There are numerous varieties of Koi and it is the result of selective breeding and cross-development, which created different varieties and sub varieties and each has unique name. These Koi are developed from common carp.
The Asagi is one of the oldest breeds of Koi. Asagi Koi can be easily recognized by its shade of blue. As a matter of fact, “Asagi” is a Japanese word for pale blue or indigo. That’s why the ideal Asagi’s back all the way up to its head is covered with a defined diamond shape of a non-metallic pale blue to dark blue scales.
In fact, about 160 years ago when Japanese purposely used Magoi (a food, wild black fish) in order to transform it into Asagi. Before Koi were ever imagined, Asagi is the first recognized as ornamental carp.
Asagi Koi can be easily recognized by its shade of blue. As a matter of fact, “Asagi” is a Japanese word for pale blue or indigo. That’s why the ideal Asagi’s back all the way up to its head is covered with a defined diamond shape of a non-metallic pale blue to dark blue scales.
There are different types of Asagi Koi. If splotches of red pigmentation appear on the Koi’s dorsal fin, gill plates, belly and tail – it is called “Hi”.
However, if the Asagi Koi has more red coloration than usual, it is known as “Hi Asagi”.
For instance, that you noticed an additional line of white scales between its blue and red pigmentation, it is the other type of Asagi Koi called as “Taki Asagi”.
Most of the time, the head of the Asagi will be white or very pale blue; but if the head develops red coloration, the Koi is then considered to be “Menkaburi Asagi”.
On the other hand, the “Asagi Mizu” is light blue in pigmentation and there’s a chance that you may not notice any red at all. Moreover, the “Asagi Konjo” is very dark Asagi Koi to the extent of having black appearance.
Among today’s many dazzling and stunning varieties of Koi, keeping the Asagi is keeping history alive.
Most of the genetic make up of Koi varieties today, do have Doitsugoi blood. Doitsu Hariwake, Doitsu Kohaku, Doitsu Sanke, Doitsu Showa and Doitsu Yamato Nishiki just to name a few. Doitsu Koi went through centuries of selective breeding and most of the time rated highest rating fish can receive.
In the late 1800’s German Koi were imported in Japan to improve the supply of edible fish, since it did not have scales with a bulkier body shape which means more meat to eat. Also, another purpose of importation is to cross-breed the German carp with the indigenous carp.
Two German scientists, selected 40 fry of the best quality available in their country, then transported all of it to Japan. Only 7 carp survived the trip as it is during the Japanese-Russo War. 6 leather carp and 1 mirror carp turned out to be the genetic backbone of Doitsu as we know today.
To compare with Japanese carp, the body shape of Doitsu carp was more rounded and shorter. They also have a better growth rate than local carp. However, they mature early and do not reach the same old age as Japanese carp. They even show less resistance towards diseases. Fortunately, as observed by scientists; the offspring of Doitsu carp shows very hybrid vigor as a result when it is used in breeding with other carp. Doitsu Koi is sometimes called as “Mirror-Scale Koi” because along its back, you will find a mirror-scale dorsal line. If not available at Koi’s back, you can find the mirror-scale lateral line on its side.
There are several scalations to be found on Doitsu carp. Doitsu Koi with scales only found on the back are called Kawigoi or mirror carp. Those Koi without scales at all are known as Kawas Goi or leather carp. Additionally, a Koi with scales on the back as well as the lateral line are called as Kagami goi or striped carp.
Most of the genetic make up of Koi varieties today, do have Doitsugoi blood. Doitsu Hariwake, Doitsu Kohaku, Doitsu Sanke, Doitsu Showa and Doitsu Yamato Nishiki just to name a few. Truly, Doitsu Koi went through centuries of selective breeding and most of the time rated highest rating fish can receive.
Kin Gin Rin is abbreviated to "Gin Rin" by Koi hobbyist, breeders and sellers. It is literally means "golden silver reflective scales". However, Kin Gin Rin is not a variety of Koi. It is a reference to a Koi's scale.
Kin Gin Rin is abbreviated to "Gin Rin" by Koi hobbyist, breeders and sellers. It is literally means "golden silver reflective scales". Kin Gin Rin Koi was developed by Mr. Elizaburo Hoshino. It was 1929 when Mr. Hoshino came across a fisherman who had caught Magoi with many sparkling scales that catches his eyes. That fish was used in the development of Gin Rin.
Kin Gin Rin is not a variety of Koi. It is a reference to a Koi's scale. For example, on a red fish such as a Kohaku, when Gin Rin appears - it has a gold appearance that you can easily notice. Scales appear golden when they cover red pigment. On the other hand, the silver effect is due to the presence in the scale of a chromatophone. Scales appear silvery when covering white or black pigment. This sparkling effect is strongest on young Koi. However, the scales get thicker and will often fade away or sparkling effect becomes less visible as the Koi ages.
