We are thoroughly excited to announce that we’ve added a key new category to our online store: Koi!
For many pond owners, koi are the most important part of the pond ownership experience. These beautiful creatures enrapture children and adults alike, with stunning color variations and moods both playful and meditative. Many koi owners find especial joy in knowing that a superb koi can be a lifelong companion and valuable investment in the beauty of their homes, often outliving their owners (one famous koi, named Hanako, was reported to have lived 226 years). Koi inspire some of the most devoted hobbyists and breeders in the world, and it isn’t difficult to find Elite grade koi for prices in the tens of thousands of dollars, and champion koi have been sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
We’re so excited about having koi available for a few reasons, not least of which is that I can now tell people that we sell everything for your pond but the water. The fact is, though, that we’ve tried selling koi in the past, with little success. Finally, though, we’ve found an established breeder who is able to do online koi sales right: Kloubec Koi Farm.
The Kloubec family knows what they’re doing. Theirs is a third generation fish farm that has been specializing in Koi for decades on an 80-acre farm in Amana, Iowa that has been in the family for well over a century. When we saw the numerous awards the Kloubecs been given and the many champion koi that have come from their ponds, we were impressed and intrigued. When we started getting to know them and finding out more and more about the way they run their farm, though, we knew that we had finally found the koi breeders that we wanted to work with.
The Kloubecs start with breeding pairs that have been carefully selected from the very best breeding stock in Japan. The Kloubecs go to Japan themselves to find the best breeding pairs, and are helped when there by some of the top koi breeding experts in the world. It’s important that these fish are selected as breeding pairs, not as individuals. Each female has one to four paired males with traits that complement and complete hers, maximizing the chances of offspring that are even finer than the fish they’re bred from.
These fish are then bred using a careful artificial spawning process that minimizes the stress on both the parent fish and the offspring. This has the added advantage of quarantining the fry from the parents completely, with each new group of baby fish hatched and raised in an entirely closed water system. This means that more fry survive, and they are a far healthier group when they move on to be culled.
Once they’ve matured and developed their immune systems, the young fish are then moved to the farm’s mud ponds. These ponds are a major reason that the Kloubec farm has a leg up on most other koi farms all over the world. The clay soil of the Amana, Iowa area is extremely similar to that of the Niigata province of Japan, where Koi were originally bred and still home to the best koi breeders in the world. Further, the Amana area is at nearly the same latitude as Niigata and has very similar weather patterns. The hot summers and bitterly cold winters of Amana mean that, like Niigata-bred fish, Kloubec koi are unusually hardy and conditioned to thrive in almost any climate. The soil composition is important, too. Koi tend to scavenge and dig at the bottoms of their ponds, so a significant amount of the nutrients that get into their systems naturally come from the soil, and this is something that can’t be entirely replicated with feeding and water treatments. This unique advantage, combined with the specific feed developed in-house at Kloubec, mean that these well-bred fish grow to express all the best of their genes.
This is still just the beginning of all that the Kloubec family does to ensure that they sell only the very best, healthiest fish. All of their koi go through several rounds of hand-culling, a skill requiring expertise that can only be gained through years of experience (which the Kloubecs have in spades). All of their fish are regularly inspected and treated to keep any parasites or diseases well in hand (the Kloubecs proudly point out that they have never had an outbreak of KHV or SVC, and it’s almost a mantra on the farm that the health of the fish is the first priority). Once the fish have gone through several rounds of culling that send through only the best, healthiest fish, they are sent to the quarantine facility, where they will stay for weeks before sale. This industry-leading, 80,000-gallon-plus quarantine facility is the pride of the Kloubecs. It’s large enough that the fish are brought in using a crane through the roof, and the whole area is inspected weekly by an APHIS-accredited vet. The facility is kept clean and sterile with methods that would rival some bio labs, and a quarantine period that is well longer than the industry standard guarantees that every single fish they ship is a healthy, superb specimen. They also use this period to condition the fish to conditions more like what they will experience in home ponds to keep the transition smooth.
Of course, all of the culling and sterilization in the world don’t matter if your fish don’t survive the shipment process in great health. We’ve got that covered. All of our fish packs include free overnight shipping direct from Amana, Iowa. They’re shipped in boxes designed with fish in mind, lined with insulating air packs that keep the fish at a healthy temperature and as unstressed as possible. The location of the farm is an advantage here, too, as they are in a nice central location in the US, keeping minimum shipping times to the entire country. In fact, we’re so confident with Kloubec’s shipping system that we’re guaranteeing that all fish arrive alive.
All of us at Loch Ness are completely confident that Kloubec koi are the best option available for our customers. In fact, our own home pond (of which you’ve seen many photographs) is now home to eight happy Kloubec koi that arrived just as healthy and beautiful as we were promised, and we couldn’t possibly be happier with them. So, if your pond is ready for some new, first-rate inhabitants, I encourage you without any reservation to head on over to the new koi section of our website!