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Koi Doctor

Koi Doctor

Koi Diagnosis and Treatments

Koi are no different to humans when it comes to illness and diseases. Although Koi are generally tough and hardy creatures, they too are susceptible to illness if the ideal conditions are not maintained. These are some guidelines on how to recognize the symptoms and how to go about diagnosing and treating your fish.
The possible causes of ailments in Koi are:

  • Water quality
  • Physical injury
  • Protozoan parasites
  • Tremetode parasites
  • Crustacean parasites
  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infection



When observing for symptoms it is important to note whether it is only one fish exhibiting a symptom or all of them. If it is only one or a small percentage, chances are the cause might be a disease or parasite. If most or all of them show the same symptoms it is more likely a water quality issue.

Symptom 1: Flashing
The most common symptom. This is when the fish turn sideways while darting in a specific direction, exposing/flashing their sides. Sometimes they are actually scratching/rubbing themselves against an object in the water. Flashing is a sign that something is irritating them. There can be many causes of flashing. The following will help to narrow it down.

Most or all of the fish exhibiting flashing symptom?

  • Possible water quality issue or discomfort due to recent change in water chemistry (partial water changes, rain water entering pond etc.). Check all parameters of good water quality and correct accordingly (PH, Ammonia, Nitrite etc.)
  • Possible irritation due to addition of medication or water treatments. If using treatments, double check the dosage used, and correct using a partial water change if necessary.

Flashing occurs during afternoon or evening only?
Possible fluctuation in PH between morning and evening periods. Fish can tolerate a PH fluctuation of no higher than 0.3. Check PH reading in the morning and evening. If the fluctuation between these periods is higher than 0.3, adjust the kH by adding baking soda. When KH tests over 100 ppm, PH fluctuations will be minimal.

Flashing occurs during of shortly after feeding?
Possible problem with food particles getting stuck in gills. Problem should desist shortly after feeding, but can be prevented by using non-flake type foods or foods with less oils or powdery residue.

Flashing occurs when fish are close to pumps, lights or electrical devices?
Possible stray electrical voltage in the water. Test the water with an electrical meter to determine if any of the wiring in your electrical devices have a short. If not, observe the fish closely as they may simply be using the devices as a scratching post.

Flashing still occurs after eliminating all of the above possibilities?
Protozoan parasites, trematodes or crustacean parasites may be the cause.

  • Protozoan Parasites – Most, but not all protozoan parasites can be slowed down by salt. First try a salt treatment of 0.3% and maintain this for about 2 weeks. If flashing continues you may need to try a stronger treatment such as ProForm C.
  • Trematodes– Most common tramatodes affecting Koi are various types of flukes. For this it is recommended to use Fluke Tabs or Praziquantel.
  • Crustacean Parasites – Most common are fish lice and anchor worms. These are visible to the naked eye, so look for them on the fish before administering treatment. Dimilin is the safest and most effective treatment for this.

Symptom 2: Jumping
In most cases when fish jump out of the water, it is usually for the same reasons as with flashing (ie. Poor water quality or parasites), so follow the steps listed under Flashing. However, newly purchased Koi may sometimes jump as a fright response or while trying to adjust to new water. This can be prevented by properly acclimatizing new fish, and by floating an object on the surface of the water eg. Styrofoam, to give them cover and make them feel more secure.

Symptom 3: Sitting On The Bottom
This is also an indication of poor water quality or parasites. Check all parameters of good water quality and adjust accordingly, and administer treatment if necessary. New and frightened fish may also exhibit this behavior.

Symptom 4: Fins Clamped To Body
Again, this is an indication of poor water quality. Check all parameters of good water quality and adjust accordingly. If water quality is good and symptom persists, only then move on to treatment for parasites.

Symptom 5: Fin Twitching
Rapid twitching of fins are most likely a parasite problem. Follow steps for identifying the parasite and administer treatment accordingly.

Symptom 6: Gasping
This is when the fish continually surface with their mouths open, gulping air. This indicates they are having trouble breathing, and can be caused by any one of the following:

  • Water is low in oxygen.

Observe the time of day the symptom occurs. Warmer water holds less oxygen, so if this behavior occurs when the water is at its warmest, it is possible that low oxygen is the cause. Aerate the water 24/7 to increase oxygen levels.

  • Nitrite Poisoning

Nitrite poisoning damages the gills. Check Nitrite levels. If present, do a 50% water change and add 0.1% salt.

  • Parasites or Bacterial Infections

Continue aeration of the water. Follow steps/treatments listed for parasites. In the case of bacterial infections administer medicated antibiotic food.

