Before you get too deep or just get started with the koi caretaking hobby, read this koi cost guide so you know what to expect when purchasing your own koi fish. There are many factors to determine the cost of a koi fish and the prices can range greatly depending on what you are specifically looking for. In this article, we are mainly discussing Japanese Koi Fish, but you can purchase domestic (non-Japanese born) koi fish at a lower cost in general.
The koi fish keeping hobby is a very rewarding way to spend time, but is not the best low cost hobby. There are many risks and costs to maintain a backyard pond. That is one of the reasons that some rare and high quality koi are priced at such high prices.
How much does it really cost to buy a koi fish?
The cost of koi fish can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as their genetic lineage, size, coloration pattern, breed, and whether they are purchased in bulk or individually, among other factors. Different varieties range in cost according to rarity and difficulty of breeding, as well. For example, an imported Japanese koi can be worth $100 – $1,500 on average.
Which type of koi fish is most expensive?
Some can be so precious to the owner, they are not for sale, or would be over $100,000.
What is the most expensive koi sale?
The most expensive koi purchase in recorded history is assumed to be S Legend, a Kohaku variety that brought in a whopping $1.8 million (203 million Yen) in October 2018. Kohaku is generally the most valuable koi fish variety.
Miss Yingying, a koi enthusiast and collector, bought the female 39-inch koi from the breeder Kentaro Sakai, after an intense bidding war at his fish farm.
For the purposes of this article, we are referring to Japanese bred koi, there are many other types of domestic or imported koi fish, but the best priced koi will always have been born in Japan and have a direct lineage to previous high quality koi.
Buying healthy, high-quality koi is an investment, they are living creatures, and should not be taken lightly, so it is important to do your research to discover what koi are best suited for you, your environment, and your budget. Prepare your pond and test out smaller fish while you practice and get better. Losing koi stinks, but losing expensive, high quality koi, hurts even more!
What factors affect the cost of a koi fish?
1. Bloodline, beauty (body shape, quality, and pattern), variety, and rarity (of pattern or variety) are the primary factors that determine the price of a koi. Size directly correlates with cost, as larger fish tend to cost more than smaller ones.
2. Age also impacts price of koi fish, as adult koi two to four years old are larger and longer, thus fetching a higher price. For example, Tosai Koi are koi that are just one year old and Tategoi Koi are koi at any age that have great potential The younger the fish, the smaller the price may be. You may consider buying koi when they are small and young and rolling the dice to which you might be pleasantly surprised, or you can consider purchasing larger koi that the patterns and colors are already visible for your liking.
3. Size matters, Kodama Koi Farm offers koi of all sizes. A jumbo koi is a large fish that is typically longer than 24 inches (61 cm) and can weigh up to 40 pounds (18 kg). They are typically found in high-end koi ponds and are highly sought after by koi enthusiasts. Jumbo koi feature vibrant colors and patterns, with some varieties featuring butterfly fins and intricate designs.
4. Shipping is an important factor to consider. Depending on where you are located the shipping costs can vary greatly. Our Japanese koi are imported from Japan and are all safely shipped out after a quarantine period from our location in Hawaii. If you are outside of the USA, you may not be able to have koi shipped to you from USA companies, however, there are dealers that specialize in your region. All koi here are tested for KHV so you can rest assured your koi will not have specific diseases before delivery.
5. Overall perceived beauty. Ultimately, buy koi fish is like purchasing a work of art. What you think is the most beautiful koi, is going to be the best for you personally, even if it is not a champion koi. Just like a cute mutt for a puppy can be even cuter than a purebred. When planning to compete in koi shows, it is a whole different conversation on price, since there are other factors to consider.
What are the different types of koi fish?
The two main categories of Japanese koi, they are regular finned koi and butterfly fin koi. Regular koi have short fins, while butterfly koi were bred with long-finned carp to have long, flowing fins that are said to resemble a butterfly’s wings. In the US, butterfly koi are valued for their unique appearance, but in Japan and traditional koi hobbyist circles they are not as highly valued.
When shopping to select koi there are a few different levels of koi fish for purchase at Kodama.
Many koi price ranges to choose from in your koi keeping journey
Costs do not include the price of shipping, transportation, insurance, or boarding.
These are the best for licensed businesses reselling koi and supplies who wish to buy at bulk pricing.
Mixed Packs of Koi
These are good for low cost per koi, large quantities, and beginners to be introduced to the hobby with less risk.
Fixed Price Koi
As you get deeper into your hobby of koi fish keeping, you will want to to buy single koi at a set price and generally pay more per koi.
Show Quality Koi
High quality koi are best for hobbyists who want trophy fish in their ponds or want to show off a truly breath taking koi design.
Koi are also classified based on their quality: pond quality and show quality. We’ll detail the difference between these below.
What is the difference between a show-quality koi and a pond-quality koi?
The difference between show quality and pond quality depends on the beauty of the Koi.
Show quality Koi has a great body, excellent quality and attractive pattern. Show quality are the Koi that are ready to compete or have potential to compete because they have those features. The cost of show koi depends on the beauty and the potential. The most popular show koi are Kohaku, Sanke and Showa because they are usually the ones to win grand champions.
Pond-quality Koi, regardless of the bloodline, are the Koi that are beautiful but do not meet the conditions to compete. Just because they are not fit for competition standards, doesn’t mean they are any less desirable. They’re still beautiful additions to any home pond. We sell high quality koi from Japan and all sold from our farm are considered pond quality.
Pond Quality Koi Example
Show Quality Koi Example
What are the Costs of Shipping Koi?
Use Shipping Calculator to also estimate your shipping costs and see what more can be added to your box.
Expect $99 to $330 + per box to ship your koi. If you want more details, please visit our FAQs.
There are many variations to costs and we may not even be able to ship to your region, for example, we use different shipping methods in Hawaii. Shipping outside USA depends, as each country requires various documents, one being a health certificate. Please find out from your appropriate government agency what documents are necessary for you to complete in order to import Koi into your country.
All shipping costs are calculated with you after your purchase online. You can group more koi together to save money on costs per koi. The boxes are based on the weight and quantity of koi. You can also add in UPS insurance, which has an extra cost, but is highly recommended.
What other costs should I consider when buying koi fish?
Koi Pond Supplies List
- Pond filters
- Pond pumps
- Aeration for ponds
- Pond construction and liner materials
- Water lilies and other plants
- Water treatments
- Koi nets and bowls
- UV sterilizers
- Koi quarantine supplies
- Koi medication
View these great koi books to improve your understanding of koi judging and appreciation.
Taro’s tips for buying koi fish:
1. Buy your koi fish from a reputable source like a local pet store, a local koi breeder, or an online koi store for healthy and fairly-priced fish. Trustworthy dealers also offer valuable knowledge and education, which is important if you are just starting out on your journey with koi.
2. Avoid purchasing from Craigslist or other classified ads unless you know the seller or they offer a guarantee.
3. Insist on seeing multiple photographs of the fish before buying. You can also ask about a discount if you’re purchasing multiple high-quality fish at the same time.
4. Make sure to discuss any delivery guarantees with the dealer before closing the deal.
Take Your Time and Enjoy Shopping!
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