View Full Version : Koi & Pond Terms

12-22-2005, 05:07 PM
We've done this before but we need to consolidate and put it under The Library. Calling all Koi Kichi. Link us up with with everything from the most general to the highly specific. We have great experience here and many terms are used that even some of us experienced folk need clarification on :cool:

12-23-2005, 07:10 AM
Well, I guess I'll start. Here's a good link:


Some terms:

General Fish Terms

Ichi (ee-chee) - One. A breeder often refers to his best fish as "ichiban," which means number one.

Ni (nee) - Two. A two year old koi is called a nisai (nee-sigh). A one year old, by the way, is called a tosai (toe-sigh).

San (sahn) - Three. A sansai is a three year old fish.

Yon (yohn) - Four. Yonsai refers to a four year old.


Shiro (sheer - oh) - This is the Japanese word for white, and because it acts as the canvas for so many varieties of koi, it is impossible to overstate its value. When you buy koi that has shiroji (white ground), the excellence of the white sets the standard for all the other colors, especially reds and blacks. The very best koi have a quality comparable to the color of milk.

Hi (hee) - This is a general term for red and perhaps the most commonly used.

Aka (ah - kah) - Another general term for red.

Beni (beh - knee) - This is a term that not only indicates red, but infers good quality.

Sumi (soo - mee) - This is the Japanese word for ink. For thousands of years the Asians have ground their own ink and mixed it with water for the purpose of writing or creating sumi-e (ink paintings). When you buy fish with sumi, you want the black to have great depth and luster.

Ki (kee) - Yellow, as in kigoi.

Midori (mee - dohr - ee) - Green.

Ai (aye) - Indigo blue. This is a blue that is very dark. There is one type of sumi, for example, that is referred to as ai-zumi because it has a bluish quality to it.

Sora (soh - ruh) - Sky. A soragoi is a koi with a bluish gray color.


Body Parts

Kuchi (koo - chee)- Lips. The term kuchibeni, for example, refers to a fish with red lips or "lipstick."

Te (the) - In Japanese, this word means hand, as in karate. On a koi it refers to the fish's pectoral fins, which are used in a hand-like manner for fine maneuvering.

Hana (hah - nah) - Nose. Hanabeni or hanazumi describes a red or black marking, often dot shaped, found on the tip of a koi's nose.

Men (men) - Face. When we eventually get to an article about the showa variety of koi, we'll spend more time discussing this feature of a koi's anatomy.

Kata (kah - tah)Shoulder. When buying koi of the sanke variety, it's vital to look for katazumi, which is a black marking on the shoulder of the fish. The shoulder is the area directly behind the head and above the pectorals (te).

Ozutsu (oh - zoot -sue) Tail tube. As you look at a mature koi from front to rear you'll notice that the fish is widest at the shoulder. As you move towards the rear, the fish narrows down until it reaches the tail fin itself. In high-quality fish it is key that the last few inches of the fish's body, the ozutsu, be thick and well developed. This reflects strength and power.

Cowiche Ponder
12-23-2005, 08:06 AM
The link is also under quick links above under Koi ID CD. It's from Gene @ KoiVillage. A good glossary (not totally comprehensive, but most of what any of us would need except some of Art's words :D:)

12-23-2005, 08:55 AM
Excellent. MORE-MORE

12-26-2005, 06:59 AM
OK, some I snatched from koidoc on another thread:

Actually the menware and hachiware terms are less specific and many times refer to both types.
Kubiwa Sumi is the V that goes across the head to form a V but not down between the eyes.
Hitomoji Sumi- refers to the Y formed more specifically
Neither is prefered and many times it depends on the pattern of the rest of the fish to see what balances. Many times on Tancho Showa, I like to see the Hitomuji to divide the Tancho in half.
Another term we must look at in Showa is Hashiri sumi. Hashiri sumi is striped pectorals as opposed to the Motoguro type pecs were the sumi is just up against the body. Here the Motoguro is by far the prefered.

Wayne S.
12-26-2005, 03:23 PM
I have a word document about 7 pages long with lots of terms and definitions - anyone interested can e-mail me.
Wayne S.

12-26-2005, 07:43 PM
Excellent, Wayne. Go ahead and start posting it. We're looking to have the information accessible right here. Thanks -


12-30-2005, 02:04 PM
Duncan Griffiths
Duncan Griffiths Copyright April , 2003, D, GRIFFITHS, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
"If a koi hobbyist keeps go-sanke long enough it only a matter of time before he/she comes across the skin disease called Hikui.
Hikui is a skin ailment that affects the Hi or red colour on a koi and only the Hi.
Typically if caught early it displays an orange/yellow colour blemish on the skin, if left it will eat right through the Hi till its gone and white is exposed, as is the case in the example contained here in."

