Butterfly Koi: Basic Facts to Know

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Butterfly Koi

BY: AQUASCAPE

In certain circles, when you mention butterfly koi it’s like speaking out of turn in an audience with the president. You just don’t do this. Quite a few koi connoisseurs think of butterfly koi as “mutts,” and some say that butterfly koi aren’t even koi. Others, however, happen to think butterfly koi can be the finest koi in any collection, depending on several factors – size, pattern, and finnage.Butterfly Koi in an Aquascape Pond

First, let’s consider where butterfly koi originated. In the early 80s, a population of common, brown and grey carp with long fins were found in a series of canals and ditches in Indonesia. A company in New York took an interest and brought the fish into the U.S. and sold some. They did not sell well because they were ugly. However, an enterprising and curious group of breeders at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery placed an order for a dozen of these fish to see what the heck they were. Ugly, with long fins, is what they discovered. Over the next several years they bred these large, long finned mutations with their finest regular-fin koi and made several discoveries.

  • Long-fin genes are dominant, so breeding the fish back to color would not breed out the long fin gene.
  • Long-fin koi are robust and disease resistant.
  • The fish could be bred back to color and many colorful lines of long-fin koi have been created at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery.

The original breeder at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery who spearheaded the cultivation of long-fin koi was a man named Wyatt LeFever. His son Randy made his way to the tanks to see the fish. As he regarded the fish with interest, he observed, “Dad, they look like Butterflies!” The name stuck.
 

The Relation of Size and Value

As Butterfly koi grow, they become more and more impressive because the fins keep growing until the blood vessels can’t sustain the fins to be any longer. The older the fish, the longer and more impressive the finnage. So, a full-grown butterfly koi looks like a long, slinky dragon moving through the water. Their barbels (whiskers) even grow long and can fork into elaborate designs.

Butterfly koi seem to lack some of the body size of regular koi, but the overall fish can run as long as 36 to 40 inches in the right pond with plenty of food. They are graceful and pleasant to watch swim.

Butterfly Koi in an Aquascape Pond

What about Pattern?

Since pattern seems to mean a great deal to the value of a regular koi, it makes logical sense that a good, standard pattern with bright colors would increase the value of a butterfly koi too, but there are a few notable additions. While a butterfly koi is more valuable when it has a properly defined and positioned pattern in the color, beautiful fins can often make even a poorly patterned fish look beautiful.

In addition, lemon and platinum ogons (solid color) in the butterfly category are awesome as adults. When you grow a metallic yellow or platinum ogon butterfly to an impressive, large size, their body movement is more graceful and slow. The fins are long, but the uniform gold or neon-white color is brilliant in the water and such fish look like fireballs or comets moving through the water with their “fire” (fins) streaming behind them. Gorgeous!
 

Notable Butterfly Koi Types

Sorogoi are incredible as adults in the butterfly class, as well. A sorogoi is the overall grey fish with the “fukurin” or black fish net pattern over the body. So, taking that color and putting it on a large, impressive adult butterfly koi gives you what rather appears as a grey sea monster moving through the water. Its subdued colors don’t attract the eye at first, but then you see its graceful, lengthy body and fins moving around below you and you are taken aback by both the robustness of the fish (they grow huge) and its mysterious, grey color.

Even better than that are black butterflies – which are, by far the coolest fish. They are seldom found, so the effect is rare and special when it happens. The black butterfly may be with or without scales. The rarest and most valuable of this type is the doitsu, karasu butterfly. This fish is black, has no scales, and has long fins.
 

Black Beauties

Black butterflies grow up and become very large because their genes are not as strained as some of the brighter colored fish. And if they have no scales, the body is a glistening jet-black. The fins keep growing until the entire fish is broad, and streams long black robes behind it. They look like a jet-black dragon.

And when a visitor to your pond is feeding your fish at the side of the pond, suddenly, a large black shadow looms up from the depths. Larger it gets, until they realize that there is no color, the fish is just a shadow and when the fish takes the food, it turns and swirls down out of sight with a flourish of long, black fins. “What was that?” they usually stammer. “That is the shadow. He’s our black fish, which the Japanese have always regarded as a lucky fish,” you reply. The fully mature black butterfly koi is surely one of the most memorable fish a kid could ever encounter or feed. With such a fish, you own a living breathing shadow dragon.

Basic facts about butterfly koi

Oh Those Fins!

