View Full Version : The Fall of a Champion...

Jeff R.
04-02-2005, 09:37 AM
We have all heard the saying about past due date and we have all heard the stories about Koi that came into the country and steadily declined in their new owners pond. Let's put a picture with these sayings as I am unclear whether folks are really getting "it".

Below you see a picture of Grand Champion Runner-up 2001 San Francisco Flower and Garden Koi Show when it was for sale. The next picture was taken this year. Look at the pictures closely and let us know what you see. Any significant difference? Reasons? Thoughts? Lessons?

Canadian RedNeck
04-02-2005, 09:40 AM
hikkui appears to have developed....

Lee B
04-02-2005, 09:45 AM
Photographs are difficult, lighting and all that stuff. But the depth of color on the hi plates seems to have diminished. And the skin has lost its luster. And it sure does look like hikui.

The hikui is more than likely genetics. The loss of skin tone/color is probably due to inadequate feeding regimes and/or poor water quality.

It was a nice fish . . .


presa canario
04-02-2005, 09:54 AM
shimi on the second plate

04-02-2005, 10:23 AM
shimi on the second plate
Ditto :yes: :D:

04-02-2005, 11:00 AM
Rather than me commenting on this specific fish, lest I have yet another koi keeper sending me poison pen letters and following me around the next koi show shouting at me or pitching the ‘evil eye’, let me try something else--

Basically ALL koi deteriorate with time. They decline very slowly if kept seasonally in a mud pond or kept in a large closed system with expert care. And if they are fed all hear and kept warm all year the pace is accelerated.
BUT grades of koi count! Good genetics lasts longer. This is WHY tategoi are so expensive. Let me explain--- every individual koi has a 'window' of attractiveness based on its genetic potential. Most koi are pretty when they are under ten inches. Most tateshita fall out of that description of 'pretty' once they get to about 15- 18 inches. Ginrin declines, metallics loose luster and age begins to show. Only the gosanke, and a few individuals of other varieties still command full beauty, color and luster beyond 21 inches.
A true tategoi is a fish with exceptional genetic potential and also a fish with what could be described as a fish with a kind of ' arrested development'! These fish tend to develop slowly, first laying down bone structure and skin type and then growing in pattern and color intensity. In other words, the fish finishes slowly. And if all goes well, this process all completes when the koi is 28-36 inches! A masterpiece at middle age.

But even the best, age and deteriorate.
What we often don’t know is if:

1) the farmer and dealer ( or maybe not the dealer- there are a lot of very green dealers going to Japan these days) watched the koi and knew it was turning down. This would be subtle change that only a farmer watching the koi every year would recognize.
2) a koi that has obviously pasted sell date but the dealer knows that if he points that out to the breeder , he might get the koi on the cheap and sell it to a customer who he knows won’t be able to tell, for a full price plus premium even. These is the maximum profit item and has spawned more hustlers in the koi hobby that Timeshare sales and penny stock sales combined!
3) a koi is in peak condition but the move to strange new water, especially hard water with higher than normal nitrate levels, and it rapidly declines - something it would not have done for several more years if left in Japan
4) the koi was sold to a hobbyist with bigger eyes and wallet than their pond or their skills. And the once beauty, expensive super koi, simply crashes and burns. This gets lumped into beginner enthusiasm and the reason all should look at the hobby of koi keeping as an apprenticeship based past time. No one with less than 4-5 years in the hobby should buy a GC caliber koi. And a pond should be at least a few years old before high end koi are introduced.


04-02-2005, 11:25 AM
A little more fair.

Other than some growth and a little fading, I think this is still an exceptional koi.

04-02-2005, 11:49 AM
Good before and after example of peaking at it's prime and after. I feel that way :rolleyes:

04-02-2005, 12:25 PM
No one with less than 4-5 years in the hobby should buy a GC caliber koi. And a pond should be at least a few years old before high end koi are introduced.


Good advice JR. I would hate to think that I would ruin one of these living artworks by my ignorance. :no:

04-02-2005, 01:45 PM
Based soley on the pictures, this Koi WAS an excceptional Koi...even in the more fair picture sizing comparison. I think the owner would agree even, based on the pictures. Actual live comparisons may differ from then to now though.


