Why are Koi Fish so Popular?

Koi fish create beauty and serenity in any environment. They also have a long lifespan.

For many years, they have been kept as pets. Starting from China & Japan, they have stolen the hearts of many people around the globe.

Koi fish are all about beautiful colors in different patterns. All the colors of Koi are symbolic in Asian culture. These are one of the many reasons why Koi fish are so popular (especially with home aquarium owners).

Let us look a little deeper into the reasons that make the Koi fish so popular.

What makes the Koi fish so popular?

According to the Japanese culture, Koi symbolize good fortune, spiritual abundance, and perseverance. In Buddhism, Koi fish symbolize courage and strength of purpose.

Koi fish were initially bred for consumption in the rice paddy fields. But as carps don’t taste that good, they were bred for ornamental purposes.

It brings good luck according to Feng Shui

Feng shui is a spiritual organization. It gives significance to placing the objects in a certain way.

According to Feng shui, Koi is bound to attract fortune and good luck. It is also sacred and provides a lot of spiritual benefits.

Cultural Significance

One of the reasons why Koi are so popular is because they have been bred for generations to achieve the perfect color and size.

The most expensive and cherished Koi in Japan are red and white. Firstly because those are the colors of the Japanese flag. And secondly, because they signify purity, honesty, and integrity.

Each colored Koi has a significance in Japanese culture.

  • A golden-colored Koi symbolizes material gains, success, and higher growth.
  • The red and white Koi is also called Kohaku Koi. It signifies love, care, and success in life’s relationships.
  • The Ochiba Koi represents a change of seasons. “Ochiba” means “leaves fallen in water”. Its base is blue-grey with a brown pattern on its back (it looks like dead, fallen leaves).
  • There is a platinum-colored Koi. It is also known as the famous “Ogon Koi”. The Ogon Koi represents wealth and success in a career.
  • The butterfly Koi is also known as dragon carp. They have elongated fins. They are a result of interbreeding of traditional Koi with wild Indonesian longfin river carp. They bring about good luck and good fortune. They also signify beauty, charm, and elegance.

Many more varieties of Koi fish exist that have different symbolic meanings. Thanks to decades of interbreeding, there are many options to choose from for aquarium owners.

Highly adaptive and elegant fish

Koi fish are highly adaptable. Starting from China, Japan, they are now found all over the world. They have beautiful colors and patterns and look elegant.

Their swimming is more like dancing through the water.

Koi fish are much loved for their beauty and strength. They also signify prosperity, ambition, and courage.

The Koi swim against the current and are strong in the face of changing tides. The beautiful and gliding fish appeals to the eyes, providing a relaxed atmosphere when kept in an aquarium.

Our fascination for outdoor ponds

Koi are cold-water fish. They love outdoor environments. We, as humans, have an inbuilt fascination for having ponds on our properties so we can watch the water and the fish inside.

Koi love to have a shade like lilies. You can cover 70% of the water with lilies. It will give shade to Koi and also protect the pond against algae.

As the Koi are omnivorous (eat both plants and meat), they can find insect and insect larvae within the plants.

They usually grow up to 3 feet but can grow longer depending on the size of the pond. The bigger the pond, the bigger the Koi.

A pond packed with Koi is a visual treat. They leap together and appear jumping together with glee.

If you add underwater lighting, you can watch the beautiful Koi at night.

For Breeding purpose

For many years, Koi fish was bred in the rice paddy for consumption. They were easy to breed, graceful, and lived for many years.

As the popularity of Koi grew (and the fact that carp was not tasty), the Japanese started breeding them for ornamental purposes. They interbred the Koi to bring about different colors and patterns in the fish.

The Japanese take breeding of Koi very seriously. Every year there is a competition worth millions of dollars for Koi. To breed an award-winning koi requires patience and dedication.

To get an idea about the Koi farms and how they breed the fish, watch this amazing documentary here

People have been raising Koi for decades in their families with dedication. It is an art that requires skill to raise, select, and breed Koi that are more beautiful and healthy than the parent fish.

Owning Koi is a matter of pride. People cherish Koi and it is a status symbol for them. It is like breeding dogs with specific traits.

Breeders look for specific traits in young Koi and select them for breeding in their ponds.

A single Koi produces many offsprings. In about a year, female Koi can produce half a million eggs! Out of 50,000, only 5000 will be of good quality that will end up as beautiful Koi for the farmer to sell. Watch more about baby Koi selection here.

