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Why are Koi Fish so Popular?

In this article we look at why Koi Fish are so Popular and oh so special to some owners?

Koi fish are very popular in Asian and now other cultures because of the fish’s symbolism in those Asian cultures. The coloring of many of the different varieties of Koi means something specific in eastern Asian culture as well as Japan.

Here are a few examples of what the symbolism of some Koi fish means:

For instance owning a Gold or golden colored Koi means Wealth, success, prosperity and growth.

The Kohaku Koi with its red and white coloring means love and compassion, caring and even a form of success in life’s relationships.

The Butterfly koi symbolizes good fortune and luck as well as beauty and harmony along with elegance and charm.

The Ochiba koi symbolizes the change of seasons because of the fish changing color when the seasons change. The Japanese meaning of Ochiba is “Fallen Leaves”.

There are many more varieties of Koi fish available that all have different symbolic meanings that you would surely find koi fish that would be important to you if you wanted to own this fish species.

People that practice and live with Feng Shui in mind and try to practice the laws of Feng Shui concerned with the flow of energy based on the arrangements of material objects believe that owing Koi fish will improve their Feng Shui energy as well as improving their good fortune and spiritual being.


Koi Fish Origin

People typically associate Koi fish with being from Japan and today that is somewhat true however the real origin of the Koi fish goes back to eastern Asia (China). As these fish gained popularity, they were introduced and welcomed into Japan in the early 1800’s and Eastern Europe. Japan was quick to then start breeding the Koi in different ways that it would create different colors and patterns in the fish.

What are Koi Fish?

Koi fish are a type of Carp which makes sense when you look at the fish as they do look like carp except with beautiful coloring. This also explains why it was easy for the fish to adapt into different regions of the world as easily as Carp are highly adaptive.

Carp (Koi) like Goldfish are cold water fish. That is why they do so well in outdoor environments.

Why are Koi Fish so Expensive?

In general koi fish are very expensive because of the care it takes to breed these fish. Another reason they are so expensive is because of their symbolism and people will tend to pay more for fish if they have a symbolic meeting in their coloring and patterns.

How Many Years Does a Koi Fish Live?

The fact that Koi fish can live longer than 25 years might be another reason they are so expensive to purchase.

Buying Koi fish is like getting a family pet like a dog or cat because they live so long. Koi fish actually can live longer than cat and fish.

It has been reported that Koi can live over 200 years however this information is highly unlikely.

koi fish carp

Can You Eat a Koi Fish?

You might not like this answer but yes you can eat Koi. They are a variety of Carp fish and Carp are edible. They aren’t the best tasting fish however some people will eat them.

A thousand years ago when the Chinese raised Carp (Koi) it was for the purpose of eating the fish. As they were kept more for pets then eating them was not as popular anymore.

If you search online there are people asking if it is illegal to eat Koi fish. It’s not illegal to eat Koi it’s just not what most people will want to do. They can also be very expensive to buy so why would you spend all that money on a Carp to eat? Doesn’t make sense.

How Big Can a Koi Fish Get?

Depending on the variety of Koi it is extremely important you find out how big the fish could potentially grow to as Koi grow to be anywhere from 12” all the way up to 36” long. If you only have a small pond and you purchase a fish that grows 3 feet long you might not own it for very long.

You will also want to consider whether you are putting your Koi in an aquarium over the winter and if so will you have an aquarium large enough to hold the fish over the winter. I have a very informative article on whether you can place a Koi in an aquarium or not. If you have read this far then it’s probably something you will want to read. Check it out here “Can a Koi be kept in an aquarium?”.

Need a large aquarium for your Koi? Check out Can a Koi be kept in an aquarium?

Do Koi Fish Like to be Pet?

Some people believe that Koi like to be pet because the fish will stick its mouth out of the water while looking at you. They will even let you touch them which some think is the fish wanting you to pet them.

My theory on this is that the Koi are wanting to be fed and are not smart enough to stay out of arms reach so that is why you can touch them. Carp will eat almost anything they are scavengers so their personality is to always be on the lookout for food. This is why you can touch them.

I have seen some ponds that are packed with Koi so much that they look like they are jumping over one another. This could also be the reason they are so easy accessible. They just can’t move quickly enough so it looks like they want you to pet them.


How Can You Tell if a Koi is a Male or a Female?

As with many types of fish the male species typically have a more slender body where a female Koi will have more of a rounded look. When a male and female are in the same pond or tank it is easier to identify the different genders. When a female is ready to lay eggs then it is quite a bit easier to identify the female with her large rounded belly.


How Long Does it Take for Koi Fish Eggs to Hatch?

Speaking of pregnant koi fish once eggs have been laid and are fertilized the eggs can hatch as quickly as 4 days. Once the eggs hatch and the fry are out they will attach themselves to something for a few days while they feed on their yolk sack before finally freeing themselves to swim with the rest of the pond inhabitants.

In case you were interested Koi will start mating anywhere from 3 years old and will typically stop mating when they reach approximately 15 years old. So you can see in one lifetime they could have thousands of eggs and fry depending on their survival rate.

Final Thoughts on Why Koi Fish are so Popular

Koi have been pets in Asian culture for thousands of years and can now be found around the world. There beautiful colors along with the symbolism each represent is one of the many reason they are so popular. Our fascination with having ponds on our properties so we can watch the water and fish inside is another reason you will find Koi to be so popular.

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