, 05:50 PM
Forgot one of my questions: Silk powder is said to improve white by cleansing the liver. True or false?

Bill

PapaBear
07-31-2008, 08:50 PM
Forgot one of my questions: Silk powder is said to improve white by cleansing the liver. True or false?

Bill

This is another thing I've heard of, but never heard the science to back it up from the "liver" angle.

That being said, silk worm is widely used by some Koi Kichi internet friends of mine in SE Asia with a great deal of success for growth and Shiroji maintenance.

It is a noteworthy achievement to keep fish well in a tropical climate, but there are a number of Koi enthusiasts in Malaysia and Singapore who have not only managed to purchase excellent quality Koi, but to keep them incredibly well in water so warm most of us wouldn't know how to deal with it. When 80 deg F is considered COOL water and 86 deg F is the NORM it is a challenge to maintain good health and high quality skin.

The use of silk powder and whole silkworm is fairly common among the highest level of show Koi hobbyists and several of them give it credit for maintaining good clean shiroji while promoting outstanding growth. It does have to be used in moderation though as the Oil content is very high and in cooler water it can cause fatty liver disease issues if overdone.

Another issue that is often discussed relating to "cleansing periods" is water temperatures, but that is a different thread and I don't want to distract from this ones focus on FOOD.

Carl
07-31-2008, 09:23 PM
The silica discussion addresses one of my questions. Please keep the info coming. My second question is,and I read this on another forum, that the nutrients that koi use to make hi is not in the food but absorbed from the water through the skin. True or false?

Bill

I suppose it is theoretically possible that a koi could get pigments from the vitamins in the bacteria in the water, as was stated elsewhere, but the koi should be getting as much as it needs from its diet and I can't imagine that it could get enough from the bacteria in the water if it was not. Think about how much raw material it needs to get from its diet. If properly fed, could it really be getting too little nutrients from its diet to manufacture hi, but still get enough too top it off from vitamins in environmental bacteria? Is that something we really should be relying on even if true? It does not make sense to me and I have not seen any support for that in anything I have read.

Now, algae is another story. My understanding is that it is well established that koi can manufacture red pigment from algae, but it would be thru consumption, not absorption thru the skin.

Carl
07-31-2008, 09:29 PM
Forgot one of my questions: Silk powder is said to improve white by cleansing the liver. True or false?

Bill

I took a look at hi silk's ingredients, and it looks like they went to great lengths to avoid including anything that contained carotenes, though they did include Vitamin A, which is said to be similar in chemical composition to the carotenes. Maybe Vitamin A provides the koi something they certainly need without providing them something they can easily convert to red pigment?

Carl
07-31-2008, 09:32 PM
More info I found in my research:

As we know, the pigments that give the appearance of color in koi are located in chromatophores which can be located in various depths of the skin. They can be located in the skin above the scales, just below the scales, or deeper in the skin. The chromatophores are like the dots that comprise a picture on your computer screen or television. The denser they are the better the color appears. In other words, we want high def color in our koi. :D:

We also want depth, if we can get it, so we want the chomatophores to appear in all levels of the skin. We especially want to see it in the lower layers of the skin where it will be more stable. Thatís why we love to see sashi in young koi. That is a good indicator of depth of color which is a good indicator of strength of color. (I remember looking at koi when I first became interested in them and thinking the koi with sashi looked messy. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: )

The chromatophores in the top layer of skin are the most at risk of deterioration or loss due to exposure to extreme sunlight, heat, etc. and from spreading due to growth. The koi have pretty much a set number of chromatophores and when koi get larger, the same number of chromatophores have to cover more area. When the koi are younger and smaller, the number of chromatophores it has may be sufficient to give the appearance of a pleasing beni. However, if there is not a lot of color deeper in the skin, the white will show thru and the beni will appear weaker.

koiman1950
08-01-2008, 01:11 AM
Carl

From my experiences and learnings from a breeder, you have done some very impressive research to unlock the keys to successfully growing and maintaining koi. The one constant in this whole discussion and issue at hand is what Larry (PapaBear) pointed out - and what Mr. Miyagi told his student - BALANCE, YOU MUST HAVE BALANCE!! I really think the most important ingredient in this whole issue is WATER. We all have so many diverse parameters, what works for one, will not work for others. You must find the BALANCE within your own system to be successful. It takes quite a few years to do this and be successful. Dick B., I think you especially know what I mean here as you also grow/raise bonsai. Don't they also have differing requirements as far and Ph of water and the necessary nutrients at certain times of year to be successful? As Nishikigoi are grown in mud ponds, bonsai (the best) are field grown, then, to finish their styling, are placed in bonsai containers to "restrict" that growth (koi in a closed concrete/liner pond to finish). Very interesting set of parallels, hmmm! Both of these subjects are of Japanese origin - is there more of a correlation than what appears at the surface?

Mike

Carl
08-02-2008, 09:13 AM
Well, my first thought was to try to get a good understanding of the factors that contribute to good color, and then move in a more detail manner into those things that detract from good skin and color. I think water quality falls into the latter category, though it is a bit semantic.

As stated earlier, if you have moderate to ideal ph, kh gh, your pond has cycled so as to properly process ammonia and nitrite, and you have sufficient 02, the remaining factor would be the pollutants in the water. (Of course, this does not consider the effect of sunlight, stress, etc., which we may be able to get into later.)

If the koi has the genetic ability to have good skin and color, the first thing it needs is the raw materials to produce the color, especially in the case of hi (red). Once it has those raw materials, and not too much, we have to concern ourselves with the factors that can interfere with the koi sustaining its skin and color. Certainly, good water quality is important to all aspects of the koi's health, not the least of which is quality of skin and color.

So, beyond kh, gh, ph, ammonia, nitrites, etc., with what should we concern ourselves the most? I haven't a clue. However, no less a source than Mike Snaden believes we should concern ourselves most with TDS. If I remember correctly, contrary to some schools of thought, Snaden is more concerned with keeping things out of the water, than in, to the extent that he uses RO technology (which some might consider a sterilization technology). He uses the RO technology to remove as much as possible from water and add back in only as much as is absolutely needed to maintain the koi's health, as this is another case of too much not being a good thing.

Now, since we started on this aspect of the subject, I am going to brush up on my Snaden so that I can make sure that I did not misstate anything, and explore the subject further. If i did misstates something, I will come back and correct it, but anybody should feel free to do so if they note an error. The above was from memory, not reference.



Carl

From my experiences and learnings from a breeder, you have done some very impressive research to unlock the keys to successfully growing and maintaining koi. The one constant in this whole discussion and issue at hand is what Larry (PapaBear) pointed out - and what Mr. Miyagi told his student - BALANCE, YOU MUST HAVE BALANCE!! I really think the most important ingredient in this whole issue is WATER. We all have so many diverse parameters, what works for one, will not work for others. You must find the BALANCE within your own system to be successful. It takes quite a few years to do this and be successful. Dick B., I think you especially know what I mean here as you also grow/raise bonsai. Don't they also have differing requirements as far and Ph of water and the necessary nutrients at certain times of year to be successful? As Nishikigoi are grown in mud ponds, bonsai (the best) are field grown, then, to finish their styling, are placed in bonsai containers to "restrict" that growth (koi in a closed concrete/liner pond to finish). Very interesting set of parallels, hmmm! Both of these subjects are of Japanese origin - is there more of a correlation than what appears at the surface?

Mike

Toragoi
08-02-2008, 11:47 AM
If hi is so fragile that it cannot regenerate after it has been lost, what is secondary hi all about? Where does that come from, especially if one is not feeding color enhancers? I have a Soragoi that has developed secondary hi in an asagi type pattern on his undersides, and a light yellow and white metallic longfin that has developed bright orange hi on it's otherwise very white head and intensified sumi in the yellow as well as streaked in its white fins. Is it possible that high silicates caused this?

I have extremely hard water from my well, and I've heard that hard water trashes hi. So far, this is not the case in my water. All of my beni-laden fish have nice thick and vibrant hi, which gets even more vibrant come winter....

BillJ
08-02-2008, 12:27 PM
I suppose it is theoretically possible that a koi could get pigments from the vitamins in the bacteria in the water, as was stated elsewhere, but the koi should be getting as much as it needs from its diet and I can't imagine that it could get enough from the bacteria in the water if it was not. Think about how much raw material it needs to get from its diet. If properly fed, could it really be getting too little nutrients from its diet to manufacture hi, but still get enough too top it off from vitamins in environmental bacteria? Is that something we really should be relying on even if true? It does not make sense to me and I have not seen any support for that in anything I have read.

Now, algae is another story. My understanding is that it is well established that koi can manufacture red pigment from algae, but it would be thru consumption, not absorption thru the skin.

My point is that perhaps they require nothing other than a healthy,well balanced diet in order to develop the best color they are capable of in the system they live in and their genes and that no additives are needed that target color specifically. I know very little about koikeeping,but one thing I can do is try to determine the very best food for the system and fish that I currently have. So far HiSilk gives me good results. But I want to know more.

Bill

PapaBear
08-02-2008, 01:10 PM
Something that is unavoidable in the discussion of Koi health, (and the production of Color is a VISIBLE reflection of one part of "health") is the fact that our ponds are quite literally a biological petri dish of sorts.

