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Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

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Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by Sbenson11 on Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:20 pm

So you want to buy a Koi…

We have all been tempted at one time or another to buy one of the brightly colored fish at the local fish stores that we know little about. They are just so cool looking and on sale to boot. Well the best advice is to resist the temptation and do your homework first. No truer words can be said if the fish you’re considering is a Koi. With any fish purchase you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. You need to know what kind of water it prefers, temperature, potential tank mates, what it eats and of course how big it gets. Why is all this important, well for a fish to be healthy and happy it needs to be in a proper environment for the type of fish that it is. With a Koi the brightly colored 3” fish that you see for $5 at the LFS is capable of reaching 3’ within the next 5 years that weighs 20+LBS if given the right conditions.

Excuse me sir but did you just say 3 feet?

Yes I did actually…

So if you going to consider bringing a Koi or two into the family you need to have a plan, a plan for its future. A Koi if properly cared for can live 100+ years, which makes it a very long term pet. The adult size of a Koi can reach 30-40” and weigh a staggering 50Lbs. I bet the sales person at the local pet whatever chain never mentioned that. In theory a Koi will reach half of its adult size by its second birthday, which puts it in the neighbourhood of 15-20”. This may seem like an alarming rate of growth and I would be the first to agree a couple of years ago. Since my introduction to Japanese Koi I have seen firsthand how fast they can grow giving the right environment. If kept warm all year round and lots of food they will grow unchecked at an alarming rate. The 6” Koi I acquired just 8 months ago have grown to 12” in that amount of time. By the time they hit 2 years old they will be well over 15”. The females in the lot will grow slightly longer but considerable bigger in girth. This is why the Grand Champions are almost exclusively females; they are just that much more impressive.

Those that choose to overwinter their Koi outside will considerable check their overall potential, especially if done in their first few years of life. If they spend 6 months of the year under the ice they are not eating or growing. While it can certainly be done as many people do, I do not recommend it. Koi get really uncomfortable in water temperatures below 40F. There are just too many things to go wrong for your fish if kept outside in northern climates over the winter. Not to mention you don’t get to see them for several months of the year.

If you’re considering a Koi and you don’t have a garden pond you need to come up with a plan before you drop the $5 on the cool little guy. You are going to need a very large tank for him to happy in for very long. Sure that 20G you have collecting dust in the basement will do for this month and probably next. However before too long he will need a 40G and then a 60G and then a 120G. You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? That $5 fish is going to cost you a truck load of money before he’s 5 years old. If you don’t provide him or her with a suitable tank they will end up stunted. Koi have a very sleek body shape and when kept in an aquarium that is too small they look more like a football then a prize winning fish. My pride and joy Tigger is a victim of just a situation. He is approx. 10 years old and in the neighbourhood of 20” long. While he has improved in the past 5 years that I have had him, he will never be one of those 3’ monsters that he could have been. When I rescued him he was in a 20G tank and close to 10” in length. If you follow a line from the back of a Koi’s head to the base of its tail it should be a gentle flowing line. Tigger has more of a pothole as you approach his tail, all from being stuck in too small a tank.

Good luck to all you potential Koi keepers it is a very rewarding and amazing part of fish keeping if you are up for the challenge.

Steve
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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by alexmtl on Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:56 pm

Excellent article Steve on Koi Responsibility. While we all like the buzz and hype, most of us don't have a clue as to the majesty of this fish. These are big fish and I think we automatically equate goldfish to small short lived fish in a small disposable bowl.

It is so ironic that the goldfishbowls these days are now plastic. Plastic and disposable. Glad to have you advocating for koi and educating us all.

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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by guppyguy on Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:32 pm

Wonderful article Steve. Very nicely written up. Now I may not be a koi guy myself but I respect the passion and caring nature you have for these fish. I really enjoyed reading this as they would be a rewarding fish to keep for sure. Great Job

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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by GaryE on Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:09 pm

And in the lead for April's article of the month...

That was a really good read, and a timely message for all of us. I've already been offered 3 koi this year for my tiny school tank - I have had to turn them down.
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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by Aquaman_95 on Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:19 am

This is definitely an excellent article, I may print it out and give it to my customers at PetSmart, who are considering buying one of these magnificent fish. Koi, and goldfish are both fish I advise very hard against when customers that have small tanks attempt to buy them. I will not sale a customer a koi if they do not have a pond. They grow much too large. Lately, we have had some beautiful koi in PetSmart, and as it is spring season I expect to be selling more!
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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by Starfish on Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:54 am

Great article Steve. Well written and informative. You are definitely the Koi King. king

Aquaman, I wish all pet store owners and employees were as knowledgeable and conscientious as you when selling fish (or other pets) to their customers.
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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by alexmtl on Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:16 am

If you search "koi" in this forum, I think you would find some great tag in articles to support your information. Unlike other forums, this is not advice from internet searches (regurgitated misinformation) but verified actual experience from a koi breeder. I think that makes Canadaquaria different from other forums; we have experienced aquarists who have bred the fish, managed the problems and been part of the aquarium scene for a long time. This is the only Canadian forum that can claim this.

