peces koi

Koi water ballet

Probably not really worth a blog post, but … I like to share spontaneous things and anecdotes with you (that’s works very well in the social networks, in fact, I’ve also posted this on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter).

Today a customer called who wanted to buy kohaku and Purachina (officially called platinum ogon).

You know that in Koi Hacienda we always take pictures of koi and send it to the client. He then decides – with all the time he needs –  if he likes them. If not, we return to take other koi and send photos of the new proposal until the customer is satisfied.

While I was trying to get a good picture of the kohaku, they made me a gift: a water ballet. Really … they were posing and swimming in formation …! Incredible!

koi kohaku

Koi Hacienda: Koi water ballet by kohaku

But that was not all, the story does not end here. I still had to take some photos of the platinum ogon … and there, too. There they presented me another koi water ballet !!!

koi platinum ogon

Koi Hacienda: Koi water ballet by platinum ogon

These are little gifts during my labour day … a real pleasure which makes life even more enjoyable.

Please remember, this is a blog … if you want to share something similar with us … here is the right place to do.

río shinano japón

Ojiya, Niigata, Japan

Ojiya, Niigata, Japan is considered to be the cradle of the koi. It is located about 250 km northwest of Tokyo and has approximately 40,000 inhabitants mainly engaged in the koi business.

Ojiya Niigata Japón

Ojiya, Niigata, Japan … the cradle of koi

Ojiya looks like a village because it is very extensive and the population – in my opinion – rather rural. Unfortunately I can’t say much about the nature in this area, as I know it only during the period of cold and snow. However, what always impressed me, is the river we have to cross to head into the mountains where many breeders have their farms. The Shinano River is the longest in all of Japan and impresses with its channel width.

Really not really much to see in Ojiya, except the Museum of Koi (which – I admit it honestly – I have not yet visited yet, as we see so many wonderful koi every day when we are there).

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I leave here some photos such as the extraordinary gully tops. For a certain festivity (I could not figure out what they celebrate) they make holes in the snow and illuminating the whole street with candles – lovely. Below right, an image of the cemetery. Very curious is that in Ojiya there are hot springs and they use the warm water to “irrigate” the streets to melt snow. Thus the streets are usually passable – except when there is heavy snow.

Ojiva la cuna de los koi

Ojiva … some photos

Como había dicho anteriormente, yo – de momento – solamente conozco la zona con mucha nieve. Pero muuuuucha … para haceros una idea, aquí algunas imágenes. Lo que más me fascinó era el bambú. Hasta ahora siempre lo había asociado a climas tropicales y ahora lo veo aquí en montones de nieve. Y lo más fascinante: Nada de quemado, si no en un precioso y sano verde. Las fotos de abajo muestran Thierry (mide 1,86 m), un templo budista en Ojiya, paisaje nevado y el trabajo enorme de quitar masas de nieve del tejado de una casa.

As I already mentioned, I know this area – by now – only with snow. With a loooooot of snow … to get an idea, here are some pictures. What most fascinated me, was the bamboo. Until now I had always associated it with tropical climates and now I see it here in snow. And most fascinating: Nothing burned, but a beautiful healthy green. The photos below show Thierry (measuring 1.86 m), a Buddhist temple in Ojiya, snowy landscape and the huge job of removing masses of snow from the roof of a house.

nieve en Ojiya

Snow in Ojiya and surroundings

Finally some curiosities which have drawn the attention to my European mentality:

1. At the entrance of a (good) restaurant, you will find before entering the dining room, a closet in which you must deposit your shoes

2. At the entrance of our hotel room, there is a place where you must “park” your shoes and there are slippers provided to wear inside the room

3. Garbage “container”  …

4. In front of a (good) hotel a locker for umbrellas

mentalidad japonesa

Curiosities … for a European mind

Perhaps with this, I was able to bring you Ojiya, Niigata, Japan a little closer. We will see, the new impressions we are “harvesting” during our trip 2016.

P.S. The cover image shows the Shinano River


enfermedades koi

My koi is sick. ¿Is that true?

What should I do if my koi does not eat ?

What should I do if my koi rubs ?

What should I do if my koi breathes heavily ?

What should I do if ….  ???


Do exactly the same what a doctor would do with you or with your child: Analyze the problem.

For a healthy koi applies exactly the same as for a healthy human being: a healthy life in a healthy environment with a healthy diet:

  • healthy living (e.g. no stress due to an overpopulated pond)
  • healthy environment (in a pond with optimum water parameters)
  • healthy diet (with quality food adapted to their size and seasons)

So “easy” …

Like humans, the koi is surrounded by aggressors (parasites, bacteria, viruses etc.). With the three points mentioned above, these attackers are not dangerous and will not harm your koi. BUT … when health components come to an imbalance, the fish may become ill.

enfermedades koi

My koi is sick …

Remember: “A stitch in time safes nine”.  Therefore, observing your koi is essential as long as it is done in a moderate way. With moderate I want to say, that it should not be exaggerated (checking the koi 10 times a day and panicking with any “abnormal” behaviour) nor perfunctory (e.g. feeding but without observing). As always, the solution is in the balance.

If one or more of the following symptoms occur during several days (3 or more) or several koi at once, then you should react:

  • rubbing (against walls, against aeration, against stones …)
  • jumping (a koi is not a dolphin! If a koi is jumping to the surface, is not a sign of joy)
  • constantly swimming against the inlet of water / air
  • separating from others
  • refusing food

From the time we are confident that “something is wrong”, we have to find out why.

