Have you ever thought to have a garden pond in your home yard? Indeed, it is a precious thing to do. Adding some ornamental fish to your pond can make your backyard looking beautiful. Koi fish make one of the best pond fish to care and to gain a tranquil vibe to your home.
Koi fish are beautiful, interesting, and incredibly smart. Koi fish are marvelous fish with vibrant symbolism and colour in their skin. Let us have a look at some fascinating facts about koi fish before you start stocking them up in your pond.
It is said that the Koi fish originated from Japan. It is a symbol of love and friendship in Japanese culture. Most Koi fish have lived more years than their owners, having a lifespan of more than 200 years. They appear in a variety of colours as orange, yellow, white, red, and black. Owners who received Koi fish as a gift are believed to have good fortune. Ancient times in Japan, Koi fish are often passed down from generation to generation, as a family heritage.
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How many types of fish are there?
Several varieties of Koi fish have been identified so far. These varieties are distinguished based on scales, coloration, and patterns of fish. Koi fish are majorly found in a large range of colours such as orange, blue, white, red, black, and cream colours.
More than 100 Koi types have been identified up to now. Some popular Koi fish varieties are given below.
- Taisho Sanke
- Hikari Moyo
Other names of the Koi fish
Koi fish are more commonly known as Nishikigoi or jinli, which means ‘brocaded carp.’ The scientific name of Koi fish is Cyprinus rubrofuscus
Appearance and size
The appearance of Koi carp is like their carp ancestors. They got elongated spindle shape bodies, large scales and a mouth that faced downward. Koi have two pairs of barbels on either side of their mouth as sensory organs. They appear in a variety of colours such as orange, yellow, white, red, and black. Koi fish are beautiful, smart, and elegant in their own way.
If you feed and care Koi fish properly, they grow about an inch within a month. They grow up about 9 inches by the end of the first year. Generally, healthy Koi grow up to about 20 inches or more in captivity. But the size of the Koi fish depends on several factors. Genetic makeup and the aquatic conditions in which they live regulate the size of the Koi fish. The maximum sizes of the Koi fish after receiving feed and care properly are shown below.
- Domestic Koi – grows up to 12-15 inches in length.
- Japanese Koi- grows up to 22-26 inches.
- Jumbo Koi- can be as big as 36 inches.
Comparing to other fish, Koi fish grow rapidly. They take around 3 years to grow into the full adult length.
The Koi fish originated from Asian common carp. But it is believed that the natural colour mutations of common carp occurred in China and Japan around same time. Anyway, Japanese were the first to start breeding natural colour mutations of common carp to create Koi carps. As a result, there is no exact native habitat for Koi fish. According to the sources the fish is native to Asia and Europe continents. Although they are not wild, presently they can be seen in wild freshwater habitats like ponds and streams.
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These fish are very keen on finding foods at the bottom of the tank. Therefore, you can see fish swimming gracefully all over the tank. Koi live in schools. Most of the time they spend time by finding insects, algae, and larvae.
Generally, Koi fish has a life span of 20 to 200 years. But averagely up to 40 years. According to the historic data, the oldest-known Koi fish lived for 230 years old. Scientists calculated Koi fish age by examining the fish’s scales that produce growth rings much similar to a tree. Genetics, nutrition, water quality, and environment are the factors that determine the lifespan of the Koi fish.
Select Koi that are at least 3 years old for breeding. The usual length of the sexually matured fish is about 10 inches.
Select at least single male and female fish who are ready to breed. Identification of male and female fish is quite difficult. But males got small white structures on their heads and pectoral fins. Males chase females around the pond once they start breeding. Keep more than one male fishes in the tank. Remove other fish from the tank.
Be mindful to select healthy-looking fish as breeders. If you are looking for Koi having a certain colour, select Koi parents that demonstrate the expected colourings in their skin.
Making the right conditions for breeding
- Koi start to breed when the weather is warm, and the water temperature is increased. The size of the pond should be 3 feet (0.91 m) deep and 3 feet × 6 feet (0.91m × 1.8m) wide. This pond size will enough to host 5 Koi fish. If the pond rich with algae it must be completely clean before adding fish. Skimmer nets, scoop tools can be used to remove debris and Predators out of the pond bottom.
- It is important to keep pond water clean during the breeding season. Therefore, use a water filtration system specialised for Koi ponds. After loading fish into the pond, cover the entire pond using a net and protect it with heavy rocks.
- Feed the Koi fish 4 times a day. Well-fed Koi fish month before the breeding, will increase the capacity to breed. Take steps to increase the protein content of the fish feed. This is facilitated by the fast-breeding process. Whole lettuces, Wholemeal bread and Oranges are nutritional food that can offer Koi for breeding.
- Place a fry mat at the pond bottom. This gives a place for Koi to lay eggs.
- Remove the adult Koi from the breeding tank and place them in a separate tank.
- The breeding process may immediately happen or may take a few weeks. Changes in the water temperature, storms, and a full moon day are some triggering factors for Koi to breed. Therefore, let the breeders mate.
- Once the Fish have mated, eggs visible on fry mats and froth appearing on the top of the water can be seen.