Symptom 7: Hanging at the Surface
Fish that stay at the surface can be caused by any of the following:

  • Bacterial Infection

When the fish hangs at the surface with the head pointing down and tail up, and is lethargic and responsive, this is a sign of a serious bacterial infection. The fish needs immediate attention. Most bacterial infections are brought about by other problems such as parasites, so address those issues first and check all water parameters before attempting treatment

  • Low PH

When fish are at the surface with their head pointing up and their tail pointing down, and acting lethargic and listless, this is usually due to low or ph. Check PH and water quality and adjust accordingly. If symptoms persist if may be a sign of parasites.

  • Swim Bladder Problems

When the fish are floating or rolled on their sides and unable to swim below the surface, this is a sign of swim bladder problems. Little is known about the cause of this disorder, but rapid temperature declines, bacterial infections, constipation, and poor diet are believed to be contributing factors. Treatment involves removing affected fish to a shallow tank or container (to avoid stress of trying to swim down) and increasing temperature gradually until it is at upper 70 deg. range. Vary the diet of the affected fish and try to include some antibiotic food. As a last resort, a procedure can be done where a needle with a syringe is inserted into the bladder of the fish through its side and the excess air that keeps the fish afloat is drawn out. This is a simple procedure but can be fatal if done incorrectly.

Symptom 8: Erratic Swimming
Erratic swimming patterns are usually a sign of some sort of toxicity in the water, such as chlorine from water treatment plants, ammonia and heavy metals such as copper or iron. A 50-75% water change is recommended, as well as the use of a commercial water conditioner if using tap water that may contain the above mentioned compounds.

Symptom 9: Isolation
When one fish isolates itself from the others it is usually a sign of a parasitic attack or a bacterial or viral infection. Check all water parameters before treating the affected fish accordingly.

Symptom 10: Red Sores/Ulcers
Red Sores/Ulcers are usually the result of a bacterial infection invading an area previously degraded by parasites. They start as sores and gradually develop into open wounds, and if left untreated the fish may eventually develop dropsy and die. Best method of treatment is to maintain water quality while first addressing parasite problem. Then get rid of the ulcer-causing bacteria (Aeromonas) by heating the water gradually to around 82 deg. After this is achieved, only then can you begin to treat the wound itself, using Debride ointment and/or Iodine.

Symptom 11: White Fuzz
White fuzz growing on spots on the body of the fish can be caused by any one of the following:

  • Saprolegnia (Fungal Infection)

Saprolegnia infections are usually secondary infections that develop on open wounds as a result of other problems such as ulcers or parasites, or when the slime coat has been damaged. Therefore, you need to address initial cause for a complete cure. However, you may treat the area of growth using Debride ointment or Iodine, swabbing firmly enough to remove any growth and dead tissue.

  • Columnaris (Bacterial Infection)

Columnaris is also referred to as cotton-wool disease, mouth rot, fin rot, and saddleback, and is a bacterial infection. Columnaris will quite often infect the mouth, and it can actually cause it to rot. Columnaris is also more likely to show fin damage in addition to the areas infected on the body of the fish. It is recommended to isolate the affected fish in a treatment tank and administer antibiotic treatment such as Tricide-neo.

  • Epistylis

Epistylis is a parasite found in dirty pond water or water with infrequent changes. Growth can be observed on multiple areas of the fish at the same time, as well as reddening of the affected area. This can usually be taken care of using salt treatments of 0.3% and water changes, or ProForm C if  a stronger treatment preferred.

Symptom 12: White Lumps
White lumps growing on the body of the fish can be caused by any one of the following viruses:

  • Carp Pox

Carp Pox appears as smooth, shiny, white or gray lumps on the body of the fish. It is most common in crowded or dirty ponds. There is no known cure, but some people have reported improvement in this condition when water is heated to around upper seventies to low eighties. It is recommended to isolate the affected fish before attempting this treatment.

  • Lymphocystis

This is a harmless virus that appears as rough and wart-like and is usually formed over a previous wound. There is no known cure. However, it is harmless and does not spread easily so there is no need to be overly concerned.

Symptom 13: White Specks
White specks or spots is commonly known as “Ich” (short for Ichthyophthirius, a parasite). This can normally be treated by salt at 0.3% or Proform C if you prefer a stronger treatment.




Remember, prevention is better than cure!
If you take the right approach to maintaining your tank or pond, your Koi should be just fine. Avoid potential health issues arising with your Koi by paying close attention to the following criteria for ideal Koi habitat conditions:


Water Condition

The most common culprit in ailing Koi is poor water quality. Check your PH, ammonia and nitrite levels regularly. Ensure that you have a good filtration system, and never allow the bio filter to backwash into the pond or tank. Partial water changes done regularly can also go a long way in maintaining good water conditions.



