Koi Fish Prices And What You Need To Know Before Buying

Beautiful silver and orange koi

Add Life To Your Backyard Pond And Make It A True Ecosystem

You’ll love having koi fish as much as any pond owner does (which is a lot). Koi add vibrant colors and life to your pond. Wait! Before you hop off this page to go buy some, you’ll want to know koi fish prices.

There’s a wide range when it comes to how much koi fish cost. There are several factors that determine how much one will cost, and it can range from about $10 per to tens of thousands of dollars.

If you’ll be investing in adding living creatures to your backyard pond, it’s a great idea to have someone maintain it first.

You can trust Premier Ponds to build and maintain your koi pond.

There are several reasons why we’re the number one choice for backyard pond building and maintenance in Maryland. You can use us to make sure your pond is koi fish-friendly so they’ll be happy and healthy in their new home.

Here is what koi fish cost and more you need to know:

Koi Fish Prices

ShopSourcePriceType of Koi
PetcoUnited States$10 to $17Grade-A domestic
LiveaquariaEast Asian standard koi farm$8 to $20Assorted Grade-A
Next Day KoiIsrael$30 to $660Large Butterfly koi
Kloubec KoiUnited States advanced koi farm$100 to $2,500Large to extra-large koi with rare color patterns
Kodama Koi FarmJapanBids (up to $16,000)Certified Grade-AAA koi, large to jumbo-size
Sakai Fish FarmJapanBids (up to $200,000)Certified Grade-AAA koi, large to jumbo-size, contenders for Grand Champion

What Affects Koi Fish Prices?

Lots of koi

1. Color and pattern

There is a rule that affects koi fish costs just like it does everything else; the better it looks, the more expensive it is.

People have been breeding koi fish for centuries, resulting in vivid colors and patterns, but only on some. One of the most sought-after color combinations is bright red-orange, the darkest black, and a shining white. People also compete over koi that are solid yellow, gray, or white.

In Japan, people want koi that look like the Japanese flag, meaning pure white with a large red dot on their head.

2. Genetic lineage

You’ll find some koi can trace their ancestry back for generations.

This affects koi fish prices because it’s like buying a purebred dog versus a mutt. It’s all about class. The koi with the highest value is the Gosanke. Inside of this breed are Sanke (Taisho Sanshoku), Showa (Showa Sanshoku), and Kohaku.

There are even koi fish competitions resembling dog shows. The rule of thumb is the more rare the features are, the more expensive the fish is.

You can find cheaper domestic koi at local pet shops and online fish shops. It’s harder to tell which breed the koi is. These koi tend to be hardier than show koi, meaning they’ll live better lives in your backyard pond.

3. Body shape and fin-type

Japanese and United States koi farmers usually have a different preference here.

In Japan, short and neat fins are more sought after. Some traditionalists see long fins as mutations and thus imperfect. 

In the United States, koi with long fins are called Butterfly koi because their fins look like fragile wings. Some can even start looking like little swimming dragons!

This causes koi fish prices to differ in each place based on which fish you buy. Just go for which look you prefer.

4. Size

Again, the rule of thumb that governs most things also governs koi; the bigger it is, the more expensive it is. This is why koi fish cost more when they’re larger.

  • Domestic koi tend to grow between 12 and 15 inches in length
  • Japanese koi tend to grow between 22 and 26 inches in length
  • Jumbo koi tend to grow between 34 and 36 inches in length

5. Age

You can more easily tell the quality of a koi fish as it gets older.

Larger koi are more expensive. When you buy younger koi you can’t tell how large they’ll get, which means you can’t tell their quality. This is why koi fish prices are lower for younger ones.

Also, you won’t be able to enjoy your koi for as long if you get older ones. They can live for decades depending on the fish and their care.

6. Sex

It’s imported vs domestic and value here.

Females are more expensive when it comes to highly-valued Japanese koi. They’re usually longer and have rounder fins. You can also use them for breeding, which makes them cash fish.

Domestic koi are usually closer in price, so it’s not usually a significant difference.

Why Koi Fish Prices Are Higher Than For Other Fish

Koi fish swimming in large backyard pond

Koi are higher quality fish

Koi fish cost more because only quality ones make it to market.

Even though koi lay millions of eggs throughout their life. Sadly, most of them will have deformities. These can be sold at lower prices.

Raising koi is a commitment

It takes care, time, and money to raise happy and healthy koi fish. Farmers need to make some money off their work. This way they can support their families, employees, and business.

Transportation costs

Shipping koi fish to the US is no easy task. Koi farmers have to pay shipping, customs, and a license fee. This drives koi fish prices way up.

It might be best to start with less expensive koi fish. This way you can see what it’s like to raise a fish in an outdoor pond without risking hundreds of dollars.

Rarity

Most other pond fish are easier to get and are more common than koi fish. This is why koi fish cost more on average.

Put The Finishing Detail In Your Pond With Some Koi Fish

But before you do, please make sure it’s going to be a good home for your fish! You don’t want to pay these koi fish prices only for it to not work out. It’s best to prepare to be a fish parent first.

You can always use Premier Ponds to make sure your pond is fish-friendly. Contact us today or see our pond maintenance page for more information.

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