Dictionary of Nishikigoi Terms
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Nishikigoi Terms







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This Glossary is Koi, Plant and all things relating to the Pond.



Pronunciation Guide:

A - pronounced ah, as in paw or draw EI - pronounced aye, as in bay, play
E - pronounced eh, as in spend or friend OI - pronounced oye, as in toy, boy
I - pronounced ee, as in bee, he, tree OA - pronounced oh ah, as in boa
O- pronounced oh, as in tow, oak OO - pronounced oo, as in who, boo
U - pronounced uu, as in moo, who UI - pronounced wee, as in tree, bee
R - sometimes pronounced like the letter "d" JI - pronounced gee, as in bungi
AI - pronounced eye, as in pie, fly JY - pronounced jah, as in draw, jaw
AO - pronounced ah oh RYU - pronounced droo, as in Andrew



Word(Pronunciation)Meaning
Ablation The process of removal of the eye in crustaceans. This is done to promote moulting and/or spawning. The eye stalk is a source of GIH (Gonadotropin Inhibiting Hormone) and so it's removal, reduces or eliminates the signals which are stopping gonadotropins (which start and control the maturation process) from being produced.
Abrasion Scraping away of the outer layers of the skin or of a mucous membrane usually as a result of injury.
Abscess A localised area of dead tissue debris and white blood cells, surrounded by inflamed (and often infected) tissue.
Acclimation The process by which fish become used to a given environment. For example fish which are usually held at one temperature, will take time to adjust to being held at a different temperature. During the acclimation period, fish may be more susceptible to pathogens and may exhibit poor appetites and food conversion rates. Acclimation may be required for changes in water quality, lighting regimes, husbandry practices etc. Bacteria used in biological filters also require acclimation to changes in water quality, during which period they may perform their function at a reduced rate.
Acid Sulphate soils Acid sulphate soils commonly occur in brackish water marsh lands, swamps and mangrove areas. The soils will often contain iron pyrite and when exposed to air or well oxygenated water, sulphuric acid is formed which can reduce the pond muds and water to pH of below 4.0 and make it unsuitable for fish culture. It can take many years of repeated filling and draining of acid sulphate soil ponds to remove the acidity from the soil. Options are to try to manage the soil with lime addition and bottom harrowing or by trying to maintain the pond full with water at all times. The oxidation of the soils is much slower in water than in air due to the smaller amounts of oxygen available. Many such ponds are now lined, as the management of such soils is very labour intensive and costly. The establishment of grass cover on the banks of the ponds can also reduce the oxidation rate of the soils and reduce the acidification of the pond through run off. Other suggestions are that in areas of acid sulphate soils, ponds should not be dug, but dams, banks and levees built above the ground level using top soils from the inlet and outlet channel construction. the disadvantage of this is that the ponds must be filled by pumping and are at increased risk from leakage and erosion of the banks.
Acidity This refers to the amount of buffering that water requires to bring the pH to 7.0, neutral.
Activated Carbon Available in granules (GAC) or powder. Granules are usually more practical for commercial use. Removes negative ions from the water (such as ozone, chlorine, fluorides etc.) Once used it can be recharged by heating to 900oC. Not generally financially viable for commercial systems. Sometimes used in small hatcheries, especially where mains water is being used and chlorine and other chemicals added to the water must be removed.
Acute Clincal sign of a disease that has rapid onset, severe symptoms and a short course. Opposite of chronic.
Adenoma An often benign neoplasm of epithelial tissue where the tumor cells form gland-like structures; usually well circumscribed and generally compresses rather than invade surrounding tissue.
Adenosine triphosphate Abbrev. ATP. An adenosine-derived nucleotide that contains high-energy phosphate bonds and is used to transport energy to cells for biochemical processes.
Adhesions Areas of internal tissues that stick together; may be normal in some species and a result of inflammation in others.
Aeration The process where air and water are mixed. This may be in the form of bubbling air into water, or letting water fall through the air. The process is usually used to increase the oxygen concentrations in water. The efficiency of aeration equipment is determined by the amount of surface area interface between the water and air and the energy required to produce that interface. A summary of the devices used and their corresponding efficiencies is shown in the table. It is also used for other processes such as degassing, mixing and destratification.
Aerobic The name given to a process which requires oxygen. For example aerobic bacteria, require oxygen to live. The opposite of aerobic is anaerobic.
Aeromonas salmonicida Gram negative bacteria that is the causative agent of the disease Furunculosis.
Agi (ah' gi ) Chin. This term refers not only to the koi's chin, it also means the entire side of the face including the gill covers.
