Want to know how to care for a koi?

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Question Maneki : You want to know how to care for a koi Hello. I have no experience with fish. I have a puppy and two doves, a cockatiel, and three parakeets, and a grandmother to take care of if. I am very interested in Japanese culture, and I am interested in getting a koi / carp. I live in Arizona, and this fish will be inside, where it becomes the hottest i 80, the coldest would be 50, but it was not until about two weeks in winter. I’m still a student so I have plenty of time to take care of things. I want to everything to maintain. How long do they live? What is the annual cost? How big is the tank? What is the lighting? What are the plants? What should I feed them? How to clean a tank? What are the accessories? What do whatever it takes to manage a fish? Do I have two instead of one, because of social needs? I’m not 7, I will not be biting the glass or put the fish in any dispute. Is it necessary to “socialize” with them whatsoever? What tempurature do I need to keep water? Do I have any lighting? So where can I buy one? Best answer: Answer by leonard s


What do you think? Answer below!

8 thoughts on “Want to know how to care for a koi?
  1. Start with a 10 gallon tank and some gold fish (mini koi). Get used to that and scale it up to a pond. Of course the infrastructure of filtration and shade is another step.

  2. Koi carp cannot be kept in a tank environment. The smallest types get to around 1.5-2ft long, the largest push 4ft long, and exceptionally messy to boot!

    In order to even think about keeping one of the smaller types indoors you’d need a minimum of a 250-350 gallon tank, that’s long and wide rather than tall, that would have to be over-filtered and the temperature closely monitored as these are coldwater fish and may even require a chiller in the summer (which are three-four times more expensive to buy and run than heaters!).

    for them to live their full lifespan they’d need a 800-1500 gallon minimum pond that has to be deep as well as wide to allow for turning and swimming without bumping into anything. and the pond would have to be filtered also, not just a hole dug in the ground with water in it!

  3. The oldest Koi was 226 at the time of her death. In captivity they live for 25-35+ years if properly cared for.

    Annual cost will be higher the first year as you would need to purchase/build something to house your fish, you need a very good filtration sysetem(if you go with anything large right away[like 300 gallons +] use a pond filtration system, even if it’s an aquarium as you will eventually need to upgrade… Why have to buy more than 1 filter?) You will also need lighting that is appropriate for whatever size tank you decide to get… They sell lights according to tank size.
    After that first year All you would need to purchase is food(flake or pellets[mine prefer flake food]) and whatever your filter requires to work properly… just follow the instructions that come with it. You may need to replace the occasional light bulb, but they last a LONG time so not that often.

    A full-grown Koi should have at least 1000 gallons. They get to about 3 feet long over time in captivity, so start off with a tank of at least 75 gallons.

    Plants are not necisary in your tank, they are optional. While they do help to add air, and help keep your tank clean, Koi (and other fish in the Carp family, such as Goldfish) LOVE to eat the roots of live plants. But if you would like live plants they offer a very wide selection at this site:
    http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/categ.cfm?pCatId=766
    And they offer a 14-day warranty on their products

    As far as cleaning your tank goes… As long as you have an appropriate sized filter cleaning should be minimal. You should do a water change of 1/2 to 3/4 once a month, every month. You don’t have to have any special type of equipment for this, just go to a hardware store and buy some vynil tubing, at least 3/4″ diameter, and use it as a suction hose. Simply place 1 end in your tank and the other near a:
    DOOR(as long as it leads outside)
    WINDOW(only if your tank is on a stand, or at a level where the top is higher than the bottom of the window),
    TOILET, OR BATHTUB.
    Suck on the end not in the tank, and place in one of the locations on the list. Wherever you decide to use as a place to discard water MUST be lower than the top rim of your tank… The hose requires gravity in order for the suction to be maintained. (don’t hesitate to e-mail me if this confuses you still) SO, you let it go till half the water is sucked out, stop it by pulling the end in the tank out, then you connect the end not in your tank to your shower head, and turn it on to refill. Easy as that.

    Accesories are not needed.

    All you need to handle a fish is an appropriate sized net.

    You can get more than 1 if you like, I’ve found that my fishes are much happier when they have a buddy… Don’t hesitate on Goldfish either! Koi and goldfish are both in the Carp family, and get along famously! They get very large too, my largest Goldfish is up to 11 inches now, and my largest Koi is at 13 inches currently.

    As far as socializing… well just read this:
    http://www.arborman.com/koioldest.htm

    You DO NOT need a heater for Koi and goldfish they prefer colder temperatures, so room temperature will be fine. Mine like to get ice cubes with green beans frozen inside for treats!

    Complete list of everything you’ll need:
    *Tank of at least 75 gallons – I found mine(just the tank) on craigslist for $ 100.00 (as opposed to a store for around $ 225)
    **If you don’t plan on upgrading to a pond, then get an Aquaclear sponge-style filter of the appropriate size – $ 80 to $ 100
    *100 Lbs of gravel – should only cost around $ 15 to $ 20 per 50lb bag – Go with a light color it’ll show off your fish better. I MUST STRESS go with a blonde color rock… no pink, blue, purple, black…just no outrageous colors, and whatever you do, if you decide to put a color in there use only 1 color. TRUST ME this is coming from experience.
    **Since you’re going for the Japanese ‘thing’ try adding some river rocks, and water lillies. I’ve been able to find River rocks (the smooth, polished kind) at my local Dollar Store. Again, for the live plants: http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/categ.cfm?pCatId=766
    *A Light of the appropriate size $ 60 to $ 80 (comes with Lightbulb)
    ****** Stress coat ****** It’s a chemical that removes harmful chlorene from your water. Follow instructions on back for dosing. Under $ 20
    *Vynil tubing – Less than $ .25 per foot (get the footage you need to reach one of those destinations, plus about 10 feet extra for good measure)
    *Food

    Once you have these things, and your tank is all set water and all you need to let it cycle before you put in ANY fish. Let it cycle for 2 weeks NO LESS. Cycleing INCLUDES runnung the filter night and day(of course) and turning the light on in the morning when you wake up, and off at night when you go to sleep(which should continue when you get fish too… They do sleep!). After that 2 weeks you should have some algae built up in there DO NOT SCRAPE IT OFF, instead get a large Pleco or an algae eater. Aweek after that you can get your Koi and/or goldfish.

