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Care of Koi

by sailorptah

Koi were recently discovered living in an underwater bubble city right off the cost of Neopia. Koi are very social and gregarious creatures. They have mastered the art of defensive magic, as well as clever inventors (as evidenced by the many robotic fish flittering about the city).

I realise that Koi can be difficult to care for. They are not very popular, being 40th out of the 41 pets currently available. Therefore I decided to make information on handling Koi more available to all. If you don't have a Koi, consider getting one.

Chapter One: Discovery of Maraqua

When three young pets found a brochure for the lost Battledome on Collecting 2nd, Year 2, their curiosity (and that of the press) was piqued enough to start searching. Learning that Professor Chesterpot had written a trilogy on the Battledome, they began to search for him. An excerpt from his diary led them to Mystery Island, a native recommended that they go to the Island Mystic, and the Mystic told them that Professor Chesterpot had gone to the underwater city.

Inadvertently awakening Chiazilla along the way, the pets began searching on the ocean and were sucked into a whirlpool and woke up to meet Professor Chesterpot, an elderly blue Acara. They were in the underwater bubble city of Maraqua! Although the islanders had known of the city for quite some time, it had never been in contact with Neopia. But just after the pets had arrived Chesterpot was kidnapped and his kidnapper began to attack the city!

The inhabitants of the city, fishlike beings called Koi, began to correspond with the rest of Neopia and hope that there was someone who could help protect Maraqua. They had no such luck, and many Koi fled the city to escape the attacks, waged by vicious sharks.

The desperate King of Maraqua at last called on Chiazilla, traditional protector of the Koi, but the still unnamed kidnapper released a robotic invention named Mechachiazilla. An epic battle resulted between the two Chiazillas, and it was a Koi who came up with the idea of the game "Chiazilla vs. Mechachiazilla" and thus became a very rich fish.

I think we can all figure out who won. Upon the defeat of his creation, the villain fled Maraqua. He left Chesterpot bored but unharmed and the three pets rescued him easily. He said that his kidnapper had wanted to use the Battledome for revenge, but the villain had never divulged his identity.

Although the danger was past, many Koi did not want to return to Maraqua, having found that they liked life in general Neopia. And so, on Collecting 15, the Koi was inducted as a NeoPet and has been ever since.

As for the villain, he was never found and very little information could be dredged up from the computers in his mechanical lair, but I'll give you a hint: his name starts with an S and rhymes with "loth". (I would be so good on game shows.) For a more in-depth history of Maraquas discovery and the finding of the Battledome, visit the Underwater Plot.

Chapter Two: Koi Appearance

The Koi is, as I'm sure you've worked out by now, very similar to a fish. Koi range in size from 20 to 40 cm, and are usually around 30 cm (1 ft) from crest to tail. Their bodies are mostly roundish heads, which at the waist taper quickly into the tail fin.

Koi also have fins at their waists and just above and behind their eyes, where ears might be on a human head. They also have a fin crest atop their heads which comes down between their eyes. The least fishlike parts of the Koi are their arms, which are short and stubby but have four fingers and opposable thumbs. Their arms have only two joints, shoulder and wrist.

Original Koi mostly had pale green fins, tails, and crests, no matter what colour. Once inducted as NeoPets they began being born in the four basic colours: red, yellow, green, and blue. Each NeoPet Koi has fins of a lighter colour than their bodies and dark blue stripes on their backs. If you visit Maraqua you will meet Koi who have varied colour schemes. This is due to the fact that they are not NeoPets, although they and the NeoPets are both Koi.

The King of Maraqua, who will be discussed more later, is orange with especially large pale green fins. Orange is one of the more common colours among unadoptable Koi. His back is splotched with red and white patches and he has long whiskers like those of a catfish. The fins on his waist are actually nearer to his shoulders, which is the sort of variation you get in Maraquan Koi. Other variations include fin colours, stripe colours, crest size, crest shape, tail size, and arm length.

Koi are born as tiny nymphs, which develop within a few days to their adult appearance. Their features can still be changed - for example, larger fins can be developed by stimulating a Koi with the sap of the giant kelp. However, very few Koi choose to do this, and most who do are in positions of power.

NeoPet Koi come in only two colours other than the basics: Faerie and Christmas. The Faerie Koi is the colour of a blue Koi but has large extra fins sprouting from the back which very much resemble wings. The Christmas Koi is a different matter. Its fins are a festive medium green except for those on the side of the head, which are replaced by elfin ears. Christmas Koi are tan with dark brown, almost black, stripes, and wear green Christmas caps with jingle bells on the end, identical to those of the Usul.

While some people see Koi as ugly, and most think of them as not exactly beautiful, Koi thrive nonetheless.

