Koi have grown a huge global following over the years, with those lucky enough to have the facilities becoming devoted fans of these beautiful Asian freshwater fish. These fish were originally introduced to Japan as a source of food. They are part of the carp family, and their bright colors have been designed through selective breeding.
Koi first came to the world’s attention when the Japanese emperor was given one as a gift for the gardens of the imperial palace. Koi come in a variety of color combinations as shown in this infographic. Each color represents, for the Japanese, a happy aspect of life including prosperity, wealth, success, good fortune, and love.
Koi fish can have a lifespan of more than 200 years so many outlive their owners, though most will only live around 40 years. The oldest known Koi, Hanako, was born in 1791 and died in 1977. She was 226 when she died.
Koi make great pets. They are known for their intelligence. They can even be trained and will recognize the person who feeds them. They need deep water and plenty of shade or the sun will damage their skin.
Though most koi sell for a few thousand dollars, highly sought-after specimens can sell for as much as $250,000 – little wonder the Japanese pass their fish down from one generation to another. Koi have spread to freshwater outlets on every continent of the earth except for Antarctica. When in the wild they quickly revert to their dull everyday colors.