Guide to Shusui Koi Varieties, Care, Size, Diet & Costs 2023 [Updated]
Table of Contents
Although koi carp have gained significant popularity among pond hobbyists in recent decades, extensive research has revealed their existence for several millennia. Advanced mtDNA sequencing corroborates the widely accepted notion that koi are descendants of the common carp species (Cyprinus carpio), with their modern breeding practices originating primarily in China and Japan during the 4th century. Furthermore, this sequencing confirms the East Asian origin of the common carp, establishing it as the technical point of origin for koi—a notion that was once subject to frequent dispute.
The aforementioned mtDNA studies also shed light on the large-scale domestication of carp and subsequent selective breeding that began in China around 6,000 B.C. This pivotal development led to an extraordinary proliferation of koi varieties, encompassing an extensive range of patterns, colorations, and characteristics that are now available within the aquaculture industry.
Historically, these vibrant and multicolored koi were bestowed upon individuals with political and economic influence as symbols of peace, goodwill, and alliances. Additionally, they were regarded as emblems of affluence and were prominently showcased in luxurious water gardens to impress guests. Over time, koi transitioned from being symbols of power and wealth to beloved pets, eventually finding their way to Europe and the Americas.
The Shusui koi, notable as the first Doitsu (scaleless) variety, possesses only two to four rows of scales along the center of its back. These scales symmetrically run along either side of the dorsal fin and converge into a single row toward the tail. Typically, these scales exhibit various shades of blue.
In the early 1900s, the Shusui was bred by Yoshigoro Akiyama through a selective crossbreeding of a scaleless German carp, known as “mirror carp,” and an Asagi koi. This unique combination makes the Shusui one of the most captivating and distinctive koi varieties, being one of just two types featuring blue coloration—the other being the Asagi.
What Does Shusui Mean?
Shusui, derived from the Japanese term 秋水 (pronounced “shūsui”), conveys the essence of “Autumn water” when translated. This appellation specifically alludes to the distinctive coloration and the scarcity of scales adorning its dorsal region, evoking, with a touch of imagination, the serene imagery of autumnal leaves delicately drifting atop a placid body of water.
Shusui Varieties & How to Identify Them
Shusui koi are renowned for their distinctive blue-grey patterning that adorns their backs, predominantly evident in the row of scales flanking the dorsal fin. Additionally, these koi exhibit vibrant red (Hi) or yellow (Ki) hues gracefully extending along their sides, interspersed with white (Shiro) markings. Notably, the scales showcasing the azure tint along their dorsal area are notably larger compared to those found on fully scaled koi. Originating in 1910 as the pioneering Doitsu koi, Shusui have garnered significant acclaim and have been selectively bred to develop numerous recognized variations, albeit not encompassing the KinGinRin trait.
- Hi Shusui
Hi Shusui specimens display the characteristic blueish rows of scales along their dorsal fin, while their body exhibits notable red or red-orange coloration, referred to as Hi. This coloration is typically most prominent along their sides and extends upwards along their back. Additionally, Hi Shusui usually exhibit a considerable amount of Shiro. The presence of Hi on the head may vary.
- Ki Shusui
Ki Shusui closely resemble Hi Shusui in most aspects, with the exception of their coloration. Instead of the red or red-orange Hi, Ki Shusui possess a yellow coloration, known as Ki.
- Hana Shusui
Hana Shusui predominantly showcase Hi coloration, which is concentrated on the sides between the lateral line and the back, but does not extend entirely to either. The Hi markings on Hana Shusui are typically rounded or ideally possess a somewhat wavy appearance. The term “Hana,” meaning “flower” in Japanese, reflects the preference for rounded or wavy Hi markings that resemble flower petals. While Hana Shusui can also exhibit Ki coloration, this occurrence is uncommon.
- Butterfly Shusui
Butterfly Shusui can embody any of the aforementioned varieties on this list. What distinguishes them is the presence of graceful, elongated fins characteristic of butterfly koi.
- Tancho Shusui
Tancho Shusui are characterized by a circular Hi marking positioned atop their head. The term “Tancho” approximately translates to “red sun.” Any Shusui variety mentioned in this list has the potential to exhibit the Tancho marking. It is worth noting that “Tancho” is also the Japanese name for the red-crowned crane, an esteemed bird renowned for its vibrant red crown, from which Tancho koi derive their name.
