Koi fish are colorful, beautiful versions of common carp. Though carp domestication is supposed to have begun in China, the modern Japanese Koi is thought to have started in the early nineteenth century. Rice farmers gathered, stored, and reared wild, colorful carp in this area. As a result, there are hundreds of different color variations of koi. Continue reading to learn more about this stunning fish.
- Quick Facts
- Variations or Types of Koi
- The Advantages of Raising Koi in an Aquarium
- What You’ll Need to Get Started Raising Koi in an Aquarium
- Koi Feeding Tips
- Koi pond
The history of koi fish is broad and colorful (literally). The bright variants that you can now find in many ponds are descendants of the common solid black carp. They are now not just culturally significant but also a hobby for millions of individuals all around the world. So let’s go back in time to see how these ornamental fish became so important.
When the Chinese invaded Japan in 200 BC, they brought black carp, also known as Magoi. The Japanese are recognized as the first to breed koi with naturally occurring mutations, which resulted in the species gaining color.
Rice farmers kept koi fish as a food source when they first arrived in Japan, and they could be found in the rice paddies. Then, farmers began deliberately breeding the koi for the carp’s attractive colorful scales after noticing the mutations that arose as a result of cross-breeding. This is thought to have started in the early 1800s, when the first varieties, such as the Narumi Asagi, were created.
People traveled through Ojita City in Niigata; they witnessed these lovely, vibrantly colored fish. For the first time, koi keeping as a pastime became famous worldwide.
Niigata, Japan, is considered to be the birthplace of the koi. The farmers in this region were the only ones who actively bred these variations of koi, giving rise to the koi variations we know today. These rice farmers realized that by continuing to reproduce all of these varieties, they would be able to produce even more color variations, increasing demand, and profit.
Outside of Niigata, the world was unaware of the newly found multicolored koi variations until 1914. At the time, Niigata koi were on show at a Tokyo fair. Following that, koi became increasingly popular in Japan.
Despite its growing popularity, koi rearing came to a halt during World War II. Still, Japanese koi farmers passed on their knowledge to succeeding generations, who were able to save the koi both during and after the war. Unfortunately, they lost most of their koi carp due to a food shortage during this trying time. Fortunately, some koi were kept safe in temple ponds, and after the war, breeding resumed.
- Koi and goldfish are both domesticated from carp. However, they are two different species.
- While anglers prefer carp, koi are bred for decorative ponds. The most popular freshwater ornamental fish in the world are koi and goldfish.
- Individual show-quality koi have been reported to sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars in the koi breeding industry.
- Koi is a Japanese heritage and a national pastime.
- Female Koi are friendlier and more playful than male Koi. They have excellent personalities and a lot of movement in their bodies.
- Koi can live to be over 100 years old but their average lifespan is around 30 to 50 years.
- The rings surrounding a Koi’s outer scales identify its age: one ring every two years.
- Age, length and weight, patterns, and vibrant colors add to koi’s value.
- Hanoko, the world’s oldest living koi, was born in Japan and lived to be 226 years old. The koi was born in 1751, five years before Mozart, the classical genius, and died on July 17, 1977.
Variations or Types of Koi
More than 100 different varieties of koi fish have been identified. As a result, this species may be found in several aquariums, and with good cause. Their vibrant colors and patterns bring vitality to any aquarium or pond.
Only a few of the more than 100 koi fish varieties are particularly popular. Each type of koi fish has a distinct pattern and color that differentiates it from others. Here are the most common koi fish varieties:
Kohaku is famously known as the king of all koi fish. This is the first koi fish variety to have two distinct colors. Its elegant simplicity and magnificent appearance make it an instant favorite in any aquarium or koi pond.
Taisho Sanke, commonly known as Taisho Sanshoku or simply Sanke. Sanshoku translates to “three colors.” This name refers to how this variety of koi has three hues on its body: white, red, and black. It looks a lot like the Kohaku koi. It has a white body (shiroji) with red patterns, similar to Kohaku (hi). The only distinction is that it has black markings on its body (Sumi marks). In the world of koi fish, Taisho Sanke is one of the “Big Three.”
Showa Sanshoku or Showa Sanke are other names for Showa. The presence of white, red, and black colors on its body gives it the name Showa.
Sanke and Showa are very similar. However, the fundamental distinction between the two species of koi fish is the Showa’s Karasu (black-colored body). Showa has a mainly black-colored body or foundation with white and red patterns.
The Tancho koi fish is called after the Tancho Crane, which has a distinctive red patch on its head and is Japan’s national bird. Tancho is a sleek and simple creature with a unique pigmentation (a red spot) on its head.
Utsuri is a general term for a variety of koi fish. Shiro Utsuri, Ki Utsuri, and Hi Utsuri are three varieties of Utsuri koi fish that belong to the Utsurimono category. Utsurimono is a Japanese word that means “reflection.” The Utsuri koi fish have a black body (Karasu) with red (hi), white (shiroji), or yellow (ki) patterns.
