Thursday, August 31, 2006

Submersible UV Clarifier

If you have trouble hiding a UV clarifier or keeping it out of the weather then the new Pondmaster models may be just what you're looking for. From Danner Mfg. suppliers of pond and watergardening products comes a UV clarifier design that is quite revolutionary in that it's the only one that's totally submersible.

It can be positioned like any other UV lamp but there's no need to worry about weather protection or splashes from the pond. This gives great flexibility for design within your koi pond especially one built at ground level. It is also very suitable for connection to a submersible pump with less pipe work needed. The pond pump and the UV clarifier could be placed together in the end chamber of a gravity fed filter, out of sight and without any electrical safety worries.

The Pondmaster UV comes in three different sizes with the largest having a 40 watt lamp and is suitable for a pump rated at 3000 US gph. All three are supplied with a 900 hour long life lamp and are a vortex design to maximize water contact time. The black colour and slim design means they can be hidden within a pond with a clever halo ring to tell you it's on.

Koi Shows & Events in September 2006

Here is a list of all the koi shows I can find that are happening this September. If you know of any that I have missed out please let me know, thankyou.

2-3 Potteries & District Koi Exhibition
Trentham Wakes (Gardens), England, UK.
contact Roy Kidd Tel: 01785 780557

7-10 Aquaria China 2006
Guangzhou Jinhan Exhibition Centre, Guangzhou, China.

9-10 Northern Midwest ZNA Chapter Annual Koi Show
Rizzi's Flower Garden & Aquatic Center, Plainfield, Illinois, USA.
contact Peter Ponzio Tel: 847-726-0933

9-10 Washington Koi & Water Garden Society 15th Annual Show
23732 Bothell-Everett Highway, Country Village, Bothell, Washington, USA.
contact Chris Charbonneau

16-17 Atlanta Koi Club
12th Annual Koi & Goldfish Show (ZNA Friendship Club)
Costal Pond, Tucker, GA, USA.

23-24 BKKS Birmingham & West Midlands Section Closed Show
Highdown Nurseries, Sugarloaf Lane, near Stourbridge/Kidderminster, UK.
Birmingham & West Midlands Koi Club

23-24 1st Malaysia Open Wakagoi Show & Championship 2006
Sentul Park Boulevard, Sentul West, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Sentul Park Koi Centre

30-1 Texas Koi & Fancy Goldfish Society 14th Annual Show
Water Garden Gems, SA, USA.
contact Ray Jordan

30-1 Camellia Koi Club Annual Sacramento Koi Show
Placer County Fairground, Roseville, CA, USA.
contact Garry Chin
2006 Sacramento Koi Show

30-1 Mid-Atlantic Koi Club 18th Annual Koi & 2nd Goldfish Show
Pond & Garden Expo 2006, Allentown, PA, USA.
contact Barry Hixen Tel: 610-262-5184
The Mid-Atlantic Koi Club Show

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Midwest Pond & Koi Society Annual Show Results

The 14th Annual Koi Show for the Midwest Pond & Koi Society was another great success by all accounts and some pictures are now up on their site of the winners. This show was combined with the national show for The Goldfish Society of America and a trade show, all under the roof of the Darien Sportplex which usually plays host to icehockey.

The Supreme Grand Champion went to a fabulous Kohaku owned by Kevin & Sheila Karstens. Reserve went to a Taisho Sanke owned by Yuan Chiu. Something I'm not familiar with is an award for Grand Champion "B" which went to a Ginrin Shiro belonging to Bryan & Bay Bateman. Also of interest was an award for the Best Male koi which went to a Sanke owned by Andrew DeSantis. With the preference of female koi over male koi at shows this could be good way of encouraging more competition.

Calictus koi pond filters

At the Swanley show there was an impressive display by Calictus Europe of their koi pond filters. They were showing off their latest range which includes the new Calictus Basic, a multi purpose pond filter that was released last month. This model lacks the features of the automatic version to be more affordable but can be easily upgraded later.

To those not familiar with the company, Calictus is from the Netherlands and has a good reputation with innovative designs that are gaining respect around the world. They have won several awards and their designs are all patented. The name Calictus comes from the Greek word for 'the clean one, the pure one' which fits rather well with the aims of a koi pond filter.

I've seen their filters before and I know of the brand but this was the first time I have investigated them close up. They are very well made and suprisingly compact for bead filters and being pump fed they can be positioned almost anywhere. The improvements in efficiency and size has meant they can fit even the smallest gardens when in the past koi pond filters were often a third or more the volume of the pond. It is recommended to use a settlement chamber like a vortex before the filter, and this would be necessary when using a gravity fed system by bottom drain. They work similarly to other bead filters with the small beads trapping the dirt and biologically breaking down the waste but where they differ is that the beads can be continuously aerated as in a moving bed and if required the filter can automatically clean itself.

It's this ease of maintenance that is very interesting for many people as even in the basic model without an automatic function, cleaning is as simple and quick as pulling a bath plug. The water and air pump agitated the dirt from the beads and the water is diverted to waste. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes and in the automatic models this can be set at different intervals. This means the filters won't get too dirty and clog up affecting the water quality. The problems with combining mechanical filtration with biological filtration is that often a compromise between the efficiencies of the two. Mechanical filtration gets better as it clogs up but this can reduce water flow, surface area and oxygen for the nitrifying bacteria. A fluid bed filter works well as a biological filter but has little use mechanically and even the constant banging together of the beads can be counterproductive.

