View Full Version : Selecting Asagi or Shusui

Jeff R.
03-18-2005, 01:38 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 Asagi or Shusui
Selecting an Asagi at an early age requires you to look at several aspects. First look at the body netting. It should be light at a young age, as the netting
tends to darken with time. It should have a nice indigo blue type color. It may get too dark and lose the scale outline, if you start off dark. The netting should also be in very even rows. As there is no pattern on the back to fool us, one needs to see very clear outline around each scale. For the same reason avoid gin rin scales on a young Asagi, as these generally remain and can be distracting when the koi grows.
Next look for a clear, white nose. Sometimes the skull shows through Asagis at an early age, but if the nose is white the head will normally clear up to. If the nose is cloudy, the head tends to be not as clear and can spring up black speckles.
Pectorals should be all or mostly red. The red on the pectorals generally pulls back to form a nice motoaka as the koi matures. The tail can be clear or have some red. Look for red eyes.
Hi on the side of the body, tends to emerge higher on to the fish as Asagi mature, so pick one that is down a little further to begin with. We would prefer to have an even straight ending line, where the Hi comes up the side. Then we would prefer a white line dividing the red from the blue net on top. On top of this, a nice even net pattern with each scale outlined uniformly. Check the shoulder region to make sure the netting comes all the way up to the head crease. It should all form in uniform rows down the body.
Early Asagi should have some red on the cheeks to start. The ideal finish of this red is to come up the back of the gill cover then along the side of the head to form a horseshoe on both sides.
Picking a Shusui, follows most the same rules as Asagi, except, in this case, we are looking at a scaleless fish. So now instead of looking for an even netting pattern, we are looking for an even set of scales along the backbone of the fish. These tend to be that indigo blue color again and should be uniform along the back with no missed spaces. We need also to check for Mudagoke, which is an extra scale outside this nice even row. Muda means waste and it is a wasteful scale outside this line along the backbone. We do not want this as it distracts from the quality
Original Shusui had the same Hi, only below the lateral line, like we discussed on Asagi, but modem Shusui can have red above the lateral line if it maintains balance from side to side. Finage and early head and nose color is the same for selecting Asagi. Shusui, because of the scaleless skin, are even more prone to having those Jyami or black freckles, which are undesirable.

03-28-2005, 03:35 PM
Hey Tony and Joe and everybody else who like to talk Koi.
How do we pick Young Asagi(two year olds)?
Do we like red or no red that young?
Red on Dorsal or not?
Red on cheeks?
Medium blue or light blue?
Dark or light Matsuba?
Head clear by age two or does that come later?
Opinions welcome!!!

Cowiche Ponder
03-28-2005, 06:14 PM
I don't know diddly when it comes to selecting much of any fish :yes: For my own information with all the rest of the posts to come :D: would this also apply to shusui or just asagi? Are there different things to look for? I know net pattern is an abvious one, but about the red markings, would it be the same?

03-28-2005, 06:53 PM
I imagine that some of what to look for is breeder-dependent. Some breeder's fish tend to get more Hi while others develop the netting pattern much more slowly... When I try to pick a young asagi- let's say ~6", I try to find one with no Hi at all. The chances are good that Hi will come, but because I don't like much Hi on my asagis, if I start sparse maybe I'll have better luck later on. When it comes to netting, I like it to be very light at this age. I don't like to see netting that is very defined before 13"-15" so at 6" I want just a hint of good indigo spotting. I don't really have a preference when it comes to pec fins- motoaka or clean. White nose is a must, as I don't seem to have much luck with their heads whitening up as they age!

That being said, I have an asagi (18") that has developed a black ray in the right pec fin. All other things being equal, is this a significant enough demerit to prevent showing the fish..i.e. no chance of winning in the asagi/shusui catagory?


03-28-2005, 07:38 PM
I'm a 6" Ogata tosai purchased as an Easter present last Saturday. I'd be honored if you distinguished folks used me as an example in your learned discussions. Don't worry about hurting my feelings, either; I was only selected as an afterthought, a quarantine companion for a fancy looking showa HE bought from the next tank over. And you can't hurt HIS feelings; he don't know diddley 'bout Assagi.

Thanks, http://koiphen.com/forums/images/smilies/anon.gif

Ray Jordan
03-28-2005, 08:53 PM
Art, here is my asagi. It is a nisai. NOt that great a photo but feel free to critique.

03-28-2005, 09:48 PM
Thanks for posting pictures
First the tosai Asagi.
Overall the fish has a very good net or matsuba pattern. You look for Matsuba to be clean all the way up to the shoulder crease. The matsuba is also very even. I like the nose Hi on Asagis that have Hi in the tail. I think it gives a nice frame for the body and balance. Good tsuya also for a young fish. My only concern on the small fish is the intensity of the red already. It is a little strong and can be seen creaping up the right side of the fish below the dorsal. I think it may continue to come up and spoil the netting. Good Head at this age and should become clearer with age.
Now Rays Nisai.
Note the shine to the skin. The blue area around the matsuba on each scale is very good and has a metallic almost glow. Hi is nicely placed on this fish and again the matsuba is clean and even.Clean head. Always look for those even size scales along the border of the Head Crease. Very nice show asagi.
Both asagis are very good as far as scalation, matsuba and skin gloss. My only concern is the red can become too strong on the tosai. the red changes alot from tosai to nisai and I would suggest starting an Asagi as a nisai to have a safer pick.
So now who are the best Asagi Breeders and don't say Israel, although this is one of their best varieties.

