|SJG - koi - 2/13/11|
by that well known author, Anon
THANK YOU ANON!
On Koi - Chris Charbonneau, immediate past president, Washington Koi and Water Garden Society, March 19, 2011, Tateuchi Room, Seattle Japanese Garden
|SJG - koi - 2/13/11|
Origin: Koi are river carp Indonesian rice farmers introduced into their paddies to provide themselves with protein. Over time, they noticed some had red or yellow spots on their stomachs and set them aside. Thus began the breeding of koi, which are mutants of river carp NOT related to goldfish. Out of 1M eggs, only 1,000 might hatch as koi (colored) and 100 or fewer qualified to be raised as the koi we see in ponds. Raising of koi skyrocketed after WWII as Japan became more prosperous.
Habits: When they mate (sort of) the males fling the weight of their bodies at the females, sometimes even sending the latter onto the banks. This dislodges the eggs, which are then on their own to eat and forage from minute one. (Males and females make no other contact.)
Koi may eat their own eggs, but rarely when they reach a later stage.
Their survival depends on the quality of the water, especially PH balance (don’t ask) and temperature. They prefer a water temperature of around 70 to 77 degrees, but survive at 40 degrees. Water temperature change tends to induce spawning.
They feed while upright on their tails and therefore need deep water. They are transported to koi shows in large, deep water-filled containers in which the koi are positioned sideways to prevent them from breaking their noses against ends of the containers.
FAQ: Koi can reach 1 meter in length and live to around 40 years. Chris discounted longer estimates such as 226 years as reported on Wikipedia. Because a koi resists being out of the water, weight is often difficult to determine. (One prize-winning koi was dropped during a weighing attempt and died as a consequence.)
Females grow bigger than males and win the large koi beauty contests; males win the small beauty contests. Prizes are awarded on criteria that include symmetry of color markings and scales, density of color.
Slides: Chris showed a number of colorful slides showing different koi kinds (each with a Japanese name). Most treasured are the red and white, especially a white one with a red circle on its head (think flag of Japan). Others included koi without scales, another with long fins, and a third with metallic skin.
Uh, oh, the notes made me realize another lie I have been spreading as a docent: for years I've been telling unsuspecting audience that koi live much longer than 40 years, giving them a life span of 80-100 years. I got that info off the internet (just cursory checked, and the internet is still at it - 'The average lifespan is around 60 years if proper care is given. Some can live even longer, the world record Koi lived to be 226 years old' - that is from wikianswers.com, but i've seen it elsewhere). Oh, well, I very much enjoyed beating teenagers over the head with the 'fact' that the koi will probably be here, in the pond, long after they themselves are gone, to make the youngsters relate to the time passage... Drat, gotta find another hammer:(.