The carp that travelled to Japan from China, gained tremendously in colour and beauty: thanks to the Japanese breeders! And it is this ‘Brocaded carp’ that the world knows as Koi today. Literally ‘Koi’ means ‘carp’ (both common and ornamental species) in Japanese. The ornamental domesticated fish that we know as Koi is actually ‘nishikigoi’ in Japanese. Whatever the history and linguistics facts be, for us Koi is the beautiful, colourful, adaptable, domesticated pond fish.
Before we start talking in detail about the Koi fish keeping, let’s first look at some of the interesting benefits of having a Koi pond or say having a Koi in your pond (Koi co-exists well with other fish. So you can keep it with the ones you already have).
** It will add a spectrum of beauty to your garden environment.
You will be able to establish a special bond with your Koi. They will feed from your hand once they gain confidence in you. Needless to say, this is the ultimate that one can expect from a pet. And a ‘rare ultimate’ when it comes to fish.
** If you are (or will be) a breeder, a Koi means thousands!
Believe in Feng Shui? Koi is believed to bring good luck.
Some symbolism…? Koi is considered to be a symbol of love and friendship in Japan.
** Koi is ‘elite’. Yes… keeping Koi is a status symbol; your garden’s style statement.
Some other benefits that do not have any scientific evidence but have been talked about by Koi owners are:
* A Koi pond adds value to your property. If you are looking to sell yours, adding a Koi pond might increase the rates and the possibility of selling quickly.
* Spending some time by a Koi pond has been reported to be a great stress reliever.
If you are venturing into the Koi hobby, it is worth noting that rearing Koi is not like having any other simple ornamental fish in an aquarium or a fish tank. Even if you do not want to be a breeder and are interested in keeping Koi solely for ornamental purpose, some research and preparation is a must. You will need a pond with proper size and systems in place. Seasonal changes would require some adjustments in order to keep Koi healthy. For example, feeding Koi requires to be ‘almost stopped’ in peak winters. All these aspects need to be taken care of and a fair degree of expertise is required at every step from selecting your Koi to creating Koi specific conditions.
Also, Koi is an expensive affair. The fish itself will cost you some handsome bucks. And you can’t keep one. You will have to have a group of at least three of them; as experts recommend. You will also have to spend on building a pond or enlarging an existing one to suit the needs of Koi. Also, you will need to install proper purification systems and pumps, which is again a fairly big investment.
Another important aspect to be considered is the safety of your Koi. This fish being extremely attractive is an easy attention seeker for the aerial predators. So you will need to grow trees in order to block their vision. Also, the depth of the pond will need to be increased not only as required by Koi but also as a safe guard against cranes and other such hunters, if they are a problem in your area. You might also need to use nets over the pond.
Worried? Oh you shouldn’t. Efforts are going to be huge, but the result will be more so. After all you can’t have the roses’ bloom without the thorns!