How Much Does a Koi Fish Cost?

Just looking at the elegant, graceful, and colorful Koi fish, it is hard to imagine that this fish is related to the common carp. But in fact, the very name of this fish, Koi, means “carp” in Japanese.

While most Koi fish found in pet stores are sold when they are still quite young, adult Koi can easily rival their less colorful wild carp relatives in adult size! For this reason, young Koi are frequently called “Tategoi” – a term which means “unfinished”.

The original Koi colors were black, blue, white, and red. Modern ones can display a stunning array of colors and patterns. Experienced breeders pay close attention to bloodlines to produce championship quality.

Beautiful as they are, Koi can represent a significant commitment of time and money. These fish can grow to be four feet and live for 40+ years (the eldest recorded Koi was 226 years old)!

In this article, learn more about the Koi fish price and take the first step on your journey towards keeping and enjoying these peaceful, friendly fish.

colorful fancy carp fish

Koi Fish Purchase Price

The Koi fish purchase price you pay can depend on any number of factors, which we look at in detail in the next section here.

The Kloubec Koi Farm demonstrates the surprisingly wide variety of Koi prices based on size and coloration. Posted prices for individual adult fish range from $99.99 to $4,499.99.

In contrast, bulk Koi packages of small fish (4” to 6” in length) start at $20 per Koi or $100 for 5 fish.

Koi Fish Ponds sells even smaller Koi in six categories from Standard to Select Butterfly. Pricing for fry (3” to 4” in length) ranges from $4 to $28 per fish.

Adult fish (22” to 26” in length) also come in six categories with prices ranging from $660 to $3,000.

Here, it is easy to see how purchasing fry or one-year-old Tategoi fish will be more affordable, especially if you are stocking a new pond all at once.

Factors Affecting Koi Fish Purchase Price

Not too long ago, one Koi fish made international news headlines when the fish took the Grand Championship title at the All Japan Koi Show and promptly fetched a selling price of $1.8 million dollars!

Happily, most Koi fish are far more affordable, especially if your primary goal is to stock a private pond with Koi versus if you plan to start breeding and/or showing Koi in competitions.

  • “Pond” versus “Show” quality

One thing you will notice right away is the difference in price based on whether you are purchasing “pond quality” or “show quality” Koi fish. The former will be more affordable.

But the fun thing is that one of these fish might also grow up to display championship markings – you just never know!

  • Predicted adult markings

The Koi price you pay will also have a great deal to do with predicted markings in maturity.

Experienced Koi breeders study bloodlines and breed toward specific outcomes which is are how they can say with confidence that a Koi will grow up to be a Showa versus a Sanke color, for example.

  • Koi size

As with so many aquatic species, a Koi fish’s size can dramatically impact the price you pay.

This is because most Koi don’t begin to display their full adult coloration until around the age of two years old or later. Koi fry (very young fish) and Tategoi (one-year-old Koi) are the most affordable ones.

  • Standard versus Butterfly

There are two types of Koi sold today: standard and butterfly. The butterfly Koi is a hybrid breed created by Blue Ridge Koi by breeding a long-finned carp to a standard Koi fish.

This cross-breeding produced unique Koi fish with long, flowing fins and colorful markings that came to be known as “butterfly” Koi.

Some Koi enthusiasts think butterfly Koi are “mutts” while others prize these unique Koi above all others and call them Japanese “water dragons”. Not all Koi breeders breed butterfly Koi which can influence the price you pay.

One-Time Koi Fish Costs

Because Koi can grow so large, it is vitally important to consider their long-term habitat needs even while they are still quite little. In other words, you want to build a pond your Koi can grow into.

  • Pond

Your Koi pond will represent the single largest expense of keeping Koi – after the Koi price itself. The general rule of thumb is to provide 10 gallons of water per every one inch of fish (adult size).

Koi veterinarians say a good rule of thumb is to plan on 1,000 gallons per every single adult Koi fish.

Pond packages cost anywhere from $1,200 to $29,900 depending on size and scope.

  • Pond filters

A quality pond filter typically costs between $950 for Bioclean Mini Pond Filter (Up to 1500 gallons) and $2,650 (Up to 5000 gallons).

  • Décor

Live freshwater plants typically range from $6 to $139. Fake pond rocks cost $24.99 and up.

Ongoing Koi Fish Costs

  • Food

For more than one fish, the most economical way to purchase Koi food will usually be in bulk. Costs can range from $17 for 1-lb. pack to $121 for 50-lb. bulk floating pellet  depending on the number of fish you have.

  • Maintenance

Koi pond maintenance is part manual labor and part choosing the right products. Starting at $31 and up, Koi Clay is a popular choice for water detoxification and purification.

Pond-zyme removes waste, algae, and slime and costs $25 and up per pound of cleaner.