Everyday Koi Questions

Everyday Koi Questions

For the unintroduced the hobby of koi keeping has many questions. They find it difficult to comprehend what attracts people to it, and what attributes are appreciated in koi. So if, while relaxing at you koi pond you are woken from you dreams by your new neighbour, you are bound to hear some of the standard questions that are asked when humans first are exposed to the beauty and grace of koi.

Gee, look at that yellow one! Must be very expensive.

More often than not, on viewing a pond of koi the uninitiated will single out the yellow Ogon as the most attractive fish. Women more so than men. They will attach more value to it. Why I do not know. (Is it the gold?) In reality the Ogon is genetically closer to the original carp than most of the other koi varieties and easy to breed, hardy and one of the cheaper koi to buy. But a good quality Ogon is an asset to every pond, and will greatly enhance the beauty of a collection.

Its in the spots, pattern and colour?

The colours and pattern of a koi is an indicator to its variety. Just as different breeds of dog have different outward appearances, so different koi varieties are bred with differing colour patterns. The keen koi keeper will also notice the variations in body shape and head that goes with the different varieties. Even within a specific variety there are different bloodlines with discernible traits that can be recognised by the experienced hobbyist.

The important thing about the colours and pattern is that it places that koi in a specific variety category which determines the criteria against which it must be judged. Consider a koi with a white body, a few well placed, clearly defined red markings on its back and some black patches arranged nicely to complete the picture. That will sound like a good looking Sanke to most koi keepers. Compare that to a white koi with a large orange patch on the head and back and covered from head to tail in small black spots. This will still be called a Sanke but will never compete at a show with the first one. While ultimately beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and personal preferences will determine what you regard as the best, there will be no doubt as to what is good and what is not so good in a case like this.

But the beauty of motion with which a koi graces the water of his pond is the most important feature of its existence. Keen koi keepers will therefore consider the body and head shape of a koi as well as its general health. No matter how beautiful the pattern and colours, if the koi do not radiate health and vitality and swims with grace and dignity, it cannot be termed as good.

So yes, colour and pattern has a lot to do with it, but the combined beauty of well balanced patterns glittering in motion, is the joy that every keeper are searching for.

Can you eat it?

Now that is the ultimate insult to a koi keeper. While koi is nothing more that a refined form of carp and certainly edible, that question is not amusing at all. In fact it is about as funny as asking Madam if Fifi, the maltese poodle sitting on her lap, is a culinary delight……..

Written for Animal Talk magazine

Servaas de Kock & Ronnie Watt