How to Appreciate & Judge Shusui Koi
If you are considering entering your Shusui koi into competitions, it is essential to acquaint yourself with several key aspects. Firstly, it is important to recognize that each competition is distinct and relies entirely on the judges themselves. What may appeal to one judge may not resonate with another. In Japan, judges also place value on the monetary worth of the fish, potentially introducing bias in favor of more expensive specimens. Conversely, competitions held elsewhere may prioritize factors such as patterning and proportions. Therefore, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the preferences of the intended audience and conduct thorough research on the judges, if possible.
General Guidelines for Judging Koi
When evaluating any type of koi, it is imperative to ensure the absence of abnormalities, such as missing fins, deformed mouths, or bruises (unless they were inadvertently caused during transportation). Additionally, koi should be free from parasites, ulcers, or any other form of illness.
Symmetry holds great significance in judging koi. The arrangement of the Hi (red), Ki (yellow), and Shiro (white) markings from front to back and side to side should exhibit balance and a degree of symmetry (though not necessarily strict symmetry). Unique patterns, if present, are also highly regarded. Furthermore, the fish should possess a proportionate, symmetrical head with fins that are both symmetrical and proportionate, accompanied by a torpedo-shaped body.
Shusui Specific Judging Guidelines
Given that Shusui possess only a limited number of scales, the proportion and symmetry of the existing scales are subject to critical evaluation, as is their coloration. Ideally, scales should be present on either side of the dorsal fin, ideally in a single row on each side. More than two rows of scales are viewed less favorably. These two rows should converge toward the tail, forming a single row. Shusui with scales arranged in any manner other than neat rows along their back will be assessed negatively. Moreover, the scales should mirror each other on both sides and be larger than the average scales found on other koi varieties. A trademark feature of Shusui koi is the presence of at least some blue tint on their scales, as they are one of only two koi varieties exhibiting blue coloring. Similar to Asagi koi, the outer edges of Shusui scales should be lighter in color, allowing each individual scale to stand out distinctly and attractively.
Following the evaluation of general guidelines, such as symmetrical fins and a proportionate body, as well as the assessment of scale symmetry and arrangement, judges will proceed to consider other criteria. For instance, when evaluating Hana Shusui, judges will take into account the location and shape of the Hi markings, while in the case of Tancho Shusui, they will assess the size, shape, location, and hue of the Hi marking on the head. In Hi Shusui and Ki Shusui, the Hi and Ki markings, respectively, should extend beyond the lateral line onto the back, whereas Hana Shusui markings should not extend that far. Hana Shusui may have Hi or Ki markings on the nose and cheeks, provided they are symmetrical and do not overwhelm the face or head.
Occasionally, as Shusui age, they may develop black (Sumi) markings on the head and face. These markings are typically not judged favorably, although their evaluation may still be influenced by the specific competition’s location and the preferences of the judges involved.
Keeping Shusui – Health, Growth & Diet
- Shusui Water Quality
Shusui koi, similar to Doitsu, exhibit heightened susceptibility to issues such as parasites and sunburn due to the absence of protective scales. Moreover, Shusui with prominent coloration tend to display noticeable indications when water quality deviates from the optimal range. These indications are often visually discernible, enabling the identification of imbalances in dietary or water quality parameters. For instance, an excessive intake of color enhancers, like spirulina, can cause the white portions of the Shusui to adopt a yellowish hue and result in undesirable off-color orange spotting, which is not characteristic of Shusui (as these koi are recognized for their large, continuous swathes of Hi or Ki). Elevated levels of water hardness (KH) and pH can lead to random black markings on Shusui, which are typically undesired.
Like most koi, Shusui thrive best within specific environmental conditions. These conditions include a water temperature ranging from 50°F to 78°F (10°C to 25°C), pH levels between 7.5 and 8.5, dissolved oxygen content above 7 parts per million (ppm), low salinity ranging from 0.05 to 0.15 parts per trillion (ppt), and a total dissolved solids (TDS) concentration of only 75 to 100 ppm. Total dissolved solids encompass metals, minerals, salts, and sulfates.
