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.
IIs 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
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
- September 1997
© Servaas de Kock & Ronnie Watt