Saturday was a big day here at Rocky Acres and Koi holdings. We took the cat up to the vet clinic for a little rabies torture. He hates the place, nothing good ever happens there. On the way home I took Mrs. C to a Japanese nursery outside of Tumwater, to look at their koi, they have some pretty fish (bonsai and koi, what’s not to like)? Not much chance that they’ll start carrying bicycles, but the lady did ask what randonneuring was! (I had on a SIR PBP ‘03 commemorative polo shirt).
Well as it happens they had fish that were “On Sale NOW!” and one of them was a variety I have been interested in getting a look at in person, a Shusui. I had the guy net the fish out and it was even more intriguing than the ones in the mags and on the websites.
He's little, maybe 7 inches if you pulled on his tail. Well shoot, how could we pass up a ‘deal’. So the fish gets a ride home in the back with Chairman Meow. That was interesting for a short bit; Chairman wound up getting invited back into the cat carrier.
We stopped at the ‘other’ fish place down by Tenino because there was a fish there I had been looking at that I thought she ought to see (she been away for the last few weeks on biz travel). As I expected she was not too impressed, ... until we brought him up from the bottom of the tank into the light. Then she was really impressed! He’s a Gin Rin Asagi. Gin means diamond like or metallic scales, and the Asagi is one of the oldest established Koi patterns. This one is blue, with silver scales and some pale orange around the gill platesand pectoral fins.
He's bigger, maybe 10 inches. A little less dramatic than a show class fish, but then again, he didn't cost $1,500. Well, he wound up taking a ride home with us too.
AT HOME THINGS START TO GET INTERESTING.
Protocol directs that new fish be put into quarantine before being introduced to the peloton, er school. I have a ‘Q’ tank (stock watering tank and 55 gallon drum filter with little pump) set up for this.
(Note Chairman Meow, always willing to help out with the fish)
I put the two new fish through a salt bath and then into the stock tank they went to begin their quarantine period (probably two weeks for these two).
It is common knowledge that moving fish is stressful and fish dealers and most koi keepers advise that when you get new fish you assure that there is a net or some other cover on your Q tank because they will frequently jump out of the tank. I don’t have a net cover (well I didn’t on Saturday but I do now) so I covered my new fish in the Q tank with a piece of scrap plywood, plenty of that around the place. The plywood covers the whole tank but for a little bitty part up by where the filter dumps the water in. By now I am sure you can guess where this is headed.
I figured any fish would have to possess incredible skill and a never say die will (pardon the pun) in order to be able to jump through that little opening.
You guessed it. I went out to check on them frequently and at my 7:00 pm check, there was my beautiful Asagi laying in the gravel gasping for air. I quick scooped him up and put him back in the tank. He swam to the bottom and took up his place among the cover plants just like nothing had happened. I continued to check on them through the night and all day yesterday. Nothing: no scrapes, no missing scales or gouged out eyes, no back float, nothing.
Keep in mind that Koi are just carp dressed up in fancy colored brocade robes. As such they are pretty hardy. Omnivores, they can make it on a variety of food that other more refined fish would not be able to stomach. Though they may look like the Italian racers of the pro peloton, actually, they are more like piscine randonneurs; “pass the stale pizza pockets, I think I’ll go out and lay in the gravel for a bit”.
I’m not inclined to name the fish, that’s Mrs. C’s department. She wants to name the Asagi 'Sapphire', but if I was going to name this one, Nemo might be a good fit, or perhaps Fosbury.
For bikish content there’s this: The Quickbeam will be coming home soon. My son found it a little cramped (no surprise, he’s a good couple three inches taller than me) and he found a Craigs List deal he could not pass up: A Surly Karate Monkey set up for commuting. A good choice for his uses.