LouAnn NOrman
03-28-2005, 11:53 PM
Here is my baby asagi. I love asagi, and hope this little guy grows up well.

03-29-2005, 12:50 AM
Aren't you concerned that the net pattern is a bit too finished for a fish of this size? From reading your information on how to select an asagi (excellent post as always) I understand that one that is that finished at a young age runs a risk of becoming too dark later on? I have attached a photo of a young one that I chose 11 months ago from the Texas Koi and Fancy Goldfish Society's annual sale. At the time, it was ~5". It is now ~13". I'll take a picture of it's current state tomorrow. In the mean-time, how do you think it will turn out?

Also, what are your thoughts on the unusual asagi photos attached? Is this an actual koi or a good photoshop job?

Where have you been hiding that asagi !? I don't remember it from the last time I visited!

From everything I have heard, Hosokai is the best breeder of asagi/shusui. I have seen some good Hoshikin (sp?) as well.


03-29-2005, 08:36 AM
This is a very informative thread.
Those asagi pics are breathtaking ~ it's just like window shopping at Tiffany's :yes:

03-29-2005, 08:49 AM
I am trying to attach a picture of two young Hosokai asagis we purchased as a learning exercise. They aren't home yet, but we hope to bring them down soon. Any suggestions on what water is best or what we might expect from them? Thanks! MJ

03-29-2005, 08:50 AM
Koi-Toys, I have seen that picture before. That fish is breathtaking...one of the most beautiful koi I have ever seen.

Ray Jordan
03-29-2005, 09:35 AM
I bought a few baby asagi's some yeas ago and was not pleased with their development. My interest in Asagi has increased lately and I have been looking for a nice two year old to hopefully increase my chances of raising a nicer asagi. I bought this one in January on a trip to Ray Abell's. Two year old female bred by Sakamaki who is a breeder I am not familiar with. We'll she how well she develops.

03-29-2005, 12:15 PM
Koi Toy
I am not as concerned about the color of the net. It is still very uniform
I like this better than the two small new ones posted. Look at the matsuba on these. The one on the left especially has dark Matsuba on the shoulder and almost disappears on the back.
Yes Hosokai is best I believe.

03-29-2005, 12:31 PM
Here's another interesting Asagi. - users.pandora.be/fishblood/koishow/0011%5B1%5D.htm

Kanoko Asagi 60cm Female 3 years old from Niigata

An unusual Koi will not become unusual all at once. As a usual Koi gradually changes to become such a beautiful piece, this Asagi also started from an ordinary Asagi. It was an ordinary Asagi when it was 2 years old. However, Hi on the belly gradually has been climbing up. In addition, the Hi appears on each scale like Kanoko. It will keep growing and covers all the body to become a beautiful Kanoko. A hang of Koi hunting is find out the sign of becoming beautiful and get it before it completes its beauty. This Asagi is still thin. Kanoko appearance is only 70% completed. Since it is female. It will keep growing. Please complete her by your hands.
by Taro Kodama.


03-29-2005, 12:40 PM
Dan..that is stunning.....

Asagis are my favorite koi..just based on color alone it does it for me. In the very first picture..when you buy a very small koi..will it be evident that there might be any red the will appear on the body where it shouldn't be? Or does one just take a chance that the body will be clean? And if there is some red..what are the chances of it vanishing?

03-29-2005, 01:16 PM
Art, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. It's a thrill to have you evaluate these young koi on-line, ours included, and it's been a great learning experience.

http://koiphen.com/forums/images/smilies/clap.gif http://koiphen.com/forums/images/smilies/clap.gif http://koiphen.com/forums/images/smilies/clap.gif

Don & Brenda

03-29-2005, 01:18 PM
Regarding the two I posted - should I expect them to become more/less even as they age or pretty much stay the same? I know in the last picture I was sent of them, they were a good bit darker (they are in hard water). I got the good asagi articles (Art's and Koi-Bito's) after our purchase - we just took a stab with something light. I don't recall seeing any in the batch that were very light and very even, however, but I could be mistaken. These were approx 18 mos. in December - at that age, what does one look for? Thanks!

03-29-2005, 02:18 PM
Always look for color coming up even from nose to tail. This is for blue, red or matsuba. Also look fro red to stay down low and not come past lateral line. Asagi's are best raised in soft water. So if you can buy them late than 1 year they will be more established. The eveness of color is true for most varieties even Kohaku. The only color that is the exception on this is sumi on Showa, SHiro, Bekko and Sanke. This can come up at varying rates.

