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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 high prices.

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 --  June 1997

  Servaas de Kock & Ronnie Watt  

Photo: ZNA

A show quality Utsuri of mind blowing beauty.

South African breeders are known for breeding high quality Utsuri.

Why? You may ask.

Is it because of the contrasting colours or is it because of very good broodstock procured during the early 90's from a renowned Utsuri breeder?.

Some Koi Questions.
Basic Needs of Koi 
Creating a Collection.
Improving your Collection
Improving your Collection further
Link to additional information.
Link to additional information.

Copyright 2004-2009 Servaas de Kock
Last modified: 27 September, 2005