Ahhh, the wonders of Koi…
No question about it for those of us who know, Koi are so, so endearing!
Over time that endearment gets even more pronounced, as they start to recognize your face, your voice, including the sound of your footsteps! Trust us, you can spend hours just watching them swim gracefully in the water.
Small wonder that Koi are so popular the world over, and look like they’ll be getting even more popular over the coming years…
A little bit of Koi history…
Did you know Koi carp were originally kept by Chinese peasants for food for millennia? But it was the Japanese who started the art of breeding these “carps” solely for ornamental reasons in the early 1800′s.
The Japanese developed over time such popular Koi varieties like the Kohaku, Taisho Sanke and Showa Sanke. Of course, these are only the most popular varieties. Other breeds include Ogons, those eye-catching metallic fish that look like they are wrought out of gold or platinum; the Gin Rin Koi, whose scales sparkle like diamonds; and the Butterfly Koi, with its long fins, looking like a butterfly that lost its way into the water.
Koi were also traditionally regarded as a variety of goldfish, which also shares a common ancestry with carp but, is now accepted as separate species.
Those amazing Koi colors and lifespan!
Koi come in all colors and are classified accordingly. The most common colors are red, white, orange, black and cream. Some purists, particularly the Japanese, dismiss some of the more modern variations as koi, refusing to accept the butterfly koi with its long fins, and other scaleless variants.
Still, others thoroughly enjoy the unlimited variety of colors and features that show up in the breed.
Although koi are bred for certain patterns and colors, the offspring may be of different patterns and colors far removed from their parents. Breeders regularly cull their fish, using rejects as feeder fish or selling them off as pond fish. If allowed to breed freely, koi will return to their natural drab coloration after only a few generations. But a koi retains its distinct colors throughout its lifetime.
But what a lifespan it is! The oldest known recorded koi in Japan is a female named Hanako, which lived to a ripe old age of 226 years old and died on July 17, 1977. But Hanako lived in the wild, in a pristine pond deep in the mountains with lots of fresh water all year round.
You can, however, expect your koi to live up to 20 or more years in captivity and it may even outlive you, given the right living conditions.
Start keeping your Koi in an aquarium by all means, but…
You may well keep your koi in an aquarium to start with, many do. But if you are really into keeping your Koi in their optimum environment, you’ll soon decide to build an outdoor pond because koi are cold water fish by nature and do best when they live outdoors.
They go dormant and hibernate in winter and as such, require very little or no food. They stay comfortable even in cold temperatures but will need a water depth of 4 1/2 feet to survive low temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Koi fish are fun to keep, beautiful in your garden pond, and relaxing to watch. What’s more, they will even reward you by breeding successfully in healthy environments so your initial investment may wield great returns!
If you’re looking to expand on your Koi collection, or even just get started, we have some amazing Koi fish for sale in our online store. And feel free to contact us with any questions, tips, or feedback – we value your input greatly!