Keeping Koi carp is considered to be both a hobby and an art form. With over 100 varieties, purchasing Nishikigoi (Koi) can be a difficult process. Here is our guide to purchasing Koi Carp.
Firstly, and most important is the health of the fish. A healthy fish is a happy fish!
Skin quality is one of the few ways of gauging if a fish is healthy. The skin of the Koi Carp should be free of sores, ulcers and parasites. The skin should be smooth and slippery to the touch and all scales should all be intact. Eyes, mouth and fins should be free of blemishes and/or deformities.
Behaviour can also be used as an indicator of fish health. The Koi should be swimming normally, often shoaling with other fish. The fish should not be gasping at the surface, flashing (rotating and rubbing themselves on the bottom of the pond) or jumping clear of the water. Any of the above could be caused by parasitic, bacterial or fungal attacks.
Body shape can vary drastically in Koi Carp. The ideal shape of a Koi Carp is that of a torpedo, with a rounded nose and slim elliptical body. The curves should flow gently from the head through to the tail displaying elements of symmetry. Koi should be neither fat or thin as this could demonstrate issues related to over/under feeding.
Patterning / Colouration
The history of breeding Koi carp has led to over 100 varieties and counting. Koi are classified from standardised coluration, patterning and scalation. Some of the major colours present in Koi Carp are white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream although it is said the possible colour pallet through selective breeding is virtually limitless. Choosing one of these is down to your personal preference, however we have compiled a list of the major varieties below: