I'm not concerned about the quality of the Hi on this Sanke (G)
because I know her history and know she comes from a bloodline whos Hi and white thicken very slowly. Ten years would be the average age of maturity for this line of female Sanke. She is only five years old and 68 cm, or 27 inches long. Given all this I feel very fortunate to have her in my pond. My job now is to be patient, give her a good environment, and let her develop at her own pace. When she stops growing in length she will begin to color up. If we compare this Sanke's Hi to the Hi of the female Showa in photo
we can see the difference in finished and unfinished Hi. This Showa is 12 years old and has finished developing in length and color. We see no growth marks in her scales. The type and shade of her Hi and the shape of her body resemble that of a Sensuke bloodline Kohaku. Sensuke Kohakus are known for their orange or persimmon shade of Hi, so we can see how knowing the history of this Showa or having a knowledge of bloodlines can help us decide if we are going to like her in her finished state. The shade of her Hi is orange, but it is thick orange. Knowing she has Sensuke Kohaku in her blood I knew she would not be dark red when finished. I believe orange works on her, another koi keeper may not.
If you come across a koi that you are thinking about buying, but the
Hi looks thin, find out more about the koi. Ask the dealer for the history of the koi, in particular find out where it has been living over the past year, and look for the growth marks in the center of each scale. Has it been in a pond that would allow it to grow quickly? If it hasn't been growing very fast, and doesn't have the growth marks in the center of each scale, it probably just has thin Hi and this is undesirable for show fish.
A good simple way to understand how orange Hi becomes red Hi is to
roll or brush red paint over a white surface, let it dry, then roll another coat, and another. You will see as the paint thickens the shade of red becomes darker. With each coat of red you apply you are making it more difficult for the white base to show through. Naturally the shade of white on the base will affect how the red looks when it dries, as is the case with koi. The white on koi comes in many shades from a stark blue white to an eggshell yellowy white.
If we go back to the red paint on a white background analogy we find
that it takes us longer to paint the many layers of red if we choose a larger area to paint. Duh! What I'm getting at here is if we had two koi the same size, the koi with the larger Hi pattern will take longer to finish than the koi with the small Hi pattern.
The more we learn about koi the more we realize what an incredible
accomplishment it was for the Japanese koi farmers to develop carp into what we see and keep today. If we look at how fast our society moves we can see how easy it is for us to become impatient with our koi. We've come to expect everything instantly. The time and patience it takes to develop and finish high quality koi are in direct conflict with our fast paced lifestyles. Maybe we should try and relax and move at their pace more often. Koi get beautiful slowly over time. Does that sound like an interesting concept, or what!