Fact Sheet on Koi

                                                                 These are answers to commonly asked questions on Koi...
 

1. Maximum life span is over 100 years in exceptional cases; average life span is more like 25 to 35 years.
2. Maximum length is about 3 feet. Koi will reach 18 inches in 3 to 4 years, depending on the pond size, food, and water conditions.
3. We feed our fish once or twice a day depending on the season. Koi can go for 10 or more days without food without harm. They will eat almost anything but we feed them pellets that are specially made for Koi. These pellets come in different sizes and varieties. Koi can also be fed dried or fresh shrimp, lettuce, cooked rice or cooked oats.
4. Some of our fish are imported from Japan by air freight. Koi are transported in plastic bags with water and oxygen and packed in cardboard boxes. Most of our fish are locally raised in outdoor ponds in a controlled environment.
5. Our ponds are not heated, but the water is constantly aerated and filtered. Our filters are cleaned regularly even though the pond water appears to be clear. We shut down the pumps in the winter only after the water freezes.
6. Selling price of Koi is determined by size, body shape, color, pattern, and availability.
7. Koi can withstand a wide range of temperatures, however, sudden changes in temperatures are not good for them. Koi can survive under the ice in extreme cold as long as the water does not freeze solid. Koi will not move around or eat much if the pond water is very cold.
8. Some individual fish just inexplicably die, but overall, Koi are remarkably hardy and healthy fish; much more so than goldfish or tropical fish. Chlorine or chloramine in city water and windblown insecticides are very dangerous to Koi. Smaller Koi have a much higher mortality rate than larger Koi and are more susceptible to diseases and changes in the environment.
9. Koi get along well with goldfish or other tropical fish; as long as the other fish aren't aggressive or small enough to eat.
10. Koi can be kept in aquariums as well as ponds. Aquariums need good filtration and aeration systems. A filter utilizing carbon is recommended for aquariums.
11. Koi are not live bearers but lay thousands of eggs in a single breeding. Koi must be at least 3 to 4 years old and of sufficient size before they breed. Koi require special water conditions and environment for breeding. The eggs and baby Koi must be separated from the adult Koi or they will more than likely be eaten. The baby Koi hatch in about 3 to 7 days depending on the weather. The survival rate for baby Koi is less than 50%. see BREEDING
12. There are several color varieties of Koi with different names for each variety. Koi with more than one color are unique in that there are no two that look exactly alike.  see VARIETIES
13. Raising Koi can be a fascinating and relaxing hobby. For the avid Koi enthusiast, there are Koi shows in which Koi compete according to their size and class.

Care of Koi - Do's and Don'ts

DO:

1. Feed your fish once or twice a day. Once a day in cool weather and twice a day in summer. Stop when water temperature goes below 55 degrees.
2. Keep your pond aerated and filtered 24 hours a day.
3. Keep your pond clean of debris on the bottom.
4. Periodically test your pond water (pH, Ammonia, etc.) especially after adding fresh water.
5. Watch carefully for anchor worms, lice, and other parasites. Medicate with Dylox every 3 months to kill and control parasites.
6. Use a chloramine remover whenever adding fresh tap water. Most cities have chloramine in their tap water. Also use a water conditioner to balance new water and protect the fish.
7. Have medication and chloramine remover on hand for emergencies.
8. Have a spare tank or aquarium for use as a hospital to treat sick or injured Koi. Remember to aerate and filter 'hospital tanks'.
9. Periodically clean the filter. Most filters should be cleaned completely at least twice a year even though the water looks clear. There is no such thing as a filter that never needs to be cleaned!
10. Change or add new water periodically (about every 3 to 4 weeks) if your pond does not have an overflow for fresh water.
11. Construct your pond so that water level is at least 18" deep.
12. Shade the pond (at least 60-70% shade) to inhibit algae growth, promote and maintain color of your Koi, and keep water temperature cooler.
13. After transporting Koi, float the bag (unopened) in the water for about 30 to 45 minutes to allow the water temperature inside and outside the bag to equalize before releasing the Koi. When transporting Koi to an aquarium after a long trip, float the bag for at least an hour before releasing the Koi.
14. Always be careful when netting or handling your Koi. Removing the protective slime from the body can lead to fungus or bacterial infections.
15. Know the size and water volume of your pond. Length x Width x Depth (in feet) x 7.5 equals to total gallons of water.
16. Keep a spare air pump or water pump on hand for emergencies. If the pump stops, do not feed the Koi.
17. When introducing new Koi to your pond, be careful that they don't jump out, especially near the waterfall.
18. Remember that stress is a major cause of Koi deaths. Stress may result from changes in pond conditions, over handling, over medication, etc.

DON'T:

1. Overfeed! This is one of the biggest contributors to fish death and unhealthy ponds.
2. Change all the water in the pond at once unless absolutely necessary. Sudden water temperature changes may adversely affect your Koi.
3. Over-medicate! Use correct dosage or under-medicate if you are unsure.
4. Overcrowd the pond! Remember your Koi will require more oxygen and more room as they grow larger.
5. Keep the water level of your pond too close to the top edge of your pond as fish may jump out or predators may catch your fish. Allow at least 6" clearance.
6. Permit the use of any insecticide sprays, powders, or pellets near the pond.
7. Feed your Koi if your pump goes out. Koi will use more oxygen if they are fed.

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