So, let’s be honest: keeping koi is not a cheap hobby. There is a lot of care and investment that goes into keeping these carp healthy and it is quite a commitment to undertake. Still, this highly rewarding hobby calls to many people worldwide. Let’s take a look at some data surrounding baby koi fish prices and how to get the best deals on your new pets!
Understanding the Pricing System
Koi fish, like any other pet you may choose to keep, will vary greatly in price. At places like PetSmart and other mass retailers, you can pay just a few dollars for a koi. Alternatively, a premium, purebred koi from a professional breeder with a specified bloodline can cost more than a brand new car. This can come as a shock because to people outside of the koi industry, koi are just fish.
Within professional koi keeping, there are many things that factor into what the keeper will consider as a prize fish. One of the biggest points of interest is the fish’s bloodline. Like dog breeding, there are certain bloodlines that are worth more since they are traced back further or are rarely bred. Bloodlines that produce specific patterns or that are tied to specific “famous fish” are also worth more.
Other factors include coloration, size, health, and the quality of effort put into breeding the fish. This is why you pay less for a PetCo fish and more for one from a careful, experienced breeder who has the facilities to individually hand raise each fish they sell. This does not mean one fish is inherently better than the other; it simply implies a sort of artisan approach vs one that is more mass and readily available.
So, How Much Should I Pay For Koi?
The answer to this question is simple and complex at the same time: however much you are comfortable paying. If you are a casual fish owner, it might be wise to spend ten dollars for a pet store koi. This is a good choice for those who want to use koi as a sort of decorative asset or just to keep them as a simple pet.
If you are wanting to get into koi showing or koi breeding, the price is going to go up a lot. One koi actually sold for a record-breaking $1.8 million in 2017. While this is not particularly common nor should you expect to pay this much, the figure does give a bit of insight into just how fast the cost margin is when koi keeping.
The Million Dollar Koi
As mentioned above, one nine-year-old koi fish sold for around $1.8 million in 2017. This koi was named S-Legend and bred by Sakai Farms. To the average koi viewer, she just looks like a beautifully patterned fish but to the judges of the showcase she was presented at and the investing collectors who purchased her, S-Legend is a piece of living art.
Her bold, unique color patterns and strong bloodline make her a piece of koi history. She was bred carefully and raised with absolute caution, resulting in a stunning carp. While not the average koi you may choose to own, S-Legend is an example of what can be achieved via selective breeding if one chooses to go a more professional route.
Koi Health Over Cost
When choosing a koi, you are committing to a long-living pet. Koi can live up to forty years (or more) and are very labor-intensive fish that require regular feedings and care to thrive. Due to this, it is important to select baby koi that are healthy to ensure you are starting off on a good note. Both expensive and cheap koi can be unhealthy due to illness or poor husbandry, so be sure to check the fish out before purchasing it, if possible, and always ensure it is in good health.
If the koi looks thin, dull, or otherwise appears ill, you should pass. Such fish can pass illnesses to your tank or pond or otherwise die shortly after the introduction to your setup. Always look for smoothly moving, plump, and vibrant fish when selecting a pet, regardless of if it is coming from a high-end niche breeder or a pet shop.
Researching Koi Types Can Save You Money
Researching specific koi types and breeders is something that can help save you a lot of money. Additionally, buying fry instead of fully grown fish can help since they usually look rather drab and are not yet show priced, meaning they are cheaper. The downside to this is that you do not know what exact coloration they will end up with, but this is not a big deal if you are not looking to competitively raise fish or breed.
These fries are usually much smaller than other koi you will buy but with some routine feedings and good care, they will bulk up quickly. Many expert buyers recommend buying young fish in the spring so they have the entire summer to grow and brighten up before their more dormant season begins in the winter when temperatures drop. Koi can grow almost half a foot or more in a single season so this provides an excellent window for them to really begin reaching their potential.
Koi Costs and Value
Koi are fantastic pets but, like any other animal, they do come with some serious investment requirements. You must do your research and be prepared to pay the premium for healthy fish if you are looking to get into the koi keeping world.
Still, the value of koi keeping and the joy it brings vastly outweigh the cost and make it worth putting in the effort. These beautiful fish are truly marvelous and definitely a wonderful investment.