Koi enjoy unbroken popularity in garden ponds. There are many reasons for that. It should be mentioned, for example, that a direct relationship can be established with these fish. In addition, their sheer size and the enormous variety of cultivated forms are also fascinating. Above all, however, it is the colors of the animals that attract us humans and that change with the development of the koi.

Koi Development

Like most other creatures, the Nishikigoi, which is the official name of the koi carp, is not born fully developed. On the contrary: On the way from the egg to the adult fish, it has to cover a relatively long distance. Not only does the body shape of the animal change, but also the color or colors. The hatched larva of a koi can hardly be recognized at first. No wonder: it is only about two to three millimeters in size. Basically, only the two black eyes are noticeable. The body itself is largely colorless and often downright glassy. The larvae bear no resemblance to a finished fish. However, even at this very early stage of koi development, they begin to look for their own food.

Note: Anyone who has self-bred koi in their pond for the first time should not be alarmed by the colorlessness of the animals. This is completely normal and changes relatively quickly.

First color

At the tender age of two to three weeks, the baby Nishikigoi begins to develop its first color. Which color or which colors can then be seen specifically depends on the species and the cultivated form . There are now an incredible number of cultivated forms. They are not only responsible for the physique, the size and the shape of the fins, but also for the coloring. The first color characteristics allow conclusions to be drawn about the further Koi development, but are still a long way from the final color intensity. The later dominating color can at least be guessed at. The following colors dominate the most popular cultivated forms:

  • Kohaku: white base color, red markings on the back and head
  • Sanke: white base color with red and black spots
  • Showa: black ground color with white and red spots
  • Utsurimono: black ground color with white or red or yellow spots
  • Bekko: white or red or yellow ground color with black spots
  • Asagi: blue back and blue and white scales
  • Koromo: white primed color pattern with black shading
  • Hikarimuji-mono: different colors, always one color, shiny metallic
  • Tancho: white ground color with a red, round spot on the head
  • Kinginrin: silvery or golden shimmering scales

It goes without saying that intense colors such as red are easier to see at this early stage. The parts of black also clearly stand out at this point in time. The intensities of the colors change as the Koi develops further.

Note: At just a few weeks old, most of the colors that can be seen are still very pale. They merely indicate a tendency; it is entirely possible that a different development will occur.

colors change

With the further growth of the Koi and with increasing age, the colors also change. They usually become more intense or stronger over time. A rather delicate shade of yellow can turn into a bright orange or even red. More orange baby koi often develop a strong red color over time. Black spots often disappear completely or new ones form elsewhere. It is very difficult to say exactly how and when this Koi color development takes place. It is very likely that the housing conditions and the feed have something to do with it. In any case, there are no general rules. Basically, koi can change their color throughout their lives. Since they are known to get very old, you should definitely be prepared for one or the other color surprise.

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