About Nikkei Koi

The history of Nikkei Koi continues through the following links Beginnings, Evolution Phase 1 & 2, Evolution Phase 3, Revolution Results


It actually all started because I won a small solid orange koi at a local farm fair playing a game where you toss a ping pong ball into a jar of water. I suppose it was meant to be that I won that day because I never win at those games. I did not have a fish tank at the time so I asked my grandpa if he would buy me one so that my fish would not die. I started out with a 29 gallon aquarium and my little 1" benigoi. In about 10 months it out grew the tank and I was somehow able to convince my dad to build a 300 gallon pond. My very first pond at the age of 12 back in 1992, from this point I was hooked.

It shortly grew from one to two 300 gallon ponds. I thought this would be more than enough to support my hobby...I was wrong. A year later (1993) I asked my dad to build 'one last' pond which was double the size of the original two. I thought surely this would be enough...again...I was wrong. There was not much evidence at the time to convince my dad that another pond would increase revenue so I used what I had and in the summer of 1994 I started my koi business.

I started out purchasing 'culls' from local breeders, raising them, then selling them to local pet stores. The demand steadily increased which would ultimately lead one year later to an import contract with a Japan koi farm and a customer base that extented across the US mainland. It was now 1995 my sophomore year in high school.

The business continued to grow nationally and I became more and more focused on starting my own koi farm soon after graduation. However, a few loving individuals thought that I needed some direction and said, "you're not going to start a koi farm, you're going to college, how are you supposed to make a living selling fish?" I listened, relectantly, and went to college to graduate from BYU with degrees in Physiology Developmental Biology and Organic Chemistry. The goal has always been the koi farm so choosing a career path that would liberate me was top priority.

The career path I chose was medicine, for two reasons. The first was because this was the only traditional career I wanted to be involved in that would pay enough to allow the capitalization to start fish farm. The second, but probably most important was the year before I went to Baylor College of Medicine when I had a pre-marriage interview with my soon to be father-in-law. In that interview he asked, "What are you going to do to support my daughter and your new family?" I did not have the courage to say that I wanted to be a fish farmer so instead I told him I was going to be a pediatric heart surgeon. Now that was stressful because I really had no intention at the time to become a doctor; so I am glad that at least I did not make a liar of myself when Baylor accepted me. Fast forwarding a bit, you can probably imagine the shock when I told my father-in-law that we were moving home to start the koi business. I had only taken 5 classes at that point.

We move home in September of 2004 my in-laws and my parents think I am crazy now my wife begins to think I am crazy because I asked her if I could use our $2000 life savings to start the koi business. Technically, that money was not ours because of the debt we had. Taking the leap of faith with no one believing what was about to happen, I go to Japan on Nikkei Koi's first buying trip. The date is now October 2005.

The pictures below will walk you through what Nikkei Koi started with. For a video tour please click on the following link Nikkei Koi Beginnnings Video Tour

The Beginning...

This was the view as you walked up the driveway to view the first pond. The taro leaves were mainly in place to camouflage the area to avoid potential theft since we were on the main drive with no gate. Needless to say I did not do much marketing when I first got started. Pond one was made out of alternately stacking hollow tile blocks with no cement. I found that if they are only stacked 3 high it could withstand the water pressure from the pond . This was a very quick, cheap, and easy way to provide the business with more stocking capacity.
As we turn the corner we enter the main holding area. The size of this space was 10' x 50' with about 2' of narrow walking room. The 4 ponds in this small area generated about 80% of the company's first 2 years of revenue. Pond 2 was 3'x15'x2' and held about 500 gallons of water. This was one of the original three ponds built in 1994 when I first started the business. After this pond was built my parents thought it would be the last...they never imagined at that time what was to come.
This is the very first pond in the history of Nikkei Koi. It was built by my dad in 1992 because I needed a bigger holding for my very first koi that I won at the 50th State Fair that grew too large for the 29 gallon tank it was in. You can see from this top view that space really was limited and that much of the set up was cookie cut to fit whatever space I could utilize.
The small ponds on the right were 3'x6'x2' which served mainly as quarantine holding for new stock from Japan. The filters used on most of the ponds were bakki shower from Momotaro Koi Farm. These worked great as I could compact as much filtration as possible in this tiny area. Here to the right we see the main bakki shower set up on the showcase pond. This filter ran for 3 years 24/7, I did NO maintanence on it whatsoever, and never had any problems with clogging. It cost a little more up front, but with the time I saved on not having to clean filters every week was priceless
It took me 4 years to justify with my dad that building this pond would add tremendous value to the business. I used this as the showcase pond which measured 4'x28'x3' at 2500 gallons held koi ranging in size from 20" to 28" and in price from $2000 to $15,000 With the huge value of fish in this one pond I had to make sure to run the best filtration. On one end I had two 1/3HP Artesians pushing the Bakki Shower. On the other end was an Advantage 15 pushed by a 1/2HP Artesian. Those three pumps cycled over 14,000 gallons/hour which meant a turnover rate of 7 times/hour! Many thought that was overkill, which it probably was, but I never had any disease outbreaks in this pond in the 3 years that I ran this system.
When I look at this picture it is almost unbelieveable to imagine where things started and how they have expanded within a 3 year window. As we read through the other phases you will see what I mean. The pictures from this point on shows the ponds that were put together for extra temporary holding. The year is now 2005 and all the ponds that I used when I first got started was now all fully operational. I started out with 10 ponds having a 400 gallon average.
I guess my dad saw the value in what I was doing because he let me take over his storage room! This pond was about 1ooo gallons and was used for quarantine. This pond especially had a high stocking rate and justified using an Advantage 15 with a 1/2HP Artesian on a 1000 gallon pond. Not having problems with disease in 3 years was well worth the extra filtration expense. Remember pond one the first picture on this page? I found that non-cemented hollow tile ponds if supported with two layers can be built 5 tiles high with a maximum water level of 4 tiles high. I found out the hard way when I forgot to turn the water off and the front wall colapsed. Luckily no fish were injured or killed. For some reason this pond ended up always having the best water quality.
As it was back in 1992 I needed more space! These two ponds maxed out the space capacity and we finish our tour of the beginnings of Nikkei Koi I also ended up taking over my parent's home as storage for the business. At this point I realized that expansion was a neccesity. The year is now 2006 and I finally get to live out my long sought after goal of having a koi farm. It took 12 years starting at age 15 and finally realizing the dream at age 27 when I purchased an acre in Kahaluu where the koi farm operates today.

The history of Nikkei Koi continues through the following links Beginnings, Evolution Phase 1 & 2, Evolution Phase 3, Revolution Results



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