The Expensive Koi Fish

Colorful Koi

The beautiful koi carp, scientifically known as Cyprinus rubrofuscus, are ornamental and colorful versions of the common carp. Most typically, they can have red, yellow, white, black, or combination scales. With over 100 types of koi, it’s hard to believe that these fish originally started off as a ruddy brown color. Around the start of the 1900s, koi were strategically bred for their colors and patterns and have slowly become the most popular freshwater fish in the world.

In the Wild

Native to the Asian fresh bodies of water, the Asian carp, or the non-ornamental version of the koi fish, looks like a rather large goldfish. In the wild, these fish can grow up to two feet long and can weigh upwards of 40 pounds. Younger fish like to swim in schools, but as they age, carp tend to live solitary lives unless they are breeding.

Carp are known to thrive in many habitats, which has given them the reputation of being a successful invasive species. They are omnivores, so they typically feed off vegetation and small animals, like worms, zooplankton, and crustaceans.

In the Tank

As aquarium fish, koi are one of the most sought after fish in the world for their docile nature and interesting colors. In captivity, koi need very clean water that is highly oxygenated and filtered. In tanks of at least 250 gallons or the popular koi ponds, these fish can grow up to three feet long and live for up to 40 years with the proper water conditions. Males and females are similar, but females tend to have a smoother mouth and can grow larger than males.

Tank environment should mimic that of nature with a lot of soft substrate for feeding and live plants for enrichment. In addition, koi in ponds or tanks should be fed a varied diet of pellets and bloodworms or crustaceans.

Expensive Beauties

In 2019, one of these koi was sold for 1.8 million dollars, which was the most anyone has paid for a koi. Typically koi fish can run from $5 to upwards of $400,000 for an individual koi, depending on the type, age, and size. Their pond set up can cost an additional $1,500.

A lot of time and money goes into the breeding and maintenance of koi, which is why they can have the expensive price tag. For someone looking for a starter fish for their freshwater tank or pond, a koi can be a beautiful, but expensive addition.

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