The Utsurimono genre was named for the overlaying red, white, or yellow patterns that resemble the color reflection on the body of a koi fish.
Bekko means ‘tortoiseshell.’ Bekko and Utsuri are frequently confused. The main difference is that Utsuri has a black base with white, red, or yellow-colored markings. In contrast, Bekko has a white, red, or yellow-colored base with Sumi (black-colored) markings. A Bekko’s head will never have any Sumi markings on it.
Asagi koi fish are breathtakingly gorgeous. The tops of their bodies exhibit a blue net-like pattern, with red-orange colors on the belly, fins, gill plates, and body. The red coloration (hi) of the Asagi koi fish spreads upwards from the bottom as it ages.
Shusui is a type of Asagi koi; however, it differs from a Doitsu (scaleless) variant of Asagi. There is no blue-colored net-like pattern because there are no scales on the top of the body. Instead, the present scales are arranged in a single row along the body’s dorsal line.
One of the most beautiful types of koi fish is the Koromo or Goromo. It’s a cross between a Kohaku and an Asagi ki. It has the Kohaku’s signature colors (white and red) and the Asagi koi’s signature net pattern.
Goshiki is a Japanese word that means “five colors.” This sort of koi fish has a whole white body with an Asagi-style black-blue net pattern running the length of its body. It’s the outcome of Asagi and Kohaku koi fish breeding.
Over the net-like pattern of the Asagi is a red-colored (hi) plate from the Kohaku. It’s called Goshiki because it comes in a variety of colors, including white (for the base), red-orange (for the hi-plate), blue, and black (of the net-like pattern).
The red hi plate on the Goshiki becomes so thick and dense as it ages that it seems like an external sticker on the koi fish’s body. The net-like design also vanishes, leaving merely a thick red-colored plate to cover the entire body. A Goshiki koi fish is a beautiful sight to see if it has been adequately cared for and the colors have appropriately developed.
Kawarimono, sometimes known as Kawarigoi, is a koi fish family that includes fast-growing, large-sized koi. The following are the most common types of koi fish in this category:
- Hajiro: This is a koi fish with a black body (Sumi) and white-colored (shiroji) fin and tail tips.
- Hageshiro: This koi fish looks quite similar to Hajiro, except it has a white face and head instead of white fins and tail tips.
- Kumonryu: Also known as the dragon fish, the Kumonryu is a koi fish with a Sumi Doitsu body with whirling white markings all over its body and head. The pattern isn’t set in stone. Instead, it varies according to the season.
- Ochiba Shigure: The name Ochiba Shigure means “falling leaves.” It gets its name from the Kohaku-like pattern that appears on top of a blue-gray (sora) body. This design is reminiscent of fallen autumn leaves on water.
Hikari Muji, also known as Hikari Mono, is a type of koi fish that is single-colored and has a shiny appearance. Hikari is a Japanese word that means “shiny” or “metallic.” These koi fish are the first to be sold from retail fish tanks due to their glistening beauty. They have no markings on their bodies, which gives them a more gleaming aspect.
This category includes a wide range of koi fish, including:
- Orenji Ogon is a koi fish with vivid orange color.
- Yamabuki Ogon is a yellow-colored koi fish with a metallic appearance.
- This koi fish is known as Aka Matsuba because of its red scales with black centers. The koi fish has a pinecone-like appearance due to these scales.
- Kin Matsuba is a yellow-gold colored, metallic-looking koi fish with an Aka Matsuba-like design.
- Gin Matsuba is a silver-colored variant of the Kin Matsuba koi fish.
The Advantages of Raising Koi in an Aquarium
You might think that koi belong in backyard ponds. Still, there are various reasons why you should put up an aquarium indoors rather than in the backyard. If you live in an apartment, this may be your only choice for raising a koi fish.
Koi are simple to care for, and an aquarium takes up very little room.
Koi adjust to their surroundings and grow under their available area. As a result, they will neither outgrow nor jump out of the tank. Koi are also powerful. Koi can survive in water temperatures ranging from 40 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit unless the environment changes drastically. They may also quickly go a week without eating.
Regardless of the season, you can enjoy koi on any given day.
Koi are a type of cold-blooded fish. As a result, outdoor koi go dormant when winter arrives, whereas indoor koi remain active due to consistent water temperatures.
Koi is a friendly fish that will eat from your hands.
Koi are known to be a friendly species of fish. They might be able to consume food from your hands if they’ve gotten used to their new surroundings. They could be the ideal indoor companion.
A koi aquarium is a beautiful addition to any room.
Koi are known as living gems, and there are over 100 different varieties of koi available. Therefore, any area benefits from a bright koi aquarium as a focal point.
Koi aquariums are stress relievers.
Aquarium treatment is another name for it. Aquariums have been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate in people.
What You’ll Need to Get Started Raising Koi in an Aquarium
The goods listed below will assist you in setting up an aquarium. None of this is unique to koi, and the critical fish-keeping adaption is the number of koi you keep in the tank. These are some of the most frequent aquarium management elements.
- Aquarium – The size of the aquarium will determine the size of the koi. Choose an aquarium based on the size of the koi and the location. (insert table)
- Cover – A cover for an aquarium keeps koi from jumping out and reduces evaporation.
- Filter – Koi eat their food and excrete their waste in the tank, which acts as a filter. Therefore, maintaining a healthy environment for koi necessitates using a filter. As a result, the number of water changes is reduced, reducing the stress on the koi.
- Aeration system – The aeration system is in charge of providing air bubbles to the aquarium. Koi, like humans, require oxygen to survive.
- Thermometer – Keeping the water temperature comfortable is essential for koi’s health. They prefer temperatures of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold water and extreme temperature swings between seasons are not good for koi. Keeping the water temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended.
- Heater – Used to keep the water at a comfortable temperature.
You’ll also need a bottom cleaner, net, and algae scrapers in maintaining the aquarium.
Koi Feeding Tips
The most enjoyable aspect of keeping koi fish is feeding them! The best bonding experience for developing koi fish and their owners is seeing them come to the surface and even eating from the palm of your hand.
Koi are supposed to have a three-minute memory, yet they can learn to know their feeders. What a case of selective memory! We’ve compiled some tips to help you become your koi’s favorite face, even if they don’t remember your name.
- Feed your fish four times a day if possible. Feed them only as much as they can consume in about five minutes.
- Koi fish eat a wide variety of foods, including small insects and bugs, plants like duckweed and algae at the bottom of the pond, and store-bought koi fish food.
- Koi will even consume human food. Cereal, lettuce, shrimp, rice, peas, and watermelon are all favorites. Koi fish believe almost anything we eat to be food.
- Before a storm, don’t feed your koi fish. When digesting food, fish require extra oxygen. When it rains, oxygen levels in the air drop, which is why it’s a horrible time to feed koi fish.
- After only a few periods, your growing koi will recognize you as their feeder. They will begin to greet you as you approach the pond if you feed them regularly.
- Flake or small koi meal is needed for your smaller koi fish. Larger koi fish prefer pebble food.
- Early in the spring and late in the fall, your koi fish prefer carbohydrate-rich diets, whereas protein is best in the early summer when mating is in the air.
The Koi pond is a beautiful spot in your backyard that you can enjoy year-round. This pond is perfect for people who want to keep fish but don’t have a lot of space. You don’t need a lot of money to get started with a Koi pond. There are many different types and brands of ponds on the market today. You need to find the right one for you and your family.
Koi pond design and construction
Regarding koi pond design, there are a few things to consider to create a beautiful and functional pond.
The first step is to select the right location for your pond. It should be in an area with plenty of sunlight but also shade so the fish can escape the heat. You’ll also want to ensure you have enough room for the pond size you want.
Once you’ve selected the perfect spot, it’s time to start designing!
One of the most important aspects of a koi pond is the filtration system. You’ll need to choose a filter that will accommodate the size of your pond and the amount of water it will hold. You’ll also need to decide on pump size and type.
The next step is to choose a liner for your pond. The liner will work to keep the pond clean and allow you to add fish as needed. If you want a gravel-type surface, you’ll need to add some stones to the liner. It would help if you also chose a submersible heater for your koi pond.
Building a koi pond is a big project, but it can be gratifying. Koi ponds come in all materials, shapes, and sizes, so you can let your imagination run wild. Just be sure to keep the basics in mind when planning your pond.
First, decide on the size and shape of your pond. Of course, it’s important to ensure enough room for the koi to swim around, but you also need to consider the surrounding landscape. If you’re building a pond in a natural setting, try miming the existing terrain as closely as possible.
Once you’ve settled on a shape and size, it’s time to start thinking about the features you want in your pond. For example, do you want a waterfall or fountain? What about some plants or rocks for decoration?
Koi pond plants
A koi pond is a beautiful addition to any garden; with the right plants, it can be a thriving ecosystem too. Here are some of the best plants to include in your koi pond:
Water lilies are a must-have for any koi pond. They provide shade for the fish and add beauty to the landscape. Just be sure to choose a variety that is suitable for your climate.
Another excellent choice for a koi pond is the sweet flag. This plant helps keep the water clean and oxygenated and provides food for the fish.
If you want to add some color to your koi pond, consider planting some tropical water plants such as lotus or papyrus. These plants will thrive in warmer climates and provide a splash of color to the landscape.
Koi pond maintenance
Keep the water clean and clear. You can do this by siphoning out the dirty water. This is where your filtration system comes in, as earlier mentioned in this article.
Koi ownership has been a source of pride for decades, even if some owners are unsure precisely what makes them happy. It’s essential to consider why they enjoy this pastime and why it might be the ideal hobby.
Koi are similar to people in many aspects, so you can be sure that they will become what they eat. Like children and animals, koi fish would cheerfully consume junk food despite being unhealthy for them. Choose foods that will nourish a healthy lifestyle for your fish to be happier for more extended periods.