- Price of Shusui
Shusui koi are generally associated with higher price points due to their distinctive breeding and appearance, being one of only two koi varieties that possess blue coloration and exhibiting a limited number of scales. Younger, smaller Shusui (under 8 inches long) can sometimes be found for around 100 pounds or dollars, although there is a possibility of securing a lower bid through auctions. Fully grown adults can easily exceed 1,000 dollars or pounds, depending on the specific variety. Among the Shusui variations, Ki Shusui tend to command the highest prices due to the challenges involved in achieving their striking yellow coloration. Hi Shusui, being more common, are comparatively less expensive, while Hana Shusui fall within an intermediate price range. The inclusion of butterfly or Tancho traits can further increase the cost. It is advisable to exercise caution when encountering particularly inexpensive Shusui, as lower-priced fish may originate from poorly managed fish farms.
When making a purchase, it is important to consider the specific water quality requirements of Shusui and factor in the necessity of proper aeration and filtration systems if these are not already in place in your pond.
- Shusui Temperature
Although the study of water temperature’s impact on koi is limited, there is evidence suggesting that temperature influences their appearance. Colder water tends to intensify red or yellow coloration, while warmer water can lead to a gradual loss of vibrancy over time. This phenomenon may be linked to changes in fish metabolism in response to temperature fluctuations, subsequently affecting nutrient absorption and coloration. One theory proposed by the aforementioned study suggests that colder water slows down metabolism, allowing nutrients to remain in the fish’s system for longer periods, even with reduced feeding frequency.
As previously mentioned, Shusui (and all koi) prefer water temperatures ranging from 50°F to 78°F (10°C to 25°C). Additionally, ensuring that your pond offers varying depths will allow the koi to regulate their body temperature naturally by swimming to different depths as needed.
- Shusui Diet
Shusui koi, having been directly bred from resilient German mirror carps (scaleless carps), possess stronger immune systems compared to koi varieties solely bred from other koi or through in
breeding. Nevertheless, a well-balanced diet remains crucial for their overall health. To promote and maintain vibrant coloration, it is common to feed colorful Doitsu koi diets enriched with color enhancers such as spirulina or krill. These diets also contain a protein content of over 30% to support proper growth.
Studies have highlighted the importance of feeds high in carotenoids, as they contribute to a higher concentration of these pigments in the skin, resulting in more vivid coloring in yellow and red koi, including Hi and Ki Shusui. If you aim to enhance the blue coloration in your Shusui and reduce the appearance of gray or black hues, it is recommended to choose a food that contains additional astaxanthin, spirulina, and/or guanine, as these additives have demonstrated the ability to intensify blue and purple pigmentation.
It is worth noting that the significance of these color enhancers diminishes if you do not intend to showcase your fish in exhibitions or competitions. However, the dietary requirements of Shusui align closely with those of most other koi varieties.
In conclusion, Shusui koi require careful attention to water quality, appropriate pricing considerations, adherence to optimal temperature ranges, and a well-rounded diet for optimal health and vibrant coloration. By providing the necessary care and meeting their specific needs, Shusui koi can flourish and bring beauty to your pond or aquatic environment.
How to Breed Shusui Koi
Breeding Shusui koi can pose significant challenges, primarily due to the intricate nature of genetics and the inherent randomness involved in coloration. Achieving precise desired outcomes in any koi breed is a formidable task, requiring a high level of expertise and access to well-established Shusui lineages.
Traditional breeding methods employing a mirror carp and an Asagi often result in koi with irregular scaling patterns across their bodies, rather than solely on their backs, as well as coloration that deviates from the characteristic Shusui traits.
Even when both parent fish are Shusui, successful breeding remains challenging, as obtaining specific traits such as the unique color and patterning found in Hana Shusui necessitates extensive experience and a comprehensive understanding of the bloodlines’ historical context.
What is the Cost of Shusui & Where to Buy Them?
