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Butterfly Koi

Updated on September 30, 2014

The beautiful fins of the Butterfly Koi

The main difference between Butterfly Koi Carp and Standard Koi Carp are the size of the fins. Butterfly Koi have fins twice as large as that of normal Koi. The fins also have a frayed appearance which can make them look like wings. The swim through the water with the grace of a butterfly and have the colour variants to match. They are sometimes known as Dragon Koi due to the fins appearance as wings, which makes them even more popular with enthusiasts who love the dragon symbolism.

This Koi type is less popular in Japan where Koi originate due to the Japanese Koi enthusiasts and Japanese Koi breeders tending to prefer the classic standard Koi.

In the image provided you can see a beautiful Butterfly Koi sporting the amazing winged fins. The image has been provided under the creative commons license and the photo was taken by Blue Ridge Fish.

What size do Butterfly Koi grow to?

Butterfly Koi in Pond
Butterfly Koi in Pond

Butterfly Koi are only variants of the traditional Koi Carp so they still maintain all of the same size and life expectancies. The average Butterfly Koi size will be around 60 centimeters. The largest size that Butterfly Koi are likely to achieve is up to 80 cenitmetres. Due to the size they are only really suitable for garden ponds and if they are in a pond, the pond should be suitable deep with good filtration, the same as for other Koi.

The image has been provided under the creative commons license, image is linked to the photographer.

Butterfly Ghost Carp
Butterfly Ghost Carp

Butterfly Koi Types

The Butterfly Koi can be found in a huge range of colours and types as they are basically line bred versions of the stanard Koi. You can get Red, Yellow, White, Black and Blue Butterfly Koi with various paterns and colour depth. Some of the Butterfly Koi can even be found with up to three different colour combinations.

There is a type of Koi Carp, called Ghost Carp, which have metallic colours. You can find Butterfly Ghost Koi Carp in all of the metallic colours such as silver and gold.

The image has been provided under the creative commons license, image is linked to the photographer.

Butterfly Koi for Sale

You should be able to buy Butterfly Koi from any local fish shop. There are also many different places online where you can purchase Butterfly Koi and have them delivered. However one of the best places to buy Koi is actually eBay, yes you heard me correctly. Using eBay you can find a local breeder, visit them and see the fish that they have posted before making a bid or buy it now. Some will also offer to ship the fish, but if they do make sure they are competent as shipping fish needs to be done correctly for the wellfare of the fish and the protection of your investment.

Butterfly Koi Breeding
Butterfly Koi Breeding

Breeding Butterfly Koi

The first Butterfly Koi were said to have been bred around the middle of the last century. It has been claimed that the traditional Japanese Koi were cross bred with wild Indonesian river carp to help improve their hardiness. The most visually stunning feature of these wild carp was the large flowing fins. Select line breeding of the offspring allowed for the colours of the Koi to be kept along with the long fins to produce what we now know as Butterfly Koi.

You will find that breeding Butterfly Koi is the same as breeding traditional Koi. The majority of people who keep Koi will find fry in or around any plant cover. You can extract to a separate growing on tank if you wish or leave to let nature take its course. If you want to breed specific fish you will need to separate them from the other fish in the pond.

The image has been provided under the creative commons license, image is linked to the photographer.

The appeal of Butterfly Koi

In Japan there is a lot of symbolism around Koi. They are supposed to represent success and courage. They are available in aroudn 16 major types with over 100 subtypes, one of which being the Butterfly Koi. As previously mentioned the alternative name for Butterfly Koi is Dragon Koi and the Dragon also has huge symbolic elements to Far Eastern culture, increasing the appeal further. Also previously mentioned is that you can get Ghost Carp variants of the Butterfly Koi. Image seeing a a 60cm long ghostly image swimming around the pond like a Ghost floating through the night sky. You can't really get a more visually stunning fish for a pond.

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