Cyprus carpio / Koi Carp
Koi are beautiful large fish only suitable for ponds and water gardens. They were bred in Japan almost 200 years ago for ornamental purposes from less colourful Carp and many colours and patterns have emerged since and are available to buy each with a name of their own. These fish are extremely durable and hardy like their relatives the Goldfish and can with stand a wide range of temperatures and water parameters, having said that in countries where the winters are particularly long and harsh koi can become affected and deteriorate quickly. In the winter they enter a reduced state of digestion and will not eat as much as they would during spring and summer months. There are special winter food pellets for Koi which are lighter in content thus easier to digest, in winters that the water temperature drops below 10C’ feeding is not recommended and the fish can live off the algae that grows at the bottom and sides of the pond.
Koi have barbels at the side of their mouth and are often digging so providing a soft substrate in the pond is essential to keep them from damaging these and indeed their fins. Soft pebbles and rock make an excellent choice for the bottom of the pond to encourage some algae growth for the fish to graze on. Koi are amazing pets and soon learn to recognise their owner with food and eventually will be confident enough to eat out of your hand. They do however grow to be very large (some have been known to reach 1Meter in length!) so it’s essential that they are kept in an appropriately sized ponds.
The ideal pond will be deep and provide plenty of swimming, 3-4ft deep and 6ft by 8ft long should be the minimum considered as Koi develop bulky bodies as well grow in length. For a small group of Koi (up to 5 fish) a pond size of a 840Gallons (3800Liters) will be the absolute minimum. The more fish you plan on keeping the bigger the pond will need to be. Your pond will also need powerful filtration and depending on where you live you may wish to consider some type of protection over the pond to avoid predators reaching your precious fish. In ideal conditions Koi will live between 25-30 years while specimens have been known to live even longer than that!
There are many varieties of Koi available each with their own unique colour and pattern. Below are some of the popular ones.
Koromo – Tancho – Goshiki – Gin Matsuba – Showa Sanshoku – Aka Matsuba – Kin Showa – Hikari – Platinum Ogon – Orenji Ogon and Beko.