This is where the Calictus has got it just right with the beads tightly packed to collect particles of waste and the time and oxygen to build an effective biofilm before the next cycle of cleaning. I think this is what the perfect koi filter should do, by continually removing waste from the system not just storing it away from the pond and decomposing it into other compounds. I don't believe there is such a thing as a perfect koi filter but in theory Calictus's range do seem the business. The only down sides are that they are fairly expensive but often in koi keeping the price for quality pays off in the long run.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The South East BKKS Koi Show Swanley 2006

Wow what a great weekend! Bank holidays are a great institution in Great Britain for time off work and are even better if there's a great koi show to attend. Last Sunday & Monday was the 20th South East Section BKKS Open Koi Show and although only a section show it draws a large crowd and is well supported. Trying to guess the weather I decided to go on the Sunday as the sun was out and I could watch the judges at work.

After a short drive from the M25 I was amazed to arrive at a car packed field with hordes of visitors arriving including coach parties. Quite a few were from Holland as the club arranges with the Dutch Koi Club members an exchange. Actually this show could be described as truely international because as well as the BKKS judges there were koi association judges from around the world as part of an International Judges Panel (IJP). These included Bill Ennis (UK), Toen Feyen (Netherlands), Hayamasa Ikeda (Japan), Oosie Strydom (South Africa), Tony Price (UK), and Art and Nicole Lembke (USA).

I have never seen so many koi judges in attendance at a UK show and it was interesting to see if they were all in agreement. Without cheating I challenged myself to predict the winners but I have to admit I still have a lot to learn. As the results weren't displayed until the Monday I had to wait until today to find out who won from the South East Sections website. Needless to say most of my predictions were wrong but I came close with the winner. I fancied Alan Archers' Kohaku to win Grand Champion not his size 6 Sanke, and because of this I appologise for the only photo I took of this koi here. The photo above is courtesy of the South East Sections results page which displays all the other group winners.

There were a very good selection of all varieties of koi on show, and it was nice to see a healthy competion between all groups not just with Kohaku. The Gosanke were as usual popular but I was also happily surprised to see good numbers of rarer types such as Shiro Utsuri. Overall most of the koi were smaller than The National but the quality was there and with entries such as a truely huge Chagoi there were many crowd pleasers. There were the usual bargains available from the dealers and with two having premises only 10 minutes away from the show grounds, there were lots of opportunies to buy something special.

I'd like to congratulate 'the friendly club' The South East Section on a great show and thank them for an enjoyable day. See everyone there again next year. For more of my photos of the show visit my Flickr albumn available on the right or visit

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Koi Carp on Youtube

With all the attention Youtube has been receiving recently I thought I would give it a go. I've uploaded 3 short clips from my still camera from the BKKS National show that were just about acceptable. I should really get a proper video camera but anyway here is John Hellens lovely Momotaro Sanke as a test.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Area koi collectors think virus killed fish

This news story comes from The Beacon Journal and while not particularly enlightening to informed koi keepers does show how KHV is becoming news worthy and cases are being reported more often. Area koi collectors think virus killed fish . Whether this is a good thing I don't know but levels of awareness amongst koi keepers, watergardeners and the general public is on the rise. The problem is KHV is still a very rare disease, devastating yes but each case has to be checked through before jumping to the wrong conclusions. Safe procedures should always be taken to prevent the spread of any infection, be it KHV or not through quarantine and isolation and any problems examined in detail to reveal the facts.

The spread of stories and lots of confusing information concerning KHV has made many people understandable worried and they are latching onto the idea of this virus instead of looking for more probable causes. I'm not saying this is the case in this article and KHV may well have been positively proven but my eyebrows did raise at the statement of losing 84 fish being kept in a pond of 5000 gallons! This is of course possible for young koi but would be quite a strain on filtration and water quality for larger adults. The writer may have got it wrong but they were described as 'nearly 100 blazing orange pet fish' which sounds to me more like goldfish which as we know are not troubled by the virus.

Whatever the truth a clearer level of understanding is still needed about KHV and the koi community need to provide qualified and consistent information and advice to dispel the myths going around.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The 20th South East Section BKKS Open Koi Show at Swanley.

A bit of a mouthful for a title to a koi show but it should be a great event this weekend. The 20th South East Section BKKS Open Show is described as 'loved by the international koi community' and there are strong links abroad with this club. If you didn't get enough of a fix for top quality koi from last weeks Holland show or were waiting for something closer to home, this promises to be the best UK koi show before next year.

The show is on the 27th & 28th at Parkwood Hall School, Beechenlea Lane, Swanley, Kent in the UK and rather amusingly their websites states that "This is an English style koi show with English style weather" which is about right, but hopefully the current rain will not dampen anyones enthusiasm.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Genesyz and Koizyme

With the latest KHV outbreaks causing growing concern amongst koi keepers there's now great interest in products to help with bio-security. This is the latest buzz word that should encompass a whole set of procedures not to be reliant on the use of products alone. To the average koi owner though they are looking for the most effective way they can safeguard their koi. Virkon S and the new Virasure for koi have been proved to be very effective as disinfectants but the continued reliance on chemicals is being questioned by some.

This is where Genesyz or Koizyme as it's known in the US comes in, as it's part of a group of chemical free pond additives that's gaining popularity. The old mantra of 'look after the water and the koi will look after themselves' may soon have to be changed or at least how we look after the water. Koi pond filtration is given lots of attention and so it should do as it's vital to keeping healthy koi but when many people test their water parameters they rarely test for bacterial levels. The usual tests may show you have perfect water quality but a koi pond could be thought of as a increasingly concentrated soup of chemicals and organisms unless something is done. All koi keepers know the nitrogen cycle off by heart and that the immune systems of their koi can at times be less effective but knowing how to improve this is less talked about.

