Choosing your new koi is hands-down the most exciting part of the fishkeeping hobby!
And I’ve got great news for you…
I’ve hand-curated a list of the best sellers to purchase your finned friend from on the internet. Only the top-notch breeders and importers make the cut.
Today I’m pulling back the curtain and revealing my “secret stash.”
So, you ready to go shopping?
Finding Variety and Quality Among Koi
A cousin of the goldfish, koi have been bred since the 1800’s for beauty and for viewing pleasure.
It’s no wonder so many find the hobby fascinating and enjoyable – but an important piece of the puzzle is actually finding those beautiful koi that will make your relaxing pond how you always envisioned.
Let’s face it:
It’s easy to get frustrated when you visit aquarium stores in search of your dream fish. Maybe you have something specific in mind, or are just wanting to find fish that are a cut above the rest to complete your pond, but you end up walking away disappointed.
But from the pet stores’ point of view, it doesn’t make a lot of business sense for them to carry the more high quality fish because their losses are so high.
Sure, you might be able to find a “gem” once in a while – but it requires a lot of patience and frequent trips.
Where do you go when you’re looking for a show-quality fish (and you don’t want to wait around forever)?
There’s an attractive option:
Shopping for those elusive specimens online.
Reasons to Buy Your Koi Online Instead
There are some pretty major advantages to purchasing koi online.
Many times, you can see the photo (and sometimes videos) of the actual fish you are considering – without even having to be there in person.
Because of the added labor necessary to photograph individual fish, you can often get a better deal if you purchase “stock” koi instead.
Pet stores, while usually affordable, come with their own set of drawbacks.
It can be hard to find educated workers that can offer sound advice when you find yourself running into a snag – in fact, sometimes their recommendations can do more harm than good.
Not only that, but there is a much greater risk of bringing home unwanted hitchhikers along with your newly purchased fish.
I’m talking about pesky parasites.
This is because these fish often have a high turnover rate. Many times they are sold the same day as they arrive without any kind of quarantine period or a chance to rest up.
This leads to a weaker immune system with a higher risk of disease.
Keeping koi can be a fun and fascinating pastime – but you want to start out with strong, healthy fish in order to get off on the right start.
Purchasing directly from a good koi supplier often means they can support you into the future if you ever have any questions or issues that come up (and they probably WILL come up).
When you browse through the websites of online sellers, you can compare prices and selection from different sellers – and you have the opportunity to do so on your own timetable without ever having to leave your house.
Once you make your purchase, you get those fish shipped right to your door.
And a good seller will also offer a live arrival guarantee.
That means if some fish don’t make it during transit – you get a refund.
You may have to pay shipping costs that you otherwise wouldn’t if you were to go to an aquarium store, but you also have a much better chance of finding what you want.
Not to mention better quality fish.
When shopping online, there are two ways suppliers are able to source their goods:
1. Koi Breeders
Koi breeders sell fish produced from their own locally-bred lines.
Why buy from breeders?
Buying from high-quality breeders that spawn and raise their fish on their own farms and hatcheries usually ensures the fish are much more likely to be free from contagious pathogens.
When you buy from a breeder, you are often buying from the ones who have known your fish from the time it was an egg – maybe even several generations of its parents as well.
These fish are born and raised in the USA
2. Koi Importers
Importers work with koi farms overseas to bring in and sell fish to hobbyists.
Why buy from importers?
Importers can offer a wider variety of selection for colors, sizes and breeds such as exotic Japanese koi.
Often travel the globe in search of champion lines and genetic diversity that can be offered to the average hobbyist
May provide more affordable prices
How to Get Your New Fish Settled In
It’s really important to get off on a good note once your new fish have arrived.
So as tempting as it is to put those beautiful creatures right in with your other fish – it’s important to slow down and do things right to avoid a potential disaster.
This means you must follow proper quarantining procedures…
… Even if the fish LOOKS well or maybe really doesn’t have any parasite infestations to start with.
The shipping process is stressful, no questions about it.
Stressed fish are much more prone to coming down with disease, just like you or I after a long period of stressful traveling.
Quarantining gives your new arrivals the chance to “rest up” before being introduced to the rest of the gang.
And in case there is a disease outbreak, you won’t infect everyone and risk losing all.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Where is your favorite place to purchase koi?
Want to share a recent experience you had with buying koi online?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
An avid goldfish breeder and keeper for nearly 20 years, Meredith Clawson is the founder of the Pure Goldfish website and author of the book The Truth About Goldfish. Pure Goldfish has been featured in Wikihow, Wikipedia, The Aquarium Guide and more.