Life cannot survive long, much less thrive, in a sterile environment. "Clean" and "Sterile" are two very different words that are often misused interchangeably. In a truly clean environment the water is fully loaded with a balance of micro and macro organisms that feed on and with each other in order to maintain a proper "balance of power" within the mini-ecosystem that is a pond. The desirable things we tend to think of as the primary life forms in a typical pond are Koi, Nitrifying Bacteria, and Carpet algae. These are the "major players" that are visible to our eye, but they do not exist in their own little vacuum. They are the MACRO organisms within the pond.
Each of them are not only dependent upon each other for their survival, but there is an interdependency on other MICRO organisms that are ever-present in the background performing needed tasks as well. One good example would be the various heterotrophic species that cleanse old bacterial remains from the bio as they die off, along with the various anoxic mini systems that peacefully coexist in the pond to recycle some of the nitrogenous wastes produced by the biofilters. 99% of the life in a pond is invisible without a powerful microscope but they all contribute to a truly "Clean" but not "Sterile" pond.

Genetics and Food are the major ingredients in Health and Color along with our basic water parameters, but those "basics" cannot measure the bit players that perform important roles in the system. We don't have test strips or drop tests for microbial activity.

ALL higher life forms rely on a multitude of bacterial life forms in the ingestion/digestion of their food. Remove the flora from the gut and you stop the digestion of food dead in its tracks. Osmotic function within the gut, bloodstream, and organs likewise requires the assistance of microbes, and the cellular reproductive process (which includes color formation) is likewise reliant on microbial activity at some level if it is to occur in a healthy fashion.

The fact that we can't see it does not mean it doesn't matter. It merely means that we are dependent on the "invisible world" far more than we realize.

The two old adages are "If you take good care of the Water, The Water will take good care of your fish" and "You don't feed your Koi, you feed your Filter" go hand in hand on several levels.

When, What, and How Much, we feed does directly impact the fish through their ingestion of the food, but we are also feeding the biometric of the entire system of microbes that contribute to the health of the whole POND. If we feed with an eye toward a healthy system our Koi will then and ONLY then receive the full benefit they require to fulfill their true genetic potential.

Carl
08-02-2008, 07:15 PM
Remember, I am not an expert. I just do some research and try to pass along what I think I am learning.

I don't know that hi can't regenerate in all instances, but from what I have read it mostly doesn't. However, we know that some koi, asagi for instance, develop hi as they grow, presumably in response to hormonal changes in their body? Therefore, we can conclude that within the genetic makeup up of koi there does exist a red making chromatophore that does emerge as the koi matures. I presume, but do not know, that these are genetically different chromatophores, but they still would need raw materials to produce the hi.

Whether or not this particular type of "Asaga hi" is as susceptible to depletion and complete failure as regular hi is, I don't know. However, if I had to guess, I would guess that although it may be depleted, it is not as likely to fail to reappear as regular hi is since it's behavior in Asagi's is to continue to emerge as the koi grows. With Asagi, our concern is too much hi, and I have seen hi re-emerge in Asagis. (I did run across secondary hi being referred to as Asagi hi in my research.)

Other types of yellow or orange spots are probably a result of a genetic predisposition to create those colors, but my guess is you could starve those, too. The question would be how to achieve the proper reduction in raw materials that create that unwanted hi without doing some unintended harm. Bill apparently had some success with the ironically names Hi-silk. You might even be able to recreate the kind of stress that would unintentionally get rid of a koi's hi, but I would think that would be a crapshoot, though I have heard that some people gradually raise the ph to achieve that.


If hi is so fragile that it cannot regenerate after it has been lost, what is secondary hi all about? Where does that come from, especially if one is not feeding color enhancers? I have a Soragoi that has developed secondary hi in an asagi type pattern on his undersides, and a light yellow and white metallic longfin that has developed bright orange hi on it's otherwise very white head and intensified sumi in the yellow as well as streaked in its white fins. Is it possible that high silicates caused this?

I have extremely hard water from my well, and I've heard that hard water trashes hi. So far, this is not the case in my water. All of my beni-laden fish have nice thick and vibrant hi, which gets even more vibrant come winter....

Carl
08-02-2008, 07:23 PM
My point is that perhaps they require nothing other than a healthy,well balanced diet in order to develop the best color they are capable of in the system they live in and their genes and that no additives are needed that target color specifically. I know very little about koikeeping,but one thing I can do is try to determine the very best food for the system and fish that I currently have. So far HiSilk gives me good results. But I want to know more.

Bill

Well, there is the rub. They don't eat diversified foods in our ponds so they need to get well balanced diets from the koi food with which we provide them. From what I have read, the koi food must contain some source of carotene in order for the koi to produce red and it is the "natural" sources that become problematic because you can't reliably predict how much is in them. Apparently, the food manufactures believe they know how much should be in the food and it is part of their formula. Hi silk seems to stand out as an exception in that carotenes are avoided. I would love to hear from someone with kohaku's, etc. that feeds Hi-silk so that we might learn how their reds are doing.

Carl
08-02-2008, 07:33 PM
Snaden suggests certain parameters for optimizing the health of koi and we know he has a pretty good track record. While these parameters may be a bit much to expect most hobbyists to achieve, they may certainly be held up as a model. What is it that you are suggesting we would need to achieve beyond properly cycled water and the ideals suggested by Snaden, for instance?


Something that is unavoidable in the discussion of Koi health, (and the production of Color is a VISIBLE reflection of one part of "health") is the fact that our ponds are quite literally a biological petri dish of sorts.

Life cannot survive long, much less thrive, in a sterile environment. "Clean" and "Sterile" are two very different words that are often misused interchangeably. In a truly clean environment the water is fully loaded with a balance of micro and macro organisms that feed on and with each other in order to maintain a proper "balance of power" within the mini-ecosystem that is a pond. The desirable things we tend to think of as the primary life forms in a typical pond are Koi, Nitrifying Bacteria, and Carpet algae. These are the "major players" that are visible to our eye, but they do not exist in their own little vacuum. They are the MACRO organisms within the pond.
Each of them are not only dependent upon each other for their survival, but there is an interdependency on other MICRO organisms that are ever-present in the background performing needed tasks as well. One good example would be the various heterotrophic species that cleanse old bacterial remains from the bio as they die off, along with the various anoxic mini systems that peacefully coexist in the pond to recycle some of the nitrogenous wastes produced by the biofilters. 99% of the life in a pond is invisible without a powerful microscope but they all contribute to a truly "Clean" but not "Sterile" pond.

Genetics and Food are the major ingredients in Health and Color along with our basic water parameters, but those "basics" cannot measure the bit players that perform important roles in the system. We don't have test strips or drop tests for microbial activity.

ALL higher life forms rely on a multitude of bacterial life forms in the ingestion/digestion of their food. Remove the flora from the gut and you stop the digestion of food dead in its tracks. Osmotic function within the gut, bloodstream, and organs likewise requires the assistance of microbes, and the cellular reproductive process (which includes color formation) is likewise reliant on microbial activity at some level if it is to occur in a healthy fashion.

The fact that we can't see it does not mean it doesn't matter. It merely means that we are dependent on the "invisible world" far more than we realize.

The two old adages are "If you take good care of the Water, The Water will take good care of your fish" and "You don't feed your Koi, you feed your Filter" go hand in hand on several levels.

When, What, and How Much, we feed does directly impact the fish through their ingestion of the food, but we are also feeding the biometric of the entire system of microbes that contribute to the health of the whole POND. If we feed with an eye toward a healthy system our Koi will then and ONLY then receive the full benefit they require to fulfill their true genetic potential.

PapaBear
08-02-2008, 08:31 PM
Snaden suggests certain parameters for optimizing the health of koi and we know he has a pretty good track record. While these parameters may be a bit much to expect most hobbyists to achieve, they may certainly be held up as a model. What is it that you are suggesting we would need to achieve beyond properly cycled water and the ideals suggested by Snaden, for instance?

Don't get me wrong. I happen to have a GREAT deal of respect for Mike and his skill at both finishing and KEEPING Koi well are certainly outstanding.

In many ways I think what Mike and most others who have written on the subject of water and diet show us the way, but "where" does the way they show us really take us???

When we read various topics of discussion on Water, Food, Genetics, from any of the respected "giants" of the Koi hobby we get the value of their experience and observations on the particular subject at hand, but no single one of those is truly an "Island unto itself". Chris Neaves outstanding writings on diet, Mikes articles on water, similar writings by JR, Maurice Cox, and many others give us glimpses into the specific areas of their chosen topic, but it is ALL of those things taken together that paint for us a much bigger picture.

Occasionally we get into the scientific research of the microbiological activity that takes place within a pond "system", but most of it is lost on us because it is so technical and mundane to an ordinary ponder. A discussion of filtration last year mentioned the scientifically measured electromagnetic forces that take place within a filter matrix as ions are exchanged that I can assure you was completely lost on 99% of its readers as irrelevant. The French microbiologist who performed the study saw value in it, as it revealed the intense exchange of electrical charges that are an important part of the cycle of life in an otherwise invisible world living within our ponds.

Neaves, Snaeden, Cox, Reilly, et al, bring a magnificent blend of information to the table and every bit of it is a portion of a far bigger picture than most ponders care to see. We just want our fish to be healthy and pretty and "how" it works isn't important. We just want a simple formulaic approach to fish-keeping that requires little from us other than food and water as required.

Of course I know that may sound like a slap, and I know there are many exceptions to that broad brush statement, otherwise no one would be participating in this thread. But here are a few simple truths about the "majority".

Everyone wants to know these things
What is the best food?
What is the ideal PH?
What is the ideal kh?
What is the ideal gh?
What is the best CHEAP and EASY filter?