Genesyz (Koizyme) has been around a while but many people myself included failed to appreciate how useful it can be. I tended to think it was for ponds that have a problem and not as a preventative to help keep koi stay on top of pathogenic bacteria. Genesyz (Koizyme) works by a process called Competitive Exclusion which basically means using harmless bacteria to out-compete the bad bacteria by consuming all their nutrients and literally starving them to death. This has been used in all walks of life and now an expanding list of koi products from probiotics in food like Saki-Hikari through to clearing green water of algae.

Many koi keepers have been put off for ever after following all the right instructions, building a superb pond with the latest super dooper filter only to lose all their fish to bacterial diseases in the spring or autumn. The aeromonas alley is a well known phenomenon that catches the kois' immune system off guard and there are a number of things that can be done to swing the balance in your kois' favor such as UV's, heating and ozonizers but Genesyz (Koizyme) particularly targets the problem bacteria. All koi naturally carry Aeromonas and Pseudomonas and their presence keeps the immune system in check but left uncontrolled can overwhelm the koi producing the commonly seen diseases such as ulcers.

I think this is the future for koi treatments and additives as they are totally safe and have no harmful side effects. It is not a cure all for all diseases and it will not kill viruses where the right chemicals are then needed, but it should give some peace of mind that the biggest killers are less likely.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

DIY Koi Pond Filter

Here is a koi pond filter that I built as a final polisher to take out any fine particles that the main filter missed. It's not the most pretty of things or perfect in anyway but has worked well on my quarantine system for over 10 years. This type of filter could be used as a supplementary biological filter and it adds extra air to the water, but would be better modified for this purpose. It's basically a coldwater header tank with a few bits of pipe from the local plumbers and 4 foam filter pads from a garden centre that sold koi supplies. The hollow filter pads were originally sold for a Cyprio filter but they could quite easily be made from foam sheet glued together. Normally it has a lid to keep dirt and light out but I had recently cleaned it out before these photos were taken.

The water is pump fed in through a pipe at the top on the left of the picture. You can see with three of the foam pads removed the water exits via pipes at the bottom of the filter by gravity after passing through the foam.

When clean the water level in the filter stays quite low but as the foam gathers dirt it rises up. The increase in pressure and relatively clean water stops the level from reaching the top but for safety an overflow should be added especially if used on a murky pond.

With the water level low it aerates the water well but obviously the available filter surface area is reduced being out of the water so any biological activity is not to be relied upon. This could be improved and I did think to put some Kaldnes K1 in there but decided this would complicate cleaning it out. As intended for mechanical filtration it works well and gets better as it gets dirty. The filter can be cleaned by reversing the water flow through the filter, back flushing the dirt off to waste but it's just as easy to wash the foam pads by hand in a bucket of pond water.

Building your own koi pond filter can be satisfying and a number of people talk about doing it but you should know what you are doing as it can be a matter of trial and error. The error could cause the loss of your koi and then you'll wish you had bought that professional built system. I have found it's best not to economize on koi pond filtration as it's the life support system for the pond and the basis for keeping healthy koi but if you stick to well trusted methods it cannot hurt to try to make improvements.

Monday, August 21, 2006

'Ode to Summer' - Koi Animation

This is another one to file under random, quirky koi stuff but thanks to Taro from 3Yen for sending me this link to a beautiful Chinese film. I love animation and this short clip from the film perfectly captures a group of koi playfully swimming around. The film looks to be made by traditional pen and ink but is in fact entirely created with computer graphics.

Also of interest on the same site is a video of goldfish apparently synchronized swimming, maybe hand feeding our koi isn't the only trick we can teach them:)

3Yen -'Ode to Summer'

Friday, August 18, 2006

Koi Club of The Air

When I started Koi Carp blog one of my aims was to cover as much of what's going on around the world relating to koi. There are now koi clubs in every continent and with the distances and different time zones this has at times been difficult to do. Obviously being local and meeting people in person is the best way to get a feeling for the scene or hear the latest news, but when the country is on the other side of the globe forums and blogs are the next best thing.

Lately I have been checking out a relatively new podcast show from the US which has a growing number of visitors/listeners. At times it can sound like you've got a crossed line and the hosts aren't the most charismatic but stick with it and you'll find some interesting guests and interviews about koi. They have a useful calendar of events and koi shows throughout America and close ties with the koi clubs there.

The July 15th show interviewed Claudia McGowan about this weekends Inland Empire Water Garden & Koi Society show. Also interviewed was John Hillstrom who represented the Puget Sound Koi Club who had their 9th successful annual Young Koi Show last weekend. This show is a great opportunity for all koi keepers including beginners to get involved as only koi under 18 inches are allowed. The Grand Champion was a very nice Sakai Hiroshima Kohaku owned by Debbie Fitzgerald. Apparently the koi was a wedding anniversary present from her husband as she has become quite adept at selecting and growing on Tosai to become champions.

Another interesting interview was on the July 26th show with Dr Julius Tepper a vet who has a keen interest in koi and fishponds. He runs a Fish Hospital in Long Island, New York and has developed a new product to grow flowering plants in a koi pond. Called Pondtoons these plants float in the water and as well as look pretty they help improve the water quality. The interesting thing about this product is that there's no soil, often a reason plants are not included in a koi pond but also said to reduce the bad bacteria from the water that can cause disease. Bacteria such as aeromonas are kept at bay by organisms living in the plant substrate. As an alternative to UV, ozonizers and chemicals in a koi pond is a nice idea but I wait to be convinced. As a way to remove nitrates and aesthetic appeal I think Pondtoons could become very popular.