Fish breathe oxygen in the water through their gills. Sufficient aeration is crucial to keeping healthy fish. Install an airstone, waterfall or some other form of aeration to ensure that your fish have enough oxygen.



Do not overcrowd your pond or tank, as this places a great deal of stress on your fish as well as on your biological filter. A good rule of thumb for the novice Koi keeper is to aim at keeping around 50 inches (125 cm) of fish per 1000 gallons of water



Make sure that your fish are getting the right nutrition. Never overfeed your fish, as excess food can pollute the water.



Make sure that there is good movement in the water with no “dead” areas with low circulation. Stagnant water is not good as bad bacteria grows well in stagnant water with low oxygen.


Prompt Treatment of Injuries


External injuries can occur from time to time, especially with large Koi. Injured fish should be removed immediately and the wound treated, as open wounds make the fish extremely vulnerable to parasite.


Koi For Beginners

Koi for Beginners

Watching Koi gracefully swimming in your beautiful water garden or aquarium is a true delight. No wonder so many people around the world are fascinated by these living jewels. Before you dive into the exciting world of Koi keeping though, there are a few things you should think about. The information you can find on the topic might be easily accessible and as plentiful as you wish but it’s often discrepant enough to make you confused. So it would probably be best to start simple, with the general factors to consider before getting any pet:


Choosing your first Koi

Are you familiar with the different Koi varieties?  As you can see, there are quite many of them but you could start by reading about the most popular ones – Kohaku, Showa, Sanke, Shiro Utsui, Asagi and so on. This would give you an idea what to expect from each variety in terms of colors, pattern, size and more.

Once you select a variety (or varieties), you need to make another decision – where to buy your new Koi from. You can visit a nearby farm and take a look at the fish and the conditions there. Make sure the premises and ponds/aquariums are kept clean, there aren’t bad smells (while a faint “fishy” smell is normal, smells reminding of decay or Ammonia are certainly not) and fish are not overcrowded.

Young, small Koi (around 10-12 cm in length) are perfect for a beginner, as they are less expensive, and the owner has the opportunity to watch them grow into living works of art. Before you make your final decision though, observe the fish for a while – check for unusual behavior or signs of possible illness– flashing, jumping, fin twitching, gasping, red ulcers, white fuzz, specks or lumps, etc. If everything is in order, you can carefully transport the fish to their new home (don’t forget to place them in a separate quarantine tank for 21 days before introducing them to their permanent pond or aquarium).

 Setting up a pond (or an aquarium)

Koi can be kept in a fiberglass or acrylic aquarium, provided it’s large enough. Keep in mind that overcrowding is too stressful and harmful for Koi’s immune system and general health. Additionally, it reduces the biological filters’ efficiency, which can make the living conditions of your Koi even worse. Make sure you provide each individual with enough personal space – each Koi requires at least 50 inches per 1000 gallons of water. This applies for a Koi pond as well. The aquarium is a good option for Koi up to 6 inches long (2 years old) – after that, they would need more room to swim and grow. Place the aquarium out of direct sunlight, in a quiet area. Provide it with a few inches of substrate (a mixture of gravel and rocks would be enjoyable for your new Koi). To ensure ideal water quality, install a high-quality filter and a water heater.

If you want a Koi pond in your park or garden, consider all key aspects before the construction takes place. The pond should be safe for its inhabitants, and easy for you to maintain. One of the most common mistakes, made by beginners, is building a pond, which quickly becomes too small and shallow to accommodate their grown Koi, or any new fish they like to add later. According to experts, a good pond should be no less than 4 foot deep, 7 foot wide and 8 foot long, containing approximately 1500 gallons of water. The right proportions would allow your Koi to reach their full potential both in growth and longevity. By designing the pond deep enough, you protect your swimming jewels from potential predators, as well as from the scorching sun. If it’s possible, choose a shaded or half-shaded location. The pond could be under a tree (not pines and other conifers with needle-like leaves though, as they might block the filters).

Make sure that there aren’t corners or sharp objects that could injure the fish. And finally – aeration and circulation are vitally important for Koi, so don’t forget to include a waterfall, airstone or some other form of aeration to the design. Don’t introduce new Koi to the pond straight away – it needs approximately 30 days to establish a stable eco-system.

After you bring your new Koi home, the adventure truly begins. Taking care of them is fairly easy, and so is providing the right conditions:

 Water quality

Water quality is essential for keeping healthy and happy Koi. To maintain its perfect condition, invest in a good filtration system, including these main components: a bottom drain, filters, pumps, skimmers and UV lights. Choose every component carefully, so it fits your needs and the characteristics of your pond. Naturally, if your Koi live in an aquarium, you won’t need all of these.