That information may provide us with enough to get by, but the majority of what makes or breaks our fish is far bigger than those simple things. That information merely facilitates an environment where the real work can have a chance at happening whether we are even aware of it or not.

Carl
08-02-2008, 10:24 PM
I think I understand what you are trying to say, but if you can't see it, or measure it I'm not sure how you replicate it. If you can't replicate it, I am just not sure how useful that is to us, regardless of whether or not it is true. It seems to add a kind of mysticism to the keeping of koi that I doubt is grounded in fact and kind of clouds the issues?


Don't get me wrong. I happen to have a GREAT deal of respect for Mike and his skill at both finishing and KEEPING Koi well are certainly outstanding.

In many ways I think what Mike and most others who have written on the subject of water and diet show us the way, but "where" does the way they show us really take us???

When we read various topics of discussion on Water, Food, Genetics, from any of the respected "giants" of the Koi hobby we get the value of their experience and observations on the particular subject at hand, but no single one of those is truly an "Island unto itself". Chris Neaves outstanding writings on diet, Mikes articles on water, similar writings by JR, Maurice Cox, and many others give us glimpses into the specific areas of their chosen topic, but it is ALL of those things taken together that paint for us a much bigger picture.

Occasionally we get into the scientific research of the microbiological activity that takes place within a pond "system", but most of it is lost on us because it is so technical and mundane to an ordinary ponder. A discussion of filtration last year mentioned the scientifically measured electromagnetic forces that take place within a filter matrix as ions are exchanged that I can assure you was completely lost on 99% of its readers as irrelevant. The French microbiologist who performed the study saw value in it, as it revealed the intense exchange of electrical charges that are an important part of the cycle of life in an otherwise invisible world living within our ponds.

Neaves, Snaeden, Cox, Reilly, et al, bring a magnificent blend of information to the table and every bit of it is a portion of a far bigger picture than most ponders care to see. We just want our fish to be healthy and pretty and "how" it works isn't important. We just want a simple formulaic approach to fish-keeping that requires little from us other than food and water as required.

Of course I know that may sound like a slap, and I know there are many exceptions to that broad brush statement, otherwise no one would be participating in this thread. But here are a few simple truths about the "majority".

Everyone wants to know these things
What is the best food?
What is the ideal PH?
What is the ideal kh?
What is the ideal gh?
What is the best CHEAP and EASY filter?

That information may provide us with enough to get by, but the majority of what makes or breaks our fish is far bigger than those simple things. That information merely facilitates an environment where the real work can have a chance at happening whether we are even aware of it or not.

Carl
08-02-2008, 10:33 PM
More about color, skin and chromatophores!

We talked about the three basic pigments, Erythrin (red), Melanin (black) and Xanthin (yellow). One of the other factors that contributes to color is irridocytes, which are described as tiny, reflective spheres in the skin. So, it may be obvious to the artists among us that those colors combine in the skin to give us additional colors. However, the irridocytes can combine with them to give us different colors, as well.

Where there are no chromatophores, the irridocytes will make the skin appear white. If they are high in the skin or scales, they may give the skin a reflective sheen. If they are deeper in the skin, the skin will appear matte. If the irridocytes appear in the middle of the skin over some deep black pigment, the skin may appear blue or gray.

So, what can we conclude about gin from the above? How might one get gin rin?

PapaBear
08-02-2008, 10:45 PM
I think I understand what you are trying to say, but if you can't see it, or measure it I'm not sure how you replicate it. If you can't replicate it, I am just not sure how useful that is to us, regardless of whether or not it is true. It seems to add a kind of mysticism to the keeping of koi that I doubt is grounded in fact and kind of clouds the issues?

I don't really think it clouds anything and since I'm not a fan of mysticism I find no value in shrouding things in mystery.

My only point is that it is healthy for us to acknowledge the fact that there is no "Magic" or "Silver Bullet" food, filter, breeder, bloodline, etc... and that none of us have the whole picture fully within our grasp. We understand all we can and choose to do so with the humility that there is much we have yet to learn. That is one of the values of this thread. The search for more than we already know.

We can narrow our focus to "food" feeding skin and color. But if we don't bear in mind that the food is not only a part of a much bigger picture, but also one that is in a co-dependent relationship with the rest of the players, then we miss part of what "food" can teach us.

BillJ
08-02-2008, 11:14 PM
Another question.Carl mentioned the different layers of the skin,the outer layer being the least stable(at least,that's what I understood you to mean,Carl). Might it be that excessive beta-carotene has a greater effect on that outer layer resulting in an unstable color?
Don't know nothing...just bumping.

Bill

premster
08-02-2008, 11:27 PM
I dunno much about all these pigments etc but I happen to this 95% of color is genetics .

The food stuff is floated by people who have an interest in selling their stuff . Even if a particular type of food enhances the color it would be temporary so why bother . IMO .

Carl
08-03-2008, 07:59 AM
Another question.Carl mentioned the different layers of the skin,the outer layer being the least stable(at least,that's what I understood you to mean,Carl). Might it be that excessive beta-carotene has a greater effect on that outer layer resulting in an unstable color?
Don't know nothing...just bumping.

Bill

I don't know, Bill. However, the outer layers would be the least protected and the most exposed to the sun and contaminants so it does seem to be reasonable that color residing in the outer layers would be the least protected, and therefore, also the least stable.

Edit - Remember, the red pigment is supposed to be similar in composition to Vitamin A, which is also susceptible to sunlight.

Carl
08-03-2008, 08:14 AM
I dunno much about all these pigments etc but I happen to this 95% of color is genetics .

The food stuff is floated by people who have an interest in selling their stuff . Even if a particular type of food enhances the color it would be temporary so why bother . IMO .

Everything about a koi's appearance, and ours for that matter, is temporary. But, I do think that most of the equation is genetics and the rest of it is maximizing the ability of the koi to produce the color AND not allowing the process to be interfered with by bad water or exposure to stress in whatever form.

As to why we bother, maximizing a koi's appearance is very much a part of this hobby for most hobbyists so there is an interest in making that effort. Also, I would not say the color is temporary. Certainly, the period where the color peaks in a koi may be temporary, but as long as the koi's genetics allow and we provide sufficient raw materials, the colors should remain unless the koi is stressed.

Koi are likened to cut flowers, and while a cut flower is destined to have a short existence, there are little things you can do to extend it's "life" and beauty. Certainly, there is much more we can for our koi.

As to koi deriving their color from food, the impression I get is that all foods contain ingredients to feed the color. That seems to be based in science. Most try to provide an amount sufficient to feed the colors without letting the reds bleed into the whites. Some try to provide as little as possible so that the whites remain really white, and some provide extra carotene so the reds really pop, even though that might effect the whites.

However, I don't know how "much" is enough and how "much" is too much. I don't know that there is a way to measure the amount of carotenes in one food as opposed to another, so we seem to be choosing food by recommendation and trial and error.

PapaBear
08-03-2008, 09:08 AM
I don't know, Bill. However, the outer layers would be the least protected and the most exposed to the sun and contaminants so it does seem to be reasonable that color residing in the outer layers would be the least protected, and therefore, also the least stable.

I think that pretty much nails it. Skin structure is more delicate than muscle and bone and Koi constantly produce a slime coat to give it protection. If they become stressed and slime coat is lost their skin can quickly become damaged and begin to slough off, lose scales at the cuticle, etc... The damage that can be done from the surface is rapid because the source of the damage is immediately at hand.

Diet on the other hand has a slower impact because all of the nutrients (carotenoids, etc... are nutrients after all) must be metabolized by the gut, blood steam, organs, and eventually carried to the skin via blood vessels, glands, etc...
Genetics are the #1 player in the equation because you cannot build on a foundation that doesn't exist, but a healthy diet and healthy environment both would seem to me to be in a tie for #2 position in terms of importance. The stability of Koi health influences their ability to achieve genetic potential and an improper diet cannot take them there.

If we think more in terms of feeding "color" as a "NUTRIENT" rather than an "additive" it may take us toward a better understanding of its importance and value. The production of Melanin and Beni are a function of genetics deriving nutrient building blocks from a healthy food and environment. Take away the building blocks and the good foundation has nothing to build with no matter the genetic foundation that is laid.

That might bring up the question again as to why "Hi Silk" (which contains zero carotenes) isn't called "shiroji silk". It doesn't add beni. It adds depth and luster to skin where beni is built along with providing energy and protein for muscle and skin growth. Adding depth and strength to the canvas where the color cells develop is an enhancement to color much like increasing the capacity of the skin FOR color to be laid down by the colorful nutrients.

premster
08-03-2008, 09:35 AM
Carl ..

I understand your point that the issue is of interest to many. THe introduction of various color enhancers is popular with other breeds of fish , For instance different varieties of cichlids who are actually dyed different colors through different means . One of the aspects of that is one never knows what it does to the quality of the life of the fish after the process is done . (For instance a lot of these color enhanced fish develop tumors after they are 3-4 years old - (Let me qualify it by saying this is just my experience))

koi are fish who cal live hundreds of years , but I remember a recent thread in which it was mentioned from all the GC's in the All japan show only 3 are still alive . If this is what we achieve from all our meddling with feeding water quality etc .. to me it defeats the purpose of keeping koi as pets . (I know some dont consider them pets)..

Guess it is a different point of view . but I suppose my goals in keeping koi are different from that of others who may want a future GC etc ..

PapaBear
08-03-2008, 11:45 AM
Some very HARD and EXPENSIVE lessons have been learned along the way about the careful balancing act of putting a fine finish (AJS GC quality) on a Koi and keeping one long and well.
The fact that some of these beauties have been lost shortly after the show is just as indicative of the inherent genetic fragility of Koi as anything else. For the most part the ones that have been "perfected" for the show are the product of heavy line breeding which produces 2 things.
A concentration of every good genetic trait for size and color.
A concentration of every BAD genetic trait for longevity.
Remember, we only see the Koi that make the cut. The first cullings are for the removal of off color and physically defective fry. The physical defects that are externally visible include missing fins, missing gill plates, deformed spines and heads, etc... Those are the VISIBLE defects, but the ones hiding in the organs are quite likely just as numerous and spell a shortened lifespan.
Don't blame the food, blame the genes for their inability to handle organic stress.
The mythology of Koi living hundreds of years is just that. Mythology and nothing more. Those stories make for good urban legend but thats about it. I am not aware of any confirmed living Koi or even wild carp approaching that age, and for the most part 20-30 years is considered outstanding.

The Koi we get to see here in the west (imports) are less refined than those competing in Japan. As incredible as the collections of people like Stephen may be and as amazing as the GC's in Western shows are, they are NOT the best Koi the Japanese produce. Westerners have to go to the AJS to see those fish. They aren't for sale in the west. The only way a westerner ever gets to own one is if it remains in Japan, which is how the AJS winner this past year came to own the fish. If they had wanted to take that fish out of Japan before it won the show it would not have been sold to them. Having the best of the best IN Japan is a matter of National Pride that is unlikely to change any time soon.

Now that doesn't mean there aren't some outstanding Koi in the West. It only means that they are not quite good enough to be held back in Japan. The good news for us is that many of the Koi we ARE allowed to purchase are somewhat less prone to the line breeding defects that their "more beautiful" and "more fragile" cousins are. Keeping them as healthy as possible with the best food and environment is our responsibility, and overdoing it is what we seek to avoid.

Having a good discussion about dietary and environmental requirements for good skin and color is productive even for those who have no desire to show because it plays into their overall health as well.


Carl ..

I understand your point that the issue is of interest to many. THe introduction of various color enhancers is popular with other breeds of fish , For instance different varieties of cichlids who are actually dyed different colors through different means . One of the aspects of that is one never knows what it does to the quality of the life of the fish after the process is done . (For instance a lot of these color enhanced fish develop tumors after they are 3-4 years old - (Let me qualify it by saying this is just my experience))

koi are fish who cal live hundreds of years , but I remember a recent thread in which it was mentioned from all the GC's in the All japan show only 3 are still alive . If this is what we achieve from all our meddling with feeding water quality etc .. to me it defeats the purpose of keeping koi as pets . (I know some dont consider them pets)..

Guess it is a different point of view . but I suppose my goals in keeping koi are different from that of others who may want a future GC etc ..

Carl
08-03-2008, 02:48 PM
Carl ..

I understand your point that the issue is of interest to many. THe introduction of various color enhancers is popular with other breeds of fish , For instance different varieties of cichlids who are actually dyed different colors through different means . One of the aspects of that is one never knows what it does to the quality of the life of the fish after the process is done . (For instance a lot of these color enhanced fish develop tumors after they are 3-4 years old - (Let me qualify it by saying this is just my experience))

koi are fish who cal live hundreds of years , but I remember a recent thread in which it was mentioned from all the GC's in the All japan show only 3 are still alive . If this is what we achieve from all our meddling with feeding water quality etc .. to me it defeats the purpose of keeping koi as pets . (I know some dont consider them pets)..

Guess it is a different point of view . but I suppose my goals in keeping koi are different from that of others who may want a future GC etc ..

That's another question entirely: Whether or not what we do to make the koi look its best is actually health for it? However, my guess would be that of all the things we do to koi, feeding it too much in order to achieve ideal "food stock" conformation is probably what shortens its lifespan. After all, studies have shown that obesity is a killer for most organisms.

koiman1950
08-03-2008, 03:53 PM
Good thought provoking exchanges are going on in this thread. I hope I can contribute in a positive way here.

The food HiSilk has been mentioned here by some. The basic ingredient included in this product is Silk Worm powder. From what has been explained to me by a few who REALLY BELIEVE in it's power/effect are Toshio Sakai and hobbyist Duke Nguyen. I know Duke has been buying pallets of this food for many years now and swears by it. This bears out in the fact that he has taken GC at many shows with some All Japan class fish, that HAVE been allowed to leave Japan. Of one, Hiroko, his stunning 35 inch Kohaku was 12 years old when it won GC at the All Bay Area Koi Show in 2006(?). She was purchased through Miyoshiike from Dainichi as a Nisai koi. She was raised in Japan for 3 years and attained a size of 32" before being shipped here. Duke continued to IMPROVE EVERYTHING about this fish for many years. He believed that the HiSilk was very instrumental in the additional growth and bulk of this fish, along with his 20+ others over 30" that he maintained in his 9000gal pond! That's right, 20+ fish OVER 30" in 9000 gal of water!!!! Most ALL of these fish GREW and IMPROVED in Duke's care over the years. He believed that the HiSilk helped to maintain a high level of productive condition of the liver and kidneys, which we all know are the "building block plants" at the heart of our fish's condition, as far as from "what we can see visibly". Toshio Sakai told me that he feeds a heavy amount of Silk Worm to his fish stocks while in the mud ponds from end of July through September. He believes it improves the skin and musculature of the fish. So, now we have two very diverse situations here, a hobbyist's concrete pond and a famous breeder with mud ponds who have a common thread - HiSilk/Silk Worm product. Whether the silk worm has any effect on the beni/hi of a fish from a carotene standpoint, I can't say. But, if it improves the "clarity of the skin" of the fish, maybe what they're saying about the function of the liver and kidneys has more of a "root" or "fundamental" unseen factor that shows itself "visibly" to us in the clarity/quality of the epidermis.

Sashi is always talked about as far as "quality" of a fish. I've seen very high quality expensive fish in Japan and here that, even as a Nisai, show no outward signs of what we "think" should be unfinished high quality beni. There simply isn't any sashi visible. I have a kohaku right now that I purchased from Sakai's manager Igarashi this past Fall. It is Nisai, 15" and it has NO SASHI. I was told by Toshi Sakai that Igarashi didn't really want to part with it as it was from Magoi blood and was to be grown to be used for parent stock. Why he let it go, I can't say, but it is one knockout of a fish. My point here is that it still hasn't reached it's peak, as evidenced by the "stars" in the beni but yet no sashi is visible. This is genetic and is blood line based. Some lines have it and some don't, so it pays to know your blood lines and their attributes before making decisions about quality and whether the fish is "finished' or not.

I have been mixing HiSilk with OSI growth all this year. The last two years was OSI with Saki Hikari Growth. I feel I see an actual improvement this year over the last two years in growth, including bulk and skin quality. Type of water (e.g. hardness, etc,etc) may have a bearing on this "total equation", Im not sure. One thing I do know is that HiSilk is higher in protein than Saki Hikari and maybe that fits in there somewhere. All I can say is, I will continue to use HiSilk mixed with OSI during warmer months from now on. IT WORKS FOR ME! What it may do for anyone else, I can not say. All I can suggest is that you try it and see for yourself if you notice any difference.

Mike

Carl
08-03-2008, 04:03 PM
Good thought provoking exchanges are going on in this thread. I hope I can contribute in a positive way here.

The food HiSilk has been mentioned here by some. The basic ingredient included in this product is Silk Worm powder. From what has been explained to me by a few who REALLY BELIEVE in it's power/effect are Toshio Sakai and hobbyist Duke Nguyen. I know Duke has been buying pallets of this food for many years now and swears by it. This bears out in the fact that he has taken GC at many shows with some All Japan class fish, that HAVE been allowed to leave Japan. Of one, Hiroko, his stunning 35 inch Kohaku was 12 years old when it won GC at the All Bay Area Koi Show in 2006(?). She was purchased through Miyoshiike from Dainichi as a Nisai koi. She was raised in Japan for 3 years and attained a size of 32" before being shipped here. Duke continued to IMPROVE EVERYTHING about this fish for many years. He believed that the HiSilk was very instrumental in the additional growth and bulk of this fish, along with his 20+ others over 30" that he maintained in his 9000gal pond! That's right, 20+ fish OVER 30" in 9000 gal of water!!!! Most ALL of these fish GREW and IMPROVED in Duke's care over the years. He believed that the HiSilk helped to maintain a high level of productive condition of the liver and kidneys, which we all know are the "building block plants" at the heart of our fish's condition, as far as from "what we can see visibly". Toshio Sakai told me that he feeds a heavy amount of Silk Worm to his fish stocks while in the mud ponds from end of July through September. He believes it improves the skin and musculature of the fish. So, now we have two very diverse situations here, a hobbyist's concrete pond and a famous breeder with mud ponds who have a common thread - HiSilk/Silk Worm product. Whether the silk worm has any effect on the beni/hi of a fish from a carotene standpoint, I can't say. But, if it improves the "clarity of the skin" of the fish, maybe what they're saying about the function of the liver and kidneys has more of a "root" or "fundamental" unseen factor that shows itself "visibly" to us in the clarity/quality of the epidermis.

