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A Brief Look At Butterfly Koi

Updated on June 24, 2011


Around the mid 20th century a beautiful fish with long flowing fins was born. Butterfly koi also known as Longfin Koi or Dragon Carp/koi were the result of efforts to increase the hardiness of traditional koi. Japanese breeders blended together Indonesian Longfin river carp with tradition koi. The resulting fish had beautiful long fins, longer barbells, and were hardier that previous koi. In Japan they were known as Onagaoi and hire naga koi which translates in English to long tailed koi. Since the flowing finnage resembles butterfly wings the fish got its popular name of Butterfly Koi. Some breeders however, do not consider this fish a true koi since it is a hybrid. Many traditional Japanese strongly dislike Butterfly Koi and consider them to be inferior. They are non popular in Europe and Asia. However, they are quite popular in the United States. This popularity in the US has earned them the nick name American Koi.

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Butterfly Koi tend to have a more slender body than other tradition koi breeds. Their fin to body ratio exceeds that or tradition koi by 500-1000 percent. Much like traditional koi Butterfly Koi come in many colors and patterns including white, orange, yellow; often a mixture of these colors are fond. Some have a touch of silver or black spots throughout their scales. Small Butterfly Koi can be kept in aquariums but they are a much more popular pound fish. Adults can reach the size of 36 inches in length. They are considered an easy fish to care for. They have a peaceful temperament and typically get along well with other fish of similar size. Butterfly Koi kept in pounds need study pound plants as they tend to nibble at the roots. They can withstand temperatures ranging from 33-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

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    • Eternal Evolution profile image
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      Eternal Evolution 6 years ago from kentucky

      A.A.Zavala I've owned a few koi before and hope to own more in the future. I actually had a butterfly koi once. His name was Ancient lol. I had him for 3-4 years, sadly he died when we had a bad ice storm and our power was out for 14 days. They are really pretty. I didn't know that many breeders disliked this variety until I wrote this hub. Glad you enjoyed the information.

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 6 years ago from Texas

      I love Koi. I never knew these existed. I read a story about a guy who spent several thousand dollars to have surgery done on a koi with a tumor. The breed had three roses on its spine. Thank you for sharing...