Koi For Sale: Tips For Choosing Healthy Koi Fish


So you’ve decided to start raising Japanese koi fish? It’s a great adventure, as koi fish (according to us koi enthusiasts anyway!) are among the most satisfying fish to raise, in that they’re beautiful, and even have personalities, as you’ll see when you’re eventually able to hand feed them.

And koi can live for over 20 years, which means that you can experience their development over a long span of time.

The first step to your koi regime though, is to choose healthy and happy koi.

Choosing wisely when you’re buying koi will help ensure that you won’t be disappointed, and that you’ll end up with an investment that will be worth both the money, and the time and effort.

By the time you finish this article, you’ll know the vital tips on how to properly choose koi for your pond.

1. The first decision to make is to whether you want to buy from your local supplier or through the internet. If you have a local koi supplier, go and have a look at the quality of their koi as well as their facilities. Get an idea of how knowledgeable the owner is about koi in general, but more importantly, about the specific koi that he has in stock.

For example, does he know exactly where they have come from, why he chooses those sources, and how long he’s been using those sources? And does he know the lineage of the fish that he has in stock, about their color characteristics, and the health of this years stock compares to the last?

If there are no local suppliers that meet your satisfaction, then you may have to use an internet supplier or auction.

2. The time of the year to buy your koi. If you want imported Japanese koi, which are the best quality koi usually, then the harvest time in Japan in October and so will arrive in overseas countries in November or December.

A large supplier though, or a supplier who receives stock from the US, or other producers such as Singapore, will have stock at all times of the year, so you can purchase them in any season. If you don’t have a heated pond and you have very cold winters where your pond freezes over, November or December may not be the best time to buy.

3. How long has the koi been quarantined before or after they arrive in the country? Usually one month of quarantine is the minimum, though some illnesses may take longer to develop especially in colder temperatures.

Even if they’ve been quarantined and no diseases are evident, if you have existing koi in your pond, it’s best to isolate the new koi in a separate pond for a month at least before introducing them to prevent diseases from being transmitted to your entire collection.

4. How healthy are the koi? It’s important to look for signs of healthy koi fish.

These are

a) that they’re swimming smoothly and efficiently, and not with any jerking or unsmooth motions

b) that the koi is not damaged in any way, looking carefully at their gills, all their scales, their fins, and quality of their eyes. Ensure that there are no damage, ulcerations, or discoloured spots

c) that they’re not in respiratory distress and that their gills are moving evenly and rhythmically

d) that they’re interacting and socialising well. Koi that swim alone or are hiding in a corner may not be the healthiest or most robust.

If you need a closer look at a koi that you like, ask the owner to hold them up close for you to see.

5. How many koi to buy. A common mistake is to buy too many koi for the size of pond, or to put it the other way around, to have too small a pond to begin with. Especially with the Japanese koi, that have the largest growth potential, they can grow to over 2 feet (60 – 70cm) in length, and thus a sufficient volume of water and filtering system is required to keep the water clean and oxygenated.

Generally, you should have 1000L of water for each koi, especially with the Japanese variety. Plus, your pond should be ready before you go buy the koi.

If this is your first ever koi pond, and you’re looking at top of the range koi, it may be wise to not buy your entire stock of expensive koi at once.

It may be wiser to buy a few to test everything out, to make sure that the pond set up that you’ve got is producing good results.

If going for a $10 to $20 koi, then many will be able to afford the whole new family at once.

So there you have it, your first piece of the puzzle when it comes to keeping koi.

You’ve gotten some tips on choosing koi for your pond to help you to maximise your results with this enticing and very rewarding hobby.

Keep learning, especially about koi care and koi pond set ups as well.

Here’s good feng shui to you and your new koi family.


New to koi fish keeping?

Then click here to see the koi fish guide that will have you go from beginner to pro within days.