Sashi is always talked about as far as "quality" of a fish. I've seen very high quality expensive fish in Japan and here that, even as a Nisai, show no outward signs of what we "think" should be unfinished high quality beni. There simply isn't any sashi visible. I have a kohaku right now that I purchased from Sakai's manager Igarashi this past Fall. It is Nisai, 15" and it has NO SASHI. I was told by Toshi Sakai that Igarashi didn't really want to part with it as it was from Magoi blood and was to be grown to be used for parent stock. Why he let it go, I can't say, but it is one knockout of a fish. My point here is that it still hasn't reached it's peak, as evidenced by the "stars" in the beni but yet no sashi is visible. This is genetic and is blood line based. Some lines have it and some don't, so it pays to know your blood lines and their attributes before making decisions about quality and whether the fish is "finished' or not.

I have been mixing HiSilk with OSI growth all this year. The last two years was OSI with Saki Hikari Growth. I feel I see an actual improvement this year over the last two years in growth, including bulk and skin quality. Type of water (e.g. hardness, etc,etc) may have a bearing on this "total equation", Im not sure. One thing I do know is that HiSilk is higher in protein than Saki Hikari and maybe that fits in there somewhere. All I can say is, I will continue to use HiSilk mixed with OSI during warmer months from now on. IT WORKS FOR ME! What it may do for anyone else, I can not say. All I can suggest is that you try it and see for yourself if you notice any difference.

Mike

Thanks, Mike. Do you know whether or not Duke is feed anything in addition to the Hi silk?

koiman1950
08-03-2008, 04:12 PM
I personally can't say, at this time. He had a major setback last year due to unfortunate circumstances. I would wager a guess that, if continuing in the hobby, which I believe he IS doing, he would continue to do what he has had success with in the past. The HiSilk is only fed when the water temps are over 72F from what he told me quite awhile ago. I don't know what he feeds during the cooler months.

Mike

PapaBear
08-03-2008, 09:15 PM
I personally can't say, at this time. He had a major setback last year due to unfortunate circumstances. I would wager a guess that, if continuing in the hobby, which I believe he IS doing, he would continue to do what he has had success with in the past. The HiSilk is only fed when the water temps are over 72F from what he told me quite awhile ago. I don't know what he feeds during the cooler months.

Mike

The ones I'm most familiar with (via the web that is) that have made good use of it are two doctors in Singapore, DTTK and DTBH are the monikers they use on the web, but they both have produced long term excellent results similar to everything I've ever heard about Duke. Excellent husbandry skills and water management, and their year over year improvement on already outstanding Koi tells the tale. A few of the "repeat" GC winners over in some of the major European shows could probably shed some light on the subject at hand too. I don't know what they've been useing, but their results are outstanding.

Brutuscz
08-04-2008, 11:02 AM
Good thread. One parameter I'd like to mention is the actual pond background. I mean cement, black liner...etc. I read an intereview with a breeder suzujyu(sp?) several years ago. He stated that he fills all his mud ponds with black liner...so, no real mud. He said this makes his showa finish very well. He thought that black liner is an excellent way to keep koi. I personally find that when I transfer my koi from my black liner pond to a holding tank..the nature of the colors change. The holding tanks are usually white or blue on the bottom. Is it a chameleon effect, to blend in to the background? I'm not sure...but this breeder was convinced that it finished his koi exceptionally well. Anyone else with a black liner pond notice this phenomenon when transfering their koi to a holding tank?

premster
08-04-2008, 01:12 PM
I cant compare my liner pond to any mud pond but I dont have an issues with either beni or sumi and the colors stay strong . Not just in koi but wakins and pond comets too .

The only fish that lost color was a kikokuriu which changes from a ki to beni . (I was told this is to be expected)

six6guy
08-04-2008, 03:58 PM
Good thought provoking exchanges are going on in this thread. I hope I can contribute in a positive way here.

The food HiSilk has been mentioned here by some. The basic ingredient included in this product is Silk Worm powder. From what has been explained to me by a few who REALLY BELIEVE in it's power/effect are Toshio Sakai and hobbyist Duke Nguyen. I know Duke has been buying pallets of this food for many years now and swears by it. This bears out in the fact that he has taken GC at many shows with some All Japan class fish, that HAVE been allowed to leave Japan. Of one, Hiroko, his stunning 35 inch Kohaku was 12 years old when it won GC at the All Bay Area Koi Show in 2006(?). She was purchased through Miyoshiike from Dainichi as a Nisai koi. She was raised in Japan for 3 years and attained a size of 32" before being shipped here. Duke continued to IMPROVE EVERYTHING about this fish for many years. He believed that the HiSilk was very instrumental in the additional growth and bulk of this fish, along with his 20+ others over 30" that he maintained in his 9000gal pond! That's right, 20+ fish OVER 30" in 9000 gal of water!!!! Most ALL of these fish GREW and IMPROVED in Duke's care over the years. He believed that the HiSilk helped to maintain a high level of productive condition of the liver and kidneys, which we all know are the "building block plants" at the heart of our fish's condition, as far as from "what we can see visibly". Toshio Sakai told me that he feeds a heavy amount of Silk Worm to his fish stocks while in the mud ponds from end of July through September. He believes it improves the skin and musculature of the fish. So, now we have two very diverse situations here, a hobbyist's concrete pond and a famous breeder with mud ponds who have a common thread - HiSilk/Silk Worm product. Whether the silk worm has any effect on the beni/hi of a fish from a carotene standpoint, I can't say. But, if it improves the "clarity of the skin" of the fish, maybe what they're saying about the function of the liver and kidneys has more of a "root" or "fundamental" unseen factor that shows itself "visibly" to us in the clarity/quality of the epidermis.

Sashi is always talked about as far as "quality" of a fish. I've seen very high quality expensive fish in Japan and here that, even as a Nisai, show no outward signs of what we "think" should be unfinished high quality beni. There simply isn't any sashi visible. I have a kohaku right now that I purchased from Sakai's manager Igarashi this past Fall. It is Nisai, 15" and it has NO SASHI. I was told by Toshi Sakai that Igarashi didn't really want to part with it as it was from Magoi blood and was to be grown to be used for parent stock. Why he let it go, I can't say, but it is one knockout of a fish. My point here is that it still hasn't reached it's peak, as evidenced by the "stars" in the beni but yet no sashi is visible. This is genetic and is blood line based. Some lines have it and some don't, so it pays to know your blood lines and their attributes before making decisions about quality and whether the fish is "finished' or not.

I have been mixing HiSilk with OSI growth all this year. The last two years was OSI with Saki Hikari Growth. I feel I see an actual improvement this year over the last two years in growth, including bulk and skin quality. Type of water (e.g. hardness, etc,etc) may have a bearing on this "total equation", Im not sure. One thing I do know is that HiSilk is higher in protein than Saki Hikari and maybe that fits in there somewhere. All I can say is, I will continue to use HiSilk mixed with OSI during warmer months from now on. IT WORKS FOR ME! What it may do for anyone else, I can not say. All I can suggest is that you try it and see for yourself if you notice any difference.

Mike


Very thought provoking Mike.

I am also seeing a noticeable improvement in both beni and shiro this year. I also made changes to their diet early this spring. I am currently feeding EA Health and Blackwater Gold on alternating days, 2/3 cup twice a day. I supplement this regiment with silk worm pupae, about 12 oz a week. I'm feeding 24 Koi of assorted sizes in 12,000g.


Brad

PapaBear
08-04-2008, 03:59 PM
Good thread. One parameter I'd like to mention is the actual pond background. I mean cement, black liner...etc. I read an intereview with a breeder suzujyu(sp?) several years ago. He stated that he fills all his mud ponds with black liner...so, no real mud. He said this makes his showa finish very well. He thought that black liner is an excellent way to keep koi. I personally find that when I transfer my koi from my black liner pond to a holding tank..the nature of the colors change. The holding tanks are usually white or blue on the bottom. Is it a chameleon effect, to blend in to the background? I'm not sure...but this breeder was convinced that it finished his koi exceptionally well. Anyone else with a black liner pond notice this phenomenon when transfering their koi to a holding tank?

I think that's fairly common. Some people move their fish to a dark tank for show finishing and then to a blue tank before deciding to take to the show. If they fade in the blue and don't recover color within 24 hrs they don't go to the show.

koiman1950
08-04-2008, 04:09 PM
Breeders use different methods depending on the locations of their mud ponds. If they're in an area where the mud does not produce good results for sumi, especially showa, then using a black liner could improve the prospects of what comes out of that pond. If they are in a region where the clay is firmer with less silt, then showa do very well. Toshio Sakai has "rubber" ponds and mud ponds. They are in the same areas as each other, but in the Isawa region, not Niigata. Whether this has any bearing on all this I don't know, but one thing I do know is while there in January of '07, we were handed a photo book of fish that were in the "rubber" pond - all showas! We selected a few to get prices on when they were harvested in the fall. Well, suffice it to say that not a one was within my budget and I was willing to drop up to $2500 for one of these Nisai. One thing of note, for those not familiar, Isawa is famous for it's hot springs, hence spa retreats, and Sakai takes full advantage of this and maintains thermally heated ponds so the fish can stay in these large ponds all winter with very little temperature effect from the snow or cold weather.

Mike

Carl
08-05-2008, 09:29 PM
More Info:

The Structure of chromatophores.

We have discussed that the chromatophore cells are like dots of colors that contribute to the overall color of the koi. However, the chromatophores are not literally dots. They are branched structures that can be filled with color, or only partially filled with color. When they are partially filled with color, the background color will show through.