The ideal pump should be quiet, highly efficient and reliable. It’s practical to spend a bit more on a high-quality pump and a bit oversized filter, as higher efficiency would cut your expenses in the long run (you would pay less for electricity, won’t need to purchase new ones anytime soon, and most importantly, your Koi would be in good health).

Make sure the water is well aerated. Don’t forget to regularly test the water’s pH levels (you can easily do it with the help of a test kit), and maintain them neutral and stable, between 6.8 and 8.2, with 7 being ideal. Both higher and lower levels are dangerous to Koi. Check the level of ammonia as well – it shouldn’t be higher than 0.25 ppm (parts per million), or even preferably – 0 ppm, as it’s extremely toxic and might poison the fish. Koi release ammonia in the water, and it’s also accumulated by uneaten food and decaying organic debris, which is why the proper cycling and filtering are necessary. Temperature is a key factor as well – Koi handle best stable temperatures, between 65 and 75 F degrees. Extensive temperature swings should be avoided.


One of the ways to ensure the well-being of your Koi is to provide them with high-quality, balanced food, created for their specific nutritional needs. There are different types of food, meant to enhance growth, health or color. Ingredients such as spirulina and carotene enhance color, while wheat germ for example is used for its nutritional and digestive value.

You will soon find that feeding you Koi is a thrilling experience. Never overfeed them, though. Even if they seem to enjoy an extra sipping, you’re not doing them a favor, as overfeeding damages the liver and other internal organs. The excess food in their pond/aquarium can also lead to a fast decrease of the water quality, causing additional health problems. Moderation is the key.


Regardless of the location of your Koi pond, there might be more predators around than you could imagine. Birds, Dogs, Cats, Cayman's kingfishers, otters and opossums are just some of the animals depending on your locality that could pose a threat to your fish. Small, shallow ponds make Koi easy prey but if they have enough room to escape or hide, the hunt would be much more difficult and most predators would simply give up and go elsewhere. Some people like to use flowers to decorate their ponds, and build plant shelfs for them. However, keep in mind that shelves can provide a good opportunity for predators to come close enough to the fish.

There are many different ways to protect your pond – netting, fencing, using decoys or repellents, and mainly, providing enough room for Koi to escape in the deep. If you keep your Koi live in an aquarium, don’t forget to set up a suitable cover, to prevent them from accidently jumping on the floor. It would also guarantee your other pets stay at a safe distance.


Leading Nishikigoi Breeders


Leading Nishikigoi Breeders

In Living Jewels' journey to provide the highest quality Nishikigoi, much of the listed Koi has been acquired from the most prominent breeders in Japan. These include: Dainichi, Sakai, Isa, Omosako. We have also been able to acquire the direct offspring of at least two Grand Champions; the Dainichi Sakura & Satsuki, & other prize winning bloodlines to add to our existing broodstock.



Dainichi Dainichi Koi Farm

Dainichi is one of the biggest and most famous names in Koi. Run by the sons of the deceased high-end Koi breeder Minoru Mano, Dainichi Koi Farm thrives as one of the busiest and most professional Koi outlets in the Japan with 3 state of the art facilities in Niigata, the home of the Nishikigoi. Dainichi concentrates heavily on body shape, and the original Dainichi was quite huge and impressive. Dainichi Koi Farm still uses parent Koi left to them by their father, breeding prize winning Kohaku, Sanke and Showa varieties. Dainichi Koi have been champions in the All Japan, ZNA and Nogyosai Koi shows over the years.



Sakai Koi Farm


Sakai Fish Farm

Sakai Fish Farm in Hiroshima has been in the business of breeding some of the highest quality Koi in Japan for over 100 years. Sakai is considered to be a pioneer in Koi production, adopting various new technologies such as Koi breeding in heated water and artificial field ponds. The Sakai Fish Farm has produced several Grand Champions in numerous Koi shows such as the the All Japan Shinkokai and All Japan ZNA shows, just to name a few.



Isa Koi Farm

Isa Koi Farm was established in 1970 by Mr. Hajime Isa, a well-known authority in the business of Koi production and the Chairman of the International Nishikigoi Promotion Association. Isa Koi Farm has been producing excellent quality Koi for over 40 years, including Kohaku and Taisho Sanshoku (Sanke) varieties, but they are most famous for their champion-class Showa Sanshoku. 