    Now to answer your last question… Where to get them??
    This site: http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/categ.cfm?pcatid=900
    Yes, it’s the same one as for the plants. liveaquaria is a very good site to purchase fish from, their fish have always arrived in excellent condition for me, and they offer a 14-day warranty if anything should go wrong. get the smaller size – they grow pretty fast.

    Thats pretty much all I can think of at the moment… As I said before if you have any other questions feel free to e-mail me at snoops12312@yahoo.com

    Good Luck!

  4. I don’t mean to be a wet blanket but I really think koi rearing should be left to more experienced aquarists, same as for marine fish. If you have no experience with keeping fish, it is suggested that you do not rush things but cut your teeth with keeping some tropical freshwater fish first. You could also try a few goldfish (contrary to Da_Gibb they are not ‘mini-koi’), though I say that goldfish are really intermediate level difficulty. Get a good beginner’s aquarium & fish care reference book, your fish keeping hobby will be smoother & more enjoyable if you get the right info from the start.
    Koi are very beautiful fish and good specimens are way more expensive than the usual fish you find in shops. And as others have mentioned, they are pond fish and a properly built pond with all the necessary equipment & decor does not come cheap. No point wasting all that money if your inexperience results in major mistakes, even more important is that a beautiful creature’s life is at stake.
    If you are interested in something it is not necessary to possess it. Many experienced aquarists do not keep koi but still appreciate the beauty of these fish. You can visit other well maintained koi ponds to delight in the sight, especially if you’ve the opportunity to visit Japan.

  5. Koi can grow upto a meter long but mostly grow upto a foot long easily. They need lots of space. They are not belong to gallon tank. They are pond fish. There are food which u can buy in fish store which is specially made for them. They live happly if u keep them in group. They are hardy fish. They can live upto and they need sunlight 3 hours per day.

    Koi keeping may be quite expensive as you said that you are a student.

  6. Origin : China/Japan/S.E. Asia. Most now from USA.

    Maximum Size : Three Feet and up

    Temperature : Survives fine in outdoor ponds

    Substrate : Likely to eat any gravel on bottom

    Attitude : Always hungry

    Foods : Koi pellets with color additives

    Breeding Season : Spawns in spring when water warms up

    Breeding Age : Two years

    Number of Eggs : Usually in the thousands

    Egg Incubation Time : 2 to 5 days depending on temperature

    Fry Food : Finely powdered food

    Size: Koi grow huge – as big as a river carp (they are still carp). For this reason, I recommend keeping them in outdoor ponds. They will bump into and break aquarium filter stems and heaters.

    Wintering: If your pool is three to four feet deep, your koi will winter better outdoors. If you bring yours inside, keep them as cool as possible. Filter them well and feed them very little.

    Threats: During the day, fish-eating birds and kids are the biggest threat to koi. At night, owls and raccoons pose the biggest threat. In all practicality, overfeeding and poor water quality present the biggest problems.

    Space Requirements: If you can’t give them 50 to100 gallons of water per koi, stick to goldfish. Koi need lots of room to grow. They also like to jump out of aquariums and small ponds.

    Foods: You won’t have any trouble finding good koi foods from fishstore. koi will eat Cheerios and bread. Koi also love any plants they find in their water — especially duckweed (and, unhappily, including water lilies). Koi ignore water hyacinths. Well, sometimes they tear them up for the fun of it, but they usually won’t eat them.

    Mixers: Frogs and snails mix well. Goldfish sort of mix with koi but get elbowed out of the way at feeding time. Koi are very enthusiastic chow hounds.

    Spawning: Anytime your pond warms up 15 degree in the spring, your koi start wallowing in the shallows. Female koi spew eggs in unbelievable amounts. They probably eat most of them. Only a few hundred survive from each spawn (and that’s plenty).

    Fry Food: Powdered fry food works fine. Newly hatched brine shrimp work better. Even if you feed your koi fry nothing, some will survive.

    Summary: Relaxing next to a pool of inquisitive koi, flipping them a pellet, enjoying their antics, sipping a lemonade … What’s not to like?

  7. I too am into Japanese culture and art. You cannot keep a koi inside in an aquarium……that is not how the Japanese do it anyway. Koi are breed to live in outdoor ponds..even there coloration is meant to be viewed from the top.

    however, goldfish are a part of Japanese culture, they love orandas, and those smaller types of goldfish are often kept in home aquariums. I would suggest a about a -50-75 gallon aquarium with a pair of orandas…standard aquarium lighting is fine, You need the best of filtration however, there are several options for that…goldfish will usually eat live plants making a mess in your aquarium…so i recommend artificial plants unless you don’t mind the cleanup. there are many good prepared foods..the best are from a company called hikari(Japanese)…if you need any more info..email me through my profile link.

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