We had told ourselves that we were going to get two of the ‘higher-bred’ fishes from our new pond supply place—we’d gotten our first koi, expecting that we’d lose some to infant mortality, by buying a random batch from a feed store—and only lost one; the others are quite a mixed bag of really nice and, well, then there’s Kenpachi, who’s kind of untidy. So we were anxious for what wonderful fish might turn up when the pond place opened up to sell the fish it’s had in quarantine, koi with recognizable type in their patterns. I wanted a red-and-black, particularly; but found out an interesting thing. In koi, in America, the red pigment turns up orange, because of water quality and diet; and the very same bloodline in Japan will be red where the American cousin is orange—but the Japanese koi have trouble achieving an inky black (it usually appears as brown-black) while American koi have no trouble with black.

So I had the owner scoop up 2 ‘red’-and-blacks to look at, one of which had a perfect PF on his side—it will probably slowly change. I suppose it stands for Perfect Fish. But I liked his colors; and then there was one with the most wonderful tiger stripes; and I somehow didn’t put that one back. Then there was a beautiful black and white, which was one of the colors we wanted. She was destined to go with us. And Jane, who has a taste for butterfly finned koi, spotted a black one, and we took a closer look at that one.

Be advised: this is a trap. Once you have them caught and up close—how are you going to dump one back? You can’t. You’d be sure you were giving up the better one, right?

So we ended up with 4 new koi, gorgeous little guys. And we found that our pond place has a deal with a kid’s exploratorium pond and with a nursing home with a little lake, that they will take in koi that have grown too big, or that have proven otherwise problematic, and either re-sell them, and donate the money to the kids’ place; or donate the fish to either of those two places, which means that the koi get a big, big pond where they can grow and make people happy. We don’t WANT to give up any of our guys, but it makes us feel better that if we should misjudge our pond capacity, we would have a place for them.

We found out an unhappy bit of news, though: our favorite fish store, for our marine tank, is out of business. We are now stuck with a large rabbit fish we’d wanted to trade in, and the world’s largest and fastest-growing hammer coral, which is now the size of half a medicine ball. We’re sorry for the store owners, who are nice people; and we are sorry we’re not going to be able to deal locally, either. Wah!