There are four types of Gin Rin scales. Diamond Gin Rin is the most common as appears like cracked glass or brushed aluminum over the entire scale. The second type is Kado Gin or known as Edge Gin. Each scale is edged in silver as exactly as it sounds. It is the most uncommon type and least preferred. While Beta Gin is hard to find and with highly valued type. It is shining like a mirror because the whole surface of the scale is being covered with silver. Pearl Gin Rin is the last type of Gin Rin scales and by far rarest of all. It seems that someone carefully mounted a diamond on each center of the scale, similar to pearl.
If you would like to search for a good Gin Rin Koi, a Koi should have two or more complete rows of scales from the shoulder and end at the tail. Remember to avoid those jumbled Gin Rin scales and just look for a neatly organized scale. It should be evenly lined up in rows and with consistent shine.
The Gin Rin Koi is flashy and glitzy that seem to be covered with diamonds. It is highly reflective and you will notice a brilliant enhancement that sparks when it catches the light. Your pond will surely shine by this so-called "Living Jewels."
Kohaku is one of the most beautiful and popular Koi in the world. It is very simple, yet very elegant variety. It has been said that most of the hobbyist started and
finished with the Kohaku.
Kohaku means red and white and was established in Japan in early 1800. During that time, Japanese rice farmers observed a red and white mutations started occurring within the common carp. Then, in 1888, Mr. Kunizo Hiroi bred a female Koi with redheaded marking similar to cherry blossoms. After that, all of the well known Kohaku bloodlines were established.
Kohaku is one of the most beautiful and popular Koi in the world. It is very simple, yet very elegant variety. It has been said that most of the hobbyist started and finished with the Kohaku.
Kohaku are white Koi with red markings. Its value depends on the white skin, since it should be pure, no yellowing, with no stains or other blemishes. Also the intensity of red patterns should be artistically well-balanced. In regards with the edges of the red markings, it must be sharp and clear against the white backgrounds. However, take into consideration that in very young Koi the red starts out as a pale yellow, then changes to orange and finally to a beautiful red.
In general, Kohaku are sensitive to water conditions. In fact, in hard water they can develop shimi or small black freckles on their skin. But don't worry, because the soft water can control black freckles from forming. Most, of the hobbyists preferred female Kohaku because of their larger body. They are also likely to have a truly lustrous red pattern last longer than with males. The reason behind that, males tend to develop the red colors faster than females. However, their pattern also diminishes easier and does not last longer than females.
There are hundreds of red patterns available in the market today, but let me provide you some of the popular Kohaku.
Tancho, is a pure white Koi with a single red crown-like marking on the head between the eyes. Maruten is similar to Tancho but aside from single roundish red marking in the center of the head, it also has red markings on the rest of the body. Next is, Ohmoyo. It is a large and unbroken one step pattern extending from head to tail. Then, Nidan is a two step pattern that are not interconnected. While, Straight Hi is interconnected red patches of a single and continuous Hi pattern.
One of the most popular is Sandan with three step pattern. The four step is called Yondan pattern and the five step is known as Godan pattern. On the other hand, Inazuma is a zigzag pattern that has resemblance to a lightning strike. Another type of recognized patterns is Kuchibeni. It is so unique by having red on a mouth similar to a red lipstick.
Koromo means "robed" or "veiled", which are similar to the Kohaku with white skin and patterns. The only difference is the additional vignette on the colored
markings. The unique patterns are well appreciated in Koromo.
In 1950s, the Japanese have developed Koromo by crossbreeding of Asagi and Kohaku. Koromo means "robed" or "veiled", which are similar to the Kohaku with white skin and patterns. The only difference is the additional vignette on the colored markings. The unique patterns are well appreciated in Koromo.
There are three varieties of Koromo. First is Budo Goromo. It is almost similar to Kohaku having a white body with patches, however, it defers with the blue grape like clusters over its red markings. The shape of its scales looks like bunches of grapes. The second is, Ai Goromo which is also similar to Kohaku, but it has a black or blue edging over its red scales. The head Hi is completely free of blue color. Ai Goromo was bred by crossbreeding a female Asagi to a male Kohaku. Last is Sumi Goromo. You will notice a dark burgundy is edging over the red scales. The sumi appears on the body and also on the head Hi.
The unusual colors of Koromo Koi are one of the reason why it always stands out in a Japanese Koi Pond and Water Garden.
Tancho Sanke is characterized by a red circle over its head where the rest of the body is white with beautiful black spots. In breading the desired traits are that the colors are symmetrical and placed in visual balance in reference to the other features of the fish.
The beautiful pattern and balance of colors make it a perfect example of a great looking Koi. The brilliant white color is stunning and eye catching. Its body and the form are very exquisite, while the depth of black and rich vibrant color is truly a site to behold. The patterns of the Koi are very unique and only few of the Tancho arise from a spawn, thus looking for the best Tancho is just close to seeking for a needle in a haystack.
The white body color of the Tancho Sanke is typically known as shiroji or white ground. It is distinct for its sumi or black pattern with the lone at the head. There should be no sumi that may be seen on the head.
The red spot in the head of the Koi is indicative of the state bird of Japan along with the Tancho crane and the Japanese flag. This variety of Tancho is now becoming famous and accepted by Koi breeders and hobbyists worldwide.
