Nishikigoi Koi

If you want a fish in your pond that is serene and peaceful, then consider adding in some Nishikigoi koi to your mix. I understand that the term Nishikigoi might be confusing so I explain to them in American in this post. Going into the past, koi were kept by royalty and nobles for their serene calmness that people felt when in their presence.

When they were fed they got along peacefully with their fellow fish mates and gracefully swan to the top of their waterholes to consume their food. This made them distinct from other more aggressive varieties of fish. So, what is Nishikigoi then?

What is Nishikigoi?

The term Nishikigoi is a Japanese term that means “swimming (or living) jewels”. If you ever set your eyes on one, which I am sure you have at least once, you will understand their name. They are fish that are colored up in shiny colors and vibrant patterns.

Nishikigoi is what other people are usually talking about when they mention koi. It is universally accepted enough that people mean Nishikigoi whenever they say koi that I am going to be using the word koi throughout the rest of this article.

The koi got its start as a food fish. Koi are in the carp family and carp themselves are still a food source in some countries today. Farmers bred black carp resulting in the colorful markings and patterns you see on their scales or bodies today. Some types of koi don’t have scales and these are referred to as Doitsu. 

During the Heian Period(794-1185), koi were kept for their eye-pleasing presence and calm demeanor. Koi have a way of inducing a calm feeling in their owners.

Koi Care

Koi can be kept in ponds or smaller, younger koi can be put in an aquarium. They need proper care that may not be suitable for starting fish-keepers. It is more for the intermediate to the experienced type of fish hobbyist. There’s plenty of online information, like my website, for instance, that can still help the greenhorn though. Just don’t expect it to be as easy as flipping on the kitchen light. With that said, let’s continue.

In the pond environment, koi need a lot of wiggle room in their water-hole to not feel cramped in. For a good rule of thumb, you need at least 50 gallons of water to one fish. Koi fish ponds are going to have to be fairly large and at least 3 feet deep.

For Aquariums, your young fry or little fry need at least a 29-gallon aquarium. You can only keep koi in an aquarium for so long until they get bigger. Keep in mind koi grow up to be 3 feet in length. They are monsters at adulthood. So the aquarium idea is ok if you want to have 5-6 inch fish that you want to turn around and sell, but not a permanent solution as a koi home.

A pond in full sun or full shade is not a good idea. A good idea is to build your pond near large-leafed trees that can provide shade for hot fish. Don’t have coniferous trees near it though like pine trees that have small leaves that can fall into your pond and are too small to retrieve. You want some areas of your ponds to have sunlight too though because:

  1. It’s pretty
  2. It serves your pond plants for growth

Affiliate Disclosure:

When you click on links from and buy something from this website, I may receive an affiliate commission. These are my opinions and are not representative of the companies that create these products. My reviews are based on my personal own experience and research. I never recommend poor-quality products or create false reviews to make sales. I intend to explain products so you can make an informed decision on which ones suit your needs best. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Full Disclosure.

If you just have your pond in a shady spot it doesn’t look as appealing. People who work to put in a koi pond are appearance-oriented and a dark waterhole is what your pond will look like in total shade. Plants need sunlight to go through photosynthesis and live. The reason you need to have plants in your pond is that plants deliver oxygen into the water that your fish need to breathe. Koi don’t have lungs to breathe like you and me. They have gills. Gills take the oxygen from their water and take it in.

Keeping plants well-supplied with sunlight will ensure their buds bloom healthily and will keep your koi fish breathing easy.

Whenever new koi are added you need to quarantine them separately for a couple of weeks to make sure that they are free of disease. When the time comes to finally transfer them from quarantine tank to pond use a net so you don’t mix the pond water and tank water. Don’t add more than 3 koi at a time.

Love Your Watery Koi Friends

Heat and Light Preferences

Koi are a fairly hardy fish that can stand up to cold weather very well. Whenever the pond freezes they can just hibernate at the bottom. This is why your pond should be three feet deep or more. The pond needs to be deep enough to not freeze entirely. In the Winter, you want to have a pond de-icer going which is a device that leaves a nice constant hole in the ice for air to get in.

The aquarium needs a different setup than the pond. Indoor koi need 65-75 degree water temperatures to be comfortable. This will keep them toasty while not getting them too cold. 

