Koi Variety Guide – Bekko

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Bekko is very similar to Utsuri. There are only black and another one background color on the body. The one has white background with black patterns (sumi), called Shiro Bekko; the red background one called Aka Bekko; and the rest one has yellow background, it called Ki Bekko.

It sounds very confused with Utsuri. Then, how to differentiate Bekko and Utsuri? Bekko in Japanese means ‘tortoise shell’. The small black patterns distribute on epidermis, just look like shells or small plates. The sumi on Bekko are smaller than Utsuri. Secondly, the sumi may distribute all over the body, but unlikely Utsuri, it won’t be shown on the head. This feature comes from Taisho Sanke. You can find some Bekko in Taisho Sanke’s progenies.

Shiro Bekko

Shiro Bekko has white body with small black markings.

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Koi Variety Guide – Utsuri

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Utsuri comes from Showa Sanke, you can regard it as a special edition of Showa Sanke that keep black and lack of red or white. Utsuri means image, derivative meaning is painting. The style of the patterns on Utsuri reminds people of the ink and wash painting. The black base Koi with white markings called Shiro Utsuri, the one with red markings called Hi Utsuri, and the one with yellow markings called Ki Utsuri.

Shiro Utsuri

Shiro means white. White and black constitute a monochrome, it is simple but imaginative.

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Fish compatibility: Notices for mixing tropical fish together

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Many aquarium hobbyists love to care different species tropical fish in one tank. The tank will be more colorful and varied.

Different species have different habitus and adapt different environment. Some fish are aggressive, while some fish are friendly. Some fish like alkalescency water, while some fish like faintly acid water.

photo by Kobayashi Michinobu

Common problems you may occur

  1. Some species will keep bullying and chasing other fish. It may cause injury and easy to be infected.
  2. Some species are peaceful when they are juvenile, but as the fish growing, some species little by little disappear unconsciously. For example, angelfish and neon tetra coexist peacefully when they are juvenile. Usually, juvenile angelfish are about 5 to 7 cm long, they cannot swallow the neon tetra. But angelfish are omnivore, when they grow up, they will eat up the neon tetra without hesitation.
  3. Another problem is about reproduction. Some species may become aggressive in heat period, they will attack other fish to expand their territory. To protect your fish, you need to transfer the estrous fish to another tank.

For setting up a peaceful fish community tank, there are some rules and notices.

  1. Keep the fish in similar size, prevent small fish from being eaten by big fish.
  2. Don’t mix the fish that adapt different water type. Such as Lake Malawi blue cichlids and South America cichlids.
  3. Try to mix the mild species. Such as South America tetra and ratfish.
  4. Independently breed the species that like to eat other fish’s fin. Such as green puffer.
  5. Breed alone species that like infighting. For example, Siamese fighting fish, especially male fish like to fight with each other. But this is not harmful to other species.

Koi Variety Guide – Asagi

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The adult Asagi Koi are easy to recognize. The back is light blue or grey. The edge of every scale on back is white. You can distinguish every single scale clearly. The head is light blue or light yellow, while the face, belly, pectoral fins and pelvic fins are orange red.

The Japanese name Asagi, which comes from the color of juvenile Koi, means light yellow. The head and belly were light yellow when they were juvenile. The color of belly is the main mutation characteristic. It will develop from bottom as age. And this is one of the interesting points for raising Asagi. You will witness their growth and change.

Awared Asagi

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Koi Variety Guide – Showa Sanshoku

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Showa Sanshoku (or Showa Sanke, abbreviation: Showa) have red, white and black three colors markings, which is the same as Taisho Sanke (abbreviation: Sanke). It is not difficult to distinguish the Showa and Sanke. Showa has black markings (called sumi) on the head, but Sanke does not; Showa’s sumi appear in dermis, and penetrate beyond epidermis, you can see some light black marking at the edge of sumi, and Sanke’s sumi show on the surface of epidermis; There are plane shape sumi on the base of Showa’s pectoral fin, while there is no sumi or only black stripes on Sanke’s pectoral fin.

A champion Showa
A showa got third place in the same match

Showa Koi got its name because it was born in Japan during the Showa Emperor (AD 1926 to AD 1989), in fact, it was born in 1927. Showa can be further distinguished to couple sub-varieties. Such as Classic Showa, Kindai Showa, and Boke Showa etc.

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Koi Variety Guide – Taisho Sanke

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Taisho Sanke or Taisho Sanshoku are named for its born period – Taisho era in Japan (A.D. 1912 to A.D. 1926). Sanshoku or Sanke means three colors. Taisho Sanke are solid white base overlaid red and black patterns. There is only red pattern on the head without black ones. Their pectoral fins have black stripes, not patterns.

two years old Taisho Sanke

Same as Kohaku, Taisho Sanke can be further distinguished to couple sub- varieties. Such as Kuchibeni Sanke, Fuji Sanke, and Maruten Sanke etc.

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Koi Variety Guide – Kohaku

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Kohaku is one of the earliest born Koi varieties, it is the most well-known and basic variety, because some varieties are developed from Kohaku.

Kohaku means “red and white”. It has ceramic-like white skin, with large and separate red patterns overlay. According to the number and shape of patterns, Kokaku can be further distinguished to Kuchibeni-Kohaku, Nidan-Kohaku, Sandan-Kohaku, Yodan-Kohahu, Inazuma, Straight Hi, Napoleon, Gotenzakura, Kinsakura and so on.

Yodan-Kohaku that was awarded

Image above is a Yodan-Kohaku that was awarded.


“Kuchibeni” means lipstick. The obvious characteristic is the small red pattern around the mouth, like lipstick.


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