The Incredible Colours of the Koi

When you see the amazing color patterns on koi fish, it’s easy to see why the Japanese are so proud of their creative ability to choose and breed Koi fish to produce the mesmerizing color combinations. That is one of the major reasons koi fish are still so popular and much loved by their owners and caretakers.

When looking for a koi fish, make sure their colors are bright — red fish must be vivid red and black fish must be colored a dark, jet black. Dull black koi or koi with scales, spots or grey markings are not well-kept fish, just like white fish that are not snowy white but yellowing or spattered with specks of grey.

Vivid colors indicate healthy koi and when they are unwell or living in poor water conditions, they change color and become dull. When buying koi, it is essential to understand how color reflects the health of a koi and this will help you buy a well-kept fish. Koi fish needs special attention and care.

Keep an eye on the color changes; this will help you ensure that you are giving your fish adequate care.

Koi fish come in a whole range of gorgeous colors, the most popular being red, white, black, blue, yellow and off-white. The Japanese established some explicit terms and phrases to describe the various colors and characteristics of koi fish.

The Kohaku koi is white with red markings. When buying a Kohaku koi, look for a snowy white color and vivid red markings that have discrete edges. These red markings should cover 50-70% of the koi’s entire body.

Akin to the Sanke koi, the Showa Sanshoki (or just Showa) koi are also white colored fish with black and red markings. Unlike the Sanke, however, the Showa koi have a black body with red and white markings.

Many other varieties of koi are available, each with their distinct color patterns. Consider the Ogon koi, which exist in a range of colors but are composed of one color only. That is, they have no markings and have an even hue. You can even get Komonryu koi with change color with the seasons!

Good news is that you can improve your koi’s health – in this case, the color. Feed them with a diet rich in marigold, shrimps, plankton and blue-green algae (Spirulina). These ingredients are commonly added to commercially prepared foods that are produced specifically for enhancing koi colors.

You can also feed your Koi with frozen foods such as brine shrimp and daphnia. This diet is rich in high carotenoid pigment concentrations, which are predominant skin pigments in Koi.