Koi – The Fashions of the Time

Koi illustrated by Ravenari


Becoming more solitary as you age, living ornaments, living decoration, the fashions of the time, timelessness, timeless fashion, genuine vs. fake, creativity, supporting the arts, tattoo and body art, smoothly flowing energy, expressing yourself through how you appear, high visibility, the pros and cons of being seen, overwhelming others, look after yourself, be on your guard, look beneath the surface for wisdom, stirring up emotions.

General Description:

Koi (meaning ‘carp’) are ornamental varieties of the common carp, kept by humans as pets or for decorative purposes in ponds, aquariums and water gardens; they have also occasionally been used as a food source, though this is more common with non-ornamental carp, as opposed to koi. They come in a range of colours and patterns. They were originally domesticated in east Asia, with the hobby of keeping koi really taking off in 1914 in Japan where they are distinguished from common carp by being called ‘niskikigoi,’ and are recognised as symbols of love and friendship, as well as being popular as art and tattoo subjects. Individual varieties can represent different qualities; the chagoi is a sign of good luck. New varieties are being developed all the time; but enthusiasts are selective about what they consider ‘real’ ornamental koi. If allowed to breed freely, koi resume the colouration of common carp within a few generations.

They are a durable, cold-water fish (though their immune system will shut down below 10C). Small koi are often found in schools, and large koi tend to be more solitary in their habits. They are especially vulnerable due to predation due to their bright colours, and are taken by cats, foxes, badgers, kingfishers, otters, raccoons, herons and hedgehogs. Koi are benthic omnivores and consume a wide variety of foods, artificially created foods are designed to float in order to encourage koi to the surface. Otherwise, they primarily feed by stirring up the sediment and consuming larvae and other animals found within. Koi often learn to recognise individuals feeding them, and can gather around them, as well as be trained to take food directly from one’s hand. Most koi live between 40-47 years of age. They reproduce through spawning, and offspring often have to be removed and raised by professionals, otherwise they are frequently eaten by other koi. They have been accidentally and deliberately released into the wild everywhere in the world except Antarctica; they are invasive, extremely difficult to eradicate, and pests that can render water unsuitable for swimming and drinking, as they stir up the substrate. The most successful method of eradication is to destroy all species of fish in an infested watercourse, and restock the native species.