Link Koi Club of The Air

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Holland Koi Show 2006 (The Dutch Koi Days)

Tomorrow is the start of the 14th annual Holland koi show named 'de Nederlandse Koi Degan' (the Dutch Koi Days). It's described as the biggest koi spectacle in the world, and with over 23,000 visitors through the gates last year few can argue. Organised by The Nishikigoi Vereniging Nederland (the Dutch Nishikigoi Association) they are hoping for a similar turnout this year with the show running from the 18th, 19th and 20th of August. It is being held in a beautiful location within the grounds of Arcen castle.

Visitors are expected to come from all over the world, especially mainland Europe because of its position for easy travel. This has become the major show in Europe and gives the chance for the many koi fans in Holland, Belgium and Germany plus elsewhere to get together. Holland has become a major force in koi keeping with many new products now being developed there. There will be over 100 stands with dealers traveling from several countries including the UK.

It's not too late still to organize a trip to the show this weekend and traveling from the UK is not that expensive or far. For more information check out the Holland Koi Show website which also has a nice webcam to see how things are progressing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Koi Forums

It seems like every koi website nowadays has got some kind of forum and the numbers are growing. They are a helpful source of information and advice so I've made a list of the biggest or which I consider the most authoratitive.

Australian Koi Association Forum

Australian Koi Forum

Infiltration Forum - Peter Waddington answers your koi related questions.

Koi-Bito - Japanese koi magazines' forum.


Koi Magazine Forum - Popular magazines' forum. - Malaysian forum with members from all over the world.


Koi Pond Talk

Koi Quest


Koi UK - Maurice Coxs' British Koi Farm.

Koi Vet

Nishikigoi International

Richdon Koi-Help - Richdon Koi members only help forum - free to sign up.

South African Koi Forum

South African Koi Industry Forum

The Mud Pond

Yorkshire Koi Society -A small community of knowlegable members.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

North East Koi Club Show

By all reports this years North East Koi Club show was a great success. It was held interestingly inside the Nissan car plant which was lucky because the weather turned autumnal over the weekend with threatening belts of rain throughout the UK. Although I didn't go it being a bit too far to travel, many koi fans did as it was a perfect opportunity for all the local koi club members in the north to get together seeing as most koi shows recently have concentrated in southern England.

Grand Champion went to a size 6 Kohaku owned by Paul Williams who won last year with the same koi. Kohaku are still the most revered at koi shows and the most likely to win overall. This could be seen at this show by the number of kohakus' entered easily out numbered all the other varieties. I think part of their appeal is that they are relatively easy to judge in terms of body shape and pattern and so even a novice can appreciate the qualities of a good kohaku. Saying that a prize for visitors favorite went to a doitsu matsuba, which shows people are always drawn to something a bit different.

Koi Carp

Welcome to the world of koi carp. This is a blog about koi, those amazing and beautiful pond fish that originated from carp in Japan. If you are a new visitor then you probably came here by typing either koi carp, koi fish or koi pond into a search engine as these are the most popular terms used when searching for information on koi. In the real world the first two descriptions are nonsense as koi is now the universal name used for these colourful fish, but on the internet they help distinguish between any other types of koi (it seems a popular name in Pakistan). A more accurate name as used by the japanese is Nishikigoi, which broken down roughly translates as nishiki meaning colourful or brocaded and goi the word for carp.

Koi Carp is my first exploration into blogging so it's not the most original name I know, but hopefully it will help people find this blog. If you have got a better idea for a name then please let me know. When I started this blog there were very few around but even in a few months the internet seems swamped with koi sites but many have little information or just the same stuff constantly repeated. If you are beginner or you want an introduction to koi then there are a few good sites around like that has lots of helpful advice so there's no point in me repeating them here but if you want to know the latest developments in koi keeping and what events are going on then please stick around!

Monday, August 14, 2006

BKKS declare KHV infection wasn't from their show

On the BKKS British Koi Keepers Society website there's a notice that the recent KHV (Koi Herpes Virus) outbreak was not picked up from the June BKKS National show. Yumekoi wasn't named but it's been made public about the outbreak and I haven't heard of any others so we can reliably guess who they are talking about. They suggest that the infection was more likely from a koi supplied to Yumekoi. They are confident that their biosecure procedures would have prevented any cross infection between koi from different owners.

Mike Snaden of Yumekoi has been traveling around the UK taking blood tests of koi he has recently sold to be sent to America in the hope of tracing the source of the infection. Mike and the BKKS seem to be in agreement that the cool water of the show vats must have triggered the outbreak. It only takes one individual koi that is a carrier of the disease but appears perfectly fine to infect and kill others that share the same water. The movement back to warmer waters of their homes would have been the perfect conditions for the disease to spread and overwhelm naive koi. The fact that only koi at the dealers premises have developed symptoms and died has suggested that the disease has been contained.

There was a feeling this would put a hold on further koi shows in the UK but the Mid Staffs and North East Koi shows went ahead this weekend as usual. With recent tightening of regulations governing animal movements they would appear more difficult to stage but the BKKS with it's high standards of health care and professionalism should help keep them going and dispel any myths that seem to circulate. It seems quite likely that KHV will become a notifiable disease and koi may not be available for sale at shows in the future but there is no reason for BKKS shows as they are not to continue.

Heating your koi pond in the summer?

To some people heating a koi pond anytime of the year may appear unnecessary or a luxury they cannot afford. With koi keeping now a world wide hobby, they are being kept in countries with vastly different climates but koi owners still expect the same results. Koi can survive in water that's just above freezing through to tropical temperatures, but prefer to remain within a stable range between 10C and 30C. In Europe and the US we tend to call koi coldwater fish due to the fact that few people actually heat their ponds but in Asia where koi originate from, water temperatures rarely fall to what would be considered cold here in the UK. In fact some mud ponds in Japan have recorded temperatures of 35C which partly explains their kois' incredible growth rates.