Chemicals like ammonia, nitrate and nitrite will cause color to contract in the chromatophores to the point where the koi might lose its color. The ph and gh can also effect the color of koi. The red pigment will spread in softer more acidic water, and contract in harder more alkaline water. The black pigment will contract in the softer, more acidic water and spread in the harder more alkaline water. However, I don't that those are tendencies and not absolutes as genetics and conditioning still plays an important part in the color.

Koi do change color depending on their background. They canít make big changes, but they will lighten up against light backgrounds and darken against dark back grounds. John from Hanover Koi Farms has demonstrated this for us in another thread.

High temps can make color contract and cooler temps can make them expand, which is why koi can look their best in the fall.

PapaBear
08-06-2008, 08:37 AM
Carl,
In your last you mention the colors expanding and contracting under certain conditions and that might be worth expanding on a bit from several angles.

The effects of stress on color are well known and the rapid decline of color/skin quality on otherwise excellent fish can be amazing. The chromatophores on Koi are in many ways an early warning system of poor health conditions. Water that is unhealthy from contaminants (acidic, caustic, nitrogenous wastes, etc...) causes an overall decline in metabolic health and vigor, with the skin being the most visible victim. If we are lucky we will see veining or changes is behavior first, but skin health (color, luster, etc...) will be one of the first things to go down that can be seen. In all too many cases color cells can be damaged beyond the Koi's ability to repair.

The influence of temperature is more interesting as it can be positive.

During our warm seasons of heavy feeding and growth the color concentration can struggle to keep up as the entire fish is stretching and expanding. Koi with smaller patterns can be overwhelmed by rapid growth as the color plates lack the ability to grow beyond their pre-ordained natural boundaries. The fortunate few will actually experience an expansion of the color plates that keeps pace with the physical growth of the fish, but those are the exception to the genetic rule.
Many will experience a "thinning" appearance of the color plates during rapid growth periods only to see it re-consolidate when the cooler weather arrives. This is a part of the "4 season fish" thinking coming into play.
Many Shiro lovers become a bit discouraged toward the end of summer as the sumi takes on a more gray "kage" type appearance. On high quality fish this can be attractive, bit it can also give the impression of weakness if the fish had a deep solid black sumi earlier in the year. The shiroji can also appear to lose some of its snowy quality and become "off white". During the winter fasting period the black consolidates once again and the sumi brightens as the stray color cells that have disbursed among the shiroji are re-metabolized in the course of the fast and then re-incorporated into the sumi plates. These fish do well in spring shows rather than late summer/fall. The same can obviously be true with Showa, but it is also observed in Sanke and Bekko. We have several shiro bekko that become sumi "flecked" in warm weather and clean up during winter. We also have an ake-nissai shiro bekko that emerged from winter with jet black sumi steadily expanding through the early spring months. As the weather continued to warm the sumi began to go back down and the shiroji is less bright right now. I'd say the sumi is about 80% down at the moment, but I'll bet $100 that next spring it will be as strong as it was a few months ago. As the fish mature this juvenile tendency becomes less pronounced and the colors become more stable.

Carl
08-06-2008, 04:01 PM
A representation of chromatophores with expanded and contracted pigment.

http://habitatnews.nus.edu.sg/guidebooks/freshfish/text/102.htm

farne230
09-05-2008, 02:01 PM
This tread is too important to leave to our archives.
Bob

Carl
10-28-2008, 05:31 PM
bump

lilhelper
10-28-2008, 05:39 PM
This thread is amazing!

koiman1950
10-28-2008, 06:04 PM
bump

Carl

This thread CANNOT die!! It's too important not to archive. Also, later this week I will be photographing some fish for the internet show and others. Hopefully, I can post here as well so we can see some before/afters so we can see how my water/feeding etc are affecting my fish.

Mike

Carl
10-28-2008, 06:11 PM
Carl

This thread CANNOT die!! It's too important not to archive. Also, later this week I will be photographing some fish for the internet show and others. Hopefully, I can post here as well so we can see some before/afters so we can see how my water/feeding etc are affecting my fish.

Mike

That would be great. :yes:

I am working on some water quality info to add to this thread, too. I hope to get an article or two out of it for the newsletter.

Super Kindai
10-30-2008, 03:28 PM
More about color, skin and chromatophores!

We talked about the three basic pigments, Erythrin (red), Melanin (black) and Xanthin (yellow). One of the other factors that contributes to color is irridocytes, which are described as tiny, reflective spheres in the skin. So, it may be obvious to the artists among us that those colors combine in the skin to give us additional colors. However, the irridocytes can combine with them to give us different colors, as well.

Where there are no chromatophores, the irridocytes will make the skin appear white. If they are high in the skin or scales, they may give the skin a reflective sheen. If they are deeper in the skin, the skin will appear matte. If the irridocytes appear in the middle of the skin over some deep black pigment, the skin may appear blue or gray.

So, what can we conclude about gin from the above? How might one get gin rin?

In addition to the above color pigments, the sheen of Gin rin and also Ogon is guanine in iridophore cell.

lilhelper
10-30-2008, 03:41 PM
In addition to the above color pigments, the sheen of Gin rin and also Ogon is guanine in iridophore cell.
sumimasen, nihongo hanasu ka?

Super Kindai
10-30-2008, 03:59 PM
sumimasen, nihongo hanasu ka?


Yes, fluently but very little English.......:D:

koiman1950
10-30-2008, 04:02 PM
Glad to see you're still here, Junichi-san. Thanks for the added info.

Mike

Carl
10-30-2008, 04:20 PM
In addition to the above color pigments, the sheen of Gin rin and also Ogon is guanine in iridophore cell.

Thank you, Junichi-san. Any help you can give us is appreciated. :)

Super Kindai
10-30-2008, 05:03 PM
Hi Mike, There are so many interesting and educational koi-related webs/blogs in Japanese. So, I am almost always in there to get some update when I have a free time.:D:


Hi Carl, This web site is great. Thank you but I am just a student and will be a student forever.:yes:

koiman1950
10-30-2008, 05:45 PM
Hi Mike, There are so many interesting and educational koi-related webs/blogs in Japanese. So, I am almost always in there to get some update when I have a free time.:D:


Hi Carl, This web site is great. Thank you but I am just a student and will be a student forever.:yes:

We are ALL students! But your knowledge surpasses most here and would be very helpful and insightful to us all. Thanks again for coming on board.

Mike

darion6
10-30-2008, 07:55 PM
I have very hard water where I live. In my experience, the hi with showas, goshikis and asagis have held up fine.

On the other hand, any metallic hi( I had a kikisui and a kujaku and sold them after their hi went to pot) has faded in my pond.

Is there any explanation for this? :bow: thanks in advance!

Carl
10-30-2008, 08:20 PM
Hi Mike, There are so many interesting and educational koi-related webs/blogs in Japanese. So, I am almost always in there to get some update when I have a free time.:D:


Hi Carl, This web site is great. Thank you but I am just a student and will be a student forever.:yes:

Please visit often. :yes:

You may wish to also visit our club website. It has some interesting information.

www.worldwidekoiclub.org

1BIGkoi
11-04-2008, 10:46 PM
Nice thread

Rob Forbis
01-20-2009, 01:47 PM
This discussion of koi pigmentation is very enlightening. Not so much for what it says but for what it dances around. Namely that no one, that I have encountered or any source Iíve been able to find after extensive web searching, can actually tell you anything scientific about koi coloration. Although teleosts all have the same three layers of skin, epidermis, dermis and hypodermis no one (please prove me wrong) can point to any scientific paper that says how and where the chromatophores of koi are actually located. Although the answer is probably both in the dermis and hypodermis and never in the epidermis (except for disease process such as shimi). Dermal pigmentation likely lies between one scale and another and/or below all scales. But which chromatophores are located in the dermis and what their relative positions are, I believe, is unknown. And while it is likely that the hypodermis contains the majority of pigmentation, once again the order, development and dominance of the pigment cells is unknown, or unpublished. Take for example in shusui the blue color is (likely) the result of a black hypodermis overlaid by a layer of dermal iridophores. But even in an example as straight forward as this the research is sketchy enough that it is almost equally possible that the overlying layer is specially structured collagen instead of the guanine crystals that Ďeveryoneí knows are there.

A good background paper on fish skin is:
http://www.ijdb.ehu.es/web/contents.php?vol=48&issue=2-3&doi=15272388

Read especially the section entitled An Overview of Current Knowledge.

Can anyone point out other relevant publications?

And here is an interesting read from the 1930ís! http://www.biolbull.org/cgi/reprint/65/2/253.pdf

koiman1950
01-20-2009, 03:08 PM
Possibly Dr. Roddy Conrad could lead you to one or two. There may be others who could be helpful but the one who could probably be most helpful no longer posts on this forum.

Mike

farne230
01-21-2009, 10:43 AM
I have just finished reading all the posts in this tread. We all want someone to tell us ďthis is what you have to do to raise healthy and colorful koi." I am afraid, or at least for me, I read and like to try recommendations for myself. Here are a few observation made regarding changes I have made and their effects on my koi.

The most dramatic changes I observed occurred after I reduced GH to 0, KH to below 200ppm, PH cycle closer to 7.5 and TDS below 200ppm.:yahoo:

Case 1: 3 year old Ogata Sanke male, genetically hard dark beni with dull white skin and great pattern. Color enhanced foods caused dull whites to become yellow and previous hard water conditions with TDS above 300ppm caused beni to begin to crack. After lowering the TDS, the dull white has luster and pops (not same color white as higher quality kohaku's in pond), but best I have seen.

