Most koi are selected for their beautiful patterns and color. Though only 1% of all Koi buyers participate in Koi show competitions, more than 99% of Koi dealers sell show-quality koi or Tategoi.

Koi have been inbred for 200+ years and have weak immune systems compared to Carp. Koi breeders select the baby koi that have desired patterns and colors whereas nature selects the ones that are healthy and intelligent enough escape predators and find food for themselves. While the show-quality Koi are a visual feast, they are also the weakest. The more inbred the Koi, the smaller they will be when they reach adult size. Without knowing this genetic handicap, people usually buy show-quality Koi and overfeed them, spend on “top quality” food to make them jumbo. This leads to poor water quality and results in infections. If you want to have Jumbo Koi as pets, you should not buy highly inbred koi. Even the Tategoi breeders “introduce Magoi blood” meaning fertilize their koi with wild carp to make their koi bigger.

If you simply accept Koi Show Judges’ definition of beauty, then you have no choice but to buy show-quality Koi. But if you are looking for Koi as a an intelligent pet with whom you can interact, then there are many ways to make your pond look unique and spectacular without the “show-quality” Koi. It just takes some creativity and artistic sense.

Most people select koi based  on its beauty as a single fish but in reality, once it goes into the pond, it will be with its pond mates. The “perfect Inazuma”  of a proud owner's  Kohaku Koi is probably noticed only by the owner, not the guests! Moreover, the Inazuma pattern may fade as the Koi grows or may disappear overnight if the Koi falls sick.

12.5indoitsukujaku1    fabio1

The picture on the left is how the Doitsu Kujaku looked when we bought. The picture on the right is how he looked a year later. Now he is a platinum ogon with zero red/orange patterns.

People might tell you that the color disappears if you bought a “cheap” Koi. But colors change in all living creatures as they grow. Even a champion Koi will not stay a champion forever. Colors fade as it grows or if it falls sick or if the water parameters change. You must keep this in mind before you select a Koi for its color and pattern.

Rather than concentrating on a single Koi’s looks, imagine how the new Koi would complement other Koi in your pond. You can create a beautiful painting if you choose the right colors. Minor details like a smudge here and there goes unnoticed. Pay more attention to its friendliness and its shape. While shape gives you a clue on its health situation, friendliness makes maintenance easy.

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