If you are interested in keeping ornamental pond fish and want to keep something slightly more exotic than the humble goldfish, the beautiful and attractive koi carp may already have caught your eye.
These popular, large-growing and very long lived fish are not hugely difficult to keep, but they can prove more of a challenge than smaller pond fish, so it is important to go into keeping koi carp with your eyes open!
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about koi carp from prospective keepers…
What are koi carp?
Koi carp are a domesticated version of the carp species that live wild in various areas of the world, selectively bred for their color and appearance.
Koi were first kept in captivity in Japan, and are native to Asia and Central Europe. They are classed as ornamental or decorative fish, meaning that they are bred for their looks and as pets, rather than to provide food or for sport.
How long do koi live?
Koi carp are among the most long lived domestic fish when kept within an appropriate environment, and should be considered as a lifelong pet.
The commonly accepted average age for a well kept domestic koi is around 50 years, however, it is not unheard of for koi to live to over 100 years – and even over 200 years in one well documented case!
How large do koi grow?
Koi carp can grow very large, given enough time and the right environment, potentially reaching over three feet in length! They are also fast-growing, and will soon outgrow a pond that is too small for them, leading to potential health problems.
Are koi carp expensive?
There is no one answer to how much koi carp cost, as prices vary greatly. Small, young koi carp for the pet market can be picked up for under $10 each, while mature specimens that have reached a large size and have particularly desirable colours and markings often change hands for tens of thousands of dollars – and sometimes even more!
However, for the beginner koi keeper, the cost of your first koi carp should be well within your budget.
What do you need to keep koi carp?
Koi carp need a very large pond in order to thrive, something that first time keepers often overlook or underestimate.
The main thing that you need to keep koi carp, however, is lots of time to research properly! Make sure you go into koi ownership with your eyes open and ensure that you have a good understanding of what koi need to thrive before you get started!