Case 2: My 6 year old Sakimaki kohaku beni began to fade. Now her beni is soft, scales recessed, even beni, now solid with youthful appearance and whites much better.

Case 3: My 4 year old Kin ki utsuri skin color is now bright and bright gold in appearance.

Case 4: My 4 year old Ogawa kohaku, after a short term of feeding lower cost color enhancing food, before addition of softener and RO, this koi developed secondary deep embedded beni along second step of kiwa. The color appears yellow brown in color. Even after change to high grade foods and reduction in TDS she has not shed this deeply embedded hi. Her skin color looks better and beni is youthful.
Note: Two other kohaku, high quality gene pool, I do not notice the same changes, although they are much younger. One kohaku developed secondary hi-color brown along kiwa before softened water and RO. The softened water and RO had very minor effects. Change occurred when I changed brand of food-color enhancement.

My pond water before making any changes was TDS 350ppm, PH 8.1 to 8.8, GH & KH 300ppm and now it is TDS 155ppm, PH 7.5 to 8.1, GH-0, KH-107.4ppm, with a solid growth of algae on walls. Pond is heated to 61f to 63f.

CHICHI
01-21-2009, 10:52 AM
I have just finished reading all the posts in this tread. We all want someone to tell us ďthis is what you have to do to raise healthy and colorful koi." I am afraid, or at least for me, I read and like to try recommendations for myself. Here are a few observation made regarding changes I have made and their effects on my koi.

The most dramatic changes I observed occurred after I reduced GH to 0, KH to below 200ppm, PH cycle closer to 7.5 and TDS below 200ppm.:yahoo:

Case 1: 3 year old Ogata Sanke male, genetically hard dark beni with dull white skin and great pattern. Color enhanced foods caused dull whites to become yellow and previous hard water conditions with TDS above 300ppm caused beni to begin to crack. After lowering the TDS, the dull white has luster and pops (not same color white as higher quality kohaku's in pond), but best I have seen.

Case 2: My 6 year old Sakimaki kohaku beni began to fade. Now her beni is soft, scales recessed, even beni, now solid with youthful appearance and whites much better.

Case 3: My 4 year old Kin ki utsuri skin color is now bright and bright gold in appearance.

Case 4: My 4 year old Ogawa kohaku, after a short term of feeding lower cost color enhancing food, before addition of softener and RO, this koi developed secondary deep embedded beni along second step of kiwa. The color appears yellow brown in color. Even after change to high grade foods and reduction in TDS she has not shed this deeply embedded hi. Her skin color looks better and beni is youthful.
Note: Two other kohaku, high quality gene pool, I do not notice the same changes, although they are much younger. One kohaku developed secondary hi-color brown along kiwa before softened water and RO. The softened water and RO had very minor effects. Change occurred when I changed brand of food-color enhancement.

My pond water before making any changes was TDS 350ppm, PH 8.1 to 8.8, GH & KH 300ppm and now it is TDS 155ppm, PH 7.5 to 8.1, GH-0, KH-107.4ppm, with a solid growth of algae on walls. Pond is heated to 61f to 63f.

So are you Pleased with the changes you are observing Farne ?

farne230
01-21-2009, 01:30 PM
Yes ChiChi, very satisfied. I just wish I can figure out what to do with the secondary beni my ogawa kohaku has developed. I will post a picture when I get home. At first glance it looks like a puncture of two separate scales turned brownish red. I posted photos a while back, I will try and find them.
Bob

I found the thread: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80165. The area I am concerned with is in the middle of two scales midway between the head and shoulder beni.
Bob

Rob Forbis
01-22-2009, 11:40 AM
The time frame of the previous post is June 2008. Is the appearance of the red area still the same as pictured, hence eliminating acute disease? It is hard for one as inexperienced as me to judge the sudden appearance of hi. But what the heck Iíll take a stab at it and see if someone who knows can instruct us. Regarding the appearance of so-called secondary hi what Iíve read points to several possibilities (number 4 being the most likely).

1) Lets get the controversial one, not the most likely but possible nonetheless, out of the way. It is possible that your fish was touched up, so-called ďwinter workĒ and this is actually a reappearance of primary rather than secondary hi. The location of the questionable color supports this possibility, since it is in the one spot on your fish where more white would be better (separating the head hi plate from the shoulder plate). If this unlikely explanation is correct there isnít much that can be done for it.

2) Another possibility is that the hi from the adjacent plates (skin) is spreading into the shiro. The red pigment cells, erythophores, like melanophores are dendritic and can and do spread themselves into larger areas. Erythophores, apparently unlike melanophores, are not totally limited to embryonic migrants and can increase in number by division. Nothing short of the unacceptable winter work mentioned above is going to correct this, although the mysteries of time might.

3) If the location of the unwanted red is in the dermis between the scales (and not the dermis completely below the scales or in the hypodermis), or if it is more significantly located in the epidermis on the exposed part of the scale (I canít tell much from the picture) it could be a blemish, a disease process like shimi, and hence treatable. In this case you might be dealing with erythrosomes that have separated from their primary cell and migrated into the dermis or epidermis usually in response to water conditions (any exposure to low pH?) This kind of attention calls for expertise obtained from long experience and (once again like possibility 1) this may be too controversial to even discuss. Treatment may not be needed if this type of reaction is the case since the stray erythrosomes may be on a route to be sloughed off.

4) The real reason, explained by some far more experienced than me.

majederr
01-22-2009, 11:55 AM
How do you lower the PH and maintain stability?

PapaBear
01-22-2009, 02:54 PM
The time frame of the previous post is June 2008. Is the appearance of the red area still the same as pictured, hence eliminating acute disease? It is hard for one as inexperienced as me to judge the sudden appearance of hi. But what the heck Iíll take a stab at it and see if someone who knows can instruct us. Regarding the appearance of so-called secondary hi what Iíve read points to several possibilities (number 4 being the most likely).

1) Lets get the controversial one, not the most likely but possible nonetheless, out of the way. It is possible that your fish was touched up, so-called ďwinter workĒ and this is actually a reappearance of primary rather than secondary hi. The location of the questionable color supports this possibility, since it is in the one spot on your fish where more white would be better (separating the head hi plate from the shoulder plate). If this unlikely explanation is correct there isnít much that can be done for it.

2) Another possibility is that the hi from the adjacent plates (skin) is spreading into the shiro. The red pigment cells, erythophores, like melanophores are dendritic and can and do spread themselves into larger areas. Erythophores, apparently unlike melanophores, are not totally limited to embryonic migrants and can increase in number by division. Nothing short of the unacceptable winter work mentioned above is going to correct this, although the mysteries of time might.

3) If the location of the unwanted red is in the dermis between the scales (and not the dermis completely below the scales or in the hypodermis), or if it is more significantly located in the epidermis on the exposed part of the scale (I canít tell much from the picture) it could be a blemish, a disease process like shimi, and hence treatable. In this case you might be dealing with erythrosomes that have separated from their primary cell and migrated into the dermis or epidermis usually in response to water conditions (any exposure to low pH?) This kind of attention calls for expertise obtained from long experience and (once again like possibility 1) this may be too controversial to even discuss. Treatment may not be needed if this type of reaction is the case since the stray erythrosomes may be on a route to be sloughed off.

4) The real reason, explained by some far more experienced than me.

I'll take a wag at a bit of this.
"Winter Work" becoming revealed with the re-appearance of "secondary hi" is unlikely unless you are seeing thin stray beni on the head or possibly the body of a Doitsu. The most common occurrence would be a "Perfect" beautiful Tancho becoming blurred around the edges

I see secondary hi appear under 2 sets of circumstances among tosai/nissai.

Most common is the appearance of thin bits of dull beni in cold water that fades as the Koi begins to grow again. The presence of chromatophores of poor genetic quality can make internally stored carotenes concentrate in those cells as they are released during winter fasting to maintain the young fish. It can have the appearance of a "hard" superficial smattering of color on the scales or a "blush" beneath them in the skin. The type I see on the scale surface resembles the dark flecking many lower grade yamabuki and orenji get, especially in hard water.

The other type I see in these young fish is the commonly observed blush of unwanted color in the skin just below the scales, even in warm water. This type appears to be a bigger problem as the cold water concentrating of color tend to be more seasonal in nature while the other can linger if the skin does not have sufficient thickness/strength of shiroji to subdue it.

PapaBear
01-22-2009, 02:58 PM
I mentioned in an earlier post that one of our shiro bekko experience a submerging of the sumi during the summer growing season which I expected to re-emerge with greater strength later on. It is too cool to pull for a picture but suffice it to say that the shiroji is intense and loaded with guanine and the sumi is re-building nicely. I'll try to get some pictures of the progress over the next few months so you can see the way it develops.

farne230
01-22-2009, 05:24 PM
Great responses with this unusual situation. I can tell you that the red striking and discolored shiroji scales adjacent the dorsal are gone. The intensity of the secondary hi beneath the first shiroji row between the head and second beni has lightened, but the two discolored spots center of shiroji over right shoulder as you view the koi is still there, but less noticable.
I will try and post a few more photo's.
Bob

farne230
01-22-2009, 08:13 PM
Here is the Ogawa female kohaku.
Photo 1: March 6, 2006 as nisai (born June 2004);
Photo 2-5: Dec. 13, 2006 a few months after I received her;
Photo rest of photo's taken today. the darken area's are still visible as well as other area's.