It is a popular Pet among families

Japanese and now people all over the world buy Koi fish to keep as a pet. It is considered equal to keeping a pet like a dog or a cat. Koi is somehow superior to them as they live for many years. Their average life span is 20-50 years.

They are easy to keep in outdoor ponds, look graceful and beautiful, and can easily outlive a generation if given the right conditions. There are some koi that have outlived three generations!

The prized fish are lovable. They come near to you and will let you touch them.

They look adoringly towards you with an open mouth. Their loving interactions are another reason why Koi fish are so popular as aquarium pets.

Some interesting facts about Koi fish

Here I am sharing some interesting facts about Koi fish.

Some of these could also be underlying reasons why Koi fish are so popular.

Koi fish origin

Many people have attributed Koi fish origin to Japan. The truth is that the fish came from China.

There is old folklore that speaks about Koi fish traveling through rough tides to reach Dragon gate where it was converted into a dragon.

This is where this Japanese idiom comes from “koi-no-taki-nobori”. It can be translated roughly as “carp swimming up the rapids”. It is used to describe success in life.

Where to buy koi fish in the US?

Due to its sturdiness and its high adaptability, Koi fish sellers are available everywhere. A typical pet store can be a good place to start searching.

But if you want true Koi that are beautiful in colors, patterns, size, and are healthy, I would highly recommend dealers that deal exclusively in Koi, importing them all the way from Japan.

There are many famous places to choose from. Search your local area for companies. Some options I found here is Andrew’s koi international. This company imports Koi from Japan. Here is a link for more information regarding this company.

They make sure you get a healthy fish while taking care of its testing and quarantine process. They can be reached for exclusive Koi varieties like Kohaku.

Another option is Toyoma koi international. They import selected variants all the way from Japan. They bring only a few selected Koi at a time. It makes them give the selected Koi, the best attention.

Due to all the care they provide, they are a bit expensive than pet store Koi. but if you love Koi, you may feel its worth it. Here is a link to their company.

Use of koi fish colors as hospital scrubs

In Asian countries like Japan and China, it is a common practice to wear Koi scrubs by nurses and practitioners.

They feel it takes the mind off stress and has a calming influence with its beautiful color and patterns. This has a lot to do with their belief in Feng Shui.

According to Feng Shui, wearing Koi colors and patterns help to maintain a sense of calm and balance in the chaotic hospital environment.

Also, having the Koi spirit near gives strength and helps in overcoming hardship.

Can you eat koi fish?

Koi fish are carp and so yes they can be eaten. Initially, many years ago they were groomed for eating.

However, since they don’t taste good, the purpose of breeding changed to keeping them as pets.

They are also groomed to win competitions, as the best groomed Koi gets a lot of money for the seller.

How to tell if a koi is male or female?

It is not difficult to differentiate the male from the females when it comes to Koi.

The males have a slender body and thin stature as compared to their female counterparts. The female Koi is more rounded and large.

When they are pregnant with eggs, the female Koi are easier to identify due to their huge rounded belly.

How long does it take for koi fish eggs to hatch?

A female Koi can give hundreds of eggs at one go. The eggs hatch within four days. It is important to keep the eggs away from the adult fish as Koi have the tendency to eat their own eggs.

After hatching, the fry usually attaches itself to whatever it can find in the pond and feeds on its yolk sack for a few days.

Koi start to mate from around three years. They can mate up to fifteen years after which they stop mating. In a single year, Koi can lay thousands of eggs.

A single female Koi can lay millions of eggs in its total reproductive life. However, how many eggs turn into beautiful Koi depends on their luck and their health.

Koi variety and colors

There are around 120 varieties of Koi fish thanks to the hard work and dedication of its breeders. They are a result of many generations of selective breeding by the farmers.

Bloodlines are cherished and a matter of pride.

Genetically, Koi have six types of color cells on their skin. They are White, red, yellow, black, blue, and metallic grey.

Some cells sit on the superficial skin layer while some lie deeper. The development of these cells determines how bright the fish will be and which color will dominate on its skin. The most beloved Koi have a white base with different mixes of orange, red, yellow, blue, and even black.

The color cells take time to develop and looking at a baby Koi will not give any idea except the colors it may form. The brighter the color, the bigger the popularity.

I hope I have been able to resolve your query and given you beautiful insights on this magnificent fish.

I don’t know about you, but all this research on koi’s popularity has made me want to own a Koi right away. I wish you good luck in finding your perfect Koi.

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