The large, beautiful Koi carp pond fish require a little extra care and attention to be paid to their pond and maintenance than other coldwater fish such as the goldfish, but nevertheless, Koi are an infinitely rewarding fish to keep if you have the time and inclination to dedicate to taking care of them!
If you are in the planning stage of setting up a Koi pond or are wondering if keeping Koi carp might be viable for you, one of the main factors to consider is whether or not you can afford to stock your pond with fish once all of the hard work is done! There is a huge variety of different types of Koi carp available on the market, beginning with around 22 main types of Koi of different colours, shapes and styles, plus a great many other hybrids and selectively cross-bred fish as well. While some Koi carp change hands for several thousands of pounds, and top level specimens from Japan may cost in excess of £50,000- yes, for one fish- buying Koi to start your pond off with doesn’t have to be expensive.
A range of different factors dictate the purchase price of Koi for the pet trade, and learning a little bit more about this can help you to suss out how much you should be paying for any particular Koi, and how to ascertain what type of Koi you wish to keep to start off with. Read on to find out about the range of factors that set the price of individual Koi carp, plus some advice on where to buy different types of Koi.
There is no simple answer to the question of “how much is a Koi carp?” Koi specimens can range from under £10 in some cases, to many thousands of pounds in others, and as well as the determining factors relating to the Koi themselves, there are also regional variations in price and popularity of the fish to take into account as well.
While Koi carp are often produced for the pet trade without much attention paid to selective breeding, Koi breeding is a serious business for some people, who seek to produce specific traits among their fish or develop particular bloodlines. Just as is the case with pedigree dogs and cats, top quality Koi and Koi from desirable bloodlines or show winning stock will cost exponentially more to buy than a random Koi from a pet shop or garden centre that is considered to be simply a common fish.
Inexpensive Koi carp will usually be fairly small, and will need to grow to maturity and their large size over time, with your care and attention. Ergo, Koi that are already relatively large will have already spent some years under the careful care and attention of another owner, and their price will rise accordingly to take this into account. Larger Koi are considered to be more desirable and sought after than smaller fish, as they are more visually impressive, and their price will reflect this.
Koi that are large in size will also be mature, and again, the age of the Koi in question will be connected to both its size and its purchase price. Mature Koi tend to be more expensive to buy than younger fish, however, there is a drop-off point where the age of the fish means that it may only have a limited lifespan left, and so the price may then fall. However, as Koi commonly live to over 20 years old and over 50 years in some cases, this stage is likely to be a long time coming if you want to wait it out!
The colour and colour pattern distribution of the fish is considered to be one of the most important factors in determining the desirability and so, price of any given fish. A Koi that is considered to display the best colour and pattern distribution of its species is the Koi that will be the most valuable! Generally, the most sought-after and highly valued Koi pattern is a design that mimics the Japanese flag: A white fish, with one lone red spot on the back of the head. A fish that displays these characteristics will be both very rare, and highly sought after! Any colour distribution that involves white with a lone red spot on any part of the body will also be in demand.
However, if you are not overly concerned about the colour or pattern displayed by your fish and how it conforms to popular types, you should be able to pick up Koi towards the bottom end of the price scale!
Of the 22 main types of recognized Koi, some are considered to be rarer and more in demand than others. So if you are keen to buy a fish that is of a particular type, and that type is considered to be unusual or sought after, you may have to look harder to find one and pay a higher price accordingly!
Deciding what kind of Koi you wish to buy, and how concerned you are with bloodline, colour, pattern and rarity, will dictate where you will need to shop to find your perfect fish! If you just want to buy a pretty fish of a relatively small size and young age that will grow to maturity under your care, you should find it fairly easy to shop for them, as aquatic centres, pet shops and water garden centres all commonly sell Koi carp.
However, if you intend to keep specialist Koi or want to buy a very specific fish, you will need to look further, check out classifieds by Koi carp breeders, and even consider making contacts with Koi importers or buyers from abroad.