03-29-2005, 02:55 PM
Thanks! If these don't turn out to suit, I'll be better educated next time around. Sumi fades in our water, so I will be interested to watch them.

Ryan S.
03-29-2005, 02:59 PM
These tosai asagi are from suda parents. At only 2-3" a little different what most normall pic from. I've always be advised to buy the pale ones.

03-29-2005, 05:48 PM
Many things change the first two years on Asagi as far as Hi, Matsuba, Tsuya,and Head clarity. The nice thing about Asagis is they are not Gosanke. They do not go up as fast as Gosanke in price from one to two years. If using for show and you have a non patterned koi like Asagi, you must have an edge like body and impossing volume. Females only please after two years and with a 16" two year old you can also get a better idea on sex at the same time you get an idea on what else is happening. I like red in the dorsal. Any one else agree or no red in dorsal?

03-29-2005, 07:33 PM
Here is a picture of my Asagi. she is now 25". i bought her 3-03 at 5" at our club auction.

she was very light blue then. still had the orange almost where it is today. clear head.


03-29-2005, 07:38 PM
here is one i got last month. 11" a bit darker at this age. hmmm...


03-29-2005, 08:07 PM
The larger one has a few spots on the head but high quality.
See I like that dorsal color. Sets it off.Body is wonderfull and the HI is good.
Was she kept in Hard water or high ph?
The small one has alot of potential. Good Hi at this age and even matusuba. See I don't think that matsuba is too strong at this age and has good outline.

03-29-2005, 08:23 PM
thank you for your critique. i think the spots on the large one are in the reflection. not on the fish.

my water here in los Angeles is hard water. TDS out of the tap is near 500.

pH in my pond is running 7.6 or so.

i have a water softener and recently have been adding some of the water softener water to the pond when i do water changes. todays TDS reading was 365.

a related question to the darkening of Asagi is the use of clay. i added clay at Peter W's recommeded dose of 250 gm/1000 gallons. within a short time it seemed like some of my fish got shimi's that never had them before.

should i be adding clay to water that is already so hard? maybe i should start another thread about this.


03-29-2005, 08:30 PM
here is another photo of a couple months ago. there may be a spot or two. i think it is pitting more that color change. i'll have to have a closer look at her when i get home tomight.

03-29-2005, 08:43 PM
Your right, the head look fine. She would do well in her class.
I am not much on clay. JR might know the chemistry here. I know by what I see not the Chemistry. The use of clay used to be revolving around clearing colors up and better white. If the water was not right it did not make a difference or make better. If the water is good it did not seem to make any better. The color seemed to be related to DOC's more than the clay for me. My theory was that the clay absorbed organics and acted like a binder but there most be some chemical thing to, since people recommend it in food. Used to use it but I found that high orp worked better than clay. If used in amounts they recommend it was rather expensive for 20,000 gal ponds as often as it was recommended.

03-29-2005, 09:07 PM
I'm not a big fan of red in the dorsal. I like to have an unbroken expanse of indigo from shoulder to tail. I think it gives the impression of a more imposing fish. A red dorsal might act like a red neck tie on a dark suit...some like it, some don't. The best thing is that we have different preferences, but still appreciate the koi's beauty!

I couldn't get a pic tonight of the one that I posted yesterday. Somehow they know the camera and get shy on me... I did manage to get a photo of my other asagi. I believe it is bred by Hoshikin and is 18".

I really like that 11" asagi you posted (the kohaku was pretty nice too :D: ) It has a strong presence to it.

Very nice! Definitely getting a good start with that koi !


03-29-2005, 09:49 PM
Thank you sooooooooo much for the information here. This is our first purchase since our loss to KHV two years ago. We are just now confident and recovered enough from the losses. Asagi was my first love and always will be! From Ogata 16".

Ray Jordan
03-29-2005, 10:27 PM
I like red in the dorsal, pecs, and tail fins as long as balanced. I don't like the red to shift up on top of the head or body but rather act as an accent to the base body color. The best asagi's IMO are the ones that evoke the image of a sunrise or sunset.

03-29-2005, 10:37 PM
The VERY best asagi have red in the dorsal and it usually appears as a series of dots in the one, two and three year old fish's dorsal rays. This phenotypic indicator will tell you that the fish is not one where the red will 'go wild' as it ages and creep above the lateral line onto the back. It also indicated that the koi is less likely to get red blotches on the blue body. Check it out some time- its almost fool proof.

And of course, add to the above- the best asagi is the one with the best fukurin.

03-29-2005, 10:38 PM
I look at the blue, not the red. Some bloodlines add red over time, some lose - and if the seller knows the bloodline, he can tell you.
But you are looking for a PERFECT net of scales and reticulation.
That's harder to find than the red.

03-29-2005, 10:38 PM
Very nice KQueen. I think she has some good years ahead of her !!

09-14-2017, 04:34 PM
hello everyone.
i started a thread in the main forum regarding shusui selection. please give me advise!