You went through the rigorous work of building out your koi pond. Everything is set up for your backyard koi pond-except for the koi. Finding the best place with koi fish for sale that suits your needs might be a challenge for you.
If you are just starting out you may have not the slightest idea of where to go in your quest for finding koi for purchase. Different types of koi are for different people. If you’re a hobbyist you probably don’t want to shell out 50 grand for the perfect show-ready Kohaku. If you are a seasoned koi-show veteran you probably ain’t getting your koi carp from the local pet shop.
The Best Koi to Buy for Starting Out
There is a wide range of koi breeds out there. The vast selection can leave you feeling overwhelmed. To choose the right fish for your blooming koi education there is one that really stands out above the rest as a starter koi- The Ghost Koi.
Ghost koi are koi that are cross-bred with regular carp. Pure-bred carp are naturally tougher than their related koi cousins. Cross-breeding between the two results in an attractive koi carp with better immunity to disease. Ghosts are even called bullet-proof by their owners.
Koi in Pet Stores- For the Budget-Conscious
Going the pet store route will get you a more affordable koi as they are cheaper than the ghost koi. PetSmart has them for $5.99. There are some advantages to pet stores over dealers and koi fish farms. The advantages are as follows:
- They are an affordable choice
- Their fish have an average resilience to diseases
- The stores are easily located, look up PetSmart online
- PetSmart has a program called the Assured Veterinarians program- a program designed to ensure better health and better welfare for their animals.
- They may not have experts as experienced with koi as the dealers
Reasons People Like Koi
A koi fish is popular for many reasons other than just their attractive appearance. Their bright colors, attractive shape, and majestic stature are great reasons to like them, but are there other reasons. I actually feel there are.
They’re symbolism- What They Represent
Koi in Japanese culture represent abundance in the material and spiritual sense. Different breeds of koi represent different things too. Kohaku koi, for instance, represent career success.
The art of Feng Shui- a system of laws that involve arranging objects in relation to energy flow-says that the spirit of a koi being near you brings forth good luck, good fortune, and spiritual benefits.
In the medical field, koi scrubs signify strength. These scrubs are admired for their calming effect, coolness, comfort, and naturally attractive appearance. They help patients be calmer and could even be conversation starters. Koi scrubs are more stylish with many designs that are appealing to the eye.
A story relating to koi strength. As far as koi representing strength, there is an old story about a vigorous koi that endured and overcome rough tides to arrive at the honored Dragon’s Gate where it was blessed into a dragon god.
This is why koi fish can represent overcoming great odds. This seems fitting to me for the doctors and nurses who also overcome hardships on the regular. Thank you for what you do.
Who Buys Koi Fish?
You can go to many places described here and select your favorite koi for yourself. Many people like koi fro the reasons listed above and other reasons too. Anyone who fancies owning koi should have no problem finding breeders or accessing online stores and purchasing.
Breeders and sellers are the people who are in the business of buying koi small, raising them to peak size, and turning around to sell them for profit. This group is more serious than just the hobbyist or the person just wanting some koi for pets. They have invested money in this koi venture and want to gain a profit. They’ll buy little four or five-inch koi for a few bucks and sell them when they grow up for about $70-$100 apiece depending on the quality usually.
On the other side of the token there is the hobbyist. They really like learning about koi and are enjoying going out and feeding their koi. Maybe they taught the koi the trick of eating out of their hand or other interesting things you can teach. They are the casual koi owner who just want to enjoy their pet fish and not to sell. If you want to go to the pet store and spend $6-$10 for some pet koi you are in this group.
Another niche of koi folk is the really serious koi show participants. They know their stuff. These people spend the fortune on the best koi with the best shape, color pattern, the perfect head formation, and other facets involved in buying up incredible living jewels. They want bragging rights of having the best showa in show and are the people most likely to spend more than a house on a beautiful koi fish. $100,000 sometimes.
Children are also sometimes enthralled with koi too. They go into a Chinese restaurant with their parents and see the koi in the fancy aquarium beside the entrance and sweet-talk their parents into getting one. The parents often really admire their attractive look so the feelings mutual between kid and adult.