Here in the UK we have very changeable weather especially during the summer months as only last week we were basking in the sun in tropical temperatures and now as I write this it feels cold and its raining (time for a foreign holiday I think). Koi can put up with most temperatures so you shouldn't overly worry with extremes but they don't like sudden changes. In some parts of America they have been having record highs recently which although is not too distressing for koi can cause some problems. Luckily these are relatively easy to remedy with extra aeration and by providing some kind of shade. A waterfall or filter like a Bakki shower can help to cool the water somewhat.

People often talk about minimum depths for a koi pond in terms of preventing the water freezing solid during the winter but actually there are other reasons to designing your koi pond with at least 5ft depth even in warmer places. These are to increase water capacity in your pond because the greater the quantity of water the more stable it becomes to fluctuations in temperature as well as allowing you to stock more koi and provide more room to grow. A large, well designed koi pond when monitored over the year should show a slow, gradual change of temperature when plotted on a graph.

While it's a good idea to create the largest pond you can another way to reduce or even prevent temperature swings is by the use of a heater. There's much debate about heating your koi all year round; it has been suggested koi need a rest period in cool water once a year, but if it's thermostatically controlled, heating can protect against chilling your koi which can induce health problems. It is useful to have the ability to be able to control the water temperature and especially so in a quarantine tank. A kois' immune system is at full strength above 20C and so when treating a sick koi raising the temperature combined with medications is more effective. In fact when buying new koi you should quarantine them for at least a month and temperature control is a useful tool for checking for disease, especially potential KHV outbreaks.

Some people do heat their ponds to increase their kois' growth which can be costly but if done to stabilize temperatures then the heater will not be constantly running. With the cost and availability of solar water heating panels improving this is a method that may become more popular in the future, although for winter heating in Europe their effectiveness may be limited. The most popular methods for heating koi ponds are using specialist electric heaters such as from Profi or Elecro which are plumbed into the pump return or gas boilers which are linked to a heat exchanger. All methods need a reliable thermostat to regulate the water temperature which can be bought from koi equipment suppliers. For a small pond or quarantine tank perhaps the easiest and cheapest heaters to initially buy are electric with gas boilers proving cheaper in the long run on a larger pond.

So along with other tests for water quality it can pay to regularly check water temperatures and if large changes regularly occur these can stress your koi and heating could provide an answer.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Yumekoi KHV update

There's a new update today from Yumekoi about the measures they are taking since the confirmation of a KHV(Koi Herpes Virus) outbreak they have had recently. Having blood tested all the apparently healthy koi Mike Snaden of Yumekoi looks set for a very busy weekend, as he hopes to travel around the UK to test some of his customers koi. I wish him and his customers best of luck and hope everyone's in the clear. The spread of the infection should have been isolated now to Yumekois' quarantine ponds where the surviving koi are planned to be tested next week.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pond Supplies

Increasingly nowadays pond supplies are being bought on the internet. This can have quite a few bonuses for the koi enthusiast but like all shopping on the internet when buying pond supplies make sure you go to a reputable site. Recently there has been a huge increase in online sites selling pond supplies but some have little if any knowledge about the products or koi they are selling.
To the koi hobbyist the convenience of buying online with competitive pricing has made it obviously popular but take care not to just go on price alone. Always check that there is a way of contacting them by phone and email for advice or if you have a problem. An address proves they are a genuine company and are not going to easily disappear with your money. A big site selling pond supplies should always have a secure page for payment which is indicated by a little yellow padlock symbol. This should give you peace of mind that your details cannot be seen by anyone else across the internet. If this is not the case either move onto one that is secure or a reputable company site that takes credit cards.
Many koi dealers who for a long time now have had websites are seeing the potential for online sales of pond supplies as they can now reach customers outside their local area. I think this is a good idea because often a koi dealers expertise is needed for advice on certain products especially medications, which is not always readily available from some sites. We need the benefits of both worlds as often seeing something in the flesh can put new perspectives on things. What better way to buy pond supplies than from someone you trust.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Water Treatment for Koi

Koi Carp magazine has recently printed a few articles about a new product called Aqualibrium. It's been described as a revolutionary water treatment for koi or any other type of fish pond. Not to be confused with Interpets' Aqualibrium salt which is used as a tonic and ph buffer, this Aqualibrium was developed by a company in holland that worked together with the Indian government to purify waterways often poluted by industry. They have had great success with freshwater shrimp and so they are now targetting the lucritive koi market. It's made from 100% plant extracts that apparently activates microbes in the water to produce a balanced reaction of carbon and hydrogen ions to infuse the water with oxygen. It retails at £49.95 for a litre bottle which isn't cheap but the dosing rate of 5ml per 1000 litres every week, it should last the summer for the average pond. So far it's only available online from .

These are very grand claims and I believe that this product will work very well to clear green water and blanket weed but any other benefits to a healthy koi pond are probably limited. I don't want to be too critical until I try it for myself but I don't think it's some kind of silver bullet that many koi keepers may be led to believe. After all barley straw and its extract has been around now for a while and has been proven to be very effective. When barley straw was first suggested it seemed too good to be true, which may be the same with Aqualibrium but the ingredients look very similar and so I would expect similar results. Natural pond remedies seem to the latest thing but care should still be taken not to overdose or mix them. I thought it was quite amusing that the person who wrote the April star letter in Koi Carp magazine and was testing it on his own koi pond, was given a packet of Nishikoi Blanc-Kit Excel Koi for his efforts.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Melafix & Pimafix

Melafix and Pimafix are two remedies recently recommended to me by Barry Brown of Karobar Koi. Visiting his business is like entering an 'Aladdins cave' for koi keepers as it's run from his home with every square ft of space filled with koi ponds or supplies. Karobar Koi has a health lab and for a fee Barry will help diagnose and treat your sick koi, but don't turn up unannounced with your fish! We got talking about my koi in quarantine with the bulging eyes. Although the koi has appeared to have improved recently Barry warned that internal bacterial infections can be very difficult to treat and unless dealt with early help is often too late. Bacterial infections can prove very stubborn to eradicate, sometimes called a chronic infection which means it can drag on for weeks or months before the koi eventually succumbs.

