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The Most Important Decision

When Buying Koi Is

Who and Where

They Come From… Period!

Kawarimono (Kah-Wa-Ree-Moe-No)

Kawarimono is a broad classification used for a wide variety of non metallic Koi that don't fit into other classes. Some examples are breeds of their own, while others display "one-of-a-kind" color and patterning. Furthermore, certain Koi are placed in Kawarimono because they deviate so much from the judging criteria applied to what would typically be their own variety. For instance, the Kanoko Kohaku, which displays a dappled hi pattern, is benched Kawarimono because it would never be able to compete with conventionally marked Kohaku.

However, Kawarimono is by no means a dumping ground for the oddities of the Koi world. There is no place in this classification (or anywhere else) for sub-standard fish whose only claim to fame is their uniqueness. The usual criteria of good body shape and skin quality and, where applicable, an interesting pattern, still hold true. Crossbred Koi should display the best, rather than the worst, features of both parents, combined in a pleasing manner. That, after all, is how several accepted varieties were developed in the first place.

For convenience, varieties in Kawarimono can be separated into three groups:

Some are readily available, but others are not bred intentionally - they arise as "sports" from other spawning's.

Benigoi Koi from Blackwater Creek Koi Farms

Single-Colored Koi Breeds… Benigoi:  Also known as Aka Muji, Benigoi (shown to the left of this page) are of Kohaku lineage. In this breed, the hi covers the entire body in a fashion resembling a giant goldfish. Their fins can be either completely red or tipped with white. Koi with the latter feature are sometimes known as Aka Hajiro. For the fish to be of any value, the hi must be uniform in color tone, and the body shape should be voluminous in size. In simple Koi breeds such as this, any blemish on the skin becomes prominent, seriously degrading the Koi.

Shiro Muji: Shiro Muji are also products of Kohaku spawning's, but this time the hi is absent. These all white fish are normally culled out, but occasionally one with exceptional skin quality is kept back and raised. Albinos, with red eyes, are sought-after rarities, as are those with Gin-Rin scalation. Kawarimono

Kigoi: Kigoi are Koi of a uniform lemon yellow or citrus orange, and quite an old variety. When the metallic Ogon's first appeared, these Koi lost popularity, but are now staging a comeback. Two types are available: leucistic (with black eyes) and true, red-eyed albinos, known as Akame Kigoi. These fish - particularly the males - can grow to 1m (39 in) or more. Good examples are free from red blemishes or silvery patches above the lateral line. Black-eyed Kigoi are sometimes confused with saffron-colored Chagoi, as the latter vary greatly in color.

Magoi Koi  From Blackwater Creek Koi Farms.

Magoi:

In Magoi, the scales are actually deep bronze, but the fish appear black when viewed from above. Magoi are not recognized as true Koi by some show organizers, but that does not stop them from being kept. Free of the stunting effects that can arise from selective breeding for color or pattern, these fish can become huge. For that reason, Magoi blood is being reintroduced into some Go Sanke bloodlines to speed and maximize growth.


Chagoi Koi for sale from Blackwater creek Koi Farms.

Chagoi: Chagoi are uniform brown Koi. The word "Cha", derived from the Kawarimono Chinese/Japanese word for tea, describes the color of this breed. They are noted for two distinct qualities: their capacity to grow very large and their extreme friendliness. Introducing a Chagoi to a pond full of nervous Koi has a calming effect, speeding up the hand-feeding training process. Read our Friendly Chagoi guide for more information on this subject. The color of Chagoi can vary from saffron through reddish brown to almost black, yet the paler the Koi the more highly it's valued. High quality, blemish-free scale reticulation is a requirement. Gin-Rin Chagoi are also finding favor.

For more information about the “Friendly Koi” click here.

Ochiba Shigure Koi from Blackwter Creek Koi Farms

Soragoi & Ochiba Shigure:

Soragoi are plain blue-gray Koi. They are not a popular variety in their own right, but crossed with Chagoi they become Ochiba Shigure. Here, the gray base color of the Soragoi is patterned with the brown of the Chagoi. The best examples show Kohaku-like markings, but more often the brown is confined to the head or to small patches on the body. Doitsu and Gin-Rin styled Ochiba can also be found.


Karasu Koi for sale from Blackwater Creek Koi Farms

Black Koi Breeds:


Karasu:

The Karasu, meaning crow in Japanese, is a very old variety with black fins, a black body and a white or orange belly. The very similar Hajiro is a black Koi with a white nose and white-tipped pectoral fins, which makes it more visible in the water. The Hageshiro adds a white head to this color combination, while the Yotsujiro's fins are completely white. All four Koi should display deep and even sumi, darker that of the Magoi.


The Matsukawabake

is an oddity, in that the distribution of black and white areas changes according to the seasons and the temperature of the water in which it is kept. However, this does not amount to a complete reversal of pattern. The Koi can turn completely black or completely white under some circumstances, but can display interesting shadowy sumi in the transition period.

matsukawabake koi for sale from Blackwater Creek Koi Farms.

It's hard to believe, but these two photos are of the same Koi! Kumonryu are known to change their coloring with the seasons. They're like having two  Koi in one.

Kumonryu, which fist appeared in the 1980’s, is the most popular of all black Koi derivatives in Kawarimono. The name means "dragon fish" and is applied to these Koi because their markings are reminiscent of the coiled bodies of these mythical beasts as depicted in Oriental paintings.

Kumonryu are always Doitsu, sharpening the contrast between the white and black on the body. Patterning can be highly variable; the best examples show large, wavy-edged blocks of white along the flanks and the top of the body. However, these fish are effectively Doitsu Matsukawabake, so their patterning can change seasonally depending on lineage and water temperature and quality.

Other Kawarimono...

Matsuba:

Matsuba, or Matsubagoi, are most commonly bred as metallic fish, and benched in Hikarimono. The reticulated scalation is counted as only one color by the Japanese. However, matt-scaled Matsubagoi go into Kawarimono. These are understated Koi and quite rare, although Aka Matsuba are sometimes seen entered in the Jumbo class; being a very early variety, they grow large. Aka Matsuba are red Koi with dark scale reticulation, and of Asagi lineage. However, the head should be red, rather than white. Any patches of blue and the fish is classed as an Asagi.

Ki Matsuba are most often seen in their Doitsu form, and resemble a Shusui in which the red and blue skin is replaced by yellow. The white equivalent is the rare Shiro Matsuba.


Matsuba Koi for sale from Blackwater Creek Koi Farms. Midorigoi Koi For Sale from Blackwater Creek Koi Farms

Midorigoi are green Doitsu Koi, the only variety to show this color. The actual shade is more of a translucent greenish yellow, while the mirror scales can be black or silver. These fish originally resulted from a cross between a Shusui and a Yamabuki Ogon. The only variety likely to be confused with them is the Doitsu Ki Matsuba. Crossings between Shusui and Midorigoi occasionally throw up the rare Enyu, a purplish Koi with hi markings.