Everything You Need to Know About Koi Fish

Not just for water gardens, koi fish are revered for their moral values. These beautiful fish are hardy and can live for years, making them a popular addition to indoor and outdoor ponds. If you have or are building a large pond, then adding koi could make that pond complete.

Domesticated from the wild carp species like their goldfish cousins, koi are common ornamental species in home ponds. More than 20 types of koi exist, appearing in a wide variety of patterns and color variations. Similar to the goldfish, they can be trained to recognize people or learn tasks.

History of Koi

Native to Asia, koi are symbolic in Japanese culture. Different species stand for different virtues including love, wealth, prosperity, success, and luck.

Feng shui, a spiritual form of organization and placement of objects, says that having the spirit of the koi near you will attract good luck, good fortune, and spiritual benefits.

Koi Characteristics

Their average lifespan is 25 to 30 years, but some have lived to 100 years old! They survive winters in ponds by staying at the bottom where the water is warmer. Ideally, koi ponds or garden ponds are at least three feet deep.

These pond fish are omnivores eating other fish, algae, and even fruits. Feed them as much fish food as they will eat in two minutes, twice a day.

Koi are social, traveling in schools. They can mate with goldfish but the hybrid babies cannot reproduce.

Because of their hardiness, koi can easily become an invasive species if released into the wild. For this reason, the state of Maine has made it illegal to keep koi as pets!

Fascinating Koi Facts

VetStreet.com shares some interesting facts about koi and why they're so special!

  • As far as the varieties of Koi goes, white koi with some red and black on them are known as Sanke, whereas those that are black with some red and white are called Showa. Matsuba, Shusui, Yamabuki, Kumonryu are all koi varieties for sale, and you'll also find black koi!
  • A koi fish pond for new fish must be set up correctly! Consult with an expert for details on pond size, filtration system options, and more.
  • Koi come in a variety of colors: the varieties are distinguished by coloration, patterning, and scalation. Some of the major colors are white, black, red, orange, yellow, blue, and cream.
  • Nishikigoi is the Japanese name for koi, which means fancy or embroidered carp.

"Pool size, koi food, the number of new koi fish sharing the space, the age of the fish and water quality can all affect a koi's growth."

Water temperature plays a key role too. Outdoor ponds can have waterfalls! With the right setup, Koi can live for years, and some have even lived for up to 200 years.

As you design your pond, research the different types of koi and the care that you'll need. Butterfly koi are growing in popularity, and may be just the right choice for your outdoor pond.

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Image via: S. Mundt via Weebly

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