The Difference Between Koi And Goldfish

By Christopher M. Stephens on Wednesday, December 25, 2013
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“Bait the hook well: this fish will bite.” —William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

In A Nutshell

Two species of carp are often kept in ponds and larger home aquariums. Both are Asian in origin and appear superficially similar. Goldfish are actually descended from crucian carp, while the koi have barbels, grow longer, and are in fact a fancy domesticated version of the common carp. Although more widely known in the wild, the koi fancy is more “elite” than the goldfish scene, with millions of dollars being invested in the finest fish.

The Whole Bushel

Asian waters and hundreds of years of selective breeding brought goldfish into the mainstream of society. Prized among nobility for centuries, goldfish are descended from a species of cypriniforme, or species of fish in the carp family native to Asia. It is in fact a slightly less common type of fish among carp due to its lack of feeler barbels. Goldfish come in many fancy varieties, which are much less hardy than the tradition yellow orange, common goldfish. Goldfish may live over 25 years.

Koi may grow around 1 meter in length, and come in more metallic and sharply red colors than many types of goldfish. The body of a koi is longer and more cylindrical in proportion and shape than a goldfish, which has a more laterally compressed body with bigger fins. Koi use their barbels to dig for food, and cause much greater disturbance to the bottom of their pond or aquarium. They require much larger tanks or ponds than goldfish, and may live for over 60 years.

Koi and goldfish have the potential to become invasive species when introduced to non-native waters. Results may include vegetation damage and predation of native species. Koi make excellent pets, and will put their head out of the water to collect food from their owners. Goldfish are perhaps less intelligent and sociable, but both species of carp can easily be tamed and enjoyed. Goldfish should never be placed in a bowl. A proper tank must be offered to prevent ammonia buildup and ensure adequate room for exercise and swimming development.

Unfortunately, koi are boisterous and have a habit of jumping. This can result in their death in a pond setting, while feral carp may injure boaters as they jump. Both goldfish and koi are technically edible, but their popularity as food is especially limited in the Western world. Neither fish have true teeth, so hand-feeding any size of specimen is safe. Their throat plates serve as crushers to mash up food prior to swallowing.

Show Me The Proof

Koi Acres: Koi FAQ
ADW: Cyprinus carpio (koi)
ADW: Carassius auratus (common goldfish)

  • Hadeskabir

    I don’t know why this article was necessary, there’s clearly a physical difference between the Koy fish and the Goldfish. Everyone with eyes can see that.

    • Ray

      I don’t know why this comment was necessary, it’s clearly stupid.

      • Hadeskabir

        More stupid is the fact you felt it was necessary for you to reply to it.

        • Ray

          Go find an article you like retard. These sites were better without you.

          • Hillyard

            Some might say the same to you.

          • Ray

            Ok, i understand, you’re sticking up for your butt buddy.

    • Micah Duke

      There are clear differences between many of the things in the Differences section, but the ability to say “This is the most obvious thing in the world” depends entirely on what you’ve been exposed to in life.

      • Ray

        He’s just a troll.

      • Hadeskabir

        If you look at a Koi and a Goldfish you can clearly see they are different. You don’t have to have seen it before!

    • lbatfish

      Maybe it was an article intended to be read by the blind?

      • Hadeskabir

        If that is true the picture wasn’t necessary.

        • Nathaniel A.

          It also would have been written in Braille.

          • Hadeskabir

            That’s not how blind people use the internet. They have a “reader” pad and a keyboard in braille.

          • Nathaniel A.

            Oh yeah how silly of me.

          • Hadeskabir

            I know you were joking, I gave a real answer as a joke.

          • Nathaniel A.

            Believe it or not I was not joking. Occasionally I am that absent-minded.

  • Ray

    Great article.

  • Hillyard

    Well it’s about time, I was on edge wondering.

    • Alex

      Actually, the idea is to consider the differences between things you might otherwise not consider.

      • Hillyard

        I was referring to the delay in the article showing up on the site.

        • Alex

          Ah ok – very good 🙂 I misunderstood completely.

  • MelbaHollman

    There is more similarity between Koi and goldfish .

    http://maximumshred-us.tumblr.com/

  • Amino Prime XL

    its fantastic post.

    http://aminoprimexl.tumblr.com/

  • http://www.pondpro2000.com Latoya Saum

    Koi is more expensive and need more care than gold fish. Pondpro2000 is the only protection product which does not harm to koi life. Other wise you may lose koi after using any toxic product.