How to care for young Koi
- Eggs are formed after the scum appearing on the top of the water. It will take 4 days to hatch eggs. When you notice the eggs or the presence of froth in the pond parent Koi should be removed.
- After 10 days feed the fry with koi pellet powder. Sprinkle the powder pellets over the pond. Feed the fry 4 times a day. Each feeding time should not be more than 5 minutes. Check out how they behave when feeding and notice how much food they eat during a feeding time. Feeding should be done according to that.
- Feed the fry 10 days after noticing the eggs.
- When the Koi are of 4-week-old feed them with crumb size pellets.
- The size of the tank should be increased when the Koi are 1 month old.
- Cull the fry according to the requirement. If they are small, not in the expected colour patterns or have physical disabilities it is not worth to grow them in the tank.
- Culling could be done at any age.
- Koi fry take approximately 3 months to reach 3 inches (7.6 cm) under good feeding and care.
- When the juveniles are big (3 inches long) reintroduce parent Koi to the tank.
- As the juveniles grow up, they become friends with their parents.
Set up the tank – preferred size
- Koi grow quickly and get very large in a short period. Keep mature koi in an outdoor pond of at least 3 feet deep. Make sure one fish gets at least 50 gallons of water.
- Young koi can be kept inside the aquarium of 29 gallons.
- Place the aquarium in a quiet area where there is no direct sunlight.
- Cover the aquarium with a hood to reduce evaporation and keep fish from leaping out.
- Before transferring new koi to the aquarium, float them in the water inside their bag for about 10 minutes. This is done to acclimate fish to the new water temperature.
- When introducing Koi to an aquarium or pond water, quarantine the new fish in a separate body of water. This will take 2 to 4 weeks. The quarantine process will guarantee that they are free from diseases. Use a net to transfer the koi to new water. Add 3 or less than 3 new koi at a time whether they live indoors or outdoors.
Tank water quality
Koi fish are temperature tolerant. In winter, they can even survive in cold water under the ice. When the water is melted in winter still, they can live in far bottom ice water. When they live in a tank or a pond, Koi prefer cool water between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18oC to 24oC)
Heat & light
As the Koi can live in deep ponds where it has melted water it could also live-in darker places. Therefore, install a light inside an indoor aquarium to illuminate the fish tank for 8 to 12 hours a day.
An appropriate aquarium filter should be able to process all water in the tank 3 to 5 times an hour. Add beneficial bacteria supplements to the filter system to help break down waste in the aquarium.
Preferred tank mates
When introducing tank mates to Koi fish tank you must consider not to add aggressive ones. The size, temperature requirements of the new fish should be as same as Koi. The introducing fish should not need special care and should not fight with Koi fish. The tank mates should have similar characteristics as Koi fish. Better to use bottom feeders as Koi tank mates. The below list of fish is ideal for use as Koi fish mates.
- Barbel (Barbus Barbus)
- Barbs (Barbus tetrazona)
- Catfish (Siluriformes)
- Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
- Golden Orfe (ILeuciscus idus)
- Tench (Tinca tinca)
- Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus)
- Sturgeon (Acipenseridae)
Koi fish are omnivorous. It means they eat both animal and vegetable matters. Koi eat foods that can be found in the depth of water. They feed on microorganisms such as Algae, Zooplankton, Insects, and plants in your tank. Furthermore, Koi prefers to eat Cereal, Lettuce, Shrimp, Rice and Watermelon. All the nutrient requirements of Koi fish can be fulfilled through pellets and other artificial feeds.
How to transport Koi fish into long distances?
Transporting fish is not an easy task. Fish size is a critical factor when moving fish. Transportation requirements change with the fish size. Large fish need more space and requirements for this. The following steps should follow when transporting any size of fish too long distances.
Packing of Koi fish in a transport bag
Put a few buckets of pure water and salt into a transport polythene bag (Up to 2/3rd of bag). Add a half of a handful of salt and a few capfuls of Ultimate/ClorAm X into a polythene bag. Then slowly place Koi fish into it. Ninety present of the fish body should immerse in water. Inject oxygen into the free space of the polythene bag (1/3rd of bag). Close the upper end of the polystyrene with a rubber band. The right number of Koi in a polythene bag will keep them up to 24 hours. After packing do not bother fish. Keep them in a dark place. For easy transportation and handling, place the polythene bag in a box.
Transporting fish too long distances
A box is needed to transport fish by air. Usage of a transportation tank in your vehicle is also recommended when transporting fish via land. You will need a Sock net, salt, and pure oxygen for this.
Tips for using a transportation tank
Fill the water to the tank up to the top level. Make no air rooms inside the tank. Then add some salts and ChlorAm for recommended amounts. Then carefully add fish into it and seal the tank.
Common diseases of Koi fish
Koi fish diseases are caused by bacteria, parasites, fungus, or worms. Below are the common diseases that come from these sources.
- Dropsy (bacteria)
- Fin Rot (bacteria)
- Ulcers (bacteria)
Diseases caused by worms
- Flukes (worms)
- Anchor Worm (worms)
- Ich (parasites)
- Fish Lice (parasites)
- Trichodina (parasites)
- Chilodonella (parasites)
- Costia (parasites)