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The History of Koi Fish

Koi are bred all over the world, and are considered the most popular freshwater ornamental pond fish. The Koi, known as Nishikigoi, is the mascot of Japan as well as the representative of its culture. "Nishiki" is Japanese for a very colorful piece of cloth. "Goi", or Koi, is Japanese for carp. As the hobby became more and more popular around the world, people referred to them simply as Koi.  Take a peek at our new Koi Protector.

Contrary to popular belief, Koi did not originate in Japan, but from parts of Eastern Asia and China. They were introduced nearly 2,500 years ago in their black form and were known as Magoi (black koi). Known to be an excellent source of nutrition, they were kept in the rice paddies to provide food during the winter. Some were brought nearer to the homes and kept in their own ponds making them easier to farm, and possibly as a form of decoration.  Peaken your Koi's color by providing proper nutrition with Koi Floating Food Sticks.

Nearly 700 years later in the Niigata region, color variations of the fish began to appear. These red mutations were separated from the Magoi and selectively bred together, creating new and beautiful color varieties.

The next reference to the colored carp came around 1800 with solid red, white and yellow fish being selectively bred. These were the only varieties of Koi until nearly 1830, when selective crossings of red and white fish produced the first Kohaku. More varieties followed including the Asagi and Higoi up until the late 1800's when many of the modern varieties became recognized.

At about the same time, the Leather Carp was introduced from Germany (eventually called Doitsu, meaning German). This is an almost completely scaleless carp, with skin resembling smooth leather. A cross between the Doitsu and the Asagi produced the Shusui.

It was not until 1914 that the colored carp were seen outside of Niigata when a batch were sent to the Great Tokyo Exhibition, and some of these were made a gift to the Emperor Taisho's son. During the 1920's the Kohaku and Sanke became established, followed in the 1930's by the Shiro, Bekko, and Showa.

The Koi hobby today boasts over 100 amazing color varieties. Every Koi is unique, and the patterns that are seen on a specific Koi can never be exactly repeated. The judging of Koi at exhibitions has become a refined art, which requires many years of understanding the relationship between color, pattern, size and shape, presentation, and a number of other key traits. Collecting Pond Koi has become a hobby enjoyed by millions of enthusiasts around the world.  Koi's take special care and Backyard Style carriers a number of products specifically meant for Koi fish like the Ultima II Pond Filter


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