Omosako koi Farm


Omosako Koi Farm

The Omosako Koi Farm has been breeding and selling Koi since 1974, and is regarded as Japan's number one breeder for high quality Shiro Utsuri. The Omosako family is responsible for developing the Shiro Utsuri as a serious Koi type, being the first breeder ever to produce a show-quality Shiro Utsuri over 40 inches in size. Shiro Utsuri produced by Omosako has won numerous awards at the All Japan Koi Show over the years.


Marudo Koi Farm

The Marudo Koi Farm was established by Mr. Hisashi Hirasawa, one of the first employees to be trained at Dainichi Koi farms from its inception. Mr. Hirasawa played an important role in establishing the Dainichi brand and is now a well established Koi breeder in his own right, having benefitted from the knowledge and experience of the former generations of Dainichi. Marudo Koi Farm produces a wide variety of Koi including Kohaku, Showa Sanshoku, Taisho Sanshoku, Ginrin Kohaku, Chagoi, Shiro Utsuri, Kujaku, Ogon, Asagi, and Kinmatsuba.

Hoshikin Koi Farm

Hoshikin Koi Farm specializes in the production of Kohaku and has been working persistently towards perfecting their Kohaku bloodlines. Although Dainichi is recognized as the number one breeder for Kohaku, Hoshikin Kohaku is considered by many to be on par and is now an established, representative Kohaku bloodline. Kohaku produced by Hoshikin have won 6 grand champions at Koi shows of the last fall only.



About Koi


About Koi  

Nishikigoi or "Koi" as they are more commonly known are a popular ornamental variety of the
 Common Carp(Cyprinus carpic) that are bred and kept for decorative purposes in ponds and aquariums all over the world. When one considers the fact that Koi has developed into one of the most beautiful and expensive ornamental fishes in the world, with the color possibilities virtually endless, it is remarkable to think that the elaborate specimens we see today developed from the lowly Common Carp, which was originally kept as a food fish.

To find out about leading Nishikigoi Breeders Click here




Heading2About Koi

The origin of Koi dates back to about 200 years ago in Japan, where the Japanese rice farmers practiced keeping common carp was quite drab colored, the farmers began to discover that they could selectively breed the fishes with naturally occurring color variations to produce a variety of unique colors and patterns. By the 20th century a number of color patterns had been established, and when the Koi were exhibited at an annual exposition in Tokyo, national interest in Koi keeping exploded throughout Japan. When Emperor Hirohito was presented with Koi fishes for his Imperial Palace moat in 1914, Interest in these remarkable creatures grew even further, and owning Koi fishes became something of a status symbol in Japan.

Today, Koi keeping has become a world-wide hobby, popular with both pet owners and breeders alike. With over 80 stunning color patterns and new varieties still being developed, it is no wonder that these magnificent and impressive creatures are referred to as the "Living Jewels" and the "Kings of Ornamental Fish".




Koi Varieties

 Koi Varieties

There are numerous varieties of Koi and it is the result of selective breeding and cross-development, which created different varieties and sub varieties and each has unique name. These Koi are developed from common carp.








Asagi Koi Image

The Asagi is one of the oldest breeds of Koi. Asagi Koi can be easily recognized by its shade of blue. As a matter of fact, “Asagi” is a Japanese word for pale blue or indigo. That’s why the ideal Asagi’s back all the way up to its head is covered with a defined diamond shape of a non-metallic pale blue to dark blue scales.


In fact, about 160 years ago when Japanese purposely used Magoi (a food, wild black fish) in order to transform it into Asagi. Before Koi were ever imagined, Asagi is the first recognized as ornamental carp.

Asagi Koi can be easily recognized by its shade of blue. As a matter of fact, “Asagi” is a Japanese word for pale blue or indigo. That’s why the ideal Asagi’s back all the way up to its head is covered with a defined diamond shape of a non-metallic pale blue to dark blue scales.

 There are different types of Asagi Koi. If splotches of red pigmentation appear on the Koi’s dorsal fin, gill plates, belly and tail – it is called “Hi”.            

However, if the Asagi Koi has more red coloration than usual, it is known as “Hi Asagi”.

For instance, that you noticed an additional line of white scales between its blue and red pigmentation, it is the other type of Asagi Koi called as “Taki Asagi”.

Most of the time, the head of the Asagi will be white or very pale blue; but if the head develops red coloration, the Koi is then considered to be “Menkaburi Asagi”.

On the other hand, the “Asagi Mizu” is light blue in pigmentation and there’s a chance that you may not notice any red at all. Moreover, the “Asagi Konjo” is very dark Asagi Koi to the extent of having black appearance.

Among today’s many dazzling and stunning varieties of Koi, keeping the Asagi is keeping history alive.





Doitsu Koi 

Doitsu Koi

Most of the genetic make up of Koi varieties today, do have Doitsugoi blood. Doitsu Hariwake, Doitsu Kohaku, Doitsu Sanke, Doitsu Showa and Doitsu Yamato Nishiki just to name a few. Doitsu Koi went through centuries of selective breeding and most of the time rated highest rating fish can receive. 

In the late 1800’s German Koi were imported in Japan to improve the supply of edible fish, since it did not have scales with a bulkier body shape which means more meat to eat. Also, another purpose of importation is to cross-breed the German carp with the indigenous carp.

Two German scientists, selected 40 fry of the best quality available in their country, then transported all of it to Japan. Only 7 carp survived the trip as it is during the Japanese-Russo War. 6 leather carp and 1 mirror carp turned out to be the genetic backbone of Doitsu as we know today.

To compare with Japanese carp, the body shape of Doitsu carp was more rounded and shorter. They also have a better growth rate than local carp. However, they mature early and do not reach the same old age as Japanese carp. They even show less resistance towards diseases. Fortunately, as observed by scientists; the offspring of Doitsu carp shows very hybrid vigor as a result when it is used in breeding with other carp. Doitsu Koi is sometimes called as “Mirror-Scale Koi” because along its back, you will find a mirror-scale dorsal line. If not available at Koi’s back, you can find the mirror-scale lateral line on its side.

There are several scalations to be found on Doitsu carp. Doitsu Koi with scales only found on the back are called Kawigoi or mirror carp. Those Koi without scales at all are known as Kawas Goi or leather carp. Additionally, a Koi with scales on the back as well as the lateral line are called as Kagami goi or striped carp.


Most of the genetic make up of Koi varieties today, do have Doitsugoi blood. Doitsu Hariwake, Doitsu Kohaku, Doitsu Sanke, Doitsu Showa and Doitsu Yamato Nishiki just to name a few. Truly, Doitsu Koi went through centuries of selective breeding and most of the time rated highest rating fish can receive.



Gin Rin

Kin Gin Rin is abbreviated to "Gin Rin" by Koi hobbyist, breeders and sellers. It is literally means "golden silver reflective scales". However, Kin Gin Rin is not a variety of Koi. It is a reference to a Koi's scale. 

Kin Gin Rin is abbreviated to "Gin Rin" by Koi hobbyist, breeders and sellers. It is literally means "golden silver reflective scales". Kin Gin Rin Koi was developed by Mr. Elizaburo Hoshino. It was 1929 when Mr. Hoshino came across a fisherman who had caught Magoi with many sparkling scales that catches his eyes. That fish was used in the development of Gin Rin.

Kin Gin Rin is not a variety of Koi. It is a reference to a Koi's scale. For example, on a red fish such as a Kohaku, when Gin Rin appears - it has a gold appearance that you can easily notice. Scales appear golden when they cover red pigment. On the other hand, the silver effect is due to the presence in the scale of a chromatophone. Scales appear silvery when covering white or black pigment. This sparkling effect is strongest on young Koi. However, the scales get thicker and will often fade away or sparkling effect becomes less visible as the Koi ages.

There are four types of Gin Rin scales. Diamond Gin Rin is the most common as appears like cracked glass or brushed aluminum over the entire scale. The second type is Kado Gin or known as Edge Gin. Each scale is edged in silver as exactly as it sounds. It is the most uncommon type and least preferred. While Beta Gin is hard to find and with highly valued type. It is shining like a mirror because the whole surface of the scale is being covered with silver. Pearl Gin Rin is the last type of Gin Rin scales and by far rarest of all. It seems that someone carefully mounted a diamond on each center of the scale, similar to pearl.                                                  


If you would like to search for a good Gin Rin Koi, a Koi should have two or more complete rows of scales from the shoulder and end at the tail. Remember to avoid those jumbled Gin Rin scales and just look for a neatly organized scale. It should be evenly lined up in rows and with consistent shine.

The Gin Rin Koi is flashy and glitzy that seem to be covered with diamonds. It is highly reflective and you will notice a brilliant enhancement that sparks when it catches the light. Your pond will surely shine by this so-called "Living Jewels."




Kohaku Koi

Kohaku is one of the most beautiful and popular Koi in the world. It is very simple, yet very elegant variety. It has been said that most of the hobbyist started and
finished with the Kohaku. 

Kohaku means red and white and was established in Japan in early 1800. During that time, Japanese rice farmers observed a red and white mutations started occurring within the common carp. Then, in 1888, Mr. Kunizo Hiroi bred a female Koi with redheaded marking similar to cherry blossoms. After that, all of the well known Kohaku bloodlines were established.

Kohaku is one of the most beautiful and popular Koi in the world. It is very simple, yet very elegant variety. It has been said that most of the hobbyist started and finished with the Kohaku.

Kohaku are white Koi with red markings. Its value depends on the white skin, since it should be pure, no yellowing, with no stains or other blemishes. Also the intensity of red patterns should be artistically well-balanced. In regards with the edges of the red markings, it must be sharp and clear against the white backgrounds. However, take into consideration that in very young Koi the red starts out as a pale yellow, then changes to orange and finally to a beautiful red.

In general, Kohaku are sensitive to water conditions. In fact, in hard water they can develop shimi or small black freckles on their skin. But don't worry, because the soft water can control black freckles from forming. Most, of the hobbyists preferred female Kohaku because of their larger body. They are also likely to have a truly lustrous red pattern last longer than with males. The reason behind that, males tend to develop the red colors faster than females. However, their pattern also diminishes easier and does not last longer than females.

There are hundreds of red patterns available in the market today, but let me provide you some of the popular Kohaku.

Tancho, is a pure white Koi with a single red crown-like marking on the head between the eyes. Maruten is similar to Tancho but aside from single roundish red marking in the center of the head, it also has red markings on the rest of the body. Next is, Ohmoyo. It is a large and unbroken one step pattern extending from head to tail. Then, Nidan is a two step pattern that are not interconnected. While, Straight Hi is interconnected red patches of a single and continuous Hi pattern.

 Tancho koi  Maruten Koi      

One of the most popular is Sandan with three step pattern. The four step is called Yondan pattern and the five step is known as Godan pattern. On the other hand, Inazuma is a zigzag pattern that has resemblance to a lightning strike. Another type of recognized patterns is Kuchibeni. It is so unique by having red on a mouth similar to a red lipstick.






Koromo Koi

Koromo means "robed" or "veiled", which are similar to the Kohaku with white skin and patterns. The only difference is the additional vignette on the colored
markings. The unique patterns are well appreciated in Koromo. 

In 1950s, the Japanese have developed Koromo by crossbreeding of Asagi and Kohaku. Koromo means "robed" or "veiled", which are similar to the Kohaku with white skin and patterns. The only difference is the additional vignette on the colored markings. The unique patterns are well appreciated in Koromo.

There are three varieties of Koromo. First is Budo Goromo. It is almost similar to Kohaku having a white body with patches, however, it defers with the blue grape like clusters over its red markings. The shape of its scales looks like bunches of grapes. The second is, Ai Goromo which is also similar to Kohaku, but it has a black or blue edging over its red scales. The head Hi is completely free of blue color. Ai Goromo was bred by crossbreeding a female Asagi to a male Kohaku. Last is Sumi Goromo. You will notice a dark burgundy is edging over the red scales. The sumi appears on the body and also on the head Hi.

The unusual colors of Koromo Koi are one of the reason why it always stands out in a Japanese Koi Pond and Water Garden.




Tancho Sanke

Tancho Sanke is characterized by a red circle over its head where the rest of the body is white with beautiful black spots. In breading the desired traits are that the colors are symmetrical and placed in visual balance in reference to the other features of the fish. 

The beautiful pattern and balance of colors make it a perfect example of a great looking Koi. The brilliant white color is stunning and eye catching. Its body and the form are very exquisite, while the depth of black and rich vibrant color is truly a site to behold. The patterns of the Koi are very unique and only few of the Tancho arise from a spawn, thus looking for the best Tancho is just close to seeking for a needle in a haystack. 

The white body color of the Tancho Sanke is typically known as shiroji or white ground. It is distinct for its sumi or black pattern with the lone at the head. There should be no sumi that may be seen on the head.

 The red spot in the head of the Koi is indicative of the state bird of Japan along with the Tancho crane and the Japanese flag. This variety of Tancho  is now becoming famous and accepted by Koi breeders and hobbyists worldwide.



Taisho Sanke

Taisho Sanke, or Sanke for short, are koi with a solid white base overlaid by patterns of both red and black. It is commonly said that a high quality Sanke pattern begins with a great Kohaku pattern, to which the black is a welcome complement.



Showa Sanshoku

Showa Sanshoku, more commonly known as Showa, are koi that display white and red/orange patterns over top of a black base color. Showa can be easily confused with Sanke. In Showa, the black patterns will wrap all the way around the body, instead of appearing only on the top half of the body. Also, Showa will have black patterns on the head, and Sanke will not.

The red, white and black should be balanced about the body evenly, with crisp, clean edges between each color.




Tancho is a hugely popular variation of Kohaku, in which the only red pattern appears as a single red dot on the head. The symmetry and placement of the Tancho mark are main factors in determining the quality of any particular koi. Tancho are highly regarded in the Japanese koi industry for their resemblance to the Grus japonensis, or Red-Crowned Crane.

