Sunday, August 29, 2010



Koi Colors

Posted: 29 Aug 2010 05:15 AM PDT

Koi Colors
by: David Maguire

The beauty of Nishikigoi, or koi fish, is that they come in a variety of colors and diverse patterns that never cease to amaze its audience. With a name that literally means brocaded or decorated carps, they continue to captivate many people with their unending assortment of colors and varieties. Koi colors vary depending on their classification, although hobbyists continue to develop different types and classifications for these magnificent aquatic creatures.

To be able to easily identify the many types of this fish, familiarity with koi colors is important. For example, Bekko can be easily recognized since its main characteristic is a single colored koi with black stone patterns (or sumi) on their body; Shiro Bekko is white-skinned, Aka Bekko is red-skinned, and Ki Bekko (which is the rarely seen) has a striking bright lemon yellow color.

Many features are also included to their already beautiful colors. In the case of Hikarimono (also known as Ogon koi), where the fish are single-colored, they have metallic scales that adds luster to their features. The name Hikarimono is a derivative of the Japanese word "hikari" meaning metallic, and the word "mono" that refers to its characteristic of being single-colored. These days, this variety is commonly being crossbred with GinRin (which means silver "Gin", and gold "Rin") to create an effect for scales that are even shinier than the common metallic koi fish.

In some cases, it's the pattern of these colors that make up the name of the koi variations. Example of this is the Shusui, which is a Japanese name that means "Autumn Water". Its name was given because of the color blue along its lateral line with red colorations on the underside of the body that has an effect of falling leaves during the autumn season. Mirror scales that are seen from the back of the head to the tail can almost be seen as flowing water above their red color. Many of these names are pretty poetic like in the case of a Shusui variety, Hana Shusui ("Hana" in Japan means "flower") where the red coloration has a wavy pattern that creates a flowery effect.

However, there is one variety of koi fish that seem to stand out because of an odd behavior of changing color patterns. Kumonryu is a scaled Doitsu koi with markings around its body. Often seen as black with white markings in the winter and white with black markings during spring and summer, to this date no one can tell what changes its color. Some theories that have been made are changes made by temperature or PH levels of water. This type of koi is developed by breeding a Shusui with a Matsukawa Bakke.

These fascinating creatures continue to spark our interest and curiosity with their ever changing characteristics. It doesn't take much to take care of these fish. They are hardy and omnivorous; their gentle and friendly nature allows them to co-exist harmoniously. For many koi enthusiasts, the pleasure of keeping and caring for koi fish is often found in the serenity these amazing creatures bring to their environment.

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