Koi Fish Identification Guide

Koi

In Japan, the term Koi is used for ordinary carp fishes and the term “Nishikigoi” is more accurate if you want to refer to domesticated ornamental carps. Koi was however the word that managed to make its way in to the English language, and the international name for this type of fish is therefore Koi. Koi keeping did not really catch on outside Japan until the latter half of the 20th century when airfreight and plastic containers made it possible to transport Koi fish to other parts of the world.

Butterfly Koi

Butterfly koi is similar to the traditional Koi, but is equipped with long and flowing decorative finnage. The finnage resembles the delicate wings of a butterfly,hence the name Many breeders and Koi keepers do not consider the Butterfly Koi a true Koi, since it is a hybrid. The first Koi fish were developed in Japan during the 19th century, but the Butterfly Koi has a history no longer than a few decades. The Koi fish is sometimes viewed as a Goldfish, but this is not true.

Both Koi and Goldfish are domesticated versions of a wild carp and they are closely related, but the goldfish was developed in China while the Koi was breed in Japan.

Standard Fin Koi

Standard fin Koi have been kept and bred by the people in Japan for a long time. Where very talented fish breeders, starting from the Common Carp, developed several beautiful color patterns. To the left is one of the most popular Koi varieties, a Kohaku. Koi varieties can be mixed in ponds to create great beauty and tranquility.

Aka Bekko

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Bekko fit into the Bekko group. Bekko also come from the Sanke family. There are three types of Bekko; the Aka (red) Bekko, the Shiro (white) Bekko, and the Ki (yellow) Bekko. The Bekko has a simple stepping stone pattern of sumi (black) which should be black as coal running down its back set against a red, white or yellow background.

Ochiba Shigure

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Ochiba Shigure means "leaves on the water" in Japanese. This variety has become very popular in recent years. Bluish-gray koi with brown markings and a distinctive fishnet scale pattern.

Asagi

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Oldest groups of Koi! Asagi are fairly classical from a genealogical point of view, and constitute a very tasteful variety. They usually have blue on the entire back and Hi on the belly, pectoral fins and gill covers. The scales on the back have whitish base and thus collectively give an appearance of meshes of a net. As they age, black spots often appear in the head region and Hi on the belly tend to climb up reaching as far as the back.

Chagoi

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A common misconception concerning finding a high quality chagoi is an easy task. Contrarily to belief, like all other varieties, chagoi also have their own stringent criteria. First it must have a perfect body confirmation along with perfect scale alignment and defining fukurin. Scales must also have good articulation, color uniformity without any blemishes.In addition, chagoi also must have the potential to attain jumbo size, which is over 30 inches while meeting all the above criteria isn't that easily found.

Goshiki

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Goshiki are said to have been crossbred between Asagi and Taisho Sanshoku -- not yet an established theory, however. They also form a very tasteful variety of Nishikigoi. Goshiki used to be included in the Kawarimono group. However, with recent production of fairly excellent Goshiki, they are now being treated as an independent variety at Nishikigoi shows.Their red markings are similar in patterns to Kohaku, but may not be taken as seriously. Some scales of Asagi may also appear in the red markings.

Kikusui

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Kikusui (kee coo' swee) are a scale-less version of a Hariwake. Look for one with a nice Kohaku pattern that has nice sharp edges and very white skin. A Kikusui's pattern is judged the same way as a Kohaku's. Doitsu Platinum Koi with a Hi pattern, means "a Chrysanthemum in water", is the same as a Doitsu Hariwake with red markings or a metallic Doitsu Kohaku.

Ki Utsuri

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Ki Utsuri are arguably the most successful Hikariutsuri. The yellow in good specimens is bright crimson, and while the sumi may be toned down, this does mean that any shimis normally the plague of Ki Utsuri are less obvious. The pectoral fins candy-striped black and white with a golden overlay.

Kohaku

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The Kohaku is the most popular variety of Nishikigoi. So much so that there is an expression, "Koi avocation begins and ends with Kohaku."There are various tones of "red” color-red with thick crimson, light red, highly homogeneous red, blurred red, and so on. Shades of white ground (skin) are quite diversified too --skin with soft shade of f resh- unshelled, hardboiled egg, skin with hard shade of porcelain, yellowish skin, and so forth.

Koromo

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Koromo, meaning "robed" in Japanese, describes a group of koi whose quiet elegance finds favor with connoisseurs, even though this breed of koi did not become available until the early 1950s. Koromo are crossbred fish; the first example resulted from a spawning between a male Kohaku and a female Narumi Asagi. The collective name "Koromo" covers several varieties, the best known being Ai Goromo.