As previously mentioned, Shusui koi varieties are generally considered to be on the higher end of the price spectrum. However, the specific cost of a Shusui koi depends on factors such as the type of Shusui and the potential outcome of the bidding process. Juvenile Shusui, like other koi varieties, are typically more affordable and can be obtained for approximately 100 pounds or dollars. On the other hand, adult Shusui, similar to other adult koi, command higher prices ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
The pricing of Shusui koi, like any other koi, is subject to variation and is influenced by the seller and location. It is advisable to consult local breeders or reputable online breeders for precise pricing information. It is crucial to purchase Shusui, or any other type of koi, exclusively from reputable breeders. Reputable breeders will often display their credentials on their website or in their physical shop. Additionally, you can assess a breeder’s ethical standards and trustworthiness by referring to koi forums, where information on both positive and negative experiences with breeders is readily shared among koi enthusiasts.
It is important to note that lower-priced koi often originate from large fish farms or questionable operations that do not prioritize the health and well-being of the fish. Koi obtained from non-reputable sources may be subjected to mistreatment or may carry illnesses and parasites due to overcrowding or inadequate care.
More informations about Shusui koi
Shusui koi, also known as “autumn water” koi, are a beautiful and unique variety of koi fish that are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike. Originally developed in Japan in the early 1900s, the shusui koi is a combination of the doitsu mirror carp and the Japanese Asagi koi.
The shusui koi’s distinct features include a blue-grey or dark green body with a line of scales along the dorsal ridge, which can range in color from a deep red to a bright orange. The fins of the shusui koi are also typically unpatterned, with a white or cream-colored base color.
One of the reasons why shusui koi are so popular is because they are hardy fish that can thrive in a wide range of water temperatures and conditions. They are also active swimmers and can grow quite large, making them an impressive addition to any koi pond or aquarium.
Another unique feature of shusui koi is their changing colors throughout the year. During the summer months, the blue-gray scales of the shusui koi become more vibrant and intense, while the red or orange scales become deeper and richer. In the fall, the shusui koi’s scales take on a metallic sheen that adds to their beauty and elegance.
In terms of care, shusui koi require a well-maintained pond or aquarium with ample space to swim and grow. They also require a healthy and varied diet, including high-quality koi pellets, vegetables, and occasional treats such as shrimp or worms. Regular water changes and filtration are also essential to keep the water clean and healthy for the fish.
If you’re considering adding shusui koi to your collection, it’s important to purchase them from a reputable dealer or breeder who can provide you with healthy and well-cared-for fish. It’s also important to keep in mind that shusui koi can be quite expensive, particularly for larger or more rare specimens.
In conclusion, shusui koi are a beautiful and unique variety of koi fish that are highly prized by collectors and enthusiasts alike. With their hardiness, vibrant colors, and changing appearance throughout the year, they are a stunning addition to any koi pond or aquarium.
Different Types of Shusui Koi
Ki Shusui koi
Koi fish are a popular type of ornamental fish that have been bred for centuries for their beauty and unique characteristics. One such variety of koi is the Ki Shusui koi, which is known for its distinctive scales and coloration.
The Ki Shusui koi is a type of koi that was first developed in Japan in the 20th century. It is a hybrid of the Asagi koi and the Doitsu Mirror carp. The Asagi koi is known for its blue scales, while the Doitsu Mirror carp has large, mirror-like scales. The Ki Shusui koi inherits the blue scales of the Asagi koi and the large, mirror-like scales of the Doitsu Mirror carp.
The name “Ki Shusui” is derived from the Japanese words for “yellow” and “autumn water,” which refers to the fish’s unique coloration. The Ki Shusui koi has a distinctive yellow-gold color on its scales, which is reminiscent of the changing colors of autumn leaves. The blue scales of the Asagi koi are also present, and they form a pattern on the Ki Shusui koi’s body that is known as “reticulation.”
One of the most distinctive features of the Ki Shusui koi is its large, mirror-like scales. These scales are known as “Doitsu” scales, and they are often found on carp breeds that are bred for their size and hardiness. The Doitsu scales on the Ki Shusui koi give it a unique texture and appearance, and they also provide protection against predators.
In terms of size, the Ki Shusui koi is a relatively small variety of koi, typically growing to around 12-18 inches in length. However, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty and character. Ki Shusui koi are known for being very active and playful, and they often have a lot of personality.
Caring for Ki Shusui koi requires a suitable pond or tank environment that provides enough space for them to swim and play. The water quality should be regularly monitored and maintained, and a suitable filtration system is essential. The diet of Ki Shusui koi should consist of a variety of high-quality foods, including pellets, flakes, and live or frozen foods.
