Colors & Markings Koi

Colors and Markings of Koi Fish

Koi are a popular backyard pet fish that may be found all around the world. These bright, “brocaded” carp come in a variety of colors and add to the beauty of the landscape. There are several classifications and color criteria for koi since there are over a 100 different types of koi.

Koi have a long and distinguished history as a pet fish. Koi descended from the common carp, Cyprinus carpio, which was kept as a food source across Asia. Carp may grow to be quite huge and very fast, and they are very resilient fish, making them good food sources. Natural color changes, on the other hand, happen over many generations.

These fish were isolated from the rest of the population and bred together. The koi we know today evolved from these cross breeding’s over decades. These ornamental fish were brought to Germany, where they bred another spontaneous mutation of scaleless koi. These koi, known as “doitsu” or “German” in Japanese, are exceedingly prevalent.

They may have a few scales, known as a “zipper,” running along both sides of their dorsal fin, or they may have a few overlapping huge scales. Butterfly or long-fin koi have elongated fins that run the length of their bodies. Because these fins are prone to tearing and scarring, make sure their habitat is free of snags to keep their flowing fins in good condition.


Asagi are distinguished by a blue or indigo body and a crimson foundation to the pectoral fins. Motoaka is the red near the base of the pectoral fins.


A Bekko koi can have a variety of body colors as well as black scars on their backs. Shiro Bekko have white bodies, Ki Bekko have yellow bodies, and Aka Bekko have red bodies.



Doitsu are German carp that are scale-less. Depending on the type of Doitsu, there may be scales along the lateral and dorsal lines of the koi or no scales at all.



Ginrin refers to a group of koi varieties with diamond scales all over their bodies. These scales differ from metallic and platinum koi in that they are reflective and shine in the light in a spectacular fashion.


Goshiki, which was established in 1918 by breeding Asagi with Kohaku koi, genuinely exhibits a rainbow of color. The colors black, blue, and grey appear in a netted pattern.


Hirenaga koi, or water butterflies, are recognized for their elegant, flowing fins. The Hirenaga’s long fins and tail should be solid, without tears, and ideally symmetrical.


This collection of koi variations is further subdivided. Karasugoi (all black), Goshiki (a blend of all five colors – white, red, black, blue, and dark blue), Chagoi (brown), Benigoi (all red), and many others are included in this group.


Kikokuryu is essentially a metallic Kumonryu, a koi with shiny Platinum skin and fins with deep Sumi colors throughout.


The Kohaku koi has a white body with crimson coloring. There are numerous patterns within the Kohaku variety that contribute to its value. The red or “hi” pigment must be fully saturated and conform to the scale margins for most classic Kohaku koi, providing a dramatic contrast in white and red. It is preferable if all of the red pigment is connected in bands over the body rather than pigment being scattered randomly.


Koromo are exceptional koi that stand out. Koromo, which means clothing or robe in Japanese, have a lovely Hi (red) pattern of Kohaku on their pristine white skin with an indigo blue pattern.



Ogon, meaning gold, belongs to the Hikari Muji group. An Ogon is a solid-colored metallic koi, from silver to gold, and shines beautifully in a pond.



Platinum koi can grow to be jumbo and are most treasured when they have a beautiful solid metallic shine with no blemishes or scars. They will shine beautifully in your dark pond with their almost reflective bodies.


The sanke and showa koi are closely related. Showa koi have the same coloring of white, red, and black as other koi, but they contain more black pigment than red, resulting in a brilliant contrasted pattern.


Shusui koi were the first Doitsu type and are one of only two blue koi! They are a scale-less Doitsu variation of Asagi. Yoshigoro Akiyama created the Shusui in the early 1900s by crossing the Doitsugio, a German scale fish, and the Asagi.

Taisho Sanke

Taisho Sanke were formed from Kohaku almost 80 years ago, in 1918, during the Taisho Period. The Taisho Sanke pattern, also known as Taisho Sanshoku, is made up of three colors: white, red (Hi), and black (Sumi).



Tanchos are popular for a variety of reasons, including their likeness to the Japanese flag and their ability to stand out in a pond. They are called after Japan’s sacred red-crowned crane, which is associated with good fortune, love, and long life.



Sumi (black) is the basis of their body, while utsuri signifies “mirror.” Utsurimono comes in three different colors: Hi (red), Shiro (white), and Ki (yellow).

Remember, Doitsu, Ginrin, and Tancho koi have many other subsets of varieties since for example Doitsu koi are all scaleless koi and Shusui is a type of Doitsu variety. So there are more colors and makings that can be seen. Also, follow our Instagram to see more animals

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