It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this is especially true of Butterfly Koi. Many regard the Butterfly Koi one of the most beautiful fish in the world. They are very popular in America and it is sometimes referred to as the American Koi. It is a hybrid and not regarded as a true Koi by the purists. The Butterfly Koi have fins that are long, flowing and almost featherlike in appearance. They are reputed to be a hardy breed and better able to handle colder temperatures. However the breed finds very little acceptance outside of America and traditional breeders of Koi will not breed them.
In the breeding program that led to emergence of Butterfly Koi the aim was to breed an increase in the hardiness of the fish. It is thought that Koi were interbred with wild Indonesian Longfin river carp. The offspring were hardier but had long fins. The traditional ideal body shape of Koi is oval but the Butterfly Koi is much slender. The long slender fins also compromised traditional Koi standards. In Japan these fish have been disallowed from Koi competitions. As a result of all this Koi breeders and retailers do not include this breed in their range of Koi.
However despite all this in America the breed is extremely popular and there is no argument over whether or not the breed is part of the world of Koi. The Koi Club Association of America has set up its own standards and criteria for judging these beautiful fish. However even these standards are in the process of development and there are many who feel that the criteria for judging traditional Koi should not be lost sight of in judging Butterfly Koi. There is still tension between the purists who favor the shorter fins while the market for the long tail is far more dominant.
Butterfly Koi were bred in the USA by the Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery. They were first named by Wyatt LeFever of this hatchery. These popular fish are sometimes also refered to as Dragon Koi. One of their advantages is that they look as beautiful when viewed from above as they do from the side which makes them excellent pond fish. They appear to swim with grace and have such a regal bearing that their presence is a huge visual asset to any Koi pond. Ongoing breeding programs are producing fish with color equal to the more traditional range of Koi. They are a hardy fish thriving in a wider range of temperatures and very resistant to disease. They have a reputation for destroying plant life within a pond but if the right plants are chosen both are able to thrive in the same pond.
Butterfly Koi like regular Koi do not do well in an aquarium. They can grow to become large fish. You should not consider keeping Butterfly Koi unless you have a pond holding at least a thousand gallons or more. All the criteria required for keeping Koi apply equally to these fish. Butterfly Koi are ravenous eaters and grow very quickly and need room to do so.
It is Your Decision
The decision to keep Butterfly Koi in your pond is a personal one. If you wish to maintain the traditional standards that have grown up around Koi then the keeping of these fish is out of the question. If you are trying to build a traditional Japanese garden or submit specimens in Koi shows or competitions then think carefully about the presence of Butterfly Koi in your pond. However if all you are looking for is beauty and elegance among your fish stock then these graceful fish are certainly worth a place in any Koi pond.
About the Author
Frank Rogers started keeping fish in his teens. Since those early days he has kept fish whenever it was possible to do so. While living in the tropics he tried his hand at keeping salt water fish and learnt from his mistakes. He now shares with you the challenge of keeping Koi – perhaps the fish that are the most fun to keep in either a pond or large tank. Pay a visit to
and learn more about these amazing fish
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