Koi dealers, who are able to talk in-depth about their koi’s strengths and weaknesses, are better equipped to get top dollar for their best koi. While customers, particularly those new to pond keeping, may say they are not interested in higher quality (higher priced) koi, if you let that discourage you, you are missing a great opportunity. Since most customers focus on the patterns of koi when they start shopping, you have an opportunity to point out features they most likely have missed, to move them into better quality koi. If you see a small black spot, usually smaller than a single scale, this is called a shimi. Now that you have identified these visual elements of the Kohaku, the next step is to sort your koi with this in mind. When a customer asks you why some koi are more expensive than others, you now can show them exactly why. Serving professionals with the latest trade news, advertising and marketing in the pond and water feature industry.
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Very few pond keepers start out expecting to pay even $50 for a koi much less $300 or more. The language of koi, using terms like kiwa and sashi, was created by Japanese breeders to identify improvements in quality, in order to get more money for their koi they are selling.
The only exception to this definition is on the leading edge of the red where a row or two of white scales overlap the red scales. Odome describes the area of the body between the rear end of the dorsal fin and the beginning of the tail. If a koi has a red marking that is small and lighter in color than the main plates that is called second hi. Second hi is the term used to describe areas where there is light red on a few scales in an area that is otherwise white. One particular bloodline of koi has shown a tendency to have a small bit of red in one pectoral fin. Find the koi that have these qualities and group them together and observe how that tank of koi compares in overall appearance to the tank of the lesser quality koi. There are many other elements that can be considered also, but they are beyond scope of this story such as conformation, skin quality, type of hi and growth capacity. You can’t be an effective counter-revolutionary if you look like you’ve just been to the beach for the first time. Just because you’re trying to overthrow the oppressive regime, doesn’t mean you want to miss the opportunity to be scouted by SA’s Got Talent.
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If you can learn just a few attributes of koi, and point them out to your customers, you will be well on your way to making your koi sales department a lot more profitable. When looking at a Kohaku, you are looking at a white koi with red patches or plates as they are often called. In younger koi, the white scales can be translucent, and you can see the red of the scale below it, showing through.

This small scale does not make the Kohaku a Sanke unless it becomes substantially larger, and preferably you would want more than just one black spot on a Sanke. It is not uncommon for the hi towards the tail or across the shoulders to get a bit thin looking, like it only got one coat of paint instead of many. You might think quality is all about the pattern and the red, but if you look at two Kohaku side by side, one with bright snowy white scales and skin, the other with a yellow head or body, the difference is dramatic. Since this is minor, if it is seen in an otherwise beautiful koi, it is not considered a big negative. If you have enough of each, it should be obvious to you that the tank with the better koi is a more attractive display. Look to future issues of Pond Biz Magazine as we explore these quality traits in greater detail.
Once you can identify the better quality koi in your inventory, and explain why they are better to your customers; they will pay you more for them. These red plates should be spread attractively across the upper back and sides of the koi, with red on top of the head, leaving a white face to achieve the most attractive look.
If the edges are blurred or soft, the kiwa is not good, and this detracts from the clean overall appearance of the koi.
On an otherwise beautiful koi it is overlooked, but it is something that is usually a negative. Red extending from the tail into the fin is very unattractive, and seen in lesser quality koi.
You should have no problem putting a higher price tag on the koi in the tank with the select koi.
As long as it is evenly distributed and not more than two rows of scales, this is not a problem for the koi.

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