Kujaku

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The Kujaku is a metallic or Ogon koi with the reticulated net-like pattern of the Asagi on its back. This is overlaid with either a gold, yellow, orange or red Kohaku-type pattern creating a striking effect.

Kumonryu

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Kumonryu are a koi that do not fall into traditional Japanese categorial nomenclature. They are typically a doitsu koi of black and white similar to a Kumonryu with additional colors of yellow, blue, and orange, red. Especially in contrast with doitsu scales down the dorsal line.

Platinum Ogon

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Platinum Ogon are white koi whose body shines with the same luster as the precious metal. These first appeared in 1963, probably from out crossing Kigoi with the grayish-silver Nezu (short for the Japanese word for rat, nezumi) Ogon - which remains a variety in its own right. At about the same time, the Cream Ogon became popular. This is a metallic koi, midway between a Purachina and a Yamabuki Ogon. Examples of this breed are very rare.

Sanke​​

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Sanke is genetically a white koi with red and black markings. It is named for the time in   which it was developed, the Taisho period in Japanese history. The body appears primarily white, and the colors that sit on the white should be in a spotted formation rather than banded, and there should be no black on the face.

​Showa

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Showa is a black Koi with red and white patches named for its development in the Showa era.Whereas Kohaku and Taisho Sanshoku have red and/ or black markings on the white ground, Showa Sanshoku have red markings on white patterns formed on the black background. Showa varieties (including Showa Sanshoku, Shiro Utsuri and Hi Utsuri, etc.), on the other hand, are almost completely black when just emerged from eggs.

​Shiro Utsuri

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The Shiro Utsuri, or "white" Utsuri, is a jet black fish with white markings."Utsuri" means "reflections" in Japanese, and the pattern of a good Utsuri should be roughly inverted across the fish's back, almost like a checkerboard.

Shiro-bekko

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Shiro-Bekko is a white koi with a black stepping stone pattern down its back.

Shusui

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Shusui have been crossbred between Doitsu Koi and Asagi, and their points for appreciation, therefore, are basically the same as those for Asagi. Shusui also have the tendency to show black spots in the head region as they grow big. Koi with spotless head region are highly valued.

Tancho

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The name Tancho was originally bestowed on a Kohaku that was completely white with the exception of a round, red "crest" on the center of its head. This Tancho Kohaku is well loved by the Japanese people as it reminds them of their national flag, a red sun on a white field. There are several other kinds of tancho including tancho sanke tancho showa and even tancho goshiki.

Yamabuki Ogon

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A Yamabuki Ogon is a brightly colored yellow metallic koi.

Matsuba

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A Matsuba Ogon is a brightly colored metallic koi with a black pineapple pattern.

Sarassas

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Sarassa are a specific variety of comet goldfish that are characterized by their vivid red   markings on a stark white body. Upon first glance in a pond, Sarassas can be mistaken for a small Kohaku koi with their bright red patterning. The body shape of Sarassa is the same as a regular comet, punctuated by the long, attractive tail.

Shubunkin

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The shubunkin, are similar to the common goldfish and comet goldfish in appearance. They were first bred in Japan, from mutations in telescope eye goldfish (Demekins) c. 1900. Shubunkins are calico goldfish; they possess nacreous scales (a mix of metallic and transparent scales that are pearly in appearance). The overlapping patches of red, white, blue, grey and black (along with dark speckles) normally extend to the finnage of shubunkins. Also known as calico goldfish, Shubunkins might be the most varied of all goldfish varieties. Shubunkins' only standard feature is their diverse coloration that can include red, orange, brown, and yellow patches punctuated by black dots of varying sizes. The patterning extends through the fishes' long and graceful tails. Shubunkin scales are clear so to the eye the fish look see through; depending on the color underneath, the fish's body can appear blue, violet, pink, or silver. Shubunkins are considered one of the hardiest of all goldfish due to their disease resistance and temperature fluctuation tolerance. If koi are not an ideal inhabitant of your pond, Shubunkins can supplement the distinctive and varied coloration you desire.

Bullfrog

American bullfrogs will ambush and eat just about anything they can fit in their ample mouths. Bullfrogs are typically green or gray-brown with brown spots and have easily identifiable circular eardrums, or tympanum, on either side of their heads. Nocturnal predators, they will ambush and eat just about anything they can fit in their ample mouths, including insects, mice, fish, birds, and snakes. They sit quietly and wait for prey to pass by, and then lunge with their powerful hind legs, mouths open wide. Males are highly territorial and will aggressively guard their land. Females are slightly larger than males. The largest of all North American frogs, this giant can grow to a length of 8 inches (20 centimeters) or more and weigh up to 1.5 pounds (750 grams). Even the tadpoles of this species can reach 6.75 inches (17.2 centimeters) in length.

