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  1. #1

    Why do you keep koi

    Hi everyone,

    I haven't posted on here in sometime, hope all your koi are well

    I was thinking the other day about why do you keep koi?

    I can think of a number of reasons, for me personally I'd hopefully love to be able to show my koi on a National level, from growing them on, where I've put the hard work in, and not just handed over thousands of pounds!

    It maybe just a dream, but its one I feel passionate about, and with the right dealer behind me who knows what could be possible!



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  3. #2
    For me it was just a progression from keeping Goldfish.

    6 years old and wanted a pet but wasn't allowed. Saved dinner money and bought a fish tank ornament but it still wasn't enough to convince my parents.

    Saved up and bought an 18" tank and "hid" it on my wardrobe.

    By late teens I'd created my own fancy goldfish strains, winning trophies on the show scene etc and a couple of 'best in class' and almost a 'best in show' (grand champion) which suddenly alluded me when the fish was disqualified due to an anomaly in the rules.

    But, the truly horrible problem with short bodied fancy goldfish is they suffer swim bladder problems as they age (Most people can't keep them alive long enough to experience this). Its horrible seeing them die slow deaths floating upside down on the water surface for Months upon Months before they eventually succumb to dropsy. Currently have a 19 year old female Telescopic Eye who I consider part of the family and she's in the very early stages of going the same way. She's probably got another year, hopefully 2 left in her and she's still producing eggs, but it will be a sad day when she eventually dies, or worse, gets into such a state I have to euthanize her.

    So, once I managed to buy a house with a garden the first thing I did was set about building a pond but didn't want the stress that comes with keeping delicate fancy goldfish outdoors so decided to move on to Koi.

    I still keep fancies and have recently picked up a couple of fish from a 60 year old strain that don't seem to suffer the swim bladder issues... So I'm keeping Fancies indoors and Koi outdoors!
    Last edited by RS2OOO; 07-12-2018 at 12:11 AM.

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  5. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by RS2OOO View Post
    For me it was just a progression from keeping Goldfish.

    6 years old and wanted a pet but wasn't allowed. Saved dinner money and bought a fish tank ornament but it still wasn't enough to convince my parents.

    Saved up and bought an 18" tank and "hid" it on my wardrobe.

    By late teens I'd created my own fancy goldfish strains, winning trophies on the show scene etc and a couple of 'best in class' and almost a 'best in show' (grand champion) which suddenly alluded me when the fish was disqualified due to an anomaly in the rules.

    But, the truly horrible problem with short bodied fancy goldfish is they suffer swim bladder problems as they age (Most people can't keep them alive long enough to experience this). Its horrible seeing them die slow deaths floating upside down on the water surface for Months upon Months before they eventually succumb to dropsy. Currently have a 19 year old female Telescopic Eye who I consider part of the family and she's in the very early stages of going the same way. She's probably got another year, hopefully 2 left in her and she's still producing eggs, but it will be a sad day when she eventually dies, or worse, gets into such a state I have to euthanize her.

    So, once I managed to buy a house with a garden the first thing I did was set about building a pond but didn't want the stress that comes with keeping delicate fancy goldfish outdoors so decided to move on to Koi.

    I still keep fancies and have recently picked up a couple of fish from a 60 year old strain that don't seem to suffer the swim bladder issues... So I'm keeping Fancies indoors and Koi outdoors!

    Interesting way into koi keeping, I didn't realise you could show fancy goldfish on a national level, are they similar to koi shows on what they look for?
    Do you show your koi?

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  7. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by koicrazysteve View Post
    Interesting way into koi keeping, I didn't realise you could show fancy goldfish on a national level, are they similar to koi shows on what they look for?
    Do you show your koi?
    Not been to a Koi show but I don't think they are similar.

    Goldfish shows are very old school and non commercialised - no fancy stalls or stands, no sales pitches, just enthusiasts, breeders and dealers showing fish in a rented hall and an auction which at mosts shows consists of around 100 - 120 lots.

    Due to the lack of marketing and the fact you have to belong to the specific club holding the event in order to buy through the auction you find fish selling very cheaply and usually bidding against dealers rather than enthusiasts.

    For example this year I won these 2 show quality male Broadtailed Moors (telescopic eyes) which are from a 60 year old strain and bred by the world's top breeder.....Won for an embarrassingly low 18 the pair.

    A dealer would be selling these "Tosai" for at least 75 each.

    The breeder was auctioning them off due to the crease in the bottom of the tail which you can make out on the bottom fish in the 3rd photo, and the other one due to one of the anal fins being slightly off-centre (see it sticking out the side of the tail in the first photo). They are still good enough to make a 3rd place trophy and perfect as breeding stock.

    MVIMG_20181207_184852.jpgMVIMG_20181207_184246.jpgIMG_20181207_184143.jpg

    By the way, that is not white spot disease - They are so healthy their breeding tubercles have extended beyond the gill plates onto the body.

    The shows I guess are judged in a similar way to Koi..... Body Shape, Colouration, Scales, variety specific features, Fins etc etc.

