|Scientific Name:||Cyprinus carpio|
|Record Weight UK:||
65lb 14oz 0dr (29kg 484gr)
[‘Two Tone’ again at 67lb 14oz, Conningbrook]
|Average Weight:||6 - 15 lb (2.7 kg / 6.8kg)|
|Average Length:||18 - 26 inches (45 cm – 65cm)|
|Maximum Weight (Europe):||94lb (42kg 637gr)|
|Maximum Length:||48 inches: (120cm)|
|Life Span:||Between 9 – 45+ years.|
Another variation of Common Carp, but brought about by human interference and highly selective breeding over hundreds of years. The variations in colour and pattern, in both fully scaled and partially scaled fish, is considerable with many clearly identifiable patterns having been bred and named.
Ghost Carp (simply an alternative name for Ghost Koi), are a hybrid, and are usually the result of breeding Mirror or Common Carp with Purachina Koi (Platinum Ogon) to get White Ghost Koi or Yambuki (Yellow Ogon) to obtain Yellow Ghost Koi. The variations to these produce a great number of colour variations within Ghost Carp ranging from bright white to gunmetal grey and their colours can develop as they age.
Ghost Koi are able to reproduce with each other, but throw up a high percentage of offspring that revert to parental types. As normal with hybrids, they are more vigorous in terms of growth and health than Koi Carp and are able to compete well for food with all variants of Cyprinus carpio that live in the wild and inter bred with them and each other.
Due to the consistent in-breeding that has taken place with Koi Carp, purebred Koi are generally weaker, slower growing and more susceptible to disease than their ancestral cousins that tend to have stronger genes. That said, some colour strains such as Yamabuki Ogons (metallic yellow), may actually grow faster than indigenous Carp, whilst others such as Showa and Sanke (red, white & black) and Shiro Utsuri and Shiro Bekko (black and white) grow more slowly.
It is widely believed that the Carp first found their way to Japan via China, who had brought them from Persia (now Iran), over 2,000 years ago. It appears widely believed that the word ‘koi’ was first referred to in about 500BC, when the word was apparently used to describe a wild carp presented by a King Shoko of Ro (origin unknown but possibly Persian), to Confucius (the great Chinese philosopher – 551-479BC), to celebrate the birth of his first son, who was then named after the fish as it was considered a symbol of strength: Chinese legend has it that it was the only fish to swim up through the Dragon Gate Falls of the flooded Yellow River in 533BC.
After some 1,800 years of fish being farmed in restrictive conditions, rice farmers in China and Japan who had apparently introduced them into their irrigation ponds to control mosquitoes whilst also supplementing their diet found that some fish had mutated to produce different coloration.
The breeding of these carp to initially obtain pure red carp and other colours, subsequently leading over time to the distinct patterns that has led to Koi becoming so popular worldwide with fish keepers today, originated in Niigata on the north western coast of Japan at the end of the 17th and start of the 18th centuries.
Over the years, coloured carp in Japan have been referred to as flower carp (Hanogoi), brocaded carp (Nishikigoi) and fancy carp (Moyoogoi). It appears that the word Koi developed from the word goi, to represent the coloured carp as opposed to the plain carp. In Japan, Koi are now referred to as nishikigoi: ‘nishiki’ used to describe an ‘expensive cloth of many colours imported from India’ and ‘goi’ meaning ‘carp’. Some koi live in excess of 100 years and a particularly famous fish named Hanako lived in a pond in Oppara, Japan and was 226 years old when it died in 1977, scientific analysis of 2 scales using light microscopes proved it was born in 1751 !
Koi are held in very high esteem in Japan, being symbols of strength and aspiration to overcome obstacles, and are the national fish of the country.