On the 09 April 2014, Kevin Ellis (of the koi needing online videos) visited the club to give us a full and honest talk about his significant experience as a koi keeping enthusiast. His 70+ online "Koi Nerding" videos are really interesting and I thoroughly recommend watching them. They can be found here.... Http://Vimeo.com/user3479917
He was a besotted angler since the age of the ten and this also helped to keep him out of trouble as a lad.
In 2006 he bought a fantastic country house with walled garden and a large rectangular swimming pool. Not being one one to follow convention he immediately turned it into a pond with course fish, orfe and a few koi.
Very soon he bought a yonsai Sakuma Sanke from Koi Waterlife and he regards this as his entry into the world of koi keeping.
Following from this purchase he converted the swimming pool into a fully blown koi pond. The 2.5 month build with Derran resulted in a 22k gallon pond with a depth between 5ft to 6ft. It had three aquadynes, badu pumps, three bakki showers, heated by oil and had a turnover rate of 28k gallons per hour.
Soon after this (as many of us have done!), he went out and bought a lot of koi. One nugget of wisdom I can totally agree with is that, rushing into a large number of purchases over a short period is a huge mistake. You will all too often look back and say I didn't really need that. Also another key point is to buy what you can afford and what you will enjoy. Don't go out and buy something that you will regret because of a rash purchase that a dealer (salesman) talks you into. The next key point is to speak to a number of koi dealers and then naturally you will soon build up a relationship and level of trust with some of them.
Continuing with the buying koi thread, Kevin then discussed the many benefits of travelling to Japan although you should expect the trip to cost around 2k. It will take you to another level of understand where they come from, how to handle and the whole ethos of the koi keeping hobby.
Kevin then mentioned the sensitive and divisive topic about cosmetic surgery. This was a real eye opener to hear that it happens in more places than not. Kevin has a friend that performs the modification by simply brushing on a 'jungle juice' to an area you want to whiten and leaving for ten minutes. By seeing a before and after picture the difference was clearly significant.
About two years ago, whilst having a great pond with stunning koi, Kevin decided that the ongoing utility bills to keep his koi had to reduce. As the next project he removed the badu pumps and replaced with the energy efficient flowfriend pumps. He also added drum filters and some additional bakki house media in the showers. Interesting he removed a number of the hard 90 degree bends with slow swept bends to reduce the water flow resistance. His utility bills to support the pond have reduced from 6-7k a year to 1k a year
A next nugget of knowledge and as Kevin advised "one you you take away" is the need to feed sinking food to your pond. Eating for the surface is good for us to see the koi but they will tire and therefore it's much better for the koi to feed from the bottom. Everything has to be gradual, don't feed too quickly build it up it up gradually with the temperature.
Kevin also feeds his koi pearl barley (buy from cash and carry) and mussels (750g bags from the frozen section) over the winter between December and March. With the pearl barley, get a large flask, put in a full cup of barley, a tea spoon honey and tea spoon of rock salt and a couple of cups of hot water. Leave over night, wash off starch and feed that.
He advised on a high protein diet for Nisai and Tosai koi under 60cm (most of mine!) and then a lower protein after that stage.
Another great club night with a really enlightening and honest talk with Kevin Ellis. There were plenty of key pieces of information to take away along with a pond and koi collection to aspire to. Many thanks to Kevin for his time and for his honest feedback about his journey including all the ups and the downs of the hobby.
Our next meeting will be in the club house on the 14 May 2014 starting at 19:45. There will be a presentation by Tim Morphy on the "Trip to Yoshikigoi in Poland", Bob Grinyer & Craig Emery talking about the "real benefits of Air Lift" and finally a round the room discussion about the "status of our ponds" so far this year. I know for a number of us it has certainly been an immensely challenging start to 2014 and it these meetings provide a fantastic opportunity to learn from others in the club who have previously been through it.