Koi fish are a type of fish that descended from carp, you can check out these carp recipes here, and it is now one of the most common pets in the world. These fish have a long lifespan and they are quite easy to take care of. Plus, they are very sociable and fun!
A short history of Koi fish
Koi are elegant, brightly colored fish that descend from the carp. The first to notice these beautiful fish were the Japanese. Once they saw the different variations of color that these fish had, the Japanese started breeding them and they managed to create distinct color patterns that are very appealing.
At first, the Japanese were the only ones who bred Koi. Back in the day, these fish were considered a prized possession and they were extremely popular among the royal families. From the 1900s forward, Koi started to be bred all over Europe as well as in some parts of the United States.
Koi fish are known for reaching large proportions, older fish can grow to be approximately three feet long and they are some of the most exquisite fish in the world. Baby Koi fish are usually kept in indoor aquariums. However, as they begin to get bigger, they are usually transferred to clean water ponds that are equipped with powerful filtration systems.
If the fish are well taken care of, they can reach the impressive age of 20 years and, in some cases, even longer.
Can you eat Koi?
In simple terms, yes, you can eat Koi fish. In fact, at first, Koi were bred to be eaten, as they were considered a delicacy. Yet, nowadays, this species is only bread for aesthetic purposes.
Cooking Koi is somewhat similar to cooking carp. To get the best of the flavors, some chefs recommend that you add oyster sauce and herbs and that you leave the meat to marinate before you actually cook it.
One aspect that you should remember is that Koi are now considered pets. As a result, the fish grown in ponds are often fed chemicals that might not be particularly good for your health. Therefore, before you cook Koi, you have to make sure that you have purchased the fish from a reliable source.
Koi as pets
Koi fish are some of the most docile species out there. They can tolerate various water temperatures and they do not fight or eat other fish. Given that they have somewhat good immune systems, these fish do not catch diseases easily and they can live for a long time.
What is more, these fish are very lively. They love eating fruit and veggies such as pieces of lettuce, oranges, and watermelon. Because they have distinctive color patterns, Koi are easy to tell apart and they are a pleasant species to own.
Another reason why Koi fish are so popular has to do with their friendliness. Once they get to know you, these fish can easily recognize their owners and they often come to the surface of the water to say hello.
Today, there are numerous Koi commercial farms in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Depending on its color patterns and size, you can purchase one for five to fifteen dollars.
Taking care of a Koi
Because Koi fish thrive in cold water, the aquarium that you decide to place your new acquisition does not have to feature a heater. Once the fish grows, you might have to consider placing it in an outdoor pond. Each adult fish should be provided with at least 500 to 1,000 gallons of water.
If you place the fish in a pond that is not sizable enough, it will not be able to move freely and it will eventually suffer because of the poor quality of life. For the fish to be able to regulate its body temperature, the pond that you construct for it should be at least five feet deep.
Besides, Koi fish should only be placed in deep ponds because their brightly colored scales make them likely to suffer from sunburns.
As we have mentioned earlier, Koi fish can only live in ponds where the water quality is properly maintained. To achieve this, some owners recommend that you invest in a high-quality filtration system, as well as in a pH testing kit that you can use to monitor the pH levels of the water every week.
Furthermore, once a month, you will have to take out 10% of the water inside the pond and to replace it with fresh water. By doing so, you can control the levels of ammonia, toxins, and nitrates that the water contains.
Another aspect that you should consider has to do with overpopulation. If the fish are not provided with sufficient room, they are likely to feel overcrowded and, consequently, they will not thrive in this environment.
One thing that you might not know is the fact that Koi fish are omnivores. This means that they have to eat a diet that consists of both vegetables and meat. Koi eat basically anything, however, this does not mean that you do not have to pay close attention to the food that you are feeding them.
To avoid any issues that might arise from a bad diet, you should opt for mixes of feed manufactured by distributors specialized in Koi nutrition. Plus, buying Koi food in bulk is also a budget-friendly decision. Most of these mixes also contain substances that can enhance the colors of the fish and they can also strengthen the immune systems of these pets.
When it comes to feeding Koi, there is a high risk that you might overfeed them. So, it is of utmost importance that you do not provide them with too much food.
If you keep your fish in an outdoor pond, fellow Koi owners advise new owners such as yourself to avoid feeding the fish before a storm because, during rainfall, the oxygen levels in the air drop considerably, making it difficult for these fish to properly digest their food.
In the spring and late fall, you should make sure to include extra carbohydrate-rich foods into the diet of the dish. Also, in the early summer, when the mating season begins, you should give your pet Koi mixes and treats that are rich in protein.
If your fish are small, and they still live in indoor aquariums, you should select a feed that comes in flake form. However, once the fish grow, they will prefer eating pebble food.
Because of the long-life expectancy of these fish, you should only consider buying one if you are financially stable and ready to make a couple of investments. Besides, if you like to travel a lot and you are known for liking to change houses often, raising a Koi might not be a great idea.
Even more so, given that these pets live longer than 20 years, you also have to make sure that there is someone who can look after your pet in the event that they outlive you. For instance, in Japan, Koi fish are passed on from one generation to another as a sign of continuity.
The longest-living Koi fish ever was a scarlet Koi named Hanako, or “flower girl” in Japanese. She was hatched in 1751, 25 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. She had a long life before she died on July 17. 1977. In 1966, Hanako was 27.5 inches long and she weighed 16.5 pounds.
Fun facts about Koi fish
Even though most Koi fish are yellow, they can be red, yellow, black, blue and white. The Japanese associate each color to a certain connotation. For instance, gold Koi fish represent success and prosperity, while blue Koi are a symbol of serenity and positivity.
As you probably know, raising a large school of Koi fish is considered somewhat unsafe, yet, these fish enjoy the company of other fish from the same species, as they are sociable creatures.
Adult Koi fish that are bred to feature particular patterns, are highly expensive and incredibly sought after on the market. The common price for a high-quality fish is around $250,000.
The most expensive Koi fish ever was sold for $1.8 million. Her name is S-Legend and she was sold to a collector from Taiwan in 2018. At the time, S-Legend was nine years old and she measured 3 feet and 3 inches in length.