In a discussion of butterfly koi, we should talk a tiny bit more about the fins. The butterfly koi fins are long because of a genetic aberration resulting in the length growth gene failing to turn off. In fish, the fins are supposed to grow to a genetically specified length, and then stop growing. But in the high fin mutation the fins don’t get the “stop growth” message and they keep growing. This happens in individual fish of many species from time to time. Some notable examples are Siamese fighting fish, Simpson’s hi fin swordtails, long fin oscars, and long fin black tetras. Any time the mutation is encountered and identified, it is bred into a species to see if it would make that species more economically important commercially.

Like any other koi, the fins of the butterfly koi are made up of dozens of rays of cartilage that radiate outward and support the fin. These rays generally grow very straight, but past the point of normal length they can grow wavy. The fish that grow straight rays even into the lengthier parts of the tail are more impressive looking and would be more valuable.

One problem with butterfly koi is that they are often handled the same way as regular koi. Broken fins and tails are par for the course by the time the fish is an adult. So, it’s normal to see bends and waves in the fins and tail of butterfly koi partly because of growing that way, but also because of netting-damage as a juvenile. As an adult, a split tail or fin often does not heal well and remains split. All of the above is irrelevant to the casual observer, the impact of the fish is exactly the same, but you might notice variations in fin quality and you may care enough to choose one fish over the other based on that.

 

Are They the Real McKoi?

The butterfly koi is a true koi. Despite this fact, the Japanese have shared some American purist’s distaste for these long fin beauties. Truth be told, the Japanese have usually reacted to any new color, at first, as an abomination. Eventually, they get used to it and accept it, and eventually love the diversity.

And it has been that way with the butterfly koi. At first, Mr. Suda was the only breeder in Japan producing butterfly koi. His fish have been gorgeous, and he even bred them for prodigious size. But the rest of the Japanese breeders declined.

Mr. Suda’s fish became so popular in the U.S. that they became scarce; making Mr. Suda realize his decision to breed them was a good one. Over time, as other breeders watched Mr. Suda sell everything he had very fast, they eventually overcame their resistance to butterfly koi and started producing them, too. Today, there are domestic breeders who compete in the butterfly koi market. They are very popular fish – and for good reason.

Butterfly Koi - Basic Facts to Know

Outdoor Fire feature and Living Area

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Outdoor Fire Feature and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Outdoor Fire Feature and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

This Outdoor fire feature and living area project consisted of the construction and installation of a New patio area. The patio consists of approximately 320 sq ft of ‘Full Color’ natural square cut flagstone. This patio was installed as an addition to an existing paver patio which we did some touch up work on as well. Existing patio was renovated and seating wall was removed along with some existing landscaping. A beautiful 14’x28′ ‘Artisan’ Cedar Pergola was installed over both patio areas. A Fireplace to with 24″ wide opening at 18″ height, with 18″ high hearth in front of firebox, with wood storage boxes on either side. The fireplace was faced with stone veneer to matching the siding on the back of home and capped with 2″ natural flagstone. What a beautiful backyard living area ready for some good ol’ rest and relaxation.

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Outdoor Fire Feature and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Outdoor Fire Feature and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Outdoor Fire Feature and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Outdoor Fire Feature and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Fire Place and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Basalt Fountain (Before & After)

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Balsalt Fountain (Before& After)

Balsalt Fountain (Before& After)

Basalt Fountain Display installed at Dental Care of Lancaster. This fountain consists of six Mongolian Basalt Columns displayed directly in front of the entrance to the dental center. The entrance was plain and drab so we had to hook it up with something fresh and welcoming to all the patients. Besides the basalt columns we added a few weathered limestone boulders and some drift wood to really set off the display.

Fire and Water

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Fire and Water Feature installed in Lititz, PA

Fire and Water Feature installed in Lititz, PA

What happens when you combine fire and water in one? Well you get one amazing feature like you’ve never seen! But wait… There’s more! this project featured complete front and backyard landscape renovations.

Porcelain Patio and Water/Fire feature installed in Lititz, PA

Porcelain Patio and Water/Fire feature installed in Lititz, PA

The front landscape renovation consisted of a complete overhaul to the existing landscape. We installed a Unilock paver walkway and landing leading from the driveway to the front door. Surrounding the walkway was all new landscape beds complete with landscape lighting throughout. Also installed near the front entrance was a beautiful 3 column basalt fountain also complete with landscape lighting.

