Members Articles

Koi Auction Australia Style

KSA. Koi, Sunshine & Auctions

The other day I was invited along to one of the Koi auctions run by the Koi Society of Australia (KSA). The Sun shone, and the Koi looked terrific!

In NSW and WA many of the Koi Hobbyist breed their own Koi, and very successfully I might add, in terms of numbers and quality of Koi.

Like all Koi keepers, they have limited pond space. So the KSA holds abut 8 Koi auctions a year in NSW so that members can sell off their spare Koi and continually strive to improve their collections. Koi from 7.5cm upwards are brought along on the day by members. They are inspected by Committee members and then auctioned off in Lots of either single larger Koi or bowls full of smaller Koi. The whole process is well executed and ran like well oiled machine. Gerard McDonald sat up on his auctioneers’ high-chair like a Tennis Umpire whilst Kate, Ian and the other KSA members moved the Vats around, bagged the Koi up and collected the money.

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These Auction serve as a great opportunity for members of the general public to purchase good quality, healthy Koi too. I suspect many of the people that I saw bidding for Koi will soon be members of one of the branches of the KSA as the Koi bug bites them!
It was great to see many youngsters there asking Mum and Dad for a few Dollars to buy some small Koi. I suspect they’ll get as much pleasure from raising their fish as they would have done from a Computer Game or iPod down load for the same money.

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The KSA raised a few Thousand Dollars to help fund the Club, and even though the average price per Vat was down from the auction held back in Dec 2010, I think all the sellers were happy too. I managed t resist purchasing any koi, but I did succumb to the urge to buy a Steak sandwich being sold by the committee ‘chefs’ over on the BBQ.

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Happy Koi keeping

Martin Rocliffe

Added on: January 23rd, 2011

Koi News from Down Under

Dear NWKS
Anywhere in the World…..”Koi People are Nice People”

My wife Mags and I arrived in Sydney on Dec12th ready to start a new Life “Down Under”. Moving anywhere new can be stressful and quite daunting as you have to start making new acquaintances and friends. Let me tell you that moving to the other side of the World is an even bigger challenge!

However, within a week of touching down, we were invited to a BBQ by Kate McGill. Kate is a Internationally acclaimed ZNA Koi judge and author of several Koi books and magazine articles. She and her partner Ian Andrews have a fabulous 6,000 gallon pond and growing on tank, in a beautifully kept garden and House to the West of Sydney.

Also at the BBQ was Gerard McDonald and his partner Kazuyo. They both play a major role in the running of the Northern NSW branch of the KSA, as well as visiting and judging in Japan, China and S Africa.

I soon got to hear about the Koi breeding and auctions that take place here in NSW, as well as the KSA Branch set up. I cannot wait to buy my own House and build ‘Rocliffe Koi Pond Mk II’, so that I can enjoy these new facets of the Hobby and get stuck into the Aussie Koi World.

Kate and Ian’s Koi collection was impressive! Anyone that tells you that Aussie Koi are inferior to those in UK ponds should watch out! I would be proud to own any of the Koi I saw. The non-Go Sankes particularly were as good as any I’ve seen. And with plenty of my personal favourites (Hi Utsuri) on display, my day was made for sure.

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The food at the BBQ was spectacular with Ian rustling up some of the best Steaks I’ve ever eaten, and the Kangaroo fillet was fabulous too. Not to be outdone, Kate produced an absolutely wicked Pavlova ! To say we were made to feel very welcome would be an understatement, and just goes to prove that where ever you are in the World,
“Koi People are Nice people”.

Happy Koi Keeping

Martin Rocliffe

Added on: December 27th, 2010

Koi Thefts a Problem in 2010?

With the ever increasing problem of Koi thefts, with thieves using more devious ways of finding potential targets, Google Earth and Google Street View. Koi keepers should be looking at ways of protecting their Koi not only with better security around their Home and pond, but with identification of the Koi if they happen to be stolen.

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Micro chipping has been around for a while, which is an effective way of identifying Koi but this can be invasive to the Koi having a microchip inserted beneath the skin with the possibility of infection.
Now a new technique has been developed, were Koi can be fingerprinted using their unique DNA, as has been done for dogs and cats.
A similar price to that of getting a pet micro chipped, but is less invasive, less stressful and provides irrefutable evidence that cannot be tampered with, as to the ownership of the pet.
The DNA samples can be securely stored and will always remain the property of the Koi owner. Details will be stored onto a database and the owner will be provided with a unique sample ID number. Therefore if the fish should ever get stolen, they can provide the police with this number and should DNA evidence ever be required to prove ownership, this will provide irrefutable evidence in identifying their Koi should it be stolen and later found and especially in cases where there is dispute over ownership the sample will be sent to the appropriate authority on the owners behalf. The sample will be securely stored and will be available to the police or investigating authority upon demand.
A DNA sample, in the form of a non-invasive mouth swab or scale, which will be purified and treated for storage for up to 30 years, and entered onto a database.

