With so much death in my family (6 deaths in the last 12 months) and numerous friends/acquaintances also passing away, the husband and I have been trying to celebrate life as best we can.
Today I went shopping. The best kind of shopping. Koi shopping. I brought home four beautiful additions to our pond.
Koi have long been associated with life/love/etc because they are very hardy, can adapt well in harsh conditions, and live long lives (if kept in good water conditions, checked for sickness/parasites and safe from predators obviously). The longest living koi on record was over 200 years old. They can also grow to almost three feet in length.
Koi mature when they are about 2 years old, around 15" in length. Before that, it's impossible to tell what gender they are. Even when they are mature, it's difficult to know unless a) they are spawning (so the females are very round in the middle) or b) you touch their cheeks, as the males have rough-textured cheeks.
Their colours also don't stabilize until they're about 2-3 years old. Red/white stays true, but darker colours, especially black, have an annoying habit of disappearing/reappearing when koi are young. Colours always darken first on the head, then slowly work their way down to the tail.
So, here are the new additions to the pond. I got a 16" male Hi Utsuri ('hi' means red) for the husband. He's a two year old, newly mature (his cheeks are nice and rough) and is pretty friendly. Within half an hour of putting him in, he had already ventured up to the surface several times.
Here he is at the surface in amongst the lily pads, floating hearts (what look like mini lily pads) and duckweed (the tiny green stuff). Since this is the biggest fish in the pond, he really isn't sticking with the other koi. Big fish, little pond (haha). Sorry the quality is bad... zooming in with my iPhone :p
The other three are still immature. They are only 1 year old (notice how different they are in size) so I had no way of knowing what gender they are.
Here they are in the bag since I forgot to get a picture of them being scooped, and when they were in the water, they would only come within 2' of the surface so I couldn't get a good shot. Since they are smaller, they have schooled with the koi already in the pond and seem quite happy.
The biggest one here is a Ki Shusui (Ki is yellow, Shusui is a scaleless breed except for the row of blue scales down its spine). This one is about 12" long, so it might mature by September, or for sure in the spring. The row of blue scales on its back will become darker/more pronounced as it gets bigger.
The big Ki Utsuri is for my husband, but this one is for me. I have a special fondness for scaleless koi. When you pet them (yes, they are very affectionate), their skin is like soft velvet.
The yellow/black specked one is a Ki Bekko, essentially a yellow (ki) koi with black markings. This one is about 9" in length.
The smallest one in the bag is the rarest kind of koi I have. It's a Goshiki koi, which translates to 5-coloured koi (meaning it has red, white, black, light blue & dark blue/purple). Goshiki koi are further split up into light/dark, so technically, he's a Kuro Goshiki, 'cause he's dark. This little guy is small, only around 6-7", but it will be absolutely gorgeous when it gets larger. If you click on the picture to view it full sized, look closer at the scales how they're edged with a darker colour and you can see patches of red starting to come through under the dark blue/black. You can really see how the colours are more set/clear on the head, and as it gets bigger, the rest of the colours will become more vibrant. Here's a picture of a mature Kuro Goshiki so you can get a better idea what this one will look like as an adult.
With these four additions, we now have 16 new lives to celebrate in our pond.
Sorry my 300th post was purely personal.
Thank you everyone for your well-wishing's about my husband's grandmother. She really meant a lot to me and I'm taking this death about as hard as when my grandmother passed away in October.