Water/Fire Feature installed in Lititz, PA

Water/Fire Feature installed in Lititz, PA

Fire and Water Feature installed in Lititz, PA

Fire and Water Feature installed in Lititz, PA

The back of home got a significant make over as well. A porcelain patio area was installed using 2cm 24″x24″ outdoor porcelain tile. The new porcelain tile was installed over the existing concrete patio. We raised an additional 3 sections of concrete walkway to meet new patio height. Broken flagstone stepping stone path as well as broken flagstone patio areas to left and right sides of water/fire feature were installed as well. Existing awning posts were wrapped with 1″ cedar boards. A gas burner cored into natural boulder was installed in the middle of the water feature to combine the two elemnts in to one amazing feature. The water/fire feature also included a two column basalt fountain as well a custom drift wood stump fountain. The entire area was then completed with all new landscape beds and fine grading and seeding.

Porcelain Patio and Water/Fire feature installed in Lititz, PA

Porcelain Patio and Water/Fire feature installed in Lititz, PA

Porcelain Patio and Water/Fire feature installed in Lititz, PA

Porcelain Patio and Water/Fire feature installed in Lititz, PA

Porcelain Patio and Water/Fire feature installed in Lititz, PA

Porcelain Patio and Water/Fire feature installed in Lititz, PA

Fire & Water Feature installed in Lititz, PA

Fire & Water Feature installed in Lititz, PA

Fire & Water Feature installed in Lititz, PA

Fire & Water Feature installed in Lititz, PA

Fire & Water Feature installed in Lititz, PA

Fire & Water Feature installed in Lititz, PA

Porcelain Patio installed in Lititz, PA

Porcelain Patio installed in Lititz, PA

Swimming Pool Patio and Living Area

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Swimming Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Swimming Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

This is one amazing Swimming Pool Patio and Living Area which we recently installed in Lancaster, PA. The project consisted of an in ground swimming pool installed by Integrity Pools and Spas. After pool installation was complete we came in and began work on the surrounding outdoor living area. Installation started with the pool sliding board mound and retaining walls which included natural stone steps leading to the top of the water slide. A new Techo-bloc Blu 60 paver patio pool deck was installed around the pool with antika accents and victorien boarder. the seating area to the side of the pool has a beautiful pergola installed above. FX Luminaire landscape lighting includes path lighting, up lighting, and down lighting. The remainder of the are inside the fence was completed with plantings and stone and mulch. To the outside of the fence we finished the project off with approximately 6,500 square feet of sod around the perimeter. This is one amazing backyard, finished up just in time for end of summer enjoyment!

Swimming Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Swimming Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Swimming Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Swimming Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Swimming Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Swimming Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Retreat in The Woods (Before & After)

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Retreat in the Woods Before & After

Retreat in the Woods Before & After

Check out the Before & After of this amazing Retreat in the Woods install earlier this year. This Wooded Retreat project started with the removal of a large area of bamboo roots, re-grading the area after, and installing bamboo containment barrier. All root materials were be excavated and disposed of off site. We then graded the side yard to eliminate mounds and low areas, removed rocks and boulders which were be used on front bank. Grading was also done in preparation for fence installation. Bamboo containment barrier was installed from street down to back of property.

2 truckloads of top soil was hauled in to fill areas where bamboo roots were excavated. The newly installed topsoil was fine graded to prep for the fence and plantings.
Tree work including tree trimming and tree removal throughout the site was done by Arborist Enterprises.
This luxurious portion of this project included a complete landscape design featuring Trees and shrub installation with all disturbed ground covered with natural wood chips. Natural stone steps along driveway were installed using local gray/earth tone treads. The patio surface was installed using natural irregular flagstone, natural stone treads for steps, and PA Limestone boulders to retain grade around patio. The fire pit consisted of a natural stacked stone ring and ‘Zentro’ Smokeless Fire Pit insert. Natural stone paths were installed using natural large irregular flagstone slabs. All landscape lighting installed was Kichler LED light fixtures.

Lighting Ideas for Your Pond, Waterfall, or Fountain

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Pretty Backyard Lighting Ideas for Your Pond, Waterfall, or Fountain

BY:AQUASCAPE

When you want to enjoy your water feature as the sun begins to set, be sure to add outdoor lighting. Most people think to add landscape lighting around a deck or patio, but don’t neglect your water feature for optimal nighttime viewing! Here you’ll find pretty backyard lighting ideas for your pond, waterfall, or fountain.Add underwater lighting to a pond and you’ll enjoy seeing your fish swim at night. It’s almost magical watching them dart in and out of the lights.

