The prized Koi fish pond located at Delta College has been around for more than 50 years.
On a daily basis students walk passed the living koi, located in the quad area, in the center of campus. In 2010, the fish in the pond were victim to an attack by two Stockton teens.
“It’s an open pond, it’s open campus, anybody could walk in there,” said Sgt. Mario Vasquez of the campus police department.
Still, officers patrol the interior of campus and watch out for the fish, “just like we do for our students,” said Vasquez.
Harming or taking a koi home is a felony because the fish are protected by Federal, state and local laws.
The teenage boys were charged with felony vandalism and animal cruelty after killing the fish, according to an article published in The Record. Vasquez said the teens used a “makeshift spear” made out of a broom to injure and kill the Koi.
The koi haven’t been attacked since.
Vasquez said the staff and faculty look out for them and referred to the koi as “our babies.”
Johnny Vasquez, a maintenance man at Delta, is one such person.
“They (Delta) have brought some in the past and people donate, but here recently that I know of we haven’t got no new ones. That’s pretty much what I know right now,” Vasquez said. “I mean, my boss is doing more history about it to give us more knowledge on the kois we have here at Delta.”
Vasquez said he feeds the fish every other day, or every day, depending on how they bite.
“If they’re hungry for more and when I do feed them if they’re biting a lot more on the food, then you give them a little more. If they’re not hitting the food as hard, you just don’t feed them that much. We do have special pallets – koi fish pallets – that we give them that we buy specifically from a food store, a fish food store. It has all the nutrients for the fish, you know, to be healthy,” he said.
The fish are valued at up to $1,000.
Petco Aquatics Specialist Valerie Smithers advises future koi pet owners their price on koi fish begins at $7.99 for a three-inch fish, and they eat pellets once a day, growing easily to their environment.
She recommends customers start with a large tank and eventually upgrade to a pond as the fish grow.
Vasquez warns students against throwing pennies into the pond and feeding koi fish which “are on a special diet” because of possible sickness.