    I haven't bothered showing fish for years. I should do really as it helps keeps the clubs going, but it used to be that once you take all the trophies for a few consecutive years for a specific variety people tend to not bother entering as there's no point competing against your fish.

    Or they change the standards so your fish no longer qualifies.... This happened to me when my fish was nominated for best in show and was subsequently disqualified. (The fish in my avatar).

    I'm unlikely to get interested in showing Koi. For me the thrill is in breeding and developing fish yourself, whereas with Koi it seems people just go to a Dealer with a huge wad of cash and go home with a potential show winner that just needs 3 months of conditioning..... I appreciate its not exactly like that but you see what I mean.
    Last edited by RS2OOO; 07-12-2018 at 09:07 PM.

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  9. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by RS2OOO View Post
    I'm unlikely to get interested in showing Koi. For me the thrill is in breeding and developing fish yourself, whereas with Koi it seems people just go to a Dealer with a huge wad of cash and go home with a potential show winner that just needs 3 months of conditioning..... I appreciate its not exactly like that but you see what I mean.
    Didn't realise you'd already typed something along the same lines when I wrote that.

    I guess growing a grand champion from Tosai would constitute a worthy winner to be proud of.... But you are still competing against someone who spent a pile of cash importing a "ready to show" Koi.

    The one advantage showing Fancy Goldfish is that once you have a good strain running you choose the parents to spawn, and within 2 Months you've culled down to 5 fish with show potential. Within 3-4 Months you will know which of those 5 is the best candidate and whether its worth putting your efforts into conditioning it. If its no good you wait till next years spawnings, but if it is a good one it will usually stay a good one and do well on the show scene for a number of years without deteriorating or changing significantly.

    On the other hand Koi can change significantly in colour and body shape over a short period of time to the extent that a potential Grand Champion in January might be just another 200 Koi by the time show season comes around!
    Last edited by RS2OOO; 07-12-2018 at 09:16 PM.

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  11. #6
    Member Rank = Tosai Mirza's Avatar
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    Because of personal satisfaction , and the reactions of other people when they enter the yard
    it makes me happy

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  13. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Mirza View Post
    Because of personal satisfaction , and the reactions of other people when they enter the yard
    it makes me happy

    Totally get your answer the amount of times I've been told by friends its like walking into a garden centre! when they see my pond! and I totally mean the pond! because its certainly not on my plant skills

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  15. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by RS2OOO View Post
    Didn't realise you'd already typed something along the same lines when I wrote that.

    I guess growing a grand champion from Tosai would constitute a worthy winner to be proud of.... But you are still competing against someone who spent a pile of cash importing a "ready to show" Koi.

    The one advantage showing Fancy Goldfish is that once you have a good strain running you choose the parents to spawn, and within 2 Months you've culled down to 5 fish with show potential. Within 3-4 Months you will know which of those 5 is the best candidate and whether its worth putting your efforts into conditioning it. If its no good you wait till next years spawnings, but if it is a good one it will usually stay a good one and do well on the show scene for a number of years without deteriorating or changing significantly.

    On the other hand Koi can change significantly in colour and body shape over a short period of time to the extent that a potential Grand Champion in January might be just another 200 Koi by the time show season comes around!
    It does sound like the fancy goldfish come down to more skill than money compared to koi, I only compete at out local show at moment, I totally get what your saying regarding throwing thousands at koi to win, but these koi keepers are still passionate, because they certainly don't do it for the money or plastic trophy! Its the recognition of owning that title that means most to them, and obviously their competitive streak to win at all costs must be a huge factor!

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  17. #9
    Plastic trophy???

    Lol, With Goldfish you at least get a silver one with the show date and your name engraved on it..... but have to give it back the following year.

    Except if there's no room left to engrave.... then you just get the trophy with a list of other people's names and yours doesn't get added.

    In general though, those involved with Goldfish shows don't have money, the whole scene is about swapping equipment and breeding stock, helping each other construct fish houses etc. Unfortunately the main UK club ran out of money and had to be rescued by a Dealer this year, so maybe it will change and become more commercialised now.

    Sadly, maybe because of modern times, some have started to look upon fancy goldfish as being a cruel sport encouraging one to breed deformities into fish, and as hard as it is to admit it, there probably is some truth in that, as per the swim bladder issues I mentioned earlier. Keeping Koi has been a refreshing change to that.
    Last edited by RS2OOO; 08-12-2018 at 12:32 AM.

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  19. #10
    Moderator Rank = Grand Champion Feline's Avatar
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    The only reason I ever got into koi keeping was to enjoy looking at the fish and pond myself. Even though I now have some nicer fish in my pond I haven't really got away from that way of thinking. I'm not bothered if anyone else likes my fish or not. If somebody does also like them though I do get the proud mummy glow

    I do go to most of the bigger koi shows (sadly we don't have any local ones running in the south west so its always a long journey). It's nice to see the koi being shown 'in the flesh' to learn more about what makes them considered the most desirable. However when I get home to my pond I still love my oldest ghostie 'Brandy' as much as I love my 'best' koi.

    I can't be sure that I won't change my thinking now I do have a big enough pond that I can control all the water parameters in, so getting koi into their best possible condition to show would be possible. But I struggle with the concept of risking my 'pets' sustaining damage travelling to a show with all the risks it entails.

    Plus I am just not that competitive. I do see a certain number of people at the koi shows who drive up in their status symbol cars. I wonder if the showing scene attracts that kind of people, or whether it is just that the same people with cash to splash around on show winning koi also like to splash their cash on blingy cars. I choose my car based on minimal environmental impact and am not out to impress anyone with what I own, so definitely don't fit that mould.

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  21. #11
    i just would like a few nice big fish....got to admit i have wondered if its worth it in the past, but this year was my best by a long way tbh

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  23. #12
    What a great question. I'm a total newcomer to koi and at the beginning of the year I would never have envisaged spending a frankly ridiculous amount of money on a pond for a handful of fish. I've never even been interested in fish, other than those I caught when I was youngster. The pond started as a fishless water feature in a patio. Then I added some shubunkins and rudd. Then I added four small koi. Realising the pond was entirely inadeqaute for the koi, I made the obvious decision to increase the size of the pond six-fold and put in a proper filtration system. So now I have an (almost finished) pond with just the shubs, rudd and four koi. I may add another two or three koi, but have zero desire for more than that. I have no interest in showing the koi, nor in growing jumbos... all I want is a few fish that I enjoy watching and hopefully with some degree of 'personality'

    The process of building the pond has been great and kept me active, although I really wish I'd been able to finish it earlier in the year... just too damn wet now.

    To be honest, it's as much about having a nice patio area for chilling in the summer as it is about keeping fish, although I do thoroughly enjoy that side of it and have become quite attached to the koi.
    Last edited by fatgus; 08-12-2018 at 02:33 PM.

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  25. #13
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Supreme Champion Davej's Avatar
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    To start with it was having the splash of colour they can bring to a pond... Things progressed as I started to appreciate just how majestic Koi can be when they reach a certain size.

    Passion now is in breeding, hoping I get lucky and trying to produce that one fish...

    Personally I have total respect to those few Koi keepers that have the resources, dedication, skill, knowledge and patience to select, raise. grow and maintain the condition of a Koi to get it to GC contender status.

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  27. #14
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Adult Champion pip895's Avatar
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    I was originally seduced by the pictures of graceful koi swimming demurely beneath lily pads. I realised too late that it doesn't really work that way, but by that time I had koi. Then it was about doing the best for my pets and getting the water conditions just so, whilst maintaining at least in part that original image of the pond with koi and lilies.

    I also admit, I quite fancy getting at least one koi seriously big - not necessarily jumbo but bigger than any most non koi people have seen before.
    6000g unheated in ground koi pond
    +3000g lily/Anoxic pond attached
    28 koi (40 to 65cm)
    Bottom drain & Skimmer to Drum
    JBR boichamber->Blue eco 500 pump ->below surface return.
    Blue Eco 240 -> Large MB -> Waterfall -> Planted Anoxic pond (25 baskets)

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  29. #15
    Moderator Rank = Grand Champion Feline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davej View Post
    Personally I have total respect to those few Koi keepers that have the resources, dedication, skill, knowledge and patience to select, raise. grow and maintain the condition of a Koi to get it to GC contender status.
    I think you've really nailed it there Dave- successfully showing koi is about so much more than just throwing money at a fish.

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  31. #16
    Senior Member Rank = Mature Champion andikoi's Avatar
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    i started out with normal fish,then got given a platinum ogon,then the misses wanted some lemon ogon in a garden center,and from there it started lol,different colours,then needed better filtration,and a bigger pond,and bigger filtration,and more koi and bigger koi,and better filtration,and better food,and finally the new pond with 2 drums and more water and a shower,and 5.5k later hahahaha,andi

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  33. #17
    it all started for me with frogs. my young st son wanted frogs. so i dug a hole caught some tadpoles. and let him see them devlop. then my dog bit me. after i rubbed her belly.
    of to the vets it went. turned out it had a very bad infection. from drinking nasty water out of the frogs puddle. cost me a bomb to have the operation. she just survived.
    so i bought a filter and liner. got the spade out. and a larger pond was then made. fish where added. crap filteration was added. bought a few koi rudd tench. and i still have the tench and rudd to this day.
    that was 21 years ago. but now i have invested thousands into a bigger pond with windows drum and filteration a lot better. as the koi bug got to me. now this has turned into a full time hobby. with grow on qt and I love it.
    the water keeping is the best part for me. as I now know if I get that right. they will live harm free.
    fred

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  35. #18
    Junior Member Rank = Fry NuneatonKoiAron's Avatar
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    I have never really thought about this question but it is a great one. For me it started off from carp fishing and really appreciating them. My first koi came from a friends pond closure and now I have a 1000gallon grow on tank and drawings ready for a new 5000gallong pond. The love of watching them develop and grow just keeps me wanting more.

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  37. #19
    Some interesting reasons their, Its not a cheap hobby to get into, but for whatever reasons you keep koi, i believe it can be very rewarding, even with all the stress at times! 😊

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  39. #20
    exciting part for me is growing on tiddlers.

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