A Guide to Koi Fry Colors
When your koi has babies, chances are the tiny fry do not look much like their parents. They are usually very dull in color, if not just plain brown. This is a sort of protective measure in their genetics to protect them from predators who would otherwise see their vibrant hues and pick them off easily due to their small size.
Still, I am sure you want to know what koi fry colors are going to be. Let’s look at some of the clues you can take into account to help you guesstimate what color your fry will turn out to be once grown.
When Will My Koi Fry Become Colorful?
This is a bit of a tricky question, as koi fry as a whole tend to grow at their own rate. It takes years for a koi to reach its full coloration and younger koi change colors frequently, making it hard to identify a singular pattern or type when they are still fry, especially considering they remain dull for safety purposes for quite some time.
In general, you should see some color changes within a month or two, but the colors will likely change. Some koi, especially if they are hybrids or accidental breedings, will not really develop much of a pattern at all. There are some things you can do to help ensure your fish end up vibrant and patterned, though.
How to Breed Patterned Koi
So, the first factor in ensuring your fry are patterned and colorful is to select breeding parents who are of the same qualities you are hoping for. If you want a black and red koi, go for parents that are black and red. If you want one with a specific pattern, try breeding parents that have a similar pattern. Koi traits are genetic so you have a fairly good chance of getting close to what you want.
It is important to remember that breeding your koi does require a few things. For starters, you must ensure they are healthy and old enough to mate. The koi should be over ten inches and very healthy if you want to put them through the mating process, as it is a very intensive time where the koi do sometimes injure each other.
You also need to make sure you have a separate area for breeding the koi, as kois practice cannibalism and other fish will likely eat the eggs if they breed within their usual pond. You also need a tank for the parents to be removed to after they lay the eggs so they can later be reintroduced once their fry are big enough to not be eaten.
Once the koi are older, you can somewhat manipulate the colors of your babies by adding shade or light to their pond. In shady ponds, the fish will typically have a darker color. Brightly lit ponds will produce lighter hues. Remember not to overexpose them, though, as they can sunburn and become damaged.
You can also help introduce brighter colorations by feeding them a nutritionally diverse and balanced diet. Kois need a good source of nutrition to ensure their immune systems are functioning properly. Sick koi will appear dull and otherwise lack vibrancy.
Why Koi Lose Color
Younger koi are more prone to losing color, as they are still developing, but all koi can lose color if they are ill or otherwise not happy. In younger koi, being stressed and losing color can cause them to not be as vibrant as they otherwise would have been, so it is best to identify and remedy any color losing issues as soon as possible. Here are some common issues and how to fix them.
1. Poor Water Quality
Water quality can fluctuate for a variety of reasons. Even if your water looks crystal clear, there is still a chance that it is not where it should be to support happy koi fish. To check to see if this may be the cause of the color loss, try using a test kit to check the chemical levels in the water. If the levels are off, try cleaning some of the debris and waste from the pond or otherwise add a better filter or change the media. It may easily solve the problem.
2. Poor Diet
Koi are a species of fish that definitely need a high-quality diet. They are large and need lots of protein to grow and become the big, beautiful fish we know and love. Additionally, younger koi that are less than five years old need a lot of healthy fats in their diet to promote strong growth, since they grow at a rapid rate.
Koi also need nutrients. Added vitamin C will help keep their immune system strong. This is usually lacking from many low-end brands, even though some may list it as an ingredient but only add it in small amounts.
Koi foods from lower-end brands also generally use plant-based protein which does not support growth as well as meat. Kois are not vegetarian and need the extra protein, so be sure to check the ingredient list.
Koi are susceptible to a host of different illnesses, including ones that are bacterial, viral, and parasitic. If you notice anything strange about your fry, like bumps, wounds, or other issues, be sure to check in with a vet to see if there may be something medical going on.
Koi fish are usually treated fairly easily but it is best to quarantine any sick fish as soon as you notice a potential issue so it does not spread and infect the rest of your pond. Treating an entire pond can be very time consuming and labor-intensive so it is best to play it safe to ensure your fish remain well and there are no casualties.
Koi fish are naturally very colorful and stunning fish. It can be a bit tricky to figure out what color young fish will be since they are still growing and changing. Still, there are a few things you can do to help ensure your fish are as healthy and vibrant as possible!