The rest of the article is here:



Oyagoi is the Japanese word for parent or breeder Koi. Oyagoi are without exception the most valuable of all Koi. Each female parent Koi is capable of producing upwards of 200,000 eggs and given the potential value of individual Koi its not difficult to understand why Oyagoi are so prized. Oyagoi are also the Koi that breeders are often the most proud of.

01-14-2006, 12:47 PM
Since most koi are in our ponds, there should be pond terms as well. Took me a long time to figure out what TPR stood for. :rofl:

01-16-2006, 01:12 PM
Dark Scales on back... correct term?
Is there a correct term for the dark scales on the back of koi such as Shusui .
Does this ever disappear?
koidoc 01-16-2006 08:22 AM
The correct term is Koke Nami and they do not disappaer when get older. They can get lighter or darker.

01-16-2006, 01:13 PM
Since most koi are in our ponds, there should be pond terms as well. Took me a long time to figure out what TPR stood for. :rofl:

Are there any others you need? Some we should add?

andrew davis
01-20-2006, 01:31 AM
A glossary of names, terms, slang, abbreviations that relate to aquatic plants, ponds and water gardening. e-mail me direct at adavisus(at)aol.com to suggest words that ought to be included, just jot them, and bop them over, I would be curious to include mechanical terms that are considered useful to be included

Aerobic- oxygen levels dissolved in water
Algae- uni and multi cell microscopic size plants
Alluvial- sediments deposited by flowing water
Ambient temperature- temperature of a surrounding medium
Amphibious- can adapt to live in water or on land
Anaerobic- absence or extremely low dissolved oxygen levels in water, stagnant, a habitat for quite harmful bacteria
Anther- part of stamen that produces pollen within a flower
Annual- plant that germinates, lives for one season, seeds form next years plant
Anther- pollen bearing part of stamen
Arthropod- segmented exoskeletons, insects, spiders crustaceans
Aspect- relationship of a location to features which affect it. Position, orientation, light, elevation, amenities

Bacteria- microscopic organisms combining animal and plant features
Barbel- touchy feely whiskers on the heads of fish
bio load- the capacity of a habitat to support plants and critters
Bio mass- weight of organisms per unit area or volume
Biological filter- Water passed through permeable medium where beneficial bacteria process toxic ammonia to less toxic nitrites and nitrates (plant nutrients)
Bivalve- two shells, mollusc body lives within
Blanketweed- filamentous algae 'string algae' spirogyra, 'pond scum'
Bog plant- prefers roots constantly moist but not saturated soil conditions
Bog garden- soil conditions constantly saturated or moist
Breaker unit- automatically interrupts power supply to faulty electrical circuit
Bulb- Usually under ground, a dormant plant from which shoots and roots develop

Calcareous- contains calcium carbonate (lime)
Carnivore- flesh eating
Changeable- waterlily blooms that vary in tone or colour from one day to another
Chlorosis- nutrient, mineral or disease deficiency indicated by foliage turning yellow, fading
City water- processed water supply. Often toxic to fish and aquatic plants
Clay- sedimentary deposits formed from accumulated decay in lakes, rich in minerals
Cordate- heart shaped, refers to leaf shape
Compost- decomposed remnants of plant and organic matter
Commensalism- animals that associate, share food without harming each other
Crenate- notched or scalloped edge, often to describe tropical waterlily lilypads
Crown- growing point on rhizome where roots, leaves and buds are formed
Crustacean- hard shelled, gill breathing arthropods eg shrimp, crabs, daphnia
Cubic foot- equals 7.48 gallons (US) 6.428 gallons (imp), 28.137 litres, 62.32 lbs weight
Cultivar- a result of cross breeding, or a named natural hybrid
Cutting (clone) - root or stem section encouraged to form new plant

Daphnia (Water fleas)- Free swimming small crustacean, food for small fish, a sign of healthy water conditions
Deadhead - removing faded flowers before they form seed
Dentate- toothed edge. usually to describe leaf edges
Diurnal- occurring during daylight
Division- Separating plants so each has roots and shoots in good growing condition
Dormant- inactive phase through cold, heat or drought, e.g. seed, tuber, corm, rhisome, hibernation
DPC- damp proof course
Dystrophic- rich in accumulated peat, organic decomposition inhibited by lack of dissolved calcium and nutrients