The Time of Year for the Best Deals on Koi
When’s the best time to shell out for koi? Fall or Spring?
Spring is what some people consider the best time to hit the shops and go on a koi shopping spree. Winter has ended and koi sightings were few and far between for a good clip. Things are warming up outside and the thought of a new addition to your pond to kick Spring off is very tempting.
When the water warms up it is less shocking to a kois system than the cold Winter depths they had been in. It will stimulate your koi carps immune system and help them fend off parasites, infections, and diseases. This can definitely lead you to believe that Springtime is the perfect time to buy koi.
You would not be blamed at all for thinking that, but there are factors you may have not considered as well.
Do you want an actual Japanese-born koi?
Then you will be surprised to find out that Spring isn’t the best time to buy those types of koi. Fall is the peak time for this purchase because by that time they have already spent the whole growing season in a peaceful mud pond blossoming into peak maturity by that time.
Another factor to throw a wrench in the decision process- water temperature
The ideal water temperature for koi fish is between 65-75ºF. I need to ask you “Is the water feature that you are keeping your koi in indoors or outdoors?” If outdoors like most ponds, water temperature fluctuations happen and these temperature ups and downs affect the kois ambient temperature.
It can adversely affect the health of koi. Warmer temperatures make koi hungry and their metabolisms swing into full gear. Hungry koi are usually healthy koi.
During the cold times’ koi metabolism shuts down and they don’t eat hardly at all. This causes them to lose weight and thinner fish lose some of their value as a result. Maybe this means buying at this time is great as they are cheaper.
Price Points To Look For
Koi fish prices are strongly influenced by the show-circuit and the stringent checklist the judges go down to properly evaluate the individual koi value.
I think to start out you really don’t need to spend more than $50 on a decent koi fish. It’s going to be a learning curve taking care of them. What if you spend $300 on a koi and the salinity level of your water rises unexpectedly and kills your fish? If you went and just put down $30 on the koi you are still in the black, but more irritating and disheartening if you bought that expensive Yamato Nishiki Butterfly. Just a fair warning about the things that can go wrong when introducing yourself into the wonderful world of koi.
Don’t splurge on that perfectly chiseled specimen of koi until you have a handle on all of the maintenance tasks for caring for him.
Places That Sell Koi To Get You Started
Whenever you start your shopping around for koi you have to get information on where they’re sold obviously, right? Whether your just looking to put a couple of koi in your backyard pond feature or you’re a koi connoisseur(take that spell-check!) looking for show-quality super koi-you need to source them out from somewhere.
Do places like PetSmart and PetCo sell koi?
Yes, they do. At little expense too. PetSmart has them for $5.99 and Petco has them for $10.99.
They are a good choice for the budding koi fan. These are good grade A quality small koi that you can use for practice in koi care before you graduate to magnificent show-worthy koi.
I don’t know about other pet stores selling koi. Just don’t go into these stores expecting lunker koi. They don’t have the facilities to house 3-foot full-grown koi. The reason they are so affordable in the first place is that their fish in stock are small.
They also boast to have a variety of different options for koi available. They are many different colors and breeds to pick from. Even if it’s not the selection you would get from Kodama Koi Farms or similar online koi dealers- they are a good starting line for acquiring pet koi.
PetSmart also has the Assured Veterinarians programs that help safeguard their koi from things that generally negatively affect koi health. Both sites also include good general information on koi care.
So you can find koi that can be just pets or for sale down the road. Koi fish breeders will go into PetSmart, spend $6 on their koi fish, and take them home to raise and sell. If you become attached to your koi and don’t want to sell them that’s fine too. You’re in good company either way.
I want to again emphasize that if it is your first time raising koi don’t spend too much until you get the greenhorn out of you. You need to experience the pitfalls and pleasures that koi bring and know how to fix the problems like:
- Controlling algae
- Maintaining the pH of your water
- How to monitor your water quality
- Keeping the pumps and filters going
- Establishing plant life(great for oxygenating your pond)
There’s a lot to choosing what koi fish fits your budget and what’s not for you just yet. I want you to make the right decision for you and not go overboard on your koi shopping experience. What type of koi buyer are you? Hobbyist, Pet seeker, or Showman. Let me know in the comments below.