Koi Pond with Underwater Lighting

 

Waterfall and pond lights add an ethereal glow to your water garden, creating a memorable moment during the evening hours.

Pond and Waterfall with Night Lighting

 

For water feature owners, backyard lighting ideas include both pond and landscape lights. Underwater lights allow you to see fish in the evening, while garden path lights accentuate the architectural elements of terrestrial plants.

Backyard Pond Lighting

 

Underwater pond lights are a must for those with recreation ponds.

Aquascape Recreation Pond at Night

 

For a truly pretty effect add a waterfall light. You’ll find your water feature takes on a whole new look at night.

Waterfall Lights by Aquascape

 

This waterfall on a large farm pond is used as a backdrop for wedding photographs. Spotlights are located at several points to show the depth and beauty of the falls.

Aquascape Pond and Waterfall at McCannon Farm

 

Water takes on a glowing effect when spilling over rocks. It’s easy to be mesmerized by this peaceful scene.

Backyard Waterfall with Lighting at Night

 

Place path lights at the top of the falls, and waterfall lights behind each drop of your waterfall.

Backyard Waterfall with Lighting at Night

 

Remember to add small lights to a Patio Pond or container water garden. It looks equally pretty during the evening hours as it does during the day.

Patio Pond with Aquascape LED Light

 

small spotlight showcases a fountain in a front or backyard.

Scalloped Fountain Urn with Night Lighting

 

Another great backyard lighting idea for a fountain is to incorporate a small flame using the Aquascape Fire Fountain Add-On Kit. Everyone will ask how a fountain manages to maintain a pretty flame while the water is flowing.

Stacked Slate Urn Combines Water and Fire

 

No matter what type of water feature you have, you can enhance its beauty well into the evening hours with the addition of pond and garden lighting.

 

Learn how to design your own backyard lighting ideas:

Pool Patio Paradise

https://cepontzsons.com/pool-patio-paradise/
Pool Patio and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

What do you do when you don’t have the grade for an outdoor living area? Well we build the grade for you. Check out this amazing Pool Patio paradise.

This Pool Patio Paradise project included the installation of retaining walls, steps, and patio areas we designed. The lower walls installed were constructed using Redi-Rock ‘Ledgestone’ wall and and New Line Rosetta ‘Belvedere’ wall caps. The wall is approximately 6′ at it’s highest point. As you can tell from the photos this wall had to be in place before and work could begin on the pool area. This backyard was a straight slope before we began. A 3′ wall on upper side by the driveway was installed using New Line Rosetta ‘Belvedere’ wall and caps. Approximately 831 sq ft patio was installed around the pool using Belgard Laffitt Rustic Slab pavers. The steps from the driveway down and from the patio to the yard were installed using Belgard Anchor Landing steps. Fencing was later installed around the entire patio a and pool area. Final site grading and seeding was done upon project completion. All Tree removal included on site before consturction began was handled by Arborist Enterprises. The pool was constructed by Integrity Pools and Spas.

Pool Patio Paradise installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio Paradise installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio Paradise installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio Paradise installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Patio and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Patio and Outdoor Living Area installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio Paradise installed in Lancaster, PA

Patio Paradise installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio Paradise installed in Lancaster, PA

Pool Patio Paradise installed in Lancaster, PA

5 Great Ways to Light Your Outdoor Steps

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Why Outdoor Lighting Matters

BY :CAST Lighting

landscape lighting

We often give the advice that when you’re ready to take your property to the next level with landscape lighting, or even just toying with the idea, start small. Dip your toes by selecting one area of importance to light rather than the whole nine yards.

This tends to be the backyard to add a level of security by warding off possible intruders. A very close second is illuminating areas and features that may be difficult or hazardous to navigate without outdoor lighting, such as pathways, stairways and steps. This adds a needed element of safety, allowing people to navigate a property more easily.

Adding light to your balcony staircase, a patio doorstep, or beautifully hardscaped steps to a pool or entertaining area eliminates danger and potential injury. Outdoor lighting also adds a beautification factor that can set a mood and truly make a home stand out while adding value to the property.

 

Does Landscape Lighting Work for Me?

landscape lighting

Maybe you like the idea of adding landscape lighting, but you don’t think there is room or can’t it be retrofitted into your landscape and hardscape design. This shouldn’t deter you in the slightest. Landscape lighting is all about creativity and problem solving. A lot of the time, landscape lighting is added after the fact to existing structures and landscapes that weren’t necessarily designed with outdoor lighting in mind. Post lights, down lights or moon lights, and core lights are all fixtures used for outdoor step lighting that are invaluable to every landscape lighting system.

