Often referred to as the “star of the ponds”, the koi carp is an ornamental fish, native to Asia. How to recognize this pet and take care of it? What is the price ? Here is a complete guide to have all the answers.
Delicate ornamental fish, koi carp – cyprinus karpio – belongs to the common carp subspecies. The koi is characterized by its chromatic diversity, but also by a peaceful behavior. Therefore, more and more French people decide to buy them to adorn their pools. Who is hiding behind the koi and what are its needs?
Characteristics: recognize a koi carp
The koi carp is an ovoid-shaped fish that is distinguished by its barbels allowing it to select its food. It measures on average 50 centimeters, but its size varies according to age and species. The youngest koi measure 10 cm, while the largest can reach 1.20 m. The female is larger than the male, making it a dimorphic species. In terms of weight, it is necessary to count between 5 and 8 kg.
There is no single color to koi carp, but multiple varieties. There are 16 distinct groups, classified according to the color, the shine of the scales or the texture. Many chromatic variations occurred in the 19and century, after the mating of red, white and yellow carp. Here are the main patterns and colors that define the koi:
- Kushibeni: red line around the mouth
- Tancho: red spot on the top of the head
- Hikari: metallic look
- Matsuba: black spot in the center of the scales
- Mono: single color
- Hi: distributed red spots
- Aka: red background color
Breeding: how to take care of it?
A koi carp can live up to 50 years if its environment allows it, but its average lifespan is between 15 and 25 years. For the koi to be healthy, it can be raised in a large pond, an ideal environment for this fish. The sandier or muddy the bottom, the better. The aquarium is absolutely not recommended for raising a koi.
To take care of its diet, food suitable for pond fish is sufficient. It is nevertheless necessary to privilege plants rather than proteins, since the carp is omnivorous with a stronger herbivorous appetite. If the water temperature is below 6°, the carp hibernates and no longer feeds. It therefore becomes useless to maintain a frequency of meals that is too regular. Here’s what you can put on his menu:
- Spirulina algae, to give vigor to its colors
- Floating seeds, to ensure nutritional diversity
- Silkworms, for protein intake during the growth phase
What size pond for a koi carp?
An adult carp needs at least one cubic meter of water (5 m being the recommendation of theEncyclopedia of Fascinating Koi). It adapts to any type of environment as long as it contains enough water: a pond, a large basin… If the rearing area has several carp or fish, multiply the quantity: for six koi, count 6 000 L. Regarding the depth of the pool, a minimum threshold of 1.5 m must be respected.
How to build and arrange a pond in your garden? A koi carp is often targeted by predators such as cats or large birds. This is why aquatic plants should be placed in the pond. Installing a filtration and pumping system for oxygenation is also advisable.
How much does a koi carp cost?
The price of koi carp fluctuates greatly depending on the variety chosen, but also on the size and weight. They are classified into three categories: A, B and C. The cheapest can cost between €50 and €100, and the most expensive around €50,000.
The Tancho carp, in particular, is very popular with the Japanese because its dress echoes the flag of Japan: a red circle on a white background.
- Class A: carp from a Japanese farm, very high price
- Class B: carp from Japanese broodstock but bred overseas, high price
- Class C: carp unrelated to Japan, affordable price
Koi carp: what are the different varieties?
The Great encyclopedia of fascinating koi makes it possible to recognize the varieties of koi carp. Among the best known, we note the Tancho, recognizable by a red circle on a white background at the level of the head. The Kohaku, a white carp which is distinguished by its red spots, is also very widespread. Some varieties are tricolor (red, black, white), such as Showa-Sanshoku and Taisho-Sanke. The Chagoi carp, which is the color of tea, is known to be very peaceful – it does not fear humans.
What fish to breed with a koi carp? In truth, all species can get along with the koi, which is naturally friendly and manages to influence the behavior of its companions.
What is the origin of koi carp?
The history of koi carp dates back centuries. Contrary to popular belief, koi carp does not come from Japan but from China, where it was raised to be eaten. It was introduced to Japan when the Chinese invaded the island. At 19and century are emerging the main varieties resulting from crosses, thus forming remarkable chromatic variegations. Long confined to Niigata prefecture, koi carp experienced a real boom in the 20and century in Japan, then from 1945 in the world.
The meaning of the word koi in Japanese is “carp”, which makes the term “koi carp” redundant.