Where Do Koi Fish Come From? The Origin Of Famous Ornamental Fish

The Koi is one of the most attractive ornamental fish. They’ve been a favorite fish worldwide for centuries, whether inside or outside ponds.

Where do Koi fish come from? Although they appeared in Asia’s Aral, Caspian, and Black Seas, the Chinese were the first to domesticate these fish.

If you want to get an in-depth explanation of the origin and the history of this fish species, it’s best to refer to this article. Let’s scroll down to keep reading!

Where Do Koi Fish Come From?

Kois indeed originated from China around AD 200. Archaeologists found carp fossils in South China dating back around 20 million years.

However, many people believed that this species first came from the Caspian, Black, and Aral Seas. Some also said that they were native to Japan.

Some types are recognized for their endurance. Some reports claimed that if enveloped in moist moss and maintained damp for lengthy periods, they might survive for a long time.

Because of its rapid development, prolific reproduction, and big size, Chinese farmers first tamed and bred these creatures as just a food source. The modern-day species initially appeared in Japan around the 1800s.

The Japanese are regarded as the first breeders in breeding these aquatic creatures with natural source mutations, resulting in the genus’ introduction of colorful Koi varieties.

The origin

When Did People Start Keeping Koi Fish?

Chinese were the first to keep this species around the fourth century. When they colonized Japan around the 1800s, they took black carp, also known as Magoi, into this country.

When this species first appeared in Japan, the rice farmers in this country kept these aquatic creatures in the paddy fields they used to grow rice as a source of food. After that, they realized the mutations in these aquatic creatures.

A red-colored carp was discovered around 200 years ago by some farmers. They began dividing the fish of various colors and bred them together.

The Japanese recognized the natural attractiveness of this species during this historical period and grasped their potential. They started breeding this species to achieve the carp’s beautiful scales.

Like the Narumi Asagi, the first variations are said to have resulted through cross-breeding that began during the early 1800s.

A village called Niigata in Japan was at the forefront of Koi development. The farmers in Niigata were the first and only breeders to mutate and breed these species actively.

These farmers used the term Nishikigoi to refer to this fish species. They produced the first Nishikigoi for food and to keep warm throughout the coldest months of the year.

After that, they bred them with carps, also called Magoi. As a result, the offspring were brightly colored aquatic creatures with incredible figures, which made them gain an exceptional beauty among the others.

Magoi Fish

When Did Koi Fish First Gain Popularity?

This species had become widespread in Japan during the Heian era (794-1185), and the aristocracy kept them.

“Fu” was a favorite food of the nobles who fed it to their fish. People regarded it as a valuable source of food at that time. They continue to consume it now.

When the nobles sprinkled the food, these fish were calm enough to rise to the water surface peacefully, never scurrying in fear.

Until the 1900s, the globe was aware of the recently found colorful Koi variants apart from Niigata.

Niigata species were on display in a Tokyo show at the time. Ever since then, it has become famous throughout Japan.

Despite its rising popularity, breeders had to stop raising Koi during World War II (WWII).

Fortunately, Japanese fish breeders passed on the skills to later generations to rescue this species during and even after WWII.

Due to a food shortage, many of these creatures died during this challenging period. Thankfully, some farmers tried to keep them in church ponds. That’s why these aquatic creatures are popular up to now.

At first, the Japanese called Koi fish “Ggoi,” which refers to a fish species to breed for food.

Following that, this species became an ornamental species, which many people kept in the gardening ponds to bring beauty and elegance to their living space.

Many people began to see Nishikigoi as a magnificent piece of art after their awareness developed.

When translating the word “Koi” in Japanese, it means “beauty,” “love,” or “affection.” That’s because these creatures symbolize friendship and love.

For its vibrant but delicate hues and startling beauty, Nishikigoi is sometimes compared to the colorful traditional Japanese costume – the kimono.

For these reasons, people called Koi living jewelry. They quickly represented achievement, ambition, persistence, and life development.

When the Japanese build houses, they include a small or large pond inside the yard and keep these beautiful creatures there as a sign that the owner of that home is fulfilled.

It is relatively challenging to discover a country without Koi fish fan. This species’ tranquil and gentle features attract breeders all around the world.

What’s more, seeing these aquatic creatures has long been thought to have therapeutic effects. It’s calming and peaceful to observe them swim.

The popularity previously and now

Wrapping Up

This article has got to your question: Where do Koi fish come from?

Although people said these aquatic creatures were native to Japan, the Chinese were the first breeders who discovered and produced colorful fish.

When the Chinese invaded Japan, they introduced this species to this colony. Since then, the Japanese have bred different varieties as we know them today.

Hopefully, this article will be helpful for you. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for taking the time to follow this post!