Although the Tancho mark can appear in many varieties of koi, the word "Tancho" by itself is almost always used to refer to Tancho Kohaku.



Shiro Utsuri

Shiro Utsuri are koi with a black base overlain by areas of white. A high quality Shiro Utsuri will combine clean white patterns with a deep, lacquer-like black. A split head of both black and white is also an important requirement for top quality specimen.



Hi Utsuri

Hi Utsuri combine the lacquer-black base color with patterns of deep red or orange. Red Hi Utsuri are superior to orange. Many Hi Utsuri will display a dull orange pattern at a young age, which may develop into a brighter and more desirable red pattern as the koi grows and matures.



Ki Utsuri

Ki Utsuri, by far the rarest type of Utsuri, combine patterns of yellow over a lacquerish black body. Ki Utsuri are judged by the same criteria as Shiro and Hi Utsuri.




Shusui are the scaleless (doitsu) version of Asagi. The blue net pattern is replaced by a single row of scales along the dorsal line at the top of the back. Like Asagi, the belly, gill plates, sides and fins of Shusui display an orange or red pattern.




Matsuba are koi that combine a solid, metallic colored base with a black net pattern. The base color of Matsuba can vary. Gin Matsuba have a white base color, while Ki Matsuba have a yellow base color, and Aka Matsuba have a red base.



Platinum Ogon

Platinum Ogon, also known as Purachina Ogon, are solid, metallic-white koi. A clear white head and unblemished white body are crucial to the quality of a Platinum Ogon.



Yamabuki Ogon

Yamabuki Ogon are koi of a solid, metallic-yellow color. As with other Ogon koi, a clean, unblemished head and body are important.



Kujaku are koi with a solid white base, accented by a black net pattern along with patterns of red/orange/yellow. The net pattern is created by a black edging on each individual scale.




Hariwake display a solid metallic-white base coupled with bright, vibrant patterns of yellow or orange. The bright, luminous white of Hariwake differs from the softer, matte-white of Kohaku and Sanke. Hariwake with a bright yellow pattern are commonly referred to as Lemon Hariwake.




Although technically they are the Doitsu version of Hariwake, scaleless white koi with patterns of orange or yellow are commonly referred to as Kikusui. The bright, metallic colors of Hariwake are also present in Kikusui.




Kumonryu are scaleless (doitsu) koi with patterns of grey or white combined with black. Probably the most intriguing variety of koi, Kumonryu will completely change their pattern many times throughout their life. They can go anywhere from solid white to solid black, or any conceivable combination in between.


Beni Kumonryu

Beni Kumonryu are Kumonryu with the presence of a third color, red. Just like Kumonryu, Beni Kumonryu can change their pattern completely many times throughout their lifespan.




Chagoi are solid colored brown or bronze koi with a subtle reticulated net pattern. Although they are not nearly as flashy or colorful as other types of koi, Chagoi are still a welcome addition to koi ponds. Because of their close genetic relationship with wild carp, Chagoi are some of the friendliest and most docile koi available. This makes them the easiest to train to hand feed, and other varieties of koi may follow suit when they see a Chagoi hand feeding.




Soragoi, similar to Chagoi, are koi of a solid grey or silver color, combined with a subtle net pattern. Also like Chagoi, mature Soragoi are very docile and will be among the first koi in your pond to learn to hand feed.



Ochiba Shigure

Ochiba Shigure, commonly referred to as Ochiba, combine the brown/bronze of Chagoi with the silver/grey of Soragoi. The name Ochiba Shigure translates as "autumn leaves falling on water", a reference to the silver and bronze pattern.




Goromo are, in essence, a Kohaku with blue or black edging added to each red scale. There are three sub types of Goromo: Budo Goromo have a blue edging outside of the scales that creates a grape-like cluster effect; Ai Goromo have blue edging only on the inside of the red scales; Sumi Goromo have black edging on the scales that can make the patterns appear almost completely black.




Goshiki are koi with a solid white base with black and blue edging, and red and black patterns overlaying the white, black and blue colors of the base. Goshiki translates as "five colors".



Kikokuryu are scaleless (doitsu) koi with a white base combined with areas of black inside the single row of scales, along the back outside of the row, and on on the head around the eyes and nose. Kikokuryu are commonly thought to be metallic versions of Kumonryu.


Shiro Bekko

Shiro Bekko are koi with a solid white (Shiro) body and areas of black pattern appearing on top of the white. It is simliar to the Sanke without the Red or (hi) coloration. 




Shiro Utsuri