Hoping to add in more conversation from the Koi King himself @SBenson11

Just to add into the thread, if you are considering koi, just think of the following :

1. Poop. A lot of poop. Poop means huge filtration requirements and not just the average filter, but the king koi version. You most likely have to change and rinse more often than other smaller type fish. Just imagine wading through all that poop during spring cleaning ...
Steve, how much poop is too much ?

2. Food. A truckload of food. Big fish wish big apetites. Consider bulk food purchases for king kong fish. Steve, how much food fits into your truck ?

3. That is one huge commitment. Think of 100 years. Heck, marriages do not last that long. Think of trying to stay married to a fish for 100 years. Now that is one big commitment. O my goodness, how do you keep the relationship going after 20 years ? How do you explain to your wife, not tonight dear, I have to feed the fish.
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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by Sbenson11 on Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:05 am

@alexmtl wrote:1. Poop. A lot of poop. Poop means huge filtration requirements and not just the average filter, but the king koi version. You most likely have to change and rinse more often than other smaller type fish. Just imagine wading through all that poop during spring cleaning ...
Steve, how much poop is too much ? I drain the vortex filters in my systems twice a week and I have to say it's nasty what comes out the bottom  Shocked

2. Food. A truckload of food. Big fish wish big apetites. Consider bulk food purchases for king kong fish. Steve, how much food fits into your truck ? Koi can consume a ridiculous amount of food, I a buy 20Lb bags and they only last a couple of weeks in the warm seasons. Supposedly a Koi can consume 5% of it's body weight a day in food. So for a 10Kg fish that's 500 Grams per day per fish. Unfortunately the digestive system of a Koi is not that great. They don't have a stomach so there food has to be digested on the way out the back door. Most of what they eat tends to come out the other end not much different then the way it went in, creating a massive bio-load on your system. My gang will actually climb over one another to get my attention as I walk past even if they have recently been fed.

3. That is one huge commitment. Think of 100 years. Heck, marriages do not last that long. Think of trying to stay married to a fish for 100 years. Now that is one big commitment. O my goodness, how do you keep the relationship going after 20 years ? How do you explain to your wife, not tonight dear, I have to feed the fish. I keep saying to my wife I had better update my will and put the Koi in there, they will outlive me Smile

Steve
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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by GaryE on Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:41 am

I think it was in 2002 that Freddie Mercury from Queen's koi were accidentally killed - he had died in 1991. I have cared for my mother's beloved turtles (now 31 years old) for 15 years... animals that outlive us are a different sort of responsibility.
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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by alexmtl on Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:04 pm

In praise and summary of the World of Koi, here is a compilation of articles and threads from Canadaquaria.

Consider this post as "SBenson11 Greatest Hits"



Water Conditioning
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1949p15-oh-dear-he-did-it-again

Koi in the Collection
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1819-some-of-the-japanese-koi-in-my-collection
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1387p30-i-am-so-weak
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1045-next-on-the-shopping-list
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1416-selecting-sanke
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1319-a-little-video-of-the-recent-additions
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t848-go-big-or-go-home
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t656-got-my-spring-order-placed


Uber Filter
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1431-diy-pond-filter

Koi Moving
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1685p30-if-all-goes-well

Winter is coming
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1559-and-now-the-end-is-near

Feeding Time
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1380-feed-me-now

Ponds
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t207-pond-fish-winter-vacation-resort-repost-from-cac
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1199-changing-pond-liners
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t101-tigger-and-friends-are-looking-for-a-new-winter-home

Meet Tigger
http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t527-tigger-your-being-bad-again
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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by Starfish on Sat Apr 04, 2015 3:45 pm

That list is quite a legacy in itself.
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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by Shell on Sat Apr 04, 2015 4:41 pm

Nice job Steve - very informative and well written....some koi may be lucky thanks to your words!

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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by Aquaman_95 on Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:55 pm

@Starfish wrote:Great article Steve. Well written and informative. You are definitely the Koi King.  king

Aquaman, I wish all pet store owners and employees were as knowledgeable and conscientious as you when selling fish (or other pets) to their customers.

I wish more pet store owners, and employees did much more research, and were far more informed than they are. Some of my co workers will even sell koi to owners that have small aquariums.
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Re: Article of the Month APRIL 2015 : So you want to buy a Koi…

Post by Fores41 on Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:23 am

Thank you Steve this was well written and informative as usual from you. Hope this saves some Koi as we print it off to give to some pet stores.
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