The Japanese Koi Carp
Koi are colored varieties of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor ponds, water gardens and aquarium. It is an informal group of the colored variants of the carp with several ornamental varieties recognized by the Japanese.
The word “koi” originates from Japan, meaning “carp”. It includes both the dull grey fish and the brightly colored varieties. Koi varieties are distinguished by coloration, patterning, and scalation. Some of the major colors are white, black, red, orange, yellow, blue, and cream.
The common carp is a hardy fish, and koi retain that durability. Koi are cold-water fish, but benefit from being kept in the 15-25 °C (59–77 °F) range. With proper care, they resist many of the parasites that affect more sensitive tropical fish species, such as Trichodina, Epistylis and Ichthyophthirius multifilis. Water pH is important for maintaining koi’s health.
Koi are omnivorous fish and eat a wide variety of foods. Naturally, they are bottom feeders with a mouth configuration adapted for that. Some koi have a tendency to eat mostly from the bottom, therefore, food producers create a mixed sinking and floating combination food to encourage them to the surface. Thus, the fishes can be examined for parasites and ulcers when they come up to feed.
Koi often have good visual acuity thus recognize the persons feeding them and gather around them at feeding times. They can be trained to take food from one’s hand.
Feeding is not recommended when the water temperature drops below 10°C (50°F), however, their appetites improve as the water becomes warm.
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