Deep Knowledge from our Master Ponders

Until we move all of the great articles to our new website, you may wish to link to the old website articles.
Loving Koi
The Language of Koi by Bob Brudd
Showa – The King of Nishikigoi by Bryan Bateman
Kohaku – The Queen of Koi by Bryan Bateman
Sanke – The Elegant Koi by Bryan Bateman
Goromo – An Amazing Breed by Bryan Bateman
Goshiki – “five-colored” by Bryan Bateman
Utsuri – Shadow and Light by Bryan Bateman
Kumonryu – The mysterious ever-changing koi by Bryan Bateman
Ochiba Shigure – Autumn Leaves on Water by Bryan Bateman
Ginrin – Diamonds by Bryan Bateman
Tancho – The Crane by Bryan Bateman
Yamabuki Ogon by Bryan Bateman
The Elusive Beni Kujaku by Bryan Bateman
Showa, the Embodiment of Power by Bob Brudd
Sanke, Elegance Personified by Bob Brudd
Kohaku, the Cornerstone of Koi by Bob Brudd
Attending Koi Shows
Alright, Why Should I Go to a Koi Show?
Planning For the Future, The Hard Way
Koi Preparation For a Show by Ray Jordan
A Koi Show Manual-Norm Meck Revisited
General Information
The Three Laws
Poisonous Plants
The Inherited Pond
I Think I Want A Pond…
I’m a Ponder!
Quarantining Your New Koi
Snag ’em, Bag ’em and Drag ’em
Pond Building
The Ins and Outs of Koi Pond Building by Mike White, Part 1: Planning
The Ins and Outs of Koi Pond Building by Mike White, Part 2: Design
The Ins and Outs of Koi Pond Building by Mike White, Part 3: Circulation
The Ins and Outs of Koi Pond Building by Mike White, Part 4: Mechanical and Chemical Filtration
The Ins and Outs of Koi Pond Building by Mike White, Part 5: Biological Filtration
The Ins and Outs of Koi Pond Building by Mike White, Part 6: Mats, Pads and Biofall Filters
The Ins and Outs of Koi Pond Building by Mike White, Part 7: Biological Filters – Bead, Tower and Vortex Filters
The Ins and Outs of Koi Pond Building by Mike White, Part 8: Fluid Bed, Bio-Reactors and Nexus Filters
The Ins and Outs of Koi Pond Building by Mike White, Part 9: Planning for Pond Expansion
Head loss due to pipe runs
Pond Maintenance
Pimp My Pond
Opening and Cleaning of Ponds By Bryan Bateman
Cold Water Care of Koi by Bryan Bateman, AKCA Koi Health Advisor
Fish Story – or – Mystery Pond Detective (My thanks to Richard Strange for a hellaciously good Water Quality course!)
Winter and Your Pond
Who’s on pHirst?
Spring and Your Pond
O Noes! More Salts!

Ochiba Shigure – Autumn Leaves on Water by Bryan Bateman

Have you ever seen a soft gray colored koi with gold patterning? If you have, you likely would not forget, because it is very different looking than the brightly colored koi we are used to seeing. This quietly refined and elegant koi is called an Ochiba Shigure, which aptly translates to “autumn leaves on water”. The delicately reticulated scales do indeed give an impression of leaves floating on a calm pond, with the golden-leaved trees reflected on the surface. A relative newcomer on the koi scene, having been around only since about the mid-90s, the Ochiba is actually a cross between a gray Soragoi and a golden brown chagoi. These two ancestors have a reputation of being the friendliest of koi, and the Ochiba has happily inherited that trait. Many hobbyists will have one of these types koi in their collection for the purpose of encouraging other, shyer koi to “come out of their shells” and be more sociable. They will be the first to come up to greet you as you approach your pond, and will readily eat from your hand. For show purposes, they are usually grouped with the “kawarimono” class, which is a catch-all for many of the lesser-known varieties. However, due to their increasing popularity, some shows have a special award for best Ochiba. There are many newer types of Ochiba as well, including a scale-less Doitsu Ochiba, a sparkling ginrin Ochiba, and most recently a metallic doitsu ochiba. Another sub-variety has been a cross between…

Ginrin – Diamonds by Bryan Bateman

Many of us when new to the koi hobby are attracted by those “sparkly” little koi that seem to be covered with diamonds. These are known as “ginrin” koi. GinRin is not a variety per se, but a characteristic that can be seen on any scaled koi. The Japanese pronunciation sounds like “geenleen”, but it has been Americanized by most to sound just like it looks, with a hard ‘G’. It translates to “silver scale”, and is sometimes referred to as “KinGinRin”, or “Gold and silver scale”. This is because, when ginrin appears on a red fish such as a kohaku, it sometimes has a gold appearance. This silver effect is due to the presence in the scale of a chromatophore called guanine, which was first noticed in a random spawning in Japan in 1929. There are actually four distinct types of GinRin scales. The most common is known as “diamond gin”, and appears much like cracked glass over the entire scale. A highly valued type, and hard to find in this country, is called “Beta Gin”, which is characterized by the entire scale being covered with silver, much like a mirror. A third type is “kada gin”, or “edge gin”, which is exactly as it sounds – each scale is edged in silver. The last, and by far rarest, is pearl gin. On this type, the gin appears only in the center of the scale, and truly looks as though someone carefully mounted a diamond on each scale. When…

