Added on: December 3rd, 2008

Are your Koi losing their Sparkle

Are your koi losing their colour?

When koi are first harvested from the mud ponds, their colours are vibrant. After time in a hobbyists pond their colours sometimes look to be fading.
Koi are only able to exhibit pigments if they receive them in their diet. Pigment cells in the skin store carotenoids relative to the colour of the cell, e,g red pigment cell will store Red, Black pigment cell stores Black …..
In the mud pond environment, koi obtain carotenoids by browsing on natural fauna and flora, this is not possible in a filtered koi pond, so carotenoids must be provided in the diet that we feed.

Just look at this ‘Dainichi Kohaku’ straight from the mud pond ‘Autumn 2007′

Some koi foods contain the pigments canthaxanthin, astaxanthin that koi can store in their colour cells, other foods include spirulina, paprika and marigold.

Water Chemistry
Your pond water may lead to fading colours on your koi, due to the bio-action of your filters the pond water will tend to become more acidic, minerals are used up within the pond by the koi and other pond organisms. Normal water changes will help to certain extent.
Poor water quality can also give the impression lack of colour, because the koi will secret excess mucous as a protection, but this could also mean there is presence of parasites, a skin scape or water test should identify the cause.

But is there anything we can do to help?
Some studies have shown that koi kept in Hard Water (High KH) skin colouration is enhanced, especially white and black pigments.
So how can we attain this High mineralised pond? Skin quality can be enhanced by regular use of a high quality Montmorillonite Clay that will re-mineralise the pond water.

A koi’s genetic make-up will determine the quality of the pigmentation and skin. The koi that tend to develop deep and vivid colours as they mature, and which also retain them, usually are of a higher grade and price.
A bit like expensive motor cars, they have many layers of paint!!!


  1. Nigel November 4, 2010

    As with most things in life, you only get out what you put into it. Put the right conditions in your pond, the right food in your fish and you are half way there.The rest will come from experience ( I hope!!)

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