Anyone have anything factual against koi from Malaysia?


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Got a lead today of a local fish supplier who was wholesale (the last ten years), who is in the process of going retail, so took a ride to check it out. OMG I felt like I died and went to heaven. He is NOT yet open to the public, but was very willing to show us around, and really lit up when my husband started asking questions about his set up.

The owner has two sales angles... One is supplying fish, and the other is organically grown hydroponic plants (veggies, herbs, etc).... NO other items or supplies offered... My husband was in heaven over the way the filters worked ... fish water to the veggies and loops back to the fish via a drip system (multi buckets hanging from the ceiling with holes drilled into them that flow into each other, then down into the vats below), and NO filter media of any kind used (he did have an 02 somethingerother that hubby told me was basically a giant protein skimmer - a word I understood LOL)... I was clueless to how it all worked (husband was in awe LOL)... HUGE water wheels lined the vats the fish were in, which were run by current and air to turn them... Each fish holding area was 5' x 5' x every bit of 40' (double the vat width to accommodate the water wheel thingys LOL) divided into areas via netting (top and bottom)... Each vat was soooo full of fish (fish density) it was impossible to keep your eye on the same fish for more than 20 SECONDS or so. He had FIVE of these holding tanks/vats, but only 3 are being used right now. Not ONE dead or visually unhealthy fish seen, and I am totally AMAZED that there wasnt even a HINT of a fishy smell to the place. I cant even begin to speculate how many fish were there (thousands upon thousands). Even my little 20 gallon fish tank (with perfect water conditions) has a HINT of fishy smell to my SENSITIVE nose.

The person who told us about him was turned off, as he does not yet have the outside fish vats set up/display tanks, and was told to just tell him what TYPE of fish she wanted, and would pull it out of his massive vats for her to come pick up. I was very honest with him that we were only there today to check it out (we arrived at closing time BTW, his car was already running, and he turned all the lights back on to show us around) as we have fry we are raising, and other fish in our inside QT pond... We are looking at 2 weeks or so before we could come back. In the course of conversations, we also exchanged business cards, and told us if we bought multi fish for our clients, he would give us a discount. His prices were MORE than fair to begin with! In addition, he said to call ahead, and let him know when we would like to come to pick a few for ourselves, and he would HALF DRAIN the vats so we can hand pick what we wanted while there! I really think the special treatment was simply because of my husbands interests in how his fish & plants & filters all worked together, and not because we may install a few ponds each year.

I dont recall all of the prices for the standard Koi, I was more into reading the butterfly prices, which were priced higher. His top prices were for the 12+" fish, and those are the ones I was interested in... $75 for standard/$85 for butterflies... Most of the so called 12"+ fish were 12-14" IN BODY length, NOT counting tail length, and they had some of the LONGEST tail fins that I have even seen, with a good percentile closer to the 20" range (PLUS TAIL)! Unless you are buying from Craigslist (which we have done too LOL), fish RETAIL in this size range are easy $150, if not more here. Not 3 weeks ago, another suppler wanted $20 each for butterflies barely 4" with tails included, and they were blah looking (flat white with greyish black/muddy blotches)... His 4-6" butterflies were $8

We were in heaven over this place, so trying to figure out what could be WRONG here. He says they are from Malaysia, come with health certs, but doesnt take their word for it, and has them retested himself (and offered to show the certifications).

He does NOT have any of the more exotic colorings (no gin rins or shusui for example, but some lovely tancho with good red and otherwise standard colors), but the markings ARE better than what we have been seeing retailing around the area. The patterns, while better then what we are used to seeing locally ARE better, nothing all that unusual, where I would credit his fish more is in the physical structure. Some really nice heads and bodies and finnage...

The only other thing I can think of that was said is that he gets his fish in once a year, in Feb...

So WHAT should we be looking for in dealing with a dealer such as this one? I have been a dog breeder/exhibitor for the last 25 years, and all the obvious things looked great... Feel like I am missing something. Ya know that saying about being too good to be true?
 