Tancho – The Crane by Bryan Bateman

A tancho is any koi with red located only on the head. If it has red anywhere on the body other than the head, it is no longer considered a tancho. Named for the Tancho Crane, and very popular in Japan due to the similarity of this type of marking to the Japanese flag, tanchos have their own class in koi shows. This class generally includes tancho kohaku, tancho sanke, and tancho showa, but may include other types of tancho as well, such as tancho goshiki, tancho beni kumonryu, or tancho ochiba. The inclusion of these other types of tancho is determined by each club and show chairman. The tancho marking may have many shapes, however a round shape is considered ideal. The size of this mark should be as large as possible without going past the eyes, back onto the beginning of the scales, or too far forward on the forehead, and it should be centered. Other shapes sometimes seen are square, cross-shaped, or irregular flowery-type shapes. Any of these are acceptable on a tancho as long as they are uniformly shaped, are centered on the head, and have a pleasing look to the eye. Purchasing a young tancho can be risky as they frequently will lose the tancho mark as they mature. It is best to buy them at two or three years of age, as the mark will generally be stable by this time. You want to look for a tancho marking that appears thick, with no…

Yamabuki Ogon by Bryan Bateman

Yamabuki Ogon   The history of the development of metallic koi is an interesting one. About 90 years ago, a Japanese hobbyist by the name of Sawata Aoki had a dream to create a special type of koi. When he heard that a young boy had found a wild carp in a river which had golden stripes on it, he walked many miles to see this carp, and convinced the boy to sell it to him. He carried his new treasure home and spent the next 25 years patiently breeding and selecting the brightest and shiniest offspring until, in 1946, he finally achieved his dream – the first metallic koi. This koi soon came to be called a Yamabuki Ogon, and is the original ancestor of all metallic koi that we have available to us today.   Today Yamabuki Ogons are one of the most popular of varieties. Although extremely expensive when first made available to Japanese collectors, they can now be had at prices well within the budget of most hobbyists. They are hardy, grow quite large, and are generally the friendliest of koi. Their bright shiny yellow color will attract your eye especially as the sun strikes them. When selecting young Yamabuki Ogons, look first for a healthy, energetic koi with a solid body shape (not too skinny or too fat). Next in importance is the sheen. Look at the pectoral fins, along the back, and on the head. These areas should be highly reflective as the light…

The Elusive Beni Kujaku by Bryan Bateman

One of the more interesting and attractive developments in recent years has been the modification and improvement of a popular variety known as the Kujaku (“peacock” in Japanese) The first Kujaku was created in 1960 by crossing a matsuba ogon and a hariwaki. The result was a metallic koi with reticulated scales and a pattern of yellow, orange, or various shades of red on a white background. The Kujaku became an instant hit with collectors. For show purposes, Kujaku is placed in the Hikarimoyo class, competing against other patterned metallics including hariwaki, kikusui, yamatonishiki (metallic sanke), and metallic bekko. Due to the added refinement of the reticulated scales, the Kujaku has a definite advantage over the other members of this class, and is most often selected as “best in class” for hikarimoyo. Occasionally a Kujaku would be seen with a deep rich red pattern, but it was a rarity as the hariwaki lineage most often results in yellow to orange shades. Recognizing a demand for the red (beni) Kujaku, breeders embarked on the goal of developing a Kujaku with consistently red coloration. A breeder in Niigata, Japan, by the name of Koneko, became the first to achieve this. He reputedly crossed a traditional Kujaku with either a metallic Kohaku or a red Kikusui, and the result has been a new line of beni Kujaku which have become the standard of the breed. When selecting a young Kujaku for your collection, look for a koi with excellent metallic sheen. Also, check…

THE INS AND OUTS OF KOI POND BUILDING by Mike White, White Water Filters PART 1: Planning

PART 1: Planning Are you thinking about building or having a koi pond built? In this series of articles I will discuss how to build a koi pond. Why is it important for you to read this article prior to “digging in”? Because quite frankly there are many people in the pond industry that are telling people things that are not true, just to sell their products. Or, they installed a system themselves and feel it is the best. Why should you take the time to read what I have to say? I have been involved with the koi hobby for over 25 years. I see more than 100 different ponds every year. I sell, install and maintain many different types of pond and koi products. I have worked with both old technology and cutting edge technology. I have written articles for various pond related publications and have conducted seminars. And I will be the first to tell you that there is no such thing as a “perfect” system. What make a koi pond different from any other pond? The first thing is that this is a pond designed to house large fish, a type of carp, koi. In a large area they can easily be raised to a size in excess of two feet long and may grow to 3 feet long. That is a big fish. A fish this size needs room to swim and grow. But an even larger concern is that this fish uses very little…

