Pictures some of the Most Beautiful Fish

most beautiful fish

How to ensure your Chagoi attain Maximum Size

kin-gin-rin chagoiChagoi is distinguishable from the other types of koi based on its larger than normal overweight-looking size while another feature that sets them apart is the coloration in which they often appears in fading copper brown with some displaying slightly pale red. They are grouped under the Kawarimono koi classification or judging standards which is basically a special fish family that consists of all the non-metallic koi with plain colors (which also includes the Benigoi varieties).

There are basically different sub-divisions in which the chagoi can be further classified into their own category. One of it and fast becoming popular is the Kin-Gin-Rin Chagoi (as seen in the insert picture to your right) known for its sparkling coat of scales which will shine and give the fish silky looking appearance. However, one should not confuse the fish with the metallic koi groupings as they are special in their own attributes not shared with each other. They are also famous and popular for their friendly nature which likes to mingle and swim around close to the owner and they are often added to calm a pond full of easily frightened koi. Once you have added them, in about a week, you will notice that the other fish will start to follow the footsteps of the chagoi and will be more open to hand feed from your palm.

The koi are mostly sold as a young juvenile fish as most people prefer to get them while they are at their growing stage. Reason is simple as it would be more fun watching them putting on their weight as they develop. Most koi lovers actually bought them not because of the coloration or even their friendly nature but based on the factor that they want to develop their pets into giant-sized fish and of course the bigger the better. Because of them fitting into this category, chagoi is always the preferred choice when size is your main consideration. They are also one of the special groups displaying the fastest growth rate with the female chagoi outpacing the males in terms of overall weight. Usually you will notice the females will put on a plump-looking appearance on the belly especially when they are full of eggs.

With that in mind, needs for high protein diet with extra supplement such as those found in Hikari or Dainichi koi foods is highly recommended. Chagoi kept in outdoor ponds are usually bigger in comparison, most probably because of the presence of natural sunlight that they are getting which helps to keep them stay healthy. From time to time, you can also consider providing your pets with algae flakes which they will surely enjoy. Another basic rules when it comes to fish keeping is that always ensure that water quality is clean all the time with the help of filter system and if you can afford it, get the largest pond which you can afford to buy. If everything goes on fine, a typical chagoi can add over an inch every month to their length and soon even your friends will be amazed with the achievement that you’ve made caring for your favorite fish.



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Impressive Hariwake Koi Variety

yellow HariwakeHariwake is a variety of the Japanese carp which you get when you cross between different groups of the Ogon, originally a single-colored metallic koi, then mixed and interbreed to produce the combination of yellow-gold or orange pattern marking seen against platinum base backdrop, a feature that defines the Hariwake. They are much appreciated due to their unique metallic shining appearance that never fails to impress even the die-hard koi collectors who often aims for perfection.

There are different types of koi classified under the Hariwake group; most common are the Doitsu, Matsuba and Yamabuki. Just like goldfish varieties, all of them have a special unique attribute that defines each and every one of the fish. You can actually make out the difference by evaluating the special color mix and pattern distribution, scale shading especially with the metallic shining types and also they are judged based on their body shape with features like the fin and caudal peduncle development. Over the years, there are constantly new breeds and varieties of Hariwake produced, that put on a unique appearance not shared by the other fish and usually a fine, newly developed specimen are sold at higher price.

Care requirements for Hariwake is basically the same as with the other Japanese carp as they need high nutritional content in their diet to develop their shining coloration and armor-like scale appearance. The fish when they are young will often look like a common koi and even the most experienced hobbyist sometimes failed to identify them and instead classify the fish as belonging to different categories. This problem on identification is often made complicated due to the fact that all types of koi including the Hariwake can always change color easily as they grow and transform throughout the years until they mature into adulthood. Some of these fish although will look almost just the same but upon close observations, you can actually made out those unique features that set them apart.

