The keeping of Koi Carp is a serious business with a huge following. People will pay good money for a Koi and all the associated paraphernalia for the pond.
The Koi carp originally came from Persia (Iran) where it lived in the sea. Some 2000 years ago it was introduced in Japan as a welcome change to their winter menu, especially in the mountain regions, where winters are very harsh and long. Through sheer luck, the brown and black colours changed sometimes to red or to blue, nowadays Koi come in all different colours and patterns.
Some 200 years ago the Japanese began the breeding of the Nishikigoi, which means coloured carp. They were very much encouraged by the Japanese emperor.So much so, that the old rice fields quickly became home to these beautiful coloured species of the common carp. Nowadays, there are more than 300 different varieties, and every self respecting Koi breeder will try to have his own creation on the market.
Today the breeding and keeping of Koi is a big industry worldwide. The Japanese are still regarded as the masters when it comes to breeding these lovely animals, especially in the Niigata Mountains where it all started. The end results of years of knowledge are fish with the best quality bloodlines and fabulous colours and patterns. Sometimes they even take 10 years to create a stunning new bloodline, this requires lots of patience. In Japan, having a Koi is said to bring luck and prosperity. Hence, even in Tokyo, where most people live in tiny apartments, there are big ponds where they can leave their Koi and visit it each week. Every Koi variety has its own name in Japanese, which is not always easy to remember.
The Koi carp is a strong fish, which can stand water temperatures from 4°C up to 35°C, although the ideal temperature is 22°C to 28°C.
The best species can reach 80 years of age and become more than 1 metre in length; this is however, dependent on the living conditions of the fish and relies on fish coming from the best bloodlines. Each fish is unique and a gem in your pond, thats why they are called living jewels.
Koi are very intelligent; they can learn tricks, recognize their boss and avoid nasty and dangerous situations.
They are a group animal and dont like to swim alone, they are also very friendly, calming and docile, in fact they will even come to eat from the palm of your hand. They live in perfect harmony with other pond inhabitants. With their nose and moustaches they locate food, which in a natural pond will be insects, algaes and plants. People choose to keep Koi out of love for these gracious and peaceful fish. Caring for a pond and its inhabitants, whether large or small can become a passion.
Most people will start with a few little Koi as an experiment. This however, can turn to buying more or bigger Koi. The temptation for some is to buy very expensive Koi and to be always looking for the best bloodlines which inevitably come at a premium. This has lead to an increase in the popularity of keeping Koi as a hobby.
The Spanish climate is ideal for Koi and as a result you can enjoy them in your pond all year round.
Koi keeping is not only relaxing, but you can sit for hours by the pond and simply watch and unwind and, after all, isnt that what life is all about?