THE INS AND OUTS OF KOI POND BUILDING by Mike White, White Water Filters PART 2: Design

PART 2: Design In this series of articles I will not endorse any brands or manufacturers. I may talk about different manufacturers but if I don’t mention a particular company it in no way implies that I feel a product is inferior or doesn’t measure up. I will tell you what I would look for in a product. If a product meets the criteria I use, does not imply that it is the best, only that it meets the specifications I am looking for. All opinions expressed are my own. This part will discuss pond design. The first item is the shape of the pond. In the first article I talked about the sized of the pond. The ideal shape is a perfect oval, however most people don’t construct a pond in a perfect oval. Why is the perfect oval ideal? This shape provides the best possible water circulation in the pond. The cross section of the pond should reveal a bowl shape. The bowl shape provides a good way to get the debris to the bottom drain. Once again, I am speaking of the “ideal” shape. Now that we know what the ideal shape is and why it is considered such, you can work on determining the compromises you are willing to make to result in the aesthetic design you want. There is more to pond design than size and shape. There are various pieces of equipment on the pond, circulation of the water and filtration equipment to be…

THE INS AND OUTS OF KOI POND BUILDING by Mike White, White Water Filters PART 3: Circulation

PART 3: Circulation In the last installment we discussed circulation a great deal. The reason circulation is an important topic is that everything that lives in the pond depends upon circulation or lack of circulation. Water circulation takes place both in the pond and outside the pond. To circulate water outside the pond it requires a force on the water to get it to move. This force commonly is either gravity, a pump or air. Gravity and pumps are commonly used to circulate water outside a pond and are usually used in conjunction with each other. A pump is used to either lift water above the level of the pond so that gravity can be used to move it back to the pond. Or a pump sucks water out of a container attached to the pond, such as a skimmer or vortex settling chamber, and gravity returns water to the container to replace the water that has been removed. Now I would like to discuss pumps. Pumps are usually classified as one of two types; submersible and external. Submersible pumps are designed to run submersed in water. If they run out of water, they will over heat. They are usually located in the skimmer or in the pond. Most submersible pumps are filled with oil to transfer the heat from the motor to the water. They usually have a life span of less than four years if used in a pond. It is usually not recommended to rebuild submersible pumps….

THE INS AND OUTS OF KOI POND BUILDING by Mike White, White Water Filters Part 4: Mechanical and Chemical Filtration

Part 4: Mechanical and Chemical Filtration In this article we are going to discuss filtration. Filtration is broken down into 3 different types; mechanical, chemical and biological. I will be discussing each type in detail. This article will cover mechanical and chemical filtration with biological filtration to be covered in the next article. To begin, we will cover mechanical filtration. Stated simply, mechanical filtration removes debris or compounds from the pond through a mechanical device. The device could be as simple as a net or as complicated as a foam fractionator. Every mechanical filter has a specific purpose. When looking at mechanical filtration it is important to first identify what you are trying to accomplish and then choose the correct product for the solution. Most commonly on a pond we see a skimmer; which is a mechanical filter used to remove floating debris from the surface of the pond. Within the skimmer there are usually two different devices. First a weir designed to take water from the surface. Next a net or basket is used to collect debris. When looking at mechanical filters, we need to analyze how well it will do what it is intended to do. Using our skimmer example, let’s break down how it is supposed to work and determine what to look for in a skimmer. The first thing a skimmer is supposed to do is remove debris from the surface using a weir type device. Water is intended to enter the skimmer by going over…

THE INS AND OUTS OF KOI POND BUILDING by Mike White, White Water Filters Part 5: Biological Filtration

Part 5: Biological Filtration In the last article we discussed chemical and mechanical filtration. In this article I will cover biological filtration. What is the purpose of a biological filter? It is the removal of toxic compounds by means of living organisms. The typical toxic compound would be ammonia and a living organism would be a bacterium. Doesn’t bacteria grow everywhere in a pond? Then why do we need a filter? The answer is that the pond does not necessarily need a biological filter in addition to the bacteria that is in the pond. In looking at nature, we realize that natural ponds and lakes do not have biological filtration in addition to the bacteria in the natural body of water. So why are there so many biological filters on the market? Because there is one major difference between a natural body of water and most koi ponds. A natural body of water has very few fish in comparison to most koi ponds. For this reason, a koi pond needs to have a biological filter added to it. What is a biological filter? It is a device that provides additional area to grow bacteria on. Bacteria will grow on almost any surface. Bacteria are microscopic organisms and therefore a great number of them can live in a very small area. To understand how the biological process works in a pond with a biological filter we need to understand the nitrification cycle. Ammonia is converted to nitrite by one type of…