Which Koi Fish Type Is Best For Your Pond?

Koi fish are renowned for their beauty, grace, and the tranquillity they bring to any pond. However, with over 100 varieties of koi, choosing the right ones for your pond can be a daunting task. Each variety has unique characteristics, colours, and patterns that can add different aesthetic values to your pond. Here’s a guide to some of the most popular koi fish varieties and tips on selecting the best ones for your pond.

Koi Fish Type


Best For

Butterfly Koi


Butterfly koi, or longfin koi, have elongated fins that resemble butterfly wings. They can come in various colours and patterns.


Adding grace and elegance to your pond. Their flowing fins create a mesmerising effect in the water.


English Koi


English Koi are bred in the UK and often known for their robust health and vibrant colours. They come in a variety of patterns similar to Japanese koi.


Those looking for hardy koi that can adapt well to different climates and conditions. English Koi are great for beginners and experienced keepers alike.


Goldfish & Shubunkin


Goldfish and Shubunkin are smaller, colourful pond fish that are easy to care for. Shubunkin have calico patterns with a mix of blue, red, and black.


Complementing koi in smaller ponds. They add diversity in colour and are excellent for beginners due to their hardiness.


Japanese Koi


Japanese Koi are the most traditional and revered varieties, often bred for their exquisite colour patterns and body shapes. Varieties like Kohaku, Sanke, and Showa originated in Japan.


Koi enthusiasts who appreciate the art and tradition of koi breeding. Japanese Koi are often considered the gold standard in the koi world.




Orfe are sleek, silver or golden fish known for their fast swimming and schooling behaviour. They can grow quite large and are very active.


Adding dynamic movement and a different shape to your pond. They are great for larger ponds where they have space to swim.


White Tip Sterlets


White Tip Sterlets are small sturgeon species with distinctive white tips on their fins. They have a unique, prehistoric appearance and can grow up to 3 feet.


Ponds with well-oxygenated water and good filtration. They add a unique and exotic look to the pond but require more care.




Kohaku koi are characterised by their white bodies with red (hi) markings. This classic variety is often the first koi type recommended for beginners.


Beginners and those looking for a traditional and timeless koi. They are hardy and easy to care for.


Taisho Sanke (Sanke)


Sanke koi have a white body with red and black markings. They are similar to Kohaku but with the addition of black (sumi) patterns.


Ponds that already have Kohaku and need a bit of contrast. They add a dynamic element with their tricolour appearance.


Showa Sanshoku (Showa)


Showa koi are similar to Sanke but have a black body with white and red markings. The black often appears more prominently.


Adding bold and dramatic contrast to your pond. They are ideal for more experienced koi keepers due to their complex patterning.




Utsuri koi have a black body with white (Shiro Utsuri), red (Hi Utsuri), or yellow (Ki Utsuri) markings. They are known for their striking contrast and clear patterns.


Ponds that need striking, high-contrast fish. They are great for creating visual interest.




Asagi koi have a blue-grey net-like pattern on their bodies with red or orange on the belly, fins, and gill plates.


Those who appreciate subtle beauty and traditional koi patterns. Asagi are peaceful and add a touch of elegance.




Shusui koi are a Doitsu (scaleless) version of Asagi with a blue body and red markings along the sides and the dorsal line.

Fans of Asagi who prefer a unique, scaleless variety. They provide a modern twist on traditional patterns.




Bekko koi have a solid white, red, or yellow body with black markings. The markings are usually small and evenly distributed.


Ponds that need koi with simpler and cleaner patterns. Bekko koi are easy to identify and care for.




Ogon koi are metallic and come in solid colours such as platinum, gold, and orange. They are known for their shiny, metallic appearance.


Adding a touch of sparkle and brightness to your pond. They are hardy and make a striking visual impact.


Gin Rin


Gin Rin koi have reflective scales that glitter like diamonds. They come in various colours and patterns.


Koi enthusiasts who want an extra shimmer in their pond. They look especially stunning under natural sunlight.


Tips For Selecting Koi For Your Pond

  1. Pond Size: Ensure your pond is large enough to accommodate the number and size of koi you plan to keep. Koi can grow quite large, often reaching over 24 inches.
  2. Water Quality: Maintain high water quality with proper filtration and aeration. Different koi varieties may have varying sensitivities to water conditions.
  3. Mixing Varieties: Consider mixing different varieties to create a visually appealing and diverse pond. Ensure the varieties you choose can coexist peacefully.
  4. Health and Source: Purchase koi from reputable dealers to ensure you get healthy, disease-free fish. Inspect the koi for any signs of illness before buying.

Selecting the right koi fish varieties for your pond involves considering their colours, patterns, and compatibility with your pond environment. By choosing a mix of these stunning varieties, you can create a beautiful and harmonious koi pond that will be the envy of all who see it. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced koi keeper, there is a perfect koi variety out there for you.