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Buying the Right Koi (Page 2 of 2)



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5)  Buy only koi with good skin quality.  'Snowy and milky white', 'thick, deep and solid red', 'lacquer jet black', 'absolutely no blemishes', 'clean and clear head' : these are 'phrases' commonly used in describing good skin quality and color.  In general, good color is characterized by its depth and solidness, as well as the consistency and evenness of the hue.  An individual Kohaku can't have both a persimmon-orange marking and a fire-engine red marking - the shade of the red must be the same throughout the body.  The head and body of any koi must also be devoid of stray spots or markings of any color that tend to make the koi look 'dirty.'  Metallic koi must likewise exhibit excellent sheen and luster, reflecting light that makes it stand out among non-metallic koi even at night.




Figure 2.  This photo from a Pan Intercorp (www.koi.com) ad

best exemplifies what 'snowy milky white' and 'deep solid red' mean.



6)  Go for the koi with better patterns, if body shape and skin quality are of equal quality among the koi. The patterns on a koi must be evaluated at two levels: first as individual markings, and then as a total package.  Every single marking on a koi must be solid in color and of even hue, and should have razor-sharp edges. Taken together, they must be in harmonious balance with each other, contributing significantly to the over-all elegance of the koi.  Taken as a whole, a koi must not be heavy at one end or one side only. 


Koi with dorsal reticulation ('netting' effect on the back) must exhibit a continuous, very even, and sharply visible (but not overwhelming) net pattern.  The mirror scales of Doitsu koi, if present, must be uninterrupted and nicely aligned along the dorsal line of the koi.


The total package formed by the various colors and markings must make the koi very pleasing to the eyes.  



Figure 3.  Poor pattern distribution such as what's seen

on this koi shouldn't excite you into buying.




7)  Buy a koi that meets its variety's standards.  Every koi variety has 'standards' to live by, which were defined by expert breeders who seek for themselves the 'perfect' koi.  It's not possible to have koi that meet all the standards at the same time, since no koi is perfect.   But koi that nearly do certainly command a hefty price tag.  Not every one can and should buy 'near-perfect' koi, but it certainly helps one decide which koi to buy if he knows what standards to measure any prospective koi against.  For descriptions of what characteristics each koi variety is expected to have, please see Koi Varieties.


8)  Buy a koi that matches your concept.  Are you a 'Gosanke' purist, who wants nothing but Kohaku, Sanke, and Showa in your pond, or are you a 'jack of all breeds', who has a specimen of every single koi variety?  Do you like metallic koi only?  Which are your favorite varieties, and why would you buy others that are not on your list?  These are things that you may want to consider if you have certain preferences as far as the would-be occupants of your pond are concerned.  


9)  Buy the koi that YOU like, not what others like.  If this means throwing tips 5 to 7 out the window so you can get the koi that you want, then suit yourself.  That will be unusual for most of us, but certainly well within your right to choose your own koi.   Just don't expect people to beat the path to your door if you ever decide to sell them later on.


By now you're probably ready to buy your koi, so go and get them. Just don't forget that while you are at it, try to keep it fun!



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