Developing a champion fish often requires a lot commitment and that is especially true if you want your Hariwake to become among the best. Usually in order to make sure that they achieve full size development, one must ensure that the water quality is top notch. Most often you can find some hobbyist leaving the pond water to be slightly greenish (with some algae growth) so that the water will have natural microorganism growing in it that serves as extra supplement for your Koi. Any sign of disease seen on your pet must be treated immediately and usually loss of coloration, reduced activity and unwillingness to accept foods are signs that spread of disease is imminent and has started to take place. If you can afford it, constant addition of vitamin supplement like those naturally found in koi pellets such as dainichi and hikari brands are known to promote excellent growth, color development and overall act as disease prevention.
Learning about other koi varieties: Bekko, Showa and Chagoi Koi



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Developing Champion Showa Koi

Champion Showa KoiShowa is actually another koi variety that shares close resemblance with unique color features that make it look like a Sanke. It has 3 primary colors which are red, white and black and unlike Sanke the only difference is that the black color patch (Sumi) is more profound and appears in bigger blotch size. The fish can be obtained from pure bred between a pair of Showa but it will not necessarily mean that all the off-spring produced will be similar to their parents because the color mix might differ and change to become another variety. Some koi breeders prefer to cross-breed a Kohaku with a Sanke and while there are different opinions with another group which thinks that pure bred method is far more superior, however one thing for sure is that whichever method is selected, they still can be used to produce quality Showa variety.

The koi fish in this group is highly sought after by hobbyist especially the Hi type because their colors are the most distinctive and attractive compared to the others. Most of the fish are judged and valued based on their colors, size and appearance. The colors must be bright and intense while in terms of size, fish that develops a strong body mass buildup can easily command a selling price that amounts to few thousands. Most people prefer to buy juvenile Showa to raise them to become adult fish because not only price is a factor but it is more fun watching them grow and develop. However one major setback is that most hobbyist learned and found out that most of these fish can actually change coloration as they develop. Some can actually lose the black coloration while others gain and the pattern arrangement will be different when they grow older. Among the most treasured is the Inazuma breed which has the lightning bolt pattern zigzagging across its body.

Feeding your pet Showa with the right food is very important because during their early development stage, an uneven diet can hinder their proper growth. Vitamins are often regularly fed to the fish and tanning under sunlight is needed to bring out the colors. Some people actually go to the extent of purchasing a special glowing light to shine towards the pond but I feel that using natural sunlight is usually sufficient in most cases. Of course the Japanese will never reveal to you their secrets of developing a champion Showa, so every method that we use is purely based on trial and error learned though observation. Don’t worry about development of algae because some green water quality is actually good for the fish in the long run. (However, if green water starts to become a problem due to the exposure of sunlight, willow method for algae control can be used.)

Judging a Showa and selecting the best koi in show competitions can sometimes turn out to be very tricky because there are certain standards set upon by the panel of judges. Other than visible defects and body shape appearance, the overall pattern arrangement will also determine whether the fish qualifies for the trophy which means that the color patch must balance out each other on both sides of the body. Other considerations include first impression seen upon when you view the fish and all these can sometimes make a whole lot of difference.

Related koi fish topics and pond management:
Koi pond bottom drain installation, Identifying Bekko Koi and Chagoi



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How to Differentiate and Identify Bekko Koi

The unpredictable nature on the pattern and color changes in koi is what makes the Japanese carp rearing hobby interesting. In fact, apart from the appearance itself, the graceful movement of the fish as it swims around combined with the different varieties that can be produced from cross breeding will keep you entertained all the time. Breeding the fish is also full of surprises because sometimes when you are aiming to get a Sanke, it might turn out that as the fish matures and the red color patch disappears you will instead ended up getting a Bekko.

The article here will talk about how to differentiate and identify a Bekko because it is by far one of the most under appreciated koi that is often left out by hobbyist. Most novices will find it difficult trying to make out which one is a Bekko but with the guide here, it will try to explain and hopeful one will never get lost. First of all, the koi is different from the other big 3 koi varieties, aptly known as “Go Sanke” that is made up of the Kohaku, Sanke and Showa. To put it in layman’s term a Bekko is actually a solid white, red or yellow colored koi with small patches of black markings, often referred to as “tortoise configuration”. Basically for a koi to qualify in this group, it must not have combination of more than 3 colors which means that if a fish is solid white with the black marking, then it must not have any red patch present at all on any parts of the body. Similarly the same rule applies for a solid red Bekko which should have only the red and black pattern arrangement. As mentioned earlier, one of the unique trademarks of Bekko is that the blotch should be very sparse and a good specimen to qualify in competitions must have the head region completely clear of any black color marking and this is the standard that applies to all the koi fish that falls into this group.

