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Article - Buying Koi

Love it or hate it... it's your fish!

When someone asks how to pick a koi for their pond, the first question on my mind is what kind of pond do they have?  My first pond was a preformed pond, 4’ x 6’ and I put a koi in there.  That is not a place for koi.  By the end of that season, I had a second pond, another preformed pond, 6’ x 8’, and had five koi.  So, knowing now what I do about koi, a preformed pond is not suitable for koi.  It is a wonderful place for water plants and some goldfish, shubunkin, or sarassa comets.  We all have to start somewhere…  I was faced with either giving up my five koi or digging a big pond the very next season.  It doesn’t take long for koi to grow.

I say this because when I put koi into that preformed pond, my life was not so nice either.  I spent sleepless nights watching that they wouldn’t jump out or be eaten by the raccoons.  In that small pond, they literally had nowhere to go.  Koi need a minimum of 3-4’ depth in a pond.  And, if you buy them as babies, they will fill up the “space” rather quickly.

When buying koi, look for the shape of the fish rather than the coloration.  The colors will change—constantly.  But if the fish has the required two eyes, fins in proper proportion, and looks like he/she is swimming effortlessly, it will be a good fish later on.  The single-colored fish (Ogon) will keep its color and look nice when it grows.  But the fish to buy is not the fish the store-owner likes.   It’s the fish that strikes your fancy.  It’s your fish, you will either love it or hate it, so you might as well pick one that you like.  If it is still alive a year from now, you’re hooked!