View Full Version : Selecting a Kohaku...

Jeff R.
03-18-2005, 01:31 PM
What follows was passed out in written form at the Seminar Selecting Young Koi by Nicole Lembke and Debby Hester. The material was written by Dr. Art Lembke and I recieved permission from Nicole Lembke to share this with the Koiphen Board. The caveat was that we must credit Art for his work. That is not a problem because we know who to ask if we have further questions. :yes: Please do not cut and paste this material without first getting permission for Dr. Art Lembke. I hope you enjoy the information as much as I did.

Selecting a Kohaku
When looking at a large batch of kohakus, perhaps hundreds at a time, the first thing to look for is a white tip at the front and back of the fish. It is very important to have the red on the head of a kohaku only go down about as far as the nostrils. Do not choose a kohaku that has red all the way down to the mouth. The head must have red on it. Do not choose a kohaku with an all white head. Kuchibeni (red on the lips) is allowed if the spot is small and the rest of the red on the head only comes down to the forehead. Red over the eyes of the koi used to be a demerit, but in recent years the red is allowed to cover one eye but never both eyes.
The head is generally one of the most important parts in a young koi. Once you have found several koi with acceptable head patterns, look at the rest of the body. As I mentioned earlier, look to see if there is a white patch right before the tail. It is preferable to have this white area by the tail, but if the rest of the koi has positive characteristics, this is not as important as the head.
On the body, look for red that is balanced side to side and covers about 70 to 80% of the body. This is so that as the koi grows, and the white spreads faster than the red, there is still adequate red on the body. It is preferable to have the red on the body be either in a zigzag pattern (inazuma), or a 3 or 4 step pattern having white creeping up the sides in several areas. These are signs that the red will break up to form steps. If the red is in a straight pattern with no signs of breaking, the pattern will look boring as the koi grows.
Look for a koi that has broad shoulders and relatively large pectoral fins. This generally indicates a koi that will grow large and compete well in shows.
When buying young kohaku, do not worry too much about the color. The white should preferably be snow white, but may be pink if it was fed color-enhancing food before shipping. Avoid koi with a dirty grayish-white. The red may be bright red ot orange-red. Many kohakus that are orange-red when young will turn a beautiful red as they grow.
Next, make sure there are no black or red spots on any of the fins. Red on the pectoral fins, which is tucked in very close to the body, is okay. Also, make sure there are no black marks on the body. All red areas on the body should be in sizeable patches, not in single scale areas (i.e. small red spots). The kohaku should have white eyes, not blue.
Last but not least, put the koi in a show tub and check for any body
defects and any signs of disease. If these exist, do not buy the koi no matter how nice it looks.

03-21-2005, 11:59 AM
I bought a little kohaku in Orlando that has quite a lot of red on one pec fin. His body color is beautiful, as are his markings. The red fin is interesting, although now I know it is a pretty serious fault. He was cheap though...I got him on sunday :D: .

03-21-2005, 08:07 PM
I see there is a page for Kohaka, Sanka and Showa could one of the moderators put all of these on one site and make them a sticky. These are the best descriptions for selecting young Koi I have seen. :yes: :yes:

Jeff R.
04-01-2005, 05:43 PM
Let try and revive a great thread. Go to http://www.momotaro-koi.org/english/auction/2005_4_13/kohaku.html
which is Momotaro's site and shows the Kohaku that will be auctioned in a few weeks. Select the Kohaku that you like best and tell us why you think it is a potential Grand Champion! There are 111 different Kohaku so everybody should be able to find something they like. Remember, you are entering this in the All Japan in a few years so do not tell us, "I like the red one." Give us your reasoning and thoughts, you are spending allot of monopoly money to do this so make it count. Punch the button under your selection and you can see a video of your potential purchase. Koiphenites, Judges, Admins, Stephen, everybody is encouraged to join in and share what you have learned so far. Should be fun! Let the game begin.

hint - there is a group of threads in The Library entitled Pattern... They might help.

04-01-2005, 05:52 PM
First let me say it is TOUGH to judge by a photo - however, this particular koi seems to have:

- a well balanced pattern with some underlying hi still yet to develop

- good conformation

- clear head/pecs

- hi does not go into the dorsal

- crisp shiro

I would hope that the small patch of hi on the side would subside as the Koi develops and matures and that the the tail stop would increase a bit more

By far the Grand Champ out of all 111 :yes: :yes:

This would be one that if you had the money - hold it in Japan for a couple of years - BAM!!!

04-01-2005, 06:22 PM
Boy they are all beautiful to me but I really like #1..Great patteren,color, good balance of color, I want her!!!

Marie :)

04-01-2005, 07:00 PM
Thanks Jeff, this was a hard, but fun exercise.

The first thing I looked for was a white nose and a big mouth. It's hard to tell how large the mouth is but I guessed based on the size of the nose and where I think I see barbels. Next I looked for a fat tail. Then I looked for size in the shoulder area.

After a while, I narrowed my choices down to #11, #23, #51, and #81. I took a look at these videos. In the end I chose #23. The beni on this one seemed to be the thickest. The kiwa was very sharp and the sashi was very clean and didn't extend more than a scale. It does have a nice tail stop but I think the overall pattern is a bit noisy and not as good as the other three. Maybe as it grows the hi plates will move a little to give some nice separation in between.


04-01-2005, 07:26 PM
It has to be #60 for me. Just look at the girth of the body especially on such a young fish. You did say potential grand champion and that is the reasoning behind my pick. The pattern is a bit unusual but very pleasing at least too my eye.
My number two choice would be #4 and for third I would go with #81.