Bekko Utsuri Showa KoiThis Japanese carp variety can also be sometimes easily confused with a Showa because people might think that with the appearance of white, black and some red patch, it should resemble a Bekko. However, this is incorrect because if you observe carefully, the Showa black color marking is far more intense with wider patch size while for Bekko, the black blotch is very sparse. Furthermore, as long as it comprises of 3 different colors the fish can never be a Bekko. At times, people might also mistakenly identify a Sanke to be similar but however, as mentioned earlier with the color appearance, again this will be out of the question. For a better visualization on what is done to try to explain here, let’s look at the picture above. On your far left, what you can see is actually an Utsuri. Reason is because the formation of black patches is very commanding. Thus experienced Japanese koi hobbyist will tell you that this is a black color fish with white marking. The one located in the middle is a Bekko but however, this is not a fine specimen as you can see that it has a yellowish head which is a common fault among all fish that falls into this variety. In fact, a highly prized Bekko should appear fully solid satin white and not the creamy white. Furthermore, the black color patches seem to spread closer to the head region and it is very wide. The one located far left is a Showa with all 3 different color combination but if you take out the red patch, it will become an Utsuri.

Finally, there are 3 types or sub-group of Bekko in which they are further divided into different categories. The most common is the Shiro Bekko which is a completely white colored koi with the presence of black marking as depicted in the picture above. The Aka Bekko (red with black) is also famous but however, it is quite difficult to come across one these days while the Ki Bekko is the rarest because it is supposed to be a yellow koi with the black speckle. As you see, keeping koi while may sound simple, in actual fact if you analyze every aspect up to the appreciation and defining which one belongs to which group, you will be amazed with so many things to learn and understand. Thus some would actually call and define the hobby as a work of art which requires perfection.

Further topics about pond management:
How to increase TDO and maintaining pond filtration system
Appreciating & learning about the unique Asagi and Shusui Koi Fish

Article contributed by Takuya from Hokkaido Japan
:)



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Fascinating Burrowing Jawfish

yellow head jawfishJawfish is a peculiar small bottom-dwelling species which makes wonderful addition to any saltwater community aquarium. Unlike its other tank mates that spend most of their time swimming around, the marine fish is different from the rest because their normal routine daily activities mainly focus on digging the substrate to make a small hole fit for them to hide in and when they are not burrowing, you will find them staying upright with the head pointing upwards waiting for their prey. Its comical behavior will never fail to impress any observer and it is also affectionately famous for its quick movement that can change the whole aquarium landscape in just under a day. Their unique ability to hold the substrate in their mouth and then spit it out, allows them to finish their task very quickly. Thus, don’t be surprised that if you have fine aquarium sand substrates, you will notice that your fish will soon go missing and hid underneath the dug holes.

There are at least 20 to 30 species that belong to the jawfish group of family. Among them, the most popular is the "Yellow Head" or sometimes called "Pearly" jawfish. It can be easily identified based on its light creamy blue body color with only the head appearing pale yellowish. The other notable species belonging to the same group that are worth mentioning here are the "Blue Spotted" and "Dusky" jawfish. But however, unlike the pearly yellow head, the other two are not considered among the favorites because their dark brownish color appearance do not seem to attract attention of hobbyist. Nevertheless, all the fish that belong to this Opistognathidae family have one thing in common is that their behaviors are all the same while appearance wise in terms of body structure, it can be seen that the rear dorsal fin actually extends all the way from head to tail. Some aquarist have actually mistaken them to be dottybacks with some resemblance in terms of body size but both fishes are actually not really related to each other.

Favorite foods to feed your pets should be shrimps and small feeder crabs. If you can’t afford to provide natural live foods all the time, I would suggest using high quality marine pellets and providing occasional feed of special meal whenever available. There are even zooplankton mixtures which are sold in some aquarium pet stores but nowadays I've rarely seen it. Your jawfish will definitely enjoy those as they will dash out from their hiding spot and quickly grab the food. If for any reason that you find your fish are not going about with their daily activities and rejecting the food offer, this should trigger an alarm to immediately check for deteriorating water quality and signs of disease.