In conclusion, the Ki Shusui koi is a unique and beautiful variety of koi that is highly prized by koi enthusiasts around the world. With its distinctive coloration and large, mirror-like scales, it is a stunning addition to any pond or aquarium. As with all koi, caring for Ki Shusui koi requires careful attention to their environment and diet, but the reward of watching these lively and playful fish is well worth the effort.
Shusui koi are one of the most beloved varieties of koi fish, and the Hi Shusui is a particularly striking type of this species. With its unique coloring and distinctive appearance, the Hi Shusui is a fish that is sure to turn heads in any koi pond.
One of the defining features of the Hi Shusui is its coloration. As its name suggests, this koi has a lot of “Hi,” or red or red-orange coloration. This coloring is usually most prominent along the fish’s sides, but it can also extend up its back. This bright coloring contrasts beautifully with the fish’s other coloration, which is a distinctive blueish-gray along the dorsal fin.
The combination of red and blue on the Hi Shusui gives it a truly eye-catching appearance. It’s easy to see why this variety of koi is so popular among enthusiasts and collectors.
In addition to its striking coloring, the Hi Shusui has a distinctive body shape. Like other Shusui koi, it has a slim, streamlined body with long, flowing fins. This gives it an elegant appearance that adds to its overall beauty.
But despite its unique appearance, the Hi Shusui is not a particularly difficult fish to care for. Like all koi, it requires a clean and well-maintained pond with plenty of space to swim and grow. It also needs a balanced diet that provides all of the nutrients it needs to thrive.
One of the joys of keeping koi is the opportunity to watch them grow and develop over time. With the Hi Shusui, this can be particularly rewarding, as its distinctive coloring tends to become more pronounced as it ages.
Of course, as with any type of koi, the Hi Shusui requires a bit of knowledge and skill to keep healthy and happy. But with the right care and attention, this beautiful fish can thrive and bring joy to its owner for many years to come.
In conclusion, the Hi Shusui is a stunning variety of koi that is sure to impress anyone who sees it. With its bright red-orange coloring and distinctive blue dorsal fin, it’s a fish that is both beautiful and unique. And while it may require a bit of extra care, the rewards of keeping this gorgeous fish are well worth the effort.
Hana Shusui koi
Hana Shusui are koi with round red markings on the sides (between the back scales and the lateral line)
Koi fish are known for their unique patterns and colors, and one of the most stunning variations is the Hana Shusui koi. These beautiful fish have round red markings on the sides, located between the back scales and the lateral line. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Hana Shusui koi, including their history, appearance, and care.
History of Hana Shusui Koi
The Hana Shusui koi is a relatively new variety of koi, developed in Japan during the 1960s. They are a cross between the Asagi koi and the Doitsu koi, which are both traditional Japanese koi varieties. The Asagi koi is known for its blue-gray scales and red markings, while the Doitsu koi has a scaleless back and distinct lateral line.
By combining these two koi varieties, breeders were able to create the Hana Shusui koi with its unique round red markings. The name “Hana Shusui” means “flowering Asagi,” which reflects the red markings resembling flowers blooming on the scales.
Appearance of Hana Shusui Koi
Hana Shusui koi have a distinct appearance that sets them apart from other koi varieties. Their body is typically blue-gray or silver, with a scaleless back and a distinct lateral line. The lateral line runs horizontally along the body, and above it are the round red markings that give the Hana Shusui koi its signature look.
The size of Hana Shusui koi can vary, but they generally grow to be between 12 and 24 inches long. As with other koi varieties, the size and coloration of Hana Shusui koi can be influenced by factors such as water temperature, diet, and genetics.
Care of Hana Shusui Koi
To keep Hana Shusui koi healthy and thriving, it is important to provide them with a clean and spacious environment. Koi are cold-water fish and can survive in temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is essential to maintain stable water conditions, which includes regular water changes and monitoring water quality levels.
Hana Shusui koi, like all koi varieties, are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods. A well-balanced diet is key to keeping these fish healthy, which can include commercial koi pellets, vegetables, and live or frozen foods.
