Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rhu the Dragon Fish

One of the most interesting fish in the Koi Garden pond is Rhu (Roo).  Rhu is a long finned Kumonryu.  The name means "Nine Crested Dragon", hence its nickname as the dragon fish.  The Kumonryu is a Doitsu koi that has a jet black pattern that emerges like billowing black clouds against a white background. The black patterns is variable and unstable, disappearing with changes in the water chemistry, temperature, diet, and even stress levels, reappearing sometimes as a completely different pattern. 

That’s right a variable pattern!  Rhu will change its black appearance based on water chemistry and temperature.  Kumonryu are also always doitsu, meaning that they either have no scales or a few small rows of scales down the middle of the back and the side lateral lines.  This scale less body seems to make the color shapes more distinct, especially as they change over time. 

The Koi Garden Kumonryu, Rhu also has long, very shiny fins adding to its distinctive look.  The amount of black Rhu has makes him hard to see unless the water is very clear.  With Rhu, the black may be moving around, but the red color he has on his head and belly does not.  The red color has been improving over the few years I have had him.  The high protein foods I feed out fish may have improved the red coloring.  The red coloring is almost as bright as Metallica’s.  Rhu’s black coloring with the red underneath is especially striking when a black colored fish breaks the surface and turns over, exposing the red coloration.  I think that the surprise of a black fish breaking the surface is one of the most appealing things about a black Koi in a pond.

Among Koi Garden aficionados, a black Kumonrhu has a reputation as a good luck fish.  Most Koi Gardeners have at least one in their pond for good luck.  While I have only the data from our one pond, I can conclusively state that Rhu has brought a lot of good luck to the Koi Garden pond over the years.  I will keep a close watch on Rhu’s black coloring to see what shape he brings to the Koi Garden as the water temperature warms up this spring.

Stay tuned!!!

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