Thursday, November 20, 2008

Species Profile - Koi

Not all aquacultured fish are bred for food. Some, such as the Koi, or "brocaded carp", are bred for their ornamental qualities. Not technically a species, the koi is a domesticated variation of the common carp.

Koi breeding started in Japan in the 18th century. Rice farmers noticed that some carp were more colourful, and started to capture and raise them. The rest of the world was not aware until the early 20th century, by which time several colour patterns had been established. Koi quickly became extremely popular in Japan, and soon spread worldwide when advances in shipping made it possible to transport them safely.

Koi are hardy, cold-water fish, benefiting from water between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. Since their bright colours attract predators it is important that they are kept in ponds with deep areas, overhangs, and trees. Koi are omnivorous and can be fed anything from peas and lettuce to watermelons. When fed, they will recognize the person feeding them, and can be trained to eat from one's hand.

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