The Koi, The King of Fish

The number of koi enthusiasts and admirers in this country is growing steadily. These days even amateurs can immediately distinguish a pond containing the valuable coloured carp from a regular goldfish pond. Their size, their myriad colours and their ornamental markings give koi their unmistakable appearance. In the following, the pet experts from Maxi Zoo reveal more about the king of ornamental fish.

History of koi

Koi is translated as “carp”, indicating its membership in the common carp family. However, the full name of this special breed of fish is actually Nishikikoi, which is Japanese for “brocaded carp”.  The specimen that invited a comparison with the precious brocade fabric threaded with gold and silver must have been exceptionally impressive, especially considering that, when the Japanese began breeding koi in the 19th century, the fish first bore names such as “odd” or “colourful carp”. Although humans have been breeding carp for more than 2,000 years, koi breeding has a relatively short history. It probably all began with a strikingly beautiful colour mutation of dark wild carp. Breeding attempts with these mutants were quite successful. Then, as the koi gained fame at an exhibition at the beginning of the 20th century and became known beyond the breeders’ regional borders, more and more rice farmers began earning their living with koi breeding. Since then, white koi, or bright white koi with red spots on their back known as Kohaku have become extremely popular. However, the possibilities for colour variations in koi are virtually infinite: from white to yellow, orange, red, blue, green, silver and gold all the way to black. They come in single, double and multicoloured varieties and can even have a shiny metallic appearance.

Buying koi

To this day, most koi come from Japanese breeders. When it comes to koi offspring, breeders demonstrate their appreciation of beauty in the coloured carp: They only keep fish that are exceptionally promising. Under ideal living conditions they mature and become extraordinarily beautiful koi, even though this might not be readily apparent at first. The fish can grow to be as old as humans and reach a majestic size of approximately 70 cm or more. No wonder enthusiasts and advanced koi owners are more than happy to pay a high price of many thousands of euros for a single animal. But for beginners there are also coloured carp available at affordable prices whose markings or colours are not of show quality. Since koi also transmit the dangerous disease known as the Koi Herpes Virus and can infect an existing pond, you should always be sure to buy koi that have been tested! Always insist on obtaining a certificate stating that the stock your fish comes from has tested negative for the virus!

Ideal conditions for koi

People who love their koi ensure optimum living conditions. In addition to high water quality, this also includes maintaining a pond of adequate size and depth: it should be at least two metres deep. You should have one cubic metre of water per koi. This can quickly result in several thousand litres of water for a small school of fish. For cleaning the water it is imperative that you have a surface pump and floor drains that correspond to the size of the pond in number. The water is guided via these drains to a mechanical and then to a biological filter. The filter system can never be too small and should be at least 20 percent of the pond volume. Pond heaters are also recommended: They regulate the temperature of the pond throughout the entire year. All of this should be carefully planned, because it is virtually impossible to change the size of a pond or filter later on. Finally, landscaping the pond and its surrounding banks with a great love for detail will create an ideal habitat for fish, not to mention a wonderful atmosphere for humans seeking tranquillity and repose.
Call into your local store today to discuss your pet’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts