Continuing our conversations with leading Japanese koi breeders this time we visited
Sakai Fish Farm, the largest producer of high quality koi in Japan and the breeder of five of
the last 10 All Japan Koi Show Champions.
We interviewed Mr. Kentaro Sakai to get his thoughts on their very technical approach to koi breeding.
[History]The farm began growing "Magoi" around 1897 in Hiroshima which they have helped develop in to the one of the two largest koi breeding regions in Japan. Their Nishikigoi breeding started in 1955. Today,"Gosanke" varieties are their main focus, but a large variety of other types of koi are also grown in about 90 ponds covering five cho (+/-12.25 acres) areas for young koi, 80 ponds covering thirty cho (+/-73.5 acres) areas for two- to five-year-old koi and 14 indoor ponds.
As one of the most technologically advanced koi farms in Japan, they introduced; the heated indoor pond, construction of artificial field ponds, the use of modern and never-used farming equipment and the study of fish health conditions in cooperation with specialized facilities to develop novel treatment procedures. They are synonymous with high level Nishikigoi breeding around the world.
Their farm primarily uses river water requiring their fresh water supply and water circulation processes be equipped with filtration and disinfection devices that offer optimal water quality conditions. Most of these processes have been developed exclusively in-house.
Furthermore, their indoor ponds are equipped with automatic feeding machines, high-level oxygen generating equipment, high-volume aeration equipment, temperature/pH monitors, UV sterilization and a number of other unique procedures to maintain ultimate water quality.
All the technical data collected through these various processes is a key to their cultivation of prize winning koi.
Automatic feeding machine
Pond water temperature
River water filtration/
River Water →
Sand Strainer →
Sedimentation Settler →
1st Sand Filtration Tank →
2nd Sand Filtration Tank →
UV Sterilizer =
300 tons of river water is treated daily.
Q.What is your breeding policy?We are keenly focused on the appearance of our fish and their chances of winning a major koi show. We feel there are five principal requirements;state-of-the-art equipment, high quality water, good koi parents, data use to improve results and the use of a high quality diet.
Q. Could you give us more specific breeding methods?Breeding koi in a cement pond with centralized control and clear pond water is easier than in a field pond. Cement pond breeding can be compared to training camp for top athletes, where promising players are able to achieve improved results by getting in shape. Keeping the fish in a cement pond helps us control the timing of a koi's optimal condition based its koi show schedule. On the contrary, if we want to grow out two or three year old, young koi using a field pond enables us to get the rapid growth we desire. We choose the best method according to the purpose and the age of the koi.
Merits of cement pond breeding
Direct observation of the koi enables us to control their physical condition and adjust the amount of food to obtain the growth we require.
The koi are not subject to the weather condition impact.
The koi suffer fewer accidents than those kept in the field pond.
Choose koi with a quality bloodline:Most champion-grade koi are of prestigious lineages. Purchase those koi, such as Sakai-bred koi, through reliable koi dealers.
Focus on water quality:Regular measurement of water temperature and pH helps identify any change in water quality. Quality water is a key to bringing out the full potential of a koi.
Choose a diet that is proven to be of high quality:Your koi should eat the food aggressively, we suggest the Sakai's brand and Kyorin's Saki-HikariŽ, these are the diets we use and know produce an outstanding result. Remember, no matter how good all the other breeding conditions are, poor quality food can spoil the growth of your koi and eliminate their chances of winning a show. We feel the importance of diet comprises 30 to 40 percent of the ultimate grow out success.
Decide the amount of food based on the weight of your fish:Consider water temperature and condition as well as the condition of your koi to develop the ideal amount. Don't impulsively change the type or amount of food, as this also impacts the result.
OUR MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED KOI DIETS