Koi Carp: Koi Breeding

Koi carp are among the most popular pond fish worldwide and more and more pond owners are now among the hobby breeders. Here you can find out what the history of koi breeding looks like, what one generally needs to know about the reproduction conditions, and whether the carp is worthwhile as an investment.

Targeted breeding has not just existed since yesterday: Colored carp, which were considered to be particularly noble, were bred in Japan more than 2500 years ago. In addition, they were a symbol of strength, as they were the only fish that could swim up the wild Yangtze River with all its currents and waterfalls. If kept well, koi carp can live up to 80 years and reach a length of around 1 m.

However, nowadays the Koi is not only loved to be kept in its own pond. Even non-professionals are increasingly using the so-called “pearl of fish farming” for breeding purposes. There are now around 400,000 registered koi breeders who resell the raised fish as soon as they are big enough. With enough specialist knowledge and the right selection of young animals, koi breeding can develop into a profitable business. Nevertheless, the Japanese remain the most renowned and best koi breeders, which is why the import of Japanese young animals continues to boom. “Good” koi carp change hands at auctions for 4-, 5, or even 6-digit sums.

The Decision is Made: It Should Be Bred

Anyone who wants to earn money with koi breeding and not only pursue it as a hobby needs above all patience, skill, care – and a large portion of luck. The latter is especially important when selecting the young fish (“Kate Koi”). In general, you can buy young koi carp for between 100 and 500 € from professional breeders. The animals often imported these directly from Japan. You can get them cheaper in pet shops, but as a dedicated soon-to-be breeder you shouldn’t use them here. Because you often find animals here that have been sorted out by professional breeders and found not to be suitable for koi breeding. Of course, these fish aren’t bad, they just aren’t that good for breeding because of their characteristics.

Let’s get back to the import from Japan. If you want to come back to this offer, you look for a Koi online through the middleman. This will then come to Germany with the next delivery from Japan. The practical thing here is of course the experience of the importer, who takes care of the species-appropriate transport and all import formalities. Of course, there is also the option of choosing a fish on site. The end of the year is best here, as the breeders there select and sort out the juveniles in the last two months. If you decide to buy fish abroad, you should make sure that you have all the necessary forms with you. This includes, for example, the certificate of origin, all the necessary customs papers, and a proven examination by a veterinarian on site.

Incidentally, professionals advise against breeding and using koi carp specifically as an investment. After all, they are very sensitive creatures – too much can go wrong for that.

Criteria for Successful Koi Breeding

The prerequisites for successful koi breeding differ greatly from keeping a “normal” koi carp. Breeding involves a higher expenditure of time and is also associated with additional costs. In general, even in the beginner’s area, as a breeder, you can calculate around one euro for construction and material costs per liter of water.

First and foremost, a large pond with a volume of at least 15,000 liters and a depth of 2 m is required so that the Koi have enough space to swim, relax and overwinter. In addition, the water temperature should be constantly between 20 and 25 degrees. Because the fish feel most comfortable at this water temperature. In addition, a well-functioning filter is mandatory. In order for the Koi to stay healthy, you should accordingly test the water values ​​regularly. As additional points, there is also suitable food and, of course, protection from predators such as cats, herons, and the like.
A common problem in koi breeding is the sensitivity of the animals. If certain housing conditions are not correct, they are sometimes very susceptible to bacterial infections or germs. Most feared here is the koi herpes virus: it is highly infectious and dangerous. Therefore it is a notifiable animal disease. Animals from an affected herd may no longer be given away.

The Trade in Koi Carp

If you have now gone to the Koi breeders or just want to find out about the whole breeding topic from professionals, a visit to trade fairs is worthwhile. Here you get advice and tips at first hand and you can learn a thing or two, for example, what a koi needs to have in order to be “good for breeding”.

How much a Koi is worth depends on three factors: the color, the body, and the quality of the skin. If your Koi shows good results, the price offered at auctions may well skyrocket. Values ​​between 5,000 and 15,000 euros are then not uncommon.

Of course, you can not only sell but also buy at such a fair. However, beginners in this field should not hope for an immediate lucky strike. Buying a koi directly, which will later bring in tens of thousands of euros, is rather unlikely. Choosing the young requires just as much skill as breeding koi. After all, hobby breeding is based on the selected fish. Some factors or predispositions can be seen directly in the young animal, everything else is and remains a matter of feeling. So it often happens that experienced Koiprofis buy young animals that “don’t look like much”. However, these then develop into real gems in later years. The key here is years of experience and a trained eye on the part of the breeder. Other breeders proceed differently, buy huge amounts of juvenile fish and bet that there is a particularly valuable specimen among them.

In the end, it remains the same for all hobby breeders that koi carp are an asset to every garden pond – regardless of whether they are worth just a few hundred euros or ten times as much. And that the koi fever doesn’t let you go so quickly once it has grabbed you is also common knowledge.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *