What would you do if you were purchasing any other pet? Some of the same questions could be asked when purchasing Koi. Let’s talk about some of the questions.
• How long have the fish been in the store? Unlike dogs, you will want the Koi that have been in the store for several weeks. The Koi become stressed whenever they are moved or shipped. It will be very important that they have had time to de-stress. The conditions during shipping were probably crowded, not the best water quality and possible low oxygen levels. As we all know Koi can become sick at this time because their immune system is very low. If the Koi have been there for a few weeks it is not because they aren’t wanted or desirable but because they are adjusting to a new environment.
• Did the store quarantine the fish when they arrived? Most pond experts would quarantine the fish when they arrive for a minimum of 2 weeks to allow them to recover. They will inspect the new fish for any diseases and give them preventative treatments. Fish adapt to their existing environment so they may not be completely free of parasites when they arrive. The pond shop will not want their other fish infected and should always quarantine the new arrivals.
• How big is the selection of Koi? Many pet stores don’t specialize in Koi and just throw what they have in one tank together. This may not be the best place to select your Koi as they may not have a lot of Koi knowledge.
• Are the fish free of disease? You can answer this question by looking closely at the fish. Are the fish extremely thin? Signs of disease are milky or cloudy film over their eyes, swimming in jerky movements, rubbing against the side of the basin, grey film on the skin, open sores or ulcers, circular wounds (leeches), white spots on the body (ich), or any other cuts or spots that don’t look normal. Make sure you check out all of the fish because even if the one you’re looking at is ok the others may be sick and your fish hasn’t shown signs yet.
I am assuming in this article that you are not looking to buy show quality Koi. Those must be purchased online. The Koi in the pond store are pretty and you will enjoy them. However, you will notice that there are all types of colors and designs on the fish and they are all in one tank. That is a sure sign that the Koi aren’t pure bred. Like dogs, they are the mutts. Loveable, beautiful, inexpensive mutts!