Vibrant red, gleaming yellow and pearly white — koi fish have long been prized for their beauty and elegance. These stunning fish, which are often used for ornamental purposes in ponds, can be worth up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and even have beauty contests organized for them. However, there is more to them than meets the eye. Here are some interesting koi facts.
Koi Fish Originated From China, Not Japan
Although koi fish have been popular for decades in Japan and are commonly thought to have originated from there, they were actually from China. The Chinese originally brought this fish to Japan when they invaded the country around 200 BC. The earliest mention of the Koi in Japan dates back to 71 AD, presumably referring to koi fish belonging to the legendary Emperor Keikō.
Koi Fish Were Originally Black In Color
Koi are prized for their exquisite colors today, but they were originally black in color when the Chinese brought them to Japan. In the 1800s, Japanese breeders then introduced color into the species by breeding fish with naturally occurring mutations.
Koi Fish Are Prone To Getting Sunburnt
Humans are not the only one who can get sunburns — Koi can suffer from them too! Koi fish usually dwell in shallow water, making them prone to sunburns. Sunburns cause the coat of slime on their body to erode, making the fish slow and ill. Hence, it is imperative to keep koi fish in a place that is protected from sunlight. This is especially so if the fish are being kept in a pond, as opposed to an indoor aquarium.
Koi Fish Can Recognize Their Feeders
Koi tend to be smart and can eventually come to recognize their owners while being fed. With time, the act of feeding becomes positive reinforcement for the fish and helps them learn who their owner is. Although koi fish can have aggressive tendencies, they can behave more gently and cooperatively with people whom they recognize to be their owners.
Koi Fish Are Said To Bring Prosperity And Good Luck
Koi fish are prized not just for their beauty, but also because they symbolize good luck and prosperity in some East Asian cultures. In fact, each individual color has a symbolic meaning. For instance, gold koi represent wealth and prosperity, while colors like blue, red and grey symbolize positivity.
The Oldest Koi Fish Lived More Than 200 Years
Hanako was a koi fish reared in Japan, who lived to be 226 years old. Born in 1751, the red koi fish lived through numerous historical events such as the Industrial Revolution, American Revolution, French Revolution, the invention of electricity and World War One and Two. Since most koi live for 40 to 40 years, it is a wonder that Hanako managed to live for more than two centuries, finally passing away in 1977. Interestingly though, five other koi fish living in the same tank as Hanako also lived over a hundred years!