Commercial farm bred jawfish are often sold online and in pet stores with the price can easily fetch between $20 to $30 depending on the specimen age and maturity. Some suppliers will offer them as a pair but be careful of this deal because between the male and female jawfish, there is no way to find out the difference due to their similar body structure. As mentioned earlier, keeping them with other peaceful community fish should not pose any problem and it makes perfect sense not to mix them with other predatory species like the lionfish. They will be just fine with presence of clown fish, royal gramma, bannerfish and other reef safe sea basses. However, if you have a small display show tank under 50 gallon, try not to purchase more than two of the same fish types because that would leave the jawfish becoming territorial as they try to establish their own area. Other worthy marine pets for your fish tank: Seahorses



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Best Food to Feed Arowana Fish

This article here will focus on the discussion whether constant feeding of natural live foods is the right thing to do and whether it might be possible to feed arowana solely on pellets. (Note: These are based on the experience shared among fellow aquarist from local community fish club who keeps arowana and different types of fish as pets.)

golden arowanaArowana fish generally accept all types of live foods from bullfrog, freshwater shrimps, feeder fish and insects like grasshoppers but that doesn’t mean that they won’t take commercialized dried pellets. Due to their predatory instinct, naturally they will prefer to feed on something that is still alive whereby they can chase and hunt and since most juvenile arowana that you bought from the pet stores are already trained strictly to live on those diet, getting them to switch to something that consist solely of dried pellets can be rather tough.

But before we move further into this topic, most aquarist will always have doubts on whether doing this is the right thing since we are denying the very basic diet that the fish has depended on to survive. Although the general consensus agreed among all arowana keepers are, feeding them live foods will ensure that their precious pets grow at faster pace avoiding the dreaded stunted condition, but however, there are reports saying that feeding pellets with all-rounder complete nutrition can still achieve the similar normal growth rate. How true the finding is, can be very much debatable because as there is no concrete evidence and live experiment that suggest this is fine but rather the observations are based on experiences with quite a number of external factors kick in that could jeopardize the accuracy of the results.

Despite all that, why do we chose and decide to introduce this condition to our fish? There are many reasons on why feeding your arowana on pellets is the right thing to do. First of all, most live feeds and even market shrimp if not properly washed will harbor disease bearing bacteria. Feeder fish especially will carry with them tape worms in their stomach and you risk the chance of introducing these parasites when your arowana gobble up those fish. Secondly, certain live foods like bull frogs and shrimp if feed excessively can sometimes cause digestion problems and if you notice that you fish vomiting after feeding, this is a clear signal that they cannot adjust to the meal and overfeeding will make it to become worse.

Getting your arowana to accept pellets is not an easy task. Most of the time they would rather go without food and stay hungry than to consume something that goes off the norm. Certain aquarist go to the extent of starving their pet fish hoping that when left with no choice, they will consider taking the pellets but I find that by doing this, you will risk the chance of malnutrition and then subjecting your fish to stressful condition. One of the approaches is to blend the pellets together with their daily meals. For instance, if your arowana fish is based on shrimps diet, then adding the pellets and blend the shrimp together as a paste and then slowly removing the shrimp from the formulation might work. Although chances of success might be slim, it is worth the try if you are keen on your objective to totally convert your arowana to accept only pellets.

For me, the best thing to do is to always vary their diet. Feeding too much live foods may not be the right thing to do after all while a diet with only pellets might not be a good thing as well. Using commercially prepared pellets can be used as a staple feed while shrimps, bull frogs can be introduced from time to time. When it comes to selecting your pellets, there are quite a number of reputable fish food brands produced from different manufacturers. The best thing is to check out what they have to offer based on the nutritional information as stated in the content data. My personal preferences have always been Hikari as they even have a special blend of food made for arowana.



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About Me

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My fascination and interest towards aquarium fish has led me to devote my time towards caring and learning about this wonderful pet.

Aquarium fish keeping is a very challenging and exciting hobby. When I first started, I never knew much or have the necessary guidance back then because none of my family members were actually a keen hobbyist. And because of that, I’ve encountered numerous failures and the worst part is having to deal with dead fish every time when you started to grow fond and getting attached to my pets. However, I persevered and took steps to find out and search for information from other hobbyist, apart from the knowledge gained and learned from my own experience and research. The blog that I’ve created here is meant to share useful information and tips about aquarium fish keeping so that new hobbyist will not make the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past."

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