Koi Fish Price Comparison

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Japanese Koi Fish Price Chart

In the past few years, the koi-keeping industry was shaken by a record-breaking auction. A Kohaku Koi that was flawless was sold for $1.8 million! It was a massive 9-year-old specimen with bright red-orange streaks on an exquisite white body. The feminine fish is so captivating that Japanese artists immortalized her with a beautiful illustration shown during the historic auction.

If you’ve been thinking of owning a koi fish, then don’t worry, as not every koi is worth one million dollars or more. In reality, you can get excellent koi fish from a trusted pet shop for less than $50.00. While not all koi species are valued in the same way, you can be assured that every koi has come from a rich history of Japanese culture and will bring better beauty to your backyard pond.

Koi fish are symbols of longevity and prosperity. However, expensive compared to other fish in ponds. Numerous variables impact their worth. They include but are not limited to color, genetics, body shape, age, and sexuality. The more attractive and bigger the koi fish is, the higher the cost. Breeding plays a vital role in determining the value of the koi. While most domestic species in Europe, the US, and Europe can be purchased reasonably, those that experts in Japan develop are often worth their weight in gold!.

Koi SupplierSource FromPrice RangeKoi Type/Features
Kloubec KoiSpecialized Koi Quarantine Facilities in the U.S.$350.00-$2500.00Rare patterns & Large Sizes
Kodama Koi FarmFacilities in Japan$0.00-$16,000.00 AuctionsCertified breeding, large-jumbo sized, Grade AAA
Sakai Fish FarmKoi auctions$0.00-$20,000.00 AuctionsCertified breeding, large-jumbo sized, Grade AAA, Grand Champions
Next Day KoiIsrael Sourcing$35.00-$650.00Butterfly Koi - Large Sizes
LiveAquariaEastern Asian Koi Farms$7.99-$19.992"–5" sizes, imported grade-A
petcoFish Farms in United States$10.99-$40.99Grade-A Domestic

Local pet stores with online sales platforms such as Petco or Liveaquaria generally have imported or locally-bred grade-A koi with standard fin types. These are the cheapest choices for koi. However, the selected species can develop into attractive koi fish. Contrary to the massive jumbo varieties that top-quality koi farms breed, these types of grade-A koi seldom exceed a maximum size of about 15 inches.

The most expensive koi fish are the ones with rare genetic lineages. They are produced in top-quality establishments located in Japan and are offered through live auctions or online auctions. When sold, the most expensive koi are usually enormous or jumbo-sized, which means they’ve been cared for by top koi-keepers for a long time. Some of these facilities create fish that can compete at a prestigious event every year called the All Japan Koi Show, which displays some of the highest-priced nishikigoi (Japanese meaning “living jewels”) globally.

What Factors Into How Much a Koi Fish is

Age & Size of the Fish

Age and size significantly affect koi fish price. The Kohaku one that sold for $1.8 million was a giant measuring 39.8 inches. Contrary to pet stores that sell the domestic breed, the best koi breeders have to wait for a couple of years before selling their most desirable koi.

Jumbo and large sizes can be offered at prices high enough to cover maintenance costs in the initial few years. Breeders will raise the koi for a minimum of 2 to 4-years or up to the point that they’ve reached a minimum of 15 inches tall.

Ensuring that customers know that the koi come by excellent bloodlines since the cheaper koi varieties cannot grow this long. Additionally, the most sought-after breeds have a long life span (up to 50 to 60 years if given proper treatment and pond environment).

Pattern & Color

The centuries of breeding koi have produced fish with breathtaking patterns and colors. Koi may seem to be painted by artists from the oriental world using powerful pigments and incredibly soft brushes. Neon black, red-orange, and a white-glowing base are a sought-after mix of hues. A strong glossy grey, metallic yellow, and pure white are all sought-after.

Koi that look similar to the Japanese flag (‘Tancho Kohaku’) is believed to be extremely lucky and sought-after in Japan. These fish have pure white bodies, and one bright red spot is visible on the heads of these fish. Breeders of Koi tend to opt for those with sexual maturation, which are more likely to create offspring that have their preferred color. This kind of artificial selection is a large part of what has led to identifying essential traits valuable in only a few expensive breeds of koi.

Koi Genetics

The koi, the world’s top fish at international competitions, have been genetically bred and traceable for many generations. Gosanke is a sought-after breed of koi and comprises the following kinds: Sanke (Taisho Sanshoku), Showa (Showa Sanshoku), and Kohaku. The most modern and traditional Japanese farms breed exclusively the highly sought-after breed varieties to create better-than-perfect koi.

Koi auctions and competitions adhere to strict guidelines in assigning value to these breeds. For instance, an excellent Sanke koi needs to possess a white, solid base without any hint of yellow. A Kohaku needs to be spotted with red marks that are not only vibrant but also clearly defined around the edges. These fish are further classified based on the minor details of patterns and their location on the fish’s body. The rarer the characteristics, the higher the koi fish price.

More affordable domestic koi species can be bought at your local pet store or via fish stores that are not specialized can be harder to categorize as a breed. They generally are mixed in parentage and were raised to be kept in fish tanks or backyard ponds, not for display or competition. But these koi are still beautiful and are excellent in ponds.

Sexually Mature Koi

Sexually mature females and high-valued Koi breeds are typically higher priced than males (as illustrated in the Kodama Koi farm’s fixed-price catalog).

They are more likely to increase in size and have round fins.

Additionally, robust females produce hundreds of viable eggs to ensure their bloodlines continue to live on. Breeders are highly selective in their pursuit of gorgeous healthful females. It’s not surprising that the most expensive koi ever sold was a massive Kohaku female.

The males of the top koi breeds can be very costly. However, they are usually simpler. If you are looking for domestic koi, the cost of either of them is pretty similar. Sometimes, pet stores even offer koi that are not sexed as they are challenging to figure out the sex before they reach maturity.

The Shape of Body & Fin Type

There’s some debate about this koi pricing factor within the world of koi enthusiasts. Certain traditionalists, specifically those from Japan, prefer the standard fins because they are not modified. If you glance at the Kodama Koi farm’s selection of Koi and koi, you’ll be challenging to find fish that don’t have the attractive shorter fins common to the top-rated breeds.

However, in the US, certain breeders prefer long-finned koi. They refer to them as butterfly koi because their fins are long and can look like delicate wings. They look like dragons since even their barbels can be seen to get very large. Fish with appealing patterns and colors are highly sought-after but could be dismissed by purists of koi in Japan. This has caused some discord among purists, with some doubting the validity of butterfly-finned varieties of koi as authentic.

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Koi Fish Price vs. Other Pond Fish

Koi fish of the highest quality can be costly compared with other pond fish. In reality, they are among the most expensive marine animals around the globe. The fact that koi-keepers are willing to pay thousands of dollars for one fish is enough to demonstrate their value. Another reason koi are so expensive is that their availability is limited based on current demand.

In Petco and Liveaquaria, the grade-A koi are sold less than the other freshwater fish species.  And are the most affordable way to purchase koi fish.

If you’re looking for the beautiful, large-sized beauties capable of winning koi shows, then you’ll need to go to breeders with specialization and be prepared to spend large amounts of money.