About Koi Fish
Koi fish, or Nishikigoi,
are the product of several centuries of selective breeding of
the common brown Asian carp
and the German carp. The first color mutations appeared about 1805.
Koi are available in all colors
from the purest white, through yellow, orange, red,
near-lavender, blues, greens and coal black, in limitless
combinations. Most popular in Japan are the Kohaku, a pure white
fish with persimmon-red patches arranged in a stepping stone pattern.
In the USA, favorite
types run the gamut from the legendary "Big Three" (Kohaku,
Taisho Sanke, and Showa Sanke, the last two appreciated for
varying proportions of white, black and red) to the eye catching
Ogons, metallic fish that look like they have been hammered from gold or platinum.
New developments are the long
fin or butterfly Koi and the Gin Rin Koi, where each scale
sparkles like a diamond.
Koi can be purchased
from several importers of Japanese Koi, from pet stores or from
garden centers. They are raised commercially in Japan,
Singapore, Israel, and in most temperate American states,
especially California. They are usually offered in sizes ranging from three to twenty-four
Japanese shows are filled with
"Jumbos" which exceed three feet in length. Koi
starter fish may be purchased for as little as several dollars
with nice fish going from about $25 to many hundreds of
thousands of dollars. Koi are omnivorous and will eat a great
variety of foods.
Special Koi food can
be purchased. Many keepers supplement them with trout chow,
catfish chow, bread, Cheerios, peas, lettuce, spinach, fresh
shrimp, earthworms and krill. A real treat for Koi is
watermelon. On occasion Koi have eaten slugs! When Koi become
accustomed to your presence, they will eat from your hand.
Some have even been trained to
take food from their owner's lips. Koi dispositions are
mellow and their toothless mouths are soft. They pose no
danger to smaller fish.
A twenty-four inch Koi
can be safely housed with four inch Koi, common goldfish, or comets.
Very slow moving fancy
goldfish may have a problem competing for food.
Koi ponds can be constructed
from concrete, Gahnite, PVC or butyl rubber liners,
fiberglass tanks, or they can be housed in natural ponds (not a
hole in the ground.) Ponds
should be at least three feet deep with a minimum of three
hundred gallons for each mature fish. Though Koi will
survive poor conditions, they do best with good filtration and
aeration. Remember, Koi do grow and under ideal conditions,
they can reach two feet in three years. It is not
unheard of for a happy Koi to live thirty years.
The record in Japan is
two hundred and twenty-three years. A backyard fish pond offers
a aesthetic addition to your landscapes. Installing projects
such as these will offer tranquility and relaxation to the whole
family as well. However, building, constructing, and taking care
of ponds are not as easy as you think. Much effort, planning,
and money must go into these.
It is important that you think
things through before deciding on installing your very own back
yard fish pond. Building fish ponds are not as simple as
installing it and letting it go afterwards. It is a consistent
and constant endeavor, much like a hobby. Maintenance should be
done periodically. Following some of these guidelines may aid
you in installing a do it yourself backyard fish pond.
nstallation will offer you many years of beautiful, breath-
taking low maintenance relaxation by "the pond."