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Jeff R.
12-31-2004, 10:13 AM
Conformation seems to be a very illusive subject regarding our Koi. Certainly we are told that the first thing a mature Koi is judged on is conformation. What precisely is good conformation? You know it when you see it? Everything is in proportion (what proportion)? Conformation is a product of genetics as well as the care given to our pets. Is obtaining good conformation as simple as not overfeeding? Can you really tell the difference between a koi raised in a 3 foot deep pond versus a 6 foot deep pond?

As the Virtual Koi SHow here at Koiphenville is getting under way these might be some questions some may have. I understand that the show will involve Tosai and conformation will be much less of a consideration that color, pattern but at some point it will become the dominant concern followed by skin quality. What is done now will effect the future conformation and therefore should be given some thought, perhaps.

Is there a definition (other than it looks right) for conformation and are there definite things we can do to enhance this quality?

ma barker
12-31-2004, 10:28 AM
Well I don't have a clue....but I'm glad you have worded this question better than I have been...I'm been trying to find out these questions for quite some time...and don't really ever get the answers I'm looking for. :(
And pics! We need pics!!! Of good versus bad...and why????

KOI-UNIT
12-31-2004, 10:35 AM
Conformation is a word to use when you start showing and start putting some serious cash down in this hobby. That's when you start using "Conformation". :yes:

schildkoi
12-31-2004, 10:42 AM
Being Memphis on my laptop and having my pics on my main network computer in Wisconsin kinda limits my visuals though. Yes, to the question regarding being able to tell a Koi raised in a shallow pond verses that of a deep pond....again typically. We all have a tendancy to overfeed. Thus, a female, who is over fed and in a shallow pond that cannot get the exercise from swimming in the vertical will have a tendancy to get chicken/pigeon breasted. This can be combated through currents to some degree and better husbandry habits (less feeding). Also, in the spring, many females in a mixed sex environment under these same types of conditions will get "bellies" due to their egg production. Again, this can be combated by speration of sexes, good husbandry and better pond design (depth and currents).

Bob Finnigan has a good way or mathimatically explaining conformation and body shape...unfortunately I can't begin to explain/remember it all but it has to do proportionally with head size to body length/width, at what point the pecs sit as well as the dorsal and the size of the peduncle. As you stated, its really more a "you'll know it when you see it" thing. Clean "lines to the shape of the Koi Wide shoulders with proportional sized head. Absence of "bvulges" or indentations. Finnage placement. Massive punduncle (tail joint).

Quality is pure genetics. The Koi will have it or not. Now, bringing out or maintaining such is totally in our hands....water chemistry, husbandry and other environmental factors all play a vital role.

Steve

savannahrobinson
12-31-2004, 10:52 AM
In addition to Steve's post - symmetry is important.
You want a fish that is torpedo shaped, on all sides. Comparing top to bottom (not a saggy belly), and side to side.

A fish with "too small" fins can be excused that if the fins are symmetrical.
I have a metallic showa with extra large fins, like whales paddles. But they are symmetrical and the fish had great skin - so its like having a kid with big ears.

Many of the bigger kois develop a lump where the meat of the fish hits the head/bone of the skull. I don't find that attractive. But some really "high quality" fish have it.

Other than obvious deformities - I really think its a "eyes of the beholder" kinda thing...

L5Vegan
12-31-2004, 10:59 AM
As the Virtual Koi SHow here at Koiphenville is getting under way these might be some questions some may have. I understand that the show will involve Tosai and conformation will be much less of a consideration that color, pattern but at some point it will become the dominant concern followed by skin quality. What is done now will effect the future conformation and therefore should be given some thought, perhaps.

Great thread Jeff.

For those of us to cheap/poor to buy larger fish. What clues can we look for in smaller fish to help us pick ones that should have better conformation as adults.?
What size can you really start seeing the difference at?

Dan

schildkoi
12-31-2004, 11:13 AM
Here's a couple more comparisons.

Koi shows are beauty contests and where the "standards" and thus desireablity traits come from. Although a pregnant female may be gorgeous, would her shape "conform" to the desireability of the standards for the contest?

I like the "big ear" anology savannah used. Or how about lopsided ears? "No Neck"? Like the head is pushed on the Koi and appears stubby? Or "long neck," great for bottling beer but a long bottle nosed dolphin head isn't what is desired.

I judged a show a few years back as a candidate judge. The 2 more learned judges choose a Koi with a HUGE belly as GC. I jumped up and down and tried my best to sway their opinion, myself opting for a perfectly conformed Showa also female but with smooth lines yet still a huge body. Needless to say I was over ruled. It was a spring show and they discounted conformation for this....a decision I still disagree with to this day holding that its the best "on the day".

My buddies Tim and Art took exception to my (as head judge and my team) on a decision similar to the aformentioned but definitely not to near the degree as the previous example. For me, its hard to justify anyting in a Koi if the conformation doesn't stack up. Tim and Art opted for the definite quality excellence of the Koi...and I would agree that the quality of that Koi was far superior.....but the body lines just weren't there that day (full of eggs).

Art and Tim still get on me about that one! Which would I have bought? The one they thought was "better" because it was...just not "that day".

