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How Well Do You Know Your Koi? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A


How Well Do You Know Your Koi?

How Well Do You Know Your Koi?

Koi add color and movement to your pond. They’re relaxing to watch. And they’re likely the centerpiece of your water feature. But how much do you really know about your finned friends? Check out these five factoids about koi and impress your fish-keeping pals during your next pond-side shindig.

1. A Long Life Span: Have you heard of Hanako? He’s the fabled koi who lived for 226 years after being supposedly passed down through the generations and was aged by counting rings on his scales. To set the record straight, Hanako has been proven to be an urban myth. Koi typically live 25 to 35 years in a well-maintained fish pond – but that’s still not a bad life span, all things considered!

2. Growth Spurts: Koi, like most other fish, start out as teeny-tiny fingerlings and grow to their genetically determined adult size. But unlike many fish, koi will grow to fit their accommodations – which means they’ll develop into super-sized beasts in the right environment. In their first three to four years of life when housed in an adequately sized pond, a koi will reach about 18 inches long. Throughout its lifetime, it can grow to reach up to 3 feet and more. That’s some big fish!

3. Colorful Gastronomes: The ultimate underwater foodies, koi will eat just about anything, with the exception of meat. Though they love their commercial pelleted diet, like Pond Logic® Growth & Color Fish Food, koi will happily gobble down lettuce, apples, oranges, watermelon, and even tiny shrimp. So why not treat your scaly pals to some healthy fruits and veggies now and then!

4. Feast and Famine: Koi love to eat and will chow whenever food is offered, but these guys can actually go more than 10 days without food during the warmer months – and fast even longer when temperatures drop and they go into their winter torpor, or hibernation, when they pass on meals for months at a time. Of course, if you feed your fish regularly, don’t suddenly stop as doing so can affect their health and happiness.

5. Koi Agility? No, koi unfortunately cannot be trained to jump through hoops like a dolphin or fetch a floating ball like a Labrador, but they can be conditioned to recognize your footsteps and come to the water’s edge for a visit. Simply feed your fish from the same place consistently and, before long, they’ll learn to go there for food and even learn to eat from your hand! Now that’s a cool party trick.

Pond Talk: What other interesting factoids have you heard about koi?

Pond Logic Growth & Color Fish Food - Optimum Fish Health & Beauty

15 Responses

  1. We also had a heron problem. Bought the heron decoy and moved it frequently but it was too smart for that and came back. My husband built a scarecrow that we attached mylar balloons to Between that and the decoy we have had more luck keeping it away this year. Even when the balloons deflated they are still shiny and move with the slightest breeze.

    • Try stringing fishing line across the pond. it works. I’ve heard they fear their wings will catch on the line so they avoid it.

  2. Herons have to eat, too. I like seeing them fly in to get a meal. They are like 4 feet tall and blue feathers. Maybe 8′ wingspan. My pond is like 1 million gallons and spring fed. I’ve watched them and they have to work hard to get a fish. One of them got a 12″ catfish and it took him nearly an hour to figure out how to swallow it. He did it, though. You can tell the males from the females by their beards.

  3. I have a blue eyed koi that I can feed by hand or even with the pellet in my mouth. She comes to me whenever I go to the ponds edge and even likes a little head rub from time to time although I don’t like to touch her to often because of the protective coating. I can’t say she was trained it just happened over several years. Call me crazy but I love my blue eyes!

  4. I have a 2100 gallon pond with a combination of 38 koi and goldfish. About 4 years ago I lost about 15 koi & goldfish due to a heron – 2 of the koi were over 12″ ( I had raised from 4″). At that point we covered our pond with a net we purchased from a farm catalog. The net stretches and has about 1 1/2″ holes. It looks like the nylon netting you would buy at a fabric shop, only made with stronger material and a larger weave. We have the net secured at the 4 corners with stakes that the net is able to go over. We also have some rocks holding the net down along some of the edges. Some of my plants get a little smashed as they grow and the pond is not very attractive looking, but I haven’t lost anymore fish since we have done this. The heron still comes around but can’t figure out how to get in the pond and leaves

  5. Givethe newbies time. the new koi in my pond were the same all last season, this year they come and swim around my feet and nibble at my toes! go figure!

  6. My original 11 KOI did just what you are saying, I would turn off the waterfall and up they came to where I would drop there food but after 9 of them died this spring due to a infected Heron I was able to save 2 of them now I have added 2 at 12 inches and 6 at 4 inches but they sure are nervous the big ones will hardly come out from under the rocks and when they eat they just attack the food and head back down to the bottom any idea what might be wrong they are not much fun to watch because they seem to hang out with the big ones. HELPPPPP. wired2up@hotmail.com Thanks

    • It takes time for them to get comfortable, then if something spooks them they will head for the bottom….remember water amplifies all sound :) Patience

    • Sandy, on June 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm said:

      I have a 2100 gallon pond with a combination of 38 koi and goldfish. About 4 years ago I lost about 15 koi & goldfish due to a heron – 2 of the koi were over 12″ ( I had raised from 4″). At that point we covered our pond with a net we purchased from a farm catalog. The net stretches and has about 1 1/2″ holes. It looks like the nylon netting you would buy at a fabric shop, only made with stronger material and a larger weave. We have the net secured at the 4 corners with stakes that the net is able to go over. We also have some rocks holding the net down along some of the edges. Some of my plants get a little smashed as they grow and the pond is not very attractive looking, but I haven’t lost anymore fish since we have done this. The heron still comes around but can’t figure out how to get in the pond and leaves

      • Have a small pond business on Long Island, NY. Being close to the ocean heron are a problem in the area. I use multiple lengths of bamboo cut to lay across the ponds. It looks better then the nets and it prevents the heron from landing in the pond for fear that they wont have the room to fly off quickly. Some customers grow morning glory vine across the bamboo and it looks very natural, mean while you can still see the fish.

    • Seeing their population drop that drastically
      Can traumatize them. Mine hid for two weeks after one ghastly heron feeding fest. I now string fishing line across the pond to deter the heron.

  7. Early spring I introduced four “fingerling” koi to a 1200 gal. pond which is home to two other koi and seven mid-sized goldfish. One day in early May all four “young-uns” decided to swim up the 15′ stream to the small, uninhabited upper pond. (One of them also jumped the 3′ height into the waterfall…twice.) Sometime around the end of May two of them swam/floated back down the stream to their original home. They must be content now since they have stayed put for over four weeks., two in the upper pond, two in the big, lower one. Go Figure!

  8. My neighbor put around a hundred koi in my pond. Most of them were gone in a few months because the herons can see them from the sky. Some are left and are pretty big (14-16″) but really not that big for carp.

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