Different Types Of Koi Fish

For centuries, koi fish have been one of the most popular fish for people to keep. Their elegant scales and impressive size can transform any outdoor pond into quite a regal spot.

Their breathtaking beauty makes them a prime candidate for selective breeding. Their countless breeds create a whole rainbow of fish for hobbyists to choose from.

How many of these koi breeds have you heard of?

Koi Breeds

While the fish breeding business creates an ever-growing list of koi breeds, there are some which are more popular than others.

Here are some of the most popular koi fish:


This koi is easily recognizable as one of the more popular types of koi fish. The name simply refers to any white koi which has large red markings.

It’s believed by many to have been the first “ornamental” koi which was bred specifically for hobbyists. There are many different types of Kohaku koi which are identifiable by the size and location of the red spots.

Doitsu Koi

Doitsu Koi

This interesting variety misses a little something compared to a traditional koi fish. Unlike much other fish, this breed lacks scales.

Some of them don’t have any scales at all. The name is derived from the Japanese word for German.

Originally, they were bred to have no scales in order to make the process of de-scaling easier. In other words, they were bred for food.

While these fish were originally bred in Germany, they eventually made their way overseas. Some breeders have been crossing the domestic fish with more colorful varieties.



This interesting koi adds a little twist to what you can expect from your carp. Similar to the stereotypical white fish with red or orange trim, the asagi have a little extra color on their scales.

The iridescent, grey colorations help the scales stand out.

Ai Goromo

Ai Goromo

Similar to a Kohaku, this koi has red spots which have a darker edge to them. Almost like a painting, they give it a more interesting appearance than the traditional looking koi.



This is a subgroup of Koromo. Like the Ai Goromo, this fish is also a modern twist on the Kohaku. Instead of regular plain red spots, it has burgundy patches, which also overlay.

Some people say the spots look like a bunch of grapes.



This metallic koi fish almost looks like a dragon. It has very distinctive and reflective scales.

This fish is normally black with little white accents which are reminiscent of dragons in Eastern artwork.

Ghost Koi

The ghost koi is a gorgeous combination of dark wild-caught carp and metallic koi fish. They have a haunting, pearly color to them which almost makes them look like a painting.

Their ominous appearance makes them a must for anyone who wants to have a more modern looking selection.

More: The Best Koi Pond Filter


Bekko koi come in a whole variety of different body colors, but they are characterized by their black markings.

Common colors for these fish are white, red, and yellow. The different colored versions can sometimes be referred to by different names.

Shiro Bekko, Aka Bekko, and Ki Bekko are the names of the white, red, and yellow koi colors, respectively.


Rather than having base scales of white, the Utsurimono koi has a black base. However, these fish are not a solid color.

This koi is characterized by having the black body with white, red, or yellow markings in a striped pattern.

Kuro ki Madara

The oldest known coloration of the Utsurimono, this koi fish has black and yellow markings.

The yellow and black combination can add a nice bit of variety to your koi pond.


The Chagoi koi offers a much different color pallet than you would normally expect from a koi fish. Instead of bright, vibrant colors, these koi have “tea colors.”

These can be anything from a duller green to a light brown.


The Chagoi koi isn’t known for its impressive color, but rather its personality. While the brown or orange fish may initially seem dull, they are popular for a good reason.

This fish is the easiest to hand-feed and becomes accustomed to feeding time incredibly quickly.

If you are looking for an interactive koi, rather than one which is purely ornamental, this is the fish for you.

Showa Sanke

This gorgeous koi is black with red and white markings. It’s almost the opposite of what you would normally expect from a typical koi fish and its scales really stand out.

They also make for a nice contrast to other koi you might have in your pond.

Butterfly Koi

Butterfly Koi

There are many variations of butterfly koi, which can be found almost anywhere. The name refers to their elongated tails, which look like a little gown or butterfly wings.

This is an elegant species which can be found at most pet supply shops. They are an incredibly popular breed, but you should be careful that their delicate tails don’t become damaged.


These koi have metallic scales and come in multiple colors.

They are often bicolored or have a combination of colored patches.


This pale koi comes in shades of blue and grey with interesting Kohaku-style patterns. These scale patterns come in colors which are highly contrasting against the blue.

They are copper or yellow, making the fish almost look like autumn, which is where the fish gets its name from.


The Tsumi-Goromo koi is the rarest of the Koromo group. Like the Kohaku, which these variations were originally bred from, this koi also has blotches.

Instead of the traditional red patches, these koi have such dark red scales that they can almost appear black. In the light, you will be able to clearly see that they are burgundy.

More: The Best Corals for Reef Tanks


This is the “normal” version of the Kikokuryu. These koi have the same black scales with white trim as the traditional dragons, but with non-metallic scales.

These fish tend to have fewer or even no scales compared to a typical koi fish. The fish are known for another interesting talent which is that they tend to change color in reaction to the weather.


The Ogon koi is one of the original koi known for its sparkling scales. They almost look as if their skin is made from metal.

They are a gorgeous addition to any pond and can add a special element to any fish you are trying to crossbreed.


Kinginrin koi fish have sparkly metallic scales which glisten in the sun. These fish come in an impressive range of colors.


These fish come in a beautiful shade of green. They have very few scales, reserved only for the top part of their bodies.

Like a little mohawk of mirror scales, this line covers their dorsal region, covering the head to tail in a single row. They tend to be rather pale and can have different colors which accentuate them.


This is more of an umbrella term which refers to many different koi species. Essentially, any koi that has a red patch on is head belongs in this category.

The name comes from the Japanese word for a red-crowed crane, another animal which sports a red dot on its head.

Armor Koi

A part of the Doitsu koi, this variation is also the result of domestic breeding for food. When these giant carp were bred to be eaten, there were some additional mutations that occurred.

While these fish generally have very few scales, they sometimes grow massive, thick scales, resulting in an “armored” appearance unique to this species of koi.

Ginrin Ogon

This recent crossbreed is an emerging variation and a spectacular koi. The bright and shining colors combine the Ginrin and Ogon koi.

Both of these variations are known for their sparking, metallic appearances.

Selective breeding has created more koi fish varieties than you could ever imagine. It’s hard to believe that these distinct fish all derived from one single, dull common ancestor not too far in the past.

Remember, these beautiful creatures are so much more than a decoration. Koi are intelligent fish with vibrant personalities who will quickly become members of your family.

We want to hear from you. If you have any fun stories to share about your koi fish, please comment below!


  • William Rieder

    Hi, my name is William Rieder and I'm a pet and animal blogger. I love reviewing all things pet related, from dogs to cats to horses! I also write about other topics such as personal finance and relationships. I enjoy helping people find the perfect pet for their lifestyle and am always interested in hearing what they have to say about their pets.

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