Our January Meeting was at Dick and Bonita’s house. The pond was spectacular; only edged out by the creativity that Bonita puts into decorating their house for the holidays. Stunning is another word to describe her efforts.
The speaker for today's meeting, who was to talk about his recent trip to Japan and his visit to a few of the country’s koi farms, woke up in the morning with the flu. Hence the call at 7:30 am and a reschedule to another date. On to “Plan B”. My wife grabbed the computer; I racked my knowledge and a plan was forming: koi know-how in a Game Show format. We put it together, got the props/prizes, and headed for the meeting.
When it came time to begin the program part of the meeting, we drew three attendee names and the “lucky” participants were assembled. Those people were: Sam Seat, Ben Adams, and Cheryl Adams. They took their places on same high chairs that were brought forward and the game began.
The rules were simple. The game show host, myself, would read a question and give three potential answers. Participants would raise their hands if they knew the correct answer. Lucky guesses and correct answers received a chocolate kiss thrown their way by the game show host. We got down to the last question with the score standing at three points for two contestants and four points for the lead. Excitement was building and the final question was queried. Would the game end in a tie? (Spoiler alert: That Koi Jack had given the answer earlier in his Koi Talk). The last question was:
“ In the area of water quality”, what is Koi Jack’s favorite saying?
A. “Get up early and do a poop watch!”
B. “My water is so clean I can drink it”
C. “The solution to pollution is dilution”
Ben Adams raised his hand and answered “C”. He won the game and received a $25 gift card and the others walked away with parting gifts of more chocolate kisses. I believe this will be played again and I already have a spin-off for this game.
One contestant; it’s called “Stump the Kichi”.
You game Koi Jack?
I was running new lines to fit the twin 55-gallon barrels I had installed as a pre-filter before my biological filter system. I glued my pump in place and let the water flow through the pipe. The barrels filled and turned my pump system. Back in business. This ran fine for 6 weeks, then they slowed down.
I went to check the pre-filter/Settlement barrels and found them filling slowly and then emptying quickly before the barrels were fully filler. Problem in the 2” line that fed the barrels I ventured. I jumped in the pond and put a piece of equipment in the bottom drain out-flow pipe. Now this piece of equipment is made out of rubber, has a hose attachment, and a hole at the other end. The way it worked was you attach a hose, placed it in the pipe, turn on the water and the rubber piece swelled to the interior of the pipe. This caused a blockage in the pipe, the small hole filled the pipe with water, and water pressure builds up. Think of it as a more aggressive plunger.
I went back to check my pre-filters and they had little changed in status; must be something with (in) the 2” in-flow pipes. I dug out and exposed twenty feet of buried pipe. That’s was when I uncovered my potential mistake. Twenty feet of pipe = yes; but only 19 feet of 2” pipe. The rest was two 2” to 1 ½” adapters, small pieces of 1 ½” pipe, and one 1 ½” check valve. I got out my trusty PVC pipe cutters and cut out that check valve. Yup there was the blockage.
What hampered my pipes to deliver water to the pre-filter? A wayward koi, probably thinking it could shelter under my bottom drain top. But not with the extreme suction of my Sequence pump; a +++++ aquatic black hole. Probably fit snug on its trip through the 2” pipe, but ran out of luck when it encountered the check valve death trap. It was impaled on the valve mechanism.
A couple of 2” connectors, a piece of 2” pipe, and the pond filtration roared back to work. Back in business; minus one wayward koi.
So I figure winter is coming on and I’d like it if my young koi, who are in my auxiliary holding tank, could stay in a “growing” water temperature year-round; so I went looking for a pond water heater. I looked in my community newspaper for possible ads. I found an ad, called the seller, and made arrangements to buy it. The seller lived around 10 miles.
When I got there I found out the water heater was used for a turtle enclosure and the owner had wanted to upgraded the heater. I brought the system being sold and headed home. I envisioned my koi having a warm winter in their 400-gallon water palace.
The unit wasn’t your typical wand-type water heater you pick up at pet store/ That type has a single wand shaped glass tube with a built -in temperature sensor. The one I now had is what is referred to as a “bucket” heater. The wand piece is stainless steel. With a stainless guard piece, with holes in it, surrounding the heating piece. There is a control attached to it with a three foot cable. Out of the control box came a three foot wire with a water temperature sensor. This seemed to me, along with the tank which had insulation wrapper around it and a plywood cover, ready to do the job.
The unit was set up and the operation was going smoothly. Because of the water temperature being 72, I was able to feed the koi 3-4 times a day. The koi seemed happy; I was happy to see them so active this time of the year. I enjoyed a few months of happy times.
Then a wind storm blew up and the domino effect came into play. The winds had gotten up to 40 knots and rains came with them. The cause and effect of the end result became apparent when I investigated the next morning. It was obvious that the wind had blown leaves everywhere, things knocked off the table, or over on the patio. It wasn’t until I rounded the corner that my heart sank.
The wind had blown and on its tempest, a small branch had snapped off my neighbor’s tree. The small branch fell and hit the sensor wire in the controller. The wire completely came out of the water and fell to the ground. The sensor told the controller that the water was under 72 degrees. The heater turned on.
This is what I found; branches covering ground. Sensor wire out of pond. Ponder heater on. Floating dead koi. I unplugged the heater and got my pond thermometer. When I read it a few minutes later it read 100 degrees; I had poached my koi/
This last Saturday, the club’s annual koi auction took place at San Diego Pond and Garden in Poway. As our wonderful volunteers were completing the set-up for the event, the koi began to arrive. Julia was right there to check in the fish. There were a total of 43 fish bags. Two of the koi (a Yamabuki and a Karashigoi) were over 36 inches long. Koi Jack, the club’s resident expert on all things koi and the auctioneer for the day, determined that it was safer to leave the koi where they were (in a tank in the back of the seller's truck bed) than to try to move them. We taped a cardboard sign, with the letter “C”, on the side of the truck bed.
At 10 AM the bidding started. As every koi was wheeled down the runway, Koi Jack offered a word or two (or three) about each koi’s merits. The auction’s attendees gained knowledge and learned a thing or two about selecting koi for future shows. Those in attendance leaned in, bidding paddles started waving, and excited voices rang out. After the bid was finalized, the koi were rebagged by the hard-working volunteers. This provides new water, oxygen, and the red ink number of the new owner. The pace at times was quickened by the energy that flowed around the bidding area. At times, Koi Jack entertained the crowd with stories while waiting for the next cart to be pushed down the runway. Around noon, we stopped to enjoy a complimentary meal, provided by the club and served by the club’ president Lenore Wade.
After the lunch break, it was back to bidding, Many Doitsu koi were bid on, as well as the most Sankes that this writer has seen at this auction. Bekkos, Shiro Utsuris, and even Asagi made an appearance for sale. Before long, the koi for sale became the koi sold. The cashiers went to work collecting payment and instructing the buyers what the procedure is to secure their new pond members. Within minutes, koi were loaded into vehicles and soon on their journey to their new homes.
It was a wonderful event to exchange knowledge, money, and koi. I’m looking forward to next year’s event.
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