The mark of a good koi

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Fishing for big money

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Fishing for big money

An entrepreneur who markets wheat grass, says I has paid between RM30,000 and RM60,000 for a single fish. The really serious

enthusiasts think nothing of paying a few hundred thousand ringgit for a pedigree koi, which comes with a certificate. Money is not an issue; they have made it and they now want to spend it.

It is a sort of status symbol. If a man does not have his own turf, how can he afford to keep koi?

According to him, the best quality koi are those from Japan. At his outlet youngsters of about 4 inches long are sold at about RM100 each. They are categorised according to the farms they come from. The price increases as they grow bigger, with those a foot long going for several thousands.

It is not the size that determines the price whipping out a laminated sheet with a picture of a fish that at three years old and 62cm in length, cost RM18,000. Two months ago, another supplier brought in two koi for RM280,000. All three are pedigree stuff.

We have a lot of corporate figures who work and play hard. Some of them are so interested in Japanese carps, that they have followed me for auctions attended by collectors and suppliers from Europe and America.

Pedigrees are sold at auctions with the highest bidder getting his catch of one single fish. Traders select the smaller non-pedigree variety. When I go to a farm, I am given a waterproof suit and a net I get into the pond and make my selection. These are usually smaller fishes."

It is not possible to foresee how a young fish will turn out or whether it will be a male or a female, says Hong, who is also president of a Malaysian koi club. "We prefer females, because the whites of the male tend to turn yellowish as they grow older," he adds.

According to Gan, a Malaysian corporate personality plans to enter his fish in a koi competition in Japan this year. He was offered RM400,000 for the fish, but declined to sell.

When a fish wins the grand price, its price can jump to as high as RM1 mil, adding that last year's Japanese grand champion was sold for that sum.

Competitions aside, Gan says, his clients keep koi for enjoyment. Many of them live in bungalows, but I have clients who have reared them successfully in terraced housing. They just have smaller ponds.

It is the water quality that is important Koi in Japan have been known to live for -- decades if they are looked after well. My advice would be, keep them because you enjoy them, or the fish will suffer.

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