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5 Rarest Koi Fish (With Pictures)

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

koi in pond

With more than 100 varieties of Koi fish in existence, it is safe to say that Koi fish is not rare in general. However, they are not commonly seen in public settings. Koi fish usually live in ponds on farms, in private yards, and in special places like zoos and botanical gardens.

These fish were created by Japanese fishermen in the 19th century by catching colorful carp and breeding them. By breeding the carp based on their coloring and markings, they were able to establish a wide variety of Koi over time. While Koi fish as a whole are not particularly rare, specific Koi are considered rare for one reason or another. Let’s explore a few of these rarities.

The 5 Rarest Koi Fish

1. Kohaku Koi — S Legend

kohaku on black background
Image Credit: Jerawat Supajirakit, Shutterstock

A Kohaku Koi, S Legend is thought to be the most expensive Koi dish on the planet. With bright orange splotches covering his white, superb body, S Legend sold for almost $2 million when he was 9 years old. S Legend hails from Japan, where he was bred by an award-winning breeder named Kentaro Sakai. After being purchased, he moved to Thailand with his new owner, Miss Yingying.


2. Gin Rin Ki Utsuri Koi

Black and Yellow Koi Carp
Image Credit: Wiratchai wansamngam,Shutterstock

The contrasting black-and-yellow markings on this type of Koi fish are unique and considered rare in the Koi world. Feeding them color-enhancing food can result in the yellow markings turning more orange in color, which is something that many owners avoid because it would affect the unique patterning of their fish and give them a more common look.


3. Kuro Goshiki Koi

You won’t see a Kuro Goshiki swimming in a pond often. These fish have dark grey, almost black bodies with bright red patches from the tops of their heads to the ends of their tails. Sometimes, the fins display white markings, offering even more contrast to their overall look.


4. Kumonryu Koi

silver koi fish with orange, yellow and black patterns
Image Credit: Amir photograph,Shutterstock

What makes this Koi so rare is that it is usually scaleless. These fish are smooth and have a sleek black body base with white markings throughout. It is thought that this type of Koi fish was created by breeding the Matsukawa Bakke Koi and Shusui Koi.


5. Tancho Koi

tancho koi
Japan Koi (Image Credit: Immanuel Giel, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 1.0 Universal)

This distinctive-looking Koi fish has a completely white body. The only color is a bright orangish-reddish circle on the top of their head, right between the eyes. Many people think that the Toncho Koi looks like the Japanese flag when viewed from above.

Final Thoughts

Koi fish are beautiful, and we might not see them in everyday life often, but they are not a rare fish species in general. That said, there are a few types of Koi that are quite uncommon. This list included a few of the most beautiful and expensive Koi fish in the world, so hopefully, you now have a better idea of how Koi fish are seen by enthusiasts.


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Authored by

Rachael has been a freelance writer since 2000, in which time she has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens. She is an artist at heart and loves...Read more

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