Eutrophic- nutrient rich, high organic growth levels
Emerse, Emergent- foliage that rises above the water from submerged rooted plants
Equinox- two times a year when night and day are of equal length
Establish- to encourage plants to root in to a new position

Fasciation- abnormal cellular development, unusual distortion of shape
Filamentous- thread, strand, hair like
Filament- slender stalk that supports anthers, part of stamen
Floater- plant that lives and grows free floating on the surface of water, foliage may rise above, roots counter balance the foliage

Gallon- Unit measurement of volume, equal to 231 cubic inches, four quarts, 3.785 litres (US) 8.3 lbs weight (British 277.274 cubic inches, 4.546 litres)
Gastropod- molluscs such as snails
Genus- closely related species, similar characteristics
Glaucous- surface coatings that rub off, usually a whitish bloom
Ground cover- low growing shrubs, dense foliage, barrier for weeds and drifting leaves

Habitat- environment in which an organism exists (or not if you overload it)
Half hardy- copes with cool temperatures, protect from freezing
Hardiness- tolerance range for coping with temperature extremes
Hardy- perennial plant, copes with freezing winters one way or another in temperate or cold climates
Heat sensitive- limited ability to cope with specific heat range
Herbaceous- perennial plants that are not woody, top foliage that dies in Winter
Herbivore- eats plants
Humus- result of composting, decomposed organic matter
Hybrid- plant derived from cross breeding two different species

Imago- final adult phase of an insect
Imp., Imperial- established standard unit of weight or mass
Internode- the plant section that joins between two nodes or joints
Invertebrate- animals without a backbone
Indigenous- native species to the area, region
Invasive- spreads aggressively, by seed or vegetative growth

Lacustrine- of lakes
Lanceolate- like a lance, narrows to a point, more length than width, could have rounded or pointed tips
Lateral line- sensory organs on fish sides which are sensitive to vibration
Litre, liter- a metric unit measurement of volume 0.264 US gallons, 61.02 cubic inches, 1000 cubic centimeters, 1 cubic decimeter; equivalent to 1.056688 quarts (U.S., liquid)
Loam- fertile soil with a high proportion of well decomposed organic matter, sand, silt and clay

Marginal- plants that have roots fully immersed with foliage at or above the surface. The shallow area of a pond
Marliac- name of a significant plant hybridiser who introduced a particular type of free flowering waterlily rhisome
Mesotrophic- intermediate zone between eutrophic and oligotrophic conditions
Metric- a standard of measurement, a decimal system of weights and measures based on the meter and on the kilogram
Morphology- the study of form and structure of living organisms
Mucus- slimey coating, usually a bacteria resistant barrier
Mulm- decomposed organic material that settles in ponds. With time and pressure, forms mineral rich sedimentary clay
Mutant- characteristics vary significantly from the parent plants

Native- originated at a specific location, region, country or continent
Naturalise- allowed to grow as it would in the wild
Nelumbo- lotus genus
Niche- particular habitat, location, aspect, conditions that a species prefers
Nocturnal- night time activity
Nuphar- waterlily genus
Nymphaea- waterlily genus

Odorata- a slender fast spreading waterlily rhisome type, many native American and cross bred varieties
Offset- small new plant formed next or close to parent bulb or tuber e.g. tropical water lily
Oligotrophic- water low in nutrients, low organic production
Omnivore- eats both flesh and plants
Overwinter- an arrangement to ensure survival through freezing conditions

Palmate - leaf shape resembling a hand
Palustrine- of bogs, marshes and swamps
Parasite- relationship between species where the parasite benefits from the other species 'host'
Peat- partially decayed plant remains, high in organic matter, low in nutrients, acidic ph
Peltate- leaf shape, shield shaped
Perennial- plants that continue growing year after year
Pergola- (arbour) Attractive trellis structure for climbing plants creating a shady spot
Petiole- Leaf stalk
pH- 14 point scale, Measuring levels of acid or alkaline balance in water, with 0 to 7 called 'soft', 7 being called 'neutral', 7-14 called 'hard'
Phosphate- Major plant nutrient, readily absorbed. Can burn roots, promote algae if overdone
Phytofiltration- using plants to extract surplus nitrate fertility from water
Pier- bridge or jetty column support
ppm- abbreviation, parts per million
pp- abbreviation for Potassium Permanganate, chemical used for disinfecting plants and pests
Protozoa- microscopic single celled organism with plant and animal features
Potash- soluble compounds containing potassium, used in fertilizer. Can burn roots, promote algae if overdone
Puddling- making clay pond sides watertight by pounding, trampling
Pupae- intermediary phase of insect metamorphosis e.g. cocoon

