Koi fish are a beautiful group of fish which originated from domesticated common carp (Cyprinus Carpio). These pretty fish are most commonly known for their many bright and wonderful colors. They were found centuries ago in Asia – most commonly China – but later they were selectively bred for Japan, hence their name today, Koi fish – or Japanese Koi fish. They have become so popular in recent years that they are now found in ponds and aquariums all over the world!
So, what’s the best way to take care of these beautiful and delicate fish? Well, I’ve put together some of the most important points to keep in mind when considering becoming a koi fish owner.
Koi fish can grow big – really, REALLY big – and the size they will grow is vastly determined by the environment they are kept in. So it’s important to keep this in mind when deciding on an appropriate habitat for your fish.
The ideal pond size for a healthy koi fish should hold at least 1,000 gallons of water. But most importantly is the depth. Your koi pond should be at least 3 feet deep. This will ensure your koi fish are able to find cool water in summer and warmer water when they are cold in winter. A pond of this size will generally be ideal for around 5 good sized koi fish.
It is also important to make sure the bottom of your koi pond is smooth or soft gravel – no hard rocks – as koi fish like to spend a lot of their time on the bottom of the pond, especially in the colder months. If the surface is too hard, they can injure their delicate bellies.
Koi fish can survive in a vast range of water temperatures, however it is important to note that they do not tolerate sudden temperature changes.
Appropriate water conditions for koi are important in order for them to thrive. Ensuring the water in your koi pond is both properly filtered and oxygenated is a must for healthy koi fish. Expert koi keepers suggest a bottom drain for your pond to make the cleaning process easier, and the use of high volume filters to save time.
The health, happiness and – in my experience – even the color of your koi is very much dependent on their diet.
Koi fish are most commonly fed floating pellets or sticks, but they also enjoy live food including worms and shrimp.
It is important never to overfeed your koi fish. This can not only cause health issues for the fish, but uneaten food will only pollute the water as it sinks to the bottom of the pond. A good tip I’ve learned is to only give your fish enough food that they can eat within five minutes. If there is food leftover after that time, be sure to give your fish less next time.
A happy, healthy koi can live for twenty, thirty and in some cases even a hundred years!
I hope these simple tips will help your colorful koi friends reach their full potential and live the longest, happiest lives possible!