Watch this Space for more details.

Added on: May 28th, 2010

Spring Health Care

Spring care for your Koi
After the long cold winter for your Koi, getting your pond up and running in the spring can help your Koi come out of their dormant state successfully. Spring can be one of the worst times of the year for Koi, there are so many things to deal with. There are the water temperatures that have more ups and downs than a rollercoaster. Every pond will cool down and warm up at a different rate. The size of the pond, the surface area of the pond, the amount of shading around the pond is a few factors affect the ponds temperature fluctuations. I tend to keep my pond covers on till the night time temperatures have stabilised. An important tool for your pond is a thermometer, to monitor the water temperature.
If you are lucky enough to have a pond heating system, you can also use it to keep those temperature fluctuations in check.
Health Problems.
Check all Koi for health problems that may have occurred during the long hard winter (sores on the body, ulcers, wounds and damage etc). Look for any signs of distress, like an ulcer or if your Koi isn’t swimming right. A simple knock or cut can easily flare up into an ulcer, if not treated soon enough.
After the long cold Winter
As the water warms up you will need to keep an eye out for Parasites especially if temps are not stable. I will usually scrape my koi once my pond hits 13º C, as I will be able to safely treat at this temp should I find any Parasites.
Although the Koi may have seemed healthy going into winter, there is always a chance that they were carrying a low number of parasites. When the koi is dormant their immune system is at its lowest, also is the parasite activity. As the temperature starts to rise the parasites will become active before the Koi’s immune system is fully functional. If parasites are present it’s important to diagnose and treat as soon as possible. Many treatments for parasites have to be added when the water temp has reached 10º C. Knowing what you need to treat for, allow you to be ready to treat as soon as the water reaches temperature. By taking care of any problems early on, the parasite numbers will be at their lowest and there is minimum stress on the koi.
Koi Microscopy.
Having a microscope and learning how to identify parasites is very useful tool for every Koi-keeper. Having this knowledge allows the Koi-keeper to react quickly when a problem develops. When parasites are dealt with in a timely manner, the resulting effect the parasite has on the koi can be minimal.
When to start feeding the Koi in spring.
A good rule of thumb is: If the Koi are begging for food at the surface of the water, they are probably hungry and have decided for themselves that it is time to start eating. It is a good idea to use a Koi food that is high in wheat germ, as it is easy to digest.
The feeding rate of the koi should correspond with the growth of the bacteria in the filtration system. The way to track this progress is by doing water testing. Testing for Ammonia, Nitrite and pH will tell you if the filter is able to handle the waste load of the koi. If the testing is showing Ammonia, or Nitrite in the results, less feeding should be done until the bacteria count increases. By the end of spring the filter should be fully running and the koi will be ready for a more digestible diet of a high protein food. The best thing that you can do for your Koi is supplying them with adequate Oxygen and making sure they have as little stress as possible.
Filter Maintenance.
Help keep the waste load at a minimum for the filter as it starting to mature, you will want to manually remove (Hoover) any debris that may have collected in the pond over winter.
Do not neglect your weekly filter maintenance and water changes.
When the pond has reached a temperature in the range 15°C -16°C a liquid filter start would be a good idea to boost the biological bacteria in the filters.
Being patient and by allowing your pond to slowly start up in spring and being aware of any potential problems the pond might have as it comes out of winter, will help your koi successfully get ready for the summer season ahead.

Added on: March 9th, 2010

NWKC 2009 Pond of the Year Competition

During this last Summer, Dave Wilson has been visiting members ponds, Photographing the ponds and gardens for this competition.
At the last monthly meeting, the members voted on what they deemed to be the NWKC 2009 Pond of the Year.
A slide show was presented first, and then printed photographs were available for closer examination. Each member was given a slip of paper to vote their First, Second and Third Choice. The results were compiled and adjudicated by Colin Jones.
The results are as follows:

In First Place - 2009 Pond of the Year Competition: Martin and Mags Rocliffe.
With their superb Garden and Pond. Well done Martin and Mags.
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In Second Place - 2009 Pond of the year Competition: Dave and Sue Wilson.
A new pond build in an superb setting. Well done Dave and Sue.
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In Third Place -2009 Pond of the Year Competition: Phil and Cynthia Lunt.
A nice pond in a lovely garden, well done Phil and Cynthia.
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Thanks to everyone who took part, the photographs that are featured here and also all the others that were taken throughout the Summer will be used in compiling the NWKC 2010 Calendar, if you require a Calendar for next year get in touch with the Club Secretary who is taking orders now, get your orders in soon and you will not be dissapointed.

Hope you have enjoyed the Ponds and Gardens.

Dave Wilson
NWKC Membership Sec.

Added on: November 4th, 2009

Are your Koi losing their Sparkle

Are your koi losing their colour?