Barry suggested Pimafix from API which can treat fungal infections as well as external and internal bacterial infections, although this was most effective with milder infections. It's difficult to tell whether the koi is over it or if it needs urgent help. Pimafix can be mixed with Melafix, made by the same manufacturers, to increase recovery but the price to treat my 1000 gallon quarantine tank with Pimafix alone would cost roughly £50! If the koi is cured this isn't too bad, but Barry advised that antibiotics, especially Batril (Enrofloxacin) injections are probably the best course of treatment. This is a difficult decision as antibiotics have been proven to work but the process can be difficult to administer, antibiotics have to be sourced from a vet, the koi is stressed further and they can reduce the immune response. I left to consider the alternatives.

Pimafix & Melafix are both natural remedies that shouldn't harm fish, plants or helpful bacteria but I would add extra filter bacteria after treatment is over to be on the safe side. Pimafix uses the oil from the West Indian Bay Tree (Pimenta racemosa) to prevent fungus and disease causing organisms. Melafix contains the extract for Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca) which has antibacterial properties. In fact according to some people you could mix your own solution from 100% Tea tree oil at the rate of 1% oil to 99% water in solution to be added to the pond. There are a few natural products that work in a similar way by supporting the immune system of the koi such as Kusuri Sabbactisun but as yet I don't know their full ingredients. There is some debate on the effectiveness of these natural remedies and so in advanced cases of disease traditional kill or cure treatments are the only real option. This doesn't mean you can't try both and hedge your bets, but it could turn out rather expensive.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Yume Koi hit with KHV

There is some rather sad and worrying news from Yumekoi declaring that they have recently had an outbreak of KHV (Koi Herpes Virus) confirmed with tests by CEFAS. The outbreak was discovered first in a customers Koi after the BKKS National show which was confined with others returning from the show to two quarantine ponds, but these contained the very best koi. Yumekoi are sole agents in the UK for Momotaro koi and also imported the Grand Champion winning koi from Takigawa.
All possible sources of the outbreak are being investigated and recent customers that might be at risk have been contacted. It's likely that the changes in temperature during the quarantine period triggered the virus to become active. Luckily only seven koi have died from the quarantine ponds and with the raising of the water temperatures the rest should survive. Every koi at Yumekoi is undergoing a blood test to be safe and any koi supplied or that came into contact with them is being offered testing.
" If you have any concerns about a Koi that was purchased from us in the last few months, and have a quarantine facility, we will be more than happy to come out to you to take a blood sample for ELISA (anti-body) testing. This test will indicate if the Koi have ever been exposed to KHV. A negative test result means that the Koi hasn't seen the virus, and hence, can be considered safe."

No other mortalities outside of Yumekoi have been reported, so hopefully this is just an isolated case. It must be especially worrying for all concerned but it shows that no-one can be complacent about this disease. This shows that the English style of benching at shows (each person showing has their own vat) is the only sensible way to hold a koi show and that quarantine procedures are vital. As with the outbreak at Momotaro farm, Yumekoi and Mike Snaden have acted honorably at this difficult time and I feel declaring this outbreak openly to the public has been the best policy.
" We are deeply sorry for any worry caused by bringing you this sad news, and promise to do our upmost to get to the bottom of it, and also to test each and every Kay here individually for anti-bodies so that we can put your minds at ease."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Koi Health Food

Koi food comes in such a range of choice nowadays, especially in the UK. It seems like every month a new koi food is launched onto what seems an already crowded market. Years ago it was relatively straight forward with the decision being between floating protein food in the summer and a sinking food for the winter. Now there are whole ranges of koi foods by lots of different manufacturers that can be especially bewildering for a beginner. Even experienced koi keepers can be confused with some brands having very similar names. A good thing about all this competition has meant the standard of koi food across the price ranges has improved a lot and even the cheapest should provide a good basic diet for your koi.

Most serious koi keepers are not interested in just feeding a basic diet though but would rather provide the best food they can, to give the optimum diet for growth and health at an affordable price. They are looking for any advantage or edge they can get especially for show koi and those trying to grow them to jumbo proportions. There seems to be two extremes of koi food brands on the market appealing to different buyers. One is the big manufacturer like Hikari and Tetra who spend thousands on research and development and are very well recognized from their promotion campaigns. They sell their food by slick packaging and very convincing scientific explanations. The other type of koi food looks almost homemade and usually comes in silver foil packages with small labels often in Japanese. These give the buyer in the West a feeling that they are getting the same food that the best in Japan are feeding their koi on. Years ago I remember getting my first delivery of Sakura and it felt like receiving a magical recipe that only the breeders knew about. These foods sell on trust and reputation but now in truth all koi foods have similar ingredients as proven to give a balanced diet. Now and again advances are made that stand out for a while only for all the other brands to catch up.

My koi in quarantine with the bulging eyes has improved lately and has been feeding well for the past few days. I'm tempted to use some medication to speed the koi onto a full recovery but wonder if there's anything else I could try. I have continued to feed her on the usual food Kusuri FPF1 which I've had great success with over the years without thinking too much about individual ingredients or other foods available until now. Koi foods are now being made for specific reasons such as growth increases, colour enhancement and health improvements and protection. These health foods and supplements are what I want to concentrate on here.