Agi Zumi (ah' gi zoo' mee)Chin zumi. Agi refers to the chin and both sides of the face including the gill covers. Agi Zumi means Sumi appearing on these parts.
Ago Hi (A-GO HE) The red (hi) colour patches found on the cheeks of Shusui or Asagi.
Ago Sumi (ah-go SOO me) Sumi (black) on gills.
Ai (eye) (eye)Indigo blue color. As seen in the ground color of Asagi, or accents on Aigoromo.
Aigoromo (eye go ROW mow) (eye' go row mow)koi fish pictures Indigo netting pattern on the Hi plates of a Kohaku pattern. Basically a Kohaku whose red scales have blue semicircular borders, giving the koi a reticulated pattern.
Ai-no-Fuki (eye' no foo' key)Appearance of indigo crescents on the Hi plates, such as in Aigoromo.
Ai-no-FukidashiAi starts appearing.
Air Lock Air locks are pockets of air that form in pipes, if there is nowhere for the air to escape to. Bubbles often get drawn into pipes as a result of vortexes at inlet points, or if the pipe entrance is not fully submerged. Bubbles can also form in pipes as a result of gas supersaturation. If the pipe travels in an upward slope at some stage, and then slopes down again, there is a risk that the air will collect a the highest point in the pipe. This can then restrict or even stop the flow of water through the pipe. The solution is to either ensure that pipes always slope downwards, an air vent, or air purger at the point where the air collects in the pipe.
Air Purger A device used to expel air from piped water systems. Typically the device has an internal float. As the air builds up inside it, the float falls, opening a valve at the top. The water pressure in the pipe pushes the air out. As the device fills back up with water again, the float rises and the valve shuts.
Air stripping The removal of dissolved gasses from water by a mechanical means which involves the movement of air across water. The stripping of carbon dioxide is relatively easily achieved, stripping of supersaturated gasses is easy down to a saturation level of 103-105%, after this it becomes increasingly difficult, and requires increasing amounts of energy to remove the gas. Vacuum systems can help achieve 100% or below. Stripping of ammonia from water is only cost effective at pH levels of higher than 10.0 and therefore not relevant to fish farming. A small amount of ammonia can be stripped by air at lower pH levels, but the amount is usually insignificant when the total ammonia production is taken account of.
Ai-SashiBlue Sashi. The Sashi seen in Aigoromo.
Ai Showa (eye SHOW wah)Also known as Koromo Showa - a Showa whose pattern is overlaid with darker reticulated markings
Aizumi (eye Zu me) Sumi (black markings) which have a hint of blue/indigo.
Aka(ah'ka)A general word meaning red. Red background
Aka Bekko (ACKA BEK-O)A Koi with a red base colour overlaid with black (Sumi) markings.
Aka hana (AH kah HAH nah)Red nose.
Aka Hajiro (ACKA HA-JEER-O) (ah' ka ha' jee row)An all-red koi whose tail and fins are edged with white.
Akame Kigoi (ah ka' meh key' goy)koi fish pictures Red-eyed Kigoi.
Aka Matsuba (ACKA MATS-BA) A red koi with a black Matsuba "pine-cone" pattern in the scales along the back.
Aka Muji (ah' ka moo' jee)Red normally scaled Koi, also called Higoi.
Aka Sanke (ACKA SAN-KAY) (ah' ka sahn' keh)Red Sanke. Aka is a term meaning red. A Taisho Sanshoku (Sanke) with a majority of Hi and very little Shiroji. It is not a variety name, but rather a description. Although the lack of Shiroji makes the Koi appear less dignified, it projects a dynamic and powerful image. There are many distinguished Aka Sanke with high quality Hi.
Akebi Light blue.
Akame (ACKA-MAY) An eye with a red iris - often seen in Ki-goi.
Akamuji (ACKA MOO-GEE) A red koi with non-metallic scales.
Akebi (ah KEH bee) Translates as 'light blue'.
Albino (Al BY no) A strain usually demonstrated by red eyes.
Algae Algae are simple celled plants and (like all plants) contain chlorophyll. This traps energy from the sun and uses that energy to convert nutrients and carbon dioxide (which are dissolved in the water) into growth. When grown in a hatchery, the growing and multiplying algal cells are collectively known as a culture. The main form of algae that is of interest to aquaculture is collectively known as unicellular. These consist of free floating cells of algae which make the water look green or brown, depending on the colour of the algae. There are many different types of unicellular algae but only a few are nutritionally suited for good growth. These are divided into two types; flagellates, which can swim by the action of one or more flagellae and diatoms, which have an outer shell made of silica. Some of the more commonly grown species and their sizes are listed in the table. Other forms include filamentous, which are strand like colonies of algae, which usually form dense mats or clumps, and blue-green algae, more commonly referred to as cyanobacteria. As well as being grown for food for the fish and also as food for zooplankton, which are then fed to the fish, algae impacts on aquaculture in other ways. These include algal blooms, taints, oxygen depletion, supersaturation and fouling.
