This summer I’m running a little goshiki growout program with four Omosako Goshiki tosai I purchased at the recent Koi Acres auction. All four tosai are about the same size, same breeder – so I asked two of my koi keeping friends if they would want to run a little experiment with me. I wanted each of them to select a tosai to raise with the caveat that they would report back to me on growth. The pond builder always says “oh you are so parsimonious with the food…” so it’s a good check on whether we are really feeding our koi enough. I picked Joselito first, then Cheng Lee picked and finally Sai Her picked. I kept the fourth, Manolete because you always need a spare tosai.
We’ll bring them back together in late September or early October to see how much each one has grown and compare which tosai was the best pick. Selecting a tosai and hoping it will turn out to be a “great” koi has only slightly better odds than winning the lottery. Together, we can compare and I’m secretly hoping that my tosai will be better! I have the darker base goshikis, they have the lighter base goshikis. I have a larger female goshiki in the upper pond that is from a different breeder and is a lighter base. She (Nariko) was a replacement for Carmen who had developed an unattractive scratch on her head. The odds were less than 50/50 that the scratch would fill back in with beni/hi (the red coloring), so we gave her away to our friend, who has a lovely, large pond. We end up giving away a lot of koi because your pond can only support so many koi and continue to have good water. Another reason to give away a tosai or two because I would have had to move along at least two of these goshikis next summer.
So feeding time is always a lot of fun around the ponds and all of the koi are starting to show their distinct preferences. In the lower pond, Genius, our little kin ki utsuri, hangs in the skimmer and since a lot of food comes his way, it’s a smart place to be.
The rest of the group will lurk around the edges and the order of feeding is little tosai dart in and grab as much as they can. The large male kohaku will mow everyone down and the small koi retreat to the edges. Finally the three large yellow koi get to the feed area and in a leisurely fashion eat most of the food. Grey Poupon will sometimes choose to eat right away.
In the upper pond, we moved three medium sized shiro utsuris in to keep the medium sized kohaku company among the big girls. These three shiro utsuris have been very disruptive at the feedings. They are always in front, on top and stirring everything up. The large koi used to line up patiently and wait for food. Now it’s more of a free for all.
We changed the food to include sinking and floating pellets. The largest koi – Miyu, Mio, Poppy and Lily generally wait for the food to fall to the bottom. I’m sure everyone will find their place over the next few weeks.For both ponds, mixing in floaters and sinkers helps everyone get more food.
The pond builder has been fine tuning some things around our ponds. When we visited the koi pond built by Frank Wethington while at the Louisville Koi Show – the pond builder and I were really impressed with the organization and thoughtful engineering tips. We loved the remote controls for different functions so my pond builder has ben putting aerators and lights on remote control. I am anticipating a few more remotes so have purchased a key ring holder to mount on the outside of the house to hang all of the remotes.
Labeling is also something we started this year and Frank has clearly been doing it for years. I would recommend that every pond builder labels the different valves and pipes. So much easier than trying to remember or guessing when you need to adjust something.
Yes this is all pretty geeky pond building tidbits but the koi need a lot of mechanical support to keep the water clean. Swimming around your own toilet can lead to bad results if your keeper neglects the filtration system!