An observation tower — for koi

Six koi (and one goldfish).
Image: Stan Shebs ( Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.) [whale shark-ize]

Those of you who have been paying attention know that I keep tropical freshwater fish. As a graduate student in the United States, I worked with koi breeders and keepers, helping them maintain their pond filters and pumps and other paraphernalia. Serious people, these. Although, considering that a high-quality individual koi can cost in excess of ten or twenty thousand dollars when it’s roughly six inches long, you have to be seriously something to keep them.

Koi are ornamental carp, and they are related to goldfish. Originally domesticated for food, it didn’t take long for people to begin selectively breeding those carp that had unusual colour variations and patterns. This is where koi came from.

In Japan, where I lived for awhile, koi are members of the family. They have names, their “family” often hand-feed them and they are provided for in people’s wills. This might seem crazy, but considering that it’s not unusual for koi to live to be 120-150 years old, it makes sense. But in all my time hanging around with “koi people”, I’ve never seen anything like what this crazy German guy has designed and built for his koi: an observation tower.

This koi observation tower is a tall, water-filled glass tower in the middle of a koi pond that stands above the surface of the water. It reminds me of NYC’s (now fallen) World Trade Towers. The koi can swim into it and look around. I have no idea what these koi can see, peering out into the air-filled world from their own watery tower, but they sure seem to enjoy the view:

Visit TCHelmut‘s YouTube channel [video link].

Watching that video, it appears to me that these koi are experiencing low oxygen content in the water — a problem that is easily fixed by adding a water current from the pond to ensure adequate mixing of tower water with pond water, which has a higher oxygen content.

Here’s another look at this tower and the fish, at night:

Visit TCHelmut‘s YouTube channel [video link].

As you can see, they aren’t breathing as heavily at night. This may be due to the current created by the warmer tower water as it cools and moves back into the pond, thereby pushing more oxygen-rich pond water into the tower.

Or something like that.

NOTE: the silly cat/pet/animal videos that are shared here on Saturday (Caturday) mornings are intended to amuse. This feature is designed to help hard-working and stressed-out people shed their professional façade so they can be better friends, companions, parents, family members and drinking pals to those in their personal lives. Any relationship between these videos and science or any scientific principle is sweet when I manage to present a solid connection to you, but is random, mostly unintended and usually coincidental.

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