One of Kongo’s hobbies is taking care of his Koi in a little pond he had built into the front courtyard of his home in San Diego. Actually, Kongo wanted a dog but Mrs. Kongo said if there was a dog then he had to travel with Kongo. Well, that was just too hard so when they remodeled the house he did the Koi pond and stocked it with fish.
Koi are just a variety of carp (Carp Diem…get it?) which were bred in Japan hundreds of years ago when farmers began keeping them for pets and breeding them for their colors. They live an incredibly long time. The oldest koi lived over 150 years and was the special pet of several generations of the same family in Japan.
Of course, the whole journey was not without a few speed bumps along the way and sadly there were some fish sacrifices as Kongo learned how to get the pond chemically balanced and filtered. This required the enlistment of an aquavet (yes indeed, there is such a speciality and they don’t come cheap), having water samples tested at the toxicology lab at the University of Georgia and so forth. Eventually everything worked out for the best and Kongo spends many hours feeding and watching his fish. Unlike a dog you can’t take a koi for a walk but they’re actually pretty east to care for once you get the knack.
One of Kongo’s early fears was that predators would get at the fish so the pond was built a foot below grade and is 3 feet deep. So far (six years) there haven’t been any problems although one New Year’s eve a bobcat from nearby canyons tried to help himself to some sushi. Fortunately, Emily, a brave daughter-in-law, scared it off and we only suffered a few broken pots.
The pictures below are some of Kongo’s fish at feeding time along with the courtyard with the pond.