Handy Hints

Koi Info

What are Koi

They come when they are called, follow their owners as they walk around the pond, allow themselves to be petted and will take food from your fingers.

They’ll out live almost any other pet, even maybe you. The do not bite bark or tear up the garden.

They are Koi, not goldfish, which are only relatives. Their full name is NISHIKIGOI after the many coloured Indian fabric’s of that name. Most commonly, they are called KOI, which also means Love in Japanese.

Now you have brought your fish, here are a few tips to help you get them home safe and into your pond ready to enjoy them.

  1. Make sure when you put them into your car, that the bag is not going to roll around. Try and cover the bag of Koi with something, so they do not get too hot.
  2. When you get them home, float your bag of Koi in Your pond for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Open your bag of Koi and put some of YOUR pond water into it, and float the bag for a further 15 minutes. Make sure none of the water from the bag tips into YOUR pond.
  4. Tip water and your new Koi into a bin. Look very carefully at your new Koi, look for any marks etc.
  5. If your new Koi look clean and healthy, lift ONLY the Koi out of the bin and put them into your quarantine pond and throw the water from the bin away. Leave your new Koi in your quarantine pond for a few days, keeping a close watch on them.
  6. If you do not have a quarantine pond, throw some ROCK SALT into your pond, before introducing your new fish. NEVER throw the water from the bag you brought your new Koi home in into your pond.
  7. Your new Koi might not eat for a few days, do not worry, like us they can be a bit shy at first.
  8. Get into a habit of checking the pH of your pond water at least once a week. The pH should be between 7.0 and 7.4.
  9. Keeping your pond clean is the best way of keeping your Koi happy and healthy. Remove any leaves etc. that get into to your pond.
  10. Koi are very hardy fish, with only simple requirements: enough food, oxygen and well filtered water.
  11. Because they are such heavy users of oxygen, you may need to arrange for a waterfall, spillway or bubbler to aerate the water. This is especially needed on the still hot nights.
  12. They eat most vegetable foods, but please, not meat or fat. They cannot digest these and it can kill them eventually.
  13. Koi pellets are readily available in a range of sizes and quality from the society. These are excellent as a basis of your feeding, but naturally variety is needed.
  14. Suggested foods are: Lettuce – Chinese Cabbage – Spaghetti – Boiled rice – Pumpkin -Worms – Dried Shrimp- Cooked Fresh Vegetables – Cooked Porridge – Bread & Vegemite – peas
  15. Koi Do not need to eat when the water temperature drops below 10oC – eg Middle of winter

Buying & Transporting Koi          



It swims with the crowd.
Uses the pectoral fins freely.
The body has a sheen and is not dull and muddy on the surface.
All the body openings show no sign of inflammation.
The fish appears alert and aware of its surroundings
No external parasites are visible.
The tail and fins are not streaked with red stress marks.
There is no sign of damage, lesions, ulcers, etc.


Check the following:

Fish is curved along both the ventral and the dorsal side.
There is no spinal curvature or twisting either up and down or sideways.
The dorsal fin is continuous.
Head, face and mouth are not deformed. All fins are balanced and do not show either odd shapes or deformity in the rays.
Both eyes are present and appear to work.
There is no distortion of the gill cover.
The head and body are in proportion, neither parrot headed nor like a tadpole.
The body is plump without being gross.
When viewed from above both sides of the body have matching outlines.
It is able to “rest” above the bottom of the pond.
It swims elegantly without any wobbling.


Has clear sharp edges.
Is bold, rather than speckled.
Is balanced overall, not too heavy in any one part of the body.
Is evenly distributed on both sides of the body.
Is likely to be pleasing even when the fish is larger.
Is better if it does not go below the lateral line.


Is clear, especially on the head.
Is even, does not fade towards the tail. Is not smudged in with other colours.
Is deep in tone giving depth within the skin.
In general the richer the colour the better.


There are two main methods which can be used to transport Koi.

  1. In a proper, non toxic fish bag with Oxygen. These are then placed in a rigid container, such as a cardboard box etc.
  2. In a container with an aerator running off a battery.

When you go to bag and oxygenate a fish for a journey here are a few simple tips which make a big difference.

  • Unless the bagging is to be done immediately the fish has been caught, put the fish into a bin and fill the bag with fresh water. Try to take this from where the clean water from the filter?return hits the water surface. This water is low in Ammonia and high in Oxygen.
  • Do not overfill the bag with water. The space for the Oxygen is more important that that for the water. Just enough to cover the dorsal fin comfortably is quite sufficient. Try to carry the bag so that the weight of the water and fish is on the side of the bag and not on the seam at the bottom. If this splits the fish will land on the ground with an awful thud. If carried the other way the fish will slip out sideways and do less damage.

If the fish is a small one then place one hand under the bottom of the bag, if not carry as illustrated.

  • The Oxygen as it comes out of the cylinder is cold enough to burn the fish, so it should be added slowly and allowed to flow down the side of the bag, not jet into the water.

To prevent damage to the base of the bag always stand it inside a plastic bowl etc.

Nowadays you may be using Elastrator rings, but the idea is the same. Don’t forget to tuck in the corners of the bag so that they cannot drown themselves by getting their heads stuck. This is most important with very small fish.

When you pack Koi, especially big ones, the bag should be placed so that the fish is travelling the same way as the car i.e. with the head facing the bonnet. They suffer much less from the motion than when lying across the car. Do keep the lid closed, or cover them with a blanket. They really do travel much better in the dark. If it is a really hot day and you do not have air conditioning while they are travelling, then buy a bag of ice and place their bags onto it. This will reduce their metabolic rate and they will need less Oxygen as well as being less active.

Dedicated to the Protection, Preservation and Improvement of Nishikigoi.