Keeping Koi Fish

Koi have become very popular in recent years as pets. In Japanese, the word "Koi" commonly means carp, both wild and domesticated, but outside of Japan, Koi usually refers to the vividly colored varieties of carp that are specially bred and kept for ornamental purposes. The brilliant colors of Koi can come in an array of shades and hues, and include white, yellow, gold and black, among many others. There are also Koi that are simply a single solid color. There are even white and black Koi speckled with a variety of other colors too. Even more dramatic are the interesting patterns found on Koi. No two Koi have exactly the same colors and patterns, so even the pickiest prospective Koi enthusiast can find a fish to her liking.


Changing Colors

Every Koi hobbyists can expect their Koi to change as it grows. Part of the enjoyment in being a Koi owner is observing how the patterns of the Koi change as it grows and matures over the years. There is a long tradition of Koi rearing in Japan, where they are regarded as a symbol of resolute strength and unflagging perseverance. In China, a legend states that there is a point called Dragon Gate on the Yellow River, where if a Koi perseveres and succeeds in climbing the falls to reach the Dragon Gate, it will be transformed into a mighty Water Dragon. The Japanese, in turn, cultivate the Koi as a symbolic reminder of the strength of purpose and determination that are required to overcome obstacles and achieve lofty goals in life. In addition to being regarded as a symbol of these virtues, Koi are also seen as an art form in their own right. They are assessed and prized for their shape, color, pattern, elegance of movement, and overall appearance. The appreciation of Koi is regarded as an expression of an artist's sensibilities. Anyone who has seen the dramatic flashes of color and movement while sitting by the edge of a Koi pond will agree that Koi are living art.


Origins of Koi

In China, where they were originally brought to Japan from, the Koi fish is a symbol of prosperity and success. Black, gold and red are all considered auspicious colors in China, so it's no surprise why Koi are associated with wealth and good fortune. Even the ancient art of Feng Shui affirms this: the villas of tycoons and business magnates in China and Hong Kong invariably include Koi ponds as part of the landscaping. Not coincidentally, the word 'fish' in Chinese sounds like the Chinese word for 'plenty', and there's no better fish to ensure good luck and prosperity than the colored carp. You don't have to be an artist, a Feng Shui practitioner or a business tycoon to keep and enjoy Koi. Many people enjoy the wonderfully recuperative effects of being by the side of a pond and watching their colorful Koi swim by gracefully. The serenity and tranquility of a Koi pond can soothe even the most world-weary heart at the end of a hard day's work.

Koi aren't just ornamental fish, they make excellent pets too. They are intelligent, sociable and inquisitive, each with a personality as distinctive as their colors and patterns. With time, they can even be trained to eat from their owner's hands. Whoever said that fish were pets you couldn't interact with? Not Koi, that's for sure. Koi are long-lived creatures, the oldest, named Hanako, reportedly lived to be over 200 years old. More often though, they have a life span of about 30 years. Koi make enduring companions and pets.





A Good Koi Environment

Koi should ideally be kept in ponds, so they aren't the best option for apartment dwellers. If you happen live in a place that is large enough to have a Koi pond, keeping Koi can be an excellent way to add a visually appealing water feature to a garden or outdoor area. Enhancing a Koi pond with a dynamic addition like a waterfall or a fountain adds sound and movement, which can only serve to engage the senses even more. The sound of running water in a tranquil garden and the flashes of color from swimming Koi are a delight for both the eyes and ears. With so many good reasons to own Koi, there's no question why Koi have become popular as pets in recent years. Even outside of Japan, where they are already held in such high esteem. Koi could make excellent pets for you too!


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