Chapter Three: Partly Pets, Partly Not

The Koi is unique among all the NeoPets in that Koi exist who are not NeoPets. This causes those who are pets to be very different than any other pet. To understand this, you must first understand the life of a normal pet. Normal pets are born, but never know who their parents are. They are named by their owners and grow up sharing a special bond with the people who they belong to. NeoPets cannot die in most of the ordinary ways, such as starvation, and follow many guidelines which are ingrained in them from birth. They are hardly ever born in the usual way, either. NeoPets are born colourless - not white, but colourless - and do not get their colour until it is chosen for them by their owner.

Koi are born with their colour, and are born in groups of around a dozen. They are not born pets unless their mothers choose for them to be pets; this usually happens when the mother does not want the children or has no time to take care of young Koi. It happens all the time, and has for a long time, but now the mothers have something to do with their children. NeoPet Koi mothers are injected with a formula that conforms their young into the NeoPet Koi standard.

Unlike all other pets, Koi spend some time as children with their parents. They are not released to be adopted until they have developed into adult appearance, which happens within a few days. Koi are among the least popular pets, and since very few are created, many of those chosen to be NeoPets are sent to the Pound. Surprisingly enough, a recent pound survey by iniuria reveals that only about 0.3% of Pound pets are Koi. This could be due to the fact that very few Koi have been born recently or that people are creating more Koi.

Koi have a unique psyche among pets due to their having relations that are not NeoPets. Most types of pets feel a bond with their first owner similar to that of a human child and their parent. If these pets are abandoned they can, as can humans, gain another similar bond, but will always feel close to their first owner. No user can ever have the original parent-child/owner-pet bond with a Koi, since Koi spend time with their parents before being owned by a user. This, perhaps, is why Koi are not very popular.

Several other features of Koi can be attributed to their few days as not being NeoPets before maturing physically. They prefer water food and are very picky when it comes to other edibles. They place a lot of value on cleverness and engineering aptitude. They gravitate towards groups and thrive in social and creative environments. All in all, Koi are very enjoyable pets to have.

Chapter Four: Make the Most of Your Koi

So you've done it. You went and created a Koi. Or perhaps you searched the Pound for one. Good for you! But now you want to know: "I've never had a Koi before. I don't know many Koi. How do I take care of one? How do I make my Koi happy?" Probably the best way to answer these questions is to ask an actual Koi owner. Following is a Koi care FAQ as asked by me (Ptah) to empressdiamoon (Dia) and her Koi (Pisces).

Ptah: So, empressdiamoon, can you tell me where you got your Koi?

Dia: I love going to the pound! It's a fun place and a good way to meet pets. I was at the pound when I saw this lonely little Koi. I asked what his name was and he said it was PISCES3001, which I thought was the perfect name! So I adopted him.

Ptah: And Pisces, are you happy with Dia?

Pisces: Definitely.

Ptah: What kinds of things do you have to do for Pisces on a regular basis?

Dia: Not that much more than for any other pet. Koi have to be kept wet, of course, or they get dehydrated really quickly. But that's not too much of a problem. I just carry one of those cleaning spray cans with water in them and spray Pisces every so often.

Ptah: How about things like food and games?

Dia: When I got Pisces he was pretty picky. Now, though, he'll eat most things.

Pisces: I like omelettes best other than Koi food.

Dia: Pisces has his own idea of good games. He loves to play blackjack. Me, well...

Ptah: Pisces, what are your hobbies?

Pisces: Inventing stuff! I like to take utility fish apart. It doesn't hurt them, don't worry. Did you know I invented the wrenchfish?

Ptah: What sort of special needs does Pisces have?

Dia: Uh, not many. No more than any other type of pet. Only the keeping wet, and there's one quirk that he shares with all Koi.

Pisces: Inventing stuff.

Dia: Okay, two. He always wants to go to Maraqua. Koi owners should be regular visitors of Maraqua.
Ptah: There isn't much to do in Maraqua, is there?

Pisces: How can you say that?

Dia: It looks like that at first glance but there really is! There are three shops which you're allowed to visit: Aquatic PetPets, Utility Fish, and Koi Food. Then there's the Kitchen, which cooks for the King of Maraqua himself and will ask you to get some recipe ingredients. The games are less obvious.

Pisces: There's Chiazilla vs. Mechachiazilla, a game based on the original battle!

Dia: And there's Neo Nautical Adventure. It's down right now, but hopefully it will come back soon. But that's not the best part. The best part is the people you can meet!

Ptah: Like who?

Pisces: Mr. Gums Murphey and Big Beatty!

Dia: And Mr. Smiley and the Lioness Fish and the Longshore Shark! There are so many people to meet around the city. Just click on them to meet them. Plus in Maraqua I don't have to worry about Pisces getting dehydrated. Maraqua is great!

Ptah: Well, Dia, Pisces, thank you for your time.

And there you have it. Once you get used to taking care of a Koi, you hardly notice the difficulties involved. If you haven't yet, create a Koi today!