All good koi foods should provide all the necessary nutrients to keep your koi healthy but there are some foods that add extra ingredients to help prevent disease. Some of these are advertised as purely health foods that are used for a short period to help sick koi recover while others are fed regularly giving long term health benefits. Here are most of the ingredients added to koi food to maintain or even increase your kois' immune system and fight infection :-

  • Vitamin C - A well known antioxidant and added to many koi foods but can be reduced by the heat of the manufacturing process of pellets in some brands. Always store koi food in a cool, dark place to preserve vitamins. You can add vitamins to pellets by soaking them in a solution or there are sprays available. Koi actually like small pieces of orange which you can give to them as a more natural alternative.
  • Garlic - In small quantities this is added for its antibacterial qualities.
  • Montmorillite Clay - This is often added in the best foods to improve digestion and has been proven to reduce stress protein production.
  • Propolis - This extract from bees has been described as natures antibiotic. It is a high potency bioflav anoid with antiseptic qualities for bacterial infections. It can be used directly on wounds and ulcers.
  • Chitonsan - A polysaccharide extracted from shrimp shells that has anti-fungal, anti-viral, wound healing and bone healing properties. It's an interesting substance which again has human uses and is available from health food shops. The carotein in the shrimp shells can also improve your kois' colour. It also has uses as a flocculant to improve water clarity and is used in industrial sand filters to help particles stick together.
  • Brewers Yeast - Natures wonder food. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a strain used for brewing ale but there are other strains as well. It's full of B vitamins, minerals and amino acids which help koi regulate energy and healthy fin, gill and tissue development. Maybe they would like to try some of my Marmite!
  • Bakers Yeast - This is one of the latest break throughs and in a few quality koi foods. Extracted from Saccharomyes cerevisiae the only strain in Bakers yeast is a fibre type complex sugar (polysaccharide) called Beta-glucan. Also found in oats and barley, beta-glucan boosts the immune system of koi by stimulating macrophages (white blood cells) that attack infections.
  • Lactoferrin - This is a globular, multifunctional protein with anti-microbial activity (bacteriocide and fungicide) and is part the mucus defense layer. It's found in milk, tears and saliva and helps to increase phagocyte (another type of white blood cell that engulfs invading micro-organisms) activity. This also has implications for human health with HIV and cancer quoted as possibly helping. Tests in fish farming have proved a great success but so far it's only available to koi keepers in Medicarp. However lactoferrin can be bought from some health food shops and in theory it could be added to paste foods yourself. (Don't quote me on this as I haven't any experience with this, it's just an idea!).
  • Limonene - Oil in lemon skins - an excellent antiseptic and source of vitamin C.
  • Olive leaves - Proven anti viral properties.
  • Artemisia - A group of herbs including taragon that repells insects and has anti-parasitic properties.
  • Valerian root - An excellent sedative that reduces stress.

The best brands of koi foods have some of the above ingredients in their recipes for prevention and can be fed on a regular basis but there are some foods purely to help sick fish. One such food is Aqua Meds Medi-Koirx. This is a medicated food for treating tough bacterial and fungal diseases. It's a sinking food to get down to sick koi that may not want to rise for food. The medicated components are made up of 4 antibiotics which includes Ormetoprim, Sulfadimethoxine, Kanamycin and Oxolinic acid. Antibiotics should only be given over a set period and in high doses, often with repeat courses until cured otherwise the bacterial can built resistance. Because of this different countries have their own regulations about antibiotics and this food may not be easily available outside the US. Here in the UK antibiotics have to be given with permission from a vet to stop their overuse but this shouldn't be a problem. Personally I have used the antibiotic Oxytetracycline mixed in food and in baths with little success. It's very difficult to get the quantities needed into the kois' body with injections probably more effective but harder to administer. If you can get it Medi-Koirx is worth a try.

Here is a list of some of the best koi foods that promote their health giving properties in no particular order:-

  • Medi-Koi rx from Aqua Meds - As mentioned above for very sick fish with 4 antibiotics.
  • Medicarp - Japanese food, the only one with Lactoferrin.
  • Medikoi Health -NT Labs health food has "Stimmune" a beta-glucan and propolis plus a whole range of health promoting ingredients. Feed for a short period and then mix with a regular food to provide a balanced diet.
  • Tetra Koi Excellence - Active formula is patented combination of vitamins and immunostimulants including Beta-glucan 1,3/1,6.
  • Saki-Hikari - The flagship range has probiotics to improve digestion and out compete bad bacteria.
  • Kusuri FPF1 -A daily food with added immune support from propolis, garlic and brewers yeast.
  • Nishikoi Niigata Proffessional - Nishi-Clay, propolis and Nishi-guard - immuno stimulants.
  • Takazumi Vital - Developed to stimulated the immune system of koi in the winter. Can be fed down to 4C as it's low in protein with wheatgerm.
  • Misimar Supplement food - Uncooked herbs and essential health ingredients. Boosts the immune system, promotes growth and produces a good mucus layer.
  • Misimar Silver - The same as above but with higher concentration of herbs - helps to eradicate parasites and recovery from illness.
  • Izeki Paste Food -This enables quick digestion and can be conbined with any additives you want. Also contains Chitonarl to activate the liver.
  • Intelligence Solutions Food Additives - Designed to make any pellet a super fresh health promoting palatable food. Mix into your food in a set order and then it can be kept in the fridge up to a week.
  • Azayaka Food - A daily food with Chitosan.
  • Dainichi - Has a special vitamin & mineral coating applied after the extrusion process which can denature the ingredients due to the heat.
  • Dai Suki Gold IR - Like the regular food but with added beta-glucans and vitamins for times of stress like moving fish, spawning and illness.
  • Koi Fu-Do - Quarantine plus 18C/64F. The semi-soft pellet helps for quicker digestion.
  • House of Kata - A new range of foods with propolis, garlic and zeolite.
  • Koi Sho - Optimun range is a rich source of nucleotides to stimulate the immune system.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Goldfish Scooping Contest