Appropriate lighting is a necessity too. There is an item called a fluorescent light that you need to install and have it running 8-12 hours a day. This mimics sunlight and koi need sunlight or something similar to it to thrive in whatever environment they are in. Some things fluorescent lights will do for koi is:

  • Provide an energy-efficient light source
  • Simulate sunlight
  • Enable the little koi to locate their food
  • Give them light for mating
  • Help them maintain a healthy sleep/wake cycle
  • Help curb algae growth


Koi stop eating once water temperatures reach below 40 degrees. Their metabolic processes stop working so don’t worry if your koi stop eating once it’s cold. Their appetites will return in the Spring.

Koi are omnivorous fish. Koi fish eat living things and growing things. If something’s small enough and they are hungry, then it’s fair game. They’ll eat anything you throw in front of them. This is a good list of food that I know they eat.

  • Koi fish food available on Amazon and other stores like Petsmart
  • Small insects and bugs
  • Plants like water lettuce
  • Algae at the bottom of the pond
  • Cereal
  • Lettuce
  • Rice
  • Shrimp
  • Watermelon

This isn’t an exhaustive list. Koi aren’t picky eaters and will even eat their fry when they are born. This is cause for a low mortality rate for baby koi. The laws of nature are sometimes cruel, aren’t they?

You can also train koi to eat out of your hand. This is a neat trick to impress your neighbors if you learn it. It would be awesome for koi shows.

Facts About Nishikigoi Koi Fish

-Koi are freshwater fish so no saltwater okay. Koi can’t survive in marine environments so you can’t keep them with Angelfish or Yellow Tangs.

-They have a variety of colors of orange, white, black, blue, red, cream, and yellow hues to their bodies.

-Koi are symbolic and represent good fortune. Different colors represent different things.

  • Blue represents serenity
  • Blue, red, and grey Asagi koi represent positivity.
  • Metallic colors represent success in business
  • Black symbolizes the father of the household and other colors represent the other members of the family
  • Red and orange represent the mother of the household
  • White represents the son(s) of the household
  • Red and pink can represent the daughter(s) of the household

-Koi typically live a 25-35 year life. Some odd koi fish outlive their owners though. The oldest koi lived to be 226 years old. It was born before the American Revolution and died during Gerald Ford’s presidency. Someone was putting a little something extra in the fish food. So the next koi you purchase may be owned by several generations of your family. Cool huh?

-Koi are very smart

-Koi can be a lucrative business venture. They can sell for thousands of dollars and sometimes in the 7-figure range.

Where Are Nishikigoi Available For Purchase?

You will also be glad that many businesses sell koi. These can be a mom and pop type shops, big fishery farms, pet stores, and online stores. 

Shopping For Nishikigoi Koi Online Pic

There are many private fish farms around that are koi dealers. These can have varying qualities to the koi that they sell so I would try to find some reviews before trying to buy at these. Many of them are great places with high-quality fish I’m sure. One such koi dealer nearest to me is called Razorback Koi, it’s kind of a funny name since Razorback is supposed to be related to Arkansas and this shop is in Missouri. I’ve never been in there but just wanted to list an example.

The next place to shop around for koi is fishery farms. Kloubec Koi is the most well-known one that will let you make an appointment and give you the grand tour. This gives you a chance to see their fish up close and personal. Some fisheries don’t do this tour around their place. Blue Ridge Koi is one like this that will only work with dealers. This is unfortunate because they are a very well-known butterfly koi dealer and seem to know their stuff. 

Pet stores like PetCo and PetSmart sell very affordable koi. They are 6-10 bucks apiece. You can buy koi from them cheaply and turn around and sell them for seventy to one hundred dollars apiece. A lot of koi sellers do this.

I recommend buying from online sources. You get to see the plethora of koi out there instead of only what’s available in your home town. Amazon sells them. Many online koi dealers sell them too. Kloubec Koi, mentioned above, is one of these dealers and there are many others.

Affiliate Disclosure:

When you click on links from and buy something from this website, I may receive an affiliate commission. These are my opinions and are not representative of the companies that create these products. My reviews are based on my personal own experience and research. I never recommend poor-quality products or create false reviews to make sales. It is my intention to explain products so you can make an informed decision on which ones suit your needs best. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Full Disclosure.

A Rekap

In this post, we covered a lot of ground letting you know what a Nishikigoi koi is and how to care for them as well just in case you are interested in owning one after you learn what they are. Are you a fish fanatic? If you are, then I’ll bet that koi would be a favorite once you buy one.

You’ll appreciate the smooth way they glide through the water. The appealing colors to their lustrous coats will please you. The peaceful serenity you will feel in their presence will make you want to stay there. After all, they represent peace and prosperity.

What was your favorite takeaway for this post about Nishikigoi? Do you have a favorite koi in your collection you would like to brag about. I would love to hear what koi you have in your pond.

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