Koi have long been recognized as an attractive species of fish that thrive in ponds around the world. Known for their bright and vivid coloring, koi are some of the most beautiful fish in the world. Any homeowner with a pond in their backyard, natural or manmade, should consider adding in a few koi fish to help liven it up. By selecting the right type of koi, providing them with an environment they will flourish in, and offering them with the necessary daily care, koi fish can be enjoyed for up to sixty years!
With over 100 different kinds of species of koi fish, choosing your koi fish can be a bit daunting at first. It is important to note that koi fish are actually a specific kind of colored carp known as “Amur carp”. The different varieties of koi fish are determined by their coloring, patterns, and scale types. Koi fish generally have anywhere between one to three different colors, with three colors being the most popular. The name of each koi fish variety derives from the physical attributes of that fish. For instance, the oldest and most recognized type of koi fish is the Kohaku which have white bodies and a red pattern overlaid on top. The name Kohaku literally means “red and white” in Japanese. Another example is Ogon koi which are a variety of fish that only have one color and come in shades of white, yellow, gold, and silver. The name Ogon means “gold” which draws attention to the unique metallic coloring this variety of koi fish are known for. When selecting koi fish, the choices are truly endless as through selective breeding, new varieties of koi are continuously coming into existence. Selecting what type of koi fish to keep as your pet can be based purely on your own personal preferences. While keeping the saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” in mind, select koi fish based on the colors and patterns that are most attractive to you.
When choosing koi fish, the health and condition of the fish will surely be a factor as well. Here are some red-flags to look out for before buying a koi fish:
Does the skin display any loss of coloring or have a gray tint to it? If so, this could signify that the fish has an infection.
Are all fins and tails in tact? Needless to say, torn fins or fraying tails could mean that this fish has experienced a high level of stress and is unwell.
Are the eyes bulging or have a gray-coloring to them? In this case, the old saying, “the eyes are windows to the soul” rings true. If the eyes don’t seem to be in a healthy condition, unfortunately this undoubtedly means the fish is not either.
Another factor in selecting koi fish is certainly the price you are looking to pay. The price range for koi fish is massive. On the lower end, you will most likely be able to find koi fish available at a local pet store, depending on size, around $10 each. When exploring the cost of more elite, show-quality koi fish, the sky’s the limit. Some of the best-bred koi fish can go for $10,000 and up!
After selecting your healthy and beautiful koi fish, you will want to ensure you are providing them with an environment that will keep your fish happy and healthy. Ideally your koi pond will have at least 1,000 gallons of water and reach a depth of three to four feet deep. Koi fish are a freshwater species, so it is important to not use saltwater in your koi pond. Koi fish prefer ponds with smooth rocks and some plants that will provide them with shade during sunny afternoons. Koi fish also thrive in water that has a higher oxygen content; one way of providing this is to install a waterfall feature in your koi pond. In winter months, as long as the pond doesn’t completely freeze over, koi fish can remain outdoors. As koi fish are a social species, it is important to have at least a couple koi fish in the pond so that they always have companionship.
Koi fish are a hardy fish and are generally easy to care for. It is important to feed koi fish a balanced diet of food that will help enhance their vivid coloring. There are many different kinds of flakes, pellets, and floating-stick products that are designed specifically to cater to the dietary needs of koi fish.
In Japanese, one of the meanings of the word “koi” is friendship. When choosing to care for koi, you are certainly starting a long and fruitful friendship!