Ogon Koi are the single colored, metallic variety of Koi that is held in the utmost regard by enthusiasts the world over. These mono-toned, yet utterly striking fish belong to the class called “Hikari Muji Mono”, where Hikari is Japanese for “metallic”, Muji means “single colored”, and Mono means “ones” (in other words, the “Metallic single colored ones”). Whilst the amateur Koi enthusiast may pose the question, “what’s so special about a Koi that has only one color?”, an Ogon really needs to be seen to be completely appreciated.
The precursor to the Ogon appeared in 1921. This was a Magoi (dark colored wild carp) with a gold-striped back that was bred and cross-bred until the first successful Ogon appeared in 1946. Since then, they have been bred with Gin Rin (sparkly) scaled Koi to yield the modern day, truly single-colored metallic-skinned, sparkly-scaled Ogon Koi.
Whilst traditional Ogon were once usually only gold, there are now several variations in color.
Gold & Yellow – Early Ogon were gold in color, but had a tendency to become blackish with increased water temperature. This trait was ultimately bred out by successfully cross-breeding with a Kigoi or lemon yellow koi. Yamabuki Ogon are the highly popular, modern day metallic yellow Ogon.
Platinum – Platinum Ogon are snow white koi, with a body lustre similar to that of the precious metal. In 1963, Platinum Ogon first appeared as a product of cross-breeding Kigoi (yellow koi) with Nezu Ogon, the silver-grey Ogon that we continue to enjoy today. Similarly, there was a successful cross-breeding between the Platinum or Purachina as it was then known, with the Yamabuki Ogon to produce the highly prized but extremely rare Cream Ogon.
Orenji or Orange – Orenji Ogon, or deep metallic orange Ogon, is the result of successful cross-breeding of the Higoi (red koi) with the original yellow metallic koi varieties, and later with Yamabuki Ogon.
Matsuba Ogon – Whilst Matsuba, with their characteristic pine-cone patterned scalation are normally grouped into the class Kawarimono, their metallic equivalents belong to the class Hikarimono. The most commonly available Matsuba Ogon are Kin Matsuba (metallic gold) and the Gin Matsuba (metallic silver). The dark scale centres should be clearly defined and the scales themselves should be uniformly distributed over the top of the body and down below the lateral line.
Silver or Grey – Nezu Ogon, often warmly nicknamed Helmet Head due to a characteristic dark area on the centre of its head.
There are other Ogon varieties, including the Kuro Ogon, a metallic black koi and the Mukashi Ogon, a metallic bronze.
Ogon have a tendency to grow large, are lively and intelligent, and are easily tamed. Being easily visible, even in fairly cloudy ponds, owing to their brilliant metallic luster, Ogon Koi are understandably popular with newbie koi lovers. Since Ogon are single-colored, there is an emphasis on other features to help determine quality.
A quality Ogon must exhibit conformation of body shape, a high quality of metallic sheen, an even coloration and scale alignment, and a clear, broad, lustrous head. It is also essential to have fins of the same color depth with a consistency of color across the fins.
When it comes to buying an Ogon, a beginner needs to be aware, not only of the quality characteristics, but also of the most common faults. Ogon can have a tendency to grow fat, dumpy bodies along with fin deformities. Discoloration and bad shaping of the head and fins are other faults to look out for. Pectoral fin deformities can be reasonably common with fins being too small, shabby or totally absent. The characteristic metallic finish must also extend into the fin areas, particularly the pectoral fins. Missing or damaged scales will also detract from the Ogon’s quality, as will any scars or tissue damage. Most of these faults are a result of poor breeding or poor environmental conditions. Make certain you know what to look for when buying your koi and don’t be persuaded to buy until you are completely satisfied with the quality of your Koi.
Source by Kate Nakamura