Hi Koi Enthusiasts,

Many of us have already been collecting and picking koi fish for our ponds. But, many of Koi enthusiasts probably don’t know how to choose good Koi for their pond or maybe this is the first time for them to pick up koi because they just have set up a new pond. There are meanings behind those beautiful koi colors and different color shows different meaning. There are people interpretation of Koi and some things that Koi can symbolize as well. Today, Ben’s Koi Farm will share some knowledge about koi colors meaning and how to choose young koi to give you some consideration for adjusting Koi Fish pond proportion and to make sure that you choose great potential young koi to grow and develop correctly in the long term.

As mentioned earlier,  Different meanings are associated with each color. Some of the major colors of koi fish are:

  • Black
  • White
  • Red
  • Yellow, orange, or gold
  • Bluish gray
  • Cream


The black koi is associated with successfully overcoming an obstacle. This symbol is great for those who have gone through a tough battle in life and have finally made it to a place of strength. In Japanese culture, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters are all symbolized by different-colored koi fish. The black koi is the symbol of the father.


The red koi often has the connotation of love. Not just any love—a very intense love. A red or orange koi is a symbol for the mother of the family, and a red or pink koi is a symbol of a daughter. Red koi can also symbolize power and bravery, both common associations with the color red.


The blue koi is often very masculine and can be associated with reproduction. Blue and white koi are symbols of the son of a family. As with anything blue, it also represents peace, tranquility, and calmness.


Koi often have a combination of orange and yellow. These gold-colored fish symbolize fortune and wealth.

As a Koi lover, we might be having a favorite variety of Koi, but the color balance in the pond is also important which mean it’s better to mix some of the other variety of Koi to make the pond proportion looks good.

When hobbyists are looking to buy small koi, They will select koi that appear to be more finished. the word “finished” that we mean is determined by a deep red color, solid black and bright white base. While the finished koi does have immediate appeal, often the finished look of young koi does not last.  As the koi gets older, the color can break apart and fade. Later on, you will end up with a koi that is not nearly as nice looking as when you bought it.  We can avoid this by purchasing young koi that are not yet finished and we try to predict the future of the Koi development.  It doesn’t easy tell the future of a koi and you need to develop an eye for what the colors will do.  Developing this eye and gain experience usually takes years, in order to completely understand what will frequently happen during Koi development.  We need to watch lots of koi grow and develop.  Selecting tosai with a lot of potentials is a skill that breeders can often take a lifetime to perfect.  But there are a few basic things to look for that can help you pick koi with more potential.

First look at the Hi (red).  On young koi, this is often a lighter more orange color and it will turn a darker red as it gets older.  The lighter orange is often referred to as “soft”.  Young koi with a dark red Hi are usually male and have a higher chance of losing their Hi in a couple years.

Next look at the Sumi (black).  Sumi is much harder to predict.  It can come in, fade away, and then come back years later.  Sometimes it takes years to come in, sometimes it never comes in.  Usually, if you have hard water (a high pH) then Sumi will develop faster.  On young koi, underlying sumi has a light bluish color.  This is developing black that has the potential to come in later.  A young koi with lots of dark inky black is again probably male and stands a better chance of losing the color sooner rather than later.

Lastly, we look at the white.  On a younger fish, the white can be a bit pinkish.  This is perfectly acceptable as the color plates are not fully developed.  The young koi can have very blurred sashi (leading scale edge of the Hi).  This is caused by the thin white scale covering the red scale under it.  As the koi ages and the white thickens the sashi should tighten up.

These are just a few basic traits to look for when shopping for young koi.  Of course, there are truly no guarantees when purchasing young fish, but even when they don’t turn out as expected you learn a lot by watching them develop.   And over the years, as your eye develops, your selections will improve.




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