Kohaku Koi

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Species group:

Other common names:

Scientific name: Cyprinid carpio

The basics:
The Kohaku variety of Koi was developed in Niigata prefecture, Japan in the 1880's. Kohaku Koi are the most popular Koi in Japan, and are one of the forerunners of modern Koi varieties. The Kohaku is a white based Koi with red patterning. Kohaku is translated as amber since this was the original color of what has developed since then to the most popular variety of all. Coloration from soft orange to deep red is accepted nowadays. There is a saying that states; "the hobby of keeping Koi both starts and ends with Kohaku". Together with Sanke and Showa, the Kohaku forms the so-called gosanke group. They are in most cases responsible for taking the highest awards at a Koi Show. The Kohaku pattern became a standard for many other varieties.

Kohaku Koi are white bodied fish with red markings. Often the color is more orange than red. Kohaku Koi are descendants of breeding lines named after their Japanese breeders: Hiroshima Sakai, Kuchibeni Hasegawa, Maruten Sandan Yagozen, Maruten Yondan, Godan, and Matsunosuke. Like most species belonging to the Cyprinid family, Koi have an elongated torpedo-shaped body with rounded pelvic, anal, and caudal fins. They have two pairs of barbels on the sides of the mouth used mainly as feelers for food hiding under the substrate.

10-36 inches

Koi are peaceful, social fish but can cause stress to other fishes because of their constant activity. They are compatible with similarly active and constantly feeding species like the Goldfish.

Koi grow large, up to about 3 feet or more, making an outdoor pond the only suitable habitat for them. Ponds should be at least 500 gallons in capacity, requiring larger sizes for bigger and more mature communities. For areas that freeze in the winter, pond depth should be at least 4 feet, and heaters must be provided to prevent the pond from completely freezing over. Water should be well oxygenated and efficiently filtered because of the fish’s tendency to excrete large amounts of waste. Outdoor ponds should be protected from predators like cats and raccoons, and from winged fish-eaters like herons, hawks, and eagles. Net or wire screens are recommended, so are shade trees to cover the pond from airborne predators. Floating plants like lotus and water cabbage, as well as bamboo canopies, are often used to provide shade and some protection for the fish especially in the summer.

37.00-77.00 °F


0.000-0.000 mg/L


sociable, high contrast colours, outdoor koi pond, beginners, vibrant Koi colors, sturdy fish


fish kisses, oldest variety, body shape, quiet enjoyment, gradually tapering body

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