Tadpoles

Tadpoles are young amphibians that live in the water. During the tadpole stage of the amphibian life cycle, most respire by means of autonomous external or internal gills. They do not usually have arms or legs until the transition to adulthood, and typically have dorsal or fin-like appendages and a tail with which they swim by lateral undulation, similar to most fishes. As a tadpole matures, it most commonly metamorphosizes by gradually growing limbs (usually the legs first, followed by the arms) and then (most commonly in the case of frogs) outwardly absorbing its tail by apoptosis. Lungs develop around the time of leg development, and tadpoles late in development will often be found near the surface of the water, where they breathe air. During the final stages of external metamorphosis, the tadpole's mouth changes from a small, enclosed mouth at the front of the head to a large mouth the same width as the head. The intestines shorten to make way for the new diet.[1] Tadpoles are consumers. Most tadpoles are herbivorous, subsisting on algae and plants. Some species are omnivorous, eating detritus and, when available, smaller tadpoles. [2] However, other tadpoles are normally safe from cannibalistic predation because all tadpoles in a given body of water are the same age and, therefore, the same size. An exception to the rule of distinct differences between the tadpole (juvenile) and adult (frog, toad, salamander, etc.) stages is the axolotl. Axolotls exhibit a property called neoteny, meaning that they reach sexual maturity without undergoing metamorphosis.

Japanese Trapdoor Snails

The Japanese Trapdoor Snail is a great asset for controlling pond algae. It is one of the few varieties that can survive Northern winters. The Japanese Trapdoor Snail will keep your pond plants groomed with minimal damage to the plants. They also clean up the sides of ponds and water gardens, feeding on uneaten fish food and decaying debris on the pond floor. The Japanese Trapdoor Snail makes a great overall pond cleaner. The Japanese Trapdoor Snail originates from ponds and slow-moving streams with some vegetation and a muddy substrate. It is also known as the Chinese Mystery Snail and is a live bearing species. The shells of Japanese Trapdoor Snails can vary significantly in color and pattern, but are usually brown/gray coloration. Viviparus malleatus is an omnivore that will consume algae (managing it and providing crystal clear water and healthy fish), plant matter, vegetables, fish food, frozen foods, and live foods. The Japanese Trapdoor Snail is a very peaceful animal and should not be housed with any animals that would like to make a meal of them.

Blue Tilapia

Blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) is also known as Israeli tilapia. It is an appreciate food fish and a common species in aquacultures worldwide. Blue tilapia is also sold as bait and aquarists keep it as a pet. Since Oreochromis aureus is such a popular food fish, it has been introduced by man to many other parts of the word through aquaponics, such as South East Asia and the Americas. The largest scientifically measured Blue tilapia was 45.7 cm in length. The maximal published weight is 2,010 grams. The caudal fin of the Blue tilapia has broad bright red or pink distal margin. During the breeding period, the head of the male fish will change into a bright metallic blue shade and he will also display a vermilion coloration on the edge of his dorsal fin and an intense pink coloration on the margin of his caudal fin. A breeding female fish will develop a pale orange color on the edges of her dorsal and caudal fins.

Channel Catfish

The Channel Catfish (ictalurus punctatus) are one of the easiest fish to manage in your pond. They can feed on live forage or you can supplement with a commercial feed. Supplemental feeding will often allow the catfish to achieve growth rates sometimes exceeding 1 1/2 pounds per season. When feeding a commercial feed on a regular basis, their meat will be as clean, white, and as well marbled as any fish in the pond. Many people consider a commercial fed catfish to have a table quality second to none! Another advantage to commercial feeding a Channel Catfish is that they will feed on top of the water allowing people of all ages to enjoy the fish even more. These fish can be stocked independently or as part of a combination stocking with Largemouth Bass, Hybrid Bluegill, and Black Crappie. When stocked properly the Channel Catfish will not have any negative effects on reproduction or growth rates of the other fish in your pond.

Crayfish

Crayfish, often referred to as crawfish or crawdads are very popular as bait for a variety of game fish including Largemouth , Smallmouth , Walleye , and Perch. For example, Rusty crayfish are native to the Ohio River Basin in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana and Illinois. Currently the rusty crayfish has expanded its range to include Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and most of the New England States as well as Ontario, Canada. Indiana: The rusty crayfish is native to the Ohio River Basin of Indiana which covers the majority of the state. Its distribution has expanded, and the species now has now invaded the northern tier of the state.