How about a live rainbow that shimmers right in front of your eyes, 24x7? Sounds beautiful, isn’t it? For those of you who know Koi fish, such a rainbow must be an old acquaintance! And for those who are just venturing into the Koi fish hobby, it will be a sight that comes in gratis with all the beauty, warmth and friendship that this ‘very social’ fish brings along.
Koi is a domesticated, cold water fish that thrives very well in outdoor ponds. It is popular for its beauty and adaptability. It is originally a species of Carp that was first bred for color mutations in ancient China. Koi, in its present form, owes its worldwide popularity to Japan. ‘Koi’ means Carp in Japanese. The fish that is known world over as ‘Koi’ is actually the brocaded carp or ‘nishikigoi’ in Japanese. The Japanese started breeding Koi for color in early the 19th century. The hobby spread all over Japan in the early 1900s, after the fish was exhibited in the annual exposition in Tokyo. Eventually, the Koi journeyed to various parts of the world.
Koi fish and Koi fish information is available in most pet stores. But if you want the best quality and information, with all the traits specific to the species, you should buy from a specialty store. There are different varieties of Koi, each having a specific color pattern. However, the fish is still being actively bred for producing new color patterns and for increasing the adaptability even further. Some hybrid varieties like the Ghost Koi and the Butterfly Koi have also been developed.
Based on the color patterns some Koi varieties are listed below.
A glance at this list is enough to give you a peek into the colorful world of Koi:
Kohaku – White Koi with large red markings.
Taisho Shanshoku – Similar to the Kohaku but with an addition of small black markings.
Showa Shanshoku – Black Koi with red and white markings.
Tancho – It’s a term for any Koi with a solitary red patch on it.
Chagoi – A Koi with colors ranging from pale olive green to brown and bronze.
Asagi – A Koi that is light blue above and red (or sometimes pale yellow) below the lateral line and on the cheeks.
Utsurimono – A black Koi with a red, white or yellow markings.
Bekko - A Koi with a white, red or yellow skin and black markings on the top.
Goshiki – A dark Koi with red hi pattern.
Shusui – A koi with a sky blue or grey color above the lateral line and red or orange below the lateral line and on cheeks.
Kinginrin – A koi with metallic scales.
Ogon – Metallic Koi of one color only.
Ochiba - A light blue/grey koi with copper, bronze or yellow patterns.
Koromo - A Koi with Kohaku style pattern with black/blue edged scales only over the high pattern.
Hikari-moyomono – A koi with two metallic colors.
Besides these, a Koi that can’t be put into a specific category is categorized as ‘Kawarimono’.
Koi is very adaptable, but temperatures below 10 C are not very good for them. In an outdoor pond, it’s necessary to use protective measures in order to keep the predators away; as Koi’s bright color results into being an attractive invitation.
It’s an omnivorous fish that requires to be fed on carefully designed nutritious food. Feeding is also the time when your Koi will respond to your love and care by eating from your hand, once they recognize you as their regular feeder.
So go ahead, and take a plunge into the rainbow world of Koi and add some color for your pond to ponder!