When koi are first harvested from the mud ponds, their colours are vibrant. After time in a hobbyists pond their colours sometimes look to be fading.
Koi are only able to exhibit pigments if they receive them in their diet. Pigment cells in the skin store carotenoids relative to the colour of the cell, e,g red pigment cell will store Red, Black pigment cell stores Black …..
In the mud pond environment, koi obtain carotenoids by browsing on natural fauna and flora, this is not possible in a filtered koi pond, so carotenoids must be provided in the diet that we feed.

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Just look at this ‘Dainichi Kohaku’ straight from the mud pond ‘Autumn 2007′

Some koi foods contain the pigments canthaxanthin, astaxanthin that koi can store in their colour cells, other foods include spirulina, paprika and marigold.

Water Chemistry
Your pond water may lead to fading colours on your koi, due to the bio-action of your filters the pond water will tend to become more acidic, minerals are used up within the pond by the koi and other pond organisms. Normal water changes will help to certain extent.
Poor water quality can also give the impression lack of colour, because the koi will secret excess mucous as a protection, but this could also mean there is presence of parasites, a skin scape or water test should identify the cause.

But is there anything we can do to help?
Some studies have shown that koi kept in Hard Water (High KH) skin colouration is enhanced, especially white and black pigments.
So how can we attain this High mineralised pond? Skin quality can be enhanced by regular use of a high quality Montmorillonite Clay that will re-mineralise the pond water.

Genetics
A koi’s genetic make-up will determine the quality of the pigmentation and skin. The koi that tend to develop deep and vivid colours as they mature, and which also retain them, usually are of a higher grade and price.
A bit like expensive motor cars, they have many layers of paint!!!

Added on: December 3rd, 2008

Are our Ponds becoming more Acidic?

Low pH
It has been noticed lately that pond keepers are having lower pH readings. What is the cause of this?

One theory is that now we have better control of Blanket Weed in our ponds, due to more efficient product’s to eradicate it.
The weed that was present in the pond would be continually dieing and regrowing, the dying weed would decompose and give off Ammonia, this would raise the pH.

Also new ponds tend to have high pH until the filters are mature (New Pond Syndrome).

In a mature pond the pH will fluctuate throughout the Day, the reasons are: Koi give off Carbon Dioxide from their gills which easily mixes with the water to form Carbonic Acid which lowers pH, a pond with Blanket Weed or other Plant life will take up the Carbon Dioxide and release Oxygen during the daytime, which will cause the pH to rise. During the night the plants will take up Oxygen and release Carbon Dioxide dropping the pH overnight.
That is why it is so important to have lots of Air in the pond in the Summer which will drive off the unwanted Carbon Dioxide, maintaining the pH.

The Ideal pH Range for Koi is 7.5 to 8.3

Carbonate Hardness
Another aspect of the pH in the pond, is buffering capacity of the water. This is controlled by KH (carbonate hardness).
This is an area where many people get confused. One of the reasons the term alkaline is avoided a bit and the term Basic is used for the pH scale is because this reading is measuring the alkalinity of the water. It is not the same as alkaline.

The alkalinity is a measurement of the waters buffering ability, or its ability to absorb and neutralize acid. Clearly the more alkalinity or the higher the Carbonate Hardness of the water the less likely you will incur pH swings in the water. It is therefore important to get this figure reasonably high to stabilize the water.

Ways to raise the pH (KH)

Aerate the water, driving off the carbon dioxide (CO2)
Filter over coral or limestone
Add rocks containing limestone to the filters
Use a commercial alkaline buffer

Many Koi keepers use a bag of crushed Oyster or Cockle Shells, suspended in a bag in one of the filter bays. This will need replenishing after a time, because of the effects of Carbonic Acid.
This is a massive and interesting subject, but it has been said before Koi Keeping is merely Keeping Water.

Happy Water Keeping.

Added on: December 2nd, 2008

UV or No UV

To use UV (Ultraviolet) or not is a hotly debated subject, here are some of my findings:

Last year I ran my pond almost till the end of September without having my UV switched on, the water did not go really green until late on that month.

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Added on: April 28th, 2008

Jasper Kuijper from Evolution Aqua

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The North Wales Koi Society marked its return to holding monthly meetings at the “Farmer’s Arms” pub, Rhaullt with a superb presentation given by Jasper Kuijper, Commercial Director for Evolution Aqua (EA).

The club has enjoyed the support of EA in the past with sponsorship of the Koi Photo Show and of course technical advice for members using NEXUS, EazyPod etc. Jasper’s talk was a much anticipated bonus.

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Added on: March 10th, 2008

Aloha Koi

NWKS member Martin Rocliffe, had a Pleasant surprise this week. When he received 2 x 1.5Kg tubs of Kusuri food in the post, completely out of the Blue.

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Added on: March 7th, 2008