Here's an interesting story I found thanks to which although it isn't new it does highlight an annual Goldfish contest that's on soon.The Japanese have developed a robot called Poi-Poi-kun that can scoop up Goldfish at the rate of ten a minute. At first this seems the craziest idea ever but there is point to it. The city Yamatokoriyama calls itself the Goldfish capital of the world and produces 80 million Goldfish a year. To promote their industry they invented a sport whereby contestants, mainly children try to scoop up as many Goldfish within three minutes using a small paper paddle called a Poi. This is easier said than done and if the paddle breaks then you end your turn.
As Goldfish(Kingyo) and some Koi production is one of the main economic industries of the area the Nara Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology created Poi-Poi-Kun to showcase their skills at the event. While the human record for scooping Goldfish is around 60 a minute easily beating the robot it is still a very clever invention. Throughout the koi farms at the moment koi selections are well in progress but even with the careful eye and the knowledge of even the best breeders it is a time consuming job. Starting with millions of fry that are culled to leave the best koi possible could perhaps be a job technology can improve upon in the future for some farms.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Koi Shows this August

Here are all of the dates for the best koi shows this August. If you think any are missing and know of a koi show you would like me to add, please contact me.

5-6 BKKS Ireland Show - 14th Annual Koi Show - Colemans Garden Centre, Templepatrick.

5-6 9th Puget Sound Koi Club Annual Young Koi Show - Taccoma, WA, USA.

12-13 Scottish Koi Club Annual Show - Amazing Ponds & Garden Centre, Chatelherault Country Park, Hamilton, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

12-13 North East Koi Club 6th Open Show - Nissan Sports & Social Club, Sunderland, England, UK.

12-13 13th Idaho Watergarden & Koi Society Koi Show - Boise, Idaho, USA.

13 Mid Staffs 20th Closed & 2nd Open Show - Hollybush Garden Centre, Shareshill, Wolverhampton, England, UK.

18-20 Inland Empire Water Garden and Koi Society - 7th Annual Show, River Park, Spokane, WA, USA.

19-20 Rocky Mountain Koi Club - 17 th Annual Koi Show - Tagawa Garden Center in Aurira, CO, USA.

18-19-20 14th Dutch Koi Days - Nishikigoi Vereniging Nederland - Kasteeltlinen, Arcen (near Venlo), Netherlands.

25-27 Midwest Pond and Koi Society - 14th Annual Koi Show - Darien Sportsplex in Darien, IL, USA.

26-27 2nd New England Watergarden & Ornamental Fish Show - Three County Fairground, Northampton MA, USA.

27-28 West Wales Koi Keepers Section Closed Show - The Margam Park County Show, Margam Park, Port Talbot, Wales, UK.

28-29 BKKS South East Section Open Show - Parkwood Hall School, Swanley, Kent, England, UK.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Koi Crime

There have been a number of koi related crimes lately with the BBC reporting only the other day that " Thieves take £3000 of koi carp". I doubt the thieves were professionals and knew what they were doing, or know how to look after the six big koi that they took. Hopefully they are well and the police can get them back into safe hands, but somehow I doubt it.

One of the problems with koi thefts is the police don't realize how attached owners can become with their koi as pets as well as them being unique creatures which are not easily replaced. People generally who don't keep koi tend to view them all as costing thousands and an exotic play thing for the very rich & famous like owning a racehorse, but this as we know isn't true. The press reports don't help much either and tend to marginalise the hobby with reports that thieves try to sell the koi on to collectors. By collectors I take it they mean koi keepers but the term kind of suggests someone similar to an art collector. There isn't a big market for second hand koi and serious koi "collectors" wouldn't dream of buying koi from unknown sources. This leaves the thieves to approach koi dealers who would probably twig that they are not genuine or give them a lot less than they were expecting. A likely senario is they will end up in an unsuitable pond with owners unlikely to be able to care for them.

This got me thinking that we should all try to keep our koi secure no matter how expensive they are. Not only the koi themselves but also the many other pond accessories can be attractive to burglars. This shouldn't be something to worry about but there are many things that can be easily done. Security cameras, webcams and intruder activated lights are increasingly becoming more affordable. I have even seen an underwater camera advertised so you can check you koi when on holiday. For large, expensive koi an experienced vet can microchip them if you wish, which involves injecting the tiny chip under the scales, similar to the chip used on cats & dogs. How successful this is I don't know but it makes sense to first try to prevent them from being stolen, before considering it.

There is a website Pond watch UK that reports koi crimes from around the UK , which should be useful to koi dealers and owners. It relies on the crime victims updating the site but should help to deter koi criminals targeting ponds and people buying stolen koi. Like anything common sense is needed and if anyone offers you koi that you are not sure about then walk away.

More Hikari News

There's more encouraging news from Hikari UK aka PPI-Pet Products International the UK official distributors for the best known fish food Hikari. Their website is now up and running and their presence at the recent International Koi show is evidence that their past supply problems are now over. Speaking to Hikari representatives they are now confident for the future and are flying the food in from Japan until the normal shipments arrive. At the Kelmarsh Hall show most of the dealers were selling Hikari with their premium food Saki-Hikari proving popular.

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