Sunday, May 15, 2011

Growing School: Shubunkin & Butterfly Koi

Hahn's Ponds is an exceptional store for all pond needs: equipment, plants, fish, tadpoles, lights, food, chemicals, and expert help. The family-owned business is a great place to go if you currently have or are interested in starting an ornamental fish pond. I can drop a lot of change at Hahn's, and I never regret it. Over the past several years I have purchased a lot of expensive equipment (so worth it: my water is crystal clear) as well as healthy fish there.

Up until last week, my pond population consisted of a couple of snails, dozens of comets, and one surviving koi. A heron gobbled up my other koi and one of my largest comets a few years ago, "Gary, Sterling, Goldie and Nemo" ... it was awful ... but "Freckles" survived and has grown fat and sassy compared to his comet cousins. My comets have exceptionally long tails and fins, and they are a nice combo of white, orange, and mixed. They are graceful and beautiful. Freckles has, well, freckles of black and orange on a white body. He is very laid back because I think he knows he pretty much looks like a big ol' carp, and he's not that fancy at all. 'Sweet, though, and always hungry. Anyway, I have been meaning to add to my school and I finally did last Thursday instead of going to book club (I needed a mental health night, plus I hadn't read the book). I needed a new uv bulb, but how could I not walk out without new plants and new critters??

Enter "Shelly" the shubunkin and "Alexis" the butterfly koi. Both fish are absolutely beautiful, and they add nice variety to the school. Shelly has merged nicely with the others, but Alexis seems skittish and darts around even at feeding time. I'm hoping with time she will become more relaxed, but maybe that's her personality? I also purchased three tadpoles without legs, so at least they will be around until next year.

Having a pond is a lot of work and a lot of expense, but it is very gratifying. The sound of the water is soothing to the soul, and seeing all the little fish swim right up to you with their mouths wide open (they even make wakes in the water they swim over so fast!) makes you feel needed and wanted : )

From Wikipedia ...
The shubunkin, are similar to the common goldfish and comet goldfish in appearance. They were first bred in Japan, from mutations in telescope eye goldfish (Demekins) c. 1900. They have streamlined bodies with well-developed and even fins. However, the shubunkins are calico goldfish; they possess nacreous scales (a mix of metallic and transparent scales that are pearly in appearance). The overlapping patches of red, white, blue, grey and black (along with dark speckles) normally extend to the finnage of shubunkins. Blue is the most prized colour in shubunkins. Calicos originally denoted three colours varieties of goldfish that do not include blue. The best blues are produced from line breeding of good blue specimens of shubunkins. Sometimes good blues may be obtained by breeding bronze (metallic) with pink (matt) goldfish, but a grey slate colour may result instead.

It may take several months for the nacreous coloration to develop on a young fry (baby fish). Shubunkins are excellent pond fish because they reach a length of 9 to 16 inches (22.86 to 40.6 centimeters) at adulthood. A shubunkin goldfish is considered an adult at 2 to 3 years of age,[1][2] even though they live much longer.

Butterfly Koi, Longfin Koi, or Dragon Carp are a type of ornamental fish notable for their elongated finnage. The fish are a breed of the common carp, Cyprinus carpio, which includes numerous wild carp races as well as domesticated koi ("Nishikigoi").

Butterfly Koi originated in the mid-20th century as a result of an effort to increase the hardiness of traditional koi. Japanese breeders interbred wild Indonesian Longfin river carp with traditional koi. The resulting fish had longer fins, long barbells, pompom nostrils, and were hardier than koi. These were known in Japan as "onagaoi" or "hire naga koi", or translated in English "long tail koi". Randy LeFever, the son of Wyatt LeFever, a noted breeder of koi, is credited with suggesting they looked like butterflies, a trait for which the breed is named. They are also sometimes referred to as Dragon Koi.

~ Freckles ~
~ waterfall ~
~ there's Freckles, like a carp ~
~ Freckles and the comets (sounds like a band name), begging for food ~
~ butterfly koi that looks like Alexis, but she is more sparkly gold, not orange ~
~ shubunkin that looks like Shelly ~
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