Taisho Sanke, or Sanke for short, are koi with a solid white base overlaid by patterns of both red and black. It is commonly said that a high quality Sanke pattern begins with a great Kohaku pattern, to which the black is a welcome complement.
Showa Sanshoku, more commonly known as Showa, are koi that display white and red/orange patterns over top of a black base color. Showa can be easily confused with Sanke. In Showa, the black patterns will wrap all the way around the body, instead of appearing only on the top half of the body. Also, Showa will have black patterns on the head, and Sanke will not.
The red, white and black should be balanced about the body evenly, with crisp, clean edges between each color.
Tancho is a hugely popular variation of Kohaku, in which the only red pattern appears as a single red dot on the head. The symmetry and placement of the Tancho mark are main factors in determining the quality of any particular koi. Tancho are highly regarded in the Japanese koi industry for their resemblance to the Grus japonensis, or Red-Crowned Crane.
Although the Tancho mark can appear in many varieties of koi, the word "Tancho" by itself is almost always used to refer to Tancho Kohaku.
Shiro Utsuri are koi with a black base overlain by areas of white. A high quality Shiro Utsuri will combine clean white patterns with a deep, lacquer-like black. A split head of both black and white is also an important requirement for top quality specimen.
Hi Utsuri combine the lacquer-black base color with patterns of deep red or orange. Red Hi Utsuri are superior to orange. Many Hi Utsuri will display a dull orange pattern at a young age, which may develop into a brighter and more desirable red pattern as the koi grows and matures.
Ki Utsuri, by far the rarest type of Utsuri, combine patterns of yellow over a lacquerish black body. Ki Utsuri are judged by the same criteria as Shiro and Hi Utsuri.
Shusui are the scaleless (doitsu) version of Asagi. The blue net pattern is replaced by a single row of scales along the dorsal line at the top of the back. Like Asagi, the belly, gill plates, sides and fins of Shusui display an orange or red pattern.
Matsuba are koi that combine a solid, metallic colored base with a black net pattern. The base color of Matsuba can vary. Gin Matsuba have a white base color, while Ki Matsuba have a yellow base color, and Aka Matsuba have a red base.
Platinum Ogon, also known as Purachina Ogon, are solid, metallic-white koi. A clear white head and unblemished white body are crucial to the quality of a Platinum Ogon.
Yamabuki Ogon are koi of a solid, metallic-yellow color. As with other Ogon koi, a clean, unblemished head and body are important.
Kujaku are koi with a solid white base, accented by a black net pattern along with patterns of red/orange/yellow. The net pattern is created by a black edging on each individual scale.
Hariwake display a solid metallic-white base coupled with bright, vibrant patterns of yellow or orange. The bright, luminous white of Hariwake differs from the softer, matte-white of Kohaku and Sanke. Hariwake with a bright yellow pattern are commonly referred to as Lemon Hariwake.
Although technically they are the Doitsu version of Hariwake, scaleless white koi with patterns of orange or yellow are commonly referred to as Kikusui. The bright, metallic colors of Hariwake are also present in Kikusui.
Kumonryu are scaleless (doitsu) koi with patterns of grey or white combined with black. Probably the most intriguing variety of koi, Kumonryu will completely change their pattern many times throughout their life. They can go anywhere from solid white to solid black, or any conceivable combination in between.
Beni Kumonryu are Kumonryu with the presence of a third color, red. Just like Kumonryu, Beni Kumonryu can change their pattern completely many times throughout their lifespan.
Chagoi are solid colored brown or bronze koi with a subtle reticulated net pattern. Although they are not nearly as flashy or colorful as other types of koi, Chagoi are still a welcome addition to koi ponds. Because of their close genetic relationship with wild carp, Chagoi are some of the friendliest and most docile koi available. This makes them the easiest to train to hand feed, and other varieties of koi may follow suit when they see a Chagoi hand feeding.
Soragoi, similar to Chagoi, are koi of a solid grey or silver color, combined with a subtle net pattern. Also like Chagoi, mature Soragoi are very docile and will be among the first koi in your pond to learn to hand feed.
Ochiba Shigure, commonly referred to as Ochiba, combine the brown/bronze of Chagoi with the silver/grey of Soragoi. The name Ochiba Shigure translates as "autumn leaves falling on water", a reference to the silver and bronze pattern.
Goromo are, in essence, a Kohaku with blue or black edging added to each red scale. There are three sub types of Goromo: Budo Goromo have a blue edging outside of the scales that creates a grape-like cluster effect; Ai Goromo have blue edging only on the inside of the red scales; Sumi Goromo have black edging on the scales that can make the patterns appear almost completely black.
Goshiki are koi with a solid white base with black and blue edging, and red and black patterns overlaying the white, black and blue colors of the base. Goshiki translates as "five colors".
Kikokuryu are scaleless (doitsu) koi with a white base combined with areas of black inside the single row of scales, along the back outside of the row, and on on the head around the eyes and nose. Kikokuryu are commonly thought to be metallic versions of Kumonryu.
Shiro Bekko are koi with a solid white (Shiro) body and areas of black pattern appearing on top of the white. It is simliar to the Sanke without the Red or (hi) coloration.