Algal bloom An algal bloom occurs when light, temperature, water currents and water quality (especially the amount and type of nutrients in the water) combine to form perfect growing conditions for a species of algae. The algae multiply very fast and depending on their colour, the water turns green, blue, red or brown. Algal cell counts in the water generally exceed 5 million per litre. The algae can cause damage to the fish by suffocation as it takes all the available oxygen out of the water for the purpose of photosynthesis or by causing the gills to become clogged with algae and function poorly. Certain species of algae (e.g. the blue green algae's) can produce a toxin which is poisonous to fish and can cause mortalities. Algal blooms are particularly common in areas where there is a nutrient build up in areas of poor water exchange, such as beneath cages or in static ponds where fertiliser and/or artificial diets are used. The only method to ensure that algal blooms do not occur is to remove the nutrient source. Once all the available nutrients have been used up, the algae mass reaches a critical point where it can no longer sustain itself and dies off (often very quickly). In static ponds, the algae cell mass is retained in the pond and is broken down, releasing the stored nutrients. This cycling of nutrients leads to a recurrence of the bloom (although sometimes with different algae species) at a later date. Blooms typically occur in the Spring, when the rising water temperatures, increased daylength and light intensity enable algae to multiply and make use of any available nutrients that have built up in the water during the Autumn and Winter (either as a result of breakdown of previous algae blooms or new nutrients entering the system). After the Spring, when all the nutrients are used up, the algal mass dies off and is broken down into it's constituent nutrients and made available again. This often causes a second bloom in the late summer / early Autumn. The term "red tide" is often used to describe blooms of certain species of algae which contain red or orange pigments. these pigments can give the bloom a vivid red / orange colour, especially when the bloom dies off and the green chlorophyll that masks the pigment is reduced and the colour of the pigment shows through.
Algal Scum A floating mass of filamentous and/or unicellular algae which can restrict the penetration of light to the water column. It can be removed either physically, by mechanical filtration or by biological filtration which will remove the nutrients that it depends on for growth.
Alkaline A compound which has an excess of hydroxide ions. A substance which combines with acid and neutralises it, forming a salt. pH >7.0
Alkalinity Alkalinity is a measure of the concentration of bases in the water and the capacity of the water to accept acidity (I.e. it's buffering capacity). Alkalinity is usually measured as either mg/l (milligrams per litre) CaCO3 (Calcium Carbonate) or meq (milli-equivalents). 1 meq = 50 mg/l CaCO3. The ideal range of alkalinity for fish farming is 20 - 300mg/l. Below 20mg/l the water will have a very low buffering capacity, and any acids that are washed into the water (for example after heavy rain has soaked through peat), will cause a big fall in pH. Such fluctuations of pH are harmful to fish. Water with low alkalinity can be treated with lime. High alkalinity levels can sometimes lead to a condition in the fish called nephrocalcinosis.
All Japan Combined Nishikigoi ShowThe biggest Koi show held by Shinkokai (All Japan Nishikigoi Promotion Association) in Tokyo on the fourth Saturday and Sunday of every January. It is also called Tokyo Taikai. The 37th show will take place in 2005. The show is open to entries from both amateurs and professionals. This show has the highest level of Nishikigoi in Japan.
All Japan Combined Young Nishikigoi ShowAll Japan Nishikigoi Show by Shinkokai for young Koi up to 63cm(25.2inch.).
All Japan Nishikigoi Show All Japan Nishikigoi Show by Zen Nippon Airinkai or ZNA or All Japan Combined Nishikigoi Show by Shinkokai or All Japan Nishikigoi Promotion Association
Ami (ah ME)Meaning 'mesh' or 'eyes' and refers to scales in a net-like pattern
Amime(ah' me meh)Netting. Nishikigoi are covered with scales, and sometimes the scalation looks like a beautiful netting pattern. Large scales giving the impression of armour.
Amino acid Abbrev: AA. Large group of organic compounds marked by the presence of both an amino (NH3) and carboxyl (COOH) group. They are the building blocks from which proteins are built and are the end products of protein digestion or hydrolysis.
