Another year has passed and so the time came to take new shots of this male Kujaku bred by Oofuchi. It was purchased as Tosai, at some 15cm for around £50.00 - see the first picture.
As I covered in an older blog post, the second picture shows the koi at nisai and 35cm, whilst a good increase in body and size had been achieved, it was left looking rather messy indeed. It had spent a year in the hobbyists second 'play pond' of around 1,000gallons, a good sized system, but its pump fed box filter is far from adequate, sees too little maintenance and the pond gets very little in the way of fresh water.
One would think that all is lost.
The koi was then moved to the hobbyist’s main pond - 4800gallons of well filtered, well managed water. I think this just about did the trick and rescued any potential the kujaku possessed. Hats off to the owner!
The last shot shows the same koi at yonsai and 55cm, the quality of the skin lustre, matsuba pattern and fukurin are very good indeed. Yes, the pattern isn't ideal, but I can stare at that metallic skin all day, it's strangely mesmerising!
The shots give an indication of good, steady growth in an unheated, well stocked pond and you can clearly see the koi improving year on year. The general questions now are, how long will this continue, what size can be achieved and will this male koi develop a decent body?
Let us look a little closer
I thought I would do a direct comparison between the tosai and yonsai shots and highlight the things I'd be looking for as indicators in terms of development potential.
One of the most important qualities in kujaku is the shine of the skin, particularly on the head and back, the cleaner and brighter, the better. Even in the blurry first shot, we can see the shine on the head and backbone, location 1, this carries through to yonsai, where this quality is still evident and forms one of the most pleasing aspects of the koi.
Kujaku won't usually begin to develop a strong matsuba pattern (pinecone, netting effect) until nisai/sansai at the earliest. Predicting if this will happen and to what extent, is usually based on how uniform the scales appear as tosai. This is the same for any koi that possess the matsuba pattern. The more uniform the scales, the more chance the koi has of developing a nice matsuba pattern and good fukurin. At tosai, although there is not yet any depth, you can see an example of this uniform quality indicated at location 2, only to develop beautifully as yonsai.
Location 3 shows that the uniformity of the scales behind the head is not ideal, the area looks a little messy and stays this way at yonsai to some degree. However, the shine of the skin more than makes up for it in my opinion, that and the refinement elsewhere.
Location 4 in the first shot indicates pecs exactly as we would ideally want them, clean and shiny. As yonsai the pecs have started to muddy, which is fairly common, sometimes this can develop into a thicker sumi, like motoguro in a showa, which can be attractive if neat...fingers crossed!
This was purchased as an inexpensive little gamble and of course it has limitations regarding what we can expect in the future. We must be realistic. But it goes to show that having a keen eye and focussing our attention in the right places can be very rewarding, less risky and a great bit of fun!
The development of this kujaku has provided four years worth of valuable learning and I reckon there's still more to come yet...
- not bad for 50 quid!