04-02-2005, 04:41 PM
Ok lesson time, always ready to learn - tell me whats changed besides the color.

04-02-2005, 05:43 PM
You have to remember that I have been in the hobby 20 years, met most of the top collectors in the hobby over the last twently years and the comments I make are from that experience- as they say on TV, The characters and names depicted in this post are fictitious. Any
similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental!

The point is, large champion caliber gosanke require a certain environment and level of skill that the average newbie does not usually have. And since all koi eventually go the way of all flesh,the pond needs to be up to prolonging the 'beauty' years- the pond needs to be properly designed and ESTABLISHED.

04-02-2005, 06:19 PM
Cindy this is someone's pet and pride and joy. People already go ballistic when we gently and delicately ' critique' their mis-shapen, pot bellied, tattered fin and tarnished head, mutt longfins- and they are worthless! How do you think an owner who parted with substantial bucks would feel if we ran down their fish? I think this would be bad form so I can not participate. That is why I posted what I did as a general 'lay of the land' without bringing anyone or anyone's fish into the conversation. JR

04-02-2005, 06:30 PM
As already mentioned earlier, the depth of color is thinning, The skin has lost its luster and is beginning to get that "pitted" look. It also does in fact appear (based on the picture) to have Hikui.

As for Bigger being better? Yes, that is true providing the other aspects of the Koi are not at such a loss that those same qualities in another smaller Koi are so much better that they out wieght the size of the other Koi.

I think some may have missed the point of Jeff's post to begin with? I at least interpreted his statements/questions as buying Koi "past sell date", in other words when the Koi has just past its peak and it is beginning its down hill slide.....the speed of which will be dependent on the Hobbyist's pond and husbandry skills. Note the beginning of the Kiwa becoming more jagged from the first pic to the second...another give away that the Koi has passed its "sell date".

Often times these Koi are sold to unsuspecting new collectors who may not have the knowledge necessary to identify this. Others will note it and perhaps want it as a "ringer" for an upcoming show. Yet still others may use it to get a better price, knowing what they are buying and betting on their pond and skills to slow the process for further years of enjoyment. The difference in the 3 is that typically, the first pays a high amount with high ongoing expectations. The second may get a more fair price and wieghs the "risks" against the benefits. The third may get the best deal and a challenge to exceed his own low expectations over a longer time frame.


04-02-2005, 06:36 PM
Steve, very well put. I guess I have much learning to do, course I am not in the position monetarily to get took (yet) but it would be a great challenge (IMO) to get one of these koi who have hit their peak and just see if I could maintain or slow the degeneration process down - but that is many years and much learning away for me.

Are there any other examples that we could use - possibly a pictorial :confused:

04-02-2005, 06:39 PM
Let me take JR off the hook and jump in here with both feet.
Would you like to borrow my glasses? Maybe it is hard to see in the picture(not for me) or maybe JR and I recognise this right off. Been there, done that.
This fish is riddled with Hikkui. The Hikkui is raised and a gel like mass all over the skin. It is eating away the red chromatophores and the fish is turning orange. You can see the thickness of the red change. It is melting. You can see space between the scales where it once was tight with color. The edge, Sashi, is breaking down. Look at the cut across the head of color. This is the most stable Sashi area and even it is breaking up.
This fish probably costs thousands of dollars when it was bought. Now the fish, well lets just say, is worth less than not much.
All the things JR suggests as possiblities of what happened to it is true.
Could be genetics?
Could have been starting in the eye of the seller but not seen.
Could have been water?
I have always said that a tategoi is a tategoi in the eye of the breeder based on what he has seen in the past as he raises it"in his facility in his mud pond" tategoi are only for advanced hobbyist. I don't even know if I am that advanced.
If you don't have the pond and water to support a high quality, high potential, koi, then don't buy it. A waste of money. One show, one trophy, one year.
I am glad to see Stephen upgrading his system to support something like I saw in Florida.
JMHO, my name is changed to protect the innocent.
This is not Art, I am just using his ID.
I live in NJ and am a financial consultant.

05-29-2007, 09:54 AM