NEVER administer any drug or product to your koi if you are unsure of the reason for the malaise.

enfermedades koi

Koi Hacienda: inflated koi

Here we indicate the most important questions to find the cause of the problem:

  • Does the filter work properly?
  • Do the UV lamps work well? (they have a limited lifespan !!!)
  • Is there enough oxygen? (in summer they need more)
  • How are the values of the water? (see specific section at the Koi Hacienda Academy)
  • Did you use any product (eg against algae)?
  • Did you introduce some new water plant?
  • Did you introduce some new koi?

If these questions do not have led to the origin of the problem, then we have to examine more closely …  under the microscope. Not exactly a device that everyone has at home. However it is necessary to thoroughly analyze the problem. Perhaps you know a doctor or pharmacist who could borrow it (take a sample and go there, would not be advisable, because the lifespan of parasites out of the water and away from the fish is very low).

How to take a sample of mucus?

  • Catch the koi
  • Take the koi with wet hands or surgical gloves (fine latex)
  • Take a slide
  • Pass the slide gently over the koi, starting behind the gills going towards the tail
  • Check that you have obtained enough mucus, if not, repeat the action elsewhere on the body of the koi
  • Cover the mucus on the slide with a cover glass
  • Use the extension 200 of the microscope (some parasites are very small eg costia)
  • If you find more than 7 parasites, you must act (1-3 parasites = harmless, 4-7 parasites = continue observing)

We will continue writing about koi diseases and how to remedy them.


como coger un koi

The art to catch a koi

It is a real art to catch a koi … but people who have not tried, can not understand that.

And all who have attempted to catch koi in a pond of a certain size, they know what I’m talking about.

I use the term “catch” a koi instead of “fish” a koi because I get an image of a fish on the fishhook hanging from a rod.

It is more an art than a mere method. A method or tactic is a clearly defined process, following instructions to achieve a particular result.

Here we want to achieve a particular result, too – the koi – but is not a method … It is rather an attitude towards life. If you approach the pond with stress  to catch the koi, you will not get it. Or at least with much more effort and much more time.

The video that you will find at the end of this article,  was not retouched, cropped or modified in any way. I swear it. We had to catch the koi to put it apart for a client and when Thierry took the net, it occurred to me to film. Nothing more, nothing less. And the same video I took, I publish it here (obviously with its introduction, watermark etc. but without tricks or traps).

Those who have been in Koi Hacienda, will see that this is the main pond. It has 70,000 liters and a maximum depth of 2.70 meters. I mean … there is enough space to escape.

The video takes 1 minute and 20 seconds – starting to catch until introducing the koi in another pond. It is a time record in these circumstances (taking into account the size of the habitat) that can only be achieved with a peaceful, respectful and balanced attitude. What the Japanese would call “Zen”.

Congratulations Thierry!

Viaje a Japón

Trip to Japan selecting koi

The countdown for our trip to Japan has started. Another year we undertake the way to the home of the koi – Ojiya in the “province” of Niigata northwest of the Nippon Island.

On Wednesday 10 February the plane departs from Málaga at 9:35 am to take us first to Paris. There are several possibilities to get to Tokyo, but usually with a stop in one of the largest airports in Europe (Amsterdam, Frankfurt …). Those who have been in the airport of Paris Charles de Gaulle can confirm that it is huge and somehow disconcerting … we have 1.5 hours to change terminal, but at Charles de Gaulle is a challenge and we will be happy when we are in the plane to Tokyo.

While you will prepare yourselves for lunch, we will accommodate us – both physically and mentally – to spend 20 hours on our seats which will not be more than 1 cubic meter.

viaje a Japón

Trip to Japan: views from the plane approaching Narita (Tokyo)

If all goes well, we will arrive at 9:40 the following morning at Narita Airport – one of two airports in Tokyo. And from now on, the adventure begins.

Starting with filling out forms for visas and customs (so used to travel in Schengen countries that all this seems very distant) to buy tickets for the train that will take us from the airport to downtown paying with Not-Euro currency that on top is difficult to calculate (1 € = 127 Y).

From Tokyo Terminal – train station in the center – we have to find the train line called “Joetsu Shinkansen Yamagata“. For this we have 3 advantages:

1. The line is indicated in dark green, which means a great visual help

2. We already have several years of experience

3. No hurry

The trains are very futuristic and reach speeds up to 285 km / h. At this speed, the 275 km we have left to reach Nagaoka, are done in 1h42. If we are lucky, we will see by far the famous Mount Fuji and several ski resorts.

viaje a Japón

Trip to Japan: Shinkansen train

What impressed us in our previous trips by train, is the behavior of the Japanese: absolutely silent. There was no sound of a mobile ring, not even the “beep”of the smartphones’ keyboard.

The last part of our trip to Japan we usually do in taxi. From Nagaoka to Ojiya there are only about 20 km, but depending the weather conditions it can take up to an hour to arrive.

viaje a Japón

Trip to Japan: Difficult weather conditions


After more than 11,000 km we have reached our final destination.With 8-hour time difference! This means, when we arrive finally at the hotel at about 18h local time, in Spain it is 2 am (8 hours plus). Just to think, and I feel sleepy  :o)

There will be more articles about our trip to Japan, the koi selection, about Ojiya, some anecdotes … here and in our social networks (Facebook, Google+ and  Twitter).

See you soon – Sugu ni (in Japanese)