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This is the story of how the term "Koi Clay" came into being.

I owned and operated a website (KoiVillage.com) specializing in ornamental outdoor ponds and water gardens. I also imported and sold Nishikigoi, the beautiful colored carp from Japan known commonly as Koi.

I was so enamored by these highly intelligent and beautiful fish that I literally became obsessed with gaining the skills and knowledge required to care for them properly. I searched for any information I could find on the Internet, spoke to other dealers by phone and email and joined and participated on many forums, most of which are long gone.

The ONLY way to ensure that these joyful pets get the care they need is by managing your water quality, plus provide them the proper food and nutrition. In a nut shell it is a balance of volume of water for the volume of fish and proper filtration and that can be like discussing religion, or politics and that's not the purpose of this site.

While searching for the best way to maintain the water quality I discovered a product from Japan named "Refresh". It is a calcium Bentonite clay, aka Montmorillonite clay. What I read about it sounded good, so I bought some and started using it in several of my holding tanks all of which were closed systems with their own filtration. After a couple of months, I did notice that the colors of my koi in the tanks where I was using "Refresh" were brighter and more vibrant. I was so pleased with the results that I wanted to start selling the product to my clients, but it was so expensive I didn't think my clients would buy it. After all I was just a small dealer and most of my clients were only average water garden hobbyist, so I decided to find a source for Bentonite clay that I could provide at a lower price.

I spent years searching for information about Bentonite / Montmorillonite clay. One of the first discoveries of this clay was a mine near Ft. Benton, WY thus the name Bentonite. The name Montmorillonite comes from a mine discovered near Montmorillon, France. One of the first things I discovered was this clay is used in over 1,000 products from human health, cosmetics to shoe polish. There are two different types of Bentonite clay, calcium bentonite and sodium bentonite. Always use the calcium bentonite because the sodium bentonite will swell when wet and it can increase from double to many times its original volume depending on it's source. But I didn't want to provide my clients with just any calcium Bentonite clay, I wanted one that had the proper balance of minerals and trace elements. The trace elements are most important since the fish received many of the major minerals from their food. It's the trace elements that have been leached out of our soil and water.

I already knew that "Refresh" was an excellent clay, so I had it analyzed to use as the foundation for my search. I collected samples from many mines in the USA and some from other countries as well. I tested them physically to see how well they dispersed in the water and to make sure that it was a calcium Bentonite. Then I sent them to a lab for analysis. I finally found a mine in the USA that was exactly what I wanted.

On January 22, 2002 I registered the domain name "Koiclay.com" and started selling my clay under the brand name "Koi Clay". And that is the first time the term "Koi Clay" was ever published or used in relation to raising koi. I later changed my brand name to "Ultimate Koi Clay". Several years later there were other Bentonite / Montmorillonite clay products with the term "Koi Clay" used, but I was the first "and that is the rest of the story".

It’s been 10 years now since I have been active with the koi hobby. Due to my health I had to sell my little 40 acres in the foothills of the “Great Smokey Mountains” and move to a city so I’d be close to my hospital and have the conveniences of the city. I now have a nice home on a small lot that is easy cared for.

When I decided to write this story and upload it to my koiclay domain I decided to add some of the links to a few of the other clay products that are now using the term “Koi Clay”. They are on the links page. While searching for and collecting the links I found one that really dropped my jaw. The “Refresh” from Japan has been changed to “KoiNendo” and is now also using “Koi Clay” in the verbiage! I feel honored!


Gene Winstead
Koi Village



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