Keeping small and large shiro utsuris is fun, interesting and maddening. Yesterday I decided to bowl the seven shiro utsuri tosais to document appearance changes. In the lower pond, four of them took me almost 45 minutes to catch and I gave up on Black Jack and Belle Star. While I was trying to catch the tosais, I realized that someone was missing. Jesse James was nowhere – not hiding under the aerator, stuck in the bottom drain, stuck in the RDF, hiding under the waterfall – nowhere. So I’m going to have to assume that some cat, raccoon or heron had a $150 snack on me 🙁 The pond was not netted since we had recently covered it with some temporary shade. I’m not holding out much faith that Jesse James will magically reappear. I will say that if you’re going to keep koi, it’s just like gambling. Things happen to koi and you just have to try to not think of the thousands of dollars you’ve been spending 😉 Meanwhile, the tosai that I did catch all look good. Billy the kid has caught up on growth with the rest and Wild Bill, who is always firt to eat is much larger than the rest. Wild Bill’s sumi is currently receding. The two medium size koi, Ika and Sumiko continue to eat well. Not sure if I’ll move them to the larger pond…maybe. Two of the three shiro utsuris in the large pond are doing well. Of course Miyu, the largest koi in my pond is a good eater and is often swimming with other koi. Doesn’t show much stress but when she was moved, she bled from her gills for about 20 seconds. Some koi just don’t handle movement well and I think she doesn’t. Nora is my challenging koi. She was another one that I thought I should move out of the pond. I’m a little undecided about her but I think I’m going to keep her for at least another year. Nora can be friendly and swim with the other koi or she can choose to be disruptive at feeding time or skulk around the pond on her own. If I had a thug koi, that would be Nora. I’m thinking about showing Nora in the koi show. She was selected and raised by a very experienced koi keeper, looks good, maybe a little too black (which is subjective), never looks stressed. My third shiro utsuri was raised by another experienced koi keeper. This shiro utsuri came with the name Super. I’m thinking I should change the name to Super Stressed. Shiro Utsuris and other white based koi can look a little pink under stress. If you look closely, you can see the veins under the skin and I’ve read that many shiro utsuris will look pink at the show and white back in the pond. Super is definitely a sensitive koi. He took a little longer to white out when he first came to our ponds. Two days ago, I noticed that he looked unusually pink in the fins. Our nitrites in the upper pond have spiked and I think he feels it instantly. With water changes and the addition of a bead filter last night, his appearance has improved over night. Super also has sumi that changes almost overnight. He came to me with a pretty white head and a little sumi mark on his head that looked like a fat comma. The other week I noticed his head had all sorts of new sumi coming up. His old owner said that the cool, hard water was bringing the sumi out. Well you can see by the photo that today, the newer sumi has started to recede again. It makes you think twice about showing shiro utsuri koi – it could look great in the pond, transport it to the show and you might be unpleasantly surprised by the changes! So added to that fact that shiros are a 5-7 year development and unpredicatable in varying water conditions – they are challenging koi to keep!