Butterfly Koi, beautiful fish for Oklahoma Pond or water gardeners.
When you get into the upper echelons of finer koi keeping, the butterfly varieties are barely even recognized as being a fish! Yet, for so many others they would not think of their collection as being complete without some sort of representation from the butterfly variety. My Oklahoma City koi collection would fall into that category as well since I can account for 5 butterfly koi in my pond’s population.
How did the butterfly koi originate?
Brown and grey carp with long fins were found in Indonesia in the early 1980's. A NY company heard about them and bought some but then they thought they were too ugly to sell. But, a group of curious breeders at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery heard about them and decided to order some too. They took their odd-looking long-finned fish and bred them with their finest traditional koi fish. They actually turned out awesome!
The long finned koi ended up being robust and disease free. They could also be bred in many beautiful colors. An original Blue Ridge breeder was named Wyatt LeFever. When his young son first went to see the fish, he said “Dad they look like butterflies.” This name is still used today for these fish.
Butterfly koi size
Butterfly koi become more and more impressive as they grow. Their fins keep growing until the blood vessels can’t sustain the fins to be any longer. The older the fish, the longer and more impressive the fins. A full-grown koi can almost like a long, slinky dragon moving through the water. Some people even refer to butterfly koi as dragon koi.
The fish may not be as large as traditional koi, but they can run from 36-40 inches in the right pond with the right food. Butterfly koi are pleasant and graceful and a delight to watch swim.
Is a butterfly koi a “real” koi fish?
Yes, they are. In the past, Japanese koi enthusiasts did not appreciate the long-finned koi. Over time, Japanese breeders started seeing the beauty and value in the fish, partially from their immense popularity in the United States. Now the butterfly koi are a very popular koi fish pond choice.
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Tim Trammell has been building, designing, servicing and maintaining pond in the Oklahoma City Metro area for over 20 years. His company Continental Ponds, is Oklahoma's first Master Certified Aquascape Contractor and is an national award winning pond and water feature builder.