Hobbyists who want to improve on the quality of
their collection have many a point to ponder. One such consideration is
the source of the fish.
Japan, being the home of Koi, is not only the
largest producer of koi, but is also regarded as the source of the best
fish. They consistently produce koi of high quality and they are setting
the standards for koi appreciation the world over. In competition events
Japanese koi will normally take top honours, and walk away with most of
the other major prizes as well. For that reason Japanese koi can demand
But other countries, including South Africa, also
produce koi to some or other extend. Of these Taiwan, Israel, China,
Singapore and USA must be regarded as the most important producers
outside of Japan at this time. Due to close co-operation with Japanese
farmers, Taiwanese koi have improved significantly over the past few
years. This is evident from the fact that for the first time ever top
honours in a South African National Koi show went to a non-Japanese bred
koi that was bred by Mr Liu from Taiwan.
It should be noted that locally produced koi from
some South African koi farms have excelled in direct competition with
imported fish at our local shows. And every year they improve their
performance by winning more of the important trophies. This can only be
attributed to the constant effort of some local breeders to improve
quality and broodstock.
Koi from Singapore, Malaysia, USA and China tend to
be of indeterminate variety and indistinct colours. These koi are
unpretentious, relatively cheap and intended for the garden pond trade.
Lots of locally produced koi also fall into this category. We should not
despise them. They play an important role in the koi trade by making the
public aware of koi in general and providing for the need of many to
improve the aesthetic value of their garden and home.
Israel produces very large amounts of pretty, small
to medium sized koi at very reasonable prices. These koi tend to become
more plain in appearance as they grow older. In some of the metallic
varieties Israel produces quite good fish and since they are so
competitively priced, a large number of these fish are imported into
South Africa. They are often the first koi a novice hobbyist will buy
for his pond.
But how does this knowledge help the koi keeper to
improve his koi collection?
If we want to buy instant success, a fish that will
win at the next show, we must buy the best, fully finished fish in the
dealers' pond, irrespective where it comes from. Then the price tag is
normally the limiting factor to your success.
However, if we are looking at buying small koi and
growing and developing them for show, the source and hereditary
certainly plays a roll. Good dealers should be able to tell you where a
particular fish comes from and what virtues there are in it's particular
background. The bloodline of a fish should normally not be of concern to
the average keeper, because breeders often cross certain bloodlines in
order to achieve better commercial and show results.
It would appear therefore that for average koi
keeping purposes, the origin of a koi is of less importance than the
particular koi itself. Keepers should concentrate on learning to
evaluate the qualities the koi of their choice, and use that information
together with the source knowledge to establish the future of a koi.
Then only his koi keeping skills, time and patience will disclose the
truth to the keeper.
Written for Animal Talk magazine --
© Servaas de Kock & Ronnie Watt