How Are The Koi?

Our pond was seven years old this summer.
Hana and Princess Yuki:
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We still have our original four Koi, purchased in 2006, plus three more acquired in 2008 and 2009.  I read somewhere once the average lifespan of a Koi after it leaves the store is ten weeks. 
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Ranger, on the left there in the above picture, looked like this in 2006:
Ranger baby 5" 9/15/06 photo RangerBabyDc0987.jpg
Koi are rather like cut flowers.  They are at their most beautiful only briefly.  More, there in the center, never was all that good looking, and now he is less so.
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Blondie there on the left once had a brilliant yellow head.  Now it is ordinary orange, with brown blobs.  
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Hana there at the top arrived in 2008.
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Here is Hana's baby picture:
Showa photo HanaDc3213.jpg
Yes, Koi can change a lot over the years.  Hana changed a lot.  Hana is the reason we have Princess Yuki.  There was an informal grow out contest on a Koi website--Hana to my profound surprise was the winner, and Princess Yuki was the prize.  Here is Mr. Sakai in Japan, pointing to Hana:
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Koi in their changes may become more and more beautiful, until suddenly they are not so beautiful any more.  Here's a show Koi.  I took this photo at a show back in 2009.  This is not one of mine:
Sanke? photo Sanke4121.jpg
Another group from the show:
Four beauties photo Four4117.jpg
Pretty nice.  You need a larger pond than I have, and a much larger budget, for show Koi. 
The little details of a Koi make or break them where shows are concerned.  Look at the pectoral fins on this next Koi.  You can see that the leading edge of each fin has been damaged.  That is bad. There are endless flaws.  Most every Koi has some.  Those almost flawless are worth a lot of money.  Most are not. 
Who you calling flawed? 
Prince photo PrinceDc0283.jpg
Our pond used to have water lillies.  Baby Koi eat invertebrates and such.  Adult Koi are vegetarians.  

This is why you can have a pond with baby Koi and water lillies, but you can't have a pond with adult Koi and water lillies.  It's because the adult Koi view water lillies as lunch.
Water Lily photo WaterLilyReflectedDc3495.jpg
In 2010, I had the pond dug out a little deeper and upgraded the filtration so the water would be as clear as possible.  Before the upgrade, the water didn't look good, though chemically it was healthy for the fish. 
We're hungry! photo WereHungryDc3276.jpg
 The upgrade was great.  Water is excellent now.
Back Home photo BackHome0272.jpg
Some Koi keepers get rid of the fish they no longer like, either by selling them, giving them away, or by...less pleasant and sometimes illegal means, like dumping them in the nearest pond...or simply dumping them.

I can understand why Koi keepers would want new and prettier fish, but our Koi--this is their home
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 That is how the Koi are.   


  1. I'm glad that you treasure your koi even though they are not still at their prettiest. I used to have a pond with lots of goldfish. They were enough for me, they would come to be fed. And if they died I wasn't out a lot of money. They didn't die, though. They had babies every year, some of which survived to a point where they were bigger than the smallest one's mouth.

    1. Yes, if you have two goldfish in a pond you often end up with a lot more than two. They are pretty hardy.

  2. Getting rid of one's koi when they're no longer at their peak seems as awful to me as getting rid of a dog when it's no longer a playful puppy or, closer to home for me, getting rid of a cat when it's smelly and sick. I'm glad your koi found a real home rather than a show-grower's home. Too bad about the water lilies, though.

    1. That doesn't sound good--I hope your cat gets better. :( Show people do love their koi. Sometimes they love them enough to keep them even when they are not so pretty. I do miss the water lillies.

  3. I think your koi are all very beautiful! The variation in patterns and colors is fascinating. It must be so rewarding to watch them grow! We have some comet goldfish (in an indoor aquarium) that were rescued from someone's pond. Nothing on the scale of koi but also mesmerizing to watch and care for.

    1. Goldies are a lot of fun, and not as much work. :^)

  4. Nice you showed us your pond with kois. I am amused you gave them all a name, so you can call them by name when you feed them.

    1. It is easier to give them names. If you need to talk about them, a name helps, rather than saying, "the littlest one", or "the one with the red head". They know my footsteps, and will swim over fast. Someone else's footsteps, they go hide. They know the difference!

  5. Fascinating. I had no idea that there were koi contests. And if I'm reading you correctly, More is less.

    1. Where there is an ego, there will be a contest. Yes, More is now less, but Les is still looking pretty good. Les is less than More in size, but more than More in beauty. If that makes sense.

  6. They are all beautiful dear Hoover, I think you have cared for them very well for them to thrive and live for such a long time.
    xoxoxo ♡

    1. Some care and some luck. We worked hard to give them a home that would be healthy for them.

  7. Great post and great to see some updates on your koi! As a fellow koi enthusiast we echo the points you've mentioned. Each koi we buy is treated as an individual pet to be cherished, same as you do. And even though some of them will not remain 'beautiful' all the time they will always be cared for and loved irregardless.


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