Hana Shusui koi are a stunning variety of koi with round red markings that resemble flowers blooming on their scales. They are a relatively new variety of koi, developed in Japan during the 1960s. To keep these fish healthy and thriving, it is important to provide them with a clean and spacious environment, a well-balanced diet, and stable water conditions. With proper care, Hana Shusui koi can live for many years and continue to enchant koi enthusiasts with their unique and beautiful appearance.
Shusui koi was the first Doitsu variety of koi and are one of the only two blue koi! They are a Doitsu (scale-less) version of Asagi.
The absence of scales on this koi can give off a beautiful blue color. Having Hi marks on the cheeks, head, body, and fins is wonderful for this koi.
Shusui The second element of an odd variety partnership is the Shusui, which means “autumn water” in Japanese. At first sight, these mirror-scaled koi seem to have little in common with Asagi, but that variety was first crossed with a German table carp in 1910 by Yoshigoro Akiyama, resulting in the first Shusui.
The color distribution is essentially the same as in the Asagi. but because there are no normal scales to give an overall reticulated effect, the smooth, sky-blue back is instead highlighted by the Doitsu scalation.
In good examples, these armored scales form a regular pattern on the shoulders of the koi and then run in two lines on either side of the dorsal fin, e returning to a single line on the caudal peduncle. A further line is usually present along each flank, roughly following the lateral line.
The most common fault on Shusui is a messy shoulder scale pattern that lacks symmetry. Rogue scales can appear elsewhere on the body, further devaluing the fish. In hard water, the mirror scales can turn grayish or black, and once this happens they never revert back to blue.
A clear head is essential on Shusui, as it is on Asagi. The skin is never snow-white, more of an ice blue, but should be blemish-free.
The distribution of the red and blue on a Shusui determines its subclassification. On Hi Shusui the hi extends up over the back. so that the two contrasting colors are red and dark blue.
These are unsubtle, quite striking, koi. Hana Shusui also have more red than normal, but here it is in the form of an extra band between the lateral line and dorsal fin, with a break in between.
In the best examples, the hi is laid on in a wavy pattern to give a flowery effect. In Ki Shusui, yellow replaces red. This is a confusing sub-variety because if the blue dorsal scales turn black it is easy to confuse with a Doitsu Ki Matsuba.
Another rare, Shusui-like koi is the Midorigoi, which is greenish-yellow with mirror scales. This one is benched in Kawarimono.
Shusui has been crossed with several normally scaled koi varieties to produce interesting variations on a theme. The commonest in the hobby are Showa Shusui, Sanke Shusui and Goshiki Shusui. Crosses with the Ogons (in the Hikarimuji classification) resulted in Ginsui and Kinsui, which used to be quite popular but have now been superseded by more refined Doitsu fish in the Hikarimoyo class.
ki shusui koi
Ki Shusui koi variety. Ki Shusui. Shusui have been crossbred between Doitsu Koi and Asagi
blue shusui koi fish
A breathtaking Shusui. This koi has a stunning pastel blue lustre, with fiery red underbelly and mesmerising slate blue zip linear scales along the dorsal line
Shūsui (秋翠) means “autumn green”; the Shūsui was created in 1910 by Yoshigoro Akiyama（秋山 吉五郎, by crossing Japanese Asagi with German mirror carp.
shusui koi meaning
Shusui, meaning “autumn water” in Japanese, are the Doitsu or mirror-scaled cousin of the Asagi Koi. Rather than the pure white being preferred over all else, the proper head pattern is determined by the pattern of the red and blue on the body of the Koi.
blue shusui koi
shusui koi kanji
yellow shusui koi
shusui koi blue and black
shusui koi feeding
butterfly shusui koi
platinom shusui koi
shusui koi color change
A magic fish, the pattern is highly variable and can change dramatically over a short time. Their spectacular colors and patterns
asagi shusui koi varieties
breeding shusui koi
types of shusui koi
Among the types of Shusui are “Hana (Flower),” “Hi” and “Ki Shusui”. . Hi Shusui are koi whose Hi spreads over the back. Ki Shusui have yellow instead of red colouring.
shusui koi people ask
How do you pick a shusui koi?
The head of Shusui should be a white or pale blue-ish color, just like that of the Asagi. The head should be clear of any discoloration or spots.
Large extending red cheeks are common. When it comes to the body of the Shusui koi, there are no specifics to look for when it comes to patterns.