Steve

JPR
12-31-2004, 01:56 PM
There is no ONE conformation for koi. Koi of different ages and different lines will have different conformation standards. A matsunouke sanke is shaped differently than a Dianichi sanke for instance. And a male can win a first place in size 2 or 3 by exhibiting a typical male but 'good' confirmation for a male. In other words it all relative.
I don't think the exhibitor should try and become a side line judge ( lord knows we have enough of them already! LOL) I think an exhibitor would be better served by learning what bad confirmation is.

short squat bodies are a no no.
bulges in the body are no nos
missing, short or non symmetrical fins are a no no
missing ' bits and pieces' are a conformation nono.
hanging bellies are a no no
tiny tail tubes and stunted tiny tails are a no no
heads that are too small for the fishes body is a no no
heads that are too flat are a no no
heads that are too round are a no no
heads that drop off at a steep 60 degree angle are a no no.
ball like noses or 'dolphin' noses are a no no
non symmetrical dents and creases in the head are a no no
curled or dented gill plates are a no no
deformed mouths are a no no
tiny mouths to head ratio are a no no.
missing whiskers are a no no
eye abnormalities are a no no.
blind eyes are a no no.
broken anal fins or missing anal fins are a no no
too large a hump is a no no, althought tall fish can be very good.
bent spines are a no no
' two section' dorsal fins are a no no.
trimmed tails are a no no
scars are a no no
fat koi ( be careful what you wish for in volume) are a no no
skinny koi are a no no.

Lots of No Nos!

After this it is a matter of 'personal' accomplishment for the individual fish. Long but fulled body, like a nautilus submarine is often sited as an ideal. It is also a comparison of several fish to see who can be said to overcome who in an evaluation of the ideal standard.
In modern judging we take more into consideration that what was taught in the good old days when pattern and conformation was the only real tie breaker. In todays shows, picking the longest or the fattest fish is often a cope out. Even the jumbo aware has been moved out of the benching decision and back to the judging- where the very BEST large fish wins the jumbo award.
JR

schildkoi
12-31-2004, 02:58 PM
Not a WWII Gato class, not a Los Angeles attack Class either.....a Polaris....a "Boomer"...now there's a body! :)

Where's Rod L, he knows subs! :)

Steve

savannahrobinson
01-01-2005, 09:13 AM
Vegan -

When looking at baby fishes, look at the parents. You have a better chance of learning what to expect from them by seeing their progenitors.

After that, when you have a group of siblings, just eliminate obvious deformities. Sometimes it can be quite subtle.
A friend of a friend has a gorgeous yamabuki. Lemon yellow, shiney, great skin, uniform color - all the things that you want from a yamabuki. But to me there was something goofy about that fish. It was always moving, and finally when I was watching, it lay still for a bit. Its head was slightly off center. Just a tiny bit bent at the neck. Very very subtle.
Still a gorgeous fish, but not a breeder, and not a show fish.

In very small fishes, I like a tadpole look. The head is slightly out of proportion to the body. In siblings, where there is no issue about whether they were fed sufficiently (starvation will produce that look, too), I think that indicates that the fish has the potential for SIZE.

Under four inches, unless you have some deformity, the baby fishes should all have great conformity, for their size. Baby fishes panic more - and so exercise more - than the more placid adults.
In adults, the biggest factor, other than genetics, is whether the fish have been properly raised - whether they are getting the exercise that they need in proportion to their diet. Some people, interested in seriously showing fish, feed at different places in the pond - so the fish have to hunt for food. Feed scarcely, but more often, again to force exercise, and feed both bottom and top foods, again to create the need for more exercise. Some people have water jets that force the fish to swim against current. Some people have very deep ponds, which I do think makes them more healthy - exercises the air bladder as well as the muscle.

Me, I'm not too serious about shows. I feed my fish about the same time every day, and usually in the same place. So they lurk there, and get lazy.

timiny
01-11-2005, 11:19 AM
Bob Finnigan has a good way or mathimatically explaining conformation and body shape...unfortunately I can't begin to explain/remember it all but it has to do proportionally with head size to body length/width, at what point the pecs sit as well as the dorsal and the size of the peduncle.

Steve

I would be interested in reading Bob's explanation on conformation. Is that available online anywhere?

keokoi
01-11-2005, 01:08 PM
I would be interested in reading Bob's explanation on conformation. Is that available online anywhere?


I have had Bob Finnegan give me a lecture or 2 by the show tank. He is very informative. I wish I had a recorder. I think best chance is to see him in Person Timiny. I don't think he travels as much but if you see him judging a show near you I would see him..

keo :yes:

mike
01-11-2005, 07:49 PM
im very confused with the adjective : "torpedo shape"

the torpedo i picture in my mind is slim with a rounded front and with the body like a cigarette. so if my koi were to look anything like this, itd be an eel!

so, does anybody have a picture of a torpedo they are talking about?

autnspg2
01-12-2005, 04:42 PM
same thing.............only a bit bigger

Lee B
01-12-2005, 05:01 PM
Some koi have 'em, some don't. My Dainichi (sibling) babies: I have 4 . . . 3 are "humpless" and one has it, even at only 6 months. I realize koi are "designed" to be viewed from above, but is the hump good, bad, or indifferent?

Lee