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fishin4cars

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I would look into Koi-Bito forum, Look for post by Brother David. he's from Malaysia and he's really informative and a nice guy to talk to. His collection of Koi are probably worth hundreds of thousands of dollars here. There he hand selects from top choice breeders for perfection and most of his fish he paid not top dollar for but raise for top show quality fish. Malaysian fish can be extremely beautiful. more limited color forms come from there and very few even mess with butterfly, usually Go-Sanke forms (Kohaku, Showa, and Sanke standard Koi) are the most common coming from that area. Be very cautious of any koi being imported and check the certificates of health check. Be aware and QT any imported fish for a bare minimum of 6 weeks and more in the area of 6 months. Reason Being is if you do happen to get the KHV virus in your system your will need to destroy every fish and throughly sterilize everything before starting to keep koi again. KHV is more dangerous that come from imported shipments than US breed. Due to the fact that all US farms, are required by the FDA to be tested for the virus and all fish destroyed if it is detected. Malaysia fish from what I have heard are not common carriers of the virus but some koi can and do get shipped from there to japan, from japan to Malaysia and then shipped to other parts of the world. If he is raising and keeping there and has tests done and certified i would think your probably pretty safe.
 
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Thank you Larkin,

I will definitely go look for the other forum and Brother David to see what else I can learn. He had lots of the colors you stated, but my Japanese is horrible (and I badly mix them up to boot).

He had some really pretty standard Koi, but hubby is more on a butterfly kick right now (we have both). I like the standards for the better bodies and sharper colors, but he wants more fins LOL. I am far from any form of expert, but I was soooo impressed with the bodies on the butterflies. Most of the butterflies I normally see look more streamline in build, and a lot of these butterflies had thick chunkie bodies, nothing as thin as we are used to seeing... Since it will be a good deal of effort to take anything from the vats, I am thinking we will stick to one vat only per visit. He had 3 of the 5 vats full, but one was just standard koi (6-12" range if you use his measurements, which are more like 10-20+"), the next was all butterflies (same size divisions as the standards) and the 3rd vat running was a variety of smaller fish (divided by nets to separate each variety).

Cant do anything right now, so an excellent time to become more educated. In addition to having a full house, we have something going on in the QT pond that I need help with (possible sick fish) so going to go compose my thoughts as to how to explain what is going on with her...
 

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I'm a huge fan of butterfly's Malasia isn't known much for producing butterfly koi, but that dfoesn't mean that your dealer hasn't found someone there that is dealing with him exclusively. If the dealer isn't far away make a few stops by before buying. If you continue to stop there and they continue having healthy fish, good husbandry, and no deaths over a several weeks or months pretty good chances they deal with good supplier.
Take Petsmart for instance. They may get a good shipment in but then the next time you go you find multiple tanks of dead fish, or fish that have died and not been removed. Chances are they already have been infected with multiple issues and just passing the problem further down the line. malasian fish on a whole are usually pretty well taken care of. I haven't heard of problems since the big angelfish virus ten or fifteen years ago.
 
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He is very close by. About a 15 minute drive! In the course of conversation, it came up who his prior help was, and why he was going retail. A def employer/employee dispute is a large part of it. I am not going to defend this dealer, as frankly, I do not know him, but do know who his former employee was. The most negative that was said about the prior employee was that there was a dispute, and after he left, had called all of the clients and told them he was out of business. Some, he got back, but most made other arrangements. The former employee has a history of pulling this same stunt. When we first met this man, he had gotten another store going with marine fish. When he left, he pulled the same thing, and this was more than 20 years ago (we were his first special order for a large marine/invert tank... dont remember when it was, but Hurricane Bob turned the whole thing upside down in 1991 - no power for 8 days). From there, he appeared at another store (nursery) and got them to get in koi, and when he left there, tried to screw the store with the suppliers (known one of the owners for about 25 yrs now)... So there is a strong ring of truth with the little the dealer did say.

It sounds like a good idea to make a few stops by. We can use the excuse of having more time to check out his filtration, and spend more time talking about the plants (all hydro/organic, he brings in BUGS to take care of other bugs, and also raises specific plants to feed some of them when there isnt enough of the bad bugs for them to eat). I had tried to get my husband out of there a few times (we were there for a good 45 minutes chatting), and his wife was waiting in the van... so there's the excuse to go without buying...

If he is being honest, and only gets fish once a year in Feb, I doubt too much will change without something like a mini natural disaster. None of the fish seemed stressed (even with being packed in) and all I could see had nice body weights to them ... There is no sign to identify the place, and it is down a dirt road to boot. We used to live near there (within a mile), and never even knew that road existed, so I doubt he gets too many unexpected visitors. The biggest thing that still stands out at me is with all of those vats and so many fish, is that there were NO fish odors.

Having been a dog breeder (which included heavy involvement in rescue), with dogs, I know what to look for, and what is "for show" to make the "right" impression. I know to look for the hidden, and I just could not find it here, which for my analytic mind is a red flag LOL. My brain is saying it is all too good to be true, but cant identify any area to look closer at. A couple more trips like you suggested:)
 

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