Quadrat- frame within which organisms and plants are sampled
Rhizome- (rhisome) tree like stem that forms under water or along the bottom of the pond, from which roots go down and leaves and buds float up as it develops
Rootstock- bare root rhizome from which roots and shoots develop

Salinity- amount of salt in water, parts per thousand
Saturation- solution which has maximum dissolved compounds
Scarify- cutting or filing through a hard seed case to encourage a seed to start e.g. lotus
Scarecrow- Predator deterrent, may be a water spray connected to infra red detector
Self seed- plant that readily drops seed, invasive
Shishi odoshi- bamboo contraption to scare deer
Shuttering- temporary wood structure to support wet concrete as it sets
Siphon- tube between two different levels, drawing water from the higher level
Spathe- large leaf like part that encloses a cluster of berry forming flowers
Species- same constant distinctive character, resemble and breed together
Specimen plant- a prominent bold planting intended to be a focal point
Spore- reproduction, by minuscule unicellular tough seed of plants, protozoa, bacteria
Stamen- male reproductive parts of a flower, anthers and filaments
Stellate- star shaped, often a reference to bloom shape
Stigma- female reproductive part of a flower, becomes sticky to attract pollen
Stolon- vegetative growth, a new plant forms at the end of a runner
Stratify- a set up for dormant seeds that prefer to germinate in cold conditions
Submerse- plant foliage, roots entirely under water
Sump- the lowest point to which water flows, a drain, reservoir, pit
Symbiosis- beneficial relationship between two species e.g. bees, flowers

Tadpole- young aquatic stage of *****, salamanders, frogs, toads
Tender- dies, withers when frozen, not tolerant of freezing
Thermocline- a rapid temperature change between two water depths
Trifoliate- leaves formed in groups of three
Tropical- frost free climate with high temperature and humidity typically 75f to 90f daily
Tuber- a short thick underground fleshy stem from which roots and foliage develop
Tuberosa- slender waterlily rhisome type which easily breaks apart.
Turion- a bud formed along underwater roots, which survives Winter
Turbidity- degree of water cloudiness due to matter in suspension
Twirl and hurl- winding blanketweed onto a stick for removal

Umbel- clusters of flowers on stems that join to a main stem
UV light- ultra violet light, used to kill free floating algae

Variegation- plant foliage that has noticeably more than one colour or colour tone
Variant- displaying differences to the species
Vegetative- making identical new plants from bulbs, tubers, roots, stems or leaves
Viviparous- plant reproduction, new plant forms attached to the parent plant
Volume- calculated by measuring length x width x depth =cubic feet x 6.42 US gallons. Circular pond: depth x square of the diameter x 5.88 gal (US)

Waterlily- Distinctive specimen plant of water gardens, nine genera: Barclaya, Brasenia, Cabomba, Euryale, Nelumbo, Nuphar, Nymphaea, Ondinea, Victoria
Water meadow- Low lying, often flooded ground, diverse wild native plants and flowers
Weir- A dam across stream or river to raise the water level upstream
Zone- distinctive habitat, part of water garden- deep water, water margin, bog, stream, water meadow, moisture garden

a sample of terms that help describe aquatic thingies... I'll update the list later, with any particular phrases that folk would like to see included...

Regards, andy

01-20-2006, 10:59 AM
Most, most excellent, andy. :cool: :cool: :cool: Thanks. More is better. Keep'em coming.

Any other inquiries? Terms needed?

06-08-2006, 10:12 PM
I still don't know what TPR is... :D:


06-09-2006, 06:43 AM
Tangential Pond Returns. Brings the water back to the pond from filtration on an angle from the sides of the pond walls. Spaced about two feet apart from the bottom, these returns will create a current in the pond helping to remove crud and debris as well as give the fish something to 'swim against' to get exercise.

02-12-2007, 08:20 PM
what about tategoi and those terms, i always get them mixed up

02-13-2007, 01:31 PM
what about tategoi and those terms, i always get them mixed up

Hey PB05 - Please list the terms needing definition and we'll get to it.:cool:

Tategoi is a fish deemed to have strong potential, basically.

03-20-2007, 04:57 PM
All I can say is, " Very interesting! " :yes: I stay tuned in to Koiphen hoping everyone's intelligence has a good influence on me! I am trying really hard to retain your good information!