Buying Koi Fish For Your Koi Pond

Bring nature to your home landscaping by adding a Koi fish pond. In Japan, where this type of carp was first domesticated, the Koi represent strength, determination and the ability to achieve high goals. Koi fish are legendary for their long lifespans: the longest recorded living Koi survived for over 220 years!

Introduction to Koi Fish

To make sure a Koi pond right for you, read books about Koi to learn how they live and what type of care they require. Make sure you have the time and resources to maintain the fish and their habitat for many years. Search for Koi clubs in your area and research local nurseries for the best quality fish available.

Koi Pond Tips

Before you buy any fish, prepare your pond. For a beginning hobbyist, the pond size should be about 900 to 5000 gallons. The depth of the pond might range from 5 to 7 feet. A good Koi pond has both deep and shallow areas.

How Many Koi Can Live in Your Pond?

The capacity of your pond will determine how many Koi you can place in it. You don’t want to overstock the pond as this can cause excess pollution that can endanger the fish. The rule of thumb for a single small Koi is about 100 gallons for swimming. A single large Koi needs about 1000 gallons for swimming.

For example, assume you have a 5000 gallon pond. If a single 3-foot Koi requires require 1000 gallons, you can stock up to five large Koi in the pond. You can also choose 2 larger fish and a few smaller ones.

A good philosophy for collecting Koi, especially in the beginning, is to keep a smaller number. This will allow you to focus on their health and the quality of their environment.

Pond Water Filtration and Chemistry

The next step is effective filtration to handle bio-waste. Consider using two pumps, one at the bottom of the pond and the second midlevel. Install a skimmer near the surface. A combination of waste removal and ammonia conversion to nitrate filtration is required to properly filter a Koi pond.

The importance of water quality and chemistry can not be overemphasized. It’s a matter of life and death for your fish that you carefully monitor to keep the water clean and the water parameters stable.

Selecting Healthy Koi

There are many varieties of Koi including Asagi, Bekko, Goshiki, Hariwake, Kohaku, Kumonryu, Matsuba, Ogon, Sanke, Showa, Shusui and Tancho. Koi varieties are distinguished by coloration and patterns. The most common colors are red, black, yellow, blue and cream.

When selecting Koi, check for infection and disease. Examine the scales to ensure they are evenly spaced and not damaged. The fins should not be bent. Look at the eyes to ensure they are not popping out or misaligned. Finally, check the fish for oozing mucus. 


Young Koi, 3 to 4 inches long, may cost less than $10, but older fish 22 to 24 inches long can cost $1,200 to $10,000 each. You can get a better deal if you buy young Koi. They cost less compared to the fully grown ones, and it’s a great experience to watch your Koi grow.