I heard once:
“If you squint your eyes when looking at a koi you can imagaine what it might look like later in life…”
Never did work for me! But please do give it a try!
Remember there’s no rush when it comes to koi development, a lot of hobbyists will move a koi on if they don’t see changes happen quickly enough. I’ve talked to a lot of hobbyists during the process of making a koi purchase over the years and you really do hear it all when it comes to “potential development...”
- It hasn’t got enough sumi
- The Beni isn’t refined enough
- It’s a little on the slim side
- If only the second dan was a little more to the right
- Its not big enough, it should be at least 67cm by now
To which I reply “But it’s only a £25.00 tosai...”
I’m being facetious, but this is expectation vs reality and being realistic in terms of what your budget can get you is important. But so too is having a mind for the future of the koi in question, this can help you make a better judgment and get more ‘bang for your buck.’
“The koi that be pretty now, may not be pretty later” - to quote Freud.
And he’s definitely right, clever bloke. Selecting koi for specific awards at upcoming koi shows aside, if one is making a purchase for long term enjoyment, then future development and longevity are important. Remember any koi can become rather expensive the moment it starts to go down hill and buying a koi at its peak would indicate there’s only one way to go. The game then becoming ‘how long can we keep it at peak...’
I always find it interesting how many people seem to be in a rush, they want the finished article and they want it now! Time is a very important factor in the development of any koi and if we can keep an eye out for little tell-tale signs of quality, then maybe the investment of time can pay off and you can purchase a koi with a little longevity.
- Is the skin quality good?
- Is the body structure good?
- Is there any sumi visible and is it of quality?
- Is the pattern and its placement going to help or hinder things later on?
The list goes on and obviously varies for each variety, but even these simple questions can make a big difference in your decision to purchase.
Example - Courtesy of 'The Koi Collection'
Here is an example of a Gin Rin Showa imported by The Koi Collection, it came into the country as Nisai. It was rather skinny, lacked sumi and wasn’t a solid prospect by any stretch. To its merit, it did have a pleasing beni pattern, the white skin was very good and there was a small patch of sumi on the white ground of good quality (highlighted in the blurry pic). The purchase by all means was a punt, a ‘what if.’
As expected the koi had zero interest once in the uk, even after quarantine it still hadn’t done much, although more areas of sumi were starting to appear (see left pic). The koi remained unsold for a while - it was then moved to another sales pond and this was when things seemed to change, sumi started sprouting and although still slender, it was looking like it might be worth a gamble (see middle pic). So much so, it sold. In April 2020 I received a further update and it was looking rather nice indeed (see right pic).
This wasn’t an expensive koi by most standards and given how it looks now, I’d say it was actually rather cheap! The skin quality, body shape, pattern and sumi quality are all quite lovely. Of course only further time will tell what size the koi can achieve, but it could certainly be a good prospect in a vat at a UK koi show.
The discerning eyes and importantly the keeping skills of the hobbyists paid off! Risks like this don’t always turn out, but if there’s evidence enough to show some quality, then perhaps time might become your best weapon, with a little help from Lady Luck.
- Don’t get impatient and move a good fish on too soon -