Koi Fish Farming
Koi is a famous ornamental fish because of its beautiful and varied colors. It is a hardy and well adaptive species of fish, making it suitable for aquaculture. If you are thinking of raising fish commercially, koi is one variety you can choose. For the basics of raising koi, read our guide.
Koi is a domesticated version of the common carp, which is popular as ornamental fish although it is also used as food fish.
The carp in general is one of the most commonly cultured fish in the world. It reproduces through spawning and grows best in the tropics, although it can also adapt to temperate conditions.
In Japan, the common carp is called koi. The koi and carp in general are fish that undergo colour mutation, the most common of which includes blue, red, yellow, black and white. Cross-breeding of koi has resulted to many varieties of the fish such that when you say ‘koi’ you still have to narrow it down to specific categories.
Koi Fish Characteristics
Koi is a freshwater fish (a cold-water one). As a carp, it is an omnivore, feeding on other fish as well as on vegetables. It can live a very long life with stocks aging up to several years. Koi are shy fish and can only be encouraged to come to the water surface by food. They are originally found in Asia and Central Europe, but the fish’s hardy nature and adaptability to various conditions brought it to other countries like the U.S.
Koi Farming Basics
Koi farming, just like any aquaculture venture, needs careful planning. A prospective farmer must determine:
- Where to supply his produce, what quantity to produce and at what weight and size, how often to harvest, among others. For a koi farmer, this information can be deduced by talking to pet owners and specialty fish dealers. The planning of the frequency of harvest is important as koi stock ages at a wide range. To run a steady production, koi farmers are better off harvesting and spawning at the same time.
- What specific species to raise out of the many available there are biological requirements? One of the tedious jobs involved in koi farming is the selection of the fry to raise. When koi eggs are hatched, a wide variety of colours and quality are produced. Some of them are defective or of marginal quality. Fry selection is a complicated process that requires experience.
- Production requirements for raising koi – the type of pond, its size, feed type and volume, equipment (pumps, aerators), water and electricity network, other facilities (like a shed) and labour
- Capital needs and source of funding
- Federal, state and local licenses and permits to start an aquaculture in your chosen location
Gaining experience working in an aquaculture enterprise is a great help. Main sources for technical information on koi farming are extension specialists, and research studies.
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