Oh don’t be so Koi

If you have ever been to the base of the singing tower at Bok Tower Gardens you may have noticed some brightly colored fish swimming in the moat. You may have even spent a few quarters for a handful of fish food to feed our world famous Koi.

Known in the scientific community Amur carp, koi are distinguishably different by their beautiful colorations and numerous pattern combinations. In Japanese the word “koi” translates to carp in English.

The carp family is a very hardy species of fish having thick scales and known for being “armor plated” and the koi are no exception. Koi have a estimated life span of around 50 years, however, on several occasions there have been reports of them surpassing 150 years of age. After studying the growth rings of one Koi named Hanako, scientists believe he may have lived for more than 225 years.

Koi are not always multicolored and vibrant. In fact out of their thousands of offspring only a few are born with the extravagant designs so often depicted in photographs and art.

The care of these beautiful fish is relatively easy, which has made them a very popular addition to backyard ponds and botanical gardens. Koi generally prefer a water temperature between 59 and 77 degrees and can moderately tolerate short cold spurts. At temperatures under 50 degrees, the koi will go into a lethargic state barely eating and barely moving. However, with proper care and pond maintenance, koi will live a long and fishy life.