Ammonia The unionised form of ammonia (although sometimes used to express the total ammonia (i.e. unionised and ionised). Symbol NH3. Toxic to fish. The amount of ammonia produced by the fish is approximately 0.03 x feed (for commercial diets). Therefore for every 1000g of feed that is fed 30g of total ammonia is produced. This is excreted by the fish in the urine and across the gills. The ammonia production will vary throughout the day with the 0.03 value being the average. In systems where the feeding regimes are confined to a few large feeds over a short period, the maximum ammonia production at any time may be twice this amount, with corresponding periods of very low ammonia output.
Ammonium Chloride NaCl. Chemical often used to start biofilters.
Ammonium Nitrate NaNO3 Chemical used in starting biofiltration system, especially where there is denitrification in the system which requires the nitrate source.
Anaemia A reduction in the number of red blood cells. Limits the ability of the blood to carry oxygen and other nutrients around the body, and excretion of waste products (such as carbon dioxide). the reduction in the red blood cells results in the starvation of tissues of oxygen and other nutrients. Anaemic fish typically show pale gills, due to the reduced number of red blood cells.
Anaerobic The term used to describe a biological process which occurs without the need for oxygen. Often used to describe types of bacteria and bacteriological processes such as denitrification. Anaerobic bacterial activity can be seen in the bottom muds of ponds, lakes etc., where organic matter is broken down without the availability of oxygen. The thin crust of the surface muds, prevents the oxygen from penetrating through to lower layers. Such anaerobic breakdown in muds can result in the production of hydrogen sulphide, which can be toxic to fish.
Anchor Worm An adult anchor worm can grow to about 3mm long. They attach to fish with hooks that penetrate the skin. If the point of penetration is damaged, an infective entry point for bacteria is created.
Annulus A growth ring that is found on scales, opercula and in otoliths. Like rings on a tree. Counting of the rings can assist in determining the age of a fish and the number of times it has spawned.
Anoxia Total lack of oxygen. This word and hypoxia are often misused.
Antibody Complex glycoproteins, produced by B lymphocytes in response to an antigen. All antibodies are created by B-ells linking with a foreign antigen on the surface of an invading organism. It is an important component of the acquired immune response.
Antigen A protein marker on the surface of cells that identifies the type of cell, stimulates the production of antibodies and cytotoxic responses. Reactions to antigens by T and B cells are part of the specific immune response. Generally refers to the vaccine or pathogen causing the reaction.
Aqualculture the production of aquatic organisms (plant and animal) for food, aquarium, or scientific purposes, generally as a commercial venture.
Aoji(ah' oh jee)Blue ground. Sumi that has not yet emerged to the surface on the body. It is also called Soko Zumi (Soko means bottom). It is primarily seen in Shiroji and appears to be a transparent blue. It indicates unfinished Sumi. This term is only used for varieties with Sumi such as Taisho Sanshoku (Sanke). When the Aoji emerges,the Koi will be complete
Aragoke (ah rah GO keh) A fully scaled grey/blue koi with red (hi) along the cheeks, lateral lines and in the fins.
Arashi Kumo (ah RAH shee KOO moh) translates into "Storm Clouds". This term describes a "storm cloud" like black pattern. It is a mix of sumi, kage sumi (shadow) and white that all work together to create the "storm cloud" effect.
Asagi(ah' sah gee)koi fish pictures Blue Koi with a red belly, the primary pattern is the Fukurin that appears as a light net pattern over an indigo base, clear white head, may have Motoaka, very old variety.
Asagi Hi (ah SAH gee HEE) Secondary, undesirable hi (red), appearing as freckles.
Asagi Magoi (ah SAH gee MAH goy) A wild carp with Asagi markings, an early variation of the modern Asagi.
Asagi Sumi-nagishi A Koi whose black scales are outlined in white. More commonly known as Sumi nagishi.
Ascites Dropsy; a build up of fluid in the body cavity.
Asymptomatic Showing no signs of disease or infection.
Atama ga hageru (ah TAH mah gah HAH geh roo) Sumi or ato sumi which takes a long time to develop i.e. literally 'late-appearing'
Atama (ah TAH mah) Head crown. A koi with a nice clear/clean head.
Ato (AH toh) Late-appearing (i.e. referring to sumi; ato sumi).
Ato Sumi (A-TOE-SUE-ME) A high quality sumi (black) which takes a while to develop fully.
Attenuated Weakened; less pathogenic/disease-causing.
Autolysis The digestion of cells by enzymes present within them. The cells most susceptible to autolysis tend to be dead or dying cells.
Autotrophic Organisms and green plants that are self-nourishing and grow in the absense of organic compounds. Plants are photosynthetic and organisms are chemosynthetic.










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