Original water quality: PH 8.2 to 8.8, GH/KH over 300, TDS 350 Temps mid to high 80's in summer to winter never below 35f. Feeding Hi-silk.

Installed Heater Dec. 07;
Softener installed Feb. 08; GH 120ppm, KH 140ppm;
RO installed Dec. 08; GH to 0, KH 84, TDS 144ppm. PH 7.5 to 8.1.

Bob

koiman1950
01-22-2009, 08:59 PM
I think what you're concerned with here was somewhat evident in Pic #3. The sashi on both of those hi plates is, in my opinion, questionable. Other issues I noted in your first two pics seemed to have resolved themselves. My guess, however, and it's only a guess, is that this may be nothing more than a temporary thing as it appears the shiroji is becoming thicker and the deep sashi beni is separating from the main plate and will dissolve away within the next year to two years. Her fukurin is also developing well, but to the eye and even in a photo, it reflects light differently than the skin around the embedding scales, and tends to cast a more tannish cream color in certain lighting conditions.

I'll post some photos so you can see what I mean about high class fish when the pics aren't "shopped"

Mike

farne230
01-23-2009, 08:27 AM
Mike your kohaku is fantastic, a great example of a GC if I ever saw one. One question: my problems seam to occure after I reduced TDS and hardness as you can see the scales laid back, do you think this caused the deep beni to move twards the center of those scales and become more pronounced? Also the right shoulder you will note the dark pinpoint shading in the center of the white skin, almost looks like a bit but these areas do not cover the whole scale as we see since she was nisai. What is going on here.
Bob

koiman1950
01-23-2009, 03:55 PM
Bob

First, these, unfortunately, are NOT my fish. I took these pics at the AJKS in 2006. The first fish was a Kokugyo winner at, I believe, 75cm and the second fish is "The Mask" who was the GC at the show that year.

In the first pic, look at the right side of the fish and notice the same type of issue going on. Separated scales with underlying beni showing through. Also, the mask shows a bit of this as well on the right side. I believe it is two scales.

On your fish, as it is younger than the other two I posted, appears to have underlying beni showing through as a sign of the transition between hard water and soft water conditions. When the water is hard, the color cells seem to "flatten" and when the water is soft, it allows the color cells to "stand up" more and give a more youthful look. I think your fish is in a transition period and as the shiroji thickens it will go away. It's really hard to put a finger on from photos as a in-person 3D look is always better to judge these type of issues from.

Mike

farne230
01-24-2009, 10:50 AM
I hope you are right Mike. She has been in this condition since last May. A side note, I have reduced water changes, due to issues with bringing TDS down and KH. I am at the desired levels now KH 5dh and TDS 144ppm. But I have issues trying to mix water due to source water options and a overflow pipe that will not drain properly. Therefore there are issues. The main point, today my test show detectable Nitrates 5.0. I have noticed algae traped in skimmer and very soft (maybe a new cycle is brewing with a algae die off) since tds is down (less nutrients).

I am concerned with keeping the water stable. If I do a 20% water change
(1700 gals), note my RO produces about .8 gpm (48gph). I can blend softened waters to give me a TDS 190ppm, my valve is a ball valve on 1" pvc does not control flow well.

Question is; Do I address the Nitrates now, turn Ro on blend tape water to 150 or 199TDS what ever I can get when I crack open the mixing ball valve and let flow for 10 hours (480gals to 1000 gals) hard to figure the mixing rate and flow? Or should I just let it go and see if the filtration brings nitrates down?

CHICHI
01-24-2009, 11:18 AM
I hope you are right Mike. She has been in this condition since last May. A side note, I have reduced water changes, due to issues with bringing TDS down and KH. I am at the desired levels now KH 5dh and TDS 144ppm. But I have issues trying to mix water due to source water options and a overflow pipe that will not drain properly. Therefore there are issues. The main point, today my test show detectable Nitrates 5.0. I have noticed algae traped in skimmer and very soft (maybe a new cycle is brewing with a algae die off) since tds is down (less nutrients).

I am concerned with keeping the water stable. If I do a 20% water change
(1700 gals), note my RO produces about .8 gpm (48gph). I can blend softened waters to give me a TDS 190ppm, my valve is a ball valve on 1" pvc does not control flow well.

Question is; Do I address the Nitrates now, turn Ro on blend tape water to 150 or 199TDS what ever I can get when I crack open the mixing ball valve and let flow for 10 hours (480gals to 1000 gals) hard to figure the mixing rate and flow? Or should I just let it go and see if the filtration brings nitrates down?

Hi Farne ..:D:

You need to know what "Blend" is going in with your replacement Water - 199TDS won`t be a problem if your aim is to reduce the Nitrate back to it`s previous Value ..

Might be worth getting your Pipe repaired/replaced if you intend to run a mixture of R/O/TAP Water on a permanent basis ..

sundan
01-24-2009, 12:59 PM
Bob

First, these, unfortunately, are NOT my fish. I took these pics at the AJKS in 2006. The first fish was a Kokugyo winner at, I believe, 75cm and the second fish is "The Mask" who was the GC at the show that year.

In the first pic, look at the right side of the fish and notice the same type of issue going on. Separated scales with underlying beni showing through. Also, the mask shows a bit of this as well on the right side. I believe it is two scales.

On your fish, as it is younger than the other two I posted, appears to have underlying beni showing through as a sign of the transition between hard water and soft water conditions. When the water is hard, the color cells seem to "flatten" and when the water is soft, it allows the color cells to "stand up" more and give a more youthful look. I think your fish is in a transition period and as the shiroji thickens it will go away. It's really hard to put a finger on from photos as a in-person 3D look is always better to judge these type of issues from.

Mike

Thanks for posting the mask kohaku, choice. Didn't 2 brits buying that koi for $150,000 together place 2nd one year and then following year won first place at all Japan show. I think there is a video of how west won east about this koi.

koiman1950
01-24-2009, 04:27 PM
Thanks for posting the mask kohaku, choice. Didn't 2 brits buying that koi for $150,000 together place 2nd one year and then following year won first place at all Japan show. I think there is a video of how west won east about this koi.

Yes, Martin and Mark. The fish was purchased for a large sum of money AT NISAI!!! I don't know if she was even entered in the Shinkokai AJS the year before. I don't remember seeing her there. I know the other famous koi they owned was called the Maruten Kohaku and everyone was expecting to see her when the box was opened. But, as the story goes, when Sakai compared the two, he recommended bringing the mask as the Maruten wasn't up to par. Yes, there is a video out by that name.

Ironically, at the following year's AJKS I was in the smoking room (where else) talking with a couple breeders and Mike Harvey from So Africa. As I looked over to the other side of the table, there was Martin and Sakai. I heard Martin saying he was done with AJKS competition. He had his prize and now he wanted to keep his money as well (jokingly). When you consider what it costs to compete at this level, and then, if you win it all, you have to HOST several celebratory parties, which is, from what I hear, another fortune unto itself.

If I'm not mistaken, the Dainichi Showa which won the 2007 AJKS was sold by the owner just before the show for the very reason that he didn't want to have to pay for the parties after he won. And the price tag was no $150,000 for THAT FISH either!!

Mike

koiman1950
01-24-2009, 04:42 PM
I hope you are right Mike. She has been in this condition since last May. A side note, I have reduced water changes, due to issues with bringing TDS down and KH. I am at the desired levels now KH 5dh and TDS 144ppm. But I have issues trying to mix water due to source water options and a overflow pipe that will not drain properly. Therefore there are issues. The main point, today my test show detectable Nitrates 5.0. I have noticed algae traped in skimmer and very soft (maybe a new cycle is brewing with a algae die off) since tds is down (less nutrients).

I am concerned with keeping the water stable. If I do a 20% water change
(1700 gals), note my RO produces about .8 gpm (48gph). I can blend softened waters to give me a TDS 190ppm, my valve is a ball valve on 1" pvc does not control flow well.

Question is; Do I address the Nitrates now, turn Ro on blend tape water to 150 or 199TDS what ever I can get when I crack open the mixing ball valve and let flow for 10 hours (480gals to 1000 gals) hard to figure the mixing rate and flow? Or should I just let it go and see if the filtration brings nitrates down?

I don't recall if you mentioned, but what's your pond and source water temps? I really think you're stressing over things that shouldn't be messed with too much at this time of year. I also don't see anything wrong with a Nitrate reading of 5ppm. Wish mine were that low!! I think the MOST IMPORTANT point you should be/are concerned with is STABILITY and until you get those ISSUES fixed, I wouldn't be messing around with the use of a ball valve to control source water mixing with RO water. Chichi is right - I would recommend a Gate Valve as you can control flow much better with one. Try using a plumber's snake on your overflow pipe. Maybe something got in there like a drowning mouse/rat/snake or other critter and has it blocked.

If this issue on the fish is only since last May, I think I would take a wait and see approach and watch her this growing season. I still think it's only temporary. But, if you go messing with parameters and put them in a state of flux, there's no telling what could happen. In a few of the photos I still see Hoshi and the beni between the scales is still lighter which indicates continued growth and color stretching. I know it's hard to be patient, but I think it will really pay off on this fish if you can be for the next two years.

Mike

farne230
01-24-2009, 07:46 PM
Will do Mike the water temp is steady at 62f to 64f depends on outside temps, and Chichi. The NO3 are now 0ppm. My Kin Ki Utsuri was gulping foam yesterday and is lying on the bottom. She will not mix with the rest during AM feeding:confused:. Let you know how it turns out.
Bob