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Coy Fish

Coy Fish

All about Coy Fish

Coy fish come from the Japanese word, Koi, which means carp. They are highly popular fish in Japan and China. Coy fish originated in the Aral, Caspian, and Black Seas in Eastern Asia. They are now a highly valued pond fish, although they were once considered to be a food fish. In the 1800s, Japanese farmers started to breed the coy fish for their colors, and they had soon spread around the world as an ornamental fish.

Coy fish are a cold water fish that can survive in just about any location. The only place they don’t live is in Antarctica. You can buy coy fish in most pet stores. They usually inhabit garden ponds instead of aquariums because of the amount of water needed for them to stay healthy. In cold climates, the water depth needs to be down to at least 4-½ feet.

Coy fish and turtles swimming around in a pond

Anytime the temperature drops significantly, such as in winter, coy fish live on the bottom of the pond. Their bodies adapt to a much slower metabolism and their digestive tract becomes smaller so that they don’t need to eat very often. When the ice melts in the spring, they will return to life as normal.

Coy fish come in all colors because they have been bred now for a couple hundred years. They are popular in yellow, black, red, blue and white. In Japan, the most sought after coy fish are white with a splash of red color over their heads which looks somewhat like the Japanese flag.

They have developed special fish food for coy but they are omnivorous and will eat a wide variety of plants and insects. Ask the person you are buying your fish from what they were feeding them so you do not change their diet too much in the move to their new home. Coy fish will eat mosquito larvae, many other insects, lettuce leaves, peas and other vegetables.

Coy fish swimming around in a pond
Image by LaslovargaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Coy fish are quite intelligent and friendly, which makes them even more fun to have around. They will learn to come to be fed when you make a clapping noise, if that is a behavior you want to teach them. They also have no teeth and are so friendly that it isn’t long before you can feed them by hand. They have proven to even be safe for children to feed.

One of the most amazing things about coy fish is their incredible lifespan. Under ideal conditions in terms of water and food, a coy fish can live to be up to ninety years old. They like to live with other kinds of fish and this can increase the length of their lives as well.

They won’t eat other fish but make sure you don’t get fish that will eat them. The oldest coy thus far lived to be 207 years old.

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