The Prosperous Koi

What you need to know about this fish of fortune.

By Joyce Tan

According to Chinese belief, breeding carps – or ‘kois’ – is a good way to increase your wealth. Spiritually. The bigger your fish are, the more wealth you accumulate, especially if they are fed well.

In addition, the Chinese look upon this freshwater fish as a vehicle of luck, great aspiration, and accomplishment.

Plump and colourful, the koi is by nature, a docile fish. Its non-aggressive nature makes it an ideal pet for the professional breeders to breed. Its colourful body also helps to liven up a dull environment.

In Fengshui, masters emphasize the need for auspicious colours to enliven an individual’s life. Colours like white, yellow, and orange, are essential to an individual. These colours are found on the bodies of most kois.

  • The colour yellow signifies lucidity and optimism. In the context of Chinese culture, yellow also speaks of abundance and good health, as it is classified as ‘earthen’ colour.

Yellow is also the favourite colour of the Imperial Family. Fengshui masters, too, find this colour to be more beneficial as compared to red in terms of wealth and health.

  • Similarly, the orange speaks of helping an individual to boost his or her concentration level at work. It also provides the individual with a great sense of belonging and purpose. Orange is also said to help one enhance their creativity.

  • White, on the other hand, is the colour for the element metal. This colour stands for both purity, and inner strength.

Besides, koi breeding can be an interesting pastime, especially when a breeder successfully breeds a school of colourful offspring.

Said Charles, Marketing Manager of Max Koi Farm, “I believe that the most enjoyable aspect of koi breeding is when the breeder himself start to see their offspring swimming,”

Also, when these offspring are able to fetch a high price, the breeder would feel a sense of achievement.”

A Glimpse into Koi Breeding

Kois are extremely delicate fishes and require great effort to care for them. If raised in a suitable environment, the colours on their bodies will turn out to be vibrant. This in turn, adds more colours to liven your life.

Prior to breeding, it is important to select quality fishes to ‘brood’ – a process used by professional breeders to mature selected fishes for breeding.

Kois selected are based on their individual colour tone, weight, size, and trait. A mistake made during this process can result in a weak breed of these exquisite fishes. The selected carps are placed into fishponds to mature as according to their gender.

To enhance maturation, these fishes are fed with manure to provide them with the essential nutrients required for breeding. The fishes are also fed with protein-rich supplementary feed that can either be purchased at any aquarium, or prepared by mixing several food grains, by-products, fish meal, vitamins, and minerals.

Once the fishes are ready and are released into the breeding pond, a hive of activity begins and lasts for hours.


Even up till today, the origins of the koi fish remains shrouded in mystery. However, archaeological records were able to prove that koi fossils were first discovered in China some 20 million years ago.

Breeding History

Japan – Oita prefecture.

Sometime during the 1800s, farmers from this prefecture were the first to discover the colourful pigmentation on some of their kois. Previously, the Japanese used to breed these fishes for food.

These colourful fishes were immediately separated from the rest of its school and kept as pets. Farmers began to breed this school of fishes amongst their community to see what type of unique fishes they would get.

It was during the Tokyo Taisho Exhibition in the early 1920s that farmers from this prefecture shared with the public their colourful breed of carp fishes. This eventually paved the way to modern day koi breeding, one that is based on breeding prosperous colours.

Today, buyers are attracted to three popular patterns: kohaku (red and white patches), sanke (white and red with black spots), and the showa (black, red, and white patches). These patterns are able to fetch a breeder a high price.

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