Koi (or nishikigoi) are decorative varieties of the common carp, bred in Japan and are also sometimes called Japanese carp. They were originally found in Asia and Central Europe, and were then domesticated in China and South East Asia. They were able to spread to many new locations throughout Japan because of their ability to survive and adapt to different climate and water conditions. This carp was first bred for colour mutations in China and a specialised breeding in the Prussian carp led to the creation of the goldfish, introduced to Japan in the 16th Century and Europe in the 17th Century.
The Difference between Koi and Goldfish
Koi and Goldfish were developed from different carp species, and although they can breed, offspring are born sterile. Koi have distinct barbells on their lip, that are no visible on goldfish and goldfish tend to be smaller with more variety in body, fin and tail forms.
Varities of Koi Fish
Koi have uncountable variations of colours and patterns. The most common colours are white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream. The most easily identified have been named a number of different categories, the most popular category is Gosanke.
We have put together a visual list of the types of Koi. Click here to view it.