With all that said, now you be asking, “How do I choose which lighting fixture or technique is best for my application?” The short answer is not the simplest one. It all depends on how you are using the space where the steps or stairs are located and what effect you are trying to achieve beyond creating a safer environment. This is where chatting with a professional comes in handy—especially if you’re unsure of which lighting technique you want to use, which effect would look best, and what would be most effective overall.

Here’s a quick summary of five outdoor step lighting to consider:
 

Path lighting
landscape lighting

A lot of the time step lighting is accomplished not by adding lights to the actual steps themselves, but alongside them. This is otherwise known as path lighting—afterall, a stairway is a form of a path! Path lighting is a basic landscape lighting technique which uses path or area lights. Often times, the purpose of path lighting is to light planting beds and paths to provide seamless transition between lighting scenes for both safety and cohesion.

One recommendation is to alternate placement of path light fixtures from one side of the step to the other to light the path evenly and attractively. The goal is to provide enough illumination to prevent tripping hazards, but also to space fixtures far enough apart to create distinct pools of light so your eye naturally moves through the space. Lighting both sides of each step, on the other hand, is not aesthetically pleasing and feels unnatural when walking along a path.
 

Downlighting, moonlighting
Light Your Outdoor Steps

Another way to light steps or stairs is downlighting. A more advanced downlighting technique is known as moonlighting. Moonlighting uses tree lights with the purpose of providing soft natural lighting over large areas. Moonlighting serves as an ideal transition connecting different lighting scenes together and eliminating black holes from the project, and again, providing safety and cohesion.

To successfully create a moonlighting effect, fixtures should be placed in a tree at least 25 feet high—at least two lights per tree—and directed down onto the stairway.
 

Hardscape Lighting
Light Your Outdoor Steps

Hardscape lighting is also exactly how it sounds: Using engineered wall lights within stones, or a hardscape, steps and stairways can be lit safely and evenly using hardscape lighting. This is a lovely and sophisticated way to light outdoor steps while highlighting thoughtful hardscape design. Either the walls on both side of a stairway or the stairs themselves can be lit with hardscape lighting, which brings us to our fifth way to light outdoor steps: tread lighting.
 

Post rail lighting

These fixtures are exactly how they sound: They mount onto a post of railing of a stairway, effectively illuminating the path beneath them. One type of post rail light fixture that CAST offers is actually a deck light, which serves the same purpose and blends nicely with a wooden or metal railing. Be forewarned, though, installation and wiring of post rail fixture can get complicated and if the drilling and fishing isn’t done properly, it could result in a permanent and unsightly mistake such as a hole drilled in the wrong spot. Thus, we recommend working with a professional on this kind of lighting project.
 

Tread Lighting

Tread lighting is a type of stair lighting that uses step lights, strip lights, or slim hardscape lights. These strips of light that are placed under each step, washing each one with a gentle, even glow that gives it the illusion that it is floating. This is a dazzling and unique light effect that offers a customized look enjoyed by many.
 

The #1 Takeaway of All 5 Outdoor Step Lighting Options
Light Your Outdoor Steps

We briefly touched on this top takeaway in our post rail lighting section—and that’s the consideration that all three of the above lighting installs require precision and technical prowess. Our #1 takeaway here is to make sure to consult a professional landscape lighting designer before trying your hand at this outdoor step lighting. It’s critical to select the right fixture and lighting effect to safely and beautiful illuminate your steps. And to take it one step further, it’s just as important to wire and mount the fixtures at the proper height and beam angle—then test and tweak the lights at night—to ensure a successful lighting project.

Good luck, have fun, and enjoy the results!

Front Entrance Renovation

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looking for curb appeal? check out this complete front entrance renovation featuring an all new paver walkway, complete landscape over haul, Mongolian Basalt column fountain and landscape lighting. The old drab typical concrete walkway was removed to make way for a beautiful new Unilock paver walkway. All existing landscape and some grass areas were removed to make way for all new landscape beds. the landscape beds including all newly designed planting throughout the front of the home as well as along the driveway area. Landscape lighting was also installed throughout the planting beds to up light some of the existing mature trees as well as the fountain by the front door. The fountains is a 3 column Mongolian basalt fountain also highlighted with landscape lighting. This is the first phase of a project that will eventually include a complete backyard renovation as well. Stay tuned!