See the recent post by Nina Shen Rastogi at http://www.slate.com/id/2221024/.
Some other important points that I would also emphasize:
- Learn as much as you can about the particular fish species and their needs in captivity before they are purchased. This research might lead one to decide that a particular fish is not the right species for them to maintain in an aquarium.
- Focus on purchasing healthy fish in the first place. Learn the general signs that indicate a healthy fish as well as a sick fish ( I’ll discuss these in future posts).
- Find a trusted fish supplier that is genuinely concerned about selling healthy fish and educating his or her customers about maintaining healthy fish.
- Seriously consider utilizing a quarantine for all new arrivals before they are added to holding or display tanks (more about this later).
We can all do our part by keeping our fish as healthy as possible. We do this by understanding the needs of the animals in our care, demanding healthy well handled fish from our supplier and by practicing excellent health management while these animals are in our care. These are a few of the small, but important, ways we can work to preserve the wild resources by striving to keep the animals in our care healthy and long-lived.
Can this be a truly green/sustainable industry/hobby? If so, what do you think that would look like in 20 years?
Comments and criticisms?
We’ve been able to visit about 10 breeders in Japan, 8 breeders in Niigata and one in Hiroshima. Here are a few of my quick impressions/observations so far based upon the visits to these few facilities:
- Most all of the fish I’ve seen are very healthy and vigorous. I was particularly impressed with the 1 year-olds (tosai). WOW!!, No I don’t have a good eye but from a health standpoint they looked great.
- Those that appeared “off” were not for sale.
- Most common diseases appear to be Anchor worm and Columnaris. The columaris is generally a problem when the fish come out of the ponds and move into the greenhouses.
- Sleeping disease is also a problem. This disease, which is not well characterized, causes problems primarily with 1-2 year old koi in the Winter months. The fish tend to lie unmoving on the bottom of the pond. They will swim when stimulated.
- Costia can also be a problem at times.
- The government requires testing for Spring Viremia of Carp and Koi Herpes Virus four times a year.
- Biosecurity concepts are understood and practiced to varying degrees as we see in the US. Most breeders have moved to locked facilities, appear to have separate sets of equipment for each facility and all we visited have foot baths at the entrances (however, actual use seems to vary). few places also have hand wash stations.
- A couple facilities have quarantine greenhouses into which recently harvested fish are moved for observation and to await testing.
- All breeders seem to be very concerned and try to be conscientious about biosecurity. The level of practice is often related to the actual amount of fish trade (economics). More trade in koi results in more funds that can be invested in biosecurity. Fish or ponds that are ill or appear off are generally isolated, pulled from sale, or moved from the holding areas until resolved.
- As we see in the US biosecurity requires constant diligence by everyone in each facility and throughout. Everyone must: Think Biosecurity, Plan Biosecurity and Act Biosecurely,
- I’ll post some photos of a selection of facilities and some more information/thoughts in the near future. This was just a few quick notes. All-in-all this has been a great learning